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A Neo-Armstrongian Defense of States of Affairs: A Reply to Vallicella

Katarina Perovic
From the journal Metaphysica

Abstract

Vallicella’s influential work makes a case that, when formulated broadly, as a problem about unity, Bradley’s challenge to Armstrongian states of affairs is practically insurmountable. He argues that traditional relational and non-relational responses to Bradley are inadequate, and many in the current metaphysical debate on this issue have come to agree. In this paper, I argue that such a conclusion is too hasty. Firstly, the problem of unity as applied to Armstrongian states of affairs is not clearly defined; in fact, it has taken a number of different forms each of which need to be carefully distinguished and further supported. Secondly, once we formulate the problem in more neutral terms, as a request for a characterization of the way that particulars, universals, and states of affairs stand to one another, it can be adequately addressed by an Armstrongian about states of affairs. I propose the desiderata for an adequate characterization and present a neo-Armstrongian defense of states of affairs that meets those desiderata. The latter relies on an important distinction between different notions of fundamentality and existential dependence.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks for careful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this paper go to Gregory Landini, Francesco Orilia, Bo Meinertsen, and David Gooblar.

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Published Online: 2016-9-8
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

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