What place for human agency is there in a post-humanist ontology?

Pickering talks about machinic contingency in a very interesting article called “Science, Contingency and Ontology”. He contrasts a sort of static relativist pluralism of understandings of the world, which he calls a crystal ontology, from a more dynamical interactive pluralism based on a “machinic” ontology. The idea is that machines and instruments (in interaction with us) latch onto the world and elicit it in various ways.
In this article Pickering does make a few scattered remarks about what he thinks of current educational practices from an ontological point of view. As for management practices, he elsewhere discusses Stafford Beer’s work as a partial example of the tendencies he wishes to encourage. But you can’t do everything, so I think Manuel Delanda has a similar ontology and so can be used to supplement Pickering’s ideas in the domain of the economy, for example here: http://technoccult.net/archives/2006/04/27/delandas-markets-and-anti-markets-series/ .
I think his idea of the « dance of agency » conjugating both human and non-human participants ultimately more intellectually satisfying and more phenomenologically accurate than the idea that we are just passively moved by extra-human agencies, be they gods or moods à la Dreyfus and Kelly.

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2 commentaires pour What place for human agency is there in a post-humanist ontology?

  1. dmf dit :

    Pickering does a nice job of filling in many of the details that Guattari passes on/over in his attempt to flesh-out the big/paradigmatic picture, and his sense of agency/contingency/tinkering avoids the ATS ego-inflation/con-fusion of a feeling of being part of something greater/bigger with actually accomplishing/being something (Jung was a born & raised sucker for such moments). Anyone who can avoid such a deus ex machina style transcendent function is to be applauded. Sadly like Lingis and D&G and others he over romanticizes (goes native over) Others-ness/desire-ability. But my major concern is that despite our best efforts to reorganize our relationships without sustainable resources (personnel and funding) we will be at the mercies of the market, or at least that has been my experience. Also we are lacking in means/modes of organizing ourselves as peers/colleagues, raising the motorcycle maintenance questions of quality and judgment, what matters and who gets to say? So yes to ongoing negotiations/experimentation but under what/whose terms?


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