4 Nov 2014

Somers-Hall, (Intro.1), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, summary

Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. All boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own.]

Henry Somers-Hall

Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition.
An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide


Intro sect.1

Brief summary:

This book will discuss the many conceptual strands in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, with a focus on its ‘metaphysics of difference.’




In the first part of the Introduction, Somers-Hall (SH) explains the importance of Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (DR), and he characterizes its basic traits.


Difference and Repetition …

[1] is a part of Deleuze’s project of ‘transcendental empiricism’, which is “critical of both the transcendental idealist characterisation of experience and its account of knowledge”,

[2] both affirms and critiques “strands of the early twentieth-century phenomenological project”,

[3] bears “an ambivalent relationship to the structuralist tradition”, and it

[4] makes a “substantial engagement with the philosophies of science and mathematics.”

In this book, Somers-Hall will discuss the aforementioned entanglements. However, his emphasis lies on Deleuze’s metaphysical philosophy in DR. What is unique and interesting about it is that it is a metaphysics of difference.

I take Deleuze to be giving us an account of the nature of the world, broadly construed. What makes his project appear almost unrecognisable when compared with traditional metaphysical approaches is that he is attempting to provide a metaphysics of difference. As we shall see, his claim is that when we take identity as prior to difference, exemplified in the belief in judgement as the basis for philosophical enquiry, we are constrained to make a number of claims about the nature of the world and the nature of knowledge. These claims together form the traditional image of metaphysics. In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze renounces the priority of identity, which leads to a very different kind of metaphysical inquiry.

Somers-Hall, Henry. Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2013.

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