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The Metaphysics of Relations$
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Anna Marmodoro and David Yates

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.001.0001

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There Are (Probably) No Relations

There Are (Probably) No Relations

Chapter:
(p.100) 6 There Are (Probably) No Relations
Source:
The Metaphysics of Relations
Author(s):

E. Jonathan Lowe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.003.0006

In this chapter it is argued that genuine relations, if any such there be, are external, in that they do not supervene on the intrinsic properties of the relata. Internal relations are cases of formal, as opposed to material, predication, where no genuine property or relation is predicated of the subject(s) of the predication. Genuine properties, by contrast, are denoted by material predications on the subjects of predication. The question of whether there are any relations comes down to the question of whether any true relational predications involve material predication. It is suggested that the best candidates, causal and spatiotemporal relational predications, involve formal predication, and on this basis it is argued that there are (probably) no relations. The very idea of polyadic properties is highly mysterious and gives rise to a range of philosophical problems. If the arguments in this chapter are correct, then positing such properties serves no useful ontological purpose, so we should not spend too much time trying to demystify them.

Keywords:   internal relations, external relations, material predication, formal predication, reduction, elimination, causal relations, powers, spatiotemporal relations, location

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