On Neutral Relations

Dialectica 66 (1):167-186 (2012)
Is there an explanation of why the state of x's bearing the non-symmetric binary relation R to y is different from its differential opposite, the state of y's bearing R to x? One traditional view has it that the explanation is that non-symmetric relations hold of objects in an essentially directional way, ordering the relevant relata. We call this view ‘directionalism’. Kit Fine has suggested that this approach is subject to significant metaphysical difficulties, sufficient to motivate seeking an alternative analysis. He considers two such alternative explanations, which he labels ‘positionalism’ and ‘anti-positionalism’. Of these he endorses the latter. We argue that anti-positionalism fails to provide a coherent explanation of the distinction between differential opposites, and that one should simply hold the minimalist position that there is no explanation for this metaphysical difference.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2012.01294.x
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References found in this work BETA
Kit Fine (2000). Neutral Relations. Philosophical Review 109 (1):1-33.

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