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

This is a concept that is studied a lot in physics and mathematics. You can look up "chaos theory" and "butterfly effect".

  • Thanks for the pointers but I'm not looking for information related to the principle of universal connection. I would like to find contributions which explain the nature of elements (concepts, objects, entities) through the relationships or connections they establish with other elements. – Seb Sep 4 '13 at 8:15

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.


Answers from the Universe is a spiritual book that will make you think differently! Dr. Tonmay Amladi is one of the great author that introduce you about the Universal power. Get in touch! This book opens that door and shows you how religion and science approach the Universe, dispels the apparent contradictions between the two and helps you to integrate their teaching to connect with the Universe in the best possible way and thus help you get permanent inner peace and spiritual strength.

God is the summation of all the forces and energies of the Universe, to which humankind has assigned a name and a form. Humankind relates to God by worship. Religion and science and God both agree that the Universe is the apex of existence and that the Universal energy or force is the conglomeration of the forces existing within it.

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