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In the ordinary way of representing relations, the order of the relata plays a structural role, but in the states themselves such an order often does not seem to be intrinsically present. An alternative way to represent relations makes use of positions for the arguments. This is no problem for the love relation, but for relations like the adjacency relation and cyclic relations, different assignments of objects to the positions can give exactly the same states. This is a puzzling situation. The question is what is the internal structure of relations? Is the use of positions still justified, and if so, what is their ontological status? In this paper mathematical models for relations are developed that provide more insight into the structure of relations “out there” in the real world.
Key wordsargument-places mathematical models metaphysics relations states of affairs substitution
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