Intersubjectivity and Transindividuality Leibniz, Husserl, Deleuze, and the Composition of Worlds (Animal Monadology)

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In his Cartesian Meditations (1929), Edmund Husserl proposes a monadological solution to the epistemological problem of transcendental solipsism. At the basis of intersubjectivity lies the lived body (Leib). After the famous bracketing of the empirical validity of experience, Leibniz is invoked for a second reduction, meant to determine the sphere of appurtenances that originally belongs to each subject and that accounts for communication with the Other. Husserl thus grounds the constitutive lifeworld in body integrity and possessive individual-ism, i.e. the ontological distribution of physical properties based on the identity of self-con-sciousness By contrast, Deleuze in The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque (1988) discovers in Leibniz a “crisis of property” that reflects the first great crisis of capitalism. Unlike Husserl, who raises the organic intentionalities by which humans are inserted into the world to a transcendental level, Leibniz never managed to find a final solution to the problem of the union of body and soul, precisely because he held the body itself to be a world teeming with non-human others. The problem of the Other refers to a micropolitics of mobile and non-localizable captures rather than individual closures, such that intersubjective monadol-ogy is inseparable from an animal monadology with its twin components of animism and totemism. In my contribution I demonstrate how Leibniz’s metaphysical account of compo-site substances and its 20th century ramifications, precisely because they are fundamentally problematic, could contribute to a contemporary yet non-phenomenological understanding of the transindividual constitution of communities. By contrasting Deleuze’s later reading of Leibniz with Negri’s reading of Spinoza and Balibar’s critique of Leibniz, I demonstrate how the monstrous animality of the baroque socius remains a possibility endemic to the present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-129
Number of pages21
JournalLo Sguardo - rivista di filosofia (online)
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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