A Relation as the Unifier of States of Affairs

Dialectica 62 (1):1–19 (2008)

Bo R. Meinertsen
Tongji University
This paper is concerned with what I call the ‘problem of unity’ . This is the puzzle of how Armstrong‐like states of affairs are unified. The general approach is ‘relational internalism’: the unifier of such a state of affairs is a relation of some sort in it. A view commonly associated with relational internalism is that if such a relation satisfies a certain ‘naive’ expectation to a relation – that it is related to its relata – then Bradley's regress results. As I argue, for one very natural species of relational internalism, this is indeed the case. Influential writers on the topic have therefore maintained that this relation is not related to its relata. But, as we shall see, while this ‘classic’ relational internalism obviously avoids Bradley's regress, intuitively, it fails completely to solve the problem of unity. I argue, however, that given the rejection of a natural, but unfounded, assumption of conventional relational internalism, a unique relation can unify states of affairs without leading to Bradley's regress. I consequently propose a novel version of relational internalism on which states of affairs are unified by such an entity
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2007.01127.x
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References found in this work BETA

Truth and Truthmakers.D. M. Armstrong - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Unity of Linguistic Meaning.John Collins - 2011 - Oxford University Press.

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