From Democritus’s atomism to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, from Aristotle’s reflections on the individual to Husserl’s call for a focused return to things, from the philosophical advent of the Cartesian ego and the Leibnizian monad to Heidegger’s notion of Dasein, the question concerning the constitution of the individual has continued to loom large over the preoccupations of philosophers and scholars of scientific disciplines for thousands of years.
Initially published in the 1950s, Gilbert Simondon’s groundbreaking work is based upon a radical point of departure: the question of the individual. Comprised of a transdisciplinary approach into the study of all aspects of the real—the physical as much as the technical, the biological as much as the psychical—Simondon attempts to show how it’s only through an ongoing mutual engagement between science and philosophy, whereby the rigours and vitality of both areas of knowledge can be recognized and remain in dialogue, that any significant sustainable progress can be achieved.
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.