by Corry Shores
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[Deleuze Entry Directory]
[Henry Somers-Hall, Entry Directory]
[Henry Somers-Hall’s Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, Entry Directory]
[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.]
Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition:
An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide
After his summarization of DR in section 1, SH follows with another, brief section of study aids for those who would like to work more with DR. There is a very useful glossary with 35 important terms. He suggests a number of commentaries on DR, mentioning the particular usefulness of each. As well he gives recommendations for further reading of philosophical texts Deleuze refers too, going section by section. And finally he provides excellent tips for writing more successfully about Deleuze and DR.
SH provides a glossary of 35 important terms from DR. Here are a few notable ones [the following is quotation]:
Difference: Difference is represented in terms of negation (x differs from y if x is not y). Difference and Repetition presents the project of discovering | another kind of affirmative difference that constitutes representational difference. (0.7)
Differenciation: the process whereby the pre-individual distinct-obscure determinations of the Idea become incarnated in actual individuals. (4.12, 5.5)
Differentiation: A mathematical procedure for determining the tangent of a curve. Also, the process of determining the pre-individual elements that constitute a particular individual. (4.2)
Illusion, transcendental: For Kant, a transcendental illusion is an object that is not given in experience, but must nonetheless be posited in order for reason to systematise our knowledge. It leads us into error if we follow thought’s natural tendency and assume that it can be known, rather than just thought. For Deleuze, the main transcendental illusion we suffer from is that for something to be determined is for it to have the structure of a representation, thus ruling out the possibility of non-conceptual difference. (3.4, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2, 5.5)
Intensity: In terms of thermodynamics, this refers to an intensive property, such as temperature or pressure that allows work to be performed. In Deleuze’s terms, it is a non-metric field of differences that differs in kind when divided. (5.4)
Multiplicity: A variety. This can either be an actual multiplicity, which is made up of a set of elements subsumed under a unity (the one and the many), or a virtual multiplicity, where the unity is constituted by the elements themselves. (5.4)
Passive Synthesis: A process whereby elements are drawn together and organised that constitutes, rather than presupposes, a self. (2.2)
Representation: A way of characterising the world, relying on the concepts of identity, analogy, opposition and resemblance, that attempts to guarantee the subordination of difference to identity. (0.5, 1.1, 3.4)
SH provides a list of five commentaries on DR, plus he references selections from philosophical texts directly relevant to discussions of specific sections in the summary. SH writes:
The variety of thinkers Deleuze refers to in Difference and Repetition is overwhelming. The aim of this section is to give some of the key reference points Deleuze relies on in the various sections, as an aid to further reading. The list is not comprehensive by any means, and largely tracks the reading of Difference and Repetition given in this book. Similarly, I have only listed texts available in English. The vast majority of these texts are thought provoking pieces in their own right, however, and I would advise the reader to spend time reading them beyond the bounds of their relevance to Difference and Repetition. I have also listed some other texts on Deleuze that might be of use in approaching Difference and Repetition. While there is much excellent scholarship on Deleuze’s philosophy, here I want to focus on those texts which concern themselves principally with Difference and Repetition itself.
Tips for Writing about Deleuze
SH’s final study aid are his tips for writing about Deleuze. He warns of problems that can arise with Deleuze’s terminology in DR. He also says that there is enough difference between DR and Deleuze’s coauthored works with Guattari that one must justify one’s choice to use Deleuze’s writings from both periods. He recommends trying to be clear and provide explanations for quotations of Deleuze. He also recommends keeping a structure to one’s own writings, since Deleuze’s writing itself is directed to many different thinkers. Finally, “6) Remember that we are all contractions of elements and passive syntheses: make sure you eat a balanced diet while writing your essays” (SH 199).
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.