Wednesday 10
A Longue Durée History of the Cell
Chair: François Duchesneau
› 9:00 - 9:20 (20min)
› 002
Restricted individuality. Individuals and supra-individual order in German Naturphilosophie
Susanne Lettow  1@  
1 : Susanne Lettow  (SL)
private: Mussehlstrasse 21, 12101 Berlin -  Germany

Within the historiography of the cell theory the question of how the relation of primordial, elementary living beings to supra-individual orders has been conceived, has been widely discussed. In particular, the political articulations of the relations of individuals to a ‚higher order' have been scrutinized. With regard to theories that pre-dated the cell theory, Georges Canguilhem has compared Buffon's theory of ‚organic molecules' that form an organism by association to Lorenz Oken's hierarchical view that borrowed much from the Naturphilosophie of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. In my presentation I will discuss different articulations of the relation of living individuals to supra-individual orders within German Naturphilosophie. In addition to Oken, I will focus on Schelling and Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer who proposed a multi-level model of the integration of individuals to the ‚life of the species' and the ‚life of the organic world'. In contrast to Schelling and Oken who presupposed a homogeneous circular time, Kielmeyer conceived of an interaction of different forms of temporality. In addition, he avoided an overtly sexualisation of living beings whereas Schelling and Oken – albeit in different ways – were heavily preoccupied with sexual difference. Schelling's and Oken's understandings of sexual difference and temporality, I argue, contributed much to an epistemic fascination with ‘higher order' and the subordination of the individual – which in Schellings words is ‘contested' by Nature.

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