The Externality of Relations

Theodore De Laguna
1911 Philosophical Review  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. THE EXTERNALITY OF RELATIONS. jO other logical question is more important for contemporary controversy than that of the externality or essentiality of relations; and none is in greater need of clear formulation. That all varieties of opinion in the matter are currently entertained is well known. The neo-Hegelians and their allies hold to the theory of essentiality in its extreme form. The realists, or neo-Leibnizians, as they may be called, hold as firmly to the theory of externality. And the pragmatists occupy the position of common-sense mediators, setting down some relations as essential and some as external; or else holding that any relation may be external or essential according to the purpose of the moment. Yet it may be questioned whether the disagreement between the various parties is as wide as their mutual misunderstanding. To adopt a striking phrase of Ludwig Stein's, "Sie philosophieren einander vorbei." Under these circumstances what appears to be most needed is not argument but analysis. For the issues are not one but many, and in current controversy they have been almost inextricably entangled. It will be the main object of the present paper to formulate a few of the more important problems that have been confounded. It seems to me that when these problems are properly distinguished, their solution is a comparatively simple matter. There are two points which I shall have to take for granted, but which, I suppose, will be readily conceded. The first is that there are no entities which we conceive as standing in no relations. In particular, if there are existing things other than our own ideas (in the widest sense of the term), relations are conceived to exist between such things. We do indeed recognize relations between sensations, images, feelings, desires, etc. But when we say, for example, that gold is heavier than iron, the terms of the relation are understood to be gold and iron, whether 6io THE EXTERNALITY OF RELATIONS.
doi:10.2307/2178010 fatcat:jczf7ehug5a43au3jvwo5ca3ea