ArticlePDF Available

The Burden of Choice, the Complexity of the World and Its Reduction: The Game of Go/Weiqi as a Practice of "Empirical Metaphysics"

Abstract and Figures

The main aim of the text is to show how a game of Go (Weiqi, baduk, Igo) can serve as a model representation of the ontological-metaphysical aspect of the actor-network theory (ANT). An additional objective is to demonstrate in return that this ontological-meta-phys⁠ ical aspect of ANT represented on Go/Weiqi game model is able to highlight the key aspect of this theory-onto-methodological praxis.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... (Bobako, 2007, s. 131) Zatem proponowany projekt to wykorzystanie lekcji z tzw. zwrotu ontologicznego (Heur van, Leydesdorff, Wyatt, 2013;Nowak, 2013Nowak, , 2015Nowak, , 2016Nowak, , 2018 w ramach STS i użycie wypracowanych dzięki niemu narzędzi badania ontograficznego w celu zainstalowania własnego porządku modyfikującego owe struktury (Nold, 2018) w duchu filozofii praksistowskiej (Feenberg, 2014;Skórzyńska, 2017). Tak dokonana korekta programu STS/ANT łączy w sobie inspirowane Machiavellim pojmowanie władzy, obecne m.in. ...
Article
Full-text available
Zwrot ontologiczny w humanistyce (wypracowany w tradycji studiów nad nauką i techniką oraz teorii aktora-sieci) dostarcza narzędzi umożliwiających badania ontograficzne (ontologicznie zradykalizowane badania etnograficzne). Siłą tej tradycji są empirycznie zorientowane studia deskryptywne, odtwarzające lokalne polityki ontologiczne, słabością natomiast problem z normatywnym i dyrektywalnym wymiarem owych polityk. W tekście zostanie to skorygowane poprzez wprowadzenie ontologicznej reinterpretacji teorii dyskursu i hegemonii Laclau i Mouffe. W rezultacie wypracowane zostaną narzędzia umożliwiające ontologicznie i materialnie zorientowane badanie procesów hegemonicznych. Uzyskanym wynikiem jest pojęcie obiektu ontohegemonicznego, czyli materialnej manifestacji polityk ontologicznych. Obiekt ontohegemoniczny i jego funkcjonowanie, istnienie, podtrzymywanie przy istnieniu oraz oddziaływanie na sferę publiczną zilustrowano poprzez studium przypadku: analizę „dziecka poczętego” jako ontologicznego obiektu, który ustanawia w sferze publicznej warunki możliwości sporu pomiędzy stronami sporu w kwestii praw reprodukcyjnych oraz oddziałuje na kształt polskiej sfery publicznej w ogóle.
Article
Full-text available
In this article we examine the mode in which Bruno Latour engages in metaphysics in his social scientific and philosophical project. In contrast to Graham Harman's recent reading of his work, we take seriously how adamant Latour is about not creating a metaphysical system, and how he is thus essentially sharing the anti-metaphysical tenor of much of the twentieth-century philosophy. Nonetheless, he does not shun making bold claims concerning the way in which the world is. Therefore, we need to ask: what are, then, the purposes for which Latour evokes metaphysics? We recognize two main answers to the question. The first purpose is the creation of a makeshift, pragmatic, methodological ontology. His concepts such as trial, event, proposition, collective, and mode are not meant to describe ‘the furniture of the world’ in the style of classical metaphysics. Rather, they form a kind of ‘minimum-wage metaphysics’, an ‘experimental’ or ‘empirical’ metaphysics that serves the purpose of opening the world anew, in conjunction with empirical research. The second purpose is Latour's elucidation of the metaphysics of modernity, in order to make our own preconceptions visible for ourselves. According to him, metaphysical assumptions are an unavoidable part of our relationship to our world, but we, the moderns, tend to give a distorted description of these assumptions. The ‘modes of existence’ of Latour's recent book are aimed at elucidating the complexity of moderns’ real metaphysics. Yet they do not constitute a list of what there essentially is, but provide a toolkit for understanding our ways of being and our practices.
Book
Full-text available
Go (Weiqi in Chinese) is one of the most popular games in East Asia, with a steadily increasing fan base around the world. Like chess, Go is a logic game but it is much older, with written records mentioning the game that date back to the 4th century BC. As Chinese politics have changed over the last two millennia, so too has the imagery of the game. In Imperial times it was seen as a tool to seek religious enlightenment and was one of the four noble arts that were a requisite to becoming a cultured gentleman. During the Cultural Revolution it was a stigmatized emblem of the lasting effects of feudalism. Today, it marks the reemergence of cultured gentlemen as an idealized model of manhood. Marc L. Moskowitz explores the fascinating history of the game, as well as providing a vivid snapshot of Chinese Go players today. Go Nation uses this game to come to a better understanding of Chinese masculinity, nationalism, and class, as the PRC reconfigures its history and traditions to meet the future.
Article
Full-text available
This text is a presentation of the notion of ontological imagination. It constitutes an attempt to merge two traditions: critical sociology and science and technology studies-STS (together with the Actor-Network Theory-ANT). By contrasting these two intellectual traditions, I attempt to bring together: a humanist ethical-political sensitivity and a posthumanist ontological insight. My starting point is the premise that contemporary world needs new social ontology and new critical theory based on it in order to overcome the unconsciously adapted, "slice-based" modernist vision of social ontology. I am con-vinced that we need new ontological frameworks ofthe social combined with a research disposition which I refer to as ontological imagination.
Chapter
Félix Guattari’s lament that there is ‘no description of the special characteristics of the working class that established the Paris Commune, no description of its creative imagination’ conveys a sense of his concern with the affective, imaginary and libidinal properties and dynamics of political subjectivation (Guattari 1984: 35). The history of the workers’ movement, Guattari contends, is populated by ‘mutant’ workers in ‘veritable wars of subjectivity’ (Guattari 1996a: 124). He has in mind the events of revolutionary upheaval – the 1871 Commune, October 1917, May 1968 – but the problematic of revolutionary subjectivity is one that pervades modern socialist, communist and anarchist politics. This problematic is that of the ‘militant’, of ‘militancy’, a figure that persistently returns as the marker – indeed, often the self-declared guarantor – of radical subjectivity across the spectrum of extra-parliamentary politics. One can think of militancy as a technology of the self, an expression of the working on the self in the service of revolutionary change. However, unlike the subjective correlates of the great revolutionary events, for Guattari this more prosaic aspect of radical practice is not altogether joyful. This paper is a critique of the militant. In particular it seeks to understand the ways militancy effectuates processes of political passion and a certain unworking or deterritorialisation of the self in relation to political organisations and the wider social environment within which militants would enact change. To this end the paper traces a diagram or abstract machine of militancy, a diagram comprised of Guattari’s cartography of Leninism and the model of struggle set out by the Russian nihilist Sergei Nechaev. © in this edition, Edinburgh University Press, 2008 and in the individual contributions is retained by the authors.
Article
Western assumptions about the character of the world tend to distinguish between nature, the natural, or the physical on the one hand, and culture, people, and their beliefs on the other: between mononaturalism and multiculturalism. This argument has been well rehearsed in post-colonial and anthropological literatures where it is linked to dominatory or hegemonic ‘Northern’ strategies which naturalize mononaturalism and reduce indigenous realities to beliefs which may be discounted. In this paper I use STS (science, technology, and society) to show that the ‘North’ is not mono-natural, and that the enactment of mononaturalism is (1) indeed an enactment and (2) only partial. The argument is that in the ‘North’ we do not live in a single container universe, but partially participate in multiple realities or a fractiverse. I then explore how we might craft encounters across difference well in contexts where the Northern distinction between nature and culture makes little sense.
Article
Recent explanations of social problems have increasingly adopted the “definitional” perspective. This paper provides a critical commentary on the form of sociological explanation common to this approach. Viewed as a practical accomplishment, both theoretical statements and empirical case studies manipulate a boundary, making certain phenomena problematic while leaving others unproblematic. We call the main strategy for managing this boundary ontological gerrymandering. After applying this concept to both theoretical and empirical studies of social problems, we show that the same conceptual problems arise with respect to the labeling theory of deviance. We argue that investigation of the practical management of these problems will contribute to a deeper understanding both of social problems explanations and sociological explanation more generally.
Article
Controversies over such issues as nuclear waste, genetically modified organisms, asbestos, tobacco, gene therapy, avian flu, and cell phone towers arise almost daily as rapid scientific and technological advances create uncertainty and bring about unforeseen concerns. The authors of Acting in an Uncertain World argue that political institutions must be expanded and improved to manage these controversies, to transform them into productive conversations, and to bring about "technical democracy." They show how "hybrid forums"—in which experts, non-experts, ordinary citizens, and politicians come together—reveal the limits of traditional delegative democracies, in which decisions are made by quasi-professional politicians and techno-scientific information is the domain of specialists in laboratories. The division between professionals and laypeople, the authors claim, is simply outmoded. The authors argue that laboratory research should be complemented by everyday experimentation pursued in the real world, and they describe various modes of cooperation between the two. They explore a range of concrete examples of hybrid forums that have dealt with sociotechnical controversies including nuclear waste disposal in France, industrial waste and birth defects in Japan, a childhood leukemia cluster in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Mad Cow Disease in the United Kingdom. They discuss the implications for political decision making in general, and they describe a "dialogic" democracy that enriches traditional representative democracy. To invent new procedures for consultation and representation, they suggest, is to contribute to an endless process that is necessary for the ongoing democratization of democracy.