Shaviro responds

September 17, 2009

I didn’t see SHAVIRO’S RESPONSE until just now.

I’m going to leave my response to a short reply in The Speculative Turn, but:

(a) I don’t agree that my accusation against Whitehead’s relationism has anything to do with the infinite regress problem

(b) it’s false to say that I don’t allow for different senses of relation; in fact, I distinguish clearly between the relations that give rise to a thing (on which it is partially dependent) and its relations with other things (from which it is entirely withdrawn)

None of the ways that Shaviro and others cite to prevent a relationist interpretation of Whitehead are at all convincing to me, and as I will argue in my reply, they rest on an equivocation between a thing’s current relations and its possible future ones. The fact that an actual entity has some actual power to shape coming prehensions in no way entails that it currently has some inner non-relational kernel. This would be a “vacuous actuality” of the sort that Whitehead despises (but which I do not).

I won’t have the time to write the response to Shaviro until returning from Paris, but it will be 5 pages or less, just because the volume is already becoming very long.

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