“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, April 23, 2012

Relationism, OOO and Sorites

In addition to my previous post, the same Sorites problem affects relationism, which is a metaphysics of presence insofar as it holds that relations are more real than the entities they instantiate.

Thus boundaries are a problem because my leg only exists because of a leg bone, which is connected to the hip bone, which is connected to the torso bone, which is connected to the human bone, which is connected to the ecosystem bone, which is connected to the Solar System bone, and so on. Where do you draw the line?

This problem goes away if relations are not ontologically deep. It's only a problem when we hold that the network of relations is more real than what appears in it--if in other words the network is a metaphysically present thing.

To assert this is to regress to structuralism. Structuralism is the most elegant relationism ever devised. Derrida was already past that. We must move beyond.


Bill Benzon said...

Hmmmm . . . It's not clear to me that structuralism had much of anything to say about trees, rocks, beetles, clouds, planets, whales, and so forth. But it had quite a bit to say about how such things were conceptualized and in that arena, the mind, relationalism has a rather different valence than it does in the world. That our concepts about things exist in a matrix of conceptual relations is one thing. But how the things exist among themselves (and us), that's different, no?

Frank Deliquo said...

On Sorites: http://www.insofisma.com/wp2/the-paradox-of-sorites/