30 Dec 2012

Pt1.Ch2.Sb10 Somers-Hall’s Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. ‘Conclusion.’ summary

Corry Shores
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[Note: All boldface and underlining is my own. It is intended for skimming purposes. Bracketed comments are also my own explanations or interpretations.]


Henry Somers-Hall


Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation.

Dialectics of Negation and Difference


Part 1: The Problem of Representation

Chapter 2: Difference and Identity

Subdivision 10: Conclusion


Very brief summary:

There are problems with Aristotle’s and Russell’s classificational systems that arise from them excluding contradiction. Hegel’s solution is productive contradiction. Deleuze’s solution is non-oppositional difference. Deleuze can criticize Hegel for not escaping the limitations of representation, and Hegel can criticize Deleuze’s notion of essence.

Brief Summary:

In Aristotle’s and Russell’s systems of classification, there are deep-rooted problems arising from their use of a deficient concept of difference. They disallow contradiction, which leads to inconsistencies in their systems, and their solutions only further reveal the insufficiencies of the systems’ structures.  Deleuze and Hegel offer solutions. Hegel makes use of a productive opposition, and Deleuze has a non-oppositional sort of difference. We will later see that Deleuze argues that Hegel (unlike with Deleuze’s transcendental notion of difference) still does not escape the limitations in the representationalist paradigm. But Hegel might reply by critiquing Deleuze’s notion of essence as for example in the case of the virtual. The next chapter will be about Bergson.



Previously we saw how Hegel takes up Zeno’s method of finding self contradiction in a concept, and Hegel takes this process further to show how a concept’s self-contradiction, through aufhebung, can lead productively to a new concept. So being, in its pure indeterminacy, is indistinguishable from nothingness. The two vanish into each other and produce becoming. This means that self-contradiction and pure indeterminacy at the most basic level of the system is not a problem as it is for Aristotle’s and Russell’s systems; in fact, it is one of its strengths, because Hegel is able to have a whole consistent system that can explain change, where Aristotle and Russell cannot.

Now Somers-Hall concludes chapter 2. In this chapter, he showed that one of the problems with representational logic’s structure is that it limits the degree to which the world can be thought as a coherent totality. For Deleuze this is because their systems use a deficient concept of difference. Hegel and Deleuze each offer us their own solutions. Hegel proposes a radical concept of productive opposition, and Deleuze offers a non-oppositional sort of difference. In the next part, Somers-Hall will examine the logics behind these concepts. This will help us understand Deleuze’s critique of Hegel and as well it will allow us to consider a possible reply by Hegel.

To put it simply, Deleuze will argue that in extending the idea of difference to its absolute limit, that of contradiction, Hegel has not truly escaped from the limitations of the representationalist paradigm. Deleuze, on the contrary, by moving to a transcendental notion of difference, hopes to produce a difference that differs in kind from that of Aristotle and Russell. We will also explore the possible Hegelian response that any notion of essence, even a heterodox notion such as the virtual, necessarily collapses into a moment of seeming (Schein) . In the next chapter, we will analyze Bergson's philosophy of duration, with its implicit critique of judgment as spatialization, in order to begin to highlight the grounds of Deleuze's response to representation. (66)

Somers-Hall, Henry (2012) Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. Dialectics of Negation and Difference. Albany: SUNY.

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