More Notes on OPERA OF OPERATIONS

An opera of operations transforms concepts into observable conceptualization procedures.

This requires two primary and interrelated operations: One, “operationalization” transforms the kind “concept” into a kind of “conceptualization” to the extent that “concepts in themselves” as kinds (e.g. natural kinds, concept kinds, containing respectively h20 and “smoothness,” say) are obscured or replaced by performative (specifically “theatrical”) conceptualizing procedures which are apparent and staged as such. Second and thus, ways of (methods for) reasoning, theorizing, or conceptualizing and their involvement of axiomatic, logistic, affective, valuative, and aesthetic (etc) in-formations are materialized or substantiated by operating procedures.

A much simpler and more Platonian (but much less accurate and even hindering) way of describing operationalization, is that it represents concepts as process-forms. It is only partially helpful to think about it like this because “representations” are usually seen as things themselves, which have attributes and qualities, while operations here are rather using or materializing through attribution and qualification schemas. There may be no “concept” as an object or set description at either “end” of the procedure. [1]

In classical philosophy and science, concepts are objects, or matters of attention. They are the constituencies of classification systems. Within this way of thinking about how philosophy is done, a thinker might choose a concept, say “virtue” and then pursue a process of reasoning to define and describe (represent in language) their conclusions on which behaviors make a person virtuous. Of course, a contemporary worldviews are deeply critical of this “bare” process, and many have shown how classification involves shifting performative debate and theorization processes and how classification systems do construct and are constructed by subjective and socially-imbricated logics performed by participants in scientific or philosophical practice.[2] That is, the thinker here is inexorably bound up in what they, specifically, as a locutor of a particular self in society, place in time and space, and so on, holding particular beliefs and values, mean by “virtue.” There is, in essence, no way of defining this particular concept in a way that “satisfies” our own (my own) reckonings with what makes a conceptualization “true.” From a scientific point of view, this type of relativity makes philosophy irrelevant. I do not come to that conclusion, rather opera of operations is arguing for a focus on and an aesthetic interest in the very locative, enunciatory, or conceptualizing processes that may be used as heuristic or systemic logics for arrays of or different conclusions and beliefs. In other words, we may not be able to, or even value any stable definition of “virtue,” however, we may remain interested in the ways in which this concept operates.

Aristotle argues that any conclusion expressed or represented always “mirrors” the process through which the thinker pursued their processes of reasoning, conceptualizing, theorizing. Thus, an ability to focus on the procedures through which concepts are made (broadly) is not new, it is called method. A method is a way of reasoning or conceptualizing. It is 1) a conceptualizing procedure with its own structure that is aligned with certain values or beliefs (this “level” of exoskeletal reasoning about what structural elements of reasoning procedures makes them reasonable or truth-producing is called doxastics) and  2) methods must be believed appropriate or qualified to/for the concept being conceptualized.

Plato discussed many methods for reasoning, including diairesis as a method of definition. Diairesis is specifically the division of definitions into parts, separating one conceptualization or description from another until a satisfactory classification system is in place. We might claim now that diairesis is an example of an operational procedure.

An opera of operations requires other and more such procedures. In fact, it requires factorial discrete procedures correlated and in co-production with conceptualizations. Opera of operations is constituted by methodological conceptualization procedures; these are the substance of the “work” of an opera of operations, perceptible as sonic, visual (etc) materialities.

Operas of operation are not in search of descriptions, definitions, or representations of concepts projected independently from the operating systems of conceptualization and theorization through which they have been realized. As theatrical practice, operations as opera are realizing aesthetic, epistemic, doxastic, hermeneutic (etc) procedures themselves (conceptualizations) as ways of (methods for) staging and observing themselves (as such).

[1] this requires practice to determine; and I suspect that each “project” or opera of operation itself may need to define its own internal logic for where to locate or how to avoid locating “concepts” as objects, items, units of information, or at least nominally-produced references

[2] Nelson Goodman, Helen Longino, Catherine Elgin, Robert Schwartz, Hilary Putnam, Loren Graham, John Rawls…

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