Category-theoretic structure and radical ontic structural realism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Radical ontic structural realism (ROSR) claims that structure exists independently of objects that may instantiate it. Critics of ROSR contend that this claim is conceptually incoherent, insofar as, (i) it entails there can be relations without relata, and (ii) there is a conceptual dependence between relations and relata. In this essay I suggest that (ii) is motivated by a set-theoretic formulation of structure, and that adopting a category-theoretic formulation may provide ROSR with more support. In particular, I consider how a category-theoretic formulation of structure can be developed that denies (ii), and can be made to do work in the context of formulating theories in physics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1621-1635
Number of pages15
JournalSynthese
Volume190
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Category theory
  • General relativity
  • Structural realism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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