14 May 2020

Breeur (Pref.) Lies – Imposture – Stupidity, “Preface”, summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is a paragraph by paragraph summary of Breeur’s text. Boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive my mistakes. The book can be purchased here.]

 

 

 

 

Summary of

 

Roland Breeur

[Breeur’s academia.edu page and researchgate page]

 

Lies – Imposture – Stupidity

 

“Preface”

 

 

 

 

 

Brief summary (collecting those below):

(Pref.1) We live in the “post-truth” era where the information conveyed in politics and news media is not crafted and presented with an eye to its truthfulness. (Pref.2) But the role and prevalence of deception in politics and media is neither new nor shocking. (Pref.3) The problem of truth in the post-truth era is that its lifelessness and colorlessness make it unable to command authority in an environment that favors the appeal of sensational untruths. (Pref.4) Although liars and imposters generate our beliefs in the untruths that they fashion, their methods depend upon – and ultimately affirm – truth itself, along with its distinction from falsity (liars’ dissemblances require  actual truths to conceal, and imposters use the means of distinguishing true from false to confuse the two). These deceitful operations are neither new nor what is really at issue in the post-truth era: it is not that untruths simply substitute for truths in acts of deception; rather, the very distinction between truth and falsity is no longer viable. (Pref.5) In all, the book focuses on “several aspects of the so-called ‘weakness’ of truth.” {1} Chapter one examines post-truth, which is the most radical symptom of truth’s weakness, because with it, reference to truth becomes facultative. {2} The remaining chapters examine phenomena that, although serving to “weaken or tarnish” truth’s value, nonetheless still respect it (p.8).  A central theme of the book is that “there is no freestanding, intrinsically-valuable, capital-T ‘Truth’.” Philosophy, in order to prove that it really does love truth must do so using the “imagination in order to find ways to express that which you know but lack the proper words for, that which you believe to be urgent and meaningful and wish to make manifest” (p.9).

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

Pref.1

[Post-Truth in News and Politics]

 

Pref.2

[The Non-Novelty of Deception]

 

Pref.3

[Truth & Impotence]

 

Pref.4

[Breakdown of the True/False Distinction in the Post-Truth Era]

 

Pref.5

[Preview of the Book’s Themes. Philosophy’s Proving Its Love of Truth]

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

Pref.1

[Post-Truth in News and Politics]

 

[We live in the “post-truth” era where the information conveyed in politics and news media is not crafted and presented with an eye to its truthfulness.]

 

[Breeur begins by discussing an article written in The Guardian by its editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, entitled, “How Technology Disrupted the Truth” (here). (In this article, Viner examines the recent devaluation of truth in news media and politics and traces it to changes in the nature of journalism resulting from the deleterious effects of new electronic news media technologies and industrial practices (for instance, algorithmic filtering, click prioritization and baiting, “churnalistic” reuse of others’ writings, and cut-backs to journalistic staff). What we gather from this article is that we live in a new “post-truth” era full of “lies, manipulations, and deceit” (Breeur p.7).  (In these times, we either wrongly believe that false reporting is true, or perhaps we do not even care whether or not it is true. The “truthfulness” of the information we consume may no longer even be at issue for us.)]

In 2016, Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of The Guardian, described the vote in favor of Brexit as “the first major vote in the era of post-truth politics.”1 The prefix “post,” the story goes, would point less to a temporary dimension (“What comes after...”) and more to a qualitative break with what preceded it. After post-modernism comes post-truth. Post-modernism, so to speak, pointed to the “end of the great stories.” And post-truth? To the end of the truth. So, we are said to live in an era of lies, manipulations, and deceit. “Does the truth matter anymore?”, Viner finally wondered.

(7)

1. Katharine Viner, “How Technology Disrupted the Truth,” The Guardian (2016). Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/12/how-technology-disrupted-the-truth.

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pref.2

[The Non-Novelty of Deception]

 

[But the role and prevalence of deception in politics and media is neither new nor shocking.]

 

[ditto]

To be honest, when I read some of the documents about the Dreyfus affair at the end of the 19th Century, or the falsified reports of some of the newspapers published during the two World Wars, I wonder what we are so worried about today.2 New era? Aren’t we overestimating ourselves? Of course, the media are different. The impact of false messages is more volatile, because faster. And yes, everyone knows that Presidents are lying. We also know that it is politically worthwhile to ignore scientifically validated facts or to fight them with “alternative facts.” And today, everyone feels deceived by someone | or something (by car companies, politicians, scientists, museums, etc.). As is often remarked, “the deceived is complicit in the deception.” But is this something new? Is this a shocking and upsetting truth? No. Honestly, we have known this for a long time now.

(7-8)

2 In this context, see the excellent study of Michaël Foessel, Recidive 1938, (Paris: PUF, 2019)

(7)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pref.3

[Truth & Impotence]

 

[The problem of truth in the post-truth era is that its lifelessness and colorlessness make it unable to command authority in an environment that favors the appeal of sensational untruths.]

 

[(Breeur now makes a fascinating and profoundly insightful philosophical observation. We note that in any era, truth exhibits a sort of weakness especially in the face of liars who can make us disbelieve a truth and instead believe its false counterpart. And also under normal circumstances, “those who represent the truth” can threaten the security of truth (perhaps for instance, I wonder, by using the truth in a manipulative way (as Blake wrote: “A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent”) or perhaps otherwise for instance by trying to convey the truth incompetently, with the unintended result that this truth becomes disbelieved). But this weakness or “faiblesse” of the truth is not what characterizes the problematic aspect of truth in the post-truth era. It is not that post-truth truths are weak, it is that they are impotent; they are, in Breuur’s words, “faint, pointless, insipid, futile”. Yes, they are true. Nonetheless, they lack the seeming vitality and richness of post-truth deceptions, and, as a result, are passed over in favor of these more potent, attractive, and engaging lies. As Breeur explains, contemporary truths “contain clichés, and therefore cannot withstand the exuberant and pseudo-deepness of our contemporary liars” (8). (Lies have always existed. What is new and dangerous today is the fact that truths cannot compete with deceptions in this era where their colorlessness is grounds for ignoring them. Truth, we might say, is in danger of extinction in this new communicational environment.) With all this being the case, that means truth-tellers, despite their good intentions, further undermine the truth when they promulgate such lifeless ones (because by doing so, they only increase the competitive advantage of the more lively and potent untruths). As Breeur writes: “And yes, those who proclaim futile truths are complicit in and therefore responsible for the proliferation of untruths.”]

In a recent book, the French political philosopher Myriam Revault d’Allones talked about “la faiblesse du vrai.” “Faiblesse” can be translated as weakness. The weakness of the truth would imply that truth cannot withstand the violence of the lie. This is still too positive, however. The truth about certain facts, and the importance of those facts, is threatened both by liars and by those who represent the truth. What is new in our “era” is perhaps the fact that truth no longer has any authority. Today, the truth is not just weak but faint, pointless, insipid, futile; the truths that are proclaimed are superficial, contain clichés, and therefore cannot withstand the exuberant and pseudo-deepness of our contemporary liars. The danger of “post-truth'” lies not in the lie, then, but in the futile, weak, and shabby nature of the truth. And yes, those who proclaim futile truths are complicit in and therefore responsible for the proliferation of untruths.

(8)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pref.4

[Breakdown of the True/False Distinction in the Post-Truth Era]

 

[Although liars and imposters generate our beliefs in the untruths that they fashion, their methods depend upon – and ultimately affirm – truth itself, along with its distinction from falsity (liars’ dissemblances require  actual truths to conceal, and imposters use the means of distinguishing true from false to confuse the two). These deceitful operations are neither new nor what is really at issue in the post-truth era: it is not that untruths simply substitute for truths in acts of deception; rather, the very distinction between truth and falsity is no longer viable.]

 

[There have always been liars and imposters; and their actions, while seeming to undermine the integrity of truth and the distinction between truth and falsity, really in the end depend upon these things. Liars dissimulate the truth, but this means they operate on something that really is true in the first place. Imposters make us confused about what is genuine and what is fake, but for their art to work, they need to implement “what distinguishes truth from falsehood.” (For instance, to sell a fake watch, it must have the markings that would normally authenticate a real one. So rather than neglecting those things that help us distinguish truth from falsehood, imposters instead use them like the materials of an art work.) Breeur’s claim is that what characterizes the post-truth era are thus not these usual operations of liars and imposters, which only in the end affirm the integrity of truth; rather, what is unique now is that the very distinction between truth and falsity has been put out of play.]

Liars dissimulate the truth. In that regard, they are still deferential towards it. Imposters create confusion. They like to play with what distinguishes truth from falsehood. But what if the very idea of there being a distinction between what is true and what is false has been blown up? This is what the post-truth era is all about.

(8)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pref.5

[Preview of the Book’s Themes. Philosophy’s Proving Its Love of Truth]

 

[In all, the book focuses on “several aspects of the so-called ‘weakness’ of truth.” {1} Chapter one examines post-truth, which is the most radical symptom of truth’s weakness, because with it, reference to truth becomes facultative. {2} The remaining chapters examine phenomena that, although serving to “weaken or tarnish” truth’s value, nonetheless still respect it (p.8).  A central theme of the book is that “there is no freestanding, intrinsically-valuable, capital-T ‘Truth’.” Philosophy, in order to prove that it really does love truth must do so using the “imagination in order to find ways to express that which you know but lack the proper words for, that which you believe to be urgent and meaningful and wish to make manifest” (p.9).]

 

[ditto]

In this book, I want to focus on several aspects of the so-called “weakness” of truth. Post-Truth (Chapter 1) is only one symptom of such weakness, although it is the most radical since here any reference to the truth becomes facultative. In subsequent chapters, I analyze phenomena which in their own ways still respect truth, even if only to weaken or tarnish the value that it has or represents. For, as will become clear over the course of this book, truth is no value on its own. Some truths are stupid and pointless, while some falsehoods are | very insightful and potent. Each and every truth is considered for its relevance, or its interest, or its power – there is no freestanding, intrinsically-valuable, capital-T “Truth.” If philosophy loves the truth, it needs to prove it. And you don’t prove your love by referring to “objective facts”: You prove it by using your imagination in order to find ways to express that which you know but lack the proper words for, that which you believe to be urgent and meaningful and wish to make manifest.3

(8-9)

3 Thanks to Kyle Barrowman for the insightful and stimulating editorial revision of the manuscript. Thanks also to Tomas Sinkunas for inviting me to contribute to this new and promising collection.

(9)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

Breeur, Roland. Lies – Imposture – Stupidity. Vilnius: Jonas ir Jakubas, 2019.

 

 

Breeur’s academia.edu page and researchgate page

.

 

 

.

5 May 2020

Breeur (ED) Lies – Imposture – Stupidity, entry directory

 

by Corry Shores

 

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Entry Directory for

 

Roland Breeur

 

Lies – Imposture – Stupidity

(Book Page)

(Image source: jonasirjokubas.lt)

 

 

 

Preface

[summary]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breeur, Roland. Lies – Imposture – Stupidity. Vilnius: Jonas ir Jakubas, 2019.

 

 

Images taken gratefully from:

https://www.jonasirjokubas.lt/produktas/roland-breeur-lies-imposture-stupidity/

 

.

Roland Breeur (ED), entry directory

 

by Corry Shores

 

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Entry Directory for

 

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Lies – Imposture – Stupidity

[Entry Directory]

 

 

 

 

 

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Images taken gratefully from:

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9 Jan 2020

Freud (V1.6) “Observations of a Severe Case of Hemi-Anaesthesia in a Hysterical Male” in Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, notes and quotes

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is not summary. It simply catalogs particular parts of the text that I take note of, with a brief summary of all these notes. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive all my various mistakes. Section divisions are my own and do not reflect partitions in the text.]

 

 

 

Notes and Quotes from

 

Sigmund Freud

 

Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works

 

Volume 1

1886-1889

Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts

 

6

“Observations of a Severe Case of Hemi-Anaesthesia in a Hysterical Male”

(1886)

 

 

 

 

Very brief summary of the notes:

Hysterical patients can have (anaesthetic) parts of their body that provide absolutely no sensation whatsoever, while also having “hysterogenic zones” that are highly oversensitive and when touched even slightly can trigger a hysterical episode. Overall, this account of the patient’s anaesthesia and hyperaesthesia gives us medical descriptions that resonate with Deleuze’s discussions of the body without organs in the context of hysteria; for, we see a high variability in the ways that the parts of the body handle sensations and operate in conjunction with one another, with odd places on the body becoming something like temporary, provisional organs (the “hysterogenic zones”).

 

 

 

Brief summary of the notes (collecting those below):

(6.1) Editor’s note: This text is mostly about the physiological symptomology of hysteria from Charcot’s perspective. (6.2) Freud will discuss a case of male hysteria where the physiological symptoms are very pronounced and obvious. The patient’s symptoms were brought on by a traumatic event (being attacked by his brother who tried to kill him with a knife), and he suffers acute hemi-anaesthesia (the loss of sensation in one side of the body). While this side of the body cannot provide sensations, not even kinaesthetic ones when moving, the patient also has “hysterogenic zones” (which are supersensitive parts of the body that when touched even slightly can provoke a hysterical attack.) There is also variability in these conditions. Using electricity, Freud was able to make a part of the anaesthic zone become sensitive and also thereby to cause variability in other parts of the body: “Thus, in a test for electrical sensitivity, contrary to my intention, I made a piece of skin at the left elbow sensitive; and repeated tests showed that the extent of the painful zones on the trunk and the disturbances of the sense of vision oscillated in their intensity.” (We note that much of the description Freud gives here of the patient’s physiological symptomology is reminiscent of what Deleuze says about the “body without organs” in the “Hysteria” chapter of his Francis Bacon book.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

6.1

[The Limited Focus of This Text on the Topic of Psychological Factors Involved in Hysteria]

 

6.2

[Anaesthesia and Hysterogenic Zones in Hysterical Patients]

 

Text Information

 

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

 

Text Information

 

BEOBACHTUNG EINER HOCHGRADIGEN HEMI-ANÄTHESIE BEI EINEM HYSTERISCHEN MANNE

(a) German Edition:

1886 Wien. med. Wschr., 36 (49), 1633-38. (December 4.)

This paper seems never to have been reprinted. The present translation, by James Strachey, is the first into English. It was apparently intended that this should be the first of a series of papers, since there is a superscription which reads ‘Beiträge zur Kasuistik der Hysterie, I’ (Contributions to the Clinical Study of Hysteria, I). But the series was not continued.

(24)

 

 

 

Summary

 

6.1

[The Limited Focus of This Text on the Topic of Psychological Factors Involved in Hysteria]

 

[Editor’s note: This text is mostly about the physiological symptomology of hysteria from Charcot’s perspective.]

 

[ditto] [Recall from “Report on My Studies in Paris and Berlin” that Freud had been studying at the Hospice de la Salpêtrière in Paris under Jean-Martin Charcot, who was using hypnotism and other means to greatly advance our knowledge of the neurosis hysteria.]

The greater part of the paper, it will be seen, is concerned with the physical phenomena of hysteria, on the lines characteristic of Charcot's attitude to the condition. There are only some very slight indications of an interest in psychological factors.

(23)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.2

[Anaesthesia and Hysterogenic Zones in Hysterical Patients]

 

[Freud will discuss a case of male hysteria where the physiological symptoms are very pronounced and obvious. The patient’s symptoms were brought on by a traumatic event (being attacked by his brother who tried to kill him with a knife), and he suffers acute hemi-anaesthesia (the loss of sensation in one side of the body). While this side of the body cannot provide sensations, not even kinaesthetic ones when moving, the patient also has “hysterogenic zones” (which are supersensitive parts of the body that when touched even slightly can provoke a hysterical attack.) There is also variability in these conditions. Using electricity, Freud was able to make a part of the anaesthic zone become sensitive and also thereby to cause variability in other parts of the body: “Thus, in a test for electrical sensitivity, contrary to my intention, I made a piece of skin at the left elbow sensitive; and repeated tests showed that the extent of the painful zones on the trunk and the disturbances of the sense of vision oscillated in their intensity.”  (We note that much of the description Freud gives here of the patient’s physiological symptomology is reminiscent of what Deleuze says about the “body without organs” in the “Hysteria” chapter of his Francis Bacon book.)]

 

[ditto]

GENTLEMEN, – When, on October 15, I had the honour of claiming your attention to a short report on Charcot’s recent work in the field of male hysteria, I was challenged by my respected teacher, Hofrat Professor Meynert, to present before the society some cases in which the somatic indications of hysteria – the ‘hysterical stigmata’ by which Charcot characterizes this neurosis – could be observed in a clearly marked form. I am meeting this challenge to-day – insufficiently, it is true, but so far as the clinical material at my disposal permits – by presenting before you a hysterical man, who exhibits the symptom of hemi-anaesthesia to what may almost be described as the highest degree.

(25)

The patient is a 29-year-old engraver, August P.

(25)

His present illness dates back for some three years. At that time he fell into a dispute with his dissolute brother, who refused to pay him back a sum of money he had lent him. His brother threatened to stab him and ran at him with a knife. This threw the patient into indescribable fear; he felt a ringing in his head as though it was going to burst; he hurried home without being able to tell how he got there, and fell to the ground unconscious in front of his do0r. It was reported afterwards that for two hours he had the most violent spasms and had spoken during them of the scene with his brother. When he woke up, he felt very feeble; during the next six weeks he suffered from violent left-sided headaches and intra-cranial pressure. The feeling in the left half of his body seemed to him altered, and his eyes got easily tired at his work, which he soon took up again. With a few oscillations, his condition remained like this for three years, until, seven weeks ago, a fresh agitation brought on a change for the worse. The patient was accused by a woman of a theft, | had violent palpitations, was so depressed for about a fortnight that he thought of suicide, and at the same time a fairly severe tremor set in in his left extremities. The left half of his body felt as though it had been affected by a slight stroke; his eyes became very weak and often made him see everything grey; his sleep was interrupted by terrifying apparitions and by dreams in which he thought he was falling from a great height; pains started in the left side of his throat, in his left groin, in the sacral region and in other areas; his stomach was often ‘as though it was blown out’, and he found himself obliged to stop working. A further worsening of all these symptoms dates from the last week. In addition, the patient is subject to violent pains in his left knee and his left sole if he walks for some time; he has a peculiar feeling in his throat as though his tongue was fastened up, he has frequent singing in his ears, and more of the same sort. His memory is impaired for his experiences during his illness, but is good for earlier events. The attacks of convulsions have been repeated from six to nine times during the three years; but most of them were very slight; only one attack at night last August was accompanied by fairly severe ‘shaking’.

(26-27)

The examination of his internal organs reveals nothing pathological apart from dull cardiac sounds. If I press on the point of exit of the supraorbital, infra-orbital or mental nerves on the left side, the patient turns his head with an expression of severe pain. There is therefore, we might suppose, a neuralgic change in the left trigeminal. The cranial vault too is very susceptible to percussion in its left half. The skin of the left half of the head behaves, however, quite differently to our expectation: it is completely insensitive to stimuli of any kind. I can prick it, pinch it, twist the lobe of the ear between my fingers, without the patient even noticing the touch. Here, then, there is a very high degree of anaesthesia; but this affects not merely the skin but also the mucous membranes, as I will show you in the case of the patient’s lips and tongue. If I insert a small roll of paper into his left external auditory meatus and then through his left nostril, no reaction is produced. I now repeat the experiment on the right side and show that there the patient’s sensibility is normal. In accordance with the anaesthesia, the sensory reflexes, too, are abolished or reduced. Thus I can introduce my finger and touch all the pharyngeal tissues on the left side without the result being retching; the pharyngeal reflexes on the right side are, however, also reduced; only when I reach the epiglottis on the right side is there a reaction. Touching the | left conjunctiva palpebrarum and bulbi produces scarcely any closure of the lids; on the other hand, the corneal reflex is present, though very considerably reduced. Incidentally, the conjunctival and corneal reflexes on the right side are also reduced, though only to a lesser degree; and this behaviour of the reflexes is enough to enable me to conclude that the disturbances of vision need not be limited to the one (left) eye. And in fact, when I examined the patient for the first time, he exhibited in both eyes the peculiar polyopia monocularis of hysterical patients and disturbances of the colour-sense. With his right eye he recognized all the colours except violet, which he named as grey; with his left eye he recognized only a light red and yellow, while he regarded all the other colours as grey if they were light and black if they were dark. Dr. Konigstein was kind enough to submit the patient’s eyes to a thorough examination and will himself report later on his findings. [See p. 24 above.] Turning to the other sense organs, smell and taste are entirely lost on the left side. Only hearing has been spared by the cerebral hemi-anaesthesia. It will be recalled that the efficiency of his right ear has been seriously impaired since an accident to the patient at the age of eight; his left ear is the better one; the reduction in hearing present in it is (according to a kind communication from Professor Gruber) sufficiently explained by a visible material affection of the tympanic membrane.

If we now proceed to an examination of the trunk and extremities, here again we find an absolute anaesthesia, in the first place in the left arm. As you see, I can push a pointed needle through a fold of the skin without the patient reacting against it. The deep parts – muscles, ligaments, joints – must also be insensitive to an equally high degree, since I can twist the wrist-joint and stretch the ligaments without provoking any feeling in the patient. It tallies with this anaesthesia of the deep parts that the patient, if his eyes are bandaged, also has no notion of the position of his left arm in space or of any movement that I perform with it. I bandage his eyes and then ask him what I have done with his left hand. He cannot tell. I tell him to take hold of his left thumb, elbow, shoulder, with his right hand. He feels about in the air, will perhaps take my hand, which I offer him, for his own, and then admits that he does not know whose hand he has hold of.

It must be especially interesting to find out whether the patient is able to find the parts of the left half of his face. One would suppose that this would offer him no difficulties, since, after all, the left half of his face is, so to speak, firmly cemented to the intact right half. But experiment shows the contrary. The patient | misses his aim at his left eye, the lobe of his left ear, and so on; indeed he seems to find his way about worse in groping with his right hand for the anaesthetic parts of his face than if he were touching a part of someone else’s body. The blame for this is not a disorder in his right hand, which he is using for feeling about, for you can see with what certainty and speed he finds the spot when I tell him to touch places in the right half of his face.

(28-29)

The same anaesthesia is present in his trunk and left leg. We observe there that the loss of sensation has its limit at the midline or extends a trace beyond it.

Special interest seems to me to lie in the analysis of the disturbances of movement which the patient exhibits in his anaesthetic limbs. I believe that these disturbances of movement are to be ascribed wholly and solely to the anaesthesia. There is certainly no paralysis – of his left arm, for instance. A paralysed arm either falls limply down or is held rigid by contractures in forced positions. Here it is otherwise. If I bandage the patient’s eyes, his left arm remains in the position it had taken up before. The disturbances of mobility are changeable and depend on several conditions. At first, those of you who noticed how the patient undressed himself with both hands and how he closed his left nostril with the fingers of his left hand, will not have formed an impression of any serious disturbance of movement. On closer observation it will be found that the left arm, and in particular the fingers, are moved more slowly and with less skill, as though they are stiff, and with a slight tremor. But every movement, even the most complicated, is performed and this is always so if the patient's attention is diverted from the organs of movement and directed solely to the aim of the movement. It is quite otherwise if I tell him to carry out separate movements with his left arm without any remoter aim – for instance, to bend his arm at the elbow-joint while he follows the movement with his eyes. In that case his left arm appears much more inhibited than before, the movement is performed very slowly, incompletely, in separate stages, as though there were a great resistance to be overcome, and is accompanied by a lively tremor. The movements of the fingers are extraordinarily weak in these circumstances. A third kind of disturbance of movement, and the severest, is exhibited, finally, if he is expected to carry out separate movements with closed eyes. Something results, to be sure, with the limb which is absolutely anaesthetic, for, as you see, the motor innervation is independent of any sensory | moved; this movement, however, is minimal, not in any way directed to a particular segment, and not determinable in its direction by the patient. Do not assume, however, that this last kind of disturbance of movement is a necessary consequence of anaesthesia; precisely in this respect far-reaching individual differences are to be found. We have observed anaesthetic patients at the Salpêtrière who, if their eyes were closed, retained a much more far-reaching control over a limb that was lost to consciousness.

(29-30)

The same influence of diverted attention and of looking applies to the left leg. For a good hour to-day the patient walked along the streets with me at a rapid pace, without looking at his feet as he walked. And all I could notice was that he put his left foot down turning it rather outwards and that he often dragged it along the ground. But if I order him to walk, then he has to follow every movement of his anaesthetic leg with his eyes, and the movement occurs slowly and uncertainly and tires him very soon. Finally, with his eyes closed he walks altogether uncertainly, and he pushes himself along with both feet staying on the ground, as one of us would do in the dark on unknown territory. He also has great difficulty in remaining upright on his left leg only; if he shuts his eyes in that position, he immediately falls down.

I will go on to describe the behaviour of his reflexes. They are in general brisker than the normal, and moreover show little consistency with one another. The triceps and flexor reflexes are decidedly brisker in the right, non-anaesthetic extremity. The patellar reflex seems brisker on the left; the Achilles tendon reflex is equal on both sides. It is also possible to elicit a slight patellar response which is more clearly observable on the right. The cremasteric reflexes are absent; on the other hand the abdominal reflexes are brisk, and the left one immensely increased, so that the lightest stroking of an area of the abdominal skin provokes a maximal contraction of the left rectus abdominis.

In accordance with a hysterical herni-anaesthesia, our patient exhibits, both spontaneously and on pressure, painful areas on what is otherwise the insensitive side of his body – what are known as ‘hysterogenic zones’, though in this case their con-| nection with the provoking of attacks is not marked. Thus the trigeminal nerve, whose terminal branches, as I showed you earlier, are sensitive to pressure, is the seat of a hysterogenic zone of this kind; also a narrow area in the left medial cervical fossa, a broader strip in the left wall of the thorax (where the skin too is still sensitive), the lumbar portion of the spine and the middle portion of the ossacrum (the skin is sensitive over the former of these as well). Finally, the left spermatic cord is very sensitive to pain, and this zone is continued along the course of the spermatic cord into the abdominal cavity to the area which in women is so often the site of ‘ovaralgia’.

(30-31)

I must add two remarks relating to deviations of our case from the typical picture of hysterical hemi-anaesthesia. The first is that the right side of the patient's body is also not free from anaesthesia, though this is not of a high degree and seems to affect only the skin. Thus there is a zone of reduced sensitivity to pain (and feeling of temperature) over the dome of the right shoulder, another passes in a band round the peripheral end of the lower arm; the right leg is hypaesthetic on the outer side of the thigh and on the back of the calf.

A second remark relates to the fact that the hemi-anaesthesia in our patient exhibits very clearly the characteristic of instability. Thus, in a test for electrical sensitivity, contrary to my intention, I made a piece of skin at the left elbow sensitive; and repeated tests showed that the extent of the painful zones on the trunk and the disturbances of the sense of vision oscillated in their intensity. It is on this instability of the disturbance of sensitivity that I found my hope of being able to restore the patient in a short time to normal sensitivity.

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

Freud, Sigmund. “Observations of a Severe Case of Hemi-Anaesthesia in a Hysterical Male (1886).” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, Vol. 1, (1886–1899): Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts, edited and translated by James Strachey, 23–31. London: Hogarth, 1966.

 

.

 

 

.

8 Jan 2020

Freud (V1.3) “Report on My Studies in Paris and Berlin” in Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, notes and quotes

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is not summary. It simply catalogs particular parts of the text that I take note of, with a brief summary of all these notes. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive all my various mistakes. Section divisions are my own and do not reflect partitions in the text.]

 

 

 

Notes and Quotes from

 

Sigmund Freud

 

Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works

 

Volume 1

(1886-1889)

Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts

3

“Report on My Studies in Paris and Berlin”

(1956 [1886])

 

 

 

 

 

Very brief summary of these notes:

Freud’s text, “Report on My Studies in Paris and Berlin,” provides an account of his studies at the Hospice de la Salpêtrière in Paris under Jean-Martin Charcot, who was using hypnotism and other means to greatly advance our knowledge of the neurosis hysteria. Freud was impressed by how Charcot was dealing with illnesses that have somatic symptoms but no obvious somatic causes. In other words, they seem more to be diseases of the psyche than strictly of the body. As a result of these studies, Freud’s research interests turned away from neuroanatomy toward psychopathology.

 

 

 

Brief summary of these notes (collecting those below):

(3.1) Editor’s Note: Freud began as a medical student interested in neuroanatomy. In 1885-1886, he studied abroad, in France, with a grant from his school, Vienna University. During his intellectual explorations, especially under the influence of Jean-Martin Charcot, Freud’s interests change from neurology to psychopathology. This text is important for giving us insight into that fateful turn in the history of human culture. (3.2) Freud used his traveling grant to study neuropathology at the Hospice de la Salpêtrière. One thing that attracted him about this school was Jean-Martin Charcot, who was “inclined to study rare and strange material.” Freud’s initial research interests were “anatomical problems” (namely,  “the secondary atrophies and degenerations that follow on affections of the brain in children.”) However, Freud found that the laboratory for these studies was inadequate, so he switched to studying  something else (namely, “the relations of the nuclei of the posterior column in the medulla oblongata.”) At the same time, Freud became deeply impressed by Charcot’s teachings on neuropathology and began to study almost exclusively under him. (3.3) Charcot claimed that our knowledge of anatomy and of organic diseases was nearly complete, and what remained to be studied were the neuroses (in other words, diseases with no obvious physiological cause). Among the neuroses, Charcot specialized in hysteria. Historically, this illness had been poorly studied up until then. Charcot demonstrated that its causes are not so strongly linked to the genitals (for, it was long thought to be linked to the uterus), because it occurs in men too, who may have traumatic hysteria. He also determined the precise physiological symptoms for properly diagnosing hysteria. (3.4) Charcot also used hypnotism to arrive “at a kind of theory of hysterical symptomatology.” He treated it with full scientific rigor. At the same time, it was amazing to behold, and Freud was deeply impressed by the technique.

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

Text Information

 

3.1

[Editor’s Note: This Text as Marking Freud’s Turn from Neurology to Psychopathology]

 

3.2

[Freud’s Initial Anatomical Interests and His Attraction to Charcot’s Teachings]

 

3.3

[Charcot’s Advancing the Studies on Hysteria]

 

3.4

[Charcot’s Amazing and Scientific Use of Hypnotism]

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

 

Text Information

BERICHT ÜBER MEINE MIT UNIVERSITÄTS-JUBILÄUMS REISESTIPENDIUM UNTERNOMMENE STUDIENREISE NACH PARIS UND BERLIN

(a) German Edition:

(1886 Date of composition.)

1960 In J. and R. Gicklhorn’s Sigmund Freuds akademische Laufbahn im Lichte der Dokumente, 82, Vienna.

 

(b) English Translation:

‘Report on my Studies in Paris and Berlin’

1956 Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37 (1), 2-7. (Tr. James Strachey.)

The present translation is a slightly corrected reprint of the one published in 1956.

(3)

 

 

 

Summary

 

3.1

[Editor’s Note: This Text as Marking Freud’s Turn from Neurology to Psychopathology]

 

[Editor’s Note: Freud began as a medical student interested in neuroanatomy. In 1885-1886, he studied abroad, in France, with a grant from his school, Vienna University. During his intellectual explorations, especially under the influence of Jean-Martin Charcot, Freud’s interests change from neurology to psychopathology. This text is important for giving us insight into that fateful turn in the history of human culture.]

 

The editor, James Strachey, says that Freud’s report here marks  “a historic event: the diversion of Freud's scientific interests from neurology to psychology” (3). Freud is reporting on his accomplishments during a trip funded by Vienna University in 1885 (p.3), where he was studying medicine. He finished writing the report on the 22nd of April, 1886 (p.3). This text gives us insight into the way that Freud’s interests turned from neuroanatomy to psychopathology, by means of his work with Jean-Martin Charcot at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. Strachey marks that turning point as happening early December, 1885.

The high importance which Freud himself always attributed to his studies under Charcot is a matter of common knowledge. | This report marks his experience at the Salpêtrière with the utmost clarity as a turning point. When he arrived in Paris, his ‘chosen concern’ was with the anatomy of the nervous system; when he left, his mind was filled with the problems of hysteria and hypnotism. He had turned his back on neurology and was moving towards psychopathology. It would even be possible to assign a precise date to the change – in early December, 1885, when he ceased his work in the pathological laboratory of the Salpêtrière; but the inconvenient arrangements at that laboratory, which he himself puts forward as the explanation, were, of course, no more than a precipitating cause of the momentous shift in the direction of Freud's interests. Other and deeper factors were at work, and among them, no doubt, the great personal influence which Charcot evidently exercised on him.

(3-4)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.2

[Freud’s Initial Anatomical Interests and His Attraction to Charcot’s Teachings]

 

[Freud used his traveling grant to study neuropathology at the Hospice de la Salpêtrière. One thing that attracted him about this school was Jean-Martin Charcot, who was “inclined to study rare and strange material.” Freud’s initial research interests were “anatomical problems” (namely,  “the secondary atrophies and degenerations that follow on affections of the brain in children.”) However, Freud found that the laboratory for these studies was inadequate, so he switched to studying  something else (namely, “the relations of the nuclei of the posterior column in the medulla oblongata.”) At the same time, Freud became deeply impressed by Charcot’s teachings on neuropathology and began to study almost exclusively under him.]

 

[ditto]

In my application for the award of the Travelling Bursary from the University Jubilee Fund for the year 1885-6, I expressed my intention of proceeding to the Hospice de la Salpêtrière in Paris and of there continuing my studies in neuropathology. Several factors had contributed to this choice. [...] there was the great name of J.-M. Charcot, who has now been working and teaching in his hospital for seventeen years.

(5)

In consequence of the scarcity of any lively personal contact between French and German physicians, the | findings of the French school – some of them (upon hypnotism) highly surprising and some of them (upon hysteria) of practical importance – had been met in our countries with more doubt than recognition and belief; and the French workers, and above all Charcot, were obliged to submit to the charge of lacking in critical faculty or at least of being inclined to study rare and strange material and to dramatize their working-up of that material. Accordingly, when the honourable College of Professors distinguished me by the award of the Travelling Bursary, I gladly seized the opportunity which was thus offered of forming a judgement upon these facts based on my own experience [...].

(5-6)

J.-M. Charcot, when he was an ‘interne’ at the Salpêtrière in 1856, perceived the necessity of making chronic nervous diseases the subject of constant and exclusive study, and he determined to return to the Salpêtrière as a médecin des hôpitaux and never thereafter to leave it.

(7)

The man who is at the head of all these resources and auxiliary services is now sixty years of age. He exhibits the liveliness, cheerfulness, and formal perfection of speech which we are in the habit of attributing to the French national character; while at the same time he displays the patience and love of work which we usually claim for our own nation. The attraction of such a personality soon led me to restrict my visits to one single hospital and to seek instruction from one single man. I abandoned my occasional attempts at attending other lectures after I had become convinced that all they had to offer were for the most part well-constructed rhetorical performances. The only exceptions were Professor Brouardel's forensic autopsies and lectures at the Morgue, which I rarely missed.

(8)

My work in the Salpêtrière itself took on a different shape from what I had originally laid down for myself. I had arrived with the intention of making one single question the subject of a thorough investigation; and since in Vienna my chosen concern had been with anatomical problems, I had selected the study of the secondary atrophies and degenerations that follow on affections of the brain in children.

(8)

The laboratory was not at all adapted to the reception of an extraneous worker, and such space and resources as existed were made inaccessible owing to lack of any kind of organization. I thus found myself obliged to give up anatomical work3 and rest content with a discovery concerned with the relations of the nuclei of the posterior column in the medulla oblongata.

(8)

3. [This was at the beginning of December, 1885 (Jones. 1953, 231)].

(8)

Jones, E. (1953) Sigmund Freud: Life and Work, Vol. 1, London and New York. (Page references are to the English edition.) (xvii, 3, 8, 9, 15, 20, 24, 64, 157, 175-6, 213, 262, 284, 290)

(409)

In contrast to the inadequacy of the laboratory, the clinic at the Salpêtrière provided such a plethora of new and interesting material that it needed all my efforts to profit by the instruction which this favourable opportunity afforded. The weekly timetable was divided as follows. On Mondays Charcot delivered his public lecture, which delighted its hearers by the perfection of its form, while its subject-matter was familiar from the work of the preceding week. What these lectures offered was not so much elementary instruction in neuropathology as information, rather, on the Professor's latest researches; and they produced their effect primarily by their constant references to the patients who were being demonstrated. On Tuesdays Charcot held his ‘consultation externe’, at which his assistants brought before him for examination the typical or puzzling cases among the very large number attending the out-patient department.

(9)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.3

[Charcot’s Advancing the Studies on Hysteria]

 

[Charcot claimed that our knowledge of anatomy and of organic diseases was nearly complete, and what remained to be studied were the neuroses (in other words, diseases with no obvious physiological cause). Among the neuroses, Charcot specialized in hysteria. Historically, this illness had been poorly studied up until then. Charcot demonstrated that its causes are not so strongly linked to the genitals (for, it was long thought to be linked to the uterus), because it occurs in men too, who may have traumatic hysteria. He also determined the precise physiological symptoms for properly diagnosing hysteria.]

 

[ditto]

Charcot used to say that, broadly speaking, the work of anatomy was finished and that the theory of the organic diseases of the nervous system might be said to be complete: what had next to be dealt with was the neuroses. This pronouncement may, no doubt, be regarded as no more than an expression of the tum which his own activities have taken. For many years now his work has been centred almost entirely on the neuroses, and above all on hysteria, which, since the opening of the outpatient department and of the clinic, he has had an opportunity of studying in men as well as women.

I will venture to sum up in a few words what Charcot has achieved in the clinical study of hysteria. Up to now, hysteria can scarcely be regarded as a name with any well-defined meaning. The state of illness to which it is applied is only character- | ized scientifically by negative signs; it has been studied little and unwillingly; and it labours under the odium of some very widespread prejudices. Among these are the supposed dependence of hysterical illness upon genital irritation, the view that no definite symptomatology can be assigned to hysteria simply because any combination of symptoms can occur in it, and finally the exaggerated importance that has been attributed to simulation in the clinical picture of hysteria. During the last few decades a hysterical woman would have been almost as certain to be treated as a malingerer, as in earlier centuries she would have been certain to be judged and condemned as a witch or as possessed of the devil. In another respect there has, if anything, been a step backward in the knowledge of hysteria. The Middle Ages had a precise acquaintance with the ‘stigmata’ of hysteria, its somatic signs, and interpreted and made use of them in their own fashion.

(11)

In his study of hysteria Charcot started out from the most fully developed cases, which he regarded as the perfect types of the disease. He began by reducing the connection of the neurosis with the genital system to its correct proportions by demonstrating the unsuspected frequency of cases of male hysteria and especially of traumatic hysteria. In these typical cases he next found a number of somatic signs (such as the character of the attack, anaesthesia, disturbances of vision, hysterogenic points etc.), which enabled him to establish the diagnosis of hysteria with certainty on the basis of positive indications.

(11)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.4

[Charcot’s Amazing and Scientific Use of Hypnotism]

 

[Charcot also used hypnotism to arrive “at a kind of theory of hysterical symptomatology.” He treated it with full scientific rigor. At the same time, it was amazing to behold, and Freud was deeply impressed by the technique.]

 

[ditto]

By making a scientific study of hypnotism – a region of neuropathology which had to be wrung on the one side from scepticism and on the other from fraud – he himself arrived at a kind of theory of hysterical symptomatology.

(11)

Nor did I neglect the opportunity of acquiring a personal acquaintance with the phenomena of hypnotism, which are so astonishing and to which so little credence is attached, and in particular with the ‘grand hypnotisme’ [‘major hypnotism’] described by Charcot. I found to my astonishment that here were occurrences plain before one’s eyes, which it was quite impossible to doubt, but which were nevertheless strange enough not to be believed unless they were experienced at first hand. I saw no sign, however, that Charcot showed any special preference for rare and strange material or that he tried to exploit it for mystical purposes. On the contrary, he regarded hypnotism as a field of phenomena which he submitted to scientific description, just as he had done many years before with multiple sclerosis or progressive muscular atrophy. He did not seem to me to be at all one of those men who marvel at what is rare rather than what is usual; and the whole trend of his mind leads me to suppose that he can find no rest till he has correctly described and classified some phenomenon with which he is concerned, but that he can sleep quite soundly without having arrived at the physiological explanation of that phenomenon.

I have given considerable space in this Report to remarks on hysteria and hypnotism because I had to deal with what was completely novel and the subject of Charcot’s own particular studies.

(13)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

Freud, Sigmund. “Report on My Studies in Paris and Berlin” (1956 [1886]). In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, Vol. 1, (1886–1899): Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts, edited and translated by James Strachey, 1–15. London: Hogarth, 1966.

.

 

 

.

2 Jan 2020

Freud (ED.V1) Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, V1 (1886-1889): Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[Sigmund Freud, entry directory]

 

 

 

Entry Directory for

 

Sigmund Freud

 

Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works

 

Volume 1

1886-1889

Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts

 

 

3

“Report on My Studies in Paris and Berlin”

(1956 [1886])

[Notes]

 

6

“Observations of a Severe Case of Hemi-Anaesthesia in a Hysterical Male”

(1886)

[Notes]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freud, Sigmund. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, Vol. 1, (1886–1899): Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts. Edited and translated by James Strachey. London: Hogarth, 1966.



.

Sigmund Freud (ED) entry directory

 

by Corry Shores

 

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Entry Directory for

 

Sigmund Freud

(image source: wiki)

 

 

 

Notes from the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works

 

Volume 1

1886-1889

Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts

[Entry Directory]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image taken gratefully from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud#/media/File:Sigmund_Freud,_by_Max_Halberstadt_(cropped).jpg

Psychoanalysis, entry directory

 

by Corry Shores

 

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Entry Directory for

 

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1 Jan 2020

Smith (5.0) Essays on Deleuze, Ch.5.0, “[Introductory material]”, summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is a paragraph by paragraph summary of Smith’s text. Boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive my mistakes.]

 

 

 

 

Summary of

 

Daniel Smith

[Smith’s academia.edu page]

 

Essays on Deleuze

 

Ch.5

Pre- and Post-Kantianism

Logic and Existence: Deleuze on the Conditions of the Real

 

5.0

“[Introductory material]”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief summary (collecting those below):

(5.0.1) At the core of Deleuze’s interest in the rationalists, Leibniz especially, is the philosophical problem of using thought to distinguish the possible from the real. For, nothing would change among the predicates involved in the conception of something were it to exist instead of not exist (or not-exist instead of exist). (5.0.2) Smith will give a cinematic thematization of the material he presents in the text by characterizing its parts as if they were something like parts of a film. (5.0.3) The basic principles of logic, especially the three classic ones – Identity, Non-Contradiction, and Excluded Middle – tell us what is unthinkable and thus impossible. Under Deleuze’s formulations, the Principle of Identity is expressible as “A is A” or “A thing is what it is”; the Principle of Non-Contradiction is (unconventionally) formulated by Deleuze as “A is not non-A,” or “A thing is not what it is not”; and the Principle of Excluded Middle: “‘either A or not-A,’ that is, between A or not-A, there is no middle term’.”  They therefore offer some guidance regarding what is possible. Deleuze will conduct an investigation into the history of philosophy to see if these three laws especially had been reconceived to allow us to think beyond the possible to the real or existant itself. (5.0.4) Smith will follow how Deleuze tells a story in the history of philosophy that is about how philosophers of different times or sorts have reconceived the three classical principles of logic in order to think the real and existant itself and not merely the possible; the Principle of Identity: Pre-Kantian Rationalists, especially Leibniz; the Principle of Non-Contradiction: German Idealists, especially Hegel; and the Principle of Excluded Middle: “existentialists.” Lastly, Smith will explain Deleuze’s critique of these solutions and discuss the one Deleuze proposes instead.

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

5.0.1

[Deleuze’s Philosophical Question: How Can Thought Think the Real and Not Just the Possible?]

 

5.0.2

[Smith’s Cinematic Thematization]

 

5.0.3

[Deleuze’s Particular Formulations for the Three Classic Principles of Logic]

 

5.0.4

[Previewing the Text]

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

5.0.1

[Deleuze’s Philosophical Question: How Can Thought Think the Real and Not Just the Possible?]

 

[At the core of Deleuze’s interest in the rationalists, Leibniz especially, is the philosophical problem of using thought to distinguish the possible from the real. For, nothing would change among the predicates involved in the conception of something were it to exist instead of not exist (or not-exist instead of exist).]

 

[ditto] [Deleuze discusses this issue especially in his course of 1983.05.17, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.] As Smith explains so well, if we only have our thinking to rely upon, we cannot make a distinction, conceptually speaking, between the concept of a thing were it to exist and the concept of that same thing were it not to exist. [Deleuze says something similar to Smith’s 100 dollars and unicorn illustrations and Kant comment in Course 1983.05.17, Part 1: “Pourquoi est-ce que la pensée en tant que pensée ne dispose d’aucun moyen pour distinguer le possible et le réel ? C’est évident - ou : le possible et l’existant -, c’est évident si vous y réfléchissez. Considérez un concept quelconque, ou une représentation quelconque : représentation soit d’un bœuf, soit d’une chimère, soit d’un triangle. Cette représentation ou ce concept, c’est ce que la pensée pense. Rien n’est changé, que l’objet de la représentation existe ou n’existe pas. Tout est changé pour nous, rien n’est changé pour la pensée, c’est-à-dire : rien n’est changé dans la représentation. C’est ce que Kant disait déjà dans une page célèbre de la Critique de la raison pure. Vous vous faites la représentation de 100 francs - il disait, lui, pour des raisons de nationalité, 100 thalers. Vous vous représentez 100 francs : que ces 100 francs existent, bien plus, que vous les ayez ou que vous ne les ayez pas, c’est très important pour vous ; du point de vue de la représentation, rien n’est changé. Vous vous faites un concept de chimère, animal fabuleux. Qu’il y ait ou qu’il n’y ait pas des chimères, ça change beaucoup ; ça change rien du point de vue du concept, du point de vue de la représentation.” (00:07:17-00:09.32).] Let us work with Smith’s example of the unicorn. We have the idea of the unicorn. And we note that it does not exist. Suppose now that genetic scientists produce a unicorn (or suppose millions of years from now one evolves.) Would the existence of the unicorn change any of its conceptualizable properties? It would seem not. (It would still seem to be a horse with a horn. The fact that it does not presently exist does not change what defines it. It either could exist or it could not. Either way, a unicorn is still conceived as a horse with a horn pointing straight forward from its head.) Thus existence does not seem to be a predicate at least when it comes to predicates that we assign when conceiving concepts or ideas, especially in terms of their essential or defining features. This is because, as Smith explains, “The position of the real is outside the concept; the existing thing is external to the concept.”  [Again, note Deleuze’s Course 1983.05.17, Part 1: “Ce qu’on a toujours traduit, en philosophie, en disant que l’existant, c’était extérieur à la représentation. L’existant, c’est la position de l’objet hors du concept. (00:09:35-00:09.44).]

Here is a philosophical problem that lies at the core of Deleuze’s interest in the rationalists, and particularly Leibniz.1 By itself, thought has no means of distinguishing between the possible and the real. I can have a concept of 100 dollars in my mind, and while it may be important to me practically whether or not I actually have 100 dollars in my pocket, the existence of 100 dollars in reality changes nothing from the point of view of the concept: that is, from the viewpoint of pure thought. The position of the real is outside the concept; the existing thing is external to the concept. (This was Kant’s argument against the ontological argument: existence is not a predicate; from the viewpoint of the concept, an existing God is no more perfect than a non-existing God.) Even though I know that unicorns do not exist, I can still form a concept or a representation of a unicorn, or define the essence of a unicorn.

(72)

1. This paper was originally presented at the conference “Deleuze and Rationalism,” which took place on 16–17 March 2007 at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, London.

(377)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0.2

[Smith’s Cinematic Thematization]

 

[Smith will give a cinematic thematization of the material he presents in the text by characterizing its parts as if they were something like parts of a film.]

 

In this paragraph, Smith explains different philosophical ways to approach this problem, and he describes and defends his cinematic thematization of the material. He firstly reformulates the philosophical problem Deleuze is working on here, namely: how can thought leave its domain of the possible and instead think the real itself (the existant)? He says “Pre-Kantians like Leibniz approached this problem in terms of the distinction between truths of essence (“A triangle has three sides”) and truths of existence (“Caesar crossed the Rubicon”), while post-Kantians like Maimon approached the problem in terms of the distinction between the conditions of possible experience and the conditions of real experience.” (I do not have textual substantiation for these claims, at the moment.) Smith next says that he will approach the problem from a “semi-cinematic perspective,” and he grounds this in a comment Deleuze makes regarding Godard making a film about philosophical texts. [Overall, what Smith is doing here is explaining why he will thematize the presentation of his text as if it were something like a film script. As we will see, it makes the text more playful and charming. It is not entirely obvious if it adds anything substantial to the philosophical material he presents, but it enlivens the text and makes it even more fun and exciting to read.]

For Deleuze, this is one of the fundamental problems of a theory of thought: How can thought leave this meager sphere of the possible in order to think the real: that is, to think existence itself, to think existing things. Pre-Kantians like Leibniz approached this problem in terms of the distinction between truths of essence (“A triangle has three sides”) and truths of existence (“Caesar crossed the Rubicon”), while post-Kantians like Maimon approached the problem in terms of the distinction between the conditions of possible experience and the conditions of real experience. I would like to approach this logical problem from a semi-cinematic perspective. “Theoretically,” Deleuze once mused, “Jean-Luc Godard would be capable of filming Kant’s Critique or Spinoza’s Ethics” (DI 141). In the 1990s, Godard did a multi-part film entitled Histoire(s) du cinéma; following Deleuze’s suggestion, I am imagining Godard undertaking a similar project entitled Histoire(s) de la philosophie. I have no idea, of course, what Godard might have done in such a film, but none the less I am presenting the first part of this essay as a possible scenario for a single sequence of that multi-part film, which has as its title Logic and Existence, which I am borrowing from a well-known book by Jean Hyppolite.2

(72)

2. Jean Hyppolite, Logic and Existence [1952], trans. Leonard Lawlor and Amit Sen (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997). This book completes the project Hyppolite began with Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit,” trans. Samuel Cherniak and John Heckman (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1979), and examines the relation between the phenomenology and the logic. Deleuze wrote an important review of the book in 1954, “Jean Hyppolite’s Logic and Existence,” which is included as appendix to the English translation (191–5). (377)

[DI: Gilles Deleuze, Desert Islands and Other Texts, ed. Sylvère Lotinger, trans. Michael Taormina (New York: Semiotext(e), 2004).]

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0.3

[Deleuze’s Particular Formulations for the Three Classic Principles of Logic]

 

[The basic principles of logic, especially the three classic ones – Identity, Non-Contradiction, and Excluded Middle – tell us what is unthinkable and thus impossible. Under Deleuze’s formulations, the Principle of Identity is expressible as “A is A” or “A thing is what it is”; the Principle of Non-Contradiction is (unconventionally) formulated by Deleuze as “A is not non-A,” or “A thing is not what it is not”; and the Principle of Excluded Middle: “‘either A or not-A,’ that is, between A or not-A, there is no middle term’.”  They therefore offer some guidance regarding what is possible. Deleuze will conduct an investigation into the history of philosophy to see if these three laws especially had been reconceived to allow us to think beyond the possible to the real or existant itself.]

 

Smith next notes that we might turn to the principles of logic in order pursue this question of how can thought thing the real and existant? He then proceeds through the three classical principles of logic, identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle. Smith will give verbal formulations for each of them. The Principle of Identity says that “A is A” or “A thing is what it is.” Smith notes that the next two can be seen as specifications of this principle [but in what way they are specifications is not explained yet]. The Principle of Non-Contradiction can be seen as saying that “A is not non-A,” or “A thing is not what it is not”  [At this point, it is important that we take some care. To all appearances, Smith is closely following Deleuze’s course lecture of 1983.05.17 that we have and will continue to quote from. In this lecture, Deleuze verbally formulates the three classic principles of logic in a way that Smith also does here. But what I find problematic is Deleuze’s formulation of the Principle of Non-Contradiction. “A is not non-A” is not, as far as I know, the conventional way to formulate this principle, even going back to its early appearance in Aristotle. Normally we understand the Principle of Non-Contradiction as being verbally formulated as “It is not that A and not-A.” (See especially Graham Priest, Doubt Truth to be a Liar, 8-9). Deleuze’s and Smith’s formulation is much closer to the Principle of Double Negation (“A if and only if not not-A”) on account of the verb ‘to be’ normally functioning more like the biconditional operator. I have not discovered the source for Deleuze’s seeming confusion about how to formulate the Principle of Non-Contradiction. Given his later focus on Hegel when discussing non-contradiction, we might think that he is getting this formulation from Hegel. However, that is not how it seems to me at the moment. For instance, in Hegel’s Science of Logic, he gives a positive and negative formulation for the Principle of Identity: “the essential category of identity is enunciated in the proposition: everything is identical with itself, A = A. Or negatively: A cannot at the same time be A and not A” (Hegel, Science of Logic, 409). The negative formulation here is close to the normal formulation of the Principle of Non-Contradiction. Hegel later writes, “The other expression of the law of identity: A cannot at the same time be A and not-A, has a negative form; it is called the law of contradiction” (ibid., 416). Yet, Hegel does not next explain what the negative form of this expression is, which would presumably formulate precisely the Principle of Non-Contradiction. So he does not say here that it would be “A is not not-A,” as far as I can tell. I find this issue highly problematic for making more precise determinations of Deleuze’s logic. In other words, we cannot easily say, on the basis of what Deleuze says here, whether he rejects or accepts the Principle of Non-Contradiction. He will seemingly state that he accepts it, but what he would apparently be accepting rather is the Principle of Double Negation.] And the Principle of Excluded Middle is verbally formulable as: “‘either A or not-A,’ that is, between A or not-A, there is no middle term’.” These three laws tell us what is unthinkable, which thereby tells us what is impossible [presuming that anything unthinkable is impossible]. So, were something to break the Principle of Identity, then it would not be what it is. Were it to break the Principle of Non-Contradiction, then it would be what it is not. [This seems to me to be more a matter of breaking the Principle of Identity than of Non-Contradiction. But Deleuze is seemingly working with the Principle of Double Negation here instead of the Principle of Non-Contradiction. Hence, perhaps, this odd claim.] And finally, something breaks the Principle of Excluded Middle if it is “both what it is and what it is not.” [This seems to be what is more conventionally understood as breaking the Principle of Non-Contradiction. To break Excluded Middle, I think it would be something more like, “To be neither what it is nor what it is not.”] Deleuze’s question will be: “Is there any way in which these three classical principles can be used to exit the sphere of logic and penetrate existence itself?” [Again, see Course 1983.05.17, Part 1, at audio times (00:11:50-16:46): mais c’est très important de comprendre ça, c’est pour ça qu’il y a un problème de la pensée. Je dirais : le problème éternel de le pensée, ç’a été : moi, pensée, comment est-ce que je vais arriver à penser le réel et l’existant ? comment est-ce que je vais sortir de ma sphère des possibles ? comment penser autre chose que l’essence ? Je dirais presque, c’est à partir de là, bon... D’où... d’où, il me semble, la distinction de deux types de principes. La pensée par elle-même pense le possible. Au nom de quoi ? Au nom de certains principes qu’on appellera des principes logiques. Les principes logiques sont des principes qui fixent ce qui est possible et ce qui ne l’est pas ; qui déterminent ce qui est possible et ce qui n’est pas possible. Et ces principes logiques, je dirais : ce sont les principes des essences ou du possible, puisqu’ils discernent, ils distinguent le possible du non-possible ou de l’impossible, ces principes sont au nombre de trois dans la logique classique. → L’un, c’est le principe d’identité, A est A. Et puis deux petits principes qui semblent être comme des spécifications du grand principe d’identité, A est A, c’est-à-dire la chose est ce qu’elle est. → Second principe, dit de non-contradiction : A n’est pas non-A, la chose n’est pas ce qu’elle n’est pas. → Et puis troisième principe, dit du tiers-exclu : la chose est A ou non-A. Ou si vous préférez : entre A et non-A, il n’y a pas de tiers, d’où l’expression « principe du tiers exclu », A ou non-A. Ça m’intéresse déjà, parce que ces trois principes de pure logique, → l’un est un principe de position ou d’affirmation (A est A), → le second est un principe de négation (A n’est pas non-A), → le troisième est un principe d’alternative ou de disjonction (A ou non-A). Je sais donc ce qui est impossible, c’est-à-dire impensable. Ce qui est impossible ou impensable, c’est quelque chose qui ne serait pas ce qu’elle est (donc elle contredirait à l’identité), qui serait ce qu’elle n’est pas (elle contredirait à la non-contradiction), et qui serait à la fois ce qu’elle est et ce qu’elle n’est pas (elle contredirait au tiers exclu). Tout va bien. Sous ces trois principes, je pense les essences, le monde des essences ou le monde du possible, mais je retombe toujours là-dessus : comment penser quelque chose de réel ?]

Here’s the first shot: a radiant sphere hovering in the middle of nowhere. Nothing is written on it, but we know it is the sphere of logic. The film begins here | for an obvious reason: if thought, on its own, is only capable of thinking the possible, it does so on the basis of what can be called logical principles. Classical logic famously identified three such principles. These are the principle of identity (which says that “A is A,” or “A thing is what it is”), and then two smaller principles which seem to be specifications of the principle of identity: the principle of non-contradiction (which says that “A is not non-A,” or “A thing is not what it is not”) and the principle of the excluded middle (which says “either A or not-A,” that is, between A or not-A, there is no middle term). Taken together, these three principles determine what is impossible—that is to say, what is unthinkable without contradiction: something that would not be what it is (which would contradict the principle of identity); something that would be what it is not (which would contradict the principle of non-contradiction); and something that would be both what it is and what it is not (which would contradict the principle of the excluded middle). This sphere of logic would seem to enclose us within the domain of the possible, or what classical philosophy called the domain of essences. But this opening shot sets up the problem with a visual image: Is there any way in which these three classical principles can be used to exit the sphere of logic and penetrate existence itself?

(72-73)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0.4

[Previewing the Text]

 

[Smith will follow how Deleuze tells a story in the history of philosophy that is about how philosophers of different times or sorts have reconceived the three classical principles of logic in order to think the real and existant itself and not merely the possible; the Principle of Identity: Pre-Kantian Rationalists, especially Leibniz; the Principle of Non-Contradiction: German Idealists, especially Hegel; and the Principle of Excluded Middle: “existentialists.” Lastly, Smith will explain Deleuze’s critique of these solutions and discuss the one Deleuze proposes instead.]

 

Smith next outlines how the text will proceed. First he looks at how pre-Kantian rationalists, especially Leibniz, reconceive the Principle of Identity and extend it to the whole of existence. Secondly, he examines how German Idealists, especially Hegel, do this with the Principle of Non-Contradiction. And thirdly he looks at how “existentialist” sorts of philosopher do this with the Principle of Excluded Middle. He lastly will explain why Deleuze thinks they all fail and how he offers his own response to the problem.

The response to this question will take us through three scenes, which correspond to three broad sequences in the history of philosophy, three attempts to resolve this problem using one of these logical principles. Scene one focuses on the pre-Kantians, the rationalists; its star is Leibniz, since it was he who attempted to extend the principle of identity to the whole of existence. Scene two focuses on the post-Kantians, primarily the German Idealists; its story culminates in Hegel, since it was he who attempted to extend the principle of non-contradiction to the whole of existence. Scene three, finally, looks at that loosely related group of thinkers that often tend to be called, precisely, “existentialists,” since it is they who attempted to extend the principle of the excluded middle to existence. The screenplay reaches its climax with Deleuze: at the end, it briefly examines the reasons why Deleuze is at once fascinated with all three of these philosophical attempts to “think existence,” but none the less thinks they fail, and why he ultimately charts out his own response to the problem. The ending, alas, is somewhat truncated, since the production went over budget, which meant that entire scenes wound up being consigned to the editing room floor.

(73)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

Smith, Daniel. “Logic and Existence: Deleuze on the Conditions of the Real.” In Essays on Deleuze, 72–85. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2012.

 

(or simply:)

 

Smith, Daniel. Essays on Deleuze. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2012.

https://www.academia.edu/20805798/Essays_on_Deleuze

 

Note that an earlier version of this chapter text (which is nearly but not precisely identical) is found in:

 

Smith, Daniel. “Logic and Existence: Deleuze on the ‘Conditions of the Real.’” Chiasmi International 13 (2011): 361–77.

 

Smith’s Academia.edu page

 

 

Other sources, if otherwise noted:

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Course 1983.05.17, Part 1. Online recording at Bibliothèque nationale de France/Gallica; recording and transcript at La voix de Gilles Deleuze en ligne, Université Paris 8 (No transcriber is named); transcript at Web Deleuze (Transcription by François Zourabichvili. The Voix transcript is identical to Web Deleuze, which is perhaps the original source, and thus the Voix one perhaps is also transcribed by Zourabichvili). Paris, 1983. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k128342x ; http://www2.univ-paris8.fr/deleuze/article.php3?id_article=236 ; https://www.webdeleuze.com/textes/204.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Course 1983.05.17, Part 2. Online recording at Bibliothèque nationale de France/Gallica; recording and transcript at La voix de Gilles Deleuze en ligne, Université Paris 8 (No transcriber is named); transcript at Web Deleuze (Transcription by François Zourabichvili. The Voix transcript is identical to Web Deleuze, which is perhaps the original source, and thus the Voix one perhaps is also transcribed by Zourabichvili). Paris, 1983. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k128342x ; http://www2.univ-paris8.fr/deleuze/article.php3?id_article=250 ; https://www.webdeleuze.com/textes/204.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Course 1983.05.17, Part 3. Online recording at Bibliothèque nationale de France/Gallica; recording and transcript at La voix de Gilles Deleuze en ligne, Université Paris 8 (No transcriber is named); transcript at Web Deleuze (Transcription by François Zourabichvili. The Voix transcript is identical to Web Deleuze, which is perhaps the original source, and thus the Voix one perhaps is also transcribed by Zourabichvili). Paris, 1983. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k128342x ; http://www2.univ-paris8.fr/deleuze/article.php3?id_article=251 ; https://www.webdeleuze.com/textes/204.

 

Hegel, G. W. F. Science of Logic. Translated by A. V. Miller. Oxford/ New York: Routledge, 2002.

 

Priest, Graham. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar. Oxford: Oxford University, 2006.

.