Over at Circling Squares, Phillip has a nice response to Levi’s recent post on flat ontology, and I find a lot of valuable ideas in both posts in spite of the disagreement between them. I don’t have anything to add, but just want to indicate that I am on the side of the reality of rainbows and other emergent phenomena. For me (and for Levi, too, as this is his “ontic principle”), a thing is real if it has effects – if it makes a difference to others. In my view, it’s not important how the rainbow is constructed or of what it is composed, the fact that it affects me is enough to justify its reality. Nevertheless, I agree with Levi’s main point that many signifiers possess no referrant (e.g. God, race) – these things are real, but only to the extent that they are represented (thus, mine is a material-semiotic realism).