18 Aug 2015

Somers-Hall, (5.1), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, ‘5.1 Introduction’, summary

by 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 5. The Asymmetrical Synthesis of the Sensiblence


5.1 Introduction



Brief summary: 

In chapter 5 Deleuze will examine the role of intensive difference in space, which he will do through a critical reading of thermodynamics and by further applying his notion of the Idea.


SH notes that the fifth and final chapter of DR “shares much in common with Chapter 2” (166).

There, we saw Deleuze arguing that representation tended to falsify our understanding of time by relating it to the structures of common sense. Deleuze instead presented an account of time that grounded (or rather, ungrounded) it in a field of intensive difference.
(SH 166)

[Off the top of my head, I do not recall this discussion of the common sense and time in the second chapter, but perhaps one can double check by going back through it. The idea of the ungrounding of time in intensive difference perhaps is best found in section 2.12, but I am not certain.] So similar to chapter 2’s discussion of time is chapter 5’s discussion of the nature of space. We will see that it is in the scientific field of energetics or thermodynamics that intensity is connected to difference (166). Deleuze claims that

because thermodynamics sees the world in terms of systems that are already constituted (good sense and common sense), it is subject to the transcendental illusion that differences in energy or intensity tend to be cancelled out. This is what leads to Boltzmann’s famous hypothesis that the end of the universe will be a form of ‘heat death’, where all of its energy is homogeneously distributed, thus making any kind of order impossible. For this reason, Deleuze focuses in this chapter on the role of intensity in constituting systems and the space that they occupy. Recognising this moment gives us a more positive account of intensity. In the process, Deleuze clarifies how the differential model of Ideas that we looked at in the last chapter can be related to the field of intensive difference that Deleuze introduced in opposition to Aristotelian metaphysics.



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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