Mere Possibilities (B. Schnieder)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (2007), 525–50.

Abstract: The paper is a detailed reconstruction of Bernard Bolzano’s account of merely possible objects. According to Bolzano, there are some objects which are merely possible. While they are neither denizens of space and time nor members of the causal order, they could have been so. Such objects are, for example, merely possible persons, i.e. objects which are neither actual nor persons but which could have been both. Bolzano’s views are contrasted with the theory of Alexius Meinong, and it is shown that they have a modern counterpart in the accounts of merely possible objects that were developed by Bernard Linsky & Ed Zalta, and by Timothy Williamson.