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Ideas of G Deleuze / F Guattari, by Text

[French, fl. 1985, The first a professor of philosophy at University of Paris VII, the second a psychiatrist.]

1991 What is Philosophy?
Intro p.4 Philosophy is a concept-creating discipline
     Full Idea: Philosophy is the discipline that involves creating concepts.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], Intro)
     A reaction: One might very reasonably reply that Geography is a discipline which creates concepts. However, this emphasis is an interesting corrective to the school of analysis, which appears confined to existing, and even 'folk', concepts.
1.1 p.18 Other people completely revise our perceptions, because they are possible worlds
     Full Idea: The concept of the Other Person as expression of a possible world in a perceptual field leads us to consider the components of this field in a new way.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.1)
     A reaction: I like the idea that other people are possible worlds. You can give reductionist accounts of the human animal till the cows come home, but when one walk into your visual field, the mind takes off. See Crusoe and Friday.
1.1 p.22 Logic has an infantile idea of philosophy
     Full Idea: Logic has an infantile idea of philosophy.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.1)
     A reaction: This offers some explanation of why Anglo-American philosophers are steeped in logic, and the continentals just ignore it. I have some sympathy with the French view. Logic seems to study language with all the interesting part drained off.
1.1 p.23 Philosophy is in a perpetual state of digression
     Full Idea: Philosophy can be seen as being in a perpetual state of digression.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.1)
     A reaction: Anyone who has ever tried to teach philosophy will vouch for this. Philosophy is the 'Arabian Nights', conjuring up wonderful stories, to avoid having to face something nasty. Philosophy is perpetual postponement of problems.
1.1 p.27 We cannot judge the Cogito. Must we begin? Must we start from certainty? Can 'I' relate to thought?
     Full Idea: There is no point in wondering whether Descartes' Cogito is right or wrong. Is it necessary "to begin", and, if so, is it necessary to start from the point of view of a subjective certainty? Can thought be the verb of an I? There is no direct answer.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.1)
     A reaction: A nice first sentence for a work of philosophy would be "It is necessary to begin". Is the Cogito the only idea that is beyond judgement? I fear a slippery slope here, which would paralyse all of our judgements - and would therefore be ridiculous.
1.1 p.28 Concepts are superior because they make us more aware, and change our thinking
     Full Idea: If one concept is 'better' than an earlier one, it is because it makes us aware of new variations and unknown resonances, it carries out unforeseen cuttings-out, it brings forth an Event that surveys (survole) us.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.1)
     A reaction: I don't get much of that, but it is certainly in tune with the Kuhn/Feyerabend idea that what science can generate is fresh visions, rather than precisely expanded truths. Personally I consider it dangerous nonsense, but I thought I ought to pass it on.
1.1 p.28 The plague of philosophy is those who criticise without creating, and defend dead concepts
     Full Idea: Those who criticise without creating, those who are content to defend the vanished concept without being able to give it the forces it needs to return to life, are the plague of philosophy.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.1)
     A reaction: This seems to be the continental view of analytical philosophy, that it is pathetically conservative. I would offer MacIntyre as a response, who gives a beautiful analysis of why the super-modern view is dead. The French are hopelessly romantic.
1.2 n p.43 'Eris' is the divinity of conflict, the opposite of Philia, the god of friendship
     Full Idea: 'Eris' is the Greek divinity of discord, conflict, and strife, the complementary opposite of Philia, the divinity of union and friendship.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.2 n)
     A reaction: Are these actual gods? This interestingly implies that the wonders of dialectic and Socrates' elenchus are simply aspects of friendship, which was elevated by Epicurus to the highest good. The Greeks just wanted wonderful friends and fine speeches.
1.3 p.82 Philosophy aims at what is interesting, remarkable or important - not at knowledge or truth
     Full Idea: Philosophy does not consist in knowing, and is not inspired by truth. Rather, it is categories like Interesting, Remarkable, or Important that determine success or failure.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.3)
     A reaction: Speak for yourself. I wonder what the criteria are for 'Interesting' or 'Important'. They can't seriously count 'remarkable' as a criterion of philosophical success, can they? There can be remarkable stupidity.
1.4 p.92 Atheism is the philosopher's serenity, and philosophy's achievement
     Full Idea: It is amazing that so many philosophers take the death of God as tragic. Atheism is not a drama, but the philosopher's serenity and philosophy's achievement.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 1.4)
     A reaction: It seems to me that it is the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that feels the death of God as a tragedy. Modern Anglo-American philosophers are mostly pretty serene on the subject, unless, like Dennett, they go on the offensive.
2.6 p.135 The logical attitude tries to turn concepts into functions, when they are really forms or forces
     Full Idea: Logic is reductionist not accidentally, but essentially and necessarily: following the route marked out by Frege and Russell, it wants to turn the concept into a function (...when actually a concept is a form, or a force).
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 2.6)
     A reaction: [Last part on p.144] I'm not sure that I understand 'form or force', but the idea that concepts are mere functions is like describing something as 'transport', without saying whether it is bus/bike/train.. Is a concept a vision, or a tool?
2.6 p.140 Logic hates philosophy, and wishes to supplant it
     Full Idea: A real hatred inspires logic's rivalry with, or its will to supplant, philosophy.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 2.6)
     A reaction: A delightful corrective to the neurotic inferiority that most English-speaking philosophers feel about their failure to master logic. What was Aristotle playing at when he invented logic? Philosophical talent is utterly different from a talent for logic.
2.6 p.149 Phenomenology needs art as logic needs science
     Full Idea: Phenomenology needs art as logic needs science.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], 2.6)
     A reaction: I would have thought that it was science that needs logic. Art is more elitist than science, and less universal. I presume artists and phenomenologists share a target of deconstructing lived human experience.
Conclusion p.209 Phenomenology says thought is part of the world
     Full Idea: According to phenomenology, thought depends on man's relations with the world - with which the brain is necessarily in agreement because it is drawn from these relations.
     From: G Deleuze / F Guattari (What is Philosophy? [1991], Conclusion)
     A reaction: The development of externalist views of mind, arising from the Twin Earth idea, seems to provide a link to continental philosophy, where similar ideas are found in Husserl, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. So study science, psychology, or sociology?