Ontologies of the Fold:
Leibniz, Simondon & Deleuze

Instructor: Levi Bryant
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 2
Date: Thursday, November 2, 9, 16, 30, December 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: 6:30 EST

Levi Bryant: Ontologies of the Fold: Leibniz, Simondon & Deleuze, Marble Statue of Eirene

This seminar explores Simondon’s concept of individuation and Deleuze’s account of the fold as models of how being is to be thought. Responding to Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy and his thesis that beings are withdrawn and never relate, it is argued that the concept of the fold avoids the twin perils of undermining and overmining by preserving the singularity of beings, while also accounting for their relatedness and providing a rich account of subjectivity. It is argued that beings are pleats or folds within being that integrate other beings in their ongoing processes of individuation. For example, a sun tan is a sort of origami where sunlight is pleated into the body producing a quality in the form of the shade of the skin. What emerges is a profoundly ecological conception of being where entities can never be thought in isolation, but rather must always be thought in communication and relation to other beings.

Students participating in the seminar will be required to present the material for one course in the form of questions that arose from the assigned readings on that day and will be required to write a 15 – 20 page essay on a topic of their own choosing related to the material. Readings will include Leibniz’s Monadology, selections from the Discourse on Metaphysics, selections form Muriel Combes Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual, Deleuze’s The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, and Foucault.

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