David Kolb

The Diamond Net: Metaphysics, Grammar, Ontologies

In the introduction to his Philosophy of Nature, Hegel speaks of metaphysics as “the entire range of the universal determinations of thought, as it were the diamond net into which everything is brought and thereby first made intelligible. Every educated consciousness has its metaphysics, an instinctive way of thinking”. Both Wittgenstein and Hegel see our many languages and forms of life as constituted by different diamond nets of categories/grammars. I argue that both Wittgenstein and Hegel take a non-reductive attitude toward this plurality of local ontologies, but that they disagree about what that plurality implies for history and philosophy. Their disagreements come in part from their differing choice of examples, influenced by atomism and holism. Even more, their disagreements stem from divergent notions about the structure and mode of being of those diamond nets. During the discussion, I distinguish three uses of the word “ontology”, and I ask each thinker about what might improve the other’s philosophical project.

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