12 Aug 2015

Somers-Hall, (3.10), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, ‘3.10 Conclusion: The Postulate of Knowledge (164–7/204–8)’, summary

Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. All boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive my typos and other distracting mistakes. Somers-Hall is abbreviated SH and Difference and Repetition as DR.]

Summary of

Henry Somers-Hall

Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition:
An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide

Part 1
A Guide to the Text


Chapter 3. The Image of Thought

3.10 Conclusion: The Postulate of Knowledge (164–7/204–8)

Brief summary:
The eighth postulate of the problematic image of thought is of knowledge. It regards knowledge as propositional solutions obtained by dealing with problems put into propositional form. For Deleuze, what is more important for thinking is the process of learning when we are struggling with the problems.






[Recall the problematic postulates of the image of thought that we have covered so far 1) good sense (reason is adequate for thinking), 2) common sense (our faculties including reason cooperate while cognizing a common object), 3) recognition (good sense and common sense together allow us to recognize something), 4) representation (what we are recognizing and/or the way we recognize it bear the four features of representation, namely, identity, analogy, opposition, and resemblance), 5) and whenever there is error, it results from misrecognition, 6) the proposition and not sense is the locus of truth, and 7) problems are understood in terms of propositions and possible solutions.] We turn now to the eight postulate, which is the postulate of knowledge or of the end. When we understand problems propositionally, we are seeking propositional solutions, and thus we think of knowledge as being such propositional solutions. However, things are different if we do not see problems in terms of propositions. Deleuze here will reverse Platonism again (128). Plato saw knowledge as a relation to Ideas. Deleuze also notes this relation, but he regards the Ideas not in terms of propositions “but rather in terms of problems” (128). [So what matters for Deleuze is more the process of learning, where we struggle with the problems, rather than with the propositional knowledge that might result].

This reversal means that what is important is the engagement with problems, which Deleuze calls learning, rather than the solutions that they engender, as knowledge. As such, the supposed result of learning, knowledge, is simply a by-product of what is primary: a relationship of each faculty to its transcendental ground. As Deleuze puts it [the following up to citation quotes Deleuze]:

it is knowledge that is nothing more than an empirical figure, a simple result which continually falls back into experience; whereas learning is the true transcendental structure which unites difference to difference, dissimilarity to dissimilarity, without mediating between them; and introduces time into thought. (DR 166–7/206)
(SH 128)

We will now turn to chapter 4, where Deleuze “will give an account of the nature of learning, and with it, an account of the transcendental structure of the Idea that makes learning possible” (128).


Citations from:

Somers-Hall, Henry. Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2013.

Or if otherwise noted:

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994/London: Continuum, 2004.





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