Concept

Doctrine of internal relations

Summary
The doctrine of internal relations is the philosophical doctrine that all relations are internal to their bearers, in the sense that they are essential to them and the bearers would not be what they are without them. It was a term used in British philosophy around in the early 1900s. Overview Some relations are clearly internal in the sense that, for example, four would not be four unless it were related to two in the way it is. Some relations are internal to their bearers under one description but not under another, for example, a wife would not be a wife unless suitably related to a husband, but Mary would still be Mary had she not married. Or take the internal relation where Jack is taller than his wife, Joan. Here the relation is internal to both of them together, in symbolic form it can be given as: Jack(R)Joan, where R is the ordered relation of "Taller than". The doctrine that all relations are internal implies that everything has some relation, however distant, t
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