On the Effects of a Fictitious Encounter between Alfred North Whitehead and Gilbert Simondon

Deroo examines the similarities between Gilbert Simondon’s relational ontology and Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy to explore new areas within “contemporary process ontology” (295). She examines certain alignments within their respective philosophies, such as a concentration on becoming over being: Simondon’s individuation and Whitehead’s process. Both philosophers, she argues, asserted that there “are no absolute ontological differences between physical and vital individuation” (298). Deroo also states that they both also attempted to “[build] a uniterary, non-anthropocentric mode of explanation, which entails applicability to a multiplicity of modes of existence” (300). This, she suggests, leads each philosopher to forming a system of “ontological dynamic categories” that form structural processes of becoming across multiple levels of experience. Deroo distinguishes important difference between the two, such as for Whitehead singularity is defined in “regard to its particular characteristics” where for Simondon, singularity is based on “its function beyond itself” (307). Deroo’s article is not just a comparison essay, instead she attempts to foreground the role of structure in each ontological system, where actualization of potential is not based upon any individual, or singularity, but through the structuring encounters (milieus and prehensile nexus) that form ongoing individuations. Deroo’s essay is only a cursory discussion of Simondon and Whitehead, and leaves a great number of details out. Neither philosopher is given their due credit in this short analysis, and yet it is one of the only essays considering the two that I have found. Her essay makes a valuable bridge between Simondon’s relational ontology and Whitehead’s focus on experience as available to all (actual) entities, which I will use in consideration of aesthetic experience of art and in consideration of nonhumans.