NOTES ON: Deleuze, G.  (2004) Desert Islands and Other Texts 1953-74, edited by David Lapoujade, translated by Michael Taormina.  MIT Press: London.

[This is the sort of stuff you get when great men get all their jottings and notes and memos translated.  Some pieces are very small extracts from interviews. Most are short, thank God, and pretty clear, relatively. Others are really obscure and probably early stuff.  Now and then there is a cracking essay, but there are also light Parisian witty reviews, often connecting a recent book to some hero of Deleuze's. I think it best to leave them to you, O Reader]


This is a collection of texts presented in order of publication.  Apparently, it is connected with Negotiations, and there is even another collection—Two Regimes of Madness and other texts.

Chapter one Desert Islands

[Parisian salon stuff].  There are two kinds of islands, both in science and imagination—continental ones and oceanic ones, ones which split from continents, and ones which emerge from underwater eruptions.  All sorts of gripping and flowery commentary ensue—we normally expect islands to be deserted, because they are either before or after human existence.  There is always a place in mythology and imagination, based on dreams of separation or starting from scratch.  In this sense, they relate to the origins of human beings in mythology, reflecting both human separation from nature and human creativity.  The notion of a deserted island does not just refer to the lack of people, but to their separation, their continued awareness of the island as deserted—in some circumstances, this desertedness can become sacred, the dream of human beings, their awareness of being uncommon, 'absolutely separate, absolute creators, in short, an Idea of humanity, a prototype' (11) [we can start to see echoes of the essay in Logic of Sense, on human beings encountering nature at its most raw, unmediated by others?].  This idea of some fundamental origin and unity with nature arises in collective imagination.

Although geography tends to downgrade the desert island, it is important in human imagination as a kind of 'egg of the sea'.  Mythology has always been important, as an example of something that has been created by humans but no longer understood.  Literature is the same, based on the 'misinterpretations' of consciousness (12).  This is shown in the classic novels of the deserted island—Robinson and Suzanne and the Pacific [a French text, by Giraudoux, written in 1922].  Both of these indicate the death of mythology, in the case of Robinson, through a 'boring' theme of the value of property, 'the reconstitution of every day  bourgeois life from a reserve of capital' (12), affirming 'the close ties between capitalism and Protestantism'.  In the case of Suzanne, nature provides a series of luxury as objects, but she has nothing to create, and the objects are meaningless or not connected with human relations, like buying and selling or giving gifts.

What this shows us is that the deserted island features recreation and new beginnings, 'a second origin' (13), invoking a time of birth and rebirth for the whole world, renewal after catastrophe after an origin, as in the myth of the flood.  We can become aware of this at the level of our own reproduction of  life, via appearance and reappearance of cycles, the origin of 'the law of repetition, the law of the series'.  These second origins are seen as something human, often in the form of 'exclusively female communities…  Such as the island of Circe or Calypso' (14).  It is this notion of the second origin, and of something immemorial that preceded them  that makes deserted islands meaningful.

[And then Professor Deleuze bade his fellow dinner guests goodbye].

Chapter two Jean Hyppolite's Logic and Existence

This was a commentary on Hegel and a new interpretation.  It argues that 'philosophy must be ontology, it cannot be anything else; but there is no ontology of essence, there is only an ontology of sense' (15).  In particular, philosophy is not anthropology, 'the empirical discourse of humanity in which the speaker and the object of his speech are separate', where reflection is on one side and being on the other, so that movement is not the movement of the thing, and subjectivity is a fact.  Kant's notions of reflection synthesises the identity of subject and object, again by privileging the former, making a synthesis of the imagination: 'he goes beyond the psychological and the empirical, all the while remaining within the anthropological'.  Thought is given, but because objects presuppose thought.  But there is still no thing in itself. 

In Hegel, this is an absolute identity 'between what is given and what is presupposed'(16).  The movements between being and reflection arise in the dialectic.  Eventually, we will get to absolute knowledge, but the conception of absolute knowledge is already present, as moments of consciousness.  In other words, Being is  sense—we are not claiming a God like knowledge of things in themselves [unlike Deleuze, although he shrinks from claiming it is absolute].  There is no separate world of being.  This is in fact an old argument, already found in Plato, where the second world is the sense of this world.  Both he and Kant would regard this as transcendental, however, especially where 'the being of logic [depends on a transcendental version of] the logical nature of being'.  Hyppolite reads Hegel in this way as well.  Sense does not strive to achieve the knowledge of some absolute other or thing, but is already available for development.

The problem is that absolute [philosophical, logical] knowledge must include empirical knowledge exclusively, and yet still be different from empirical knowledge.  Essentialism is the usual answer to counter empiricism, but it is still no more linked to reflection than simple empiricism, and in this sense, both are opposed to absolute knowledge as some kind of 'Total thought that knows itself only in its determinations, which are moments of form' (17) [we are back on the familiar territory of saying the absolute knowledge is really the same as empirical knowledge, but these differences are produced by Being itself—'my discourse is logically or properly philosophical when I speak the sense of what I say, and when Being thus speaks itself.  Such discourse, which is the particular style of philosophy, cannot be other than circular'. This is the opposite of the anthropological stance [knowledge arises in Being, the Absolute in hegelian terms].

This still leaves problems [!] based on the origin of philosophy and its relation to history and the development of human beings.  There is a risk of anthropologism again if we combine the two histories too tightly,  if sense is seen to develop or become.  All will be well, Deleuze thinks, if we see both the development of humanity and thought by seeing Being as 'identical to difference, and which as such thinks itself and reflects itself in humanity' (18). Hyppolite's understanding is limited here, because he wants to see difference as only a matter of contradiction, relying on differences which are already unified.  Deleuze wants to argue for other kinds of difference that do not 'go all the way to contradiction, since contradiction would be less and not more than difference' [and an obscure argument ends this piece by talking about expressions which show differences, and only phenomenal aspects of expression which identify contradictions].

Chapter three Instincts and Institutions

[The nearest he gets to any sort of sociology.  Fundamentally functionalist, although he seems to have recognized some Marxist problems as well].

Both the instincts and institutions are 'procedures of satisfaction' (19).  Subjects invents an original world extracted from elements from the external world.  The extent to which this becomes 'artificial' produces different forms of liberation from nature.  That process itself presupposes an existing milieu, either species specific or institutional.

Institutions produce satisfaction—'sexuality finds it in marriage and avarice in property'.  There are also secondary institutions such as the State which presuppose institutionalized behaviour.  While law limits actions, the institution provides 'a positive model for action'[and then the bit that Hardt found in Deleuze's reading of Hume—theories of law operate with things like natural rights, outside the social, and see the social as negative as in contract theories, but a positive theory of the institution sees the natural as providing negatives, needs, so that society becomes 'essentially positive and inventive'.  This enables us to separate tyranny, with lots of laws and few institutions, and democracy.  Tyrannical laws also operate directly with people not on institutions.

However, the same sexual needs can result in a number of institutions, producing 'the paradox of society', (20) where institutions are procedures of satisfaction, but these procedures are not determined by natural tendencies.  Such tendencies are always 'constrained or harassed and thus transformed, sublimated', even if this produces neurosis.  We have to ask a further question—for whom is the actual institution useful? For many, just a few 'the privileged class', or for those who control the institution 'the bureaucracy'.  This leaves sociology with problems of explaining this particular form of satisfaction. Is it 'the rituals of a civilisation?  The means of production?'.  This involves processes which are not explained by tendencies or utility, but something 'of which we are not conscious': thus rituals embody the unconscious of the users [no ideology?].

It is different with the instinct because that is entirely determined by utility, 'except beauty'.  There are no instinctive constraints, although the same instinct can produce different behaviours in different species, introducing another level of determinism—'species specificity'.  This produces a problem that we can understand the effect of instinct at the level of the individual or the species, another version of the 'useful for whom question'.

The common problem is to explain the link between tendencies and objects that satisfy them.  At the organic level, organisms require chemicals, but find them in water and food.  Sometimes this is so well developed that it seems to provide some original power of synthesis, but intelligence can introduce variation.  Even so, the problem is to explain where this intelligence comes from, given that it might require a long period of time and some potetially lethal experiments.  [Then…  He gets it…] 'We are forced back on the idea of the intelligences something more social than individual...What does the social mean?' (21).  The social must provide some system of anticipation and classification of natural elements—the institution replaces the species.  The institution translates 'the demands of humanity' into actual products [don't stop here Gilles, go on to ask about how these products emerge].  The mechanisms here are 'totemism and domestication', for example [when classifying animals].

[Blimey!  So near and yet so far!]

Chapter four Bergson, 1859-1941

Bergson created the concepts 'duration, memory, élan vital and intuition'(22).  We can start by examining intuition.  Bergson begins by identifying the main form of mental activity as organizing problems and separating out false ones.  Intuition was to be an adequate method to eliminate false problems, seeing them as linked to duration, a matter of time rather than spaces.  Intuition, when it becomes a conscious method, examines the effects of duration.

 Intuition implies that something is presented immediately rather than being inferred.  This raises the issue of philosophy and science.  Some philosophers see science as adequate its own right, providing knowledge that only needs to be criticised or reflected upon.  Bergson and others see philosophy as offering quite another knowledge, 'and knowledge and a relationship that precisely science hides from us' (23), because it never considers the thing in itself, its interiority [a familiar criticism of positivism, but based on ontology].  In a way, this intuition is a return, rediscovering something in things themselves, requiring us to forget scientific progress there can be seen as suffering from a lapse of memory.  We have to identify matter as 'that in being which prepares and accompanies space, intelligence and science'.  Science grasps one characteristic of being, one of the two movements of nature which involves actualization, and, properly developed, it can arrive at a total comprehension.

Bergson operates with two movements, rather than two worlds, one in which the movement congeals in its products, produces something that interrupts movement, and the other which works the other way around, and 'rediscovers in the product the movement from which it resulted' (24).  It is the first movement that tends to be seen as natural, and the latter that has to be rediscovered: the latter provides the first movement.  We must not think of movement is made up of instants, which are really only 'virtual cessations'.  It follows that the present tense is equally misleading, since presents are already produced by movements—the past is what used to be, and it is linked to the present, 'in the same duration, the one beneath the other, and not the one after the other' (24).  The normal senses of present and past time are produced by the same process: it is the same world.

What is the immediate?  If science focuses only on the immediate, it risks losing an aspect of being, especially 'the difference of the thing, that which makes its being,  that which makes it this  rather than that'(24).  This is the source of false problems such as questioning why there is something rather than nothing, or order rather than disorder.  These false problems take the immediate as indicating something general, working with 'an immobile ensemble' which can only be contrasted with nothingness, which has no movement except in the form of contradiction, order and disorder for example.  The unity of contradictory terms like that would never produce an adequate grasp of being, and has led to being being seen as an abstraction. 

Bergson is far more interested in questions such as why something exists rather than something else, why things have the proportion that they do, why a particular perception invokes a particular memory.  Being for him is difference, not immovable or undifferentiated and not contradiction.  'Being is the difference itself of the thing, what Bergson often calls the nuance'(25), and it leads to a new form of empiricism, one that produces concepts that are properly adequate to things, possibly only to one thing.  We should not search for generalities, but focus on individual things and existences, and then trace the characteristics of these things back to the source, 'the universal light'.  Science and metaphysics often allow difference to escape [through generalisation or abstraction].  We do need notions of resemblance and opposition, but as a 'practical, and not ontological categories', and seeking resemblances should not dominate our theoretical efforts. 

It follows that we are after a particular kind of difference, not an empirical one, 'a purely exterior relation' in space, nor the kind of difference that is determined by contradiction.  Rather, we should see things as subject to alteration [rather than to strict alterity], the alteration of substance.  Being is the alteration of substance.  Duration refer is to that which changes nature or quality so that it differs from itself.  The mechanism involves 'a certain relaxation or tension of duration'(26).  So far, then, intuition is a method that seeks difference at the virtual level, something that articulates the real.  Science has been misled by focusing on differences of degree rather than real difference, and this only covers differences of nature.  Scientific methods can only grasp these differences of degree, because differences of nature are not immediately perceptible, [almost a notion of scientific ideology here, but no explorations of the politics of science] and we must look for them within things not between things, as different tendencies.  Things are never pure, but always composites: 'only the tendency is pure', which gives it some sort of greater reality. 

Intuition divides composites into different tendencies.  This explains the dualisms in Bergson, including those in the titles of his book: 'quantity and quality, intelligence and instinct, geometrical order and vital order, science and metaphysics, the closed and the open are its most known figures'.  These dualisms always lead back to matter and duration seen as two movements, two tendencies 'like relaxation and contraction'. Actually, only one of the tendencies is pure or simple, and the other is seen as introducing a disturbing impurity.  In any composite thing, only one characteristic will lead us to duration.  Duration shows us difference, 'whereas matter is only the undifferentiated, that which is repeated…  That which can no longer change its nature' (27).  In this way, the apparent dualisms are in fact [rank ordered] —one half 'contains in itself the secret of the other'.  In this way, duration first differs in itself and from itself, so that the differences introduced by matter are 'still essentially of duration'.  Duration encounters matter as a contrary movement or obstacle that interrupts its 'impulse (élan)'.  Matter [actualization] introduces differences of degree, but duration also is 'susceptible to degrees because it is that which differs with itself'[so here we are weaselling around again between empirical differences that are different even though they belong to the same thing. See May in Boundas and Olkowski for a good critique].  Matter is 'the lowest' kind of degree of difference, only difference of degree. 

Nevertheless, it is important to show why matter persists, why 'its vibrations still [occupy] multiple instances', and this is a certain degree of duration itself. Duration is differentiated in two directions, and one way produces matter.  Duration contracts and expands, and when it expands, it produces matter.  This reconciles dualism and monism.

It follows that intuition can not simply 'follow natural articulations', but must pursue lines of differentiation.  This will lead to a discovery of duration as a simple process, 'a convergence of probabilities', 'what is simple, indivisible…  what persists'.  In this way, intuition confirms duration, as an élan vital.  Bergsten's work on evolution demonstrates this, or with a process of differentiation producing real differences, as something which is 'realised actualised or made'(28), in the form of divergent series, lines of evolution.  Élan vital is duration itself as it is actualised, it is difference passing into act.  Other approaches in biology such as mechanism and finalism impose points of view on the emergence of difference, and see it as a matter of the relation between actual terms themselves.  Duration is virtuality.  Here, Bergson moves away from the notion of duration as a subjective phenomenon.  Here, it is 'the mode of being, and is, moreover, in a way, being itself'.  'To be actualized is always the act of a whole that does not become entirely actual at the same time, in the same place, or in the same thing; consequently it produces species that differ in nature'.

[Luckily], 'it is the essence of the virtual to be actualised', and we can grasp this by seeing duration as memory, something that 'prolongs the past in the present'. [So, is memory being used as a handy illustration? As a useful rhetorical ploy? ] Again there are two movements, one where the present reveals the effects of the past as well.  There is also empirical memory ('recollection memory') and some more essential form ('contraction memory') (29).  The latter kind suggests that the past itself survives, and not just as a subjective resource, not just psychologically.  The past has survived, but it is simply that it has ceased to be useful.  This avoids false problems about how the past is connected to the present [where it is seen as simply something that was present, so how does it pass --etc].  The past is the unconscious, or the virtual, not something that only exists after the present, but something that 'coexists with itself as present'.  This helps us see how the past can affect the present, how it becomes present as well as past.  The past and the present are best seen in terms of two forms of duration, one relaxed and one contracted—the present is the most contracted and the past stretches out from it like a cone in the operations of our subjective, even though the whole of it is actually available—'everything is there, but everything coexist with everything'.  It is this coexistence which is virtual.

Only this virtual coexistence can produce real [actual?] successions.  Only intuition can grasp this, going beyond idealism and realism, the exterior and the interior.  Coexistence is the key.  Degrees of coexistence make duration both virtual and capable of actualization and differentiation.  [It seems possible that the actualization can also work in reverse—'actually divergent series give birth to, in duration, coexistent virtual degrees' (30)].  We can even see intelligence and instinct as two divergent series coexisting in duration as 'different degrees of relaxation or of contraction'.  Duration initially appeared as a psychological reality, but this is 'only our duration, that is to say, a certain well determined degree'. It would be a mistake to try and explain this subjective duration.  Rather, one should 'inhabit it initially through an effort of intuition'.  When we do this, we become aware of the tension in [our subjective] duration 'whose determination itself appears as the choice among an infinity of possible durations'.

Overall, Bergson argues that not everything is given in immediate facts, that the immediate presupposes a movement that invents it, and we cannot grasp this movement 'in the image of the given'.  This mistake arises in certain conceptions of the possible.  The virtual is different—it is the whole, which need not be completely detectable in the image of actual things.  Actual species differ from each other, even though they are actualizations [which seems to suggest a form of transcendental deduction as the appropriate method, whereby one examines a range of different things and tries to deduce what it is that underpins them.  Deleuze would not accept the idea that this underlying whole is transcendental in the usual sense, however, not something that belongs to another world]. 

The present is only a contracted degree of the past which coexists with it, and this has an implication for the future, since it shows that the past can change nature and project it forward.  This explains Bergson's continual 'hymn in praise of the new, the unforeseeable, of invention, of liberty' (30-31).  This shows the potential of philosophy to 'attain the thing itself beyond the order of the possible'[and is the basis of Deleuze's own phantasy politics].  It goes beyond causality and possibility which always are connected to actual things in themselves and which assume [that all relevant variables are pinned down].  Bergson stresses indeterminacy by contrast, not to celebrate irrationality, but to argue for a broader sense of reason 'the true reason of the thing in the process of being made', philosophical reason stressing difference.  The whole system is displayed well in Matter and Memory—there is a difference of nature between the past or present, and between duration and matter, and it is a mistake to work with what is immediately given, 'a badly analysed composite' (31).  When exploring what a difference of nature actually is, he shows that 'duration itself is this difference', with matter as the most relaxed degree.  There are degrees of coexistence in duration.  We can add a dimension of time by saying that duration 'is always differentiating itself into past and present'.

We can find similar themes in English empiricism, but Bergson's method was new.

[I can't go back now, but I think the terms relaxed and expanded are used differently in different examples?]

Chapter five Bergson's Conception of Difference

[I found this one slightly more obscure although it covers similar ground to the one above]

Bergson's achievement is to focus on the philosophy of difference, both in methodological and ontological terms.  In the first place, we need to understand the differences between things and things themselves properly, without reducing them.  In the second place if difference is so important to being, it must tell us something important about being.  Both tendencies are at work.

Previous philosophers have not understood natural differences, and mixed them up with differences of degree [the latter confusion includes not realizing that differences between matter and the perception of matter are only differences of degree].  More commonly, differences of nature have been grasped as differences of degree, which is embarrassing because  philosophy claims 'to grasp the thing itself'(32), in other words to decide how it differs from everything else, internally.  Internal difference is hard to grasp, but it clearly is a feature, unless we are to see difference as only ever exterior, somehow outside things.  It is common for general ideas to offer composite groups when they generalize [and the example is types of pleasure, which have only in common the fact that human beings have the same practical interest in them and act towards them in the same way].  We need to find proper differences of nature.  We know they exist because 'there exists differences of nature between things of the same genus' (33) [does he mean different types of antelope?  Surely these differences are themselves relative, depending on what one sees as a common features of the genus of antelopes in the first place?  Are differences of gender an exception, a real difference in nature?].  If philosophy is not interested in these differences of nature, Bergson argues, this leaves it only with the role of commenting upon or criticising unreflected generalities provided by other disciplines [can't have that].  Instead, philosophy must find appropriate concepts that grasp objects alone, even if this means that concepts only applies to one thing.  'This unity of the thing and the concept is internal difference, which one reaches through the differences of nature' (33).  [not a very helpful definition--replace 'is' with 'is based on'? ].

Intuition is enjoyable [Spinozan joy?] because it leads us to see difference.  It actually involves 'a plurality of acts, a plurality of efforts and directions' (33).  It first tries to determine differences of nature, differences between things.  [empirical] Reality can be a guide here since it already provides articulations and distributions of things.  However these articulations are produced by 'factual lines', which must also be intuited.  These are best seen as 'directions to be followed', lines of probability, and Deleuze says that this can look like positivism.  Consciousness [understanding?] is the result of factual lines converging: intuition takes the form of an hypothesis.  We attempt to grasp the articulations of the real in an empiricist manner, and then to cross check it through hypothesising factual lines.  Both are consistent with each other—empirical study of the real shows us the differences of nature between things, while intuiting factual lines 'show us the thing itself identical to its difference, internal difference identical to something'(34) [a Bergsonian notion of essence?  Eidetic variation?]

An overemphasis on genre 'is like lying to philosophy'(34).  Science simply relies on differences of degree, while old metaphysics has misunderstood the problem as differences of intensity.  Scientists operate as they do as a result of 'conjugated operations of need, social life and language, intelligence and space, though space is what the intelligence makes of the matter that lends itself to intelligence'[can't allow any autonomy for intelligence].  In other words, they offer utilitarian groupings, but this 'cannot ground what makes it possible in the first place'.  [Do philosophers operate with different conjugations?]  Differences of nature are already involved although not grasped, because they appear in a non spatial form [and apparently Bergson renders differences in terms of some primeval numbering].  Experience and understanding grasps only already formed products.  Things themselves differ in other ways, not just those of proportion.  Nor do their characteristics differ in nature.  What differs are [not easily perceived] tendencies, including tendencies to develop, as in biological evolution.  Even causes arise from tendencies, since they are already 'derived retroactively from the product itself'.  Only when things are separated from their tendencies in thought, and causes substituted, do we arrive at differences of degree [an equally 'correct status of things' -- we don't want to diss science?].  As an example, human brains as products differ from animal brains as a matter of degree, but when considered as a result of tendencies, there is 'a complete difference of nature' (35).  Much depends on the point of view [which starts to look a bit perspectival?].

'Things, products, results are always composite'.  Only composites appear in space and can be grasped by intelligence, and they can be understood in terms of apparent opposites, such as closed and open, perception and affection.  Composites arise from tendencies combined in such a way that the combination is inaccessible.  'The homogeneous is by definition composite', and only tendencies are pure and simple.  We have to grasp tendencies if we are interested in proper notions of difference.  We should study composites in order to arrive at 'tendency as the sufficient reason of proportion'.  We can also explain evolution as the development of particular tendencies and the characteristics associated with them.

Metaphysics fail to grasp this except in terms of differences of intensity [and it seems this is where we get the metaphors of matter as relaxation or lessening of being, with perfection at one end and nothingness at the other].  Here, false originating ideas are to blame, such as disorder or nothingness.  Ultimately, though, 'the illusion of intensity at bottom depends on the illusion of space'—so there is one problem at the bottom of it all, which is the failure to distinguish differences of nature from those of degree.

Intuition can be guided by noting that 'tendencies that come in paired opposites differ in nature', and this opposition is at the heart of the emergence of beings as expressions of tendencies [sounds awfully like the dialectic].  We can then divide composites into two tendencies, going beyond a mere spatial analysis [distributions and empirical generalizations] and description of experience.  We are not committed to transcendental analysis, however, since tendencies are given, lived, there is no distinction between the absolute and the lived.  This means that we can experience these tendencies, and we can limit intuition to reflecting upon 'the conditions of real experience', not just speculating about all possible forms of experience.  This makes Bergsonism 'a superior empiricism' (36).  This limit helps us seek concepts that are identical to objects [not something speculative].  An idea of sufficient reason is at work here, says Deleuze—'reason must reach all the way to the individual, the genuine concept all the way to the thing, and comprehension all the way to [a grasp of the] "this"' (36).  We want to know why this exists and not that, why a perception calls up a particular recollection and resonates with others.  Bergson calls this kind of reason nuance—there are no accidents, everything is produced by nuance and we only understand this once we find the concept that fits objects themselves: until then, we are forced to use several concepts to explain composite objects and their proportions.  Grasping tendencies provides both a unified concept and a fully explained object, one that is not just contingent.

However it is difficult to proceed from empirical mixtures to tendencies [since we can't assume that the proportion of empirical elements indicates the proportion of tendencies].  Is there a dominant tendency?  There must [!] be because it is the only one that can provide the unique concept, while the other is better understood as a kind of impurity that compromises and opposes the dominant tendency [ie we want to eliminate dualism].  Having said that, Bergson proceeds to make some assertions—animal behaviour shows instinct is the dominant tendency, human behaviour intelligence, a perception is the pure tendency, affection adds impurities.  Is there a rule?  In the past, philosophers like Plato relied on the  idea of some transcendent Good to produce the right choice, but Bergson 'refuses help from finality, as though he wanted the method of difference to be self sufficient' (37).

We need to think again about what the difference is between tendencies.  At the moment it looks like another external difference.  We have only arrived at external differences again using intuition, and some of Bergson's arguments seem to operate like this—for example space is a composite of matter and duration, the two tendencies. [We cannot have external differences since we would have to keep going to explain their origin and the laws of their operation,which wold presumably end in transcendentalism and speculation -- hence the recourse to monism]  However, it is not just that matter is a relaxation and duration or contraction, as some eternal difference between tendencies.  Instead, we can argue that duration itself produces differences internally [that slippery notion of difference again, as discussed in Boundas].  So Bergson eventually argues that duration differs from itself, while matter 'is what repeats itself'.  The same point is made in a discussion of intensity, where differences of intensity are themselves generated by the properties of sensation [pass].  Consciousness also generates differences—'in the life of the psyche there is always otherness without there being number or several'.  There are different types of movement, but 'the essence of this movement…  is alteration…  Qualitative change'.  Duration is a thing or substance that differs from itself.  It follows [!] that 'real time is alteration, and alteration is substance [ that is produced by a substance]'.  The differences of nature are themselves the result of this substance, not simply produced by the difference between two tendencies: [the very opposition of tendencies is a part of nature].  This is what we should really perceive when we start to analyze composites, not only that there are two tendencies, but the the difference between them is produced by one of them.  'Difference has become a substance' (38), and movement is also substantial, not just a characteristic of something else, presupposing nothing else.  [Then a difficult implication—duration is difference of self with itself, 'and what differs from itself is, in an unmediated [emphasized] way, the unity of substance and subject'.  Does this mean human subjects? Shouldn't it be objects? The bit below on human consciousness suggests he meant human subjects too].

Thus we should always choose duration as the dominant tendency, and we should see detectable aspects of the object as nuances [other possibilities] [There is a strange recurrent notion here of a left and a right side—I don't think it has any particular significance, but I think Deleuze is referring to the right side as the purer of the two].  It is still difficult because sometimes duration, in the form of the elan vital, puts instinct above intelligence ['places intelligence on the left side' (38)] for animals, expressing itself as instincts.  In human beings, intelligence is 'on the right side', still an expression of duration although in the human form.  Intelligence is matter, for Bergson, because it dominates matter, and gives us the unique sense of duration [I still think this is a bit unnecessarily philosophical—surely our intelligence reveals to us that matter is affected by duration, I don't see the need to say that therefore it is matter, except for rhetorical purposes].  Duration has these nuances, because it differentiates itself from itself—and matter is only a 'final nuance of duration'.

What is implied is that difference is not just between two tendencies, but rather itself one of the tendencies, and 'always on the right side'.  External differences reflect internal differences [in silly philosophical rhetoric 'External difference has become internal difference'].  This is what helps us to analyze things both ways, following the articulations of the real and the factual lines which emerge, and then tracing these factual lines back to give us a convergent understanding of the real so that we can separate out such matters as what belongs to subjects and what to objects.  External differences affect only appearances.  We can already get some clues about matters such as differences in nature as opposed to differences of degree, but we cannot see that duration is indivisible, and a substance, that alteration is going on without becoming plurality or contradiction. This is the difference between Bergson and advocates of the dialectic, whether Plato or Hegel.  There can be differences which do not 'go as far as contradiction' (39), which are more profound, and which are not easily grasped from the outside.  Internal difference is what becomes absolute.  [Renewed a couple of pages later: Bergson would not accept the principle of finality in Plato, as we saw above, where the Good is the ultimate rule to govern choice.  Bergson rejects this finality on the same grounds that he rejects empirical studies of appearances—both should be replaced with the notion of duration, difference as a thing in itself.  The same idea of primary difference would lead him to reject Hegel, who sees difference as appearing by contrast to things which an object is not, which introduces an external determination, and the method of constantly seeking contradictory tendencies: the latter leads to a purely abstract conception of difference, not one based on tendencies in varying composites {this is the argument that Deleuze himself advances in Difference and Repetition}.  It is an abstraction compared to the concepts of differences of degree and nuance.  It is 'one of the numerous retrospective illusions'(42).  What is really happening is that a simple virtuality is actualizing itself, and we see those effects in actual composite things, although we cannot easily grasped primary difference itself.  There is no role for the negative in Bergson—what looks like the emergence of negations is really 'the positive actualization of a virtuality that contains both terms at once…  It is our ignorance of the virtual that makes us believe in contradiction and negation' (42-3).  The differences inherent in duration are more profound and more primary]

Can we read off the characteristics of the two tendencies produced by duration?  We should be able to, because even when duration produces differences, it is still duration, these differences are not total, as that which we find in composites.  Duration is differentiating itself.  There is therefore a double differentiation found in composites—between that which shows duration and that which does not, and then differences within duration itself.  'Space is broken up into matter and duration, but duration differentiates itself into contraction and relaxation; and relaxation is the principle of matter' (39) [I have always thought this should be the other way about].  Similarly organic forms have both matter and élan vital, but élan vital also differentiates itself into instinct and intelligence, and then intelligence transforms matter into space.  We have to further examine this second kind of differentiation. Bergson argues that duration both splits itself up into fluxes, and then concentrates itself 'in a single current' [although this still looks like a matter of points of view].  He turns to the concept of virtuality—in discussing memory, for example the indivisible is not static, but rather changes its nature when it divides, and it is 'the virtual or the subjective' that changes its nature.  In Creative Evolution, we see the notion of life itself as the process of difference, including the differentiation of species.  Bergson wants to argue that this is internal difference, not something caused externally, and it never operates as a simple determination, since this would be to imply a relation between causes and ends or coincidences, which would reintroduce externalities.  Instead, vital difference is 'indetermination itself' (40), producing unforeseeable consequences.  These are not just accidents, though—the élan vital is the source of variation.  So differentiation does come from actual encounters with matter, but it also is produced by 'the explosive internal force which life carries within itself',  conceived as working like a spray [sic] .  The life force itself powers this differentiation. [However, Deleuze wants to argue that we can generalize from the creation and evolution of living beings, to the level of virtuality itself, which must 'dissociate itself to actualize itself'].  This life force can produce more concrete structures, such as organs, which are produced through different means [so empirical forces can have effects on matter once actualised?], producing 'Divergence of series, identity of particular apparatuses: this is the double movement of life as a whole'.  So we get a combination of divergence and resemblance, and indeed, in biology, resemblance is important because it shows the same virtual being actualised, 'the essence subsisting in change, just as divergence shows that change itself at work in the essence'[without this reservation, it would be impossible to explain how divergent series end with similar results, like the development of eyes? We seem to have a closed circle though, where both resemblances and differences are produced by the same process?].

Bergson further introduces historical differentiation, because divergent species can never be fused back together.  With human history, it is different, since the same individuals or societies [no need to differentiate between them?] are those that evolve and can sometimes go back.  This is a result of self consciousness, unique to humans.  Even so, we mustn't exaggerate its influence, since what it is brought to consciousness is often 'what is already there'.  Indeed, human consciousness is a part of duration, and there is a non human consciousness in life itself.  When human beings change as a result of their consciousness, they are only reanimating this latent force.  Human history only shows the reemergence of consciousness, 'once it has traversed matter'(41).  What memory does is to reconcile consciousness with past differentiation.  It follows that by exploring memory, we can grasp the nature of pure differentiation.  [Too many simple analogies between the workings of human consciousness and the workings of duration?].

[Picking up on the critique of Hegel above].  Differentiation is important, but there is something more profound, 'an action, an actualization'[with a lovely philosophical argument—otherwise 'there would be no reason to speak of a concept of difference'] (43).
There is a first [primary?] differentiation in that the virtual splits.  As a result, the objects that are subsequently produced can be explained in terms of causes or reasons relating back to this primary process or concept of differentiation.  Bergson develops a helpful analogy here based on the concept of colour.  We can take actual colours and then abstract from them a general idea or concept of colour.  Here, the concept is more general than the objects, and those objects are subsumed under the concept.  In Bergsonian terms, we are talking about spatial distinctions, external differences to the objects themselves.  What we should do instead is make the colours converge [the reverse of splitting up white light with a prism] and we can then arrive at pure white light that is responsible for the different colours, where they are nuances or degrees of the concept.  Here we have the relation of participation.  White light is 'still a universal, but the concrete universal, which gives us an understanding of the particular because it is the far end of the particular' (43).  The concept itself has been actualised in its nuances—'the concept itself has become a thing…  A universal thing…  A concrete thing, not a genus or a generality'.  We have arrived at the concept not by examining the resemblance of objects, but rather the difference between them, the thing that explains their relation, internal difference.  This is a 'superior philosophical goal', and we had to abandon empirical thinking, in particular 'Spatial differences had to be replaced by temporal differences'.  We have here a process whereby concepts become concrete things, which are nuances present within the concept.

We have also now seen how difference is connected to time.  What consciousness does is fairly 'modest', connecting successive moments, and thereby making 'contact with matter' (44).  'The distinctions between subject and object, body and mind, are temporal and so a matter of degree'.  We can now understand what the virtual is, a pure concept of difference containing coexisting degrees and nuances.  Bergson says that the virtual is the most profound concept, and it has three aspects—'duration, memory, and elan vital'.  Duration is 'difference from itself', memory grasps the coexistence of degrees of difference, elan vital is the process of subsequent
differentiation of these nuances.  Memory plays an important part in constructing objective consistencies, and these enable actualization, the virtual actualizes itself through life 'in a vital form', but only to the extent that degrees of difference already coexisted inside it.  Again we see that concrete differentiation is 'less profound than the theory of nuances or degrees'[which justifies the move from specific discussions of consciousness, say, to a general ontology].

We have a positive mode of existence in that duration differentiates itself.  It is not psychological as such, but represented in the psychological.  The virtual itself provides what is, and it is something that must 'act only by differentiating itself, by ceasing to be in itself, even as it keeps something of its origin'.  We must operate at the pure level rather than the actualised, and we can develop pure recollection not confined to what has been actualised.  Again it is not just a psychological process being described here, something that follows perception, since the past and present coexist for Bergson.  What pure recollection aims at is pure difference, while
normal recollections develop resemblances between actualised objects.  We can gain this pure recollection through dreams [seriously?—'It is enough to dream to gain access to this world where nothing resembles anything else', (45)]. 

In the present, we seek resemblances, but philosophical recollection preserves the past and its role, and shows us the inadequacy of ordinary thought, since we can see that subsequent moments always contain something else, previous moments and the recollection which they leave behind [again all this is perfectly understandable if we're just talking about the workings of human consciousness].  Memory constantly prolongs the past into the present, sometimes in the form of 'the increasingly heavy baggage one drags along as one grows older'.  It is memory that makes the will to change possible, since we can decide not to reproduce the past, so there is a sense in which difference is responsible for the present and 'the new that is coming about' (45).  This process often produces 'a strange impression: that of acting and being acted on the same time'.

Another way of thinking of this process is to say that the present moments are joined to previous moments in the form of a contraction [Schutz would call it a synthesis].  Contraction means something special connected to duration.  It is a process that is not just repetition, something self sufficient.  Contraction makes simple repetition impossible.  Can this be generalised?  Bergson discusses Hume and the problem of induction.  In order to perform in induction, you have to generate an expectation of something new arising from a sequence of similar cases.  Hume saw this as a form of habit.  Bergson also sees this something new is being produced in the mind, a form of mental fusion, 'a contraction that occurs in the mind'.  This is a double process, though because something distinct also remains in the understanding, and this also helps minds grasp the concept of space.

We are now or in a position to return to the initial arguments about differences of degrees and differences of nature.  We now know that differences of nature arise from two tendencies, one of which is dominant or privileged, and which differentiates itself in the form of [primary] differentiations.  These primary ones are also differences of nature, although there are also external ones in nature.  Bergson agrees that science has made great progress in studying these external differences, in a form of 'infinitesimal analysis' (46).  However, there is also pure recollection, where dreamers [!] immerse themselves in particulars so as to arrive at pure differences,
and this is somehow unifying with matter itself.  It is not just studying empirical repetitions that lead us to generalities.  Empirical repetitions are abstractions, also forms of 'contraction of the mind' (47), and they only focus on aspects of particularity, the repeated bits.  In this way, we can get all witty and philosophical, and say the repetition is itself a kind of difference, one which is actually 'indifferent to itself', that is disinterested in general properties, including nuances, and general ideas.

In the same witty spirit, we saw that managing difference is an act of contraction anyway.  Going back to memory, we can see that recollection identifies both differences, in its pure form, and similarities in its mundane recollections.  This shows [to the philosopher anyway] that the mind operates with degrees of contraction, operating at different levels, and with different notions of difference and repetition.  These levels and processes are interconnected, in that contractions that produce relations of identity themselves go on to present something new, or difference.  The same processes and acts of mind operate at different levels, in other words, as in the famous example of the sections of a cone.

Subjective memory, or psychic repetition, is a virtual kind, achieving consistency only through mental forms of repetition, having no independent existence.  Duration also has a real coexistence, real successions, operating with matter, and offering 'the simple material of the simultaneity: real coexistence, juxtaposition'.  Deleuze thinks that despite these differences, the underlying model of changes in tension and energy can offer an entire 'cosmology' (48).  The differences between mind and matter can simply be seen as aspects of duration, and it is our task as philosophers to grasp this 'infinite diversity of relaxations and contractions'.  [And this upside
down notion of particularity being seen as relaxation—again I can see how this works in the form of memory where personal memories relax, expand and ramify.  Deleuze wants to say that where these memories are contracted, we end with banality].  After all, sections of the cone have a common basis.  We manage the present by denying particularity and seeking resemblance or even universality.  But this is still only one extreme.

We can therefore see matter and duration in terms of extreme levels of both relaxation and contraction.  Duration also has different levels of relaxation and contraction, in the form of 'pure past and present... memory and perception'.  Between the extremes there are intermediate degrees, of generality, for example between the particular and the pure.  Empirical generalisations focus on resemblance and are therefore a contraction, while general ideas [philosophical ones], operate with 'a dynamic whole, an oscillation [between action and memory]'.  These degrees of generality can be connected [in a form of transcendental deduction], so that noticing and opposition between two generalisations or memories can lead to the identification of tendencies or movements which are seen as genuinely different.  We see this when we consider the relation between the present and the past, which are distinct, but also part of a whole.  This explains the famous phrase about duration splitting 'into two symmetrical streams', one falling back towards the past and the other projected to the future, with the present as 'the most contracted degree of the past…  [And thus also]…  an imminent future' (49).  [As in the production of the new]

Thus we see how difference produces something new, but we need to think this further [sigh].  New thinking of the kind above [what I have called transcendental deduction] leads us to the general idea of the hole and its differentiations.  At the level of consciousness, this sort of general thinking joins recollections and actions, improves the images of the past in order to make them active in the present.  We're talking here about particulars being emphasised in universals, as leaving 'room for voluntary and free action'[in the interests of dereification, the breaking of habit].  [This seems to be the basis for human potential for free action, because a human being 'simultaneously comes and goes from the universal to the particular, opposes them, and puts the particular in the universal…  simultaneously thinks, desires, recollects'.

Overall Bergson can look vague and incoherent, because difference is unforeseeable and indeterminate, and some notions seem to be condemned only to be rescued, such as the idea of degrees of difference [rejected, surely if they are seen a self sufficient rather than leading to some purer thought?].  He is against the notion of intensity in your relaxation and contraction seem to be similar.  He opposes the negative, but still uses the idea, even if only as an interruption to positive flows, and when discussing the opposition of science and philosophy.  However, he can still be rescued [that old philosophical goal of reinstating people to the canon].  Bergson insists on translating differences of degree into degrees of [some more fundamental] difference [witty chiasm now?].  We need to separate these rather than take them as red and generalize about them.  Differences of degree are the lowest forms of difference, resulting ultimately from duration, a difference of and in nature itself.  We should see these differences as expressing extremes [close to dialect again?] [Relaxation and contraction?].  Differences between relaxation and contraction are not exactly the same as differences of intensity, but are better seen as the inverse of each other, not both kinds of the same force of intensity, itself arising from some eternal underlying Being.  For Bergson there is only duration which is relaxed or contracted, and this explains the differences of intensity.  Overall, philosophy must begin with difference, and with the major difference of nature—duration, which eventually produces matter.  'Difference is the genuine beginning'(50).  We must not begin with some stable Being which is indifferent.  However, inversion looks like negativity and opposition.  Bergson wants to overcome this by suggesting that there is a virtuality that contains both apparently opposing terms: these terms become apparent in actualization.  Actualization itself produces intermediate degrees of generality, such as the different forms of recollection.  Overall, Bergson can be rescued from incoherence by this insistence on fundamental difference.  Even his apparent indetermination should not be seen as something vague, but rather something that permits a number of contingent results from processes like the elan vital.  He does not support indetermination in the sense of refusing to explain actualizations in the name of some belief in pure possibility.  We need to work from duration right down to particularity, not stopping at the level of general causality.

Chapter six Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Precursor of Kafka, Celine and Ponge

We underestimate great writers by failing to see how apparent in coherences result from a deeper logic, and by failing to see the humour in the writing.  This applies to Rousseau.  Rousseau's argument that humans are naturally good is part of his general logical argument that qualities of meanness are not natural.  In the natural state, human beings relate to things as well as with each other, and lived largely in isolation from each other, even although we have to engage in sexuality [and apparently, Rousseau writes about this with humour].  As a result, we also had limited needs, and thus acquired 'a kind of self sufficiency'(52) and equilibrium.  Meanness only arises with society and the notion of profits or compensation, social interests, and relations of oppression.  Rousseau foreshadowed Engels here in arguing that violence and oppression presupposes a civil state and economic and social relations.  Even Robinson only enslaved Friday by drawing upon his small stock of capital and his notions of the means of production.

In social relations, it is often in our interests to be mean, and this is sometimes misunderstood as natural.  However, meanness is usually imposed upon us—if we know we are someone's error, we often unconsciously wish for their deaths, and circumstances often makers depart from virtue.  Even beautiful souls often encounter ambiguity as its 'destiny' (53).  This is a kind of black comedy, and this produces Rousseau's gusto and joy.  We often dream of fulfilling human relationships, but these are rarely realisable.  Rousseau apparently sought some Trinity—a loved woman loves another man who can be a father or brother, or there are two women who are loved, one being a strict and the other a gentle mother.  Actual situations, however, always turn out badly. Rousseau displays that combination of 'manias and bizarre behaviours' which enables him to combine ideas and feelings (54), typical of poets and philosophers [and examples of philosophers' eccentricities include Kant who apparently invented an elaborate shoe holder, or Rousseau's Armenian outfit].

We can avoid situations which push us into meanness, through acts of will, such as refusing to become an heir, or refusing compensation if one's partner dies.  But this is difficult to do, and Rousseau was probably too weak himself.  He was forced to use other 'subtle devices', to play on bad health, say, in a humourous way [one anecdote turns on him claiming bladder trouble which would prevent his attendance on the king, where he might be offered a pension in exchange for some service].  Above all though, we must remember the past that has produced a tempting situation, and even to repeat it in order to make it profane and not sacred and compelling.  This also helps us set our priorities instead of giving ways to passion in the present.

In Emile and the Social Contract, we find the two poles of Rousseau's work.  The root of evil is that we have become 'motivated by profit' (55), and thus have acquired an interest in being mean, and have been propelled interrelationships of oppression.  In Emile, we have a private individual who has withdrawn, and in the Social Contract, a renewed citizen.  Both restore the natural relationship with things, and therefore preserve human relationships not nasty ones of oppression.  'True pedagogical rectification consists in subordinating human relations to the relation of human beings to things' (55)—as in the 'famous rule from Emile which demands only muscle: Never bring things to the child, bring the child to the things'.  This will avoid 'the [usual] infantile situation that gives him a stake in being mean'.  The citizen by contrast has a definite interest in being virtuous, aiming at the reconciliation of justice and self interest, 'the proper task of politics'.  The citizen is determined by the public, and the main power of the Republic is legislative.

Chapter seven The Idea of Genesis in Kant's Esthetics

Kant's third critique raises the problem of different points of view, with the spectator having a different aesthetics compared to the creator, within aesthetics of the beautiful in nature, and a different one in art, sometimes classically inspired, sometimes romantically.  The problem is then to establish some systematic unity by tracing the relations between these different points of view.

Judgments of beauty require the use of both the imagination and the understanding in the spectator.  They are not just preferences, because there is a claim of 'a certain a priori universality' (56), which links such judgment to understanding and its procedures [its 'legality'].  However, it is not a matter of developing agreed concepts, but rather matters of pleasure, and of singular objects which have no concept.  The imagination has 'free reign', unlimited by the need to develop rigorous concepts.  The judgement of taste means uniting 'a free judgment…  With an indeterminate understanding' (56-7).  Such an agreement or unity arises from judgement of taste—'the pleasure is the agreement of the faculties themselves, in so much as this agreement is achieved without concepts and so can only be felt'[judgment precedes pleasure].

Agreement among the faculties is central to Kant.  They are different and yet they can function together.  In the Critique of Pure Reason, 'understanding, imagination and reason enter into a harmonious relationship, in accordance with a speculative purpose'(57).  In the Critique of Practical Reason, it is reason and understanding that relate primarily for practical purposes.  However, one faculty always predominates, in terms of the aim, the objects, and the other faculties.  In the first critique, understanding produces a priori concepts which are then applied to objects which are necessarily subject or it, while the other faculties function to secure the aim of understanding and in relation to its objects.  In the second critique reason and freedom are determined by the moral law, reason then goes on to describe 'suprasensible objects which are necessarily subject to [the law]', and then ties understanding to a particular function with a practical purpose.  In other words, understanding either for speculation or as reason for a practical purpose dominates. Kant sees a role of the imagination as being able to 'schematize', but only to serve understanding, for a speculative purpose according to concepts of the understanding, in the first critique.  Schematizing like this, and indeed reasoning like this. could do other things, were they not limited, and this is emphasised in the second critique.  Here, reason determines understanding and its function—to develop general laws from natural law, for practical purposes. 

It is quite possible that different combinations or permutations between the activities of the faculties could arise.  That they take the relationships they do presupposes that they must be capable of developing 'the free harmony, without any fixed proportion' (58).  No other form of inducement of one faculty on the others would be possible.  Is this argument developed in the first two critiques that grounds the argument in the third one, beginning with 'a free agreement of the faculties'.  Aesthetic judgement makes this grounding of free agreement particularly clear, since here, the imagination is not immediately dominated by understanding or reason, and aesthetic pleasure is 'disinterested pleasure', not tied to any speculative or practical purposes.  There are no specific aesthetic objects to define ['legislate'], only those already in the domains of pure and practical reason [ 'phenomena and things-in-themselves' respectively (59)].  This makes aesthetic judgement 'heautonomous (it legislates only itself)'.

In the first two critique, there is 'the idea of the necessary submission to certain types of objects in relation to a dominant or determinative faculty', but no such objects or dominant faculties' in aesthetic judgement.  The agreement between beautiful objects in nature and our aesthetic judgments is only 'contingent'[there is no necessity that this be so].  It is therefore a mistake to think that the third critique does for imagination what the other to critics do for the other faculties.  Imagination does not legislate 'in turn',  but demands that the other faculties become 'capable of free play'.  Aesthetic judgment therefore suggests contingent agreements between objects and 'all our faculties together', as well as 'a free indeterminate harmony of the faculties among themselves'(59).

The imagination in aesthetic judgement can schematize without concepts.  In effect this means liberating the imagination in the form of reflection.  The imagination 'reflects the form of the object', but not its form that appears in sensibility, through intuition, which still belongs to understanding.  Aesthetic forms themselves merge 'with the reflection of the object in the imagination', in a disinterested way [it is even a disinterested about whether the reflected object actually exists].  Kant actually suggests that some objects cannot be beautiful because they are too material, too rooted in senses to be properly reflected in the imagination [the examples are colours and sounds].  Only the design or composition can be reflected in imagination, the constitutive elements of objects, not their mere adjuncts [which would include colours and sounds].

For Kant, common sense is not just an empirical faculty, but rather one which shows the agreement of all the faculties together.  There is a logical common sense, found in pure reason, and a moral common sense, in practical reason.  Aesthetic common sense is what generates communal, even universal, feelings of pleasure.  However, it cannot be grounded in experience alone, since there will be some who will not accept judgment.  Sometimes that does not matter, but there are some aesthetic judgments that must be accepted by everyone, by right [these will be the elite judgments, about Bach or Mozart in the example].  How can this claim be justified?  It is no good appealing to agreed concepts, that deal only with logical or practical aspects.  We can presume or presuppose such universality, but this would be to contradict a free indeterminate agreement of the faculties in the first place.  We have to suggest that the development of harmonious universal relations between the faculties are spontaneous, and this can not be presumed. Instead 'We must engender it in the soul' (60), to show how it has been generated.

We have to analyze the beautiful by examining aesthetic judgments of spectators, uncovering the free agreement of the faculties as a ground, and then presupposing that this is the 'ground of the soul'(60). This presumption is argued to be necessary,  to see taste is a natural faculty, not fully graspable by analysis.  We can only deduce aesthetic judgement.  The first two critiques show how objects are 'necessarily subject' to speculative and practical purposes, but now we have to argue that the relation between the faculties themselves must be deduced.

Some critics of Kant said that [grounding all this] was neglected, and that Kant simply assumed the existence of things like facts and faculties, smuggling in a presupposition that they could be analyzed or were capable of harmony respectively.  However, this [tautological] argument is developed in the third critique, in the search for an ultimate ground which would affect the first two critiques as well.  This ground is going to involve us in 'a transcendental Education, transcendental Culture, a transcendental Genesis' (61).

We can make progress by thinking about the difference between the beautiful and the sublime [the latter involves not only understanding and imagination, but reason agreeing with imagination].  However, this is a paradoxical agreeing, actually 'a discordant concord, a harmony in pain' (62).  The imagination has to lose some of its freedom and undergo violence, as when it is confronted by the immensity or power of nature.  However, the imagination is capable both of 'successive apprehension, and simultaneous comprehension'.  The former is infinite, but the latter are 'always has a maximum', and this can force a limit on the imagination.  It is not the impact of the sublime itself, or rather its appearance, but reason which 'forces the imagination to confront its limit', and acknowledge the superiority of rational ideas.  This is initially discordant, yet it yields an agreement, and Kant almost develops a
dialectic here.  Reason confronts the imagination with its limits, but this helps imagination takes this limit itself as an object, and thereby surpass its limits, even if initially in the form of the negative realization of inaccessibility to reason's grasp.  In this way, limits disappear, and imagination can confront the infinite in a way which '"expands the soul"'.  [To cut a long story short, imagination leaves the constraints of the empirical and agrees with reason that there must be some suprasensible level of reality, a transcendental origin].  This eventual agreement only arises from initial discordant pain, but in the end, reason and imagination both benefit:  both come to realise that there is 'the suprasensible unity of all the faculties', deep in the soul.  Only the analysis of the sublime provides this discovery of the transcendental as genesis.  And only the 'cultured' individual can see beyond the discord and pain presented by nature itself.  As a result, the analysis of the sublime can be a model to help us grasp the beautiful—maybe the agreement between imagination and the understanding is also produced by a transcendental genesis.

In the first critique, Kant argues that the categories are 'a priori representations of the understanding' (63), but then has to show why these categories are able to grasp objects, how they can speculate or legislate.  However, when judging the sublime, there is no such problem: we relate to objects ' only by projecting our moods'[possibly because the sublime is formless?].  It might be the same when judging beauty or taste—we have a disinterested pleasure, disinterested even to the extent of being able to disregard the object.  In this sense, 'the judgement of taste is only subjective'.  However, a sense of the beautiful arises from the form of an objects, unlike the sublime, so with the beautiful, there must be some aspect of the object which leads us to 'experience the free harmony of our understanding and our imagination'.  Somehow, nature produces objects that take on positive properties which help us develop judgments through relating our faculties—the internal relation of the faculties 'implies an external agreement between nature and the same faculties'(64).  This is more than just our faculties 'legislating' objects, subjecting them to our categories, because in that case, the judgement of taste would become subject to autonomous agreement and legislation, [just as the concepts of the understanding].  However, if nature itself dominated the agreement without faculties', then 'the judgement of taste would no longer be heautonomous', but subject to empirical tests [of the correspondence with nature].  Thus this agreement between our faculties and nature is unmotivated ["presents itself without a goal"]—we must just be 'organized in such a way that we can favourably receive nature'.

So to recap, we do have some common sense of the beautiful, because aesthetic pleasure is supposedly universal.  This pleasure results from the agreement of the imagination and the understanding, a free agreement which 'can only be felt'.  However, this cannot just be presupposed butt must be grounded a priori.  We have to explain why these feelings are universal, even appearing '"like a duty"'.  Is there something objective after all that generates the agreement of the faculties in judgment?  We might get there by shifting from the analysis of the beautiful to the analysis of the sublime, because the latter analysis helps us understand the genesis of judgments, the conditions under which free agreement between understanding and imagination can appear.  We do not need this analysis to understand judgments of the sublime themselves [because they are just felt], but we can use it to understand agreements of the faculties elsewhere.

The agreement between nature and faculties when we judge what is beautiful 'defines a purpose for reason'.  This is not a purpose that legislates beauty, because it is totally disinterested, and arrived at 'without the intervention of reason' (65).  We can see that what is important is that nature has an aptitude to produce beauty, an external factor affecting the agreement of the faculties within.  This can be the genetic principle—although our actual judgments are disinterested, we can experience a rational purpose underneath [this seems to turn into a classically circular argument—we need to find some role for reason even in aesthetic judgement, and we can discover this by presupposing one in the actions of nature, or as Kant apparently put it '" it is in the interest of reason that Ideas have an objective reality…  That nature at least indicates by a trace or a sign that it contains a principle allowing a legitimate agreement between its productions and our satisfaction independent of any purpose...  Reason is necessarily interested in any natural manifestation of such an agreement"'(65). 

So there are determinations of the beautiful, 'for which the sense of the beautiful remains indifferent', and imagination can only reflect the form.  Thus nature provides aspects like the connection of the beautiful with sounds and colours, as a material purpose: Kant even thinks of nature as producing primal matter, some 'fluid matter, a part of which is separated out or evaporates, and the rest of which suddenly solidifies (crystal formation)', but some of these aspects cannot be reflected in the imagination, as we saw with sounds and colours.  There is therefore something beyond the imagination, still connected with the judgement of beauty—'described as meta-aesthetic'.

It is this that generates the agreement between the understanding and the imagination when we judge beauty.  We reason about the presentations of the idea 'in sound, colour, and free matter'.  We do this by not just subsuming colours or whatever under concepts, but relating these aspects to another concept, the Idea of natural reason [with a capital I in the original], and how this determines objects.  Natural reason has no object that can be grasped by intuition, but we can see it as analogous to objects that are grasped by intuition—we transpose the reflection engendered by these mundane objects on to the concept of natural reason.  [The example is that the white lily is no longer seen just in terms of concepts of colour and flower, but 'awakens the Idea of pure innocence, whose object, which is never given, is a reflexive analogue of white in the fleur de lis' (65-66)].  What this sort of analogy does  is extend the concepts in our understanding, infinitely, and it frees the imagination from being over schematized, constrained under the conventional concepts of understanding [in other words, once we allow metaphor and analogy, we can move sideways out from formal logic].  What we are arriving at, says Deleuze, is 'the principle of a transcendental genesis', arrived at through reason, and this is the point of the analysis of the sublime in Kant [although we have been talking about beauty and its meta-aesthetic just now?]

The Idea of reason in nature presents itself in several ways.  In the sublime, we get 'a direct presentation accomplished by projection', but it appears only as an negative inaccessibility.  When rational purpose is connected with the beautiful, we get an indirect but more positive presentation, through symbols as we saw.  There is apparently a third model—'Genius…  Accomplished through the creation of an "other" nature' (66), [and a]... fourth mode which is teleological…  Achieved in the concepts of end and final agreement'.  These are positive and direct.

If we explore the notion of the rational purpose of nature, which leads to this a priori agreement of faculties, we have to agree that it was nature that produced beauty.  However, this causes a problem because we now have a split between the beautiful in nature and the beautiful in art [which we're going to heal by a transcendental deduction? Well-- a convergence of transcendental deductions really, as we see right at the end]. We can see the purpose of nature if we consider only natural beauty—why a work of art produces a similar agreement of the faculties is so far ungrounded, 'without a principle', and Kant has to discover this principle.  The principle is Genius, 'the subjective disposition by which nature provides art with rules'(67).  It is Genius that provides the arts with materials.  It is also a meta-aesthetic principle, 'the same as rational purpose'.  It provides aesthetic ideas, unlike the ideas of reason which take the form of concepts without any intuition—aesthetic ideas are the opposite, it seems.  However, just as the ideas of reason help us to go beyond limited concepts to discover transcendental principles, so do aesthetic ideas: they lead to  'the intuition of another nature than the nature given to us…  In which the phenomena are events of the spirit, in an unmediated way, and the events of the spirit of phenomena of nature'.  This helps us grasp these invisible beings in a way which is adequate to them.  Aesthetic ideas therefore provide the intuitions behind reason, achieving a kind of unity between intuition and reason.  Aesthetic judgement helps us to present these ideas, just as we got to them through analogies and symbolism—it makes us think and extend our concept of understanding, while freeing our imagination as above.  It vitalizes, and enables the different faculties to come together an agreement.  It also helps us cover the splits between natural and artistic beauty, since genius agrees with the idea of natural purpose [both are genetic]. 

However, 'Genius entails a far more complex genesis'—it does not just generate agreement of the faculties in the spectator, but 'is the gift of the artistic creator' (68).  So how can it take on universal implications?  The answer lies not in 'a universal subjectivity, but at most an exceptional intersubjectivity', where the genius of one somehow stimulates the emergence of the other geniuses, by setting an example.  This is rare or often unwelcome.  However, geniuses both produce the matter of art, 'by inventing another nature adequate to Ideas', which liberates the imagination, and give this imagination form, adjusting the imagination.  This form is that 'of an object of taste'—that is, 'the free agreement of the imagination and the understanding', which is engendered 'everywhere' in spectators [taste is a matter of popular appeal?  Hang on though, spectators can only be 'men and women of taste, students, and aficionados'].

Overall then, there are 'three parallel geneses in Kant's aesthetics': in the sublime, we see a genesis of the agreement between reason and imagination; in the beautiful we see the purpose of nature generating an agreement in us between the understanding and imagination; in Genius, we see understanding and imagination agreeing in beautiful arts [Deleuze has deliberately left out the fourth genesis, teleology].  In each case, the agreement follows from an original free state.  Thus aesthetic judgement is not like the other forms in the first two critiques, where we have 'ready made faculties [which] enter determinate relations and take on organized tasks under the direction of one legislative faculty' (68-9), aiming at speculative or practical purposes.  The third critique is different.  Initially, Kant argued that it showed the subordination of speculative to practical purposes, in the form of moral development—'(the beautiful in arts, no less than the beautiful in nature, is in the end declared "a "symbol of morality")'(69).  However, the critique led on to a discussion of the ground of judgment, even the ground for the other two critiques.  This ground lies not in nature nor [imaginative?] liberty, beauty has a purpose that is not just moral or speculative, and our tendencies to become moral are grounded in something suprasensible [presumably, developing some transcendental idea of nature and the arts as spiritual].  Judgment shows that the basis of the development of the faculties is 'free agreement, indeterminate and unconditional', and that the more limited operations of the other two activities depend on this as well—'No determinate relation of the faculties, or relation conditioned by one of them, would ever be possible if it were not first made possible by this free unconditioned agreement'(69) [clear parallels between original difference establishing subsequent mundane differences and repetitions?].

The three geneses of judgment 'converge on the same discovery: what Kant calls the Soul, that is, the suprasensible unity of our faculties…  The life giving principle that "animates" each faculty...  A primeval free imagination that cannot be satisfied with schematizing…  That does not yet bend under the speculative weight of its determinate concepts…  That has not yet developed a taste for commanding' (69-70).

We can reconstitute the argument:

  • In the 'Analytic of the Beautiful', we see the development of formal aesthetics [ an aesthetics related to actual forms] from the spectator's point of view, involving a free agreement of the understanding and imagination.  This free agreement constitutes  the judgment of taste.  Spectators here are reflecting the form of the object [in their imaginations].  'Free indeterminate agreement must be a priori', and whenever this happens, we discover 'what is most profound in the soul', the possibility of harmony.  It is this that provides the ground of the other two critiques, and means we can't just rely on the understanding or the imagination.  We require a transcendental genesis, but this can only be presupposed in discussions of the beautiful.

  • In the 'Analytic of the Sublime', we moved to a formless aesthetics, but still from the point of view of the spectator.  Here, we have to aim at 'the free agreement of reason and imagination', but this is often accompanied with 'pain, opposition, constraint and discord'—it is very challenging to encounter the sublime in the 'formless or deformed', even though we also experience freedom and spontaneity.  This analysis does point to a generic principle for the agreement of the faculties, however.

  • In the analytic of the beautiful again, we can deduce a material meta-aesthetics in nature, still from the spectator's point of view.  We have to pursue 'a particular deduction', based in some way at least on some forms of the object [Kant tells us which are to be considered as important].  We also have to grasp how understanding and imagination can agree.  The analysis of the sublime provides us with this, pursuing the equivalent deduction for the beautiful.  Here we are trying to ground in a rule the 'universality of aesthetic pleasure' (71), and not as a presupposition but a priori.  We know from analysis of the beautiful that there must be some rational purpose in nature which produces beautiful things from its materials, some meta-aesthetic purpose.  This particular purpose requires us to develop reason itself, expand the understanding and liberate the imagination, and once we've done this, we can start to see the basis of a new free indeterminate agreement between the two [some sort of mutual benefit in expansion, given some spiritual purpose].  So we now have an objective dimension of the transcendental in nature, and a subjective one in the human spiritual benefits of expanding understandings and liberating imaginations.

  • We also have a notion of the beautiful from the point of view of the creative artist—the theory of Genius.  So far, we have seen a purpose only for natural beauty.  We need another meta-aesthetic principle to explain artistic beauty, and Genius does this.  Like purpose in nature, it produces a matter, 'it incarnates Ideas', developing reason through liberation and expansion.  All this is done 'from the vantage point of the creation of a work of art', but genius must also proceed to 'give a universal value to the agreement which it engenders, and it must communicate to the faculties of the spectator something of its own life and force'.

Taken together, these stages of the argument form of 'a systematic whole, in which the three geneses are unified'

[now try Bourdieu's critique of Kantian aesthetics]