In various discussions on this page, the claim that “the self is relational” has come up. What do you suppose this means? Usually, when there is a relation, there are things being related (“relata”). So what are the relata that go into the composition of the self?
I guess a tough materialist could say, “Ultimately, the relata are atoms (or quarks, or whatever). Those are the ultimate building blocks, and sometimes their complex organizations result in there being a conscious self.” But I think this probably misses what people want to say when they say the self is relational.
Could it be that the self is a relation of other selves, which are relations of other selves, …, ad infinitum? I don’t know. Leibniz for one thought the buck has to stop somewhere; there must be true individuals, which he called “monads.” But these he thought were selves (or at least some of them were).
Maybe selves are relations among social institutions, cultures, histories,…? But are any of these things supposed to be more real than individual selves? I would think they are produced by the relations and interactions among selves, rather than vice-versa.