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Gilbert Simondon: Causality, ontogenesis & technology

Mills, Simon

Authors

Simon Mills



Abstract

This PhD thesis focuses on the elucidation, development and application of Gilbert Simondon's realist philosophy of individuation. In particular the thesis has three main goals: First, to provide a developed account of Simondon's ontology. Second, to develop a coherent account of causality in line with Simondon's theorization of individuation. Third, to give a full account of Simondon's philosophy of technology and evaluate its relevance for the contemporary technological state of affairs.

To answer the third of these questions it is necessary to address the others. A realist, non-anthropological account of technology necessarily requires the development of a robust ontology and a suitable theorization of causality.

In this thesis this is achieved by developing the key concepts involved in Simondon's theory of individuation such as transduction, metastability and pre-individuality. Before developing an account of transductive operation in the three regimes of individuation which Simondon stipulates (physical, vital and psycho-social) we argue for Simondon's account of allagmatics (theory of operations) as consistent with and in some ways superior to some contemporary powers based theories of causality.

Having established the broad scope of Simondon's axiomatic use of individuation it is then utilized in order to fully examine his philosophy of technology. This is achieved by bringing together Simondon's theorization of individuation in multiple domains (e.g. the image-cycle, transindividual) in relation to that of technology. In doing this we also develop other important aspects of Simondon's philosophy such as aesthetics, epistemology and ethics.

By necessity the thesis has a broad scope in order to reflect the encyclopedic ambition which Simondon had for his genetic philosophy and without which his work is prone to be misunderstood. As such it describes a novel encounter between cybernetics, phenomenology and energetics.

Thesis Type Thesis
APA6 Citation Mills, S. Gilbert Simondon: Causality, ontogenesis & technology. (Thesis). University of the West of England
Keywords simondon, individuation, technology, causality, Stiegler, Latour, philosophy of technology

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