8 Aug 2015

Somers-Hall, (3.1), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, ‘3.1 Introduction’, 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

3.1 Introduction

Brief summary:
In chapter 3, Deleuze will give a critical account of philosophy’s “dogmatic image of thought”. The main problem he has with this conception is that the foundations of thought cannot be found within its structure of judgment, as the dogmatic image conceives them to be.





Chapter 3 generalizes the results of the second chapter. SH summarizes one main finding from the prior chapter:

In the previous chapter, Deleuze argued that taking judgement as a model for thinking led Kant into a number of errors which ulti- | mately prevented him from formulating a clear transcendental account of the conditions of experience. Most notably, since judging requires a subject, Kant was unable to explain the constitution of the subject itself (which occurs through a sub-representational passive synthesis), instead having to presuppose it.

Chapter 3, then, further examines the “image” of thought in philosophy. SH again summarizes [so let me quote it all, since it is a preview to be explained later]:

Deleuze’s central claim is that the traditional image of thought mistakes a representation of thinking for thinking itself, or, to put the matter differently, thinking in terms of judgement is unaware that its foundations cannot themselves be understood in terms of judgement. As we shall see, Deleuze’s problem with the image of thought is not that it is just a representation of thought, but rather that it takes this representation, which is a moment of thinking, to be the entirety of thought. It is this feature that makes it a dogmatic image of thought. In setting out the structure of the image of thought, Deleuze invokes eight postulates (DR 167/207) that he takes together to define the traditional philosophical conception of thinking. All of them revolve around common sense. The first four deal with what we might call a technical notion of common sense, namely, the faculty of cognition that allows the other faculties (whether difference sense modalities, or different ways of relating to objects) to communicate with one another. Thus, the question is, how does philosophy traditionally explain how we encounter a world of objects amenable to the structure of judgement? The second set of four postulates deals with common sense in terms of language, focusing on the role of truth and falsity, and the genesis of meaning (or, once again, sense), and the grounds for communication. The key issue here is how representational philosophy believes language is able to make meaningful assertions about the world. While Deleuze’s primary aim in this chapter is to develop a critique of the theories of thinking and of language that support judgement as the model of thought, within this critique we will also see Deleuze developing a sketch for his own theory of thinking, the relations of the faculties, and language. This will be extended into the next chapter into a theory of the Idea adequate to thinking intensity.

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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