14 Jul 2017

Voisset-Veysseyre (1) Toward a Post-Identity Philosophy, “[introductory material],” summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is summary, and other cited texts are otherwise indicated. Bracketed commentary and boldface are my additions. Proofreading is incomplete, so please, if you will, overlook my typos and other distracting errors.]

 

 

 

Summary of

 

Cécile Voisset-Veysseyre

 

“Toward a Post-Identity Philosophy:

Along a Flight Line with Gilles Deleuze?”

 

1. [introductory material]

 

 

Brief summary:

Deleuze and Guattari had in mind a mode of philosophical thinking that is not limited to the principles and structures of standard logic.

 

 

 

Summary

 

1.1

[Corresponding to Deleuze’s and Guattari’s notion of becoming is a non-standard logic that does not hold the standard conceptions for predication and identity.]

 

Deleuze’s and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus and What is Philosophy develop a non-standard sort of logic corresponding to their notion of becoming. Its development was began in part back with Lacan’s Le Séminar IV (1956-1957), and it is also found in Derrida’s The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. In fact, in his Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1985), “Gilles Deleuze claimed the invention of ‘a new logic’” (1, citing Cinéma 2, p.359). [In this cited passage, Deleuze says that on account of time becoming no longer ordered by chronological succession and thus alternative pasts becoming undecidable, the true and the false become undecidable: “the true and the false become undecidable or inextricable: the impossible proceeds from the possible, and the past is not || necessarily true. A new logic has to be invented” / “le vrai et le faux deviennent maintenant indécidables ou inextricables : l’impossible procède du possible, et le passé n’est pas nécessairement vrai. C’est une nouvelle logique qu’il faut inventer” (1985: 359 / 1989: 274-275 / 2005: 263).] Voisset-Veysseyre ends by saying, “Taken in context, the notion of becoming challenges the traditional logic with the subject and its attributes as well as its correlated object; the logical notion of identity is questionable” (1).

 

 

1.2

[Deleuze and Guattari have in mind certain underlying structures or dynamics that do not operate in a manner that can be made explicit in a fixed and straightforward way.]

 

Voisset-Veysseyre finds some further elaboration on this non-standard sort of logic in Brian Massumi’s translator’s foreword to A Thousand Plateaus. He notes that D&G were against invariable identity, and they favored a sort of nomadic thinking that “does not repose on identity; it rides difference” (2, citing Brian Massumi, “Translator’s Foreword: Pleasures of Philosophy,” in A Thousand Plateaus, London & New York, Continuum, 1988, p. ix-xii). Voisset-Veysseyre then selects some quoted phrasings that are suggestive of features of a non-standard logic. D&G were against a sort of multiplicity that stems somehow from a unity. [Voisset-Veysseyre  then notes D&G’s notion of binary logic. Let us look closely at it first. They are talking about a sort of ramification that is like plant root propagation. One sort is binary, where one splits to two. We might think then of a stalk or trunk above ground that splits underground into two main roots, which each split to two, and so on: “the One that becomes two, the two that becomes four” (5). They call this a “binary logic”. To be clear, at this point there is no mention of truth values, but rather a sort of “logic” or consistent pattern of splitting into two. But, D&G say, “Nature doesn’t work that way: in nature, roots are taproots with a more multiple, lateral, and circular system of ramification, rather than a dichotomous one” (5). It seems a taproot is a (vertical) root with other horizontal roots coming out of it.

Plant_taproots. .. wikimedia

(Thanks wikimedia commons)

I am not sure what would be the circular system, although a rhizome root system could probably make something of a more circular structure. I am not sure. Or maybe the circularity is seen when you look down at the roots extending from the taproot and see how they come out radially. In this “natural method”, we “go directly from One to three, four, or five, but only if there is a strong principal unity available, that of the pivotal taproot supporting the secondary roots. That doesn’t get us very far. The binary logic of dichotomy has simply been replaced by biunivocal relationships between successive circles” (6). I am not sure what the biunivocal relationships are. Maybe the idea is the following. You have the relation of multiple (horizontal roots) to one (taproot). That relation goes both ways, so it is ‘bi-’. But each horizontal root is not tied directly to any other. Each is only tied to the taproot. So in that sense, maybe, it is univocal (there is only one thing to which all other things are related). The next idea is that selfhood is somehow multiple. And rhizome goes beyond the duality of the one-multiple. Voisset-Veysseyre then writes, “Many logics seem then to be possible, instead of a two valued logic: ‘There is no universal propositional logic’” (2, citing A Thousand Plateaus p.163). [In the cited D&G text, A Thousand Plateaus, they are discussing certain forces or structures – specifically, machines, assemblages, and movements of deterritorialization – that in a sense seem to operate below the structures of language and deform those structures continually. (My explanation here only comes from a very superficial reading.) These underlying factors are perhaps the “regimes of signs” but I am not sure yet. At any rate, the idea seems to be that there is no universal propositional logic, because the deforming factors are diverse and changing. What Voisset-Veysseyre gets from this and from the prior ideas is that “Many logics seem possible, instead of a two valued logic”. I would agree with the statement, but it is not clear to me yet how the concepts she has mentioned so far have bearing on the numbers of truth-values that can be assigned to statements. Voisset-Veysseyre  then notes this regime of signs that is deeper than language and that is what language is based on.]

 

1.3

[The older, standard logic that neuters philosophical thinking should be replaced with a mode of concept creation that is unbound by standard logical structures.]

 

Voisset-Veysseyre then writes, “In What is Philosophy?, logic is denounced as out of date for ‘its infantile idea of philosophy’” (3). [In this section, D&G discuss how logic confuses the concept with the proposition. It sees the proposition as what the sentence expresses intensionally. They then write, “Consequently, the philosophical concept usually appears only as a proposition deprived of sense. This confusion reigns in logic and explains its infantile idea of philosophy” (WP 22). I am not sure yet how logic sees the concept as a proposition deprived of sense. A simplistic interpretation would be that logic operates on variables for propositions, symbolized for example with capital letters,  so they lack some specific sense. But D&G are saying something else. Maybe they are saying that the concept is the sense (or intensional meaning as proposition) itself. So in being the sense of something else, the concept does not itself have any further sense. At any rate, D&G go further here to say something relevant about non-standard logics, but it is not something Voisset-Veysseyre delves into. They write, “Concepts are measured against a ‘philosophical’ grammar that replaces them with propositions extracted from the sentences in which they appear. We are constantly trapped between alternative propositions and do not see that the concept has already passed into the excluded middle. The concept is not a proposition at all; it is not propositional, and the proposition is never an intension. ... Concepts, which have only consistency or intensive ordinates outside of any coordinates, freely enter into relationships of nondiscursive resonance” (22 ... 23). Maybe the idea here is the following. A proposition is something that can enter into a logical relation with other propositions (and this is perhaps their discursivity). Propositions also are of such a nature that they present exclusive alternatives, for example, either a proposition or its negation. Now, for whatever reason (which is not crystal clear to me yet), concepts are not of a nature that they can be discursively interrelated in such an exclusive sort of way. Perhaps it is because their composition is in flux somehow or because they have vague and changing borders and are overlapping with other concepts. So while a proposition is a sense which admits of the excluded middle such that either a proposition or its negation is true, a concept in contrast somehow resides in this excluded middle zone. At any rate, Voisset-Veysseyre’s point here seems to be that Deleuze and Guattari are against standard logic in some sense or another. Her next point is that D&G are against the reductionist nature of logic that turns concepts into functions. I did not follow her next points about new logic and the utopian way. But one idea here might be that there is a mode of philosophical thinking that is not constrained by the structures of standard logic. She ends it seems by asking how philosophy can be reconceived now that standard logic is understood as insufficient.]

 

 

 

1.4

[The text will discuss gender, a logic of multiplicities, and post-identity nomadic/rhizomatic writing.]

 

Voisset-Veysseyre outlines the structure of her text. The first part will discuss issues regarding gender. The second part examines A Thousand Plateaus and What is Philosophy? to conceptualize a logic of multiplicities (4). And the third part examines nomadic and rhizomatic writing in a post-identity philosophy (4).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cécile Voisset-Veysseyre. (2012). “Toward a Post-Identity Philosophy: Along a Flight Line with Gilles Deleuze?” Tahir. August 2011.

http://www.revuetrahir.net/2011-2/trahir-voisset-veysseyre-post-identity.pdf

 

 

 

Other cited texts:

 

Deleuze, Gilles. (1985). Cinéma 2: L’image-temps. Paris: Minuit.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. (1989). Cinema 2: The Time-Image. English translation by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis: Athlone / University of Minnesota.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. (2005). Cinema 2: The Time-Image. English translation by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London / New York: Continuum.

 

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1994. What is Philosophy? English translation by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University.

 

 

 

Taproot image from:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plant_taproots.jpg

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