Relations in the Metaphysics of Science

Metaphysica 23 (2):145-175 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper we examine the status of relations in two prominent views in metaphysics of science, i.e. dispositionalism and structuralism, and argue that the current consensus about the metaphysics of relations, according to which relations are to be viewed as internal and as constituting no addition of being over and above their relata, needs to be re-examined. After discussing what we call internalism and externalism about relations, we show that dispositionalism and structuralism lead to opposite but equally controversial accounts of the metaphysics of relations. While we criticise some widespread versions of those views, we identify versions of dispositionalism and structuralism that we deem more promising. A core feature of both of these more promising variants is an externalist view about relations. Against the current internalist consensus, we claim that a version of externalism about relations is the view that best combines metaphysical rigour with a naturalistic stance.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,698

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Taxonomy of Relations: Internal and External.Jani Hakkarainen, Markku Keinänen & Antti Keskinen - 2018 - In Bertini Daniele & Migliorini Damiano (eds.), Relations: Ontology and Philosophy of Religion. Fano, Italy: Mimesis International. pp. 93-121.
The Foundations of Structuralism and the Metaphysics of Relations.James Ladyman - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
The Metaphysics of Relations.Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Ontic structural realism as a metaphysics of objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
Formal Ontology.Jani Hakkarainen & Markku Keinänen - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Structuralism, Empiricism, and Newman's Objection.Otávio Bueno & Thomas Meier - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (1):53-67.
In Defence of Pan-Dispositionalism.Simon Bostock - 2008 - Metaphysica 9 (2):139-157.
Introduction: The Metaphysics of Relations.David Yates & Anna Marmodoro - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK. pp. 1-18.


Added to PP

58 (#273,907)

6 months
14 (#256,717)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Elina Pechlivanidi
University of Western Ontario
Stathis Psillos
University of Athens
Stavros Ioannidis
University of Athens

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett & John G. Collier.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Universe as We Find It.John Heil - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Abstract particulars.Keith Campbell - 1990 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.

View all 34 references / Add more references