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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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External Relations, Causal Coincidence, and Contingency

External Relations, Causal Coincidence, and Contingency

Chapter:
(p.113) 7 External Relations, Causal Coincidence, and Contingency
Source:
The Metaphysics of Relations
Author(s):

Peter Simons

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.003.0007

Many contingent facts concern objects standing in relationships by accident, prominent among these being spatiotemporal relationships, often taken as the paradigm of external (irreducible) relational properties. In this chapter it is argued that while spatiotemporal relations are external to their relata, in that they are not determined by the mere existence or natures thereof, such relations reduce to internal relations between the processes upon which spatiotemporally related individuals ontologically depend. Assuming that processes are ontologically prior to individuals, it is argued that since processes have their spatiotemporal locations essentially, they are internally spatiotemporally related. Assuming relationism about spacetime, this chapter concludes that we do not need to posit relational truthmakers to account for true spatiotemporal predications. The contingency of spatiotemporal relations between individuals, and the existence of spatiotemporal coincidences, is accounted for in terms of the contingency of the relationship between concrete individuals and their sustaining processes.

Keywords:   internal relations, external relations, process, ontology, spatiotemporal relations, causal relations, coincidence

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