Transformation and Individuation in Giordano Bruno's Monadology

SOCRATES 3 (2):57-70 (2015)
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Abstract

The essay explores the systematic relationship in the work of Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) between his monadology, his metaphysics as presented in works such as De la causa, principio et uno, the mythopoeic cosmology of Lo spaccio de la bestia trionfante, and practical works like De vinculis in genere. Bruno subverts the conceptual regime of the Aristotelian substantial forms and its accompanying cosmology with a metaphysics of individuality that privileges individual unity (singularity) over formal unity and particulars over substantial forms without sacrificing a metaphysical perspective on the cosmos. The particular is individuated as a unique site of desire, continually transforming but able to entrain itself and others through phantasmatic ‘bonding’, the new source of regularity in Bruno’s polycentric universe. Bruno thus tries to do justice to the demands of intelligibility as well as transformative eros. The essay concludes with a note on Bruno’s geometry as it relates to his general conception of form.

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Edward Butler
New School for Social Research

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