Combining Texts

All the ideas for 'Difference and Repetition', 'An Argument for the Identity Theory' and 'Letters to Fichte'

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9 ideas

1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 1. Continental Philosophy
'Difference' refers to that which eludes capture [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: 'Difference' is a term which Deleuze uses to refer to that which eludes capture.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: Presumably its ancestor is Kant's noumenon. This is one of his concepts used to 'palpate' our ossified conceptual scheme.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / a. Nature of Being
'Being' is univocal, but its subject matter is actually 'difference' [Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Being is said in a single and same sense of everything of which it is said, but that of which it is said differs: it is said of difference itself.
     From: Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968], p.36), quoted by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: This is an attempt to express the Heraclitean view of reality, as process, movement, multiplicity - something which always eludes our attempts to pin it down.
Ontology can be continual creation, not to know being, but to probe the unknowable [Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Ontology can be an ontology of difference ....where what is there is not the same old things but a process of continual creation, an ontology that does not seek to reduce being to the knowable, but widens thought to palpate the unknowable.
     From: Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]), quoted by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 5.05
     A reaction: I'm inclined to think that the first duty of ontology is to face up to the knowable. I'm not sure that probing the unknowable, with no success or prospect of it, is a good way to spend a life. Probing ('palpating') can sometimes discover things.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / i. Deflating being
Ontology does not tell what there is; it is just a strange adventure [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: In Deleuze's hands ontology is not a matter of telling us what there is, but of taking us on strange adventures.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: Presumably you only indulge in the strange adventure because you have no idea how to specify what there is. This sounds like the essence of post-modernism, in which life is just a game.
Being is a problem to be engaged, not solved, and needs a new mode of thinking [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: In Deleuze, Being is not a puzzle to be solved but a problem to be engaged. It is to be engaged by a thought that moves as comfortably among problems as it does among solutions, as fluidly among differences as it does among identities.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 4.01
     A reaction: This sounds like what I've always known as 'negative capability' (thanks to Keats). Is philosophy just a hobby, like playing darts? It seems that the aim of the process is 'liberation', about which I would like to know more.
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 4. Causal Functionalism
Experiences are defined by their causal role, and causal roles belong to physical states [Lewis]
     Full Idea: The definitive characteristic of any experience is its causal role, its most typical causes and effects; but we materialists believe that these causal roles which belong by analytic necessity to experiences belong in fact to certain physical states.
     From: David Lewis (An Argument for the Identity Theory [1966], žI)
     A reaction: This is the Causal version of functionalism, which Armstrong also developed. The word 'typical' leads later to a teleological element in the theory (e.g. in Lycan). There are other things to say about mental states than just their causal role.
'Pain' contingently names the state that occupies the causal role of pain [Lewis]
     Full Idea: On my theory, 'pain' is a contingent name - that is, a name with different denotations in different possible worlds - since in any world, 'pain' names whatever state happens in that world to occupy the causal role definitive of pain.
     From: David Lewis (An Argument for the Identity Theory [1966], žII n6)
     A reaction: Better to say that 'pain' (like 'sound') is ambiguous. It is indiscriminately used by English-speakers to mean [1] the raw quale that we experience when damaged, and [2] whatever it is that leads to pain behaviour. Maybe frogs have 2 but not 1.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / g. Contemplation
Life and rationality are pointless if we can only contemplate the freedom of our own ego [Jacobi]
     Full Idea: If the highest upon which I can reflect, what I can contemplate, is my empty and pure, naked and mere ego, with its autonomy and freedom: then rational self-contemplation, then rationality is for me a curse - I deplore my existence.
     From: Friedrich Jacobi (Letters to Fichte [1799], Ch.2), quoted by Simon Critchley - Continental Philosophy - V. Short Intro
     A reaction: This is a rebellion against Fichte's interpretation of Kant. It is a lovely cry from the heart on behalf of everyone who resents lines of philosophical thinking that seem to imprison the mind and cut us off from the ordinary world and real life.
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 2. Nihilism
Jacobi was the first philosopher to talk of nihilism [Jacobi, by Critchley]
     Full Idea: Jacobi was the first to philosophically employ the concept of nihilism.
     From: report of Friedrich Jacobi (Letters to Fichte [1799]) by Simon Critchley - Continental Philosophy - V. Short Intro Ch.2
     A reaction: Critchley explains that it was Jacobi's fear that Fichte was drawing nihilist conclusions from Kant's philosophy. This fear may be seen as the beginning of what is loosely called 'continental philosophy'. A worthy subject for thinkers...