I am looking for reflections related to relationships between things, connections, interconnections, in the context of understanding/explaining the essence of things (e.g, in the field of ontology).

In the Dialectical Materialism (Spirkin), there is an introduction of the principle of Universal Connection:

The concept of universal connection. Nothing in the world stands by itself. Every object is a link in an endless chain and is thus connected with all the other links. And this chain of the universe has never been broken; it unites all objects and processes in a single whole and thus has a universal character. We cannot move so much as our little finger without "disturbing" the whole universe. The life of the universe, its history lies in an infinite web of connections.

I was interested by Nothing in the world stands by itself, which can be a good start to define things through the relationships they establish. However, according to google, this principle doesn't seem to be famous in Philosophy... Any pointers?

  • 2
    This is an interesting subject, but maybe you could share a little bit more about what specifically you'd like explained to you here -- maybe you could tell us a little more about what specific aspects of Spirkin's analysis of universal connection might be problematic to you, as well as what hypotheses you might have formed, what your study and research has turned up so far, etc. – Joseph Weissman Sep 1 '13 at 18:04
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    This sounds like Hegel, where you need the combination of ontological holism and idealism to get this kind of view. Watch "The Secret" where New Age mysticism embraces this kind of view. If you restrict the view quite a bit, then you get the scientifically plausible chaos theory and the butterfly effect. It just isn't universal...for instance, matter inside black holes, or in other universes can have no effect on what is going on elsewhere. – Kevin Holmes Sep 1 '13 at 19:32
  • In Artificial Intelligence, we use knowledge representation languages based on the RDF graph model. RDF can be used to express facts, simple relationships between pairs of unambiguous elements called resources, e.g. #Spirkin is-a #Philosopher. Such a model is quite intuitive to describe resources and express knowledge, but why is it intuitive? I would therefore like to know about reflections, regarded in your field as rigorous contributions, which explain the nature of elements (concepts, objects, entities) through the relationships or connections they establish with other elements. – Seb Sep 3 '13 at 6:52
  • I don't understand how your comment is related to the question, but RDF just sounds like a thin layer over first-order predicate logic. It is intuitive only because most of the world's grammars follow a subject-verb-object structure. – Kevin Holmes Sep 8 '13 at 3:15
  • Spirkin is harkening back to Hegel here. The truth is the whole. At bottom this is the problem of the one and the many. – Gordon Oct 29 '17 at 17:19

Maybe I'm not fully understanding you, but it could be that you are looking for the notion of ground.

Grounding is understood as a relation between various things (depending on your view). For example: (A & B) might be grounded in A, B. And A v B might be grounded in either disjunct and on another view, the chair is grounded in its consitutuents. Grounding as understood by Kit Fine for example deals with metaphysical necessities and also requires that what is grounded is explained by its grounds (I find the phrase "ontological dependence" very helpful to understand ground aswell).

As for essence, one way to deal with it would be to say that it is Y's essence to be grounded in X.

After reading your question again, this answers the first part: "I am looking for reflections related to relationships between things..." but not the "everything is interrelated"-bit.


Ricki Bliss: Against Metaphysical Foundationalism

Kit Fine: Guide to Ground

Jonathan Schaffer: On What Grounds What

Also check out this bibliograhy by Ted Sider: Bibliography Grounding

  • Lukas, you perfectly understood what I was talking about - I did not knew about this notion of ground, thanks for the pointer. – Seb Sep 6 '13 at 9:17
  • Ok, I will include literature for you to check out. Glad I could help :) – Lukas Sep 6 '13 at 13:14

You might be very interested in reading this book: http://www.my-big-toe.com/ I read it 5/6 so far, its really life perspective changing and very positive and constructive. Its the best book I read about truth and consciousness so far, and I read quiet a few. With its logical assessments and derivations, it truly is a Big Theory of Everything.

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