Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (3):229-251 (2004)

Abstract
The essay undertakes to explore the possibilities of mutually fruitful dialogue between moral philosophy and ontology, in particular, the ontology of relations. The latter copes with the question of how relations relate, whereas moral philosophy often ignores the ontological implications of such crucial relations as love and interpersonality. The paper proceeds as follows. First, the ontology of relations is discussed. Second, various examples are analysed. From this, a conception of relation instantiation emerges, according to which to determine which relation actually obtains, one has to take into account (a) the context, (b) the specific content or meaning of the relation, and (c) some action or decision or mode of existence of the relata. This conception suggests that relation instantiation cannot be explained by a single formula. By the help of this conception, Hume''s thesis of the identity of killing relations between human and nonhuman beings is questioned. Then, the relation of love is analysed. It is shown that love as a moral relation is perfectly explicable in terms of ontology. Moreover, its essence is best captured by the interrelation of the particulars, the relation of love as a universal, and by the relating action of the particulars. Finally, the alleged relation of universal fraternity (interpersonality as such), linking up each human being to all other human beings, is discussed
Keywords context  instantiation  interpersonality  love  relations
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Reprint years 2005
DOI 10.1023/B:ETTA.0000042899.06985.91
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