A Neo-Armstrongian Defense of States of Affairs: A Reply to Vallicella

Metaphysica 17 (2):143-161 (2016)
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Vallicella’s influential work makes a case that, when formulated broadly, as a problem about unity, Bradley’s challenge to Armstrongian states of affairs is practically insurmountable. He argues that traditional relational and non-relational responses to Bradley are inadequate, and many in the current metaphysical debate on this issue have come to agree. In this paper, I argue that such a conclusion is too hasty. Firstly, the problem of unity as applied to Armstrongian states of affairs is not clearly defined; in fact, it has taken a number of different forms each of which need to be carefully distinguished and further supported. Secondly, once we formulate the problem in more neutral terms, as a request for a characterization of the way that particulars, universals, and states of affairs stand to one another, it can be adequately addressed by an Armstrongian about states of affairs. I propose the desiderata for an adequate characterization and present a neo-Armstrongian defense of states of affairs that meets those desiderata. The latter relies on an important distinction between different notions of fundamentality and existential dependence.

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Katarina Perovic
University of Iowa


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