Charting the Road of Inquiry: Deleuze's Humean Pragmatics and the Challenge of Badiou

Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (3):399-425 (2006)
Abstract
This essay responds to Badiou’s charge that Deleuze fails to set forth a philosophy that is “beyond categorical oppositions.” It is argued that this criticism of Deleuze is founded upon a misreading of the Deleuzean distinction between the virtual and the actual, a reading that carries forward Badiou’s misreading of Spinoza and, hence, of Deleuze’s Spinozism. With this corrected, we show how the virtualactual distinction operates within the experimental philosophy, or pragmatics, that Deleuze, and later Deleuze and Guattari, sets forth. It is this pragmatics that is precisely the philosophy of difference that is beyond categorical oppositions. Through a comparison of Deleuzean pragmatics with the work of Hume and Peirce, we are able to respond to Badiou’s further criticism that Deleuze’s philosophy fails to understand the conditions for creativity in thought and culture. This criticism is itself resolved once one corrects for Badiou’s misreading of Deleuze’s virtual-actual distinction
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