Peter Van Inwagen

Peter Van Inwagen: "Relational vs. Constituent Ontologies"

Peter van Inwagen (Notre Dame)  "Relational vs. Constituent Ontologies" Listen to the talk here (This talk is part of the 15th Oxford Philosophy Graduate Conference)


Ontologies that recognize the existence of properties (or qualities or attributes or features or characteristics) may be divided into those that hold that properties are in some sense constituents of the particulars that have (or exemplify or instantiate) them (“Constituent” ontologies) and those that deny that properties can in any sense be constituents of particulars (“Relational” ontologies). The classical bundle theory can serve as a paradigm of a constituent ontology. David Lewis's identification of properties with sets of possible objects (and of having or exemplifying with set-membership) can serve as a paradigm of a relational ontology (since, e.g., the set of all possible pink things is in no sense a constituent of any pink pig). This paper presents arguments for preferring relational to constituent ontologies.