Programme

(T075)
Contributions of Gilbert Simondon to Science and Technology Studies
Location 117b
Date and Start Time 03 September, 2016 at 14:00
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Pedro Ferreira (UNICAMP - Universidade Estadual de Campinas) email
  • Carlos Sautchuk (University of Brasilia) email

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Short Abstract

This track aims to foster collaborations between researchers from different fields and with different research objects, but having in common some consistent engagement with the concepts and ideas of the increasingly relevant french philosopher, Gilbert Simondon.

Long Abstract

Gilbert Simondon's works have gained relevance in the Social Studies of Science and Technology, especially thanks to the innovative, creative and powerful perspective it offers on what he called "the mode of existence of technical objects". But Simondon's Philosophy goes much beyond technical objects, mobilizing with great originality concepts such as metastability, resonance, transduction, reticulation and information to illuminate collective phenomena and processes that are central to the Social Studies of Science and Technology. This track aims to foster collaborations among researchers from different areas and dealing with different research objects, but having in common some consistent research engagement with the Simondon's concepts and ideas. Our objective is to promote an exchange of experiences on different possible uses of Simondon's concepts, thus contributing to the maturation of the perception of its contemporary relevance. Assuming that the power and relevance of Simondon's works must be demonstrated in practice, this track expects submissions that put Simondon's concepts and ideas to work in concrete research situations.

The scope of interest of this track also includes: studies concerned with the ways Simondon's Philosophy affect the practice of Social Scientists and its products (a particular version of the more general debate on the relations between Philosophy and Science); and studies about convergences or incompatibilities between Simondon's Philosophy and different theoretical and methodological proposals in the Social Sciences.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

An Internet at peace with itself? Concretisation's contribution to modularity theory

Author: Jean-François Blanchette (UCLA)  email

Short Abstract

Modularity is a central design strategy in modern computing, allowing for both the management of technical change and the vertical desintegration of markets. This paper discusses the implications of Simondon’s concept of concretization for popular accounts of modularity (e.g., Lessig, Zittrain, Wu).

Long Abstract

The principle of hierarchical decomposition was first articulated by Simon in his 1962 paper, "The Architecture of Complexity." Simon proposed that many complex phenomena, both natural and artificial, could be described and analyzed as "composed of interrelated sub-systems, each of the latter, in turn, hierarchic in structure until we reach some lowest level of elementary subsystem." In its eventual development as a theory and practice of modularity, Simon's theory of complex systems will have an enormous impact on the design of computing systems: (1) for engineers, modularity will gradually emerge as the primary design strategy to manage complexity and technological change; (2) for managers, modularity will develop as a particular market structure with the power (at least in theory) to 'autonomously' generate innovation and an optimally competitive marketplace. It is these two features that, in the words of Lessig, Zittrain, and Wu, make the Internet uniquely generative.

Simondon's concept of concretization describes the evolution of technical objects as moving from a state of artificial abstraction to one where they "cease to be at war with themselves." This evolution is fueled by the incompatibilities between the abstract ensemble of relations, towards a gradual augmentation of functional synergies between structures. As Adrian Mackenzie states, for Simondon, "movement from abstract to concrete constitutes a form of change or becoming specific to technological action." In this paper, I explore the application of concretization to the historical evolution of networked computing systems and what it reveals about the potential and limits of modularity theory.

«We lack technical poets»: towards a techno-aesthetical education

Author: Emerson Freire (UNICAMP and Centro Paula Souza)  email

Short Abstract

Simondon said that "we lack technical poets" in his interview on Mechanology. In a letter addressed to Jacques Derrida he inquires why not founding a techno-aesthetics. This study aims to explore the techno-aesthetics concept applied to education to provide technical poets to a metastable society.

Long Abstract

Simondon believed that "we lack technical poets", as he said in an interview on Mechanology. In a never finished and sent letter addressed to Jacques Derrida concerning the foundation of the Collège International de Philosophie, Simondon inquires why not founding or axiomatizing a techno-aesthetics. For Simondon, technique and aesthetics should not be separated. But also, it should not be just an addition operation, technique plus aesthetics. From several examples throughout his letter, from Le Corbusier to Eiffel, through car engines, tools, to the Mona Lisa, Simondon explains his techno-aesthetic concept shifting the question from a contemplative beauty to a kind of beauty of the invention. It is not only the technical object that is beautiful but the singular and remarkable point of the world, as he specifies. That's when the figure finds an appropriated background, where technicity should operate in a sense that technical object could express the world. Poetics can be found in this type of invention, which needs a technical intuition to be achieved. Briefly, invention conceived from a socio-political point of view through technicity and intuition. In this sense, an alternative change of direction to deal with the problems of the present metastable society (as opposed to that stable one carried out by the nineteenth century industrialization) requires also an educational process, formal or not, that could provide technical poets (not only specialists). This study aims from a bibliographical review perspective to explore the techno-aesthetics concept applied to education in a social metastable context.

Contributions of Gilbert Simondon to the social studies of the Permaculture's technologies

Author: Evandro Smarieri (Universidade Estadual de Campinas - UNICAMP)  email

Short Abstract

This paper aims to discuss the contributions of the Gilbert Simondon's concepts and theory to an ongoing research which has as object the Permaculture technologies. There will be presented the influence of Simondon's thought for the choice of object and the approach to the field research.

Long Abstract

This paper aims to discuss the contributions of the Gilbert Simondon's concepts for an ongoing master degree research, titled: « Technology and environment in Permaculture: prospecting the social-environmental crisis ». In its presentation will be discussed issues about the influence of Simondon's thought on the choice of this research object and its delimitation, as well on the kind of approach employed in the field research, which is inspired on his most influential work « On the mode of existence of technical objects » (1980). To support a preliminar discussion about the incidence of a « simondonian perspective » on the Permaculture it will be presented the results of the firsts months of field research, that concerns a set of reflections about the activities, techniques, modes of conduct, pratices and other actions that are driven by the « Permaculture Principles », wich are been investigated. The field research has been developed at intentional communytis, where has been instaured alternative and sustainable technological systems as ecological consctructions, agroforestry systems and domestic sewage ecological treatment, wich is called on this research as « hibrid technics » in reference of the concepts of technics in Simondon (1989) and hibrid in Bruno Latour. This nomenclature aims to express an combination of a « technic thought » (Simondon, 1989), included on those systems, with a non-humam (Latour, 1993) actif collaboration that is also observed on the fonctionnement and constitution of the construction technics and even in the inventive process.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.