Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 93, 2019

Christopher V. Mirus
Pages 189-198

Relation is not a Category: A Sketch of Relation as a Transcendental

Working within the Aristotelian tradition, I argue that relation is not a category but a transcendental property of being. By this I mean that all substances are actualized, and hence defined, relationally: all actuality is interactuality.Interactuality is the locus for the relational categories of substance, action, being-affected, number, and most types of quality. The interactuality of corporeal beings is further conditioned by relations of setting; here we find the relational categories of place (where), quantity in the sense of size, quality in the sense of shape, and time (when). In offering a relational account of substance, I distinguish between external relata (physical environment, objects of sensation and knowledge as external) and internal relata (one’s body, objects of sensation and knowledge as internal). This distinction between external and internal relata is transcended in the case of the Trinity, insofar as the divine persons are both perfectly distinct and perfectly united.