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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Holism and the priority of the part

In my Chocoleibniz course today (Leibniz cum Tarde, Whitehead and Deleuze´s Pli) we covered the way Tarde turns Leibniz´s monadology inside out. Each monad has a world inside it, but a different one, a projected world. And they express themselves in bits of the world through contact with other monads - monads themselves are open, independent and autonomous units of beliefs and desire and act as relata of external relations. Tarde is a militant reducionist and pluralist while his atoms, like in any monadologism, are infinitesimals and capable of a perspective on things. In his monadologism, most things are not known a priori and most statements are synthetic - events are open to alliances and products of social interaction and not following from any pre-established harmony. And yet, each monad contributes to the state of the world in the sense that without it the configuration of the alliances (and of the social orders) would be different. It makes a difference because it exists and it makes a difference in the world once pieces are all interconnected.

In Wozu Dichter Heidegger contrasts security (connected to sine cura, without care) and care. A secure environment requires no care as things are fixed, held, secured while without security things have to be reckoned with all the time. This contrast is in the kernel of process philosophy: reality is not only shaped by its sponsors but it is always deserving of care. Things are not secured - there are no self-standing necessity. In Tarde, there is an ultimate ontology to this openness: the infinitesimals, all different from each other and all having their own nature. All the rest is not secured, it is up for grabs through the politics of things. Open. The world is no puzzle, rather it is a mosaic but as no piece is equal to any other, the absence of one makes the overall picture different.

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