Reality, Ontology and Substitution in the Organization Theory by Alexandr Bogdanov

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-8-101-110
M. Strezhneva,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 28.03.2022. Revised 26.04.2022. Accepted 27.05.2022.

Abstract. Alexander Bogdanov’s tektology and empiriomonism are treated in this article as an applicable basis for the recovery of structural realism in the study of international politics. Kenneth Waltz, the author of the existent structural realist theory, favored a systemic approach to international relations and acknowledged the problem of “organized complexity”, as produced by the activities of free-willed individuals, facing social sciences in particular. Yet, unlike Bogdanov, he seems not to have fully appreciated the reverberations that the advent of quantum physics caused for ideas on human cognition. Previously unambiguous distinction between mental and physical manifestations became blurred. It led to the emergence of a general “quantum” methodological school of structural realism, of which Bogdanov is recognized in this article as an early representative. Tektology is a system science, meant by the author to explore organizational features and principles of organization, inherent to any system complexes (biological, political or psychic). At the same time, as pointed out in this research, Bogdanov paid particular attention to the observer problem in societal studies. Bogdanov (as well as Niklass Luhmann later on), but unlike Kenneth Waltz (or Alexander Wendt), would deem neutral observation of international relations (IR) beyond attainment. It is revealed in particular that the long-term appeal of the Waltz’s theory has in fact been sustained by the form of system analysis it involved, based on deductive inference. It carried a promise to allow the IR to generate logically coherent theories about the ways that the international system is organized in. In empiriomonism, a method of “universal substitution” is promoted instead, allowing for new gains in knowledge about the unknown outer (material) reality. A theory of international politics of the latter kind could provide a framework for elaboration of new reasonable hypotheses concerning the international sphere.

Keywords: structural realism, Alexander Bogdanov, Kenneth Waltz, tektology, epistemology, system theory, materialist monism, constructivism, methodological individualism, universal substitution


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For citation:
Strezhneva M. Reality, Ontology and Substitution in the Organization Theory by Alexandr Bogdanov. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 8, pp. 101-110.

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