Ideas of Savage Reason: Martin Holbraad x Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

another sketch to do with perspectivism HS 2012 or ’13

excerpts from

Anthropology becomes a game with no superior arbiter or impartial umpire, a game whose rules change as the game goes on.

‘Ontology,’ as far as anthropology as an ontologically comparative endeavor is concerned, starts from, and with, the methodological principle according to which we do not know what being is without having first engaged in ethnographic (ontographic) fieldwork. ‘Ontology’ thus becomes an ‘outdoor science’ like field ecology or natural history.

One way to go beyond the Nature/Culture dualism that has been plaguing us since the dawn of Modernity is to thoroughly reconceptualize the notion ofSupernature along non-Western, non-scholastic, non-Christian lines.

Maniglier suggests that what physics has represented to all the other natural sciences and, more importantly, to philosophy as well (from metaphysics to political philosophy to ethics) since the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century—namely, the role of a Model, a sort of epistemic Ego-ideal—is bound to be played by anthropology in the present century.

That is simply the decision of refusing to decide, much less legislate, as to which ontological regime is better or truer, e.g., is it humanism or anti/trans/post-humanism? Our job as anthropologists, according to this image, is to find ways not to decide on these things, in order the better to be able to allow the materials we study—our ethnographic exposures –to decide, as it were, for themselves.

“the politics of ontography resides not only in the ways in which it may help promote certain futures, but also in the way that it ‘figurates’ the future in its very enactment.”


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