On the origins of order: non-symmetric or only symmetric relations?

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In this paper I argue for the existence of non-symmetric relations. Armstrong and Dorr have argued that (1) non-symmetric relations are trouble, and (2) that we don’t need non-symmetric relations because we can make do with symmetric relations when it comes to accounting for the order we find in nature. But, I argue, Armstrong and Dorr are wrong about both (1) and (2). Their efforts to do without non-symmetric relations presuppose them, whilst their arguments that non-symmetric relations are subject to a tu quoque response. This paper contributes a further plank to the ostrich realism about relations that I advocate in Macbride (2013).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy
EditorsGabriele Galluzzo, Michael J. Loux
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781107100893
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Relations
  • universals
  • Humeanism
  • Dorr
  • Armstrong
  • Non-symmetric


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