Modern Science, the End of Metaphysics and the Transdisciplinarity of Transcendental Philosophy
David J. Allen (Warwick)
Modern philosophy is characterised by a loss of disciplinary integrity. This is a result, in part, of the encroachment of modern science upon the territory which philosophy had previously taken to be its own: metaphysics. Deleuze embraces this collapse of philosophy as metaphysics, I argue, but refuses any ‘end of philosophy’. Philosophy continues, not as an isolable discipline, but as a creative power of thinking parasitic on a transdisciplinary receptivity to philosophy’s outside.
With the rise of modern science, many of the questions that had challenged philosophers for millennia found either answers or a loss of legitimacy. The notion of a distinctive set of rationally answerable questions beyond physical questions culturally waned and with it philosophy’s sense of disciplinary identity. In response to this inaugural crisis of modern philosophy, attempts were made to recast philosophy’s disciplinary identity explicitly in terms of its relationship to the sciences, resulting in an explosion of metaphilosophical projects in the modern period. What we find in Deleuze’s work is a metaphilosophy marked by this modern reorientation of philosophy towards its scientific outside. But, rather than seeing this reorientation as a way to carve out a distinctive domain for philosophy alongside science, in Deleuze we find a rethinking of this modern metaphilosophical orientation as a recognition of the transdisciplinary potential of philosophy.
The paper explores how Deleuze’s early work takes up Kant’s metaphilosophical project of transcendental philosophy and finds in it the germ of a new concept of philosophy. In ‘transcendental empiricism’, there is an explicit interdependency of philosophy and metaphilosophy. At a philosophical level, the relationship between the transcendental and the empirical is redistributed, as is the relationship between the passive and active faculties – sensible receptivity and thought. Simultaneously, at a metaphilosophical level, philosophy qua thought comes to understand itself as essentially receptive.
In the paper, I examine the interplay between philosophy and metaphilosophy in Deleuze’s early work, his transformation of transcendental philosophy, his understanding of philosophy’s relationship with science, and the place of transdisciplinarity in Deleuze’s post-metaphysical thinking.
Philosophy and history of philosophy. Deleuze as a trainee guard of the epistemological borders
Gieuseppe Bianco (Warwick)
Deleuze is a proponent of a conception of philosophy that I would define as “exceptionalist”. For exceptionalist I intend a conception of philosophy advocating, for different reasons (its universalism, systematicity, rationality, etc.) its absolute irreducibility to psycho-social determinations.
Deleuze’s late theorizations in What is philosophy ? are well known: they aim at opposing the concept and the event to functions and states of things, philosophical characters to psycho-social persona, the plan of immanence to the plan of reference and so on.
To put it clearly, all exceptionalist conceptions constitute an epistemological obstacle to those who are trying to put into practice – both for cognitive and political reasons – contextualization. Therefore there’s no bigger challenge than the one of trying to put into context the ones that argue that they’re not likely to be put into context.
To understand Deleuze’s exceptionalist conception one has to refer to his first steps into the philosophical field during the Fifties. In fact theorethical positions have to be understood not only as chains of reasons trying to solve eternal and/or contingent problems, but also as developments of a series habiti, unconscious dispositions that have been interiorized during the young age.
In this paper I’m trying to explain how Deleuze’s initial trajectory as an historian of philosophy, how his refusal of phenomenology and Hegelianism have to be tied to its individual trajectory and the situation of the social field during the Fifties.
I will confront some of its writing of the early Fifties and his conception of philosophy (as it is opposed both to history and to the social sciences) to the polemics going on between “existentialists” and “Marxists”, between philosophy and the social sciences, between proponents of a “literary” conception of the history of philosophy (Alquié) and of the proponents of a “scientific” one (Gueroult).
The Question of The Being in Deleuze’s Thinking.
Djamel Benkrid (Paris 8)
Gilles Deleuze asked the following question: “we generally confuse philosophy with ontology. Perhaps because until now we have not found yet better than ontology concept signification. The unambiguous being insists in the language and arises in things; he measures the hidden link of language with the external one of the being. Neither active nor passive, the unambiguous being is neuter. He himself, he is beyond the being; this means that this minimum of being in reality, in possible and in impossible. Continuity and discontinuity are opposed one to another. Discontinuity is a set of actions which produce continuous and non finite ones. This has been seen in every machine connected to a set of machines – desirous – productive a “mechanical arrangement “multiple and singular. A machine produces an interruption of the flow just because it is connected to another machine which is supposed to produce it. And doubtless this second machine in fact, is in its turn an interruption. But, it is only when connected with a third machine which produces relatively a non finite and a discontinuous flow.
Deleuze’s Structuralism: Logic and Life (or “Deleuze, Spinoza, Structuralism”)
Guillaume Collett (Kent)
Traditionally Deleuze has been opposed to structuralist philosophies of language, particularly their prioritising of linguistic concepts over affective experience. This spontaneous vitalist reading of Deleuze has underemphasised the constant tension in the entirety of Deleuze’s work between life and its assemblage (agencement). In this talk I will look at Deleuze’s work on Spinoza from the late 1960s, and outline the “logic of expression” or of “sense” that Deleuze teases out of his work. I will show that for Deleuze, there is no God-Nature in Spinoza independently of a propositional logic, which should be grounded not in a phenomenological sense-bestowing subject, nor simply in God-Nature itself, but in the impersonal structure of the proposition (voice, phoneme, phallus, proper name, verb, etc.). In this way I will show that for the Deleuze of the 1960s there is no life or affective experience independently of concepts, and there is no God-Nature independently of linguistic concepts; yet, contrary to other “structuralists”, in Deleuze these concepts are themselves completely immanent to life. For Deleuze there is therefore no life without a corresponding concept, and no concept that is not a form of life.
Using this angle of analysis, I will argue that Deleuze’s relation to philosophy and transdisciplinarity in the late ‘60s, is one of integration. In The Logic of Sense, I will show that Deleuze takes the Spinozist model of expression and interweaves it with non-philosophical disciplines (namely structural linguistics, psychoanalysis, and literature and art), in a way that offers his Spinozism its properly non-philosophical ground, all the while rooting these disciplines within a Spinozist ontology of expression and immanence. I will argue that the nature of Deleuze’s reading of Spinozism is such that it is philosophically acceptable to inject these non-philosophical disciplines into the heart of logic and ontology; and I will show that Deleuze’s approach to the relation between philosophy and non-philosophy in The Logic of Sense is one of genetically developed integration.
What is called thinking?
by Benoît Dillet, University of Kent.
In this paper, I will be doing a close reading of chapter 3 (‘Image of Thought’) from Difference and Repetition, in connection to Heidegger’s 1954 lectures on ‘What is called thinking?’ These lectures were the first lectures Heidegger was allowed to deliver after his suspension in 1944 due to his involvement in the Nazi regime. Hence teaching and learning were at the centre of these lectures, similarly to Deleuze’s chapter which finishes on the process of learning. Yet, I would like to draw the fundamental differences between Heidegger’s 1954 text and Deleuze’s 1968 text (but also extending it to the project of ‘the image of thought’, which starts from Nietzsche and Philosophy to continue in Proust and Signs and Difference and Repetition, to finally reappear briefly in What is Philosophy?).
If Deleuze learnt from Heidegger that thinking is not an innate faculty but a practice requiring learning and experiencing, he does not entrust the action of thinking to engineers of theory and dialectics. I suggest that both Deleuze and Foucault introduced a positive definition of the outside that is democratic and not aristocratic in nature. Hence, we are not yet thinking, since thinking is necessarily creative and from the outside. Thinking is then an act of creation that is a connection to a limit, to the outside: `The limit is not outside language, it is the outside of languageʼ (Deleuze, Critic and Clinic, (London: Verso, 1998), p. lv). Only a connection to the outside, when the outside is inside, produces thought-as- creation. Becoming, against history, is a relation with the non-relational when the infinitely farther becomes infinitely closer. Thought gets hold of the body with Deleuze overarching all divisions of the mental and the physical, unveiling the incorporeal and the impersonal. To be in connection with the outside does not mean that everything is fleeing but on the contrary, the experience of the limit is always coupled with a return, avoiding a thought to escape itself.
The contamination of disciplines. The potency of thinking in the Deleuzian’s context.
Amanda Núñez García (UNED, Madrid, Spain)
We will examine the way in which we can think the aesthetics, Sciences or Philosophy today in the crossroad of knowledge. For think this essentially crossroad that configures the disciplines in our days, we must not to see the question from the topics of our societies that divide them in sciences, arts, humanistic, etc. but on the side of the research and creative potential between all champs of knowledge –active and flowing–. All in a conjunctive project, also politic, as W. Benjamin show us in his thinking.
This way to think the actual interdisciplinary contamination, continuing the tradition of W. Benjamin, G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, M. Serres, P. Virilio, etc.
This method of think and creativity is, at the same time, novel and old because is the way that creators like Lucrecio had made in his poetic science of Venus. And that can teach us news relationships not only with ours art, scientific and philosophical productions today, but mainly, news relationships with our past in a conception of time-space not lineal neither progressive.
In this paper we examine the notion established by Deleuze in A Thousand Plateaus: “contamination” to note that creative productivity can only be given in a place where borders are not sedentary and exclusive. We’ll see how well the current separation between disciplines is “in fact” and “in law” impossible now. If that happens we can not get the notion of creativity in sciences as calling P. Virilio and all disciplines be sequestered by the power (and not the potency immanent in themselves), in the sense that they depend only on subsidized projects remain in the same place as Benjamin states: aesthetics as autonomic discipline to be the most useless, and science as a mode of power. Philosophy would be considered dead due to raising tone because she’ll not able to mix and composite with the other disciplines in name of a illusory power, hierarchically transcendentalist contrary to the potency.
‘Immanence as differential material of human practices: on the distinction between transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity’
Marjorie Gracieuse (Warwick)
In What is Philosophy? we find the idea that philosophy is not interdisciplinary1 but rather involves what we could call, after Guattari, a ‘trans-‐disciplinary’ element of immanence, insofar as different disciplines such as philosophy, science and art do not develop on the same plane of creation, but become nonetheless indiscernible when they are apprehended from the perspective of the virtual reserve of potentialities from which they emerge.
In order to shed light on the nature of this displacement from the model of interdisciplinarity towards a practice of transdisciplinary, this paper aims to emphasize an important series of differentiations, which Deleuze and Guattari construct and explore in What is Philosophy?. This book forces us to think, in all its complexity, the perspectival difference between what they call ‘pure immanence’, ‘the plane of immanence’ and ‘planes of immanence’. Indeed, this book operates an epistemological distinction between the intensive materiality of becoming (i.e ‘chaos’), ‘The plane of immanence’ as ‘unlimited One-‐All’ and its various singularisations by distinct individuals. Thus, philosophers operate from a ‘plane of immanence’, scientists from a ‘plane of reference’ and artists from ‘plane of composition’, these three planar modalities corresponding to the specific ways philosophy, science and art actualise the immanent potentialities of life into distinct creations.
This materialistic, multileveled and constructivist approach of immanence will lead me to analyse the genesis of thought as capacity of producing ‘orders out of chaos’, but also to explain the contingent nature of disciplines such as philosophy, science and art and to expose the reasons why these disciplines do not cease to interfere and resonate with one another while remaining on different planes of thought. After this analysis, we shall see to what extent ‘trans-‐ disciplinarity’ can be distinguished from the regulative ideal of inter-‐ disciplinarity. Indeed, transdisciplinarity designates a decisive and revolutionary operation, which concerns each discipline on their own creative field of development. Indeed, it pertains to philosophy, science and art to maintain their integral specificity as distinct practices, by precisely refusing to be inscribed into a hierarchy of disciplines. The problem with the hierarchical, disciplinary scheme of organisation is that it represses the inventive autonomy of disciplines by submitting their outcomes to a common unity of measure, rendering them dependent on transcendent values or ends, such as that of ‘capitalistic productivity’ or ‘community welfare’. In fact, it is only by abandoning their will to dominate other disciplines and their desire to serve a transcendent Ideal that philosophy, art and science have a chance to encounter each other and to partipate to a collective effort of emancipation. Indeed, they have only one imperative: that of exceeding their relative horizons by creating new cerebral connections and circuits in order to reconnect humanity with the intrinsic power of novelty that it bears within itself, as a way to combat both the movement of cretinization that characterises Modernity and the ignorance onto which coercive powers feed.
Negotiations and Deleuze’s Philosophical Practice
Andrew Goffey (Middlesex)
My paper proposes an account of Deleuze’s practice as a philosopher by starting from a reading of his ‘circumstantial’ writings – those interviews, articles, lectures and so on that are habitually considered as outside the Deleuzean oeuvre proper.
The paper will focus on a number of key texts in this regard: Deleuze’s interview with Foucault in L’Arc (1972); his paper written against the ‘nouveaux philosophes’ (1977); the account of the ‘conversation’ developed with Claire Parnet in Dialogues (1977); and the collection of interviews and papers published as Pourparlers (1990). The paper will be organised around a reading of the short prefatory text written by Deleuze to accompany Pourparlers and of the way in which it situates philosophy in relation to ‘powers’ – religion, States, capitalism, law, opinion, the television. How, the paper will ask, does Deleuze effectively carry out philosophical ‘negotiations’ [pourparlers]? How, in particular, does he do so through a practice of ‘conversation’ [entretien]? It will be a question here of offering a more detailed account of what philosophy does as and when it enters into negotiations with powers to which it has nothing to say.
Whilst being focused directly on these ‘circumstantial’ writings, the paper seeks to make links not just to the Deleuzean oeuvre properly so-called (Negotiations was published when he was working on What is Philosophy? and Deleuze himself underlined, a propos of Foucault, the way in which interviews formed part of his work) and to his later concerns about non-philosophy, but also to contemporary debates in philosophy and related areas (aesthetics, science studies) on the scope and comprehension of ‘pragmatics’. This in turn will offer the opportunity to propose something of a corrective to the hitherto rather one-sided understanding of the links between theoretical speculation and practice in Deleuze’s work, as well as to offer
Time as Eternal Return and Betting, Deleuze and Kuki.
Tatsuya HIGAKI, (Osaka University)
Shuzo Kuki is a philosopher from early 20th century Japan famous for his writings on the aesthetic sense characteristic of the Japanese people, in The Structure of <Iki(chic)>. Nonetheless his main work is The Problem of Contingency in which he distinguished, under the influence of Heidegger and Bergson, kinds of contingencies and emphasized especially the ‘disjunctive contingency’. In some points these discussions have significant relations with that of Gilles Deleuze.
These two philosophers both regard as essential the ‘Eternal Return’ and ‘Un coup de dés’ and they both deal with the problem of disjunction which derives from the former two themes. Furthermore I would like to point out that these two persons quote the same phrases of Marcel Proust concerning ‘the ideal’, a very important concept for the deleuzian philosophy of virtuality and reality. However, even if their main works are separated by a time of over 30 years, their relationship is not confined to mere similarities. To examine their ‘relationship without any direct relation’ will be contributive in searching for one of the origins of deleuzian thought itself.
It is evident that Deleuze’s thought has its roots in some place other than the ideas of phenomenology or analytical philosophy, the philosophies of consciousness and language which came to form the mainstream of the 20th century. Rather, Deleuze’s thought has its origin in 19th century thought. His philosophy, as it is derived from the prehistory of contemporary thought, is presented as a criticism of contemporary thought, and in this sense, his philosophy possesses the potentiality as a ‘Philosophy of Nature’ which will be crucial for the 21st century. We can assume these circumstances from the fact that one Japanese philosopher―a philosopher who absorbed thought from the same sources as Deleuze―contemplated something very similar concerning Time and Contingency.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better. The role of literature in Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism
Emma Ingala (UCM Madrid)
Why does Deleuze, right when he is about to approach and grasp the object of real experience, the object of what he calls transcendental empiricism, apparently leave the field of ontology and seek examples in literature? A similar question was raised in Difference and repetition and Logic of sense apropos of Plato’s use of myths in his dialogues, and its answer may be a guide for the resolution of the first problem: why does Plato, right when he is about to reach the end of dialectics –i.e. establish the difference–, seem to abandon the method of division and suddenly invoke a myth? Aristotle interpreted this gesture as a failure of Platonic dialectics, which could not divide reality into genders and species with probative force. However, Aristotle was unable to see that this apparent failure was indeed the triumph of Plato’s procedure, that it was the only way for it to succeed: the myth provided a sensible face to the very entity which did not have one, that is, the Idea. In the same way, Deleuze’s appeal to literature is not merely anecdotic, nor an evidence of a theoretical insufficiency or inability to tackle its object. On the contrary, it is an integral part of transcendental empiricism, its culmination. In this sense, philosophy become literary –remember the preface of Difference and repetition, in which the philosophical text is placed halfway between science-fiction and the detective genre.
The field of philosophical reflection is redefined in Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism project as falling beyond the limits of ordinary experience. The object of real experience not only defies the postulates of common sense, but also proves itself unsuitable to the conditions of possible experience, to a series of a priori forms. The object of thought, the object which forces us to think, is rather the object of an impossible experience, an Outside, failure or crack-up of the experience. It is an intense germ of virtual objectivity that, though completely real, is not yet actualized –it does not exist but insists, subsists as a problem beyond each particular solution it engenders. This extraordinary experience challenges the faculties and turns their impotence into their highest power: thanks to this failure, they can exceed their former limitations. Thanks to this impossibility, they can start to think otherwise. And it is literature –together with clinical cases, that is to say, madness, and often confused with it– what mostly supplies philosophy with these fantastic objects, with this radical experience of an Outside that forces to think and suggests other worlds. Phenomenological data are thus replaced in Deleuze’s work –from the very beginning, since one of Deleuze’s first monographs is devoted to Proust, to the very end– by literary material. We would like to examine some of these instances in order to (1) clarify the project of transcendental empiricism and (2) explore the relationship between philosophy and literature within the Deleuzian system.
Art Installation by Ryo Ikeshi and Inigo Wilkins
Ryo Ikeshiro (Goldsmiths)
The Lorenz dynamical system is a three-dimensional model of convection that is nonlinear, chaotic and sensitive to initial conditions, and Construction in Zhuangzi is based on its simultaneous sonification and visualisation. It is implemented in the programming environment Max/MSP/Jitter and during performance, parameters are modified in real-time. A diverse variety of behaviours can be observed, ranging from periodicity to chaos. These yield interesting results as audio, either as signal data in nonstandard synthesis or control data such as rhythm, pitch and panning (no pre-recorded samples or conventional oscillators are used apart from sine waves), and as 3D visuals.
Being representations of the same data source, coherence between the two domains are maintained without either of them being subservient to the other as it is neither the audio triggering the visuals or vice versa as is often the case in standard VJ practice.
Inigo Wilkins (Goldsmiths)
The reversal of Platonism that Nietzsche affirms, and that Deleuze reaffirms, is that of a non-dialectical immediacy of truth in the limitless productivity or continuous variation of artistic composition. This is not just a reversal of the Platonic hierarchy of transcendent Form, but a collapsing of the distinction between the mediate and immediate through the institution of a relative absolute or absolute relativity such that all truth becomes appearance and all appearance becomes truth.
In contrast with this hyper-aesthetic paradigm, Badiou returns to a neo-Platonic conception of truth as an unconditioned generic infinity that must be subtracted from the finitude of its situation. While for Deleuze the artist draws out a plane of composition whose meaning depends on the philosophical plane of immanence, for Badiou an artistic configuration produces an immanent truth itself in its fidelity to the event, and the task of philosophy is merely to announce its arrival.
Both such placements and displacements of thesis and aesthesis will be critically examined with the aid of Laruelle’s rigorous non-philosophical conception of philosophy’s pathological compulsion to reinsert transcendence into immanence. The paper will argue that the incomputable randomness indexed by ‘noise music’ is an exemplary expression of the non-aesthetic articulation of what Laruelle calls the ‘generic matrix’.
A Thousand plateaus and Leroi-Gourhan
Vincent Jacques (Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture)
We will analyze the importance of the work of Leroi-Gourhan in A Thousand Plateaus. The distinction that the author introduced between the hand and the brain is an essential reference for the theory of the « agencement ». The history of the Earth as genealogical logic of variation of deterritorialisation is also an original reading of the Leroi-Gourhan’s history of the release of the hand and the brain.
Deleuze on Rousseau, Sovereignty and Debt
Christian Kerslake (Middlesex)
Deleuze’s lectures on Rousseau from 1959-60 offer an interpretation of Rousseau’s overall argument in the Social Contract, and put forward sophisticated proposals about how to understand the relation between subjectivity and sovereignty, both in Rousseau’s work and in political philosophy more generally. Deleuze never published the lectures or worked them into a book, and the lectures end on an aporetic note, drawing attention to the anomalous role given by Rousseau to the legislator of the people. However, some themes from the lectures are taken up in his 1962 Nietzsche and Philosophy, for instance in its reflections on legislation and sovereignty. This paper will start by exploring Deleuze’s development of these themes, and will then broaden out to discuss the relationship between sovereignty and debt, (i) applying Deleuze’s interpretation of Rousseau to the problem of public debt, and (ii) criticising the recent use of Carl Schmitt’s theory of sovereignty.
Transdisciplinarity in Deleuze and Bergson
Masa Kosugi (Goldsmiths)
Throughout his career, Gilles Deleuze puts forth a consistent image of Henri Bergson as a philosopher who does not oppose philosophy and science, except in What is Philosophy? In this work, philosophy, science and art are respectively endowed with an equally autonomous status to the extent that the relations between them as disciplines are thought as those of “interference” rather than hierarchical superimposition. The insistence of Deleuze and Guattari upon such a horizontal relation between the disciplines is largely motivated by their militant departure from the Bergsonian view: his privileging of philosophy in grasping “the lived” (le privilège de vécu) while relegating science to the limited status of the “ready-made” (tout fait) and the “symbolic” mechanization (or spatialisation) of lived time. This would seem to contradict Deleuze’s earlier texts on Bergson, which, in fact, not only stage a defense against reductivist readings of Bergson but also use the very tools provided by Bergson’s philosophy to transcend the reciprocal antagonism between science and philosophy.
This paper will attempt to address the above inconsistency via a clarification of what Deleuze expresses under the method of intuition in Le Bergsonisme. In particular, it will focus on the method’s two distinctive moments (division and unification) and re-read the apparent change in Deleuze’s attitude towards Bergson in not as an inconsistency but as belonging to a distinct moment of the said method. It will suggest that this operation allows us to reconcile the internal tension within Bergson (regarding the relation between disciplines) and to locate the origin of the vision of transdisciplinarity present in What is Philosophy?
Deleuze and Guattari’s Historiophilosophy: Philosophical Thought and its Historical Milieu
Craig Lundy (Exeter)
This paper will examine the relation between philosophical thought and the various milieus in which such thought takes place using the late work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. It will argue that Deleuze and Guattari’s assessment of this relation involves a rearticulation of philosophy as an historiophilosophy. To claim that Deleuze and Guattari promote such a form of philosophy is contentious, as their work is often noted for implementing an ontological distinction between becoming and history, whereby the former is associated with the act of creation and the latter with retrospective representations of this creative process. Furthermore, when elaborating on the creative nature of philosophical thought, Deleuze and Guattari explicitly refer to philosophy as a geophilosophy that is in contrast to history. Nevertheless, this paper will demonstrate that far from abandoning the category of history, Deleuze and Guattari’s analysis of the relations between philosophical thought and relative milieus suggests to us an historical ontology and methodology that is a critical part of philosophy’s nature.
In order to illustrate the importance of history to Deleuze and Guattari’s late definition of philosophy, this paper will analyse the three milieus of philosophy that they set out in their explication of philosophy-as-geophilosophy: Ancient Greece (philosophy’s past), modern Europe (philosophy’s present) and that which is the process of coming about (philosophy’s future). In each case, Deleuze and Guattari will show how the nature of philosophical thought is contoured by geographical milieus and relative circumstances. But as this paper will demonstrate, on each occasion the milieu in question is arguably as much historical in nature as geographical. Even more interestingly, as we will see, it is historians and forms of historical analysis that appear to point the way forward for Deleuze and Guattari. Noting this, I will conclude, will not only help to overcome the supposed incongruity between philosophy and history. More profoundly, it will itself suggest a notion of philosophy-as-historiophilosophy.
Events and the Critique of Ideology
Iain MacKenzie (Kent)
‘On what condition is the critique of ideology possible?’ (Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, 64).
In this paper I will defend the claims that the critique of ideology requires creative interventions in the symbolic order of society and that those creative interventions must be understood as events. It will be argued that these claims animate the work of both Ricoeur and Deleuze and yet also help to uncover the fundamental difference that exists between them regarding the conditions that make such critique possible: a difference regarding the nature of events qua events. I will argue that the difference between Ricoeur and Deleuze can be understood in these terms: Ricoeur is the philosopher of the narrated event; Deleuze of the dramatic event. But rather than pursue a point-by-point comparison of their respective philosophies of the event, I will construct a more dynamic line of (social and political) inquiry that leads from Ricoeur to Deleuze with a view to establishing at what point of the journey these two thinkers take different paths (a crossroads that is rather neatly signposted by Meillassoux’s After Finitude, as I will argue). In conclusion, I will argue that Ricoeur’s question (above) should be given a Deleuzean answer: the critique of ideology is conditioned by the emergence of singular events, understood as dramatic changes in the intensive domain that traverses the symbolic order.
“Problem-sharing. Deleuze, structuralism and the ontology of the encounter.”
Patrice Maniglier (Essex)
This is the case of an odd encounter. Transdisciplinarity is being promoted by the official research institutions on the ground of the importance of problems in researchCharacteristic of this technocratic conception of knowledge, in which research has to be useful (i.e. to relate to some “real-life” problems), is the following sentence by Garry D. Brewer : « The world has problems, but universities have departments. » (cit. in Hirsch Hadorn et alii, Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research, 2008, p. 4). As it happens, Deleuze too tried to promote the category of problem in the account of thought, creation and even life in general. But, as is well known, it is only to show that problems have to be thought both as constructed (as opposed to being already given in the world – with the proviso that it is their essence that requires them to be constructed: they are beings-in-the-making or beings to-be-constructed), and as positive, as opposed to the negativity of the problems in the technocratic conception of thought (problems as things to get rid of). But the concept of problem plays in Deleuze a double role: on the one hand, problems are domain or medium-specific; but on the other hand, they are that which articulates the media with one another. In other words, the concept of problem concentrates the problem of transdisciplinarity. The paper will show first that this Deleuzian conception of problems can be usefully read as an internal critique of transdisciplinary studies, and will then proceed to draw from structuralism in order to understand better of the nature of problems, and thereby of the ontological ground for transdisciplinarity. Being problematizing itself, thought has to be both disciplinary and transdisciplinary.”
From Neologism to Formalism: The Pitfalls of Cratylic Reasoning in Deleuzian Nonsense
Helen Palmer (Goldsmiths)
Deleuze’s paradoxical system of sense and nonsense expounded in The Logic of Sense presents neologism in such a way that the seemingly discrete strata of linguistic materiality and conceptual creation are treated as one and the same thing. A comparable collapsing of the boundaries between linguistic and conceptual innovation can be found in the zaum language of Russian futurists Velimir Khlebnikov and Alexei Kruchenykh, whose zaum writings are simultaneously manifestos, poems, science fiction and philosophical treatises.
Deleuze’s formula for nonsense makes a mockery of synonymy and its eternal inaccuracy in the attempt to mimetically represent both the referential object and the previous synonym. Nonsense manages to be both entirely external to itself at the same time as being entirely self-referential, because it only refers to itself but each time that ‘itself’ may be something different. A process of meaning and a referential object are not absent but instead have infinite potential to vary. This process is formalised into an alternative system of reasoning wherein sound dictates meaning rather than sense, and the process of recognition through differentiation is bypassed in favour of phonaesthetic associations. In accordance with Cratylus rather than Saussure, this type of writing is not meaningless but instead extra- or supra-meaningful. It contains sonic motivation which places it in total coincidence with its object.
Deleuze and Khlebnikov both attempt this Cratylic exegesis at certain points in their writings on language. This paper will critically analyse some examples of this process of the formalisation of nonsense. The problematic solidification of zaum language into the systems of the Russian Formalists demonstrates the problems which arise when neologism is harnessed and systematized. If philosophy is the creation of concepts and words are concepts, neologism is the empty form of a concept which can either be celebrated as the beginning of creation or derided as autonomous ‘formalism’.
Philosophy and science as forms of thought
Stamatia Portanova (Birkbeck)
Since the Deleuze and Guattari/Whitehead dialogue will be the constant basis of this paper, we should first of all highlight a fundamental dis-accord between the two. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of thought, and in particular of philosophical thought, as an intensive continuity resonates, but also differentiates itself, from Whitehead’s philosophico-scientific definition of the world as an empirically experienced ‘extensive continuum’ of divisions and relations.
For Deleuze and Guattari, philosophical concepts and mathematical functions share a common aim: to skim chaos and obtain an ordered form of expression. But the methodological routes of the two are certainly different. On one hand, concepts work as ‘distinctive indiscernibles’, or coagulated points of reflection, in what the two consider as the chaotic, intense and intricately woven continuum of ideas. In its turn, this intensive quality of thought can be explained as an abstract materiality (or an infinite potential to continuously connect) that is immanent to all bodies, objects, things. In apparent opposition with Deleuze and Guattari’s synthetic definition of thought as the intense mutability, or the continuous connectability and indiscernibility of bodies, Whitehead’s ‘extensive continuum’ is like a schema of potentials and ideas (ideas of quality, of number, of form), an ontological schema deriving from the equivalence of philosophy (as metaphysics) and science (as pure mathematics), an immanent category allowing different mathematical and geometric relations to be woven between extended, divisible and computable actualities of the physical world.
It would be too limiting, and not very far reaching, to discard one vision in favour of the other. In fact, the apparent opposition between the two does not amount to an irreconcilable ontological difference, and the two philosophies can be brought back to a common idea. In both systems, the extensive divisions or atoms of the actual world (for Whitehead, the ‘occasions’; in Deleuze and Guattari’s words, the ‘strata’) are always intensified and animated by a potentiality that repositions the abstractness of the mind and the openness of thought in the physical composition of matter. But although attracted by the magnetic pole of one and the same idea (an idea of immanence), two diverging trajectories or methods of research delineate themselves after this ‘intensive-extensive’ terminological differentiation.
L’art et la pensée au milieu de la pensée
Cristina Pósleman (San Juan Argentina)
Deleuze ne cesse pas de confronter la conception de la pensée qui appelle à une « dimension supplémentaire » à la pensée même. Soit le « sens commun », l’Urdoxa, ou l’« opinion », dans chaque cas il s’agit d’un artifice que, comme le parapluie de Lawrence, l’empêche de se déclencher. C’est-à-dire, il faut assumer que tout rapport, bien que débordant, doit être considéré comme appartenant à la pensée même. Donc, dans la formule de Différence et Répétition, «penser est créer, et il n’y a pas d’autre création, mais créer est engendrer pensée dans la pensée », le concept de création devient l’arm la plus efficace, dès qu’il vient assumer cette menace constitutive, et au même temps fait de celle-ci, une instance productrice. Deleuze rencontre dans la création artistique, et dans certaines œuvres littéraires en particulier, la vraie expérimentation de la condition créatrice de la pensée. Proust lui montre que la pensée construits des signes. Carroll, dans les trois œuvres choisie par Deleuze, indique la condition évènementiel du sens. Puis Artaud, il est qui amène la pensée deleuzienne vers la confrontation avec toute « organisation » du corps. Puis Lawrence, qui « désoedipise » la sexualité. Kafka sera qui montre l’écriture comme un agencement collectif d’énonciation. Les marionnettes de Kleist, seront les responsables de rendre compte de la condition machinique et multiple de l’écriture. C’est que la création artistique concerne l’expérimentation de ce que la philosophie soumette aux tribunaux de n’importe quelle instance supplémentaire (bien que chacune ait son propre logique de fonctionnement). On va montrer à travers de considérer un de ces exemples, comment les rencontres entre la philosophie et l’art contribuent à la formulation des conditions transcendantales d’une nouvelle façon de faire de la philosophie, dont il s’agit non plus de déduire un contenu d’un apriori à la pensée, mais de se découler au milieu de lui.
Independence, Alliance, Echo: Deleuze on the (Inter-)Relationship between Philosophy, Science, and Art.
Gavin Rae (American Univ. of Cairo)
According to Deleuze, philosophy is intimately connected to and even dependent on the non, or pre-, philosophical. What exactly this relationship entails, however, is never clearly or consistently outlined. Indeed, in-line with his notion of multiplicity and disdain for philosophical consistency (see ‘Five Propositions on Psycholanalysis’), this paper suggests that three possible interpretations based around the notions of independence, alliance, and echo can be gleaned from his writings.
The first type of relationship is the simplest and least inter-related in that it maintains that, while constituted by a common intentionality towards being, philosophy, science, and art are wholly independent from one another. Not only does each engage in its own specific analysis of being unrelated to other disciplines, but there is no hope of each speaking to or informing the others.
A more hopeful and complex relationship can, however, be gleaned from the ‘Preface’ to the English edition of Difference and Repetition where Deleuze briefly points towards some form of inter-relationship between the three disciplines based around the idea of ‘alliance.’ I interpret this to mean that there is an external relationship between the three whereby philosophy, science, and art each work on and through their individual analyses of being before looking to form alliances with the other disciplines to better understand being and/or deal with the immanent problem(s) encountered. While more positive towards the idea of inter, or trans-, disciplinary work, its focus on external difference ensures that this conception of the relationship between the disciplines continues to insist on their fundamental independence.
This fundamental independence is, however, questioned and overturned in a number of other texts, such as ‘On a Thousand Plateaus,’ ‘Letter to Reda Bensmaïa, on Spinoza,’ ‘On Philosophy,’ and ‘Mediators,’ where Deleuze claimsthat there is an intimate connection between the disciplines that goes beyond both their common intentionality (being) and the possibility of an external alliance to an internal inter-relationship whereby the content of each discipline echoes through the internal structures, methods, and analyses of the others. This echo is not thought out or located in any one point of reference, but reverberates through philosophy and non-philosophy at the pre-reflective level, thereby allowing each to impact on both the conclusions and manner of thinking of the others. While the exact nature of this echo is left open, I conclude by suggesting that, of the three, it best allows us to map the way(s) in which the various disciplines interact with, shape, and relate to one another.
Deleuze and the Aesthetics of Relation
Spencer Roberts (Huddersfield & Hertfordshire)
Deleuze’ philosophy is strongly oriented by process philosophical themes. That is to say, it expresses a concern with process, relation and the absolute ontological priority of the new. The neutrality of the concepts of process and relation confer upon Deleuzean philosophy an at once inter and trans-disciplinary character. More specifically, Deleuze’ contingent, processual characterisation of relation encompasses both cross-disciplinary contact, and individual disciplinary transformation. He famously stresses the empiricist notion that “relations are external to their terms” (Dialogues, 55).
Whilst the concept of process has remained relatively stable throughout the Deleuzian corpus, this is arguably not the case with respect to the still somewhat under explored concept of relation. I argue here that despite Deleuze’ insistence on the extrinsic character of relations, there are a number of seemingly incompatible senses of this concept that can be located within his work. There is, for example, a syncretist and eternalist conception of relation that conditions The Logic of Sense, a genetic, differential and productive conception of relation at work in Difference and Repetition and a more pragmatic, overtly political sense of relation or relationship that is developed in his collaboration with Guattari. Despite the tensions between these various characterisations, they nevertheless share an instrumental unity in so far as they each express, in their own distinctive fashion, the primacy of becoming and the production of the new. In this sense, and in accordance with the Deleuzo-Guattarian conception of philosophy as the art of forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts (What is Philosophy?, 2), these diverse and seemingly incompatible conceptions of relation can be considered elements in a series of carefully constructed dramatisations that have different audiences in mind.
Accordingly, divergent readings or actualisations of Deleuze’ philosophy prioritise one sense of relation whilst occluding or dismissing others. Whilst this is a necessary requirement for establishing logical coherence and determining sense, it obscures the fact that Deleuze’ philosophy has a primarily aesthetic, as opposed to alethic orientation, and that for Deleuze, it is the signs of art that are closest to the workings of matter (Proust and Signs, 39).
Univocity and the problem of affirmation
Simon Scott (Warwick)
Much has been written on the concept of univocity as it informs Deleuze’s reading of Spinoza, and his discussion of it in Difference and Repetition and Logic of Sense, in which he traces a history of the concept through Duns Scotus, Spinoza and Nietzsche. But what of the concept’s history in Deleuze’s own thought? Daniel W. Smith has written on the short but significant trajectory of the concept in Deleuze’s thought in the late 1960s. The aim of this paper is not to repeat what has already been written on this concept, but to draw attention to its importance in Deleuze’s thought in 1962. In Nietzsche and Philosophy, Deleuze’s only reference to univocity is to deny it (“If we understand affirmation and negation as qualities of the will to power we see that they do not have a univocal relation” – Nietzsche and Philosophy, p.188). Despite this, he argues that Nietzsche proposes “a new concept of being” (NP 186) which is ‘affirmation’.
Using the concept of univocity as a prism through which to understand the problems and questions that guide Deleuze’s reading of Nietzsche, I will focus my analysis on how Deleuze interprets and relates Nietzsche’s concepts of the eternal return and the Overman. What is the nature of Deleuze’s Nietzschean affirmation? Deleuze constructs affirmation by relating univocal being to difference. With the thesis of univocal being and his interpretation of the eternal return as a selection, Deleuze accounts for becoming as becoming-active and becoming-reactive, yet claims that “only becoming-active has being” (NP 71). This enables him to account for the overcoming of the all-too-human, reactive mode of being. But I will argue that the state of affirmation is problematic. Does the Overman function in Nietzsche and Philosophy like the Sovereign Individual in Genealogy of Morality: a post-human ideal that can never be attained? It is because of the significance of the concept of univocity in Deleuze’s thought in 1968 that his problematic configuration of the Overman in 1962 is particularly pertinent.
Corry Shores (Leuven), Julie Van der Wielen (Leuven)
For Deleuze, friendship arises with a spark. Pre-linguistic signs are communicated between both parties– neither one explicitly knows the meaning of the other’s signs, yet both are attracted to one another by means of them. These signs are emitted as subtle expressions revealing the charming ways we are a little bit nutty. Hence, friends’ love for each other’s strange allures prevents them from wanting to dominate or reduce the other to themselves; instead, they value those attractive differences that pull them together. One striking thing about Deleuze’s writings is his ability to make seemingly incompatible disciplines like calculus and aesthetics become perfect friends, placing one after the other in series without conceptual blockages between them. A wide range of disciplines – philosophy, mathematics, cinema, the sciences, literature, painting, and so on – form a community of friends as Deleuze folds each one upon the next. This folding recalls how Deleuze illustrates the formation of concepts by describing a baker kneading bread-dough. Points on opposite sides of the dough are stretched apart, raised, then pressed together. The distance between them now hangs below, no longer separating them but instead lying between like the depth down a thin crack. Deleuze’s variation on Blanchot’s concept of friendship can clarify this depth. For Blanchot, an estranging “infinite distance” of a “pure interval” unites friends through their unknowns, bringing them “together in the difference and sometimes the silence of speech.” For Deleuze as well there remains a difference between friends, but when their charms draw them together, their distance contracts to an intensive depth where phenomenal flashes of difference communicate between them. We suggest that Deleuze obtains his transdisciplinarity through his ability to charm us to the quirky and interesting things in unfamiliar disciplines. Calculus can become exciting for an aesthetician when examining Deleuze’s theory of sensation. Non-logical minds might befriend Stoic logic and semantics when seeing how Deleuze brings out their charming Lewis Carroll-like madnesses. This is transdisciplinarity as friendship, the kneading together of strange friends through their alluring differences.
The Model Theoretic Ontology of Capitalism
Brian Smith (Dundee)
Deleuze and Guattari drew connections between many diverse areas of theory, in this paper I want to focus on a connection between philosophy, politics, mathematics and logic. In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari propose a literal interpretation of Capitalism as an axiomatic system. Any meaningful politics must attempt to dismantle and disrupt this flexible and oppressive system; it must put forward propositions of flow, as opposed to propositions of axioms.
This paper will be split into two sections. In part one; I want to expand on the sketch given in A Thousand Plateaus. Drawing on the resources of model theory, the area of mathematics that inspired Deleuze and Guattari’s comparison, I will give an account of the scope and flexibility of the axiomatic strategy; focusing especially on the notion of models of realization and the ontological commitments they entail. This will result in a new, formal, conception of the subject and explain how the subject is trapped within the axiomatic framework. At the same time, I will also develop a critique of Deleuze and Guattari’s use of denumerable and nondenumberable sets to describe the internal ruptures, and potential lines of escape from the axiomatic system. This is important as Deleuze and Guattari frame their political project in terms of a controlling majority and a potentially revolutionary minority, which they equate with denumerable and nondenumberable sets respectively.
In part two, I will propose a distinction between majority and minority motivated by W.V.O. Quine’s essay Ontological Relativity. One of Quine’s enduring commitments was to defend a model theoretic ontology, based on an objectual system of quantificational logic, and to reject the rival substitutional system of quantification. Quine argued that objectual systems have a greater expressive power as they can accommodate nondenumberable models, whereas substitutional systems can only give rise to denumerable models. Returning to Deleuze’s discussion of the proposition in The Logic of Sense, I will locate the political potential of the minority in neither the objective pole, based on an objectual nondenumerable model, nor in its counterpart of a subjective pole, based on a substitutional denumerable model, both are forms of majority, but on the movement between the two. This will be a proposition of flow as opposed to the propositions of axioms.
Deleuze : le concept vs le mot d’ordre
Angelos TRIANTAFYLLOU (Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines)
Deleuze définit la philosophie comme l’art de créer des concepts, se démarquant de toute philosophie du langage, de toute analyse sans fin des choses sémiotisables, qui domina (selon Habermas) le 20e siècle.
Depuis Spinoza et le problème de l’expression jusqu’à Qu’est-ce que la philosophie ? passant par Mille Plateaux, Deleuze ne cesse pas de répéter qu’il faut créer ses propres concepts, pour ne pas parler pour les autres, pour ne pas obéir aux lois de la communication, de la conviction, aux mots d’ordre.
S’il oppose à la linguistique « apolitique » (Chomsky) générative / transformationnelle, les régimes des signes, les flux d’expression et de contenu, c’est parce qu’il faut sortir du langage dominant. On est piégés, dit-il, entre la signifiance et l’interprétose, entre l’impérialisme du signifiant et le flux schizophrène. Comment saboter la tricherie de la sémiotique signifiante, les sentences de mort, le mur du signifiant, sans tomber à l’imaginaire, le mythe, la schizophrénie ou la paranoïa ?
Il faudrait d’abord ne plus analyser les idées mais les expérimenter, ne plus analyser le langage mais le conquérir, ne pas chercher le sens mais le sous-entendre. S’il reste une sémiotique deleuzienne serait celle du désir (a-signifiante) ou des nomades (contre-signifiante), la sémiotique d’une langue à jamais étrangère, une sémiotique des flux, une sémiotique des événements, une pragmatique (Hjelmslev).
Il faut pour cela concevoir le signe comme un événement, une déterritorialisation du sens, et non comme un sens ou une essence. Sans libérer le caractère opprimé du langage, le signe comme cri ou comme toux (Kafka), sans passer par la violence de la vitesse, de l’humour et du non-sense (Logique du sens), des articles indéfinis introduisant des verbes à l’infinitif, on ne pourra jamais réunir les conditions pour créer juste un concept.
Deleuze’s Mannerist Portraiture in Philosophy
Sjoerd van Tuinen (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
On several occasions, Deleuze has compared his work in the history of philosophy to an art of the portrait. It is not a matter of ‘making lifelike’, he argues, but of ‘producing resemblance’ through non-resembling means. In this way, attention is drawn to how philosophers-as-figures mediate their respective planes of immanence and concepts. Figures are never given in fact, but have to gain consistency in the contemplation of their subjective ‘manners’ or ‘habits’. In this sense, Deleuze’s art of portraiture can be understood literally as a transmedial transfer of mannerist procedures from the arts to philosophy. Indeed, whilst Deleuze consistently refers to classicism in philosophy as ‘the old style’, the history of which makes up philosophy’s own ‘Oedipus complex’, his own adaptations of classical philosophers are immanent reproductions, produced through a process of mannerist perversion or ‘buggery’: not an epigonal pastiche or servile imitation combined with excessive stylization in the shadow of a greater, more classical Model, but a destructive-creative betrayal of the very pedantry and cliché’s of academism through the unity of manner and matter or of repetition and difference. In order to demonstrate this, I will make an inventory of the most important mannerist traits of expression and their exemplary media as mobilized by Deleuze. From the visual arts: the haptic diagram, the isolation of the Figure as a specific escape from figuration, the hysteric body, the realism of deformation, and the seriality of pop-art. From literature: the mannerism of sobriety as nonstyle, free indirect speech as the insertion of a foreign language within language, and Borgesian story-telling. From music: the amplification of minor content and expressions, infinite and continuous variation and the play of resonance and dissonance. From theatre: the mannerist mascherata or doubling and the body without organs.
Richard Dedekind’s impact on Deleuze’s static synthesis of time
Daniela Voss (Free University of Berlin)
In his 1978 lecture series, Deleuze praises Kant for accomplishing a great revolution in the theory of time. Kant’s definition of time as purely formal and empty reverses the cosmological and the psychological conceptions of time. In Deleuze’s words: Time is out of its joints. It is no longer subordinated to the measure of movements in nature (such as the movement of celestial bodies in their orbits), nor can it be defined by the simple succession of psychological states. Kant’s pure and empty form of time is the form in which all change of appearances is to be thought, but the form of change itself does not change.
Deleuze modifies the Kantian version of a theory of time by elaborating an ordinal definition of time, in which the future and the past are formal and fixed characteristics which follow a priori from the order of time. He thereby makes use of the mathematical work of Richard Dedekind (1831-1916), in particular Dedekind’s static and purely ideal conception of continuity, constituted by his method of ‘cuts’. Kant’s pure and empty form of time can now be described as a continuous ordered system that maps onto a straight line. Time in this sense is a static synthesis of discrete elements (past and future moments), which are distributed by a cut into a ‘before’ and ‘after’.
This paper will explore the Deleuzian conception of the third synthesis of time, which appears in Chapter Two of Difference and Repetition, in conjunction with Dedekind’s pioneering essay ‘Continuity and irrational numbers’ (1872). It will provide a prime example for Deleuze’s use of mathematical concepts for his own philosophical ends.
Philosophy must be an Ontology of Sense: Hegel and Deleuze
Nathan Widder (Royal Holloway)
This paper aims to examine the relationship Deleuze establishes with Hegel in a way that avoids a variety of commonly held views, which hold either that Deleuze either reads Hegel in an ill-informed an unsophisticated way or that Hegel is unimportant to Deleuze’s philosophy and any misreadings he commits are largely irrelevant. To this end, the paper will examine the discussions of force, consciousness, self-consciousness, and desire in the early chapters of the Phenomenology of Spirit, locating the moments where Hegel’s dialectic falters in such a way that Deleuze can provide new formulations of these terms. It will then examine these new formulations as they appear first in the theory of forces presented in Nietzsche and Philosophy, and then in the account of desire found in the appendices of The Logic of Sense. In engaging thePhenomenology in this way, it is less important to me whether Deleuze actually had the same critical reading in mind when launching his attacks on Hegel then whether such a reading and critique can make sense of Deleuze’s moves in a way that provides a more complex and sophisticated portrayal of the Hegel-Deleuze relation. What I hope to make clear from this enterprise is that Deleuze need not be seen as a figure who neglects Hegel, nor one who reads him poorly, but can rather appear as one who rather rivals and completes Hegel’s thought, much like Nietzsche, for Deleuze, rivals and completes Kant.
Architectonics without Foundations: Understanding the Transdisciplinary in Deleuze and Guattari in Relation to the History of Philosophy
Edward Willatt (Greenwich)
It seems that the term ‘architectonics’ has fallen out of use in philosophy and would certainly seem to have little chance of revival in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. If we understand architectonics as the attempt to provide the foundation and hierarchical organisation of the disciplines of knowledge it seems to be alien to their concerns. In A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari elaborate a rhizomatic method in order to remove all roots or foundations from knowledge. In their final collaboration, What is Philosophy?, it is the relation of different disciplines to chaos that unites them. These terms alone are surely enough to drive a wedge between their work and the architectonics that was ambitiously practiced until around the mid-nineteenth-century. Despite this we find in their work a transdisciplinary approach which shares certain fundamental concerns with architectonics.
In this paper we will first consider Immanuel Kant’s notion of architectonics and this will allow us to grasp what is at stake in this very idea. It will also enable us to situate similar concerns in Deleuze and Guattari’s writings. We will show how the principles of a rhizomatic method provided in A Thousand Plateaus are applied to the relations of the disciplines in their What is Philosophy? This will raise question of the privileged position of philosophy in relation to other disciplines. Do Deleuze and Guattari undermine their conception of a single plane of consistency or immanence upon which disciplinary practice is staged? This will provide us with a greater sense of the continuity and the transdisciplinary concerns of Deleuze and Guattari’s collaborations.
A sublime encounter: Deleuze’s reading of Kant
Dror Yinon (Bar-Ilan University)
Understanding Deleuze’s reading of Kant is essential to the understanding of Deleuze’s own transcendental theory presented in Difference and Repetition (DR). Time and again and in different contexts Deleuze remarks that it was Kant who opened the way – while not pursuing it – that leads to Deleuze’s own thought. Yet, Deleuze’s claim seems surprising and even problematic: Kant’s transcendental theory and especially the notion of subjectivity that lies at its center seems an unlikely source of inspiration for Deleuze’s thought. Thus, contrary to Deleuze’s relation to philosophers such as Nietzsche, Bergson and Spinoza, his relation to Kant cannot be grounded in the affinity of content between both positions.
In my paper I suggest a solution to this tension and demonstrate Deleuze’s reading of Kant as one of accepting certain structural features of Kant’s analyses without endorsing the conclusions that Kant draws from these structures. In other words, my claim is that Deleuze reads Kant in a way that first, distinguishes structural features from the meanings that are attached to them by Kant, and secondly suggests an alternative interpretation to these structural features. Finally, this alternative interpretation allows for the emergence of Deleuze’s own position from within the Kantian framework. As Deleuze constructs his transcendental empiricism in DR through a critical reading of Kant’s transcendental idealism, the analysis of this reading is crucial for the understanding and the justification of Deleuze’s own philosophy and discloses their fundamental philosophical differences.
In my paper I demonstrate Deleuze’s method in reading Kant by focusing on a note which discusses Kant’s notion of the sublime. This note, I suggest, is revealing with regard to Deleuze’s reading of Kant and in turn is crucial to the understanding of such notions central to Deleuze’s theory of subjectivity as the transcendent use of the faculties and the encounter. A careful analysis of this note, then, allows us to trace the manner in which Deleuze’s own theory is generated through a critical appropriation of its Kantian background.