Pop Deleuze and Guattari Information.

Which is nevertheless interesting.


One thought on “Pop Deleuze and Guattari Information.

  1. Comments on ‘transcendental empiricism’

    Comment 1:
    The Romanian paper on Deleuze and Hume is very strange. Much of it I do not understand and I am none the wiser as to what is meant by transcendental empiricism. So many concepts are bandied about, whose meaning is never made clear: representation, belief, lifeworld, praxis, even experience itself. He uses the term ‘imagination’ a lot, but I think he actually may mean ‘creativity’.

    That makes me think that some of the other words he uses are not the right ones – maybe mistranslations from Romanian? Still, I think he is broadly correct about Hume. Hume was a product of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ and believed in the institutions of mercantile capitalism. His concept of utility is still used today by neoclassical economists, who, like him, believe that it can explain how capitalist markets work. Hume’s dualisms are indeed those of impressions/ideas and sensation/reflection, not emotion/reason or nature/culture. As with all dualisms, the problem lies in understanding the relationship between the two. Hume argued that there were two kinds of truth: the necessary truth of relations among ideas and the contingent truth of experience. The former is determined by reason and the latter by circumstance (which includes tradition, institutions, and chance). From what I can tell from the paper, Deleuze argues that this dualism is untenable, or maybe just incompatible with empiricism, because relations are external to ideas and have no known origin, i.e. Hume fails to provide an empiricist account of reason and similarly of belief. Instead, relations are based on fantasy. If so, I agree with him! But I think we knew this already. Experience does not exist in a vacuum – there have to be conditions of its existence, and these conditions cannot be empirically known. I am missing a proper critique of empiricism here, but Interesting footnote 7.

    Comment 2:
    After reading the education paper by David Cole, I still don’t understand what transcendental empiricism is – perhaps someone could explain it to me? The quote from Deleuze (pp2-3) seems only to say that we sense things as different because they are different. This sounds like realism rather than anything transcendental. Deleuze and Guattari are certainly arguing for a greatly enlarged conception of experience than that espoused by the British empiricists (Locke, Berkeley, Hume), but how is this transcendental?

    The meaning of transcendental materialism is also not clear to me: ‘the materiality of living through capitalist production flows through a process of synthesis that presents differential relations.’ (p5). His example of Thatcher does not help at all: she did not say ‘there is no community’, she said ‘there is no such thing as society’, which is entirely different.

    I do not agree that the method of schizoanalysis turns Marx and Freud ‘upside down’ (p6), and I don’t think D&G said that it did. For both Marx and Freud, the means of production are both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ (insofar as such concepts make any sense in either’s scheme of thought). But it is true that, in Anti-Oedipus, D&G did seem to succumb to a number of structuralist fantasies, e.g. about the role of ideology, the boundaries of capital, ‘la pensée sauvage’, etc. (under the influence of Althusser, Lévi-Strauss and others). So this is perhaps an example of transcendentalism as fantasy?

    Immanent materialism seems to refer to a position that ‘does not construct a transcendental outside to capitalism’ (p9). So perhaps this is just another term for ‘post-structuralist’? Actually, the ‘plane of immanence’ (D&G, 1988: 266) in A Thousand Plateaus does not look materialist to me – ‘abstract machines’ (p10) sound more like Hegel’s concept of a ‘general principle’, an Idea that progressively reveals (or materialises) itself in the course of history. In contrast, Marx’s historical materialism sees all ideas as produced through human labour, which is itself understood as the humanisation of nature. Thus it is not the workings of Leonardo’s mind that are the focus for a materialist approach but the production of his material works (such as his notebooks).

    I’m not sure that D&G manage to dissociate themselves entirely from structuralism – hence the label of ‘post-structuralist’ does seem apposite. They still see society as a system, with assemblages, fields of force, etc. The terminology has changed and the structures have been opened up, but they still fail to grasp the inherent internal contradictoriness of social forms within capitalism (commodity, labour, and of course capital itself). Alternatives, such as ‘forms of nomadism’, are just more fantasies (poststructuralist ones), which cannot in themselves be viable. In the end, they don’t emancipate themselves from structure/agency dualism.

    I found the apparent dismissal of phenomenology (p10) unconvincing. I think it probably indicates a penchant for structuralism.

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