Relations and Order-Sensitivity

  • 1 Department of Philosophy, The University of Calgary, Social Sciences Building, Room 1202, Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4
David Liebesman


I ate my broccoli, though my broccoli did not eat me. The eating relation, like many other relations, differentiates between its arguments. The fact that eating holds between a and b does not entail that it holds between b and a. How are we to make sense of this? The standard view is that relations are sensitive to the order of their arguments. As natural as this view is, it has been the target of a powerful objection from Kit Fine. I examine Fine’s objection and defend the standard view.

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Metaphysica provides an international forum of ontology and metaphysics for readers all over the world. The journal is published biannually.