Jason Read: The Social Individual: Collectivity and Individuality in Capitalism (and Marx)

From The Neoliberal Self: Lectures, Interviews, Art

In this 2011 talk, philosopher Jason Read considers the concepts of the social individual (which exists in mutually constitutive relationship with the collective) and species being (which exists in mutually constitutive relationship with nature) in Karl Marx’s early writings alongside French philosopher Gilbert Simondon’s analysis of individuation and transindividuality. Read argues that Marx’s and Simondon’s work reveals something about contemporary capitalism’s conditions of real subsumption. In the Grundrisse, Marx describes capitalism’s early stages, observing that the relationship of the individual to the collective is paradoxical in that transindividual relations and machines produce isolated, individuated perceptions. This is a paradox that persists and can be seen throughout political and social life today, Read notes. Human beings are increasingly social, yet, at the same time, they are increasingly encouraged to think of themselves as privatized individuals. Read’s project considers how the notion of transindividuality might be reconceived in order to enable us to produce a new society, one that does not need to resort to nostalgia or to notions of national or racial unity.

Jason Read is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine and is the author of The Politics of Transindividuality, from 2015. 

August 24, 2015

Utah Valley University

Curated by

Kate Steinmann