NOTES on Badiou, A. (2000) Deleuze. The Clamor of Being. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press
Badiou’s own position is that mathematics is required to think out the notion of the multiple, without any reference to any other characteristic, such as an independent notion of being. This is opposed to Deleuze who had developed a more ‘”organicist” or “vital” paradigm of multiplicities’ (x). For Badiou, Deleuze cannot avoid a notion of transcendence, while for Deleuze, Badiou can only discuss actual or empirical multiplicities, and not virtual ones. Badiou undertakes a ‘polemical dialogue’ (xi), with iconoclastic intent. He is particularly concerned to shatter the ‘”superficial doxa of an anarcho–desiring Deleuzianism”’ (xi), and this leads to a further denial that Deleuze has not broken with classical philosophy's interest in classic ontology. In particular, the ‘univocity of being’ is central to his work, and, in understanding this conception, Badiou argues that the explanation of multiplicity is secondary and inconsistent. So important is the idea of being as One, that the multiple cannot be real, but must be a simulacrum. [There is also a dispute about how Platonic Deleuze really is].
Inconsistency arises because Deleuze's attempts to position the One as the ground for the actual cannot work without leaving ambiguity or indeterminacy [roughly, that the ‘conceptual couple’ of virtual and actual images of entities either means that they are the same, or that they are separate enough to threaten univocity]. The optical metaphor of images also produces problems. As a result, the category of the virtual is really a transcendent one, operating beneath the actual beings. In any event, the One as ground will mean either that the actual is ambiguous, or that the virtual parts are indiscernible and indeterminable.
Friends of Deleuze have reacted by seeing this as a reduction of Deleuze’s thought, and a denial of his attempt to escape classic philosophical categories and the dilemmas they bring. Badiou says he operates with Deleuze exactly as Deleuze operates with other philosophers [the ass fuck producing monstrosities], and that it is acceptable to do this to produce a new reading.
[Lots of biographical stuff about how Badiou met Deleuze. Deleuze did inspire the more anarchist [anarcho – desirers] wing of the student movement, while Badiou was a Maoist. There was a power struggle over who should run the department at Vincennes. They had a few minor contacts but never officially met. Lyotard joined the discussions on occasion].
There are two ways to think the multiple—the vital or organic after Bergson, and one based on set theory. This came to focus the dispute, turning on whether or multiple just meant number, or whether the notion of the One was incompatible with set theory. Theoretical discussion eventually resulted, and they even considered a collaboration, but mostly corresponded.
1: Which Deleuze?
Some people see Deleuze as a promoter of multiplicities of desires and an opponent of totalitarianism, an advocate of the open and of movement, a deconstructionist, and advocate of creativity in a wide range of fields, ‘the vast array of articles or opuscles bearing on obscure questions—dealing with everything from sociology to biology, aesthetics to didactics, and linguistics to history’ (10) , a celebrant of confusion or the modern baroque.
It looks as if this confusion cannot be grasped with stable classifications, including classical conceptions of the One or the multiple, and so we need a notion of repetition and difference. Nevertheless, underneath this position is consecration of the One, a single voice, ‘”a single clamor of Being for all beings’ (11, quoting Difference and Repetition). Being, ‘which is also Sense’, is a ground of all events and the ‘” expression in nonsense of all senses in one”’, (ibid). The One is integral to the notion of the multiple and linked to Life. Desire aims at attaining this One, not at autonomy of the individual.
Desire is conceived machinically, and so is will or choice—it all emanates from the One. For example, in Cinema 2, Deleuze argues that what is important is the ability to choose or the choice to choose rather than any substantive content, and this leads us directly to the outside, in organic life, automatic choice. The automaton, clearly connected to the idea of the machine, selects individuals and makes them choose, so we are far away from 'the bearded militants of 1968' (12). Our role is to make thought exist through us, by renouncing needs, allowing ourselves to be 'constrained to the world's play' (12).
This is an aristocratic conception, requiring actual individuals to become transfixed by virtuality 'And individuals are not equally capable of this' (13). Being itself may be neutral, since ‘the value of life cannot be evaluated’ but not individuals and things who reside in it they may be more or less close to the limits of what they can do, and there is a hierarchy here. Thus Deleuze speaks of ‘”crowned anarchy”’.
Deleuze is above all an ascetic thinker. It is necessary to renounce all the everyday sentimental intellectual experiences and to develop the power to exceed limits, according to hubris of the thinker . [Hence the odd phrase that ‘the hierarchy of power is ascetic’, 14]. In effect, one lets oneself be chosen, leaving behind actuality and limits, and ultimately disappearing into the ‘powerful inorganic life’ (13), the stuff that both provides limits and the way out of them. The only real way out, therefore, should be seen as death—‘that which is simultaneously most intimately related to the individual it affects and in a relationship of absolute in personality or exteriority to this individual’ (13). Thinking is to follow this metaphorical path to death [it is a bit like the argument that the only moment of existential authenticity for Heidegger is in death—in Adorno’s Jargon of Authenticity I think]. This shows that it is not the complexity and variety of the actual and the concrete which is the main interest.
Deleuze always starts with concrete cases, though, and in a way which shows a certain indifference, hence the variety in his own texts. These are always focused on particular cases of the concept. Is necessary to start with the cases to avoid elevating the idea or concept into the privileged starting point. This is forbidden and seen as Platonic. Starting with the case indicates that thinking has somehow already happened ‘and you are compelled and constrained by it’ (14). Deleuze’s own style, especially the ‘free indirect style’, where it is hard to know who is actually speaking, and whether a statement is a summary of someone else or a proposition of Deleuze, which implies and that some constraint forces a statement, with Deleuze as well as with others.
We are still not simply describing the diversity of the concrete world by focusing on concrete cases. Cases themselves are means to an end, to thought and its power. It is this that gives Deleuze’s work its ‘monotonous’ character, an ‘almost infinite repetition of a limited repertoire of concepts, as well as a virtuosic variation of names, under which what is thought remains essentially identical’ (15). The particularity of the case ends in repetition.
Cinema is a good example. Film after film is analyzed ‘with the disconcerting erudition of a non specialist’, but the same concepts emerge at the end as were found at the beginning, linking between movement and time found in Bergson. Deleuze is forced to repeat again and again his thinking, to ‘repeat his difference, in differentiating it even more acutely from other differences’ (15). This is why film buffs finds no guidance to critical judgment in the work. There is no theory of cinema, as the close of Cinema 2 makes clear [only an interest in concepts of the cinema, which will still depend on philosophy, an interest in the concepts that cinema generates—and here, but this phrase is quoted from Deleuze himself – Cinema 2?].
So Deleuze’s philosophy is concrete only because the concept is concrete [not the concept of the concrete], the effect of a local power, thought manifesting itself in concrete cases. The detail and multiple findings of the case studies is not central. ‘What counts is the impersonal power of the concepts themselves that, in their content, never deal with a “given” concrete instance, but with other concepts’ (16). Cases can generate concepts, but they do not belong to the cases. In the case of cinema, the point is to develop notions of movement and time ‘and the cinema gradually becomes neutralised and forgotten’ (16).
Deleuze’s philosophy is certainly systematic, and also abstract, presupposing some consistency of concepts which can be seen in a variety of cases, and which gain their validity only by reuniting with the system.
In summary, Deleuze has
developed a philosophy that is quite unlike the
It is ‘organised around a metaphysics of
the One… Proposes
an ethics of thought that requires dispossession
is systematic and abstract’ (17). It is
the first point that lies at the dispute with
Badiou, although Deleuze refused to debate it: ‘in
conformity with his aristocratic and systematic
leanings, Deleuze felt only contempt for debates’
2: Univocity of Being and Multiplicity of Names
Ontology, the being of beings, has been the major philosophical trend in the 20th century. There is a connection with the limits of language, which, in the linguistic turn, was seen as the fundamental resource of philosophical investigation, and is now seen as limited by being and thus unable to resource thinking which exceeds the limits of the world. Thus ontology exceeds analytic thinking [the analysis of language]. Ontology also exceeds phenomenology with its reduction of actualizations to intentions.
For Deleuze, philosophy simply is ontology. It is Being that unifies previous philosophical thoughts. Thoughts themselves are simply seen as formulations of Being. This limits the critical powers of philosophy as well. Despite the interest in difference and multiplicity, what matters is that ‘all the cases “refer to… a single designated entity, ontologically one”’ (20, citing Difference and Repetition). Thus all philosophical inquiry becomes ontology. What occurs is the same as what is said [my paraphrase of Badiou quoting The Logic of Sense, 20].
This puts Deleuze quite close to Heidegger after all. Unlike phenomenology, where intentionality is the beginning of thought, it is exposure to the outside that produces thought. We must turn away from consciousness, which can only pose the wrong problems. Thought is not based on an internalized relation between consciousness and its object. Being produces heterogeneous relations, in an equality [internal relations presuppose some hierarchy]. Thus things and words ‘constitute registers of being (of thought) that are entirely disjointed’ (22), as Deleuze says, drawing upon Foucault. Knowledge must be therefore double ‘since it involves speaking and seeing’ (22). However, all actualizations are ‘actualizations of the Same’, with no hierarchy between speaking and seeing—it follows that the object and the perceiving subject are also the same. The apparent relation between speaking and seeing derives from a ‘nonrelation... The neutral equality of the One’. This is what is called a disjunctive synthesis—things that appear joined must be separated, and then related in a deeper way, revealing ‘the infinite and egalitarian fecundity of the One’ (22). This makes subjective intentionality as the source of knowledge impossible.
However, Heidegger, while rejecting subjective intentionality, still persisted with ‘a hermeneutic of Being’, instead of progressing to the disjunctive synthesis (22). [More on Heidegger page 23. Apparently, Heidegger persists in believing that there are various senses of Being rather than a univocity].
So all the ‘pedagogy of cases’ aims at one single theme, that ‘”Being is univocal”’, 24 [Difference and Repetition]. Deleuze cites philosophers who have agreed with this, including Duns Scotus, the stoics, Spinoza, Nietzsche and Bergson. [For Bergson, creative evolution shows the persistence of Being]. The importance of the theme lies behind his selection of philosophers to discuss. Two implications follow:
This singularity also means that numerical differences between beings is not a real distinction. There are modal distinctions, however, which means that beings do not have the same sense, that there is an equivocity, but this is not fundamental and has no real status, compared to their ontological identity or ontological sense. In other words, given the actual beings possess only formal and modal differences, ‘this multiple can be only be of the order of simulacra’ (26) [and Badiou says this gets Deleuze close to Platonism again].
Deleuze disagrees with Plato in the sense that he wants the simulacra to be considered in their own right, in order to dispute a hierarchy in Being. Beings arise from disjunctive synthesis, simulacra that ‘lack any internal relation between themselves or with any transcendent Idea whatsoever.’ (26-7). [But he is wrong to argue that Plato sees ‘simulacra or beings’ as depreciated somehow, in relation to some superior model. Badiou thinks he is closer to Plato than he thinks.]
So what might be thought of Being? What would be an appropriate name for it [philosophical way of asking how can we describe reality?]? Is the naming of univocity consistent with univocal being? For Deleuze, names or propositions need not always designate the same thing, but again these differences are formal not real. However, paradox remains. Deleuze seems to be analyzing concrete cases by trying out specific names and then attempting to evaluate these names to the extent that they preserve univocity. In practice, this requires two names, one carrying the sense of the unity power of Being, and one expressing multiplicity, in which Being is actualized. [It seems this is necessary in order to name correctly specific events as both multiple and one, to show how the one actualizes itself in the multiple. As a result, paradox arises: ‘in order to say that there is a single sense, two names are necessary’ (28)]. Apparently, other philosophers of Being had the same problem.
Deleuze uses a range of paired concepts in his discussions of concrete cases which attempt to show how very different practices are all determined by Being. There are in practice ’10 or so fundamental pairs’ (28-9), more than you find with other philosophers. This illustrates Deleuze’s determination to find Being everywhere [subsequent chapters pick up the main couplets].
Badiou argues that underneath the careful discussions of cases, Deleuze thinks that ‘sense has already been distributed by Being’ (29). This really only leaves him with ‘pure affirmation’, a stance where ‘sense can choose and transfix us, by a gesture are known to ourselves: “thinking is a throw of the dice”’, 29, quoting from Foucault.
How can we start to think about Being? It would not correct to think of categories and explain actual beings and then combine them to get at Being itself [the only example of this I recognised was Hegel, where specific kinds of beings are laid out in some progress towards the absolute Idea]. Deleuze oppose this notion of using ‘a “sedentary nomos” or analogy’ (31), later the illicit use of a category, which would imply that ‘Being is said in several senses’ (32). Being is univocal, and beings all partake equally of it.
However, it is possible to see actual beings as produced by a combination of categories, a large number of them rather than a few formal privileged ones. This will not do for Deleuze either, because it still implies that Being has several senses. Instead, ‘the univocity of Being and the equivocity of beings (the latter being nothing other than the immanent production of the former) must be thought “together” without the mediation of genera or species, types or emblems: in short, without categories, without generalities’ (32).
There can be no mediations, including dialectical ones, since all mediations assume ‘the passage from one being to another “under” a relation that is internal to at least one of the two’ (32). In particular, the negative is impossible, and this is an example of the ‘”long error”, which consists in proclaiming that Being is said according to the sense of its identity and according to the sense of its nonentity’ (33) [as in thinking of Being coupled with Nothingness].
However, does not Deleuze divide the active and passive as a kind of categorical opposition? Spinoza has a distinction between passions that increase joy, and those that diminish it. The active in Deleuze would be the integrity of Being, producing divergent actualizations, but those actualizations themselves exist passively. ‘This duality clearly runs throughout Deleuze’s entire work’ (33) and finds itself in the list of conceptual couples—the virtual and the actual, inorganic and organic life, schizophrenia and paranoia, deterritorialization and reterritorialization, and so on. It may underpin the alleged political method too so that we can distinguish active desire and passive alienation.
Deleuze himself tries to escape from this problem in his formal arguments, by attempting to remove categories altogether, or at least, to deny their ontological status [when he uses two terms as above]. He insists that Being is neutral, neither active nor passive, and that fully carried-out thought moves beyond the active and passive to an understanding where both are drawn from some ontological distribution. It is acceptable to begin with the categories or judgments to grasp a concrete case, but then we should subvert the categories, ultimately dissolving them.
Such a procedure must involve intuitive thought [since normal thoughts are inherently contaminated with categories?]. Again this intuition must be different from classic philosophy. For Descartes, for example, intuition arises ‘as the immediate apprehension of a clear and distinct idea… Guided by a localised mental light and free of any connection with any form of obscure ground whatsoever. It is an atom of thought—when one is certain… In a single “glance”’ (35). However, beings cannot be isolated from the ground of Being. Clarity can only illuminate modalities. Any being that is distinct must be distant in some way from its ontological root, which would only obscure matters and lead to an illusory equivocity. Thus Descartes’ clarity is confused, and the distinct is obscure.
It follows that no single instant glance can deliver the right intuition. It needs to investigate the complexity in the apparently clear, and the connections with the virtual in the apparently distinct. This involves not a glance but ‘an athletic trajectory of thought and an open multiplicity… a complex construction that Deleuze frequently names a “perpetual reconcatenation”’ (36).
Intuition has to accomplish a double movement—grasping the disjunctive syntheses in separate beings, rather than simple categories, and seeing that beings are alike as ‘merely local intensities of the One’ (36). Thinking must both descend from singularity to Being, and ascend from the One to the singular. This process involves a progressive trajectory, ‘more like a narrative adventure’ (36). Every object is doubled, but the halves are different: they are duplicities.
For Deleuze, sixties’ structuralism, in language, dreams, and kinship structures, approach the notion of how sense is produced [from combinations of particular discrete elements, phonemes, metaphors, kinship elements etc -- see Levi-Strauss on this]. However, this makes the products themselves abstract, failing to explain how these things make sense [to ordinary people—I think this is another example of how structuralism fails to account for pragmatics, as in Massumi]. It is another example of the distinct being obscure.
The dynamism of structures is produced only by the use of an ’empty square’, which is incomplete, and which forces movement [I’m not at all sure I understood this—some sort of novel occurrence or paradox, some gap or problem emerges?]. This leads Deleuze to reinterpret the structure as a machine to produce sense, and provides an explanation of how the structure actually generates elements [an ascent in the terms above]. So paradoxes or anomalies show how structures actually produce singularities, but they are not clear events themselves, but ‘an active zero, a signifier that does not signify’ (38). In a way, it is nonsense [read as 'not sense'] that produces sense. The structure must be a simulacrum itself, with some broader force producing sense and nonsense [I think. Another way Badiou puts it is to say that underlying life is not exhausted by the sense produced by the structure].
Structuralism cannot think out how this production of sense and nonsense occurs, and ‘Only the thesis of univocity can shed light on this point’ (38). Structuralism cannot explain nonsense. If it could, ‘this would entail that there was a sense of sense’ (38). Apparently, this must be ruled out because ‘it is a specifically theological thesis alien to ontology’. Because it is ruled out, there must be some underlying nonsense, considered as ‘the univocal donation of (ontological) sense to all beings’ (38) [What a convoluted argument! Meaning can be traced to some ultimate and consistent meaning set by God, but we don’t want to accept that, so there must be some ultimate non godlike Being which provides both sense and not sense].
Apparently, structuralists have
conceded the point that they cannot explain the
structure itself or the position of the elements
in it, which do not themselves signify or explain
all communication events. The next
stage is to explain positively how Being produces
sense from nonsense.
At this stage, nonsense needs to be
is not just the absence of sense, but an infinity
of senses [that raw material which Being uses when
it donates sense] (39).[some sort of redefinition
to make it mean what Deleuze wants it to mean
then? Having defined it thus, it is going to be
easy to see how sense condenses out of
The whole problem of sense can be solved by maintaining both of these ascending and descending arguments, although Deleuze does not like the idea of any vertical dimensions, and sees them as operating on a surface. Together, the two aspects produce intuitions which are integral and complete.
Discussing Bergson provides another example of this double movement. Bergson defines movement as involving a set of objects which are distinct, movements of translation that modifies their position, and ‘the Whole or the duration, that, constantly changing, is a spiritual reality (which means that it is neither distributed nor divided but is nonsense as the univocal production of the equivocal sense of objects)’ (40). Movement therefore has two aspects—between objects themselves, and between objects and Whole. This duplicity is the basis of Deleuze’s version of the ascending and descending elements of intuition.
However, this double movement
is itself singular, and is ‘the movement of Being
In Deleuzian terms [in Cinema 1, it seems],
what this movement does is to separate the whole
out into objects, and then recombine those objects
into a new whole.
[This idea can be rendered in terms of the
discussion of sense and not sense—nonsense
produces sense through donation, and, properly
thought, sense can be traced back to not sense]. Proper
thought follows this ‘looped path… from a
case to the One, then from the One to the case,
and... [this is an intuition of]..the movement of
the One itself’.
The One is movement, life, infinite
virtuality, and thus thought that intuits it
achieves ‘intellectual beatitude, which is the
enjoyment of the Impersonal’ (40).
4: The Virtual
[This is heavy going for a non philosopher, but I understand the basic argument to be that Deleuze’s notion of the virtual suggests that it is some sort of ground for actualizations, but then has to distinguish the term ‘ground’ from other philosophical conceptions, especially transcendental ones. The virtual is also distinguished from the possible, since all the possibilities have to be equally real, so to speak, if Being is to be univocal. This leaves Deleuze in a bit of a quandary, and he has to resort to seeing the virtual mixed with the actual after all. Again, classic ways of understanding this cannot be accepted—see chapter three—and this leaves Deleuze admitting that there is a certain ‘indiscernibility’ between the virtual and the actual in concrete events. I confess that my commonsense renditions of the arguments lack philosophical precision --sorry]
As before, Deleuze actually has to have two names, a double concept, the virtual/actual, to describe univocal Being, and to show that the two are connected in actual beings. ‘In this sense, the virtual is the ground of the actual’ (42). However, the notion of ground has been much discussed and challenged [as in antifoundationalism]. Deleuze therefore has to argue that the virtual ‘engulfs all grounds… as a joyful and positive event, as an un-grounding’ (43), quoting Logic of Sense. This overcomes one limited sense of ground, the Platonic notion that the Idea produces an image of itself, and that we must return to this ground in order to understand actual objects. This would mean both that Being has two dimensions, and that we have to use [objectionable] categories, used to separate bits which are similar to the ground, and bits that only resemble it.
For Deleuze, beings do not resemble anything other than what they are, immanent productions, ‘fortuitous modalities of the univocal’, held together by a disjunctive synthesis, and featuring positive [emergent] powers. [This really is an aversion to the contradictory or to the general—each being has to be a haecceity, and the different elements it combines can neither be generalised empirically, nor assumed to be in any way contradictory or negative—just different. All this is just asserted]. Deleuze does not share any regrets about the loss of ground, rejoicing, like Nietzsche in the overthrow of icons, and a celebration of ‘the world as it is… beyond optimism and pessimism alike, [signifying]... that it is always futile, always falling short of thought as such, to judge the world’ (43). It is not that divergence is better than convergence, which would be to judge it, rather that this is the world, ‘and thought is always an (ascetic, difficult) egalitarian affirmation of what is’ (45).
[Badiou goes on to argue that it is possible to reread Plato to say more or less the same as what Deleuze is asserting, that the Idea permits thinking about beings and their relation to the transcendental, that the Ideal and the non ideal are both found in beings, and in this sense Deleuze is more Platonic than he thinks, and, possibly, that all those 'classic' philsosophers who reject Kant’s critique of metaphysics share more in common with each other than they think].
Deleuze and Badiou disagree about the virtual. Badiou argues that there is no need for the virtual, that multiplicity is itself always actual, and that the idea of the One can be abandoned. Deleuze thinks this is wrong because the actual can only be ‘states of affairs and lived experience’, which requires a plane of immanence to be located in the virtual. Badiou thinks that this notion of the virtual is a transcendental category, lying beneath actuality, still interested in the ‘category of the All’: for him, immanence does not need the concept of the All [and, apparently, set theory can explain all the features of the multiple mentioned by Deleuze, without relying on this concept].
In replying, Deleuze further explained what he meant by the reality of the virtual:
1. The virtual, as chaos, is absolute givenness, the presupposition for all thought, the nonsense that donates sense, the section through ‘primordial Inconsistency’ which is necessary for all thought. This is a ground in the sense that no thought is possible without it.
2. What thinking does is to construct a section through chaos, identifying the virtual from the actual and arranging virtualities on a plane of immanence. This provides consistency to the virtual and a reality, since it is always connected to the actual. The virtual here is a ground for all those constructions in thought, which guarantees that thought and its products are always connected to the real.
3. This plane of consistency [produced by thought in the sense above] only ‘”refers” beings… ordering them in functions… [at]… the level of description’ (47). Science explores this plane at the level of states of affairs and phenomenology does at the level of lived experience, but neither get to the ground itself. This means that, for Deleuze, science is a useful and accurate construction, ‘but it does not attain the ground of its own truth’. [Compare this with Massumi on structuralism is describing relations between utterances, but unable to explain how they emerged from the virtual in the first place]
Deleuze sees Badiou’s reliance on sets as operating at the level of science not ground.
Deleuze therefore seems to suggest that the virtual is Being, with beings as only modalities. The virtual is not the same as the [concept of the] possible, though, since possibilities exist separately from actualities. There are difficulties explaining why some possibilities are actualised, except as some kind of abrupt leap. Deleuze argues that actualisation takes place on the surface of the One, as an ‘inflection of intensity’ (48). This is what unites the virtual and the actual, as opposed to the distinctions between the existent and the possible. 'The possible' really is only a construct based on some Platonic notion of the ideal again [representing the copies of the bits of the Ideal that are unrealized so far]. When the virtual actualizes, it does not simply produce copies or resemblances, but operates through ‘difference, and divergence or differenciation [sic]’ (49), quoting Difference and Repetition. This means that ‘every actualisation must be understood as an innovation [a bleedin haecceity] and as attesting to the infinite power of the One to differentiate itself on its own surface... The existent is… a creation’ (49). This is how sense is donated.
The virtual is absolutely real, not some ‘ghostly prefiguration of the real’ (49). It is saturated by the process of actualisation—‘the virtual is this process’ (49). Philosophy might need to distinguish formally the virtual and the actual, but only to clarify the ascending and descending parts of the intuition. Both are real.
Since the virtual constantly actualizes itself in a way which never stops, the One can never appear as a totality. But , as a result, the totalising reality of the virtual can not be grasped by intuition [which requires actualized forms to begin with], but only asserted [I think]. It becomes ‘a hymn to creation’, as in Bergson, an aspect of the duration of the endlessly creative living universe.
Nor is the virtual simply a reservoir of possibilities, ‘a kind of indetermination’ (50), since we would have the problem again deciding what gets determined and what remains indeterminate, introducing equivocity. Instead, the virtual is ‘”completely determined”’ (50, quoting Difference and Repetition). This is to be understood by thinking about mathematics. A particular problem is perfectly determined, as is its solution: similarly, singular beings can be seen as ‘solutions of a problem borne by the virtuality that it actualizes’ (50). Problems are real, as are solutions. Solutions are not these all resemblances of the problem. Thus ‘the virtual can be said to be the locus of problems for which the actual proposes solutions’. The same goes for biological cases, where organisms are seen as solutions to problems.
The virtual is as determined as the problem is or ‘as the virtuality of an invented solution’ (50). But there is another form of determination as well, this time from problems circulating in the virtual, which interfere with each other, just as a mathematical problem is connected to other mathematical problems. Such interference can be seen as ‘seeds of actualisation’ (50). Thus one problem or virtuality can determine another problem or virtuality. Thus the One lies behind actualities, and also serves as ‘the real of the problematic in general or as the universal power of problems and their solutions’ (50). The virtual grounds the actual, and grounds itself, as something that produces more specific virtualities [just as problematics generate specific problems]. This is Deleuze’s ‘logic of a double circuit’ (51) [with specific circuits of actualisation, ‘small circuits’, and deeper ones involving ‘expanding virtualities’].
The metaphor of depth has intruded here inevitably, says Badiou. This produces an unfortunate ‘sort of interior of the One (or of the Whole)’ after all (51). Grasping the two circuits together as a single intuition requires ‘enormous effort... a certain speed of thought’. [Sarcasm here?].
If the virtual is the ground of the object and ‘if actualization is the process of the virtual’,then the virtual must be a part of the real object, ‘”as though the object had one part of itself in the virtual into which it plunged”’ (51, quoting Difference and Repetition). This must be so in univocity, but problems await [as in chapter three]. The object now has parts. The virtual apparently determines only a part of it [which seems quite a sensible sociological conclusion]. Deleuze is forced to argue that an object can have two halves, ‘”a virtual image and… an actual image”’, but these halves are not identical. Badiou argues that the virtual cannot be an image or simulacrum, unlike the actual. It is a power that gives rise to images, but it cannot itself be imaged. Instead, it would be better to argue that the actual is a virtual image, fully allowing for both its dimensions—but then we rediscover the problem of managing two parts of the object. Badiou says that he has overcome the problem by allowing the actual to be multiple, rejecting notions of the One and metaphors of images. Deleuze is left with ‘a very precarious theory of the Double’ (52).
Deleuze has to resort to ‘an
analytic of the indiscernible’ (52) to solve the
problem of how an object can be both actual and
draws on Bergson and the argument that time itself
is split ‘”in two dissymmetrical jets, one of
which makes all the present pass on, while the
other preserves all the past”’ (52, quoting Cinema
is generalised so that the actual becomes the
present and the virtual the past. Thus
real objects are split just like time is [and then
a very mysterious bit: ‘We can say that the image
– object is time, which is to say, once again,
that it is a continuous creation that is, however,
only effective in its division’ (52]. [Only
effective in division? Wasn't the metaphor in
Bergson one of focusing as in a cone?]
This notion of splitting is still a problem for the univocity of Being. Apparently, Bergson had the same problem with his doubles, such as ‘matter and memory, time as duration and spatialized time…’ (52). It was uncertain whether these were ‘categories or equivocal divisions of Being’ (52). Anyway, it looks a bit like Hegelian dialectic.
Deleuze has to argue that the virtual and actual parts of an object cannot be seen as separate. They cannot be distinguished, leaving him with the evasive ‘They are “distinct and yet indiscernible, and all the more indiscernible because distinct, because we do not know which is one which is the other”’ (53). This indiscernibility is ‘the price paid for the virtual as ground’ (53). The virtual apparently is completely determined and determining, but with an indetermination at the centre of the explanation of object. For Badiou, this is an insoluble problem. The virtual cannot be both real, One, and yet have an indeterminate effect. Deleuze’s attempts to solve the problem by positing ‘an indiscernibility beyond remedy’ makes it look as if the virtual must be there all along, an end state not a productive force. To invoke Spinoza, ‘the virtual is ignorantiae asylum’ (53) [the explanatory note explains that Spinoza was mocking those who end up relying on the divine will as a final cause as the last asylum of ignorance].
5: Time and Truth
[I must say I didn’t really understand much of this. The piece of Deleuze that is cited is in Cinema 2—reproduced as an appendix – and I remember encountering it there as a rather bizarre celebration of the false, which led to seeing avant garde film as offering narratives of the false, or rather critiques of the usual notions of the true. It made far more sense to me there as a critique of naturalism or realism. Here, it seems to have some deep philosophical import I have not understood. Apparently it is to do with Deleuze seeing a discussion of time is important to the notion of truth. This is developed using the examples of compossibility that I noticed in Cinema 2.
The argument goes that there is a paradox involved in the passage of time. If I say that an event may happen tomorrow, that is true. If the event actually does happen, however, that makes my statement untrue in favour of a statement that is more certain and definite. This seems to worry philosophers who seem to imply that therefore time can challenge the notion of truth, instead of being seen as what is necessarily true. I gather that for Leibniz, the solution was to argue that all possibilities actually do occur, but in different worlds, the events are incompossible. Obviously, these different occurrences cannot occur at the same time, which leads to Leibniz’s view that God somehow guaranteed that the best ones will occur, as in Dr. Pangloss.
Deleuze, apparently, prefers Nietzsche who suggests that this example indicates the ultimate power of the false. Truth itself is still a problem, because incompossible worlds could still all coexist. It may be that this is connected to the will to power which cannot rely on truthful happenings but which must somehow construct possibilities, as a form of creation or art, but I am not at all sure. In any event, the truth cannot be seen as provided by what exists, but must be virtual.
Time therefore has a forking structure, weaving between incompossible presents,true and false pasts [see Cinema 2 on this] . It is this that replaces the idea of the truth, this is the 'power of the false'. Simple accounts of how the past is necessarily true, and, may be, how it therefore determines the present, has to be replaced by new kinds of narratives, which present alternatives, which may be true or not.
Somehow this links with the idea of disjunctive synthesis, relations between the two aspects of the object discussed above. Ultimately, truth follows from the ‘intuition of duration’, an understanding of the ‘permanent action of the One’ (65).
Badiou seems to find this ultimate providing of alternatives unacceptable, ‘for I maintain that every truth is the end of memory, the unfolding of a commencement’ not the absence of commencement, not ‘only an abolished present (undergoing virtualization) and a memory that rises to the surface (undergoing actualization)’ (65).
As I say, largely
incomprehensible to me I’m afraid, but maybe
making more sense after the next chapter.
6: Eternal Return and Chance
[Wikipedia says: The eternal
return, apparently central to Nietzsche’s Thus Spake
Zarathustra implies that patterns of lives
now will be repeated, possibly endlessly, and/or
that the conditions that apply on Earth will and
must be replicated elsewhere in the universe. I
assume this is a problem for Deleuze because it
introduces the idea of stability and repetition in
the midst of chaos. He might even be forced to
admit that there are patterns in social life.
Thank God he has a way out – but at the expense of
an absolutely daft conclusion...].
It might be possible to argue that ‘truth only occurs by reoccurring, it is return. And that truth is not a temporal but identical to the being of time, amounts to saying that its return is eternal’ (67). [What an odd way to put it!]. Badiou himself believes that ‘every truth is a fidelity’ (67) [a note on page 137 explains that this relates to the idea that there is a process of truth, relating the terms of the situation and “the supernumerary name of the event”. This is further explained as using the term fidelity to identify multiples that depend on an event, referring to distinguishing ‘a legitimate becoming from what is merely fortuitous’, apparently quotes from his untranslated L'Etre et l'événement].
However, Deleuze must clearly avoid the implication that we are discussing the return of the Same. This would divide Being, as Plato did [he apparently had five supreme forms, including the Same]. Three ‘deformations of the motives of the eternal return’ must be avoided (68).
1. The idea that the One itself returns eternally. This must be rejected because it would imply that the One was some sort of transcendent principle [essence?], with multiples subordinated to it, and separate from it in the sense that multilples cannot return themselves. This contrasts with Deleuze notion of immanence, and the One as endlessly productive, unable to become absent from itself, and thus unable to return to itself.
2. The eternal return is considered as some kind of ‘formal law imposed on chaos’ (69), endlessly countering dissolution. Again this implies a separation between beings and Being, [and not just a difference or duplicity]. It is thinking or intuiting this univocal notion of the One that is central to Deleuze, and this must be adhered to. Badiou says again that this should warn against seen Deleuze as ‘sanctioning “democratic” debates, the legitimate diversity of opinions, the consumerist satisfaction of desires’ (69-70). [Then there is a debate about whether Platonism does or does not feature these deformations, page 70. Out this comes the argument that the eternal return simply means the endless duplication of simulacra, the endless ‘“power of affirming chaos” (71), citing the Logic of Sense. What returns is the differences produced by the One: ‘The return is the eternal affirmation of the fact that the only Same is precisely chaotic difference’ (71). In this sense, the One imposes the law of return, part of its own properties, not an external law. The multiple ‘is affirmed in the return... As both superficial disjunctive synthesis and deep chaos’ (71)]
3. The eternal return shows the workings of chance or statistical regularity, revealed in a sufficiently long process, say of tossing coins. In this sense, the Same ‘cancels chance’ (72). The real conforms to its probability, or it is the improbable that finally does not exist. Deleuze needs to refute this probabilistic conception, to maintain divergence and the improbable, to deny any final ‘equilibrium of the actual’, acting in its own right, as it were, disengaging itself from the chaotic virtual (73). This would also forbid working back towards the One from considering the different simulacra. Again, Being would have a double sense, something that produces the multiple in the beginning, and then something that guarantees their existence [I think, 73]
So how would the eternal return of chance to be explained? Here, ‘we cannot be sure that his answer is satisfactory’ (73). Deleuze knows that as soon as there is ‘the second throw the dice, the proceedings of the Same get underway’ (73). Therefore each throw must be impure, ‘”mixtures of chance and dependency”’ (73, quoting Foucault). This would safeguard [combinations of the multiple? Specifics thoughts?] against chance.
The pure, or ‘true’, throw of
the dice must be unique [ontological events must
be unique?], since a mere plurality of events
could still be traced to only one event after all. Therefore
‘Being is indeed the unique event’ (74). Chance
must somehow be contained within this unique
throw, affecting its own probability without
involving any numerical calculations and
‘It is the absolute affirmation of chance
as such’ (74) [the references here are to The Fold]. All the
chance takes place in the one throw of the dice. [This
might mean that all the probabilities of recurring
etc are contained in this initial emergence into
being? The only recurrences and patterns take
place on the 'plane of reference', the
constructions of science?See next ch too]. Any
numerical relations between events remains formal
only, since ‘the innermost power of the cast is
unique and univocal…
The numerical results are only superficial
standings or simulacra’ (74). [So
these are the lengths to which Deleuze would go to
avoid allowing any relationships between the
events once actualised, including sociological
it is a philosophical assertion that is
responsible for this rather absurd conclusion that
every event is unique, quite different from any
empirical investigation setting out to find what
is unique and what is indeed the same].[It is a
kind of constant little bang theory of reality]
So what returns eternally is uniqueness and chance in this particular way, the same ontological throw. The production of events always shows this process, ‘”the affirmation of all chance in a single moment, the unique cast for all throws, one Being and only one for all forms and all times, a single insistence for all that exists”’ (74, quoting from the Logic of Sense).
The result is ‘the virtual doctrine of contingency’, radical contingency, implying that ‘in every event of sense, their returns internally its having been produced by nonsense’ (75).
Deleuze repeated in a letter to
Badiou that, while ‘the different casts of
virtuals can be formally distinct… [but]...they
remain the forms of a single and same cast’ (75). [Badiou’s
alternative is impenetrable to me—see 75-6. Basically
is that each event is unique without belonging to
one Being, which seems equally weird. Badiou
seems to think simply that events occur by chance. Neither
of them seem to be interested in any connections
between events once they have come into being.
7: The Outside and the Fold
[The dilemma persists—how to explain obviously important differences while retaining the univocity of Being In this case, the differences are between thought and being, or the inside and the outside, and Deleuze as usual has to posit some relationship that preserves the differences. The answer is the fold].
The relation between thinking and Being has dominated modern philosophy [I gather that thinking has to correspond to Being in this problematic]. For Deleuze, ‘Being is formulated univocally as: One, virtual, inorganic life, immanence,, the nonsensical donation of sense, pure duration, relation, eternal return, and the affirmation of chance. As for thinking, this is for him disjunctive synthesis and intuition, the casting of dice, the ascetic constraint of a case, and the force of memory’ (79) [nice little summary]. So how are thinking and Being interlaced or identical?
There can be no simple logical connection, since there is so much contingency in actuality, that cannot be explained by simple principles. Therefore, there must be ‘an unprincipled identity of thought and Being’ (80). Cartesian thought does not require principles, and being can be understood as the being of the subject. However, Deleuze opposes any philosophy of the subject:
1. Being is univocal, and the equivocal, including the subject, is a simulacrum produced by it. Subjects themselves will never extract themselves from the equivocal.
2. The thinking subject must have a [dubious] interiority, producing a reflexivity, and a certain negativity for objects [I think, because they are seen as somehow effects of subjectivity, and less than subjectivity]. All beings are equal for Deleuze, and do not result from some interior. However, there is something in the idea of a self and an outside, which explains the very formation of the self—but this will be a folding/unfolding of Being and thus consistent with the oneness of Being.
3. Lived experience is itself a simulacrum, merely ‘”immobile sections” of duration, which are endowed with specific extrinsic (or spatial) movements’ (81). When phenomenologists investigate lived experience and its context, they are simply constructing a plane of reference, ‘without any recourse to the virtual… They do for lived experience what positive sciences do to the states of affairs: they construct the corresponding horizontal functional relations. Deleuze accepts that there might be a “science” of lived experience, but certainly not a philosophy’ (81). The subject itself operates on this plane of reference, and is therefore ‘incapable of immersing it [plane of ref] within the virtual, and thereby of intuiting its expressive relation to the One’ (81) [No nonsense about children as natural philosophers here then? No empowering of ordinary individuals to express their lived experience and calling that philosophy?].
4. Subjects can only operate on the scientific plane of reference, which leads to a rejection both of structural objectivism and subjectivism. As with Foucault, structural objectivism sees a connection between scientific structures and the subject, despite their differences in appearance [which seems to be a bit like the argument that no science is ever completely objective but always contains subjective elements? Similarly, subjective freedom, as in the market economy, requires ‘a single political structuring’, ‘a monetary police’]. [This relation between Foucault and Deleuze is discussed rather wittily throughout. On the face of it, chronologically ,Foucault informed Deleuze, but Deleuze also informed Foucault, and, given the idea of duration, perhaps they codetermined each other. In this case, Deleuze ‘in using the free indirect style, makes [Foucault’s work] his own’ (82). Foucault developed ‘thinking configurations that have nothing to do with the couple formed by structural objectivity and constitutive subjectivity. The “epochs”, the historical formations and the epistemes’ (82).
So, the problem is that thought is ‘set in motion by disjunctive syntheses...and beings who are in non-relation’and ‘knows only disjointed cases’ whereas ‘Being… Is essentially Relation’ (83). The concept of the fold goes through separate stages, and is no doubt repeated in analysis ‘at infinite speed’ (83). We cannot go back to unifying principles, since ‘Nothing resembles anything else, nothing joins up with anything else, everything diverges’: we must also avoid the temptation of sliding into non-thought [seeing everything as chaotic, groundless and relative, and also avoiding ‘mystical intuition’, which is apparently what Wittgenstein embraced] (83). We have to somehow escape from simple understandings, for example, of time, in order to get to duration behind chronological time.
We have to be ascetic again
resolutely exploring disjunctions, and yet ‘we
must find ourselves constrained
to follow the One’ (84). This is
exactly what the great filmmakers do, especially
the Straubs, Syberberg and Duras [and the
reference here is to Foucault]. Their
films show disjunctions fully, as in a series of
disjointed voices, but they also show how the One
appears in this ‘“irrational break” of the
simulacra’ (84), not through dialectic, not
through revealing some unifying principle [as in
realism] but by showing, ‘in the editing, a
“perpetual reconcatenation”… Another
name for intuition’ (84, quoting Foucault) [the
descent and ascent again].
Foucault similarly established a disjunction between the visible and the statement, ‘the two great registers that encompass all knowledge’, seemingly leading to two kinds of truth, but then alluding to the One [apparently, between The Order of Things and The Care of the Self], so that the disjunctions could be passed over, that the two registers could be related (84). It is not just that we have to assume or gamble upon the existence of the One. Somehow, beings themselves reveal a relation to the Whole [and the phrases seem very vague here: ‘a point of opening, a slight instability, a microscopic oscillation’ (85). I think DeLanda’s account is a bit more rational]. It seems that beings are never quite self sufficient, and never fully ‘sheltered’ from the universe.
Badiou says that if these relations appear on the object, how come they don’t show up in ‘the first ascetic’ when we are looking for radical heterogeneity and absolute disjunctions? The same goes with all Deleuze’s insistences on two aspects of everything, the virtual and the actual. Badiou thinks this is down to some residual ‘presuppositions of the dialectic’ (85). However, he does like the idea of ‘”dis–sheltering”’ (85), since this is a style that seems to imply going forward, without shelter. He calls this a matter of exploring ‘an event site’, something which is “on the edge of the void”, a point of possibility. Deleuze himself talks about the ‘intersection between the territory (the space of actualisation) and the process of deterritorialization (the overflowing of the territory by the event that is the real – virtual of all actualisation… The point at which what occurs can no longer be assigned to either the territory… or the non territory’ (85). We must follow these points to retrace the labyrinths lying behind disjunction.
Another way of discussing this is by thinking of what an automaton does. The automaton is neutral and therefore in a position to escape disjunctions [we can choose to act like automata, of course]. There remains only the outside, once we have abandoned any idea of attempting to find internal relations between heterogeneous actualities. Deleuze begins to talk about intuition as ‘the “thought of the outside”’ (86). This outside is not just an external world, but another simulacrum, ‘the pure assumption of the outside’. Again, the example of the cinema helps here, considered as “the material automatism of images” [the reference here is to Cinema 2]. Deleuze’s phrase here is that the automaton is 'animated' by the outside (86).
The outside consists of animating forces, some of which force us to think: ‘Let this be a warning to those who would see in Deleuze an apologia for spontaneity: whatever is spontaneous is inferior to thought, which only begins when it is constrained to become animated by the forces of the outside’ (86). These forces can be diagrammed. The diagrams still do not represent an interior relation, however, but a ‘formal composition’ of disjointed objects. We have here ‘a topology of the outside as the locus of the inscription of forces that, in their reciprocal action and without communicating between themselves in any way, produce singular exteriorities as a local figure of the outside’ (87). Thought has to construct the topology of outside forces, and Deleuze does this in considerable detail. The point though is to see ‘topological densification of the outside, which, as such, is carried up to the point that the outside proves to envelop an inside. It is at this moment that thought, in first following this enveloping (from the outside to the inside), and then developing it (from the inside to the outside) is an ontological coparticipant in the power of the One. It is the fold of Being’ (87).
It is possible to think of this process in terms of establishing limits or tracings lines ‘dividing the fields of force, the resultant’ (87). Editing in modern films establishes ‘an irrational line that externalizes what is said in relation to what is seen’ (88). This is activating a disjunction topologically. Thoughts can also do this, ‘by constructing limits’ [rigorously pursuing analysis of the disjunction?]. Thus Foucault has thought through the absolute separation of language and the visible, and then, through ‘a formidable archival labour’ forced each form to the specific limit until they became mutually exterior. Establishing the specific limits then helps one show what each area has in common [presumably by eliminating all the obvious relations and having to think out the only possibility that is left]. Badiou thinks this is ‘a precarious solution’, since we risk introducing differences between lines of force, the topological space they operate in, and the One. Deleuze flirts with notions of ‘”floating” [forces that are] mobile and abandoned to space’ (88). [Then there is a discussion of the relation to Mallarme. Apparently, differences between the non-relation and the ultimate relation in Being are almost zero for Mallarme, with Being as almost the necessary implication of actual beings. This would not be sufficient for Deleuze to save the idea of Being.]
Deleuze thinks of an limit as a fold, as a movement of Being itself. Exteriority produces interiority in the form of a pocket, with the line of the fold as the limit tracing the relations between the exterior and the interior. Thinking correctly grasps Being [‘coincides with Being’], when it sees Being as folded (89). The folding can be thought of as a ‘self’, apparently as Foucault did, or even as a subject, created by the outside, of course, not autonomous, and still immersed in Being. The subject ‘only exists as thought’, although it has grasped the notion of Being as soon as it sees itself as a fold [I think] (90).
This still fits with Bergson on the importance of duration as long as we see memory as a kind of fold, and not as something possessed by a subject. It is the memory of the outside, a process that permits the time to become [subjective?] memory. It is perfectly consistent for subjects “to think the outside as time, on the condition of the fold”, (90), quoting The Fold, presumably.
Badiou is interested in the political consequences above all for showing the good and bad sides of this conception. Seeing the fold as memory means that ‘everything new is an enfolded selection of the past’ (91), and that we need to use the past to produce something new. Deleuze insists that the notion of all kinds of new art, science or politics must be plunged into the past, that they have no absolute beginnings, that they still belong to the One. Another implication is that if thought is produced by the One, it must be univocal itself, and that everything therefore reduces to philosophy, or, at least ‘philosophy – art’ (91).
Badiou finds this too
reductive, both in terms of the present being a
mere fold of the past, and thinking of being
reduced to a philosophy. For him,
there are absolute beginnings, arising from the
void, and singular thoughts. It is
necessary to think this way he to explain specific
events, including ‘a political revolution’ (91). It is so
important to do this, that Badiou is willing to
risk being charged with using dubious concepts
such as transcendence and analogies: for him,
fidelity to the event shows generic multiplicities
‘without any underlying virtuality’, but he admits
that his differences with Deleuze here ultimately
become ‘a question of taste’ (92).
8: A Singularity
[This is placing Deleuze in the context of French philosophy, and I did not want to intrude on private grief, so I just got a few gems out of this chapter]
Deleuze has avoided the usual blocs of philosophical opinion in France, together with the ‘shoddy consensus’ which they often attain in order to pursue university politics. ‘Undoubtedly, between 1969 and 1975, he was the mentor of that fraction of leftism for which all that mattered was desiring machines and nomadism, the sexual and the festive, free flux and the freedom of expression, the so-called free radio stations along with all the other spaces of freedom, the rainbow of miniscule differences, and the molecular protestation fascinated by the powerful molar configurations of Capital. We have already said enough for any and all to understand that this transitory jurisdiction was based on a crucial misunderstanding’ (95-96). Deleuze should have done more to correct this misinterpretation, but, like all philosophers, he wanted disciples [partly because, as I have suspected all along, French philosophers need to feel that they are part of social reality and its movements].
Deleuze is a severe[ascetic] philosopher, too severe to belong to the various schools: ‘Deleuze constitutes a polarity all by himself’ (96). He absorbed various arguments and responded to them ‘without ever having to modify his categories’ (97). Intellectual passion alone drove him. He was forced to confront a huge variety of cases, but was determined to treat them uniformly. Like Bergsonism ‘in the final instance, it is always what is that is right’ (97). Life cannot be evaluated, and, as Spinoza said ‘”What does it matter? All is grace”’ (97). It follows that ‘what is, is nothing other than the grace of the All’ (97). Deleuze’s personal stoicism throughout his illness and death follows, as does his ‘indifferent cheerfulness’ as he undertook various philosophical investigations and attended conferences [no Dave: 'peripeteia' means sudden reversals of argument, not wandering around attending conferences]. For Badiou, grace is a rare moment of creativity, responsible for the event, which forces us to be faithful to it.
For Badiou, the real tension in French philosophy is between Bergson and the intuition of life, and [someone called] Brunschvicg, a mathematician dealing in ‘a historicized axiomatics of the construction of eternal truths’ (98). German philosophy was interpreted according to this domestic tradition. Deleuze really modernized the Bergson line, and rescued him from Christian spiritualism. ‘In so doing, he constructed the most solid barrier possible against the threat facing us of the hegemonic penetration of Anglo – Americans scholasticism, which has, as its twin props, the logic of ordinary language, on the epistemological side, and the parliamentary moral doctrine of rights, on the pragmatic side’ (99). However, this barrier does prevent creative thinking in the areas that interest Badiou—arts, love, and the political. There is also the point that ‘the entire edifice is vulnerable to the powers of decomposition that our grandiose and decaying capitalism liberates on a large scale’ (99) [not elaborated any further].
We need another barrier, opposing ‘logic, mathematics and abstraction’ to ‘logicizing “grammaticalism”… [And]… organized emancipatory politics (against “democratic” consensus)’ (99). This would involve a return back to a proper reading of Descartes and Plato.
Deleuze constructed his own genealogy, with monographs on Spinoza, Leibniz and the others. This treats philosophy as ‘an absolute detemporalized memory’ (100), aiming to make great concepts return, or release their power. He constructed an account of ‘thinkers of the One’, opposing transcendence in Platonism or in Hegel, and testing his arguments against Kant's ‘heterogeneous inflection of the One’ (100).
[Badiou ends by comparing his reading of Plato with that of Deleuze, over Heidegger, 101-2]. At least Deleuze has opposed the modern construction of Platonism, usually used as some kind of negative against which to legitimate the new. At least Deleuze engaged with physics, denying the autonomy of philosophy. Above all, he was a thinker of the All.
[I must say that the selected
texts by Deleuze which follow do complement really
well the summaries offered by Badiou, which must
help to ground his reading. Of
course, whether these selections are typical of
Deleuze’s work could still be argued. Nevertheless,
I would like to see a critic like Smith, who says
Deleuze’s obsession with the One is a construction
of Badiou’s, explain away these texts and provide
examples of his own.]
back to Deleuze page