Yi Lu


The “absolutely intentional objects” is an important term raised by the Italian scholar Umberto Eco. In his work, this term is described as a category of objects that only exist in fictional narratives. These objects are not only repeatedly identified by diagnostic properties, but also persistently exist due to semiosis. The basis of this term is “purely intentional objects” raised by Roman Ingarden, who, in The Literary Work of Art, takes phenomenology as a theoretical basis and literary work as the analytical target, revealing four strata of ontic form in literary work. By discussing the concept, Ingarden intends to criticize the radical aspect in Edmund Husserl's phenomenological thought, referred to as “transcendental idealism”. According to this idea, these objects are only considered as a result of the subjective act of intentional consciousness rather than a mixture of facts and intentions. Furthermore, Eco also participates in the conversation between ontology and literary studies from the perspective of semiotics by the concept of “absolutely intentional objects”, with which he develops the classical “semantic triangle” into a dynamic framework of ontology by taking multiple “referent” into consideration.


absolutely intentional objects, purely intentional objects, existential-ontological category, semantic triangle, object theory

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