10 Dec 2012

Eros and the Virtual. Ch.4.5 of Williams' Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy of Time

summary by Corry Shores

[
Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]

[Central Entry Directory]
[Deleuze Entry Directory]
[James Williams, Deleuze's Philosophy of Time, Entry Directory]


[The following is summary]

Eros and the Virtual

James Williams'



Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy of Time:
A Critical Introduction and Guide



Chapter 4: The third synthesis of time



Part 5: Transcendental Dogmatism? 



Brief summary:


Deleuze’s philosophy of time is speculative rather than dogmatic, because it posits “certain principles or events without further grounding argument. These speculative assumptions are then tested, for instance, in terms of how they contribute to a consistent theory.” (107) For example, Deleuze’s Freud material (on Eros and habit) in his discussion of the time syntheses does well for illustration, but it is not essential for the validity of the concepts. And “Eros allows for a return of the pure past in present attractions and selections through virtual objects drawn from the pure past” (110).



Summary


Williams says that "In order to avoid accusations of dogmatism based on a contingent and therefore illegitimate selection of given components for Deleuze’s philosophy, I have described it as speculative." (107b) "it is speculative in having to posit certain principles or events without further grounding argument. These speculative assumptions are then tested, for instance, in terms of how they contribute to a consistent theory, as shown in the previous chapter on the first synthesis of time." (10bc)

If an old philosophical text is anchored to outdated research, it becomes a historical relic rather than something that is still scientifically valid. Difference and Repetition might have this problem since it refers to scientific research. (108a) Regarding time, Deleuze refers to biopsychological examples, but his work does not rest on them.

Eros plays a part in explaining the way that attraction connects the first and third syntheses: "a living present is also a selection of the past driven by an attraction towards the new in the future." (108cd) But Eros is not mentioned when discussing the third synthesis.

The future in the third synthesis is not determined by the living present or the pure past. (108d) This makes the future unconditioned. (109a)

Deleuze offers a critical reading of Freud to further explain this. (109b)

"The key point to insist upon is that the reading is critical and that this critique is based on the work on the three syntheses of time. Deleuze follows Freud’s work on the pleasure principle not in order to deduce these syntheses, but rather to show how they allow for an explanation of passive syntheses in Freud by mapping them, first, on to habit, then on to pure memory and finally on to Eros." (109b.c)

Pleasure and displeasure presuppose habit. Thus habit is not a result of the search for pleasure. "The argument is thus that in order for there to be an idea of an acquired pleasure or of a pleasure to be acquired there must first have been many syntheses connecting many events over time." (109d)

The Freudian material does well to illustrate the syntheses of time, but they are not essential for the validity of the concepts. (110b) "Therefore, Deleuze’s work is not in danger of accusations of dogmatism on the grounds that it rests on scientifi c views that are prone to be viewed as false or incomplete over time. Neither is it open to the accusation that it rests on patently false science (via Freud, for instance)."

Deleuze discusses Eros in relation to Bergson and the pure past.

"Eros allows for a return of the pure past in present attractions and selections through virtual objects drawn from the pure past. Any novel drive is not to be explained by a simple attraction to real objects because an active synthesis in the present never presents us with the full object | explaining that attraction." (110-111) Passive syntheses underlie the virtual object. But we cannot get the virtual object from the past or living present, so we are really attracted to the new, but this attraction remains unfulfilled. This means we are drawn towards something that is more than can be recognized or grasped. "This need not only be viewed in terms of human sexuality. It is rather that any novel drive and binding is made through virtual objects. These objects cannot be real, in the sense of accounted for fully from within a set of known objects, yet neither are they completely unknown or unmanageable." (111b)

Virtual objects are fully determined by the past, but also they are drawn by the pure past. So "Any attraction and binding to the new is not a leap into complete indetermination and a chaotic set of relations, but rather a partial move through the virtual object." (111b)

The novelty of the virtual object is drawn from the pure past, but its real part is drawn from the present.

"That is why Deleuze describes the virtual object as having an eternal positive lack at its heart. It is neither fully any real object, nor any past object, nor fully pure difference or a set of varying relations in the pure past. It is all of these in an unstable mix, where unstable is also not a negative term, but rather an explanation of the attraction and eternal novelty allowed for by virtual objects: Drawn from the real present object, the virtual object differs from it in its nature; it does not only lack something in relation to the real object it subtracts itself from; it lacks something in itself, by being half of itself, where the other half is posited as different and absent. (DRf, 135)." (111c.d)

Deleuze's novel treatment of Eros shows how his philosophy of time is independent of psychoanalysis.


Williams, James. Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy of Time: A Critical Introduction and Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

 

No comments:

Post a Comment