Sunday, March 30, 2014

Personhood Beyond the Human: the Subjectivation Scale of Future Persons

Philosophical concepts are useful for considering a potentially diverse landscape of future persons.

One important question is subjectivation – how individuals form and what constitutes an individual. The less helpful approach is focusing on classification and definition which is discriminatory and doomed to death by detail. A more fruitful approach is Simondon’s theory of individuation.

For Simondon, the current and future world is an environment of dynamic processes like individuation. Individuals participate in but do not cause individuation. Most importantly, individuals exist on a spectrum of capacity for action with other living beings including animals, human persons, and possibly a variety of future persons.

‘Capacity for action’ (a Spinoza-inspired concept) is crucial because it focuses on degrees of capability (related to a particular quality or skill) as opposed to underlying nature. Capacity for action has all of the possibility and mobility of a future-looking frame, and none of the fixity and discrimination of classification.

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