An Outline of the Introduction to Gilbert Simondon’s 'Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information', Part 2

I. Individuation as Analogous to the Activity of Physical Quanta

A. Individuation does not fully exhaust the pre-individual (I.e., not all of ‘being’ is taken up by the individuating being). Like the composition of physical quanta, the quanta which participate in an individuation stand in relation to a vaster set of quanta in a broader system of individuation.

B. The notion of relation in Simondon’s system of individuation involves not a relation between two already individual terms, but an internal resonance within a system of individuation

C. To be a living being means to experience the encounters between one's own interior problematic and vaster individuations

1. This move allows us to think the interior exterior without positing multiple substances

D. living beings with a psychical dimension cannot overcome the problematic of the individual individuation within the framework of individuality of alone. Individuals individuate collectively thus individuating into a collective unit.

1. For Simondon, this produces the category of the transindividual

2. What is the transindividual? The systematic unity which involves the physical interiority of individual individuation in relation to a set of exterior individuations

3. The notion of the transindividual positions the individuating being as both superior and inferior to a notion of unity

4. Interesting line: "the collective intervenes as a resolution of the individual problematic, and this means that the basis of collective reality is already partially contained within the individual as the pre-individual reality that remains associated with the individuated reality"

E. Ultimately, the motor of individuation is the relation of the individuation to the pretty individual reality which it progressively individuates.

II. The Nature of Ontogenesis

A. Ontogenesis: that which defines the problematic of an individual's participation in the collective

B. the creation of knowledge is not something derived abstractly on the basis of sensation. It is something constructed problematically on the basis of a complex relation:

1. An initial tropistic and taxic unity

2. The orientation of a being in a polarized world

C. The individuated being is an indefinite dyad from which a gradient of intensive series sprawls outwards from that which individuates.

1. The notion of an intensive series is what allows Simondon to overcome the "dark zone" of the  hylomorphic schema

D. For Simondon, theorizing the notion of individuation means "grasping it from at center”; in other words, it means considering an individuating being on the basis of the multiplicity of becomings it is undergoing while situated in a broader milieu

E. Simondon claims that these methods also apply to analyzing emotion and affectivity. (the strongly correlates with Spinoza's notion of compounding affects)

F. The individual cannot "go beyond the limits of anxiety" qua individual. The collective in the individual being embedded within it forms the problematic of the individual.

III. The Concept of Information

A. What is the character of information?

1. Information refers to the correspondence between two states of disparation, an ordering by which to disparate reals become a system

2. Simondon claims that information is a requirement for individuation

3. The concept of information does not refer to a "term" in his metaphysics; it describes a tension between two disparate reals

4. Information describes a movement instigated by the tension

5. The information is always present and actual; it refers to the phase shift of individuation, the becoming of being

IV. Being as a ‘Transductive Unity’

A. Being maintained no overarching unity; however, it is always in excess to itself, thus overflowing with itself.

B. In virtue of this overflowing, being individuates.

C. “Individuation must be grasped as the beings becoming and not as a model of the being that would exhaust its signification.”

V. Identifying the scope of Simondon’s project.

A. Simondon is going to dispense with notions of substance, form, and matter

B. In their place, he will privilege concepts such as first information, metastability, internal residence, energetic potential, and orders of magnitude

VI. What Simondon’s metaphysical concepts intend to do

A. he is not trying to construct a conceptual relation between already existing philosophical terms; rather, he is introducing the notion of modality to the notion of being to explicate the relational aspect of being.

B. In what appears to be a criticism of Spinoza, Simondon suggest that if substance is no longer the model of being, it becomes possible to conceive of being in terms of its non-identity vis-à-vis itself. In other words, how can we adequately theorize difference in conceptualizing being without necessarily invoking the notion of being’s self-reflexive identity.

C. An approach to theorizing individuation of being in this way would involve rejecting classical logic, the principle of identity, and the principle of the excluded middle

VII. The Model of Transduction

A. Simondon’s definition: a physical, biological, mental, or social operation through which an activity propagates incrementally within a domain by basing this propagation on a structuration of the domain operated from one region to another

1. Viz., the activity of any domain of being serves as the basis and model of the propagation of adjacent regions. The propagation occurs as an amplification or a reticulation of the activity as it passes through a multiplicity of milieus.

B. the propagation of the crystal is the paradigmatic example of transduction

C. The model of transduction is similar to dialectics; however, it is unlike dialectics in that it does not suppose the existence of a preliminary time.

1. Time itself is a solution and a dimension of the discovered systematic

2. Time is an effect of the process of individuation, a derivative of the excess of being

VIII. The Concept of ‘Information’ Replaces form in Simondon’s system

A. The problem with the notion of form is that it presupposes an independence from ’system’ and metastability.

B. The notion of form that we get from Gestalt theory also presupposes that tensions within a system tend towards equilibrium. This too disregards the notion of metastability characteristic of transduction already established in Simondon’s theory.

1. Good and bad forms of ‘form’ 

a. Bad ‘form’ - simple, a ‘pregnant geometrical form’

b. Good ‘form’ - transductive ‘signification’ of being in which being is inherent to the signification and the notion of information is irreducible to an abstract transmission of form. (Perhaps this notion of information involves the expression of being inherent to the individuation—not becoming a simulacrum of being).

IV. Summing up

A. The notion of individuation being internal to a preliminary logic exposes it to the problems inherent within the traditional hylomorphic schema of individuation.

1. Viz., “the dark zone” and the problem of the law of the excluded middle derive from a poor problematization at the outset.

B. Individuation cannot be known either in the mediate or immediate sense. However, Simondon asserts that we can develop a sort of parallel description or analogical understanding the operations of individuation.  

1. “The individuation of the real exterior to the subject is grasped by the subject due to the analogical individuation of knowledge within the subject; but it is through the individuation of knowledge and not through knowledge alone that the individuation of non-subject being is grasped.” 

i. Viz., Knowledge’ of individuation can only be ‘known’ through through analogical descriptions either perhaps empirically adequate or expressed through a set of minimally consistent terms which also express the difference which occurs through transduction.