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The Metaphysics of Relations

Anna Marmodoro and David Yates


It is uncontroversial that there are true relational predications—‘Abelard loves Eloise’, ‘Simmias is taller than Socrates’, ‘smoking causes cancer’, etc. But do any such truths involve the relata instantiating irreducibly polyadic properties, or external relations? Or can we explain relational truths solely in terms of monadic, non-relational properties—are all relations internal? 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 propert ... More

Keywords: internal relations, external relations, polyadic properties, monadic properties, directionality of relations, structuralism, ontic structural realism, quantum mechanics, Aristotle, Plato, Ockham

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198735878
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Anna Marmodoro, editor
Corpus Christi College, Oxford

David Yates, editor
University of Lisbon