Theory and History of Ontology

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The Ontological Realism of Gustav Bergmann


"An ontology may be described as consisting of three kinds of statements: those that set the problems; those that list the kinds of entities that exist; those that show how the existents solve the problems. Ontologies may thus differ in different ways. The most decisive way concerns the kinds of entities deemed to exist. With respect to this way, there are but two types of ontology. One is lavish, cluttered; the other, frugal, sparse. The ontologies of Plato, Meinong, and Frege are lavish; those of Hume, Brentano, and Wittgenstein are frugal.

Gustav Bergmann has propounded both types of ontology in the course of his thirty years of philosophizing. The Bergmann of The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism (1954) and Meaning and Existence (1959) propounds a frugal ontology. The Bergmann of Logic and Reality (1964) and Realism: A Critique of Brentano and Meinong (1967) propounds a lavish ontology. In a way of speaking that Bergmann himself has used, the world of the early Bergmann is a desert, the world of the later Bergmann a jungle. In a way of speaking that is suggestive, speculative, had the early Bergmann written Realism, he would have dedicated it to Brentano rather than to Meinong, as did the later Bergmann.

The difference between the ontologies of the two Bergmanns is great, though it does not greatly strike one in reading Bergmann's essays. One is rather struck, on the one hand, by his unswerving commitment to the so called ideal language method of philosophizing and, on the other, by his persistent concern with the solutions to, and dialectical connections amongst a seemingly limited number of problems-individuation, universals, necessity, and intentionality. Bergmann's essays thus appear to be a set of variations on several ontological themes. And at first glance the variations are slight enough to cause one to overlook the amazing difference between the ontologies struck by the early and later Bergmanns. Furthermore, Bergmann himself tends to minimize the difference. He does so, I suspect, first, because he naturally stresses how his later views evolve naturally from 'his earlier ones and, second, because he tries to mediate between the two Bergmanns, telling the early one that the later's ontology is less cluttered than one might initially think. The later Bergmann seems somewhat uncomfortable in the jungle into which he has led himself. Be that as it may, in Bergmann's essays the difference between the two Bergmanns is muted, obscured, by Bergmann's constant and conspicuous use of the ideal language method, his persistent preoccupation with the same problems, and his reluctance to dwell on and dramatize his evolution from frugality to lavishness.

The emergence of the later Bergmann is ironic. The lavishness is the outgrowth of his method, the very method developed by the early Wittgenstein as a device for solving frugally the problems Frege solved lavishly. The emergence of the later Bergmann is also, and more significantly, inevitable. The ideal language method dictates a lavish ontology. Upon realizing that, Bergmann abandoned frugality and clung to the method. In contrast, Wittgenstein, upon realizing the same thing, abandoned the method and clung to frugality."

From: Edwin B. Allaire - Bergmann's Ontologies in: The ontological turn: studies in the philosophy of Gustav Bergmann. Edited by Gram Moltke S. and Klemke Elmer D. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press 1974. pp. 38-39.


A complete and updated bibliography of Gustav Bergmann (128 titles) and the studies about him (107 titles) is available in Rivista di Estetica, 25, 2004 pp. 113-126; I give only the most relevant publications.

  1. Bergmann, Gustav. 1954. The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.

    Second edition: Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1967.

    Contents: Preface V; Preface to the Second edition IX-X; 1. Logical Positivism (1950) 1; 2. Semantics (1950) 17; 3. Logical Positivism, language, and the reconstruction of metaphysics (1953) 30; 4. Two cornerstones of Empiricism (1953) 78; 5. Two types of linguistic philosophy (1952) 106; 6. Bodies, minds, and acts (1952) 132; 7. Remarks on Realism (1946) 153; 8. Sense data, linguistic conventions, and existence (1947) 176; 9. Russell on particulars (1947) 197; 10. Professor Ayer's analysis of knowing (1949) 215; 11. On nonperceptual intuition (1949) 228; 12. Conditions for an extensional elementaristic language (1948) 232; 13. A note on ontology (1950) 238; 14. Logical Atomism, elementarism, and the analysis of value (1951) 243; 15. Comments on Professor Hempel's "The concept of cognitive significance" (1951) 255; 16. The identity of indiscernibles and the formalist definition of "identity (1953) 268; 17. The problem of relations in classical psychology (1952) 277; 18. Ideology (1951) 300; Author's note 326; Index 328-340.

    From the Preface: "This is not a collection of my papers on first philosophy but a selection from them. Nor is the order in which they are arranged chronological. This requires some comment. The papers fall into three groups. Taken together, the first six, of most recent origin, provide an outline of the views I now hold. The second group consists of the next three, which are the earliest included in this volume. Together with three other still earlier ones which I have excluded, they form a unit centered around the realism phenomenalism issue. The excluded papers are "Pure Semantics, Sentences, and Propositions" ( Mind, 53, 1944), "A Positivistic Metaphysics of Consciousness" ( Mind, 54, 1945), "Undefined Descriptive Predicates" ( Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 8, 1947) . I omit them because for the most part they merely say very badly what I have since said again, a little less badly, in the six essays of the first group. I mention them because there I first struck out on my own, trying to free myself from the influence of Carnapian positivism though not yet, alas, from its apparatus. Having said that much, as I believe I should, I wish to add, as I believe I also should, that this by now radical dissent has not at all affected either my gratitude or my admiration for Carnap. I still think of him as the outstanding figure in a major phase of the positivistic movement. The third group consists of all the remaining essays, some of them very short. These are in the main elaborations of themes struck in the first nine pieces. The arrangement within this last group represents a compromise between their subject matter and the order in which I remember having written them. The concluding essay differs from the rest. Quite nontechnical, it touches at least indirectly on my philosophy in that broader sense in which everyone who is not himself an analytical philosopher speaks of a man's philosophy. Thus it is, perhaps, not out of place at the end of a volume that is otherwise rather technical.

    Aside from a few editorial changes I have left the papers as they were originally written."

    From the Preface to the Second edition: "The logical positivists of the Vienna Circle were my first teachers. Thus I was faced with an unpalatable choice. Dialectically, metaphysical materialism always seemed and still seems to me the greater evil. (Scientific materialism is but common sense.) So I began my philosophical career as a reluctant phenomenalist in the style of the Circle. Now I am, and have been for some time, a realist of the phenomenological variety. The break occurred in the early fifties, when I proposed an analysis of the act. This book, my first, a collection of essays originally published in 1954, reflects the struggles which led to that break. Much of it I now reject. Yet there are also many analyses, of issues and of movements, including pragmatism, logical positivism, and the so-called linguistic philosophy, which I still think are right.

    Two of the essays introduce the act. Another, about semantics, mentions the meaning nexus which has come to play so great a role in my thought. The essay on the problem of relations in classical psychology first manifests what has since become one of my major concerns. The concluding piece, on ideology, has been well received by many social scientists.

    By now logical positivism belongs to history. Yet it was a vigorous movement; some of its members were brilliant; its contribution to the philosophy of science remains most valuable. From the record of such a movement much can be learned. This book, in its own peculiar way, is part of the record. Thus, since it is still in demand although it has been out of print for some time, a new edition seems justified."

  2. ———. 1957. Philosophy of Science. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

  3. ———. 1959. Meaning and Existence. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Contents: Preface V-X; 1. Intentionality (1955) 3; 2. The revolt against Logical Atomism (1958) 39; 3. Analiticity (1958) 73; 4. Particularity and the new nominalism (1954) 91; 5. (with Herbert Hochberg) Concepts (1957) 106; 6. Elementarism (1957) 115; 7. Individuals (1958) 124; 8. Sameness, meaning, and identity (1958) 132; 9. Professor Quine on analiticity (1955) 139; 10. Some remarks on the ontology of Ockham (1954) 144; 11. Russell's examination of Leibniz examined (1956) 155; 12. Some remarks on the philosophy of Malebranche (1956) 189; 13. Frege's hidden nominalism (1958) 205; 14. Some reflections on time (1958) 225; Author's note 265; Index 267-274.

    From the Preface: "The main theme of this book is the analysis of mind. But even the basic problems fall into each other's scopes. Thus other themes had to be sounded, some of them rather fully. Foremost among these is the basic problem of ontology, that is, the search for a complete inventory of the several kinds of existent. An analysis which denies mind the status of an existent, in the full ontological sense of 'existent', is patently inadequate. That shows the connection. Yet, all attempts to place mind in any of the less extravagant ontological schemes available led to consequences which flaw the over-all pattern. That shows the difficulty. The book propounds how I propose to conquer it.

    The characteristic feature of minds is their intentionality. That makes "Intentionality and Ontology" an accurate two-word title. "Meaning and Existence" sounds less formidable. Ontology asks what exists. This justifies the substitution of 'existence' for 'ontology'. That of 'meaning' for 'intentionality' will be justified in a moment.

    What a philosopher takes a question to be as well as the sort of answer (rather than, which specific answer) he considers a (possible) solution depends on his conception of the philosophical enterprise. Or, what amounts virtually to the same thing, it depends on his method. That is why philosophers always were method conscious. At the beginning of this century analytical philosophy took what has been called the linguistic turn. The issue, and it still is an issue, is one of method. That is why our generation is even more method conscious than some of its predecessors. My work is in the linguistic stream. Inevitably, therefore, the basic theme of method runs through the whole book. One essay develops it in considerable detail.

    The linguistic stream has several currents. I philosophize by means of one of the schemes known as ideal languages. My being in this current in part determines the content of the book. Analyticity, every one agrees, is a very fundamental problem. For a practitioner of my method it is basic. (I am even prepared to grant that the adequate explication of analyticity is the one and only major task for which the method is indispensable.) Moreover, there is a very close connection between the problem of analyticity and the analysis of mind.

    To whatever current a linguistic philosopher may belong, the analysis of mind is for him virtually indistinguishable from that of the various ontological and logical aspects of meaning. (This justifies the substitution of 'meaning' for 'intentionality' in the two-word title.) If he belongs to my current, then the core of the problem is to construct an ideal language into which the relevant uses of 'to mean' can be adequately transcribed. I propose such an ideal language. Not surprisingly, for anyone familiar with the course of analytical philosophy in this century, it turns out that this proposal requires radical re-examination and eventual modification of the classical analysts' explicit or implicit notions of analyticity. The connection of my main theme with this major subtheme is thus close indeed.


    This is the second essay collection I publish. The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism (1954) was the first. Since the public for anything of this sort is rather limited, quite a few prospective readers of the second will have either read or at least heard of the first. I shall therefore answer a question which is likely to occur to such readers. What, if any, is the connection between the two books? The central thesis of this book is the proposed analysis of the act (I use the classical term). Its central idea is clearly stated in the first book. However, there is an important difference between a full statement and its central idea, just as there is such a difference between even a full statement and the exploration of its consequences. (Remember what was said about the scopes of philosophical problems.) In the Preface to the first book I promised to apply myself to the tasks I had thus set myself. This book fulfills that promise. In this respect, and I believe also in some others, the first book stands to the second as flower stands to fruit. Whether the fruit was worth gathering is not for me to say."

  4. ———. 1964. Logic and Reality. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Contents: Preface VII-VIII; 1. Acts (1960) 3; 2. Ineffability, ontology, and method (1960) 45; 3. Generality and existence (1962) 64; 4. Meaning (1962) 85; 5. Duration and the specious present (1960) 98; 6. Physics and ontology (1961) 108; 7. Ontological alternatives (1963) 124; 8. Inclusion, exemplification, and inherence in G. E. Moore (1962) 158; 9. Strawson's ontology (1960) 171 10. The ontology of Edmund Husserl (1960) 193; 11. The glory and misery of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1961) 225; 12. Stenius on the Tractatus (1963) 242; 13. Synthetic a priori (1963) 272; 14. Realistic postscript 302; Author's note 341; Index 343-355.

    From the Preface: "Some philosophers never change their minds. Those who do are of two kinds. One kind vacillates, often abruptly, between two extremes such as, say, phenomenalism and materialism. With the other kind the changes are gradual and show a direction. I belong to the latter kind.

    This is my third book in first philosophy. In The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism (1954) the major concern is with epistemology; the implicit ontology is a reluctant phenomenalism. Since the act is recognized, the phenomenalism is atypical. Recognition, though, is not enough; it merely opens the way. The task is to find a dialectically adequate ontological assay of the act. If this decisive step has been made, then, structurally, realism has been achieved. In Meaning and Existence (1960) ontology has come to the fore; structurally, realism is achieved; much of the phenomenalist debris is cleared away. In this book the realism is explicit and fully articulated. In the concluding essay the last piece of debris is buried. That leaves no doubt about the direction of the several changes. They took me over twenty years. The reprieve, even if only conditional, is welcome.

    One who has struck out on his own, either ignoring or challenging the fashions of the day, will not, if he is sober, be certain that everything he has gradually come to believe is true. I am very sober. Yet there is one belief I have come to hold very firmly. One cannot arrive at a dialectically adequate realism without recognizing that the world's form exists. Logic is but a reflection of the world's form. Hence, one cannot fully articulate one's realism without ontologizing logic. That accounts for the title of this book and, more importantly, for its thematic unity. The belief I so firmly hold is the theme. The fourteen essays are fourteen variations on it."

  5. ———. 1967. Realism. A Critique of Brentano and Meinong. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Contents: Preface VII-VIII;

    Book One: Facts, things, ideas

    Part I: General ontology

    One: Facts and things 3; Two: Two fundamental ties 22; Three: Connections 42; Four: Parts 71; Five: Perfect particulars and universals 85; Six: Substances

    Part II: Representationalism

    Seven: Introductory reflections 125; Eight: Cores and fringes 138; Nine: Three schemata 155; Ten: Perception 180; Eleven: Three predicaments 195;

    Book Two: Brentano and Meinong

    Part III: Brentano

    Twelve: Introduction 221; Thirteen: The truncated world 238; Fourteen: Minds 264; Fifteen: Double judgments 284; Sixteen: Existence, truth, evidence 302; Seventeen: Places, moments, selves 320;

    Part IV: Meinong

    Eighteen: The truncated world 335; Nineteen: Minds 374; Twenty: Earlier stages 399; Twenty-one: Flaws and gaps 399; Bibliographical note 445; Index 447-458.

    From the Preface: "Freud said of The Interpretation of Dreams that it was the sort of book a man writes only once in his life. This book is of that sort. It is also very long. Such a book ought to speak for itself. So I send it into the world without any introduction except for one remark about the way it is written.

    There are two kinds of philosophical criticism, and, perhaps, only two kinds of writing in philosophy. The inductive critics try at the same time to make the cross and nail their intended victim onto it. Those who write deductively first make the cross and, while making it, affect, except for an occasional glance, an almost studied unconcern for the victim. I am virtually incapable of writing inductively. The best I can do, therefore, is to do without disguise, pretext, or apology, the one thing which I may hope not to do too badly. This book has four parts. The first is a short treatise on general ontology. The second expounds the dialectics of representationalism. The third deals critically with Brentano; the fourth, with Meinong. The criticism in the last two parts requires a minimum of exposition. But both criticism and exposition are highly selective."

  6. ———. 1992. New Foundations of Ontology. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Edited by William Heald.

    Contents: Foreword by Edwin B. Allaire IX-XII; Editor's Note XIII-XX; Editor's introduction 3; 1. Simples and canons 43; 2. Facts and modes 61; 3. Diversity and order 101; 4. Functions and analiticity 134; 5. Thought and language 201; 6. Classes 239; 7. The Linguistic Turn contained 317; Glossary 357; Index 369-372.

    From the Foreword: "During the last two decades of his life-from the publication of Realism in 1967 until his death in 1987 - Gustav Bergmann published only five essays. One, 'Diversity,' his presidential address to the Western Division of the American Philosophical Association, appeared in 1968; the other four, between 1977 and 1981.

    In those decades Bergmann worked as hard and as steadily as he ever had; and he was a hard worker indeed. In the twenty-five years prior to Realism, Bergmann published over a hundred essays, many of which are contained in four essay collections, and Philosophy of Science.

    In his presidential address Bergmann made known his dissatisfaction with certain aspects of his ontology, in particular his assays of the facts expressed by universal and existential statements. (See 'Generality and Existence,' Theoria, 28, 1962.) He thus set about to rethink his system. New Foundations of Ontology is the result.

    The manuscript seems to have been begun sometime in 1974 and completed in late 1975. Bergmann decided to delay its publication: he had reservations about the penultimate chapter, which deals with classes and arithmetic. He never returned to the manuscript per se. Instead, he led himself into the depths of set theory, a subject he had once known well. (Bergmann earned a PhD in mathematics and from 1928 to 1935 published eight papers in mathematics proper.) "

  7. ———. 2003. Collected Works. Vol I. Frankfurt am Mein: Ontos Verlag.

    Selected Papers I.

    Edited and with an introduction by Erwin Tegtmeier.

    Contents: Introduction 9; Remarks on Realism 18; Sense data, linguistic conventions, and existence 41; Russell on particulars 62; On nonperceptual intuition 80; A note on ontology 84; Bodies, minds, and acts 89; Two types of linguistic philosophy 110; The identity of indiscernibles ad the Formalist definition of identity 136; Logical Positivism, language, and the reconstruction of metaphysics 145; Particularity and the new Nominalism 193; Some remarks on the ontology of Ockham 208; Professor Quine on analyticity 219; Intentionality 224; Russell's examination of Leibniz examined 258; The revolt against Logical Atomism 292; Frege's hidden nominalism 324; Sameness, meaning, and identity 344-350.

  8. ———. 2003. Collected Works. Vol Ii. Frankfurt am Mein: Ontos Verlag.

    Selected Papers II.

    Edited and with an introduction by Erwin Tegtmeier.

    Contents: Introduction 7; Acts 13; Ineffability, ontology, and method 55; Ontologial alternatives 75; Inclusion, exemplification, and inherence in G. E. Moore 109; Strawson's ontology 121; The ontology of Edmund Husserl 145; The glory and misery of Ludwig Wittgenstein 177; Stenius on the Tractatus 195; Synthetic a priori 225; Realistic postscript 255; Diversity (1968) 295; Sketch of an ontological inventory (1978) 309; Notes on ontology (1981) 321; Notes on the ontology of minds (1981) 345-370.

  9. ———. 2004. Collected Works. Vol Iii. Realism. A Critique of Brentano and Meinong. Frankfurt am Mein: Ontos Verlag.

    Reprint of the 1967 edition, edited and introduced by Erwin Tegtmeier.


  1. "Il Realismo Ontologico Di Gustav Bergmann." 2004. Rivista di Estetica no. 25:3-126.

    A cura di Guido Bonino e GiulianoTorrengo.

    Indice: Premessa 3; Introduzione by Guido Bonino and Giuliano Torrengo 5; I - Cose e fatti by Stefano Caputo and Francesco Martinello 15; II - Universali e particolari by Luca Angelone, Fabio Minocchio, Andrea Pagliardi 49; III - La percezione by Carola Barbero and Giuliano Torrengo 75; IV - Idee e universali by Guido Bonino and Antonio Capuano 97; Bibliografia by Guido Bonino 113-126.

  2. Bonino, Guido. 2007. "Why There Are No Facts in Meinong's World (According to Gustav Bergmann)." Meinong Studies / Meinong Studien no. 2:239-275.

    "The paper deals with Gustav Bergmann's analysis of Meinong's ontology, carried out in Realism: A Critique of Brentano and Meinong (1967); more specifically it aims at making it clear in what sense Meinong can be regarded as a "reist". Reism is characterized by Bergmann as a position -- largely dominant in the philosophical tradition -- which

    (i) neglects the ontological category of facts;

    (ii) neglects or downplays nexus (and more in general subsistents);

    (iii) tends to consider all entities as things or thing-like.

    As a by-product, some light will be thrown on the sense of Bergmann's ontological enterprise."

  3. Gram, Moltke S., and Klemke, Elmer D., eds. 1974. The Ontological Turn: Studies in the Philosophy of Gustav Bergmann. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

    Contents: Preface VII;

    I. Ontological alternatives

    The limits of ontological analysis by Panayot Butchvarov 3; Bergmann's ontologies by Edwin Allaire 38; To Gustav Bergmann: a humble petition and advice by Henry B. Veatch 65;

    II: Ontological problems

    Bergmann's ontology and the Principle of Acquaintance by Reinhardt Grossmann 89; Consciousness by Timothy L. Sprigge 114; Time, substance, and analysis by Laird Addis 148; Intentions, facts, and propositions by Hebert Hochberg 168;

    III. Language, logic, and the philosophy of science

    Seeing, seeming, and sensing by Wilfrid Sellars 195; Belief and error by Keith Lehrer 216; Bergmann on the analytic-synthetic distinction by Alan Hausman 230; The problem of color incompatibility by Erik Stenius 245; Perspicuous languages by Robert Ackermann 264; Why I am not aware of your pain by Fred Wilson 276;

    Bibliography: Works by Gustav Bergmann 301

    Index 311-314.

    "The initial plans for this volume in honor of one of the world's most distinguished philosophers were conceived four years ago. After much labor, and with the patience and assistance of all who participated, we are happy to have brought it at last to birth.

    It may seem premature to some, at this time, to publish a volume of essays on Professor Bergmann's philosophy, since his recent work has not yet been published. But the widespread interest in many countries in his work, and the growing number of philosophers -- even those who disagree with him --who have followed his philosophical pursuits and have written extensively about them, makes it fitting to present a collection of critical studies now." (from the Preface).

  4. Hochberg, Herbert. 1984. "Introduction: Ontological Analysis and the Linguistic Turn." In Logic. Ontology, and Language. Essays on Truth and Reality, 11-47. München-Wien: Philosophia Verlag.

  5. ———. 1994. "From Carnap's Vienna to Meinong's Graz: Gustav Bergmann's Ontological Odyssey." Grazer Philosophischen Studien no. 48:1-50.

    "The development of the systematic ontology of Bergmann's posthumous 1992 work New Foundations of Ontology from its roots in his early criticisms of R. Carnap's work on semantics to his acceptance of fundamental Meinongian ideas, is traced, critically examined and compared to views of others, such as G.E. Moore, B. Russell, W.V. Quine, and J. Searle. The discussion, focusing on main themes of his final metaphysical system, deals with problems posed by universals and particulars, predication and the Bradley "paradox", facts, truth, intentionality and non-existent objectives, classes and the membership relation, logic and the analytic-synthetic distinction, arithmetic and logicism, ontological categories and canons, modalities, internal relations, and the question of the phenomenological ground of ontological claims. Some of the critical analyses are developed into alternative analyses."

  6. ———. 2000. "Truths and the Ontology of Logical Realism." Grazer Philosophischen Studien no. 58-59:23-92.

  7. ———. 2001. The Positivist and the Ontologist. Bergmann, Carnap and Logical Realism. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

    Contents: Preface V-VI; 1. From Positivism to metaphysics: Bergmann's critique of Carnap's semantics 1; 2. Reism, ontological types and Aufbau-type ontological constructions 33; 3. Bergmann's Realism and the critique of Bundle and Trope ontologies 57; 4. Carnapian consequences: Realism and semantic refutation of Realism 105; 5. Bergmann's Reism: Brentano's and Carnap's revenge 147; 6. Relational order, the Russell-Wittgenstein dispute and Meinongian Realism 175; 7. Negation, quantification and intensional isomorphism 217; 8. The phenomenology and ontology of logic, classes and modality 233; 9. Dispositions and laws of nature: Hume, Husserl and the New Causal Realism 289; 10. Avoiding absurdity: Physical Realism, Phenomenalism and Mindless Materialism 319; 11. Extensions, intensions and Carnap's critique of reference 349; 12. Reference reconsidered 371; 13. Logical truth, logical paradoxes and Logical Realism 393-400.

    Preface: "Gustav Bergmann's remarkable intellectual journey, beginning as one of the youngest members of the Vienna Circle, and ending, in Hector Castaneda's judgment, as 'the foremost ontologist of the decade' focused on three metaphysical issues that he continuously discussed for thirty years: the problems of individuation, of universals, and of intentionality. Bergmann's turn to metaphysics began with his 1947 paper 'Russell on Particulars,' though he had long insisted that his later concerns with the metaphysics of intentionality, expressed in a 1955 paper on intentionality, are already present in two criticisms of Carnap's semantics published in 1944 and 1945. But a careful reading of the earlier papers, which Carnap (in a letter to Bergmann in the Bergmann archives at the University of Iowa Library) found to be 'mostly Chinese,' show that Bergmann, in 1944 and 1945, is writing as an extreme early Carnapian positivist. In fact he is criticizing Carnap for moving away from positivism and towards a kind of metaphysical realism, by introducing a designation relation between linguistic items and non-linguistic reality. Irrespective of when his turn to metaphysics took place, it was unique among the positivists that emigrated to the United States and England.

    This book will trace lines in Bergmann's development from his early philosophical writings, in the mid 1940s, to what I have called, in one chapter, his 'middle phase,' epitomized in his long and complex book, Realism: A Critique of Brentano and Meinong of 1967, and finally to its culmination in his last work in three final published papers and a book manuscript, New Foundations of Ontology, that was posthumously published in 1992 (and from which the final papers were obviously taken). It will also relate them to various themes in Carnap's work in semantics of the 1940s. But, as I am mainly concerned with the basic philosophical issues raised, the book is a study of various attempts to deal with questions posed by the relation between thought and language, on the one hand, and the objects of thought and the referents of linguistic items, on the other. Thus I will be setting out critical assessments of the work of philosophers other than Bergmann and Carnap, including a number of other major figures on the contemporary scene, and of the recent past, in attempting to arrive at a viable realistic ontology that I have called Logical Realism. The basic themes set forth owe much to Bergmann, Carnap, Moore, Russell and the 'early' Wittgenstein. It will also be clear that the analyses set forth owe much to what has come to be called the Austrian Tradition, and the "realism" many of its members espoused, especially Meinong. It is no accident that the early figures of the 'analytic' tradition, Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein, were heavily influenced by the Brentano school -with Russell and Moore reading the works of various members of that school at the turn of the century. Russell, as is well known, wrote extensive critical, but appreciative, studies of Meinong and other members of the Graz school and was influenced by what he read, in spite of being mostly known in that connection for his widely discussed criticisms of Meinong. Moore's development of his philosophy of mind, with its focus on 'mental acts,' clearly derived this theme from his reading of the Austrians, and he, in turn, influenced Russell, who did not abandon mental acts until the years 1919-1921. One no longer needs to comment on Wittgenstein's connection to Austrian thought of the period.

    Bergmann was a unique figure in being the only one of the positivists of the Vienna Circle to recombine, in a most fruitful way, the metaphysical themes set forth by Russell and Moore, in what Russell had termed the 'revolt against idealism,' with fundamental ideas derived from the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle, influenced by Wittgenstein and Russell, and important ideas from the Brentano school - particularly Brentano's philosophy of the act, Meinong's theory of objects, and Husserl's phenomenology. In this he would be a remarkable contemporary philosopher and, as Castaneda noted, play a distinctive role on the philosophical scene from the early 1950s thru the 1970s."

  8. ———. 2001. "The Radical Hylomorphism of Bergmann's Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Ontology of Relations." The Modern Schoolman no. 78:257-288.

  9. Langlet, Bruno, and Monnoyer, Jean-Maurice, eds. 2009. Gustav Bergmann. Phenomenological Realism and Dialectical Ontology. Frankfurt: Ontos-Verlag.

    Table of Contents: Introduction 1; 1. Ewin Tegtmeier: Bergmann on Brentano 7; 2. Fred wilson: Bergmann's Hidden Aristotelianism 17; 3. Guido Bonino; Space, time, concrete, abstract 69; 4. Jea-Baptiste Rauzy: Sellars et Bergmann lecteurs de Leibniz. La querelle des particuliers 87; 5. L. Natan Oaklander: A critique of Degree Presentism 103; 6. Jiri Benovsky: La théorie des faisceaux et la théorie des substrats 117; 7. Luca Angelone, Giuliano Torrengo: Bare particulars and persistence in Bergmann 139; 8. Fréderic Nef: Bergmann et l'ontologie de la connexion 157; 9. E. Jonnathan Lowe: Modes of exemplification 173; 10. Luc Schneider: On Ties and Copulae within the Ontological Square 193; 11. Bruno Langlet, Jean-Murice Monnoyer: Gustav Bergmann et les complexions meinongiennes 209-235.

    "The essays collected in this volume were read at the Gustav Bergmann (1906-1987) International colloquium, held in Aix-en-provence, from December 9th to December 11th 2006, for the centennial anniversary of Bergmann's birth. The conference was organized within the framework of the Séminaire de Métaphysique (SEMa), which is hosted by the IHP ( Institut d'Histoire de la Philosophie). The (non-official) purpose was to promote some liberal exchanges and debates between some Bergmann's interpreters (American and European) focusing on the "actuality" of his thought; the official one was to greet the first meeting devoted to this philosopher in France, where he is still widely little-known. We publish some of these contributions in French, with the hope of a better understanding of the great influence his philosophy should exert in the next future." (p. 1).

  10. Park, Woosuk. 1990. "Scotus, Frege, and Bergmann." The Modern Schoolman no. 67:259-273.

  11. Rosenberg, Jay. 1987. "Phenomenological Ontology Revisited: A Bergmannian Retrospective." Philosophical Perspectives no. 1:387-404.

  12. Tegtmeier, Erwin. 1999. "Die Bedeutung Gustav Bergmanns." Metaphysica no. 0:19-36.

  13. Wolterstorff, Nicholas. 1970. "Bergmann's Constituent Ontology." Nous no. 4:109-134.


On the website "Theory and History of Ontology" (

Franz Brentano's Ontology and His Immanent Realism

Alexius Meinong's Theory of Objects