Course readings: extracts from
Gilbert Simondon, Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information, Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press, 2020.
This seminar will focus on questions concerning the constitution of the individual, in the broad sense of singular being (biological, technical, etc.). While philosophers have long utilised a variety of concepts of the individual, Gilbert Simondon attempted a radically new approach embracing science and philosophy, and highlighting the individual's emergence from a pre-individual field; dynamic processes of individuation; interaction with an enviromental milieu; the role of affects; and the individual's relation to the collective (what he describes as the "transindividual").
Influenced by the philosophies of Henri Bergson, George Canguilhem and Maurice Merleau-Ponty as well as the sciences of his time (in particular biology, physics, thermodynamics, psychology and cybernetics), Simondon develops a unique theory of individuation in his main doctoral thesis Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information (1958). This book has long been available only in the original French, but in November 2020 an English translation was published (there is no German translation). Interest in Simdondon has been growing in recent years and this release will no doubt result in a wave of new and interesting research.
We will closely read extracts from Simondon's book and engage with contemporaneous work published in response to this recent translation.
The seminar will be held in collaboration with Prof. Anne Sauvagnargues (Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre, La Défense), and will be conducted in English.