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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Millnong Project and the objects

Can nonexistent items be pointed at? Can there be ostension of things that don't exist? I guess an affirmative answer to this questions would be the starting point of a conception of nonexistent objects that would not make them hostage to descriptions. This would be the goal of The Millnong Project I concocted yesterday with Tomas: Mill for names as tags and nong for Meinongism. This would be the way to clarify how far can our Donnellan-like intuitions about the non-attributive role of language dealing with non-existent can go. What is the equivalent of presence when we move to nonexistence?

On the other front, that of putting together my anti-desciptivism and my ontology of fragments I thought about using the notion of composition a bit more heavily. The same composition could be viewed differently in different perspectives - individuation precedes the individual composed. Once individuation is done - an object is brought about - we can try and have a firm grip on Kripke's intuition that the trans-world identity problem is misformulated as possible worlds are not like distant planets of foreign countries, they depend of relations of accessibility. However, this is still not good enough because fragments are not elements that are there independently of any composition and therefore the components of the compositions could be themselves seen as composition-laden (and the suspicion that they are description-laden can be brought back). Maybe the ontology of fragments just have to put the whole question of identity in totally different terms. And here, of course, one can feel the pull towards objects (in a heavy-duty full-fledged form as Harman has them). I want to resist this pull.

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