Germinal Events: organisation and metastability in Simondon and Bergson
Timothy Deane-Freeman

October 6, 2023, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Deakin University

Deakin Downtown

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Deakin University

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Dr Tim Deane-Freeman (Deakin) -Germinal Events: organisation and metastability in Simondon and Bergson


Date: Friday 6 October 2023 | Time: 3.30pm | Venue: Deakin Downtown (also on zoom – “hybrid” – link below)


In a preparatory manuscript for his primary doctoral thesis, Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information, Gilbert Simondon will characterise Bergson’s project as an “aristocratism,” predicated as it is on a schism which opposes a properly philosophical thought of temporal continuities (intuition), to “interested, materialising, spatialising and utilitarian thought, i.e. thought attached to artificial or natural structures…” For Simondon, this distinction sees structure, understood as an ensemble of discontinuous elements with the potential to effect productive differential relations (individuations), denigrated as the object of a “dishonoured, dismissed, and second-class intuition,” rendering Bergson’s thought increasingly inadequate to contemporary developments in science and technology. Simondon’s attention to these developments, and to “events” of discontinuity encountered in fields like quantum physics, inorganic chemistry and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, thus informs his own determination to articulate the inhuman and ontogenetic reality of structure. I’d like to suggest, however, that this initial precis hides a more complex reality, and a profound solidarity between these thinkers’ respective projects and ambitions. What both Bergson and Simondon share, indeed, is a hostility to interested and anthropocentric modes of conceptualisation which occlude a thought of evolution and emergence, and an attendant conviction that philosophy must itself individuate against the horizon of scientific methods and innovations. In this context, I argue that Simondon is perhaps already engaged in what Gilles Deleuze will subsequently call a “return to Bergson,” extending and renewing the latter’s project to think with science in order to dislocate our all-too-human intellectual habitudes. I will close with some brief reflections on this latter point, suggesting the pertinence of both Bergson and Simondon as ecological thinkers today.

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