Modal Meinongianism and Actuality

  • Francesco Berto Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Keywords: Modal Meinongianism, Comprehension Principle, neo-Meinongianism


Modal Meinongianism is the most recent neo-Meinongian theory. Its main innovation consists in a Comprehension Principle which, unlike other neo-Meinongian approaches, seemingly avoids limitations on the properties that can characterize objects. However, in a recent paper A. Sauchelli has raised an objection against modal Meinongianism, to the effect that properties and relations involving reference to worlds at which they are instantiated, and specifically to the actual world or parts thereof, force a limitation of its Comprehension Principle. The theory, thus, is no better off than other neo-Meinongian views in this respect. This article shows that the notion part of actuality in Sauchelli’s paper is ambiguous from the modal Meinongian viewpoint. Accordingly, his objection splits into two, depending on its disambiguation. It is then explained how neither interpretation forces modal Meinongianism to limit its Comprehension Principle. A third problem connected to Sauchelli’s objection(s) is addressed: how to account for our felicitously referring to nonexistent objects via descriptions that embed reference to properties not actually instantiated by the objects. Overall, the replies to these difficulties provide good insights into the workings of the new Meinongian theory.

How to Cite
Berto, F. (2013). Modal Meinongianism and Actuality. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 6(25), 155-176. Retrieved from