The Metaphysics of Relations - Mind Association Occasional Series (Hardback)
  • The Metaphysics of Relations - Mind Association Occasional Series (Hardback)
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The Metaphysics of Relations - Mind Association Occasional Series (Hardback)

(editor), (editor)
£58.00
Hardback 300 Pages / Published: 07/01/2016
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This volume presents thirteen original essays which explore both traditional and contemporary aspects of the metaphysics of relations. It is uncontroversial that there are true relational predications-'Abelard loves Eloise', 'Simmias is taller than Socrates', 'smoking causes cancer', and so forth. More controversial is whether any true relational predications have irreducibly relational truthmakers. Do any of the statements above involve their subjects jointly instantiating polyadic properties, or can we explain their truths solely in terms of monadic, non-relational properties of the relata? According to a tradition dating back to Plato and Aristotle, and continued by medieval philosophers, polyadic properties are metaphysically dubious. In non-symmetric relations such as the amatory relation, a property would have to inhere in two things at once-lover and beloved-but characterise each differently, and this puzzled the ancients. More recent work on non-symmetric relations highlights difficulties with their directionality. Such problems offer clear motivation for attempting to reduce relations to monadic properties. By contrast, ontic structural realists hold that the nature of physical reality is exhausted by the relational structure expressed in the equations of fundamental physics. On this view, there must be some irreducible relations, for its fundamental ontology is purely relational. The Metaphysics of Relations draws together the work of a team of leading metaphysicians, to address topics as diverse as ancient and medieval reasons for scepticism about polyadic properties; recent attempts to reduce causal and spatiotemporal relations; recent work on the directionality of relational properties; powers ontologies and their associated problems; whether the most promising interpretations of quantum mechanics posit a fundamentally relational world; and whether the very idea of such a world is coherent. From those who question whether there are relational properties at all, to those who hold they are a fundamental part of reality, this book covers a broad spectrum of positions on the nature and ontological status of relations, from antiquity to the present day.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198735878
Number of pages: 300
Weight: 580 g
Dimensions: 241 x 164 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Overall, The Metaphysics of Relations successfully shows how studies in the nature of relations and the history of the subject can provide important insights into the ongoing contemporary debates in the metaphysical foundations of mathematics and physics. * Bahram Assadian, Philosophical Quarterly *
This volume of thirteen commissioned chapters and an introduction provides state of the art contributions to both the philosophical discussion of relations and our understanding of the history of this discussion. It is a model of how historical scholarship and contemporary philosophy can complement each other. Part of the success of the approach here lies in its subtlety. The interconnections between the history and the current philosophy are not belabored: the contemporary work is not dragged down with discussion of precedents and the historical issues are developed on their own terms and without the imposition of anachronism. Thematic interconnections emerge organically, and the resulting whole is satisfying. * Phil Corkum, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online *

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