Bradley’s Relation Regress and the Inadequacy of the Relata-Specific Answer

Acta Analytica 38 (2):229-243 (2022)
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F. H. Bradley’s relation regress poses a difficult problem for metaphysics of relations. In this paper, we reconstruct this regress argument systematically and make its presuppositions explicit in order to see where the possibility of its solution or resolution lies. We show that it cannot be answered by claiming that it is not vicious. Neither is one of the most promising resolutions, the relata-specific answer adequate in its present form. It attempts to explain adherence (relating), which is a crucial component of the explanandum of Bradley’s relation regress, in terms of specific adherence of a relational trope to its relata. Nevertheless, since we do not know the consequences and constituents of a trope adhering to its specific relata, it remains unclear what specific adherence is. It is left as a constitutively inexplicable primitive. The relata-specific answer only asserts against Bradley. This negative conclusion highlights the need for a metaphysical account of the constitution of the holding of adherence.

Author Profiles

Jani Hakkarainen
Tampere University
Markku Keinänen
Tampere University


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