8 Dec 2012

Pt1.Ch1.Sb4 Somers-Hall’s Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. ‘Deleuze and The Logic of Sense.’ summary

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[Note: All boldface and underlining is my own. It is intended for skimming purposes. Bracketed comments are also my own explanations or interpretations.]

Henry Somers-Hall

Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation.
Dialectics of Negation and Difference

Part 1: The problem of Representation

Chapter 1: Deleuze and Transcendental Empiricism

Subdivision 4: Deleuze and The Logic of Sense
Brief Summary:
For Kant, the subject-predicate unity in objects, concepts and judgments results from the unity of our self-consciousness. On account of Deleuze’s logic of actualized incompossibility, there can be the unified structure of subject-predicate without it being based on a unified subject. And this subject can be an individual even though it is not yet determined. Consider the very moment just prior to Adam deciding to eat the apple. He in a way is branching off down two very different and incompatible paths that will determine him in drastically different ways, as being either sinner or innocent. At that moment, both his predicates are equally real, but none has determined him yet. This feeling of tending down two divergent paths at once is how our consciousness is spontaneous.

What does Deleuze’s logic got to do with you?
We are constantly determining ourselves with our decisions. Our freedom is not some pregiven sponteneity but rather our feeling of how real both of divergent paths of self-determination are at the moment of decision.


Previously Somers-Hall (SH) discussed Sartre’s critique of Husserl’s transcendental subject, which also relates to Kant’s transcendental apperception. Our unity of consciousness in Sartre’s read of Husserl arises not from a transcendental ego but rather from the unity of the phenomenal object which allows for a continuous unity of our consciousness of that object. This made for an impersonal subjectivity. For Deleuze, consciousness can be  preindividual, and SH will now elaborate on this more.

Recall that judgment is a subsumption in a subject-predicate format, for example, all metals are heavy. What holds subject and predicate together is a synthetic unity that lies outside them, namely, the synthetic unity of apperception. [Metal and heavy are separate concepts. To bring them together requires a consciousness of one and a consciousness of the other to be united. This is made possible by a consciousness of these these consciousnesses that is the same consciousness of a same subject, the  a priori unity of apperception, the transcendental ego or the unity of the ‘I think’ that accompanies all mental acts.]
For Kant, in order for a judgment to be made of an object, what is required is for the representations of the object to be synthesized into a judgment; thus, the statement, All metals are heavy requires the subsumption of the representation of 'heaviness' under that of 'metal'. While the judgment itself is based on the reciprocal determination of these terms through the structure of the subordination of the predicate to the subject, the two terms, predicate and subject, are still, in themselves, fully determined. Thus, in order for them to be united, it is necessary that they be held together through a function that remains outside of them. This function, for Kant, is the synthetic unity of apperception, the condition of the possibility of the 'I think,' which remains constant through its application to different elements, thus allowing, through its attachment to these concepts, an element of homogeneity to enter into them, thus overcoming their intrinsic heterogeneity. (35)
For Deleuze, there can be a personal consciousness without Kant’s unified a priori subject.
Removing the transcendental ego from the process of synthesis therefore will require a new model of the way in which the elements of a representation can exist prior to the subject while retaining the possibility of their synthesis. (35)

[Traditionally philosophy has understood logic in terms of subject-predicate structure of states of affairs.] Without a new logic, philosophy has explained the foundation for the subject-predicate logic of states of affairs either as stemming from a supreme I, which is either a transcendental subject or an absolute being, or as being grounded on something indeterminate, an undifferentiated abyss. “Thus for Kant, the parallelism between the transcendental and empirical is justified through the necessity of a transcendental field, and at the same time the belief that if this field is to be structured, it must be structured analogously to the empirical.” (36) In Kant’s transcendental idealism, there is a finite subject [the transcendental ego?] who determines all possible subject-predicate relations through the table of judgments. But even though the subject is finite, our understanding is synthetic which means it can arrive at all possible subject predicate combinations.
This is for Deleuze merely a variation on the traditional metaphysical concept of God, who as a perfect being contains all possible predicates. In this case, the supreme subject is infinite, so it forms an analytic unity, possibility already being encompassed in its perfection. In this model, the subject-predicate structure of God leads to a parallel structure in states of affairs as their properties are derivative of those of God. (36)
Yet other philosophers base the subject-predicate structure on an undifferentiated abyss.
Hence Schopenhauer, for instance, although recognizing the will as existing prior to the categories in an undifferentiated form, only allows it to find coherent expression through the world of representation. Even Nietzsche, in The Birth of Tragedy, requires Dionysus to speak through Apollo. (36)
Deleuze is looking for a conception of the transcendental field that is not like either of these two approaches. For the transcendental/metaphysical philosophers, being from the beginning posses the subject-predicate structure, and for this reason being is individuated already at its beginning. So [1] Deleuze wants the transcendental field to be preindividual, that is, to not [yet] possess the subject-predicate structure. The other approach, of the ‘thinkers of the abyss’, says that the only thing that we can say about being is that ‘it presents itself in the schematized forms of the phenomenal world’ (36). So [2] Deleuze wants the transcendental field to be differentiated. Deleuze’s logic will show the conditions for any state of affairs [taking the subject-predicate structure. So this logic is not about the formal unity that allows for the subject-predicate structure, nor is it about how the subject-predicate structure is built upon something undifferentiated. Thus]
Deleuze will say of this logic that it is no longer "of the form, but neither is it that of the formless: it is rather that of the pure unformed" (LS, 107). Form and formlessness cover the two traditional options provided by philosophy. The third option represents the Deleuzian alternative: that which is unformed in itself, but which is still determinable. As the unformed will generate the formed, we can see that | there is a fundamental difference in kind between the transcendental and the empirical. (36-37)

In Deleuze’s transcendental philosophy there are particular elements that he calls singularities.
[1] Singularities are non-objectival [they do not take the subject-property structure]. This is because they are preindividual and prepersonal (37)
[2] These singularites are capable of self-organization. For Kant, representations are given as individuated, which means that they require synthesis to relate them.  For Deleuze singularities [hence representations?] are preindividual, which means that they are always already are found holding relations to one another. (37)
[3] Singularities never individually determine states of affairs [which are entities or contain entities]. Rather, it is merely through their reciprocal relations that they determine entities and states of affairs. Thus singularities [each of themselves] do not bear a direct relation to the entities they form. (37) “Instead, the transcendental reflects the configuration of singularities, which are expressed in empirical states of affairs.” (37) Thus the distinction between the virtual and the actual is an epistomological division.
For Deleuze, the actual is the expression of the transcendental field. The first level of actualization of the transcendental field produces the subject-predicate structure, which characterizes states of affairs in general. Here bare individuals and their properties are expressed free from any form of hierarchy. As the transcendental field is constituted by the relations between singularities, it is the case that these singularities present many different sets of possible relations that could be actualized. (37) So there is a first level of actualization that is like Leibniz’s incompossible worlds [only for Deleuze, many incompossible worlds coincide in any instance of actualization but only one is really actuallized]. (37d) But consciousness is spontaneous, and this first level does not explain how what is being actualized can act spontaneously, so the first level of actualization is not enough to account for consciousness. (38a) To understand the second level of actualization that explains the spontaneity of consciousness, SH refers us to Deleuze’s use of Leibniz’s example of Adam. [Either Adam will eat the apple or he will not. Before making that decision, he is preindividuated, because he is not yet determined by the predicates sinner or innocent. In that moment of decision, there is a bifurucation into two incompossible worlds, one where he is a sinner and one where he is innocent. This is an actualization, because for Deleuze, unlike for Leibniz, there is no God who calculates all possible unfoldings of predicates to see which linear series of simultaneously unfolding paths never lead to internal contradictions. This means that we cannot at the moment of transition, like Adam’s beginning to decide, say that one predicate is actual and the other is not. So his both being sinner and innocent are both actual until one is determined. This means Adam as an individual is indeterminate and has spontaneous consciousness. (Note, I normally interpret the bifurcation to be a case where neither states of affairs are actual, but both are virtual, so I will have to see if I am reading SH correctly here.)]
For Deleuze, the actual is the expression of the transcendental field. The first level of actualization of the transcendental field produces the subject-predicate structure, which characterizes states of affairs in general. Here bare individuals and their properties are expressed free from any form of hierarchy. As the transcendental field is constituted by the relations between singularities, it is the case that these singularities present many different sets of possible relations that could be actualized. | actualization of the first level cannot give us an adequate account of consciousness, as it does not contain the materials to create anything like the spontaneity which is an integral quality of consciousness. Instead, we require a second level of actualization. This comes about, according to Deleuze, through the recognition that certain features remain stable throughout different incompossible worlds. While it is possible that the state of affairs obtains in which Adam eats the apple, there is another possible state of affairs in which Adam does not eat the apple. In both of these propositions, there is a determinate subject, Adam, who is individuated by his relations to certain predicates, such as in this case to the predicate of "sinner." These two states of affairs are two possible solutions to the problem of how the set of singularities can be actualized simultaneously. Through this, we can see that the structure Adam itself, aside from its relation to the predicate in question, has a correlate in the transcendental field, to the degree that it is partially independent of the precise state of affairs. It is this fixed point, with its ties to the transcendental field, which forms the ego within the Deleuzian system. This ego that is common to several worlds contains within itself a certain ambiguity, as it is not strictly determined by any particular world. It is this ambiguity, this recognition of other possible ways of being, that provides the feeling of spontaneity that is characteristic of the ego. (37-38)
Both levels of actualization produce something that Kant misinterprets. [The first stage produces states of affairs that are differences organized non-hierarchically in the subject-predicate structure. However, this subject-predicate structure is not to be found in the transcendental field (for some reason). Kant misapplies this principle in locating the subject-predicate structure in the unity of the transcendental ego, which is his having the problem of ‘good sense’. In the second level of actualization, for example Adam eating or not eating the apple, there is an identification, an object equals x structure allowed by Kant’s transcendental apperception. This is identification or ‘common sense’ (Note: SH’s text here is not readily decipherable and perhaps this is because it is merely a preview for further elaboration.) He writes:]
Through this process of actualization, the two principles that Deleuze claims are responsible for the Kantian system come to light. First, the first stage of actualization produces the principle of 'good sense, ' that is, the principled organization of differences according to subject-predicate structure. It is this principle that, when applied beyond its proper domain, leads to the positing of the subject-predicate structure within the transcendental field. The second, 'common sense,' is the principle of identification. It is this that, when applied to the transcendental field, generates the structures, object = x, and the transcendental unity of apperception. In both these cases, Deleuze claims that it is the illegitimate application of these principles that leads to an erroneous conception of the transcendental field. (38)
Somers-Hall, Henry (2012) Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. Dialectics of Negation and Difference. Albany: SUNY.

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