1st Edition

The Ontology of Relations

By Michele Paolini Paoletti Copyright 2025
    342 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an exhaustive overview of the ontology of relations. Moreover, it offers a detailed defense of the existence of irreducible relations in the universe and shows that entities such as powers should be better thought of as relations.

    At first, the author discusses many classical arguments for and against the existence of relations and draws preliminary distinctions between internal and external relations and symmetrical and non-symmetrical relations. He defends the existence of irreducible relations against several objections, most notably three Bradleyan regresses. In response to these objections, the author argues that both internal and external relations should be thought of as relational modes and that intentional, temporal and spatial relations are external. He also presents several problems that are typically taken to affect non-symmetrical relations and introduces one new version of a theory to deal with them—the O-role theory. Finally, the author explores essential dependence relations and causal dependence relations and defends the view that powers are relational modes.

    The Ontology of Relations will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and history of philosophy.

    1. Relations Introduced

    2. Internal Versus External Relations

    3. Bradleyan Regresses

    4. External Relations Rescued

    5. The Problems with Non-Symmetrical Relations

    6. O-Roles

    7. Two of One Type: Essential Dependence* and Causation

    8. Powers: A Relational Account


    Michele Paolini Paoletti is an Assistant Professor in Philosophy of Language and Mind at the University of Macerata (Italy). His research interests include metaphysics and philosophy of mind. He has published books and articles on several topics, including the book The Quest for Emergence (2017) and the edited collection Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation (2017).