Distinguishing Internal, External and Grounded Relations

Grazer Philosophische Studien 83 (1):113-22 (2011)
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Abstract

I defend an ontological distinction between three kinds of relation: internal,external and grounded relations. Even though, as we shall see, this trichotomy is basic, it is not found in influential contemporary metaphysics. Specifically, the widespread tendency, exemplified notably by David Armstrong, of not recognizing grounded relations as distinct from external relations, can be shown to be mistaken. I propose a definition of each of the three kinds of relation. Of vital importance to the parsimony of metaphysics, I also argue that only external relations are ontologically fundamental.

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Bo R. Meinertsen
University of Sheffield

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