Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

In Medias Res: Andrew Benjamin’s Relational Ontology

In Medias Res: Andrew Benjamin’s Relational Ontology In his remarkable new book1—or, rather, in one of his remarkable new books, for there are several of them2—Andrew Benjamin presents a “relational ontology,” a picture he has been developing since his 1993 book The Plural Event.3 According to this picture, relations are more fundamental than the “singular entities” they constitute as “after-effects.” Singular entities include particular things and particular selves.4 Thus Benjamin doesn’t deny that there are singular entities, but he treats them as ontological offshoots of the “plural events” that constitute them. Plural events are themselves relations that cannot be reduced to singular relata. Only retrospectively do the singular entities constituted by plural events appear to ground the relations that in fact ground them. This inverted image is something like a dialectical illusion in the Kantian sense.Since nothing is more fundamental than relationality, nothing plays the role of an origin in the sense of a singular unconditioned condition. For this reason, Benjamin characterizes relationality as “anoriginal” (5). Anoriginal relationality is “ubiquitous” (17)—a formulation that echoes the title and argument of Dennis Schmidt’s The Ubiquity of the Finite.5 Like finitude, anoriginal relationality isn’t an abstract universal with multiple instantiations. Neither is it a predicament to which self-subsistent substances http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

In Medias Res: Andrew Benjamin’s Relational Ontology

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 47 (2): 12 – Jun 14, 2017

Loading next page...
 
/lp/brill/in-medias-res-andrew-benjamin-s-relational-ontology-EkaJ0QHlpr
Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/15691640-12341368
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In his remarkable new book1—or, rather, in one of his remarkable new books, for there are several of them2—Andrew Benjamin presents a “relational ontology,” a picture he has been developing since his 1993 book The Plural Event.3 According to this picture, relations are more fundamental than the “singular entities” they constitute as “after-effects.” Singular entities include particular things and particular selves.4 Thus Benjamin doesn’t deny that there are singular entities, but he treats them as ontological offshoots of the “plural events” that constitute them. Plural events are themselves relations that cannot be reduced to singular relata. Only retrospectively do the singular entities constituted by plural events appear to ground the relations that in fact ground them. This inverted image is something like a dialectical illusion in the Kantian sense.Since nothing is more fundamental than relationality, nothing plays the role of an origin in the sense of a singular unconditioned condition. For this reason, Benjamin characterizes relationality as “anoriginal” (5). Anoriginal relationality is “ubiquitous” (17)—a formulation that echoes the title and argument of Dennis Schmidt’s The Ubiquity of the Finite.5 Like finitude, anoriginal relationality isn’t an abstract universal with multiple instantiations. Neither is it a predicament to which self-subsistent substances

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jun 14, 2017

There are no references for this article.