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Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy Volume 6$
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Robert Pasnau

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198827030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198827030.001.0001

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The Reality of the Non-Existent Object of Thought

The Reality of the Non-Existent Object of Thought

The Possible, the Impossible, and Mental Existence in Islamic Philosophy (eleventh–thirteenth centuries)

(p.31) The Reality of the Non-Existent Object of Thought
Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy Volume 6

Fedor Benevich

Oxford University Press

One of the most widespread claims combining epistemology and metaphysics in post-Avicennian Islamic philosophy was that every object of thought is real. In Muʿtazilite reading, it was endorsed due to a theory of knowledge which states that knowledge is a connection or relation between the knower and the object known. Avicennists accepted it due to the rule that in a proposition “s is p” if p is something positive s has to be positive and real too. Hence, insofar as one can conceptually distinguish between two non-existent items, they have to be real. In this article, the author presents significant consequences of this theory: the acceptance and denial of non-existent yet real extramental objects; the concept of mental existence as an alternative solution; the conceivability of paraconsistent ideas and their reality or reducibility to some real objects.

Keywords:   non-existent objects, intentionality, mental existence, paraconsistency, Muʿtazilites, Avicenna, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Ibn al-Malāḥimī

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