Friday, July 8, 2011

Musing on Objects and Relations

Once again, I'm thinking out loud again, although this time Leon of After Nature ( is thinking with me as he is an accomplished scholar and I am entering the discourse from a right angle--from Dewey and his appropriations of Peirce.  What motivated the discussion is that the "object" in Object-Oriented philosophy appears to be a stand-in for substance to me, and Leon, being far more knowledgeable, does not discount this view.

I follow the view that "objects" are roughly equivalent to their powers.  Hence, the distinction is about emergence and temporality/history; there is an event in which novel powers emerge due to a concordance of conditions (relations and other objects) that become an "object"; Whitehead calls this "concrescence."  I am assuming an emergentist naturalism in which possibility is an equiprimordial modality of being, per Peirce.

My interest, apart from the process/speculative realism crowd, is to systematically construct a pragmatism phenomenology that incorporates process metaphysics.  This ain't yo Momma's Husserl.

On relations--riffing off Leon--a relation implies that the individuated integrity of an event ("object" if you insist)  is significantly informed by what it is related to.  "Relation" is just an analytical term denoting this.  Also, relations specify possibilities of relations, i.e., emergent teloi.  Btw, by "power" I mean a variant of Aristotelian potentia by which "power" implies a triad of 1) capacity, 2) ongoing activity, and 3) realization (entelechy).  By "possiblity," I mean not logical possibility but "existential" or "real" possibility by which a future event is on the horizon of possibility of the present moment because the present, localized actual existence contains the conditions for its immanent actualization.  However, if chance is equiprimordial to actuality, per Peirce and against many, then we cannot say that the temporal or spatial ordering will occur to actualize any possibility in the immediate horizon.

1 comment:

  1. I'll phrase the issue about objects a different way. In a temporalist-process
    metaphysics, the question is *when* powers become actualized such that a localized nexus becomes an actual "object" (event) that displays
    novel/emergent. Hence, as Leon noted, the distinction between process/object or being/becoming is both an actual and temporal distinction. That is, *when* is irreducible. If it is not clear why, then let me say that causal properties emerge from structure and order as well as localized "material." E.g., sufficiently large lattices such as crystal lattices demonstrate properties aside from their components. However, if structure is changing, then it matters both when we are in an evolving history and where we're going. The morphology of becoming is not random even if chance is involved.


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