Edward N. Zalta

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Edward N. Zalta
Edward N. Zalta. 7199285.jpg
Born 1952
Institutions Center for the Study of Language and Information
Alma mater University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Thesis 'Abstract Objects' (1980)

Edward N. Zalta (born in 1952) is a Senior research scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in 1980.[1] Zalta has taught courses at Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Salzburg, and the University of Auckland. Zalta is also the Principal Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.[2]


Zalta's most notable philosophical position is descended from the position of Alexius Meinong and Ernst Mally,[3] who suggested that there are many non-existent objects. On Zalta's account, some objects (the ordinary concrete ones around us, like tables and chairs) "exemplify" properties, while others (abstract objects like numbers, and what others would call "non-existent objects", like the round square, and the mountain made entirely of gold) merely "encode" them.[4] While the objects that exemplify properties are discovered through traditional empirical means, a simple set of axioms allows us to know about objects that encode properties.[5] For every set of properties, there is exactly one object that encodes exactly that set of properties and no others.[6] This allows for a formalized ontology.

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  1. ^ Edward N. Zalta, Abstract Objects, xii
  2. ^ "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Edward N. Zalta, Abstract Objects, xi.
  4. ^ Edward N. Zalta, Abstract Objects, 33.
  5. ^ Edward N. Zalta, Abstract Objects, 36.
  6. ^ Edward N. Zalta, Abstract Objects, 35.

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