Theory, Culture and Society 26 (5):108-128 (2009)

The article discusses Georg Simmel’s theorizing on the social in the light of his treatment of the ‘dyad’ and the ‘triad’, constellations of two and three elements. What makes the dyad and the triad particularly interesting is the fact that they express the difference between the primary intersubjectivity immanent to the individuals and the objectified social forms in numerical terms, as quantitatively determined. In the article, it is argued that in its basic, methodologically simplest form, the social amounts for Simmel to dyadic interaction between I and you, that can be conceptualized as ‘beingwith’. Nevertheless, a third element is always included also in the dyad, be it only as an excluded third. Therefore, it is claimed that in order to fully understand the dynamics of social relationships, one must look at the interplay of two socio-logics, bivalent and trivalent. The ‘third’ not only interrupts the supposedly immediate relation between the two elements of the dyad, but it is also capable of transforming it into a completely new figure: a social whole, a ‘we’, which obtains a supra-individual life independent of the individuals.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0263276409106353
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,436
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Truth and Method.H. G. Gadamer - 1975 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36 (4):487-490.
Sein und Zeit.Martin Heidegger - 1928 - Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 7:161-161.
The Being-with of Being-There.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2008 - Continental Philosophy Review 41 (1):1-15.
Lebenssoziologie.Scott Lash - 2005 - Theory, Culture and Society 22 (3):1-23.
Individuum und Gemeinschaft.Theodor Litt - 1926 - Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 5 (9):292-292.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Being Alongside: Rethinking Relations Amongst Different Kinds.Joanna Latimer - 2013 - Theory, Culture and Society 30 (7-8):77-104.
The Joke-Secret and an Ethics of Modern Individuality: From Freud to Simmel.Daniel R. Smith - forthcoming - Theory, Culture and Society:026327642110001.
Georg Simmel and the Ontology of Relational Emergence.Michalis Christodoulou - 2022 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 52 (1):49-66.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Georg Simmel and the Study of Modernity in Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology.Dp Frisby - 1989 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 119:57-74.
Georg Simmel's Concept of Society in Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology.Dp Frisby - 1989 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 119:39-55.
Georg Simmel's Theory of Culture in Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology.La Scaff - 1989 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 119:283-296.
Simmel and Weber as Idealtypical Founders of Sociology.Frédéric Vandenberghe - 1999 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (4):57-80.
Simmel's Metaphysics in Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology.A. Wessely - 1989 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 119:375-383.


Added to PP index

Total views
6 ( #1,137,805 of 2,520,399 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #205,255 of 2,520,399 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes