Terence Parsons  

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"Alexius Meinong was an Austrian philosopher [who] believed that he had discovered a whole realm of objects which had not been studied previously by philosophers or by scientists. These are the objects that don't exist. As examples he cited the golden mountain -- it doesn't exist, and it has certainly not been extensively scrutinized by serious scholars -- and the round square, which not only does not exist but also has the interesting property of being impossible."--Nonexistent Objects (1980) by Terence Parsons

"we are all prepared to cite examples of nonexistent objects: Pegasus, Sherlock Holmes, unicorns, centaurs, . . . . Those are all possible objects, but we can find examples of impossible ones, too; Quine's example of the round square cupola on Berkeley College will do."--Nonexistent Objects (1980) by Terence Parsons

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Terence Parsons (1939 – 2022) was an American philosopher, specializing in objects of the mind, author of the book Nonexistent Objects (1980).


Philosophical work

Parsons worked on the semantics of natural language to develop theories of truth and meaning for natural language similar to those devised for artificial languages by philosophical logicians. Heavily influenced by Alexius Meinong, he wrote Nonexistent Objects (1980), which dealt with possible world theory in order to defend the reality of nonexistent objects.


  • Nonexistent Objects, Yale University Press, 1980.
  • Events in the Semantics of English, MIT Press, 1990.
  • Indeterminate Identity, Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Articulating Medieval Logic, Oxford University Press, 2014.

Linking in at time of death

Alexius Meinong, American Philosophical Association, Dialetheism, Edward N. Zalta, Free logic, Index of metaphysics articles, Index of philosophy articles (R–Z), Jaakko Hintikka, Jim Waldo, List of metaphysicians, List of philosophers born in the 20th century, List of University of California, Los Angeles people, List of University of Rochester people, Philosophy in Canada, Round square copula, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Square of opposition, Supposition theory, Term logic

See also

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