Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access



First Advisor

Curtis Brown


Searches and desires are examples of intentional attitudes, i.e. acts or states about or directed toward something. While it seems that we can and do look for or desire nothing in particular or things that do not exist, it is not as uncontroversial what the metaphysical status of the objects of such seeking or desiring may be. On antirelationalist views, there is nothing that a person is in a relation to when they are searching for a horse, but none in particular, or for a one-horned horse. On relationalist views, the searcher by virtue of their search enters into a relation with a real entity, which may be a representation in the searcher’s mind, an abstract object out there in the world, or a Meinongian nonexistent object. This paper looks at the objects of nonspecific searches, those that may be expressed by sentences of the form ‘S is looking for an F,’ and presents arguments for a relationalist view according to which objects of search, what we look for whenever we go looking for something, are entities of an abstract, nonmental, and incompletely determinate kind.

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