Over on Cyborgology, my colleague Robin James has a post up about Taylor Swift’s promotion of her new album. James focuses on two moments in that promotion: on the one hand, Swift has removed her music from the free streaming part of Spotify, on the grounds that it insufficiently compensates her (and others’) labor in producing it. On the other hand, she released a video, “Blank,” that watches more like an interactive video game. On James’ argument, both of these strategies amount to an effort on Swift’s part to control and otherwise dictate the terms of her affective labor. On the surface of it, that’s laudable enough, and certainly the Internet can readily be seen as an enormously complex vehicle for extracting surplus value from its users by getting them to work for free. As Terry Hart tirelessly points out on Copyhype, Silicon Valley makes a lot of money off of other people’s work, and shockingly little of that money finds its way back to the content industries: Silicon Valley obscures (and does not compensate) the enormous amount of affective labor on which it depends.
When it comes to learning, Deleuze argues that “it is so difficult to say how someone learns.” (DR 23). More dramatically, Deleuze adds, there “is something amorous – but also something fatal – about all education.” (DR 23). In learning to drive a stick shift car, for example, it is not sufficient simply to be told by the instructor to “do as I do,” or to follow the rule as they have stated and/or exemplified it in their actions. Learning is not a matter of following a rule or of doing what someone else does; to the contrary, what one encounters in learning to drive a stick shift car is the task of connecting various elements – namely, the hand, foot, clutch, accelerator, slope of the road, etc.—and of connecting them systematically so that the foot releases from the clutch right when the accelerator is being pressed, etc. Similarly in learning to swim it is a matter of establishing connections between the various parts and motions of one’s body with the resistance, currents, and buoyancy of the water. As Deleuze puts it, “To learn to swim is to conjugate the distinctive points of our bodies with the singular points of the Objective Idea in order to form a problematic field.” (DR 165)
In clarifying what Deleuze means by conjugating the distinctive points “in order to form a problematic field” will offer, I argue, what I take to be a helpful perspective from which to understand Merleau-Ponty’s example of the expert organist as well as Jason Stanley’s recent work on skill.
In a famous essay, Deleuze suggests that our society has moved beyond Foucauldian disciplinary power to a more fluid “control society,” where the various sites of disciplinary control merge into a modulated network of interlocking sites of power, the primary technique of which is access control. As Deleuze notes, the move is “dispersive,” and “the factory has given way to the corporation.” Hence, “the family, the school, the army, the factory are no longer distinct analogical spaces that converge towards an owner – state or private power – but coded figures – deformable and transformable – of a single corporation that now has only stockholders.” (6) The most vivid image of such a society he attributes to Guattari, who:
“has imagined a city where one would be able to leave one’s apartment, one’s street, one’s neighborhood, thanks to one’s (dividual) electronic card that raises a given barrier; but the card could just as easily be rejected on a given day or between certain hours; what counts is not the barrier but the computer that tracks each person’s position – licit or illicit – and effects a universal modulation” (7)
This thesis has been most widely applied to surveillance and security and is easily evidenced by things like NSA “don’t fly” lists and the number of passwords one has to generate online. That said, I would like to suggest here that, at least in one respect, we’re moving past the control society. Or, perhaps, we’re seeing the truth of the control society in an unexpected way. One feature of the move from the dungeon to the panopticon is regulatory efficiency: it costs a lot less to get people to police themselves than to coerce them with brute force. The move to control is similarly efficient in that multiple, closed panoptic systems are much less efficient than a more modular arrangement where panoptic technologies are (as Foucault said they would be) completely diffused into society and work together, rather than separately.
As I concluded the previous post, I argued that the Deleuzian extension of Hume’s project entailed both the affirmation of monism (Spinoza) and multiplicity (Hume). This point is made crystal clear in A Thousand Plateaus when Deleuze and Guattari announce that “pluralism = monism” (ATP, p. 20; see this earlier post where I discuss this theme in the context of William James’ radical empiricism). This effort to bring Hume and Spinoza together, however, is fraught with difficulty, or at least apparently so, in a philosophical landscape that has been forever altered by Kant’s project.
But it is just this bringing together of Hume and Spinoza that a Deleuzian metaphysics accomplishes.
I haven't posted in quite a while, but it seems like it might be time for another continental connections post (this is also cross-posted at my own blog).
One of my favorite passages from Hume actually occurs twice – in the Treatise and the Enquiry. This is the passage where Hume offers up the example of the man with normally functioning faculties who is suddenly placed into a strange, unfamiliar environment. Here is the passage from the Treatise:
For ‘tis evident, that if a person full-grown, and of the same nature with ourselves, were on a sudden transported into our world, he wou’d be very much embarrass’d with every object, and would not readily find what degree of love or hatred, pride or humility, or any other passion he ought to attribute to it. The passions are often vary’d by very inconsiderable principles; and these do not always play with a perfect regularity, especially on the first trial. But as custom and practice have brought to light all these principles, and have settled the just value of every thing; this must certainly contribute to the easy production of the passions, and guide us, by means of general establish’d maxims, in the proportions we ought to observe in preferring one object to another. (T 2.1.6, 293-4)
In the Enquiry Hume slightly modifies the example:
Suppose a person, though endowed with the strongest faculties of reason and reflection, to be brought on a sudden into this world; he would, indeed, immediately observe a continual succession of objects, and one event following another, but he would not be able to discover any thing farther. He would not, at first, by any reasoning, be able to reach the idea of cause and effect; since the particular powers, by which all natural operations are performed, never appear to the senses; nor is it reasonable to conclude, merely because one event, in one instance, precedes another, that therefore the one is the cause, the other the effect. Their conjunction may be arbitrary and casual. There may be no reason to infer the existence of one from the appearance of the other. And in a word, such a person, without more experience, could never employ his conjecture or reasoning concerning any matter of fact, or be assured of any thing beyond what was immediately present to his memory and senses. (EHU 36).
Full disclosure: I met Jeremy Gilbert at a Deleuze conference in Wales in the summer of 2008. He gave an interesting paper on Deleuze, Guattari, and Gramsci and I ended up talking to him at pub. The conversation was one of shared interests that went beyond Deleuze, it was a Deleuze conference after all, to include Simondon, transindividuality, and the broader problem of reimagining collectivity in individualistic (and individuated) times. As anyone in academia knows, the experience of meeting someone with shared interest is often ambivalent. There is the joy of finding someone to talk to, of feeling less alone in the wilds of academia, coupled with the sadness of feeling less original, less insightful. The latter feeling is of course intensified by a publishing culture that is predicated less on collective projects and more on developing a highly individuated name for oneself. In the years since then, as our projects progressed (his made it to print first) we joked about constituting a new school of thought, Transindividual Ontology and Politics (TOP)?
It seemed appropriate to begin a review of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism with such a story, one that illustrates the way in which commonality of interests and ideas intersects with an institution geared towards individuation and competition. That we live in an “age of individualism” perhaps goes without saying. However, such a judgment raises as many questions as it answers. At what level are we to locate the individual? Is it, to borrow, words from Foucault, an “illusion,” an “ideological effect,” or a real functioning element of society? In short, are people deluded into seeing themselves as individuals, or is individuation a real material effect?
As an outsider I've been fascinated by watching continental philosophers shake off many of the neo-Kantian aspects of phenomenology in the same way that analytic philosophers earlier shook off many of the (sometimes identical!) neo-Kantian aspects of logical positivism.
What's fascinated me most these past few years is the way in which lessons, themes, and issues from the glory period of German Idealism have been so much better recovered in the continental metaphysics renaissance. That is, one can easily trace the canonical set of issues that move Maimon all the way through Schopenhauer and Hegel* (that were thought to have been dissolved by logical positivists and phenomenologists) as all rising up again in various ways by once renegade Deleuzians such as Protevi and Delanda** and the Speculative Realist writers of the same recent era: Meillassoux, Harman, Hamilton-Grant, and Brassier.***
The reason I think that 2014 is the Clash City Rockers gets released (or perhaps David Lewis visits Australia) moment for the revival of metaphysics in continental philosophy is that so much of this material a deepening of this very narrative of a dialectical recovery of what was covered over by twentieth century neo-Kantian philosophy. After the jump I'll list a few that are the most exciting to me.
All nine of the Schock winners thus far were or are eminent philosophers, and most of us can only aspire to emulate the quality of their work as best we can. Even if one allows that "The Schock" only seems to go to male, analytical philosophers, each winner is an important and interesting philosopher, deserving of significant honor. Having said that, The Schock Prize judges had four or five chances to honor David Lewis, and failed to do so. (Lewis died in the Fall of 2001.) Lewis is arguably the most significant and influential (analytical) philosopher of the last quarter of the 20th century. (Perhaps, Deleuze is the only contemporary that will match his enduring significance, but he and Foucault died before the Schock got up and running.) So, while one can excuse the members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) to play it safe and not award the prize to, say, Derrida (and, thus, avoid the predictable outcry), not giving it to Lewis means they failed to grasp the nature of analytical philosophy in their own time. That in addition, they passed on Gadamer, Ricœur, Goodman, and, thus far, Habermas suggests that the Schock has a long way to go before it can establish itself as the ultimate arbiter of general philosophical excellence.
But if, in despotic statecraft, the supreme and essential mystery be to hoodwink the subjects, and to mask the fear, which keeps them down, with the specious garb of religion, so that men may fight as bravely for slavery as for safety, and count it not shame but highest honour to risk their blood and their lives for the vainglory of a tyrant; (Spinoza, TTP, Preface)
Evolved Apprentice Kim Sterelny claims there has been an over-estimation
of the difficulty of cheater detection in small groups. (Hence he is not a
supporter of Machiavellian Intelligence theories alone; in fact, cheater
detection is less demanding than coordinating cooperation [2012, 7-10].) The
real issue for him is to explain how cooperation in complex tasks works. His answer,
apprenticeship, is fascinating in its own right, but what I want to concentrate
on here is the way in which at the end of his book Sterelny poses the question
of functionalism, or if you prefer, the Spinoza question: why do people
go along with hierarchies when they are at the bottom – or at least not at the
This NYT article on the Detroit bankruptcy* is a perfect illustration of the pernicious effects of "localism" and "presentism" in political economy.** That is, here we see the unquestioning acceptance of a spatial scale focused on political boundaries (i.e., city limits) instead of the functional economic unit (i.e., the metro area), and a temporal scale focused on the short-term ("the crisis") rather than on the long-term (the processes allowing for the production of "the crisis"). Of course, the spatial and temporal scales are related; to understand the causes of the crisis you would have to understand post-war suburbanization and the concomitant ability of the surburbs to shift tax burdens while still benefitting from proximity to the city.
*This is an ongoing story of course: see here for a judge's ruling against the bankruptcy claim and here for targeting of the municipal art collection by the disaster capitalists.
**If you want to be fancy about it, you could say this is an example of the trouble you get into by focusing on the properties of a product while neglecting the production process. (See the "illusion" discussed at Difference and Repetition, 240E.)
Really exciting things are going on in continental metaphysics. Consider the lineup in this issue: Lee Braver, Levi Bryant, Graham Harman, Eileen A. Joy, Adam Kotsko, Christopher Norris, Jon Roffe, Daniel Sacileto, (fellow newappser) Jeffery A. Bell, Manuel Delanda, Markus Gabriel, Peter Gratton, Adrian Johnston, Paul Livingston, John Mullarky, and Dylan Trigg.
I saw Adrian Johnston present his eleven theses at Notre Dame a few weeks ago, and the two hour presentation/discussion felt like it went by in fifteen minutes. I"ll be enthusiastically reading and teaching his work for years to come. Here he is at right on Lacan and John McDowell. It's dynamite stuff.
My basic take on the relation of Difference and Repetition and A Thousand Plateaus is that the virtual - actual distinction of DR seems to disappear in ATP with only the intensive left. The plane of consistency and the strata are both limits of tendencies of intensive processes which tend toward virtuality as complete capacity to form assemblages and strata as complete inability. But those limits are never reached: all rhizomes / planes of consistency have tendencies to form strata and all strata have tendencies to destratify.
Alistair Welchman has a good essay on these notions in Symposium (2009), "Deleuze's post-critical metaphysics." There's also a discussion by Alberto Toscano in his Theatre of Production (Palgrave, 2006).
DeLanda provides a doubled
difference, a differentiation and differenciation,
of Deleuze. While DeLanda certainly provides a straightforward explanation of
the process Deleuze calls counter-actualization (moving from the actual to the
virtual), he does so not by an interpretation of Deleuze’s full philosophical
output, but by a reconstruction of the ontology and epistemology of Difference
and Repetition and The Logic of Sense: ‘This line of argumentation
... is, in fact, not Deleuze’s own, although it follows directly from his
ontological analysis’ (39). As DeLanda puts it: Deleuze’s world rather than his
words. But this folds Deleuze back on himself, giving us a virtualization of
Deleuze, moving from the actual productions of Deleuze (his books) to the differentiated structures of his
production process (the network of his concepts) in order to produce a new,
divergent, differenciation (DeLanda’s
book). By virtue of being a book on Deleuze, of course, this product has itself
the all-important fold of explaining the structures of all processes (or more
precisely, explaining that all processes are structured, and that the structure
of the realm of those structures, the virtual, can itself by explicated).
And here's an outline of ISVP I did for a course I taught back then.
John’s nice post has reminded me of the importance of repetitive series for Deleuze (an issue I also discuss here). Picking up on John’s discussion of the perception of colors, series play an important role in attempting to account for our use of predicates: in short, Deleuze will often place predicates within the context of a series of predicates – e.g., shades of blue. This pattern is most obvious in Deleuze’s Logic of Sense, where each chapter is titled “First Series of…” “Second Series of…” etc.… But why series?
Two short answers, which I’ll expand on below the fold: 1) a series of differences is precisely what provides, in good Spinozist fashion, the principle of sufficient reason for determinate phenomena; and 2) series in turn provide the metaphysics science needs.
We tend to associate the practice of genealogy, especially in its unmasking variety, with Nietzsche (or the emulators of Foucault). But teaching Toland's (1704)Letters to Serena reminded me that genealogy has a genealogy that precedes Nietzsche. One of Toland's genealogies focuses on the idea of the immortality of the soul, (the subject of the second letter). In paragraph 1, of Letter 2, the "immortality of the soul" is treated as a "truth" known to classical sources independent from and preceding Biblical revelation (p. 20; in fact, he insists that the doctrine is unknown to the Hebrew Bible (Letter II, p. 56)). In the very next paragraph (2) on the very next page, Toland speaks in his own voice and offers a concise statement of his methodology:
To persons less knowing and unprejudiced than Serena, it would [be] found strange perhaps to hear me speak of the soul's immortality, as of an opinion, which, like some others in philosophy, had a beginning at a certain time, or from a certain author who was the inventor thereof, and which was favoured or opposed as peoples' persuasion, interest or inclination led them. Letters II.2 (p. 21 [I have modernized spelling to some degree--ES].)
Serena is the official addressee of the Letters; she is a high status, educated interlocutor. The preface to the Letters has, in fact, a resounding defense of intellectual, gender equality. Toland suggests that it is either "inveterate custom" or the "design in the men" that causes female exlusion from the "world of learning." In general, Toland thinks nurture is responsible for much of our (very flawed) "second nature" in women and men. So, while Toland accepts a universal human nature, it is according to him extremely plastic. Echoing Plato and Malebranche, he suggests that belief and character formation starts in the womb and is developed (or degenerated by) our major social institutions (family, church, universities, etc.)--he treats our acculturation as inevitable, but as practiced as a form of social disease (cf. "infection.")
Simon Glendinning proposes in this blog post a trinity of philosophical stances toward the EU: Skeptics, Experimenters, and Dogmatists. Dogmatists think they have derived a political program from their insight into human nature; Skeptics think human nature (or less dramatically, the current state of human knowledge-production) doesn't allow for such insights into human nature; and Experimenters, taking their lead from Isiah Berlin, combine a suspicion of grand progress narratives with a willingness to commit to ends one nonetheless knows stand alongside other commitments in a pluralism of values. Glendinning adopts the Experimenter's position, looking toward
a Europe to come that ‘stands unflinchingly’ for the ideal of freedom to choose our own ends (including all sorts of collective ends at different levels); a condition where people increasingly feel themselves the author of their own lives rather than subjected, in imperious fashion, to Dogmatic ideals of a single end for all.
In Tuesday's installment in his Philo Economics series, Eric discusses Foucault's analysis in Birth of Biopolitics of Adam Smith. (Jeff has a post from February 2012 on BB as well; [update, 17 Jan 12:30 pm: Eric has one on "regimes of truth" in Spinoza here.]) Common to both is the notion of non-totalizable multiplicity so that economics is "atheist." I thought I should put in my two cents, with an extract from this piece on "Foucault's Deleuzean Methodology of the late 1970s." (See also this earlier post on Foucault's notion of "statification" as integration of a multiplicity.)
In an earlier post, I made reference to Jacob Klein’s essay
about Husserl’s history of the origin of geometry. Klein’s own work is very
impressive as well (Burt Hopkins has a recent book on both Klein and Husserl [a NDPR review is here),
and reading through Klein's book has helped me to see one reason why Deleuze so freely
and regularly draws from both mathematics and art, though not just any
mathematics or any art. Deleuze was interested in a problematic as opposed to
axiomatic mathematics; and he was interested in a figural as opposed to
figurative art. What the two have in common is a certain form of abstraction.
In a rather unflattering review of Marvin Farber’s 1941
edited collection Philosophical Essays in
Memory of Edmund Husserl (Husserl died in 1938), Ernest Nagel takes a few
swipes at Husserl, or perhaps more precisely at Husserl’s commentators. Farber himself,
as discussed in an earlier post, had studied with Husserl in Germany while a
graduate student at Harvard. In 1940 he was the founding editor of the
journal Philosophy and Phenomenological
Research (which he edited until 1980). With the exception of Dorion Cairns,
Farber was probably the person best suited to compile a volume in honor of
Despite Farber’s credentials, Nagel finds little that is
compelling in the collection and his criticisms often mirror what will often be
heard in later decades regarding continental thought. For example, Nagel
expresses doubt about whether any of the papers “will be either intelligible or
persuasive to any one not previously instructed in Husserl’s ideas or convinced
of their importance” (301); and, more damningly, he argues that with few
exceptions Husserl’s views are not “expressed in recognizable English,” with
“such barbarisms as ‘presuppositionless,’ ‘insightful,’ ‘pre-givenness’ or ‘the
itself-giving’” (ibid.) being thrown around in a way that leaves novitiates at
a loss to understand their meaning.
Adding to the recent discussions of Eric (here), Catarina (here), and Mohan (here) regarding the use and significance (or lack thereof) of intuition in analytic
philosophy, one obvious place to turn to where intuition does appear to loom
large is the work of Husserl. Husserl’s work, however, was also an important
source of inspiration for Gödel’s understanding of the relationship between
philosophy and mathematics, and thus it bleeds significantly into a number of problems
within the analytic tradition.
Nothing here will contradict Mark's analysis of the content challenges Americans face post-election. But following Ed Kazarian (blog, website) on Facebook, I found the formal elements of these passages about Obama in a piece by Charles Pierce to have a distinct Deleuzean echo:
He came into this office a figure of history, unlike anyone who's become president since George Washington. The simple event of him remains a great gravitational force in our politics. It changes the other parts of our politics in their customary orbits. It happens so easily ... that you hardly notice that it has happened until you realize that what you thought you knew about the country and its people had been shifted by degrees until it is in a completely different place....
The lore we are told inspired by, say, Putnam (not a disinterested spectator) and more recently Huw Price, who thinks we delude ourselves, is roughly this: after the founders of analytical philosophy had successfully ridden philosophy of its thirst for metaphysics, Quine, discerning a crack in Carnap's edifice, re-opened the door to our deposed Queen, μεταφυσική, in "On What There Is" (and "Two Dogmas"); with the door ajar and Alvin Goldman and Dan Dennett distracted by 'naturalizing' everything, Hillary Putnam developed a Quine-ean argument from the authority of science for the really real existence of numbers and, more significantly, David Lewis -- perhaps spurred on by some Antipodes -- drove a truck through the opening by embracing modal realism.
We love linear stories [Carnap --> Quine --> Lewis], don't we, so even the descriptive metaphysics of Strawson's Individuals (1959) can't quite be squished into, shall we say, our conceptual scheme. Now consider the following paragraph written in 1930:
The pursuit of metaphysics as the study of generic characters of existence has been slowly regaining its professional adherents. Once its central theme, reaction to the unchecked flights of nineteenth century romantic speculation has well nigh banished metaphysics as a legitimate subject matter for philosophy. But the problems which professional philosophers refused to consider became acutely pressing in the special sciences. It was to be expected that ere long comprehensive treatises on the nature of existence would appear, fashioned by philosophers were where sensitive to the advances of recent science as well to the ancient tradition that philosophy is the systematic study of being. To the series of distinguishes essays on metaphysics which contemporary philosophers have contributed, these volumes [by Whitehead--ES] are a notable addition.--Ernest Nagel (1930 "Alfred North Whitehead," republished in Sovereign Reason, p. 154.)
People do not say that a barometer "knows'' when it is going to rain; but I doubt if there is any essential difference in this respect between the barometer and the meteorologist who observes it.--Bertrand Russell (1923) "Vagueness"
"[Gender] identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results"--Judith Butler Gender Trouble. (33)
In my spare time I am reading Tim Maudlin's (2007) The Metaphysics Within Physics(recall this) and Judith Butler's (1999 --I have used the 1999 edition which has an additional, fascinating preface]) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity in seperate, ongoing reading groups. This has led me to notice some surprising similarities. For example, they are both unabashedly concerned with metaphysics, and while they differ in lots of ways, they have a shared target: the idea that metaphysics ought to be articulated in terms of substance(s) with properties (or attributes/accidents); they both dislike universals. Both attribute the metaphysics of substance to an illegitimate "projection of the structure of language onto the world." (Maudlin, 79; compare that with Butler pp. 25-28 [where she summarizes others] & p. 33 [where she speaks in her own voice]). Maudlin aligns his view with Bertrand Russell's position in "Vagueness" (79-80), while Butler traces (33) her criticism back to Nietzsche's famous passage in which he explains how in our metaphysics we are "a dupe of the tricks of language." Russell, who knew his Nietzsche, may well have gotten this line of argument from him (I'll leave that to the scholars). The idea that our inherited metaphysical categories may be a projection arguably goes back to Spinoza and his famous argument against final causes in the Appendix to Ethics 1. (Perhaps, it is better to say that Protagoras is the grandfather of this whole line of argument?)
Coming to a pause in his arguments in Appearance and Reality, Bradley wonders if the reader may question
“whether anything of what is understood by a thing is left to us,” given that
at this point Bradley believes that what is generally thought of as a thing has
been “undermined and ruined.” In particular, Bradley argues that “for a thing
to exist it must possess identity; and identity seems a possession with a
character at best doubtful.” (AR, p. 72).
Identity is a problem for Bradley with important, although
perhaps unsettling consequences. Moreover, the problem of identity has, as
Della Rocca (himself a careful reader of Bradley) shows in a recent article
(here), important implications for the 3d’ist/4d’ist debate. I would also add
that this was already a problem for Hume (as I’ve discussed here and here) and
it is a problem that is critical to understanding Gilles Deleuze’s project.
I would start with Deleuze's book, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, because it expresses Deleuze's ethos, his affirmation, his love. You should know what a philosopher loves (Plato would tell you that), and this little book is a love letter from one philosopher to another. Reading it will I hope inspire you to want to read Deleuze, to see how he lives up to "the secret link between Lucretius, Hume, Spinoza, and Nietzsche: their critique of negativity, their cultivation of joy, the hatred of interiority, the externality of forces and relations, the denunciation of power" (Negotiations, 6).
This frugal, propertyless life, undermined by illness, this thin, frail body, this brown, oval face with its sparkling black eyes: how does one explain the impression they give of being suffused with Life itself, of having a power identical to Life? In his whole way of living and of thinking, Spinoza projects an image of the positive, affirmative life, which stands in opposition to the semblances that men are content with. Not only are they content with the latter, they feel a hatred of life, they are ashamed of it; a humanity bent on self-destruction, multiplying the cults of death, bringing about the union of the tyrant and the slave, the priest, the judge, and the soldier, always busy running life into the ground, mutilating it, killing it outright or by degrees, overlaying it or suffocating it with laws, properties, duties, empires -- this is what Spinoza diagnoses in the world, this betrayal of the universe and of mankind. (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, 12)
After Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, here's what I recommend you read next:
As noted a few days ago, Dan Smith and I are revising our Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Deleuze. We are completely rewriting the Difference and Repetition section. Here is the draft. Some of the technical terms we use (e.g., "virtual") are discussed in the preceding section of the piece.
This kind of reference article is very tricky to write. You have to be technical enough for the specialists and yet accessible for interested non-specialists. So we'd be very grateful for suggestions for additions, deletions, clarifications, expansions, and so on, either here in comments or by email.
3.1 Difference and Repetition
Deleuze's historical monographs were, in a sense, preliminary sketches for the great canvas of Difference and Repetition (1968), which marshaled these resources from the history of philosophy in an ambitious project to construct a "philosophy of difference." Following Maimon's critique, which we mentioned above, Difference and Repetition produces a two-fold shift from the Kantian project of providing the universal and necessary conditions for possible experience. First, Deleuze wants to provide an account of the genesis of “real experience” – the experience of this concretely existing individual here and now – and second, to respect the demands of "philosophy of difference," the genetic principle must be differential so that the conditions of the genesis of an individual cannot themselves be individuated.
Dan Smith (whose new book -- published by Edinburgh and distributed in North America by Columbia -- is wonderful) and I will be revising our Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Deleuze. Suggestions as to additions, deletions, and modifications are welcome, either here or by email.
"Say something once, why say it again?" - Talking Heads
At this international Deleuze conference in Kaifeng, China, organized by Paul Patton, I explored the important influence of Hume in Deleuze's own efforts to develop an understanding of repetition. I'll now rework it in preparation for this big event in New Orleans.
Hume's influence is apparent from the very first sentence of the second chapter of Difference and Repetition, “Repetition for Itself,” where Deleuze begins with the Humean problematic, and with what Deleuze calls the “famous thesis” that was the result of Hume’s efforts to address this problem. As Deleuze states the thesis, “Repetition changes nothing in the object repeated, but does change something in the mind which contemplates it…”
As Deleuze sets forth the problem Hume is addressing, we are confronted with a repetitive series, AB, AB, AB, AB, and when we are next presented with A the problem is one of accounting for why we come to expect B when there is nothing in the nature of A itself that would lead us to this expectation. As Hume famously presents the problem in the Treatise (1.3.14), we come after a series of repetitions of AB to have the “idea of a cause and effect, of a necessary connexion of power, of force, of energy, and of efficacy” (T 162).
The question is why? And this is where Hume's famous thesis enters the picture.
From a FB post by Jason Read (he of the great blog and meme) comes news of a documentary film on a sci-fi film script (UIQ: Universe Infra-Quark) that Félix Guattari had worked on. The last line of the description of the film is not a bad formula for what Deleuze calls Aion in Logic of Sense: "[Silvia] Maglioni & [Graeme] Thomson aim to isolate the singularity of UIQ in the virtual dimension of what it might have been and what it may yet become." In my caffeinated brain, Aeon Flux popped up, my nominee for best bad sci-fi film evah! Your nominees for that category?
Deleuze's "ontological difference" between virtual multiplicity and intensive individuation processes can help us think the ontological status of "model" in its relation to the events it models. The "doubling" of difference in the post title means that the multiplicity (the model) is differential (a-centered) and that its actualizations are all different events. Translating into other terms, the second claim is that the Deleuzean scheme accounts for the "multiple realizability" of models (but please note that Deleuze would not use this term because for him the virtual is real, so individuation is actualization rather than realization).
In his nice post on the origins of analytic philosophy, a theme that has been addressed many times at this blog, Eric points out that Bergson was among Russell's principle targets. It is perhaps understandable that this part of the story has been forgotten. The Frege-Russell narrative concerning the origins and legitimacy of analytic philosophy has largely maintained its hegemonic status. Within this narrative, Bergson emerges not only as a marginal “continental” figure safely ignored by analytic philosophers but moreover he is a philosopher whose influence on the continent was itself surpassed by the phenomenologists (who, such as Merleau-Ponty, rejected Bergson’s vitalism). However, following up on a comment I made on the thread to John Protevi’s post about Adrian Moore’s book, I would push back the genealogy of an important aspect of the continental/analytic divide to the choice between Spinoza or Leibniz. Understood in this way, Bergson, à la the song "Let's call the whole thing off," says Spinoza and Russell says Leibniz. In targeting Bergson, therefore, Russell is ultimately one in a line of many who are seeking to exorcise the specter of Spinoza.