Gilbert Simondon

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Gilbert Simondon (October 2, 1924February 7, 1989) was a French philosopher best known for his theory of individuation and his interest in technology.


Du mode d'existence des object technique (1958)[edit]

  • Culture has become a system of defense against technics. This defense appears as a defense of man based on the assumption that technical objects contain no human reality. We should like to show that culture fails to take into account that there is a human reality in technical reality and that, if it is to fully play its role, culture must come to incorporate technical entities into its body of knowledge and its sense of values. Recognition of the modes of existence of technical objects should be the result of philosophical thought, which in this respect has to achieve what is analogous to the role it played in the abolition of slavery and in the affirmation of the value of the human person. The opposition established between culture and technology, between man and machine, is false and is not well-founded; what underlies it is mere ignorance or resentment. Behind the mask of a facile humanism it hides a reality that is rich in human efforts and natural forces, a reality that constitutes the world of technical objects, mediators between nature and man.
  • Instead of starting from the individuality of the technical object, or even from its specificity, which is very unstable, try to define the laws of its genesis in the framework of this individuality or specificity, it is better to invert the problem: it is from the criterion of the genesis that we can define the individuality and the specificity of the technical object: the technical object is not this or that thing, given hic et nunc but that which is generated.
  • The machine is a slave which serves to make other slaves. Such a domineering and enslaving drive may go together with the quest for human freedom. But it is difficult to liberate oneself by transferring slavery to other beings, men, animals, or machines; to rule over a population of machines subjecting the whole world means still to rule, and all rule implies acceptance of schemata of subjection.

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