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Relations Without Polyadic Properties: Albert the Great On the Nature and Ontological Status of Relations

Relations Without Polyadic Properties: Albert the Great On the Nature and Ontological Status of Relations

Brower, Jeffrey E. (Purdue University)

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie Vol.83, (2001)

Abstract

I think it would be fair to say that, until about 1900, philosophers were generally reluctant to admit the existence of what are nowadays called polyadic properties (for our purposes we may think of a polyadic property as a property whose instances can belong to two or more subjects at once). It is important to recognize, however, that this reluctance on the part of pre-twentieth-century philosophers did not prevent them from theorizing about relations. On the contrary, philosophers from the ancient through the modern period have had much to say about both the nature and the ontological status of relations. In this paper I examine the views of one such philosopher, namely, Albert the Great (d. 1280).

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