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Organon F

Volume 28, February 2021, Issue 1, Pages 168–197

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article | Special issue on Names and Fictions

Revisiting the ‘Wrong Kind of Object’ Problem

Merel Semeijn – Edward N. Zalta



Any uniform semantic treatment of fictional names (e.g., ‘Frodo’) across parafictional statements (e.g., ‘In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo was born in the Shire’) and metafictional statements (e.g., ‘Frodo was invented by Tolkien’) runs into a variation of the ‘wrong kind of object’ problem. The problem arises when an analysis of one of these statements inappropriately attributes a property to an object. For example, it would be problematic if an analysis implied that flesh and blood individuals are invented by someone, and similarly problematic if an analysis implied that abstract objects are born in a certain region. Abstract object theory has provided a solution to this conundrum by distinguishing two modes of predication: encoding and exemplifying. Recently Klauk has argued that the problem reappears for the analysis of explicit parafictional statements in this theory. In this paper we formalize the objection and show that one can distinguish three issues in connection with the ‘wrong kind of object’ problem. We then address them in turn.


Abstract object theory; story operator; hyperintensionality; mixed discourse; parafictional statements.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Merel Semeijn 


University of Groningen


Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 52, 9712 GL Groningen, The Netherlands




Edward N. Zalta 


Stanford University


Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Cordura Hall, 210 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305-4115, U.S.A.



About this article


13 April 2020


9 September 2020

Published online

28 February 2021


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Semeijn, M. and Zalta, E.N. (2021). Revisiting the ‘Wrong Kind of Object’ Problem. Organon F, 28(1), 168–197. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2021.28108


Semeijn, Merel and Zalta, Edward N. 2021. "Revisiting the ‘Wrong Kind of Object’ Problem." Organon F 28 (1): 168–197. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2021.28108


Semeijn, M. and Zalta, E.N. (2021). Revisiting the ‘Wrong Kind of Object’ Problem. Organon F, 28(1), pp. 168–197. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2021.28108

Copyright information

© Merel Semeijn and Edward N. Zalta

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