The rise of relationals
Mind , Volume 124 - Issue 493 p. 201- 237
I begin by criticizing an elaboration of an argument in this journal due to Hawley (2009), who argued that, where Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII) faces counterexamples, invoking relations to save PII fails. I argue that insufficient attention has been paid to a particular distinction. I proceed by demonstrating that in most putative counterexamples to PII (due to Immanuel Kant, Max Black, A. J. Ayer, P. F. Strawson, Hermann Weyl, Christian Wüthrich), the so-called Discerning Defence trumps the Summing Defence of PII. The general kind of objects that do the discerning in all cases form a category that has received little if any attention in metaphysics. This category of objects lies between indiscernibles and individuals and is called relationals: objects that can be discerned by means of relations only and not by properties. Remarkably, relationals turn out to populate the universe.