Relata-specific relations: A response to Vallicella

Dialectica 62 (4):509-524 (2008)
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According to Vallicella's 'Relations, Monism, and the Vindication of Bradley's Regress' (2002), if relations are to relate their relata, some special operator must do the relating. No other options will do. In this paper we reject Vallicella's conclusion by considering an important option that becomes visible only if we hold onto a precise distinction between the following three feature-pairs of relations: internality/externality, universality/particularity, relata-specificity/relata-unspecificity. The conclusion we reach is that if external relations are to relate their relata, they must be relata-specific (and no special operator is needed). As it eschews unmereological complexes, this outcome is of relevance to defenders of the extensionality of composition.



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Author Profiles

Arianna Betti
University of Amsterdam
Jan Willem Wieland
VU University Amsterdam

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References found in this work

Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay.Francis Herbert Bradley - 1893 - London, England: Oxford University Press.
Holes.David K. Lewis & Stephanie Lewis - 1970 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):206 – 212.
The extensionality of parthood and composition.Achille C. Varzi - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):108-133.
Neutral relations.Kit Fine - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (1):1-33.

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