Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Ontology of Relations

I've just peeked into Paul Bains' The Primacy of Semiosis: An Ontology of Relations. It really does appear to be an ontology of relations, which seems rather remarkable to me. One of his germinal ideas, following John Poinsot (John of Saint Thomas), is that concepts are "relations that bring into awareness something other than themselves" (p. 9). These relations are understood as ontological, and they are univocal in their being, meaning they are indifferent to any distinction between ens reale and ens rationis, between the real and the ideal.

Okay, so what does this say about being? "Relations are an intrinsic dimension of being," Bains says, "and every being becomes the active centre of a web of relations with other beings"(p. 11). Is this active centre the same thing as a person? Perhaps only in a special sense. In Bains view the "self" becomes "a sign relation or interpretant rather than an unrelated ontological entity" (p. 11). So is the self then precisely a related ontological entity? I think that's the point.

Labels: , , ,

posted by Fido the Yak at 2:19 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember this book

I think Bains is writing that a 'person' (to be defined later in the bk) is not a relation but exists within a network of relations (which, of course, is v. Thomistic).
Gregory Bateson said something similar when he defined the unit of evolution as an organims + its environment (in: 'Steps toward an ecology of mind).

I wonder if this new cd by Cale and Clapton is any good...(smile).
Not near a comp. much for a few days....

November 30, 2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Well, I'll look forward to reading that definition.

I just listened to some clips from The Road to Escondido. Seems pretty listenable.

November 30, 2006 6:43 PM  

Post a Comment

Fido the Yak front page