Philosophical Studies

, Volume 173, Issue 8, pp 2151–2172 | Cite as

Super-relationism: combining eliminativism about objects and relationism about spacetime

Article

Abstract

I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio–temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio–temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles, is generally taken to imply substantivalism about spacetime: if properties are directly instantiated by spacetime without the mediation of material objects, then, surely, spacetime has to be a substance. After introducing briefly the two debates about spacetime (Sect. 1) and material objects (Sect. 2), I will present Schaffer’s super-substantivalism (Sect. 3), the conjunction of substantivalism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects at the fundamental level. I shall then expose and discuss the assumption from which the implication from eliminativism to substantivalism is drawn, and discuss the compatibility of eliminativism with relationism: if spacetime is not a substance, and if material objects are not real, how are we to understand the instantiation of properties (Sect. 4)? And what are the relata of spatio–temporal relations (Sect. 5)? I then show that each argument in favor of super-substantivalism offered by Schaffer also holds for super-relationism (Sect. 6) and examine several metaphysical consequences of the view (Sect. 7). I conclude that both super-substantivalism and super-relationism are compatible with Schaffer’s priority monism (Sect. 8).

Keywords

Spacetime Material objects Eliminativism Substantivalism Relationism Super-substantivalism Super-relationism Priority monism 

References

  1. Armstrong, D. M. (1978). Universals and scientific realism: A theory of universals (Vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Benovsky, J. (2011a). The relationist and substantivalist theories of time: Foes or friends? European Journal of Philosophy, 19(4), 491–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benovsky, J. (2011b). Vagueness: A statistical epistemicist approach. Teorema, 30(3), 97–112.Google Scholar
  4. Bliss, R. (2014). Viciousness and circles of ground. Metaphilosophy, 45(2), 245–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradley, F. H. (1893). Appearance and reality (Vol. 2). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Forrest, P. (2006). The operator theory of instantiation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 84(2), 213–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Horgan, T., & Potrč, M. (2000). Blobjectivism and indirect correspondence. Facta Philosophica, 2, 249–270.Google Scholar
  8. Le Bihan, B. (2013). Why a gunk world is compatible with nihilism about objects. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 6(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Le Bihan, B. (2015). No physical particles for a dispositional monist? Philosophical Papers, 44(2), 207–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Maurin, A.-S. (2012). Bradley’s regress. Philosophy Compass, 7(11), 794–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mellor, D. H. (2001). The time of our lives. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 48, 45–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Merricks, T. (2001). Objects and persons (Vol. 67, No. 3). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Paul, L. A. (2002). Logical parts. Noûs, 36(4), 578–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schaffer, J. (2009). Spacetime the one substance. Philosophical Studies, 145(1), 131–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schaffer, J. (2010). Monism: The priority of the whole. Philosophical Review, 119(1), 31–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shoemaker, S. (1969). Time without change. Journal of Philosophy, 66(12), 363–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sider, T. (1993). Van Inwagen and the possibility of gunk. Analysis, 53(4), 285–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sklar, L. (1974). Space, time and spacetime (Vol. 25, No. 101). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. Strawson, G. (1997). The self. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 4, 405–428.Google Scholar
  20. Van Inwagen, P. (1990). Material beings (Vol. 10, No. 4). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Williams, J. R. G. (2008). Ontic vagueness and metaphysical indeterminacy. Philosophy Compass, 3(4), 763–788. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Williamson, T. (1994). Vagueness (Vol. 81, No. 1). London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UFR de philosophieUniversité de Rennes 1Rennes CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations