In Defense of Hierarchy: A Response to Levi Bryant's 'A Logic of Multiplicities: Deleuze, Immanence, and Onticology'

Analecta Hermeneutica 4:1-36 (2012)
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Abstract

Bryant’s paper, "A Logic of Multiplicities: Deleuze, Immanence, and Onticology," is useful for showing how the historical legacy of hierarchy in its many philosophical forms is still present, important, and, in fact, required even by those such as Bryant who would seek to deconstruct or ignore it. The following response will discuss Bryant’s presentation of his alternative position and throughout point out: a) the straw-man versions of hierarchy that Bryant employs; b) why what Bryant claims to be inherent negatively in hierarchy is not the case; c) how Bryant’s position actually relies upon hierarchy for its own explication, and finally; d) the various principles of hierarchical metaphysics that are required in order to make sense of experience and reality. These latter include the notions that i) there are many kinds of hierarchy; ii) Being and Unity are prior to Multiplicity; iii) relation without substance is incoherent; iv) hierarchy is not inherently tyrannical; v) the distinction between essentially and accidentally ordered causal series is a real and useful one; and vi) the existence of hierarchy is more self evident than is flat ontology.

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Seamus O'Neill
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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