Coming soon. A long-awaited translation on the philosophical relation between technology, the individual, and milieu of the living. More than fifty years after its publication in French, this groundbreaking work of philosophical theory is now available in its first complete English language translation. Bridging both science and philosophy, Simondon will then take to constructing a radically new manner of understanding the individual in regards to the living and the collective, our technological inventions, and the environments constructed in relation with them. To do this, Simondon will posit a new conception of the individual in relation to what he describes as the transindividual, the dynamic field of the pre-individual milieu, and the process of transduction out of which, by way of continuous dynamic tensions and mutations, the individual arises. More than fifty years after its original publication in French, this groundbreaking work of philosophical theory is now available in its first complete English language translation.
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I had never heard of Gilbert Simondon before but Dr. Thus, I decided that walking 25 meters from my office to the lecture room was an acceptable risk to learn a bit about Gilbert Simondon. Gilbert Simondon was one of the most influential contemporary French philosophers, only recently have his works been translated into English and thus been discovered by a broader audience.
He is best-known for his theory of individuation, which in turn was a major inspiration for philosophers like Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, and Bernard Stiegler. The majority of his work has not been translated into English and, thus, not really found the attention of an international audience. This also means that the almighty internet does not provide many synopses or digested pieces about his work 1.
How do we discern individual units from each other? How and why do we draw lines between an object that we focus and the background instead of simply perceiving a mixture of colors and patterns? Simondon argues that this questions all relate to individuation, the process of coming into existence as an entity. While the question of genesis has been covered by metaphysics before Simondon argues that the focus has been wrongly on the individual instead of the individuation.
He problematizes the fact that any consideration of individuation begins at the individual as a pre-existing fact, thus rendering the process of individuation a mere reflection of that entity. In his own theory of individuation Simondon is challenging traditional substantialist metaphysics by shifting the focus to the genesis of an individual away from the substance. This move away from a single source of the potential to come into existence to emphasising the importance of the internal potential and its environment.
Feenberg gives the example of the acorn, which in Aristotelian terms carries the essential potential to become an oak, while, Simondon would include the internal tensions and relations of the acorn but also include the environment of the acorn. Simondon constructs a theory of progress motivated by the internal tensions and potentials of technical systems.
Admittedly, I have understood very little of Dr. Similarly I assume that well-known theories and philosophers also spread quicker than less famous ones such as Gilbert Simondon. Feenberg, A. Iliadis, A. Merton, R. The Matthew Effect in Science: The reward and communication systems of science are considered. Science , , 56— Simondon, G.
Kate Hennessy and Dr. Hannah Turner, Skip to content. Gilbert Simondon and the Theory of Individuation Gilbert Simondon was one of the most influential contemporary French philosophers, only recently have his works been translated into English and thus been discovered by a broader audience.
Similarly I assume that well-known theories and philosophers also spread quicker than less famous ones such as Gilbert Simondon References Feenberg, A.
He defended his doctoral dissertations in at the University of Paris. While his main thesis, which laid the foundations of his thinking, was not widely read until it was commented upon by Gilles Deleuze and, more recently, Bruno Latour and Bernard Stiegler , his complementary thesis, Du mode d'existence des objets techniques On the mode of existence of technical objects was published by Aubier immediately after being completed in and had an instant impact on a wide audience. In L'individuation psychique et collective , Simondon developed a theory of individual and collective individuation , in which the individual subject is considered as an effect of individuation, rather than as a cause. Thus the individual atom is replaced by the never-ending process of individuation. Simondon also conceived of "pre-individual fields" as the resources making individuation itself possible. Individuation is an always incomplete process, always leaving a "pre-individual" left-over, itself making possible future individuations.
Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information
Unfortunately, there still seems to be no English translation. What follows is more in the order of a bunch of notes, than a coherent presentation, but hopefully it will help me to pull together what I have gotten from this reading. Here, the emphasis is on human society where the previous volume dealt more with crystals and colonial organisms like coral. Simondon discusses how the multiple sensations received by our sense organs are turned into unified perceptions he thus gives a developmental account of the Kantian synthesis of perception ; how psychological individuation is an affective process before it is a cognitive one; and how social individuation the production of social groups larger than the single biological person takes place. What is individuation? DNA is not just a code, it is also a set of potentials , which can unfold in various directions, and which do not attain form except in the actual process of unfolding.
Simondon on individuation
Gilbert Simondon has fascinated an increasing number of Anglophone scholars, not only as an important influence on Gilles Deleuze, Bernard Stiegler or Speculative Realism, but also as a philosopher in his own right. Despite various efforts of Simondon enthusiasts online and offline, the translation of his works has proven to be a very slow process, and the English-speaking public is still waiting for a full translation of his Psychic and Collective Individuation L'individuation psychique et collective. As a foretaste, however, Edinburgh University Press has published David Scott's book, which serves as an introduction and a guide, providing a chapter-by-chapter commentary on Simondon's important work. As Scott follows the structure of Simondon's work very closely, this book will be useful for a parallel reading with Psychic and Collective Individuation. They key problem that Simondon tries to solve in that book is the segregation of units. Let us imagine that we look at a figure on a background. We will grasp this figure as a separate unit rather than as a part of an indistinguishable mixture of patterns.