Super-Relationism: Combining Eliminativism about Objects and Relationism about Spacetime

Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2151-2172 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio-temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio-temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles, is generally taken to imply substantivalism about spacetime: if properties are directly instantiated by spacetime without the mediation of material objects, then, surely, spacetime has to be a substance. After introducing briefly the two debates about spacetime (§1) and material objects (§2), I will present Schaffer's super-substantivalism (§3), the conjunction of substantivalism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects at the fundamental level. I shall then expose and discuss the assumption from which the implication from eliminativism to substantivalism is drawn, and discuss the compatibility of eliminativism with relationism: if spacetime is not a substance, and if material objects are not real, how are we to understand the instantiation of properties (§4)? And what are the relata of spatio-temporal relations (§5)? I then show that each argument in favor of super-substantivalism offered by Schaffer also holds for super-relationism (§6) and examine several metaphysical consequences of the view (§7). I conclude that both super-substantivalism and super-relationism are compatible with Schaffer's priority monism (§8).

Similar books and articles

Spacetime the one substance.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):131 - 148.
Substantivalism, Relationism, and Structural Spacetime Realism.Mauro Dorato - 2000 - Foundations of Physics 30 (10):1605-1628.
Relationism and possible worlds.Jeremy Butterfield - 1984 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (2):101-113.
Space, Time, and Samuel Alexander.Emily Thomas - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (3):549-569.
General Relativity and Spacetime Relationism.Carl Hoefer - 1992 - Dissertation, Stanford University
Spacetime as a fundamental and inalienable structure of fields.Y. S. - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (2):205-215.
The Case for Substantivalism.Carolyn Jane Brighouse - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
Spacetime, Ontology, and Structural Realism.Edward Slowik - 2005 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):147 – 166.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-11-10

Downloads
1,523 (#6,528)

6 months
303 (#6,318)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Baptiste Le Bihan
University of Geneva

Citations of this work

Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):95-111.
Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Minimalist Ontology of the Natural World.Michael Esfeld & Dirk-Andre Deckert - 2017 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Dirk-André Deckert, Dustin Lazarovici, Andrea Oldofredi & Antonio Vassallo.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - New York: Routledge.
Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.

View all 38 references / Add more references