8 Jan 2013

Pt3.Ch8.Sb1 Somers-Hall’s Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. ‘Introduction.’ summary

Corry Shores
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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 3: Beyond Representation

Chapter 8: Hegel, Deleuze, and the Structure of the Organism

Subdivision 1: Introduction

Brief Summary:

We will compare Deleuze’s and Hegel’s theories on the structure of the organism to see if [1] Hegel’s is a false movement, [2] Hegel’s logic revolves around a single center, and [3] Hegel’s dialectic provides enough precision for characterizing the world.


In the previous chapter we saw that Deleuze’s philosophy of difference is more resilient to attack that Hegel’s, when both are pitted against one another. Deleuze has a concept of difference as integrated singularities, and Hegel a philosophy of integrated oppositions. Hegel’s philosophy can be subsumed into and critiqued by Deleuze’s philosophy, but no the other way around. However, Hegel could say that on the basis of logic there is no such thing as Deleuze’s concept of difference. So we now turn to applications of their theories with respect to the structure of organisms.

“In order to provide a more definite appraisal of the merits of Hegel and Deleuze's logics, we need to look at how these logics describe actual features of the world.” (211) For Hegel, “the animal organism will embody the good infinite, consisting of parts that cannot exist except in a teleological relation to the whole. A similar relationship will be formed between the individual organism and the species”. (211) For Deleuze, the organism expresses the Idea, and species is a ‘transcendental illusion’. “The focus of this chapter will be the question of evolution, or more particularly, the compatibility of Hegel's conception of the organism with evolutionary theory”. (211) Somers-Hall will argue that Hegel does not think evolution is possible; and instead we look “at whether Hegel's concept of the organism necessarily precludes an understanding of the transformation of species.” (211) Somers-Hall will also examine the debate between Cuvier and Saint-Hilaire.

The final aim will be to see whether Deleuze's three charges are valid: that Hegel only presents a false movement, that Hegel's logic problematically revolves around a single center, and that the dialectic does not provide the necessary precision in its characterization of the world. (212)


Somers-Hall, Henry (2012) Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. Dialectics of Negation and Difference. Albany: SUNY.

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