I am reading Russell's second installment in the series On Meinong's Theory of Complexes and Assumption. Among many things, presentations are discussed a lot in these articles. What exactly do Russell and Meinong mean by presentation; and how does it differ from representation?

I have read through most of the SEP article on Meinong, but I haven't yet found a clear explication of the two, leaving me in a more confused state. In fact, the author of the SEP article seems to use them interchangeably, while with Russell's article I got a sense that they were different. Something like: a representation is a type of presentation in which the object exists. Of course, this might be wrong; but, in any case, that still doesn't tell me what a presentation is. The article is pretty technical, introducing a lot of distinctions/concepts, and is very summary (as are most SEP entries that survey a philosopher's career). Meinong seems to imbue a lot of common words with a very technical sense, and the author of the SEP article doesn't give their technical definitions. But I'm just wondering about presentations and representations.


See Franz Brentano's Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt (1874), Preface to the English edition, page xxi:

“Vorstellung” is sometimes translated as “presentation,” and sometimes as “idea,” or “thought.” The corresponding verb “vorstellen,” is translated variously as “to think of,” “to have before the mind,” and as “to have a presentation of.”

And see page 60:

Every idea or presentation [Vorstellung] which we acquire either through sense perception or imagination is an example of a mental phenomenon. By presentation I do not mean that which is presented, but rather the act of presentation. Thus, hearing a sound, seeing a colored object, feeling warmth or cold, as well as similar states of imagination are examples of what I mean by this term. I also mean by it the thinking of a general concept, provided such a thing actually does occur. Furthermore, every judgement, every recollection, every expectation, every inference, every conviction or opinion, every doubt, is a mental phenomenon.

See also Intentionality.

But we have here also an issue regarding translation: Russell use "presentation" for the German Vorstellung that is also transalted as representation (see Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation (German: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung)).

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