Volume 12, 1986/1987
Notes on Bergmann’s New Ontology and Account of Relations
Recent work of Gustav Bergmann develops an ontological framework within which an account of relations has been sketched out. The approach is a kind of new logical atomism which has some of the features of an Aristotelian hylomorphism (of sorts). It recognizes a number of categories and groups of a hylomorphic kind, chiefly “determinates” and “subdeterminates”--the latter only indirectly or implicitly. Winsome though it is, the approach is flawed by certain difficulties it gives rise to, among them inability to speak of subdeterminates and failure of a relation to be had by a referent towards a relatum. Instead of having a sense, a relation is conceived of as a determinate which enters an arrangement whose existence and nature are not properly accounted for. Finally, Bergmann’s Ideal Language is assayed and shown not to be as useful philosophically in itself as he takes it to be.