The Role of Mathematics in Deleuze’s Critical Engagement with Hegel

Simon B. Duffy
Yale-NUS College
The role of mathematics in the development of Gilles Deleuze's (1925-95) philosophy of difference as an alternative to the dialectical philosophy determined by the Hegelian dialectic logic is demonstrated in this paper by differentiating Deleuze's interpretation of the problem of the infinitesimal in Difference and Repetition from that which G. W. F Hegel (1770-1831) presents in the Science of Logic . Each deploys the operation of integration as conceived at different stages in the development of the infinitesimal calculus in his treatment of the problem of the infinitesimal. Against the role that Hegel assigns to integration as the inverse transformation of differentiation in the development of his dialectical logic, Deleuze strategically redeploys Leibniz's account of integration as a method of summation in the form of a series in the development of his philosophy of difference. By demonstrating the relation between the differential point of view of the Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus and the differential calculus of contemporary mathematics, I argue that Deleuze effectively bypasses the methods of the differential calculus which Hegel uses to support the development of the dialectical logic, and by doing so, sets up the critical perspective from which to construct an alternative logic of relations characteristic of a philosophy of difference. The mode of operation of this logic is then demonstrated by drawing upon the mathematical philosophy of Albert Lautman (1908-44), which plays a significant role in Deleuze's project of constructing a philosophy of difference. Indeed, the logic of relations that Deleuze constructs is dialectical in the Lautmanian sense.
Keywords Deleuze  Hegel  infinitesimal  mathematics
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DOI 10.1080/09672550903164418
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What is Philosophy?Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari - 1991 - Columbia University Press.
Non-Standard Analysis.Gert Heinz Müller - 1969 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 34 (2):292-294.

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