2020-03Thematic Section
Power, Possibility, and Agency: Speculative Realism and Whitehead’s Theory of Relations

Abstract:

At the turn of the twentieth century, the debate between supporters of internal and external relations showed how our assumptions on the nature of relations result in ontological, epistemic, and ethical commitments. In this debate, Alfred North Whitehead provided the most articulated and satisfying account through his “philosophy of the organism,” which holds relations to be internal yet vectorial, without excluding completely external relations. Today, the debate has become once again topical and constitutes a core issue for speculative realism. This paper aims to show how the theory of external relations endorsed by some leading figures of speculative realism (Meillassoux, Harman, Bryant) does not suffice to preserve the desiderata it was designed for, and how a more serious consideration of Whitehead’s theory would have beneficial effects on the ontological and ethical issues of this rejuvenated metaphysical discourse.

Keywords:

Whitehead, speculative realism, relations, Meillassoux, Object-Oriented Ontology

How to cite:

Frigerio, Christian. “Power, Possibility, and Agency: Speculative Realism and Whitehead’s Theory of Relations.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 3 (2020):  5-22. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0027.

Author:

Christian Frigerio
Department of Philosophy, University of Milan
Via Festa del Perdono 7, 20122 Milano, Italy
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2427-9889
chris.frigerio4@gmail.com

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