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Mathieu Marion

Just read your post. I have only read Deleuze on other philosophers (Kant, Nietzsche), but not DR. Is there any sense that he had read authors in the hermeneutic or the historicist tradition? He would probably have gained from doing this.

J. Edward Hackett

I like Mathieu's question. When Eric speaks about Deleuze's introduction of "variance," one could say there is an underlying element of Gadamer's pre-judgments' productive power to foster understanding. As Gadamer insisted, the productive emphasis of our prejudice as contrary to Enlightenment do help us. In another way, however, Deleuze's idea of philosophy as the "creation of concepts" seems anti-thetical to the hermeneutic tradition in one way. The hermeneutic philosopher is often constituted more by the historicity of a tradition than described as someone introducing a creative element into interpretation.

Jeff Bell

Nice post Eric! I like the Carnap connection with respect to the internal and external questions and your first footnote. As an internal question, to ask about whether numbers exist is ultimately a tautology if one has already accepted the language of mathematics. We thus have the reduction of an internal question to a=a. The external question, however, depends upon how fruitful mathematics is in clarify and explaining the phenomena this language represents; or we have a=b. Building on what you say, Deleuze's concept of difference challenges the primacy of both questions by arguing for the derivative nature of identity (a=a) and representational theories of truth (a=b) that presuppose it. If so, I agree, but my question is how "proto-Carnapian" Deleuze is since Carnap still seems to be committed to a representational theory. External questions are practical questions best answered by determining how well they represent their subjects.

Eric Schliesser

I am no Deleuze expert and sometimes his allusions can be fairly terse/cryptic. But while historicism (in the Hegel-Marx sense) is certainly a genuine concern, it does seem that the Hermeneutic tradition (Dilthey, Gadamer, etc.) is absent from his focus. If that is right, I think Edward Hackett's remarks can explain why.

Eric Schliesser

Yes, Jeff, Deleuze's concept of difference is (again to borrow Carnap's terminology) a meta-framework for both internal and external questions. Obviously, this makes one wonder if there is a further 'external' question--with infinite regress looming, or if difference is really a sufficient reason (as Deleuze sometimes intimates).
I guess I assume that Deleuze is not against representational theory as far as it goes--it should just recognize its limitations.

Mathieu Marion

By "historicist" tradition I did not mean the "Hegel-Marx" sense, but what is known as the "historical school" (historische Schule) of Droysen, Dilthey, Meineke, etc. I bet it is also absent. I agree that, at first, the emphasis on creativity in interpretation appears antithetical to the hermeneutic tradition, but it is actually one of the main planks of Gadamer's own take on hermeneutics (see, e.g., Truth & Method, p. 296: "understanding is not merely a reproductive but always a productive activity as well"), I mean this is basic Gadamer. At all events, that should not serve as an excuse for one's or Deleuze's ignorance. These authors (to which one might include Collingwood, who also believed that understanding is open-ended) discuss and dissect at length these issues and I don't see what good there might be in not reading them. I was raised in a French-speaking milieu much in tune with Paris, in the late 1970s - early 1980s, and know it quite well (less Deleuze, I must say, although I forgot to mention I also read his book on Empirisme et subjectivité). I have been ever since amazed, given the emphasis on history of philosophy in France, how little they - and their readers - actually knew. Ditto with, from what I gather here, "repetition and difference" vs "identity in difference" in the British Neo-Hegelians.

Aaron Alvarez

I liked the post but I can't help but think that the type of history Deleuze is talking about is not the type of history often conceptualized in contemporary philosophy. It is a history that seems more contemporary and closer to the New History School. Not as against the agent current state of affairs as a genealogy but something meant to delimit the creation of the agent. I would claim Deleuze's introduction of variance is an attempt to break away from the Gadamarian concept of tradition itself and from the Hisroriche Schule . Deleuze and Carnap both seem to find some way to to place possibility within limitations although the issue for both and where they diverge is what is ontologically primary. Whereas Carnap finds founding moment, Deleuze finds a breakage. I think this becomes clear in works like Deleuze's Time Image where the continuity of perception is held to appearance and in Deleuze's work on geometry and topology.

Mathieu Marion

Aaron, you write: "I would claim Deleuze's introduction of variance is an attempt to break away from the Gadamarian concept of tradition itself and from the Historiche Schule". This is just tangential, but I think hardly any one really knew about Gadamer until he first went to Paris in 1981 and sparred with Derrida (the latter's Éperons is a good example of this, as one finds in it harsh criticisms of "herméneutique" that betray lack of knowledge of Gadamer, there are no references whatsoever - it seemed more important at the time to quote the Larousse on "étron" - and the little one gathers is banal and resembles more the views of Schleiermacher or Dilthey). As I said, I doubt Deleuze knew of Gadamer at the time of writing DR (I might be wrong, I make no claim to expertise whatsoever). But you are certainly right that, by contrast, Deleuze's idea seems to be that interpretation should not be constrained by what has been brought about by the tradition. I do not really see exactly what this amounts to, as I assume that Deleuze did not want to claim one could grapple with the text independently of any interpretative context, but if one has to figure out what the tradition was up to first but then, according to the view, the problem recurs.

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