Terms of Engagement

Terms of Engagement

Actual  |  Affect  |  Agōn  |  Anthropōs  |  Askēsis  |  Ataraxia  |  Ausgang  |  Avowal (aveu)  |  Bewegungsraum  |  Betrachtung (-en)  |  Bios  |  Case  |  Collaboration  |  Contemporary  |  Design  |  Discordancy  |  Durcharbeiten  |  Equipment  |  Ethical substance  |  Ethical Telos  |  Ethical Work  |  Ethos  |  Eudaemonia  |  Form/Form-Giving  |  Foyer d’expérience | Gedankenbild  |  Gemüt  |  Habitus  |  Haltung(-en)  |  Horos(-oi)  |  Indeterminacy  |  Kairos  |  Lēpsis  |  Metalēpsis  |  Metric  |  Mode of Jurisdiction  |  Mode of Subjectivation  |  Mode of Veridiction  |  Mood  |  Nachleben  |  Parastēma(-ta)  |  Paraskeuē  |  Pathosformel  |  Parrhēsia  |  Philia  |  Problem  |  Proleptic  |  Self-Justification  |  Sōzein  |  Stultitia  |  Syndialēpsis  |  Technē  |  Technē tou Biou  |  Topology  | Venues  |  Vindicare  |  Warranted Assertibility




D: For John Dewey, thinking is an active response to a situation in which the everyday and taken-for-granted—the present—is troubled or breaking down. [1] The actual entails conceptual clarification and reduction into warrantable objects out of the swarming confusion of the present. The initial objective of inquiry is to transform the present into the actual. The products of inquiry into the present are the actual.

U: In this manner, once anthropology understands itself as starting with an already engaged activity, its task becomes one of participant-observation. The anthropologist must devise ways to focus on problems encountered and the challenge of qualifying them, analyzing them, and, if possible, remedying them. Consequently, anthropology is a situated practice; it begins in a contextualized present and moves conceptually and existentially toward the production of a transformed state of affairs, the actual.


D: Affect characterizes the way in which a relational field is structured such that a specific type of disposition is likely to be generated. Of all the possible dispositions generated in a relational field only those that can be made to cohere with a given figure’s mode of veridiction can be made to function within a given form of equipment. 


D: Greek: “Contest; struggle.” [2]

U: Deleuze and Guattari in What Is Philosophy? identify three terms as conditions for the emergence of philosophy in ancient Greece: agōn, venue, and philia. [3]  The term stands between “communication” and “strife.” It is a mode of engagement that is neither polemical nor rhetorical. It is a contest between friends seeking better understanding and better character.


D: Greek: (The) human (being), generically and of individuals. Modern figures of anthrōpos have included the following: man, person, human kind, humans, and humanity. [4]

U: Throughout Western history anthrōpos has been a problem because of the heterogeneity of discourses that have been produced about what it is and the practices that constitute it. It has been given form in modernity as a figuration of life, labor, and language. The task of an anthropology of the contemporary is to identify sites of reproblematization. Prominent among such sites are developments connected to postgenomic biology.


D: Greek: “Exercise, practice, training.” [5]

U: A type of this worldly asceticism, which prepares the subject for access to truth. “An exercise of oneself in the activity of thought.” [6] Askēsis is composed of diverse practices—examination of activities, control of representations, tests of thought—all aiming toward a technē tou biou and the avoidance of stultitia. In modernity, these practices have been marginalized as access to the truth has been made to turn on method. Inquiry into the contemporary requires a reinvention and reintroduction of ascetic practices.


D: Greek: “Impassiveness, coolness, calmness.” [7] A key Stoic virtue: the absence of inner turmoil and the capacity of a subject to control its thoughts, actions, and passions, such that the subject is undisturbed by unexpected, fortunate or unfortunate events.

U: Older virtues such as ataraxia must be reproblematized and rethought for the contemporary. The truth claims underlying and justifying these older virtues were based on a cosmos. Practice in inquiry today requires a replacement term turning on a different point of reference.


D: German: “Exit.” “Kant defines Aufklärung [enlightenment] in an almost entirely negative way, as an Ausgang, an ‘exit,’ a ‘way out.’” [8]

U: Within an anthropological practice Ausgang serves as a concept to pose two interconnected problems: (1) how to leave the inquiry; and (2) what comes after the participant-observation stage of inquiry?

avowal (aveu)

D: A frank statement or admission. The practice and technologies of obliging subjects to put into speech or discourse serious speech acts (about themselves, others, and the world). 

U: Entails a venue in which a subject is obliged to speak the truth to an authority figure. The Christian monastery and the relation of the spiritual director to the directee provided one early form of this venue and relation. Foucault provided analyses of the function of avowal in criminal and penal proceedings from the nineteenth century. 


D: History for Hans Blumenberg is a movement space (Bewegungsraum) of observation-intervention. It exists between two poles, both of which Blumenberg rejects: the “oppositionality” of a methodically secured Subject (Descartes, Husserl) and the “extrapositionality” of Da-sein (Heidegger). The lack of fixed distances in this movement space primes attention to the ethos of observation and intervention.

U: Blumenberg identifies the significance of the modern ethos in terms of the self-affirmation and curiosity of anthrōpos. Such an ethos turns on a renunciation of “theoretical” continuity; a refusal to answer prior questions with later means (and vice versa). We prime the problem of a contemporary ethos capable of observing and intervening in a ratio with such a (heroic) modern ethos, an ethos which is already becoming historical within the movement space of history.

Betrachtung (-en)

D: German: “Contemplation; examination; observation.” For Nietzsche, Betrachtung entails a stance (Haltung) or mood of life (Ger. Lebenstimmung) that includes theoretical understanding, sensory perception and a drive or a force. [9] The English translation “observations,” or French considerations, misses the refractory intent of an engaged and active state. Hence, Betrachtungen is better conveyed as something more like the purposely oxymoronic “vigorous contemplations.” [10]

U: Betrachtung as a concept is part of a practice of inquiry that Niklas Luhmann called “second-order observation” (Beobachtung zweiter Ordnung). Second-order observation aims to clarify habits and dispositions by opening up the question of what might need to be changed or maintained on the part of those observed. It does this through a combination of observation and intervention. Such observation and intervention, as dispassionate as it may be, is likely to provoke a reaction. This reaction, at least initially, oscillates between the poles of indifference and violence. [11]


D: Greek: “Life, not animal life (zoē), but mode of life, manner of living of human beings.” [12]

U: The term bios used in a contemporary sense refers to a domain of anthropological problematization after the foundational terms of nature and culture have been relativized.


D: Following in the tradition of casuistry in its various ramifications from ethics to law and medicine, cases are distinguished from examples. Whereas examples function to illustrate theory, cases are singular while also having ramifying analogical relations to other cases.

U: The significance of a case turns neither on its singularity nor on its universality. Rather, it turns on a productive relation between the necessity of taking into account the particularity of a given case as well as the relevant metric that specified that case and directs inquiry to pursue a series of analogical cases. A particular challenge for anthropology is that, unlike in law and medicine, there are relatively few settled and uncontested forms, venues, and standards of judgment by way of which and through which what counts as a case can be taken for granted.


D: As a mode of work collaboration should be distinguished from cooperation. Collaboration, unlike cooperation, entails common definition of problems and shared practices of addressing those problems albeit with coordinated use of different skill sets and experiences. A cooperative mode consists in demarcated work on a common problem with regular exchange.

U: A collaborative mode proceeds from an interdependent division of labor on shared problems. In a contemporary mode, collaboration is both an object of inquiry and a mode of engagement. Such a mode is often resisted in the name of the sufficiency of existing expertise, thereby blocking the design of new forms of inquiry. 


D: An assemblage of both old and new elements and their interactions and interfaces. The contemporary has two senses: to exist at the same time as something else and to carry a distinctive style. The first meaning has temporal but no historical connotations. The second sense has both: just as “the modern” can be thought of as a moving ratio of tradition and modernity, so the contemporary “is a moving ratio of modernity, moving through the recent past and near future in a (non-linear) space.” [13]

U: As a temporal and ontological problem space, the contemporary is both an object and objective of anthropology. Inquiry into the contemporary is both analytic and synthetic. It is analytic in that sets of relations must be decomposed and specified, synthetic in that these relations must be recomposed and given new form. In this sense, work on the contemporary falls within a zone of analytic consideration in that it consists of linking the recent past to the near future and the near future to the recent past.


D: In thinking about the equipment and practices needed for an anthropology of the contemporary, a focus on the problem of design highlights the need to consider both upstream and downstream parameters. Upstream: capable of integrating heterogeneous elements according to a particular metric. Downstream: capable of functioning in specific cases while remaining available for rearticulation in other cases.

U: The Accompaniment (2011), Designing Human Practices (2012), Demands of the Day (2013), and Designs on the Contemporary (2014) present cases of design. Each highlights the collaborative and experimental character of contemporary practice. It builds in reiterative and remediative options as the inquiry ramifies. 


D: Following John Dewey, thinking is a response to types of breakdown in practice, which lead to discomfort and discordancy. [14]

U: Attention to discordancy links inquiry and ethics. Discordancy is a question of ethics insofar as rectification of discordant situations requires recursive discernment of ethical practices set within defined modes of jurisdiction. By working through cases, abstract philosophic debates are eschewed and replaced by the invention of equipment and practices. Such attention to discordancy facilitates the evaluation of the limits to the growth of capacities imposed by specific situations.


D: Freud used the term durcharbeiten, or “working through,” to capture the processual and temporal dimension of the sporadic release of blocked emotion. Jean Starobinksi shows that before Freud the term durcharbeiten was already a perfectly acceptable German word. In Elective Affinities, Goethe describes how Charlotte, the heroine, quietly withdraws from the public scene in order to evaluate her acts and feelings through the silent work of self-reflection.

U: Durcharbeiten can be a quiet affair, one that requires time, demands reflection as well as affect, and works through the production of a form of narration. Further, the production of that form of narration requires more than one participant: analyst and analyzed in a psychoanalytic setting, author and reader in a literary one. An anthropological durcharbeiten involves working over the discordancies and indeterminations of participant-observation. This facilitates movement toward subsequent modal states of thinking.


D: Equipment, though conceptual in design and formulation, is pragmatic in use. Defined abstractly, equipment is a set of truth claims, affects and ethical orientations designed and composed into a practice. [16]

U: Equipment, which has historically taken different forms, enables practical responses to changing conditions brought about by specific problems, events, and general reconfigurations. Composed in a contemporary mode, equipment takes different forms. This variability stems from the fact that the contemporary is neither a unified epoch nor a culture and consequently there is no reason to expect there would be a single form of equipment.

ethical substance

D: The prime material that constitutes the problem space of ethical practice. [17] 

U: In order to conduct inquiry into ethical practices one must specify, differentially, the matter and problem space in question. Thus, for the Greeks the ethical substance of sexuality was aphrodisia not desire, as it was for the moderns. A contemporary problem, to which the issue of ethical substance is central, is how to conduct projects in collaborative participant-observation, among anthropologists and bioscientists, that seek to identify and bring together truth and conduct, with particular attention to collaboration and parastēma. Such endeavors are likely to encounter negligence, indifference, and active blockage, requiring their pursuit in appropriate venues with appropriate equipment.

ethical telos

D: The place an action occupies in what is taken to be a virtuous pattern of conduct. The telos directs a subject in undertaking the work of cultivating a certain mode of being, a mode of being taken to be characteristic of an ethical life.  

U: For the Greeks the ethical telos was to become a free citizen capable of ruling oneself and others in a virtuous manner. For the Christians the ethical telos was to become capable of living a life of obedience to God and care for others. 

ethical work

D: The work one must undertake so as to transform one’s actions into an integral element of one’s the ethical subjectivity. (What are the means by which the subject can change become an ethical subject?) 

U: These are quotidian and minor practices that must become habits not theories. It is only through repetition and evaluation that general principles of morality or correct behavior become part of one’s ethical disposition. 


D: Greek: The manners and habits of anthrōpos, including dispositions and character.

U: The term carries with it the double sense of what came to be called the cultural with an emphasis on mood as well as the ethical as a mode of subjectivation. How to transform a modern ethos into a contemporary one constitutes a core challenge for anthrōpos today.


D: Greek: The condition of being well; flourishing.

U: Used as a central term in steering (in the Platonic sense) the practice of participant-observation during fieldwork and the work which follows. As a metric, flourishing enables the posing of questions outside instrumental rationality, which dominate both the bio- and social sciences. A fundamental distinction between prosperity, amelioration, and flourishing reintroduces the challenge of the worth of inquiry and its products.


D: The composition of something in the world. The power of form for inquiry is that it tunes attention to the question of historical ontology: who are we as beings and how we exist in the world.

U: The challenge of form-giving is to determine, bring together, and compose relevant elements in such a way that care and thought might become both a practice and an outcome. Thus the labor of form-giving constitutes the ethical challenge of inquiry. [18]

foyer d’expérience

D: French: Foucault identifies foyers d’expérience as venues in which “forms of a possible knowledge (savoir), normative frameworks of behavior for individuals, and potential modes of existence for possible subjects are linked together.” [19]

U: An anthropology of the contemporary pays close attention to such venues so as to ask how configurations of veridiction, jurisdiction, and subjectivation are breaking down and being repaired (sōzein).


D: Max Weber’s term for a thought experiment designed to orient conceptual clarity concerning a problem into which one will eventually conduct inquiry. 

U: This type of thought experiment is useful for reworking the prior determinations of inquiry in order to establish the categories and parameters needed to undertake further inquiry. 


D: German: “Disposition.” Kant in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Pont of View asks how questions of “can” and “should” can be given a relation in the self-understanding of anthōpos. Kant has a cosmopolitical aim in answering this question: knowledge of anthrōpos as a citizen of the world. In his Introduction to Kant’s Anthropology Foucault underscores that although the Anthropology has a cosmopolitical aim, in fact it takes up anthrōpos as an object from the interior point of view of the Gemüt, the site of self-affectation of the human being. Foucault shows how Kant’s critical philosophical project stems from his anthropological project: the problematic play of the animating principle of the work of ideas (Geist) on the field of experience and self-affectation (Gemüt).

U: Gemüt has proved to be important as the locus of equipmental attention, so as to open the possibility of a pragmatic reduction of possible ideas, values and forms. One specific set of forms in which equipmental attention can be given to the Gemüt is narrative mood.


D: Pierre Bourdieu’s variant on John Dewey’s term dispositions. The term refers to enduring orientations of action within a larger structured field in which only a finite range of actions are in fact possible. 

U: The term habitus has been useful in directing attention to a range of trained incapacities and the structural conditions that reproduce them. It has also been useful in focusing attention on residual unthematized practices and dispositions that continue to have determinative affects (i.e. Nachleben) that have to be accounted for if one is to achieve a reflective relation to the present (i.e. contemporary ethos).  

Haltung (-en)

D: German: “Posture, stance, style, manner, attitude, composure.” Haltung makes visible the significance of a specific occasion, or turning point, which is much more than mere timing (kairos). The term was turned into a concept and practice by Bertold Brecht as a means of changing the role of the actor in the theater. [20]

U: In the practical, conceptual, and affective work of leaving the field, Haltung is the concept around which the anthropologist can develop a manner as well as a tempo and timing of exiting or Ausgang. It underlines not only the conceptual work of the subject in anthropology but also the affective and corporeal labor required to carry through participant-observation.

horos (-oi)

D: Greek: “A limit, rule, standard, measure; in mathematics, horoi are the terms of a ratio or proportion.” [21] In book 6 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes that one of the objects of ethics is the choice of standard determining the manner of undertaking an activity. [22]

U: For Aristotle, to know about virtue, it is not enough to simply define a mean. Rather it is necessary to know by what standard a mean becomes a practice. The fact that Aristotle never actually names this standard (horos) has left Western philosophy with the problem of the unresolved relations among and between thinking, bios and eudaemonia. Those engaged in inquiry are confronted explicitly or implicitly with bringing these terms into a common form.


D: Indeterminacy is one type of breakdown that occasions thinking. [23] Following Dewey it is a type of problem (as opposed to discordancy) occasioned by breakdowns of signification, meaning, and coherence.

U: Moving through inquiry from greater to lesser indeterminacy requires recursive experimentation with various defined modes of veridiction. Inquiry into indeterminacy requires the labor of the diagnosis of problems and conceptual clarification leading to warranted propositions.


D: Greek: “Of time, in or at the right time, in season, seasonable, timely, opportune.” [24] Kairos is the seizing of a significant turning point by the subject that can later be characterized as an event. Kairos carries with it a sense of significant alteration of motion and the opening up or closing down of multiple possibilities.

U: Turning points or ruptures can be conceptualized and narrated as a series, such as “instance,” “episode,” “event.” The ancient Greeks called a kairos the recognition and capability of acting at the right moment, in the right manner. Anthropologists working in a contemporary mode must be attentive to differentiating turning points after a breakdown or an indetermination is diagnosed. By so doing the significance of a turning point can be conceptualized and narrated as a kairos.


D: Greek: “A taking hold, seizing, catching; an accepting, receiving, getting.” [25]

U: The root lēpsis names a contemporary search for narrative forms which capture both the active and passive aspects of the anthropological task of working over an experience. Two forms of lēpsis, metalēpsis and syndialēpsis, have proven relevant.


D: Greek: “Participation, communion; a taking up, alternation; a taking one thing instead of another; the use of one word for another.” [26] Harold Bloom has characterized metalēpsis as a trope-reversing trope, which substitutes one word for another in prior rhetorical figures.27

U: Metalēpsis can be used as a narrative form in which breakdowns in the past and present can be worked through and worked over by way of a future projection, substitution, and a hoped-for identification. 


D: The standard by which aspects of things are selected and coordinated in a relational field. [28]

U: Diagnostically, three metrics—prosperity, amelioration, and flourishing (eudaemonia)—have proven central to the current reproblematization of truth and ethics. 

mode of jurisdiction

D: A mode of jurisdiction distinguishes normative frameworks of behavior for individuals and functions as the basis for governance. [29] Modes of jurisdiction determine and govern those activities taken to be coherent and co-operable. The diagnostic challenge is to assess how much adjustment of existing jurisdictional modes is required in order to govern the objects constituted within a given relational field.

U: During inquiry, attention must be paid to normative frameworks, which operate as objects of study as well as constraints on participant-observation. Those seeking to remediate modes of jurisdiction must take into account their deep embeddedness in unequal power relations. Introducing a discussion of such embeddedness tends to activate and reinscribe these inequalities rather than increase capacities.

mode of subjectivation

D: The way in which the subject establishes his or her relation to a general regulative moral norm and recognizes herself or himself as obligated to turn those norms into a practice of self-formation. 

U: In order to conduct inquiry into ethical practices one must specify general interdictions and the multiple ways in which they are made into forms of living. For Plato in order to qualify to govern the city eligible young men of the right class were obliged to consider self-knowledge and care of the self and others as the passage point toward virtuous rule. An anthropology of the contemporary seeks through inquiry to identify the state of such determinations as well as the opportunities potentially available. In this way modes of subjectivation function both as objects and objectives of inquiry and judgment.

mode of veridiction

D: A mode of veridiction distinguishes the manner in which speech acts are produced and made to count in a historical register of true and false.

U: Veridictional practices are always related to jurisdictional and ethical modes. The stakes of anthrōpos turn on bringing the situation of logos to light within these other determinations.


D: “Name given to different forms of the verb that are used to affirm more or less the same thing in question and to express . . . the different points of view from which the life or the action is looked at.” [30]

U: Two moods dominate academic discourse today: irony and tragedy. Two other moods—pathos and comedy—prove fertile to enlarge the possibilities of understanding and practice in a contemporary ethos.


D: German: “Afterlife or survival.” Aby Warburg gave the term a specific meaning by using it conceptually to capture the sense of present but not thematized stylized motifs such as certain gestures that he found enduring from ancient Greece friezes through Botticelli’s paintings.

U: In inquiry, Nachleben refers to those objects, affects, and motions in modernity which are excluded or escape from modernist forms but nonetheless exist in the present. Identifying the presence of Nachleben in a situation contributes to the articulation of a contemporary mode. This practice foregrounds the challenge of bringing elements of the old and the new into a distinctive form thereby enhancing understanding and freeing one from constraints wrongly taken to be determinative.

parastēma (-ta)

D: Parastēma is a character term. It refers to a subject’s relation to the interconnection of truth and conduct. Ordinarily referring to the stature of a character, or else of the bearing and poise of a subject, it is not simply a mark of civilized manners, which could be understood as behavior arbitrated by a rule. Rather, parastēmata are what Foucault has called an “ethical substance”—that which must be the object of conscious consideration—the questions a person must keep in mind in order to do what they do truthfully. Parastēmata are thus principles or maxims.

U: In our use, the concept of Parastēmata indexes neither a principle nor a behavior learned, but rather the need to make a judgment about the distance or proximity between claims to truth (warranted assertibility) and the conduct of life (bios).


D: A term of late antique philosophy, which can be translated both as equipment and preparedness. The term refers to ethical maxims that one kept ready-at-hand in order to confront life’s vicissitudes. 

U: These vicissitudes and their correlative paraskeue ranged from managing small dilemmas of daily life, to ultimate confrontations with the inevitability of death. The ultimate aim is to exercise these paraskeue in a manner that allows them to become incorporated into one’s ethical disposition. 


D: German: Literally, “forms given to pathos.” The term was turned into a concept by the art historian Aby Warburg in his work on the history of style. It has a double sense: the attempt to give form to situations or moods of pathos and the only partial success of such attempts.

U: Recognizing both the hybrid referent and concept, the term can play a powerful role in directing anthropological inquiry as well as decisions about an appropriate form of narration. Hence, deploying the term encompasses propositional, judgmental, and narratival registers. The practice of form-giving under the sign of pathos (as object and mood) contrasts with those of irony, comedy, and tragedy.


D: Greek: “Outspokenness; frankness.” [31] A mode of veridiction which has three characteristics: it binds the speaker to the truth of that which is said (i.e., the speaker must truly think what is said is true); it entails a danger to the truth-speaking subject; and the ramifications of what is spoken cannot be known in advance. [32]

U: By practicing parrhēsia, the truth is made actual. Speaking truth claims in this mode not only allows for the possibility of unforeseen ramifications, but more importantly, increases one’s capacity and disposition to speak the truth in consequential situations. This practice is thus scientifically and ethically essential to anthropology. [33]


D: Greek: “Affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals.” [34]

U: Deleuze and Guattari identify three terms as conditions for the emergence of philosophy in ancient Greece: agōn, venue, and philia. Aristotle, for example, in book 8 of the Ethics, places great emphasis on the foundational place of friendship and its forms for philosophy as part of a flourishing existence (eudaemonia). The challenge today is to reproblematize the terms of philosophic friendship in an anthropological mode. 


D: A problem is composed of conceptual and practical poles. On the conceptual side a problem invites the work of transforming breakdowns, indeterminacy, discordancy, etc., into material (questions, objects, sites of inquiry, etc.) for thought. On the practical side a problem invites the formulation, design, and facilitation of possible courses of action that have been opened up and made available as solutions.

U: The relations among and between inquiry, equipment, venue, and collaboration only take their form in relation to specific problems. Their form is not pregiven nor fixed such that it can be methodologically applied to instances arrayed as examples. 


D: The work of preparing oneself to take up a reflective relation to the actual in a contemporary manner. This work is predicated on prior inquiry, worked over so as to establish the categories sufficient to orienting oneself to the near future. 

U: Extensive past inquiries convinced us that the available forms of critique had lost their critical power. Therefore we decided to invent categories and shift registers. By so doing we hoped to prepare ourselves to take up our inquiry in a manner that would facilitate a contemporary veridictional and ethical relationship to the recent past and the near future. 


D: The excess term relative to the virtue of vindication. We encountered this term in the form of a refusal to do the work of putting oneself in ethical question relative to a situation of breakdown. Therefore it is an unwarranted boundary term asserted so as to foreclose as unnecessary thought and care that might have vindicated one’s actions

U: Self-justification is a primary instance or example of a minor vice. It is given form as part of the machinery of malice through which the subject learns to externalize all problems of the relations of ethics and knowledge.  


D: Greek: To save, especially from a threatening danger; to protect or guard; preservation of virtue; to defend; to keep in a certain proper state. In its richest sense, sōzein refers to that which is a source of good. [35]

U: In anthropological practice the term plays a role in the senses of repairing, protecting, and defending the worth of inquiry and those engaged in it. The concept opens up a space of affect in which attention can be legitimately devoted to addressing or confronting a range of breakdowns as part of the scientific life.


D: Latin: “Foolishness, folly.” [36] Seneca uses the term to indicate a state of being in which the subject is fragmented and unsettled. For Seneca the stultus is someone who has not cared for himself, is blown by the wind and too open to the external world. The stultus indiscriminately lets in representations from the outside world. [37]

U: Those engaged in inquiry and thinking are often haunted by stultitia. Hence, recognizing the affects and effects of stultitia can aid them in their practice.


D: Greek: The doing or undertaking of scientific and intellectual research, together with others.

U: This archaic term, used neologistically, surprisingly captures the critical dimension of a collaborative and vindicatory lēpsis (i.e., the work requisite to move through the actual to the contemporary).


D: Greek: “Art, skill, craft; way, manner or means by which a thing is gained; a set of rules, system or method of making or doing.” [38]

U: Technē is an essential component of form-giving in veridictional and jurisdictional, as well as subjectivational, practices. Attention to technē in the conduct of anthropological and philosophic work confronts the challenge of turning universals into philosophic and anthropological problems which can be inquired into and reflected upon. Technē is thus an essential mediator but not a telos.

technē tou biou

D: Greek: The art of ordering life; producing, in its critical dimension, a worthwhile manner of living.

U: Technē tou biou is both what one attends to anthropologically in the world as well as what one must attend to in order to conduct anthropological work. Given the argument that the foundational functions of nature and culture, as well as history, have been eclipsed, attention to technē tou biou is required to understand the interconnected ethical and veridicational stakes of work on the contemporary. 


D: Non-geometric space that requires an orientation to the use of categories appropriate to the non-linear and non-homogenous relations that constitute contemporary problem spaces. 

U: We take a cue from Delanda’s attempts to reinterpret Deleuze’s philosophy in such a manner that it can inform contemporary inquiry.  


D: The scene, site, or setting in which specialists design and synthesize activity. [39]

U: The invention of venues is necessary for the facilitation of collaborative anthropological practice. In that way they equally become significant objects of anthropological attention and practice.


D: Latin: Vindication; laying claim to a thing; a taking into protection, a defense. [40]

U: Vindication is opposed to self-justification. It is the product of long work on the self and others as well as veridictional testing. Once achieved it contributes to an affect of care and well-being, even under conflictual circumstances, as well as a stance of assuredness in the claims arising from an inquiry.

warranted assertibility

D: Propositions attained through inquiry in an anthropological sense. John Dewey writes: “All knowledge, or warranted assertion, depends upon inquiry.” Inquiry turns on only what is questionable (and questioned). It always involves a skeptical element, or what Peirce called “fallibilism.” [41]

U: The “truth game” of anthropology is inescapably connected to pragmatic inquiry. The tested results of a series of experiments and rectifications might be called “propositions,” and these are what can be warranted as the products of one stage of inquiry. As warranted, these products can be taken up as objects which can be reproblematized in the disciplined pursuit of further and more specifically defined objectives. Inquiry and the warranted assertions it produces, in the pragmatist tradition, form an integral part of an ongoing form of life.



1. John Dewey, How We Think (Boston: D. C . Heath & C o., 1910), 1–13.

2. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. γών, ὁ.

3. Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, 4–9.

4. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (London: Tavistock Publications, 1966), 219–21.

5. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon, S .v ἄσκησις, ἡ.

6. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure (New York: Vintage, 1990), 9.

7. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon, S .v  ταραξία, ἡ.

8. Foucault, “What Is Enlightenment?,” 34.

9. Nietzsche’s use of the term is best known in his Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen (Untimely Observations). Mit einem Nachwort von Ralph-Rainer Wuthenow (Insel Verlag, 1981).

10. Paul Rabinow, “Foucault’s Untimely Struggle: Toward a Form of Spirituality,” Theory Culture Society 25, no. 6 (2009): 27.

11. Rabinow and Bennett, Designing Human Practices, 179.

12. Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. βίος, ὁ.

13. Rabinow, Marking Time, 2.

14. Dewey, Essays in Experimental Logic, 11.

15. Foucault, Hermeneutics of the Subject, 322.

16. Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett, Contemporary Equipment: A Diagnostic (ARC Ebook, 2012), 6.

17. Foucault, History of Sexuality, 2:26.

18. Bios-Technika, Form, http://bios-technika.net/concepts.php#form.

19. Foucault, Le gouvernement de soi et des autres, 4–5.

20. Fredric Jameson, Brecht on Method (New York: Verso, 1998), 21–36.

21. Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. ὅρος, ὁ.

22. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.

23. John Dewey, “Propositions, Warranted Assertibility, and Truth,” Journal of Philosophy 38, no. 7 (1941): 180.

24. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. καιρός, ὁ.

25. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: s.v λῆψις, ἡ.

26. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: s.v μετάληψις, ἡ.

27. Harold Bloom, “Poetry, Revisionism, Repression,” Critical Inquiry 2, no. 2 (Winter 1975): 246.

28. Rabinow and Bennett, Contemporary Equipment, 27.

29. Ibid., 52–53.

30. Genette, Narrative Discourse, 162.

31. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. παρρησία, ἡ.

32. Foucault, Government of the Self and Others.

33. Rabinow and Bennett, Designing Human Practices, 179.

34. Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. φιλία, ἡ.

35. Foucault, Hermeneutics of the Subject, 183.

36. Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary: s.v. stultı˘tı˘a, ae, f. stultus.

37. Foucault, Hermeneutics of the Subject, 131–33.

38. Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon: s.v. τἑχνη, ἡ.

39. Rabinow and Bennett, Contemporary Equipment, 44.

40. Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary: s.v. vindicare.

41. Dewey, “Propositions, Warranted Assertibility, and Truth,” 172.