published on November 2, 2019
From Life to Matter
Simondon’s Political Epistemology
Simondon’s philosophy of individuation attacks the opposition between liberty and necessity, a key institution of the supposed ontological “difference” between the human being and nature in most of modern political thought. Distinguishing between ontological and epistemological determinism, I will show the political significance of Simondon’s refusal to either reduce human beings to natural determinism or save their alleged metaphysical nature. Simondon inherits part of his critical programme and a good deal of the tools he uses to construct it from Georges Canguilhem. My reading starts from an enigma concerning quantum mechanics that Canguilhem jotted down on paper while involved in the Second World War antifascist struggle. I will suggest that Simondon’s philosophy exposes the two equally anthropomorphic understandings of nature shared by fascism and technocracy. This will allow me to explain the ideological function that voluntarism and human engineering can jointly perform by reinforcing and exploiting the apparent opposition between liberty and necessity, on the basis of their complementary teleological justification for political action.