Relationism and the Problem of Order

Acta Analytica:1-29 (2022)
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Relationism holds that objects entirely depend on relations or that they must be eliminated in favour of the latter. In this article, I raise a problem for relationism. I argue that relationism cannot account for the order in which non-symmetrical relations apply to their relata. In Section 1, I introduce some concepts in the ontology of relations and define relationism. In Section 2, I present the Problem of Order for non-symmetrical relations, after distinguishing it from the Problem of Differential Application. I also examine four main existing strategies to solve it. In Section 3, I develop my argument. The first step consists in arguing that—among those strategies—relationism can only accept directionalism. The second step consists in arguing that directionalism is affected by a serious problem: the Problem of Converses. I also show that relationists who embrace directionalism cannot solve this problem. In Section 4, I introduce and rebut several strategies on behalf of relationists to cope with my argument. In Section 5, I briefly draw some conclusions.



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Michele Paolini Paoletti
Università di Macerata

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References found in this work

Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.

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