Skip to main content

Relations with non-existent relata

Manuel and me are about to finish a first presentable draft of our paper against Schaffer's argument that the internal relatedness of all things lead to priority monism (see past entries for details). We were just helping ourselves to the idea that when there is a dispositional link between a thing and a type - through Molnar's or C.B. Martin's physical intentionality - there is a relation (an internal one, for that matter). But then it dawned on us that we cannot safely use the word relation because most people (for Russellian reasons) take that there cannot be relations with non-existent relata and this is what physical intentionality could imply.

I was thinking that a word like "relation" cannot be hijacked by a philosophical tradition like that. This is where we sense the strength of the Russellian consensus: there are non-existent relata so the word "relation" cannot be used when the relata may not exist. This is also a consequence of the very peculiar status of the Plato's beard problem, it is not about different conceptions of relations (or objects etc), it is about whether the word can be appropriately applied.

In any case, we decided to shy away from the word and use something else instead...


  1. Hi Hilan,

    I'd be keen to read the full paper when it's done even though I'll likely be unfamiliar with many of the references. I'm very curious where the two of you are going with these issues of relatedness as it's a very interesting topic.

    Hopefully see you again soon.


  2. oli, paper is submitted, it is in philpapers:
    will post in the blog too soon


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Giving Birth

This is a month of giving birth: 1. On the first day of the month (my birthday) I sent out my book BUG (Being Up for Grabs) to publisher. A birth-giving moment. 2. On the forth, we started the Journal, called Journal of Questions. It is a Jabèsian and Jarryian endeavor that intends to reflect in many languages about the gaps between thought and translation. It will be available soon. 3. On the 10th, day before yesterday, offspring Devrim A. B. was born. Her name means revolution in Turkish and is a roughly common name. She's very attentive and concentrated - especially on her own fingers that she learned to molest in her youth during her womb months. She was gestated together with BUG. Hope the world enjoys.

My responses to (some) talks in the Book Symposium

Indexicalism is out: l   The book symposium took place two weeks ago with talks by Sofya Gevorkyan/Carlos Segovia, Paul Livingston, Gerson Brea, Steven Shaviro, Chris RayAlexander, Janina Moninska, Germán Prosperi, Gabriela Lafetá, Andrea Vidal, Elzahrã Osman, Graham Harman, Charles Johns, Jon Cogburn, Otavio Maciel, Aha Else, JP Caron, Michel Weber and John Bova. My very preliminary response to some of their talks about the book follows. (Texts will appear in a special issue of Cosmos & History soon). RESPONSES : ON SAYING PARADOXICAL THINGS Hilan Bensusan First of all, I want to thank everyone for their contributions. You all created a network of discussions that made the book worth publishing. Thanks. Response to Shaviro: To engage in a general account of how things are is to risk paradox. Totality, with its different figures including the impersonal one that enables a symmetrical view from nowhere

Hunky, Gunky and Junky - all Funky Metaphysics

Been reading Bohn's recent papers on the possibility of junky worlds (and therefore of hunky worlds as hunky worlds are those that are gunky and junky - quite funky, as I said in the other post). He cites Whitehead (process philosophy tends to go hunky) but also Leibniz in his company - he wouldn't take up gunk as he believed in monads but would accept junky worlds (where everything that exists is a part of something). Bohn quotes Leibniz in On Nature Itself «For, although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk, that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points. In just the same way, there is nothing greatest in bulk nor infinite in extension, even if there is always something bigger than anything else, though there is a being greatest in the intensity of its perfection, that is, a being infinite in power.» And New Essays: ... for there is ne