Vallicella continues here. What I find puzzling is how he continues with trifling, even frivolous objections to the extreme version of Ockhamism that I have proposed here and there, without picking up on any of the really serious objections to it.
So let’s talk about one possible objection here. Extreme or ‘London’ Ockhamism is the view that relations can only relate things. There are no ‘non-existent relata’. Where the Stanford Realist talks about ‘non-existent relata’, as apparently required by ‘Tom is thinking about Pegasus’, the Ockhamist sees only things. ‘Tom is thinking about Pegasus’ relates Tom to nothing (for Pegasus is not a thing). Thus ‘Tom is thinking about Pegasus’ is a linguistic relation only
Londonists allow present relations. Thus ‘Cameron is colleague of Clegg’ is true, and relates two things. Londonists also allow past relations. Thus ‘Churchill met Roosevelt’ is true, since it expresses a relation which was between two things, although now between no things.
The problem occurs when the relation is between something in the present, and something in the past, or when there is no time at which the relation could possibly have been between two things. Consider ‘Churchill (who died in 1965) died before Cameron (who was born in 1966) was born’. At no time when Churchill was something, was Cameron something. For when Churchill was something, Cameron was not born. And when Cameron was born, and so was something, Churchill was nothing. Thus at no time did ‘Churchill died before Cameron was born’ relate any two things.
The medieval philosophers discussed a similar problem in the sophisma ‘Album fuit disputaturum’ (a white person was going to argue). Assume Socrates was white, before he went into the Mediterranean sun. And assume that he only argued after acquiring a Mediterranean suntan. Thus ‘a white (i.e. untanned) person is arguing’ was never true (at least, in respect of Socrates). Thus ‘Album fuit disputaturum’ apparently relates the person of whom the subject is true (untanned and unarguing Socrates) with the person of whom the predicate is true (tanned and arguing Socrates). How is that possible?