Relative Positionalism and Variable Arity Relations



Maureen Donnelly’s (2016) relative positionalism correctly handles any fixed arity relation with any symmetry such a relation can have, yielding the intuitively correct way(s) in which that relation can apply. And it supplies an explanation of what is going on in the world that makes this the case. But it has at least one potential shortcoming — one that its opponents are likely to seize upon: it can only handle relations with fixed arities. It is unable to handle relations with variable arities. I argue that, all else being equal, relative positionalism ought nonetheless to be preferred to its closest competitors — at least to the extent that the explanation it supplies of relational application is plausible — even though those competitors can handle variable arity relations in addition to fixed arity relations.


  • Year: 2019
  • Volume: 2 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 55–72
  • DOI: 10.5334/met.21
  • Submitted on 31 Mar 2019
  • Accepted on 29 Oct 2019
  • Published on 6 Dec 2019
  • Peer Reviewed