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Control power as a special case of protean power: thoughts on Peter Katzenstein and Lucia Seybert's Protean Power: Exploring the Uncertain and Unexpected in World Politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 August 2020

Emanuel Adler*
Affiliation:
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
*
Corresponding author E-mail: emanuel.adler@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Human experience of control is an illusion; all forms of power are a special, transient, and unstable case of protean power. Taking risks is governed by critical uncertainty less because of our lack of perfect knowledge than because the world is physically and socially indeterminate. Power, thus, lies not only in agents' potential to dominate each other, but also in acting in concert to turn propensities into reality. Radical uncertainty is, therefore, not necessarily bad news. Whether protean power endangers or protects humanity depends less on calculating risks than on agents practicing common humanity values. I revise Katzenstein's and Seybert's concepts accordingly and illustrate by discussing Artificial Intelligence's challenges to humanity.

Type
Symposium: Protean Power: Exploring the Uncertain and Unexpected in World Politics: Edited by Jacques E. C. Hymans
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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