Dialectica 66 (1):167-186 (2012)

Daniel Hill
University of Liverpool
Richard Gaskin
University of Liverpool
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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2012.01294.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Deviant Logic: Some Philosophical Issues.Susan Haack - 1974 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

How Involved Do You Want to Be in a Non-Symmetric Relationship?Fraser MacBride - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):1-16.
Mereological Nominalism.Nikk Effingham - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):160-185.
Plural Slot Theory.T. Scott Dixon - 2018 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 11. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 193-223.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Anti-Positionalism’s Regress.Jan Willem Wieland - 2010 - Axiomathes 20 (4):479-493.
Aleatory Explanations Expanded.Paul Humphreys - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:208 - 223.
Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries.Jan Willem Wieland & Erik Weber - 2010 - Logique and Analyse 53 (211):345-365.
An Extended Framework for Preference Relations.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2011 - Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):360-367.
Modeling Relations.Joop Leo - 2008 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 37 (4):353 - 385.
The Structure of Physical Explanation.John Forge - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (2):203-226.
Proclus' Account of Explanatory Demonstrations in Mathematics and its Context.Orna Harari - 2008 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (2):137-164.
Hempel and Oppenheim on Explanation.Rolf Eberle, David Kaplan & Richard Montague - 1961 - Philosophy of Science 28 (4):418-428.


Added to PP index

Total views
60 ( #176,649 of 2,446,592 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #310,336 of 2,446,592 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes