Introduction -- A concept of bodies politic -- Above, below, and alongside the subject -- Bodies politic -- Bodies politic as organisms -- The organism in Aristotle and Kant -- The anorganic body in Deleuze and Guattari -- Love, rage, and fear -- Terri Schiavo : the somatic body politic -- The Columbine High School massacre : the transverse body politic -- Hurricane Katrina : the governmental body politic -- Conclusion.
Applies Deleuzian theory to an array of physical phenomena, scientific issues, and political events. Life, War, Earth demonstrates how Gilles Deleuze’s ontology of the virtual, intensive, and actual can enhance our understanding of important issues in cognitive science, biology, and geography. The book offers a unique reading of Deleuze’s corpus and a useful method for applying Deleuzian techniques to the natural sciences, the social sciences, political phenomena, and contemporary events.
The essay attempts to approach some of the critical nuances of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. It takes its lead from Deleuze’s distinction between learning and knowledge. Learning implies a “depersonalization through love,” in mutual presupposition with an “encounter” that moves one to thought, while knowledge is recognition via pre-existing categories. Throughout the article, Deleuze’s encounter with Kant is the guiding thread.
Cette communication explorera la nature deleuzienne de l'ontologie présupposée par Foucault dans ses cours Sécurité, Territoire, Population et Naissance de la Biopolitique. L'objectif sera d'identifier certaines formules de Foucault qui font écho à un concept clé de Différence et Répétition: l'individuation comme intégration d'une multiplicité. Dans ces textes se trouveront pas mal d'éléments de l'ontologie deleuzienne: par exemple, le couple différentiation / différenciation; l'anti-essentialisme; et le champ différentiel, pré-individuel, problématique, ou virtuel d'où émergent, par l'auto-organisation, des individus actuels. Mais, on (...) verra aussi des difficultés conceptuelles, surtout dans sa notion de "possibilité," que subit Foucault dans quelques-unes de ses réflexions méthodologiques, difficultés qui émergent pour lui en faisant ses propres analyses de "la mise en intelligibilité en histoire" pendant qu'il présuppose l'ontologie deleuzienne. (shrink)
In this article I will suggest ways in which adding the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze to the mix can complement and extend the 4EA approach to cognitive science. In the first part of the paper, I will show how the Deleuzean tripartite ontological difference (virtual/intensive/actual) can provide an explicit ontology for dynamical systems theory. The second part will take these ontological notions and apply them to three areas of concern to the 4EA approaches: (a) the Deleuzean concept of the virtual (...) will clarify the ontological status of perceptual capacity as sensorimotor skill; (b) the Deleuzean concept of “intensive individuation” will clarify the ontological status of the genesis of perceptually guided behavior; (c) the Deleuzean critique of confusing the actual and the virtual will enable us to intervene in the realism/idealism debate. These aspects will not be addressed sequentially but will be interwoven into an unfolding argument. (shrink)
DEFINING THE LIMITS OF THE FIELD. Because 'consciousness and the body' is central to so many philosophical endeavors, I cannot provide a comprehensive survey of recent work. So we must begin by limiting the scope of our inquiry. First, we will concentrate on work done in English or translated into English, simply to ensure ease of access to the texts under examination. Second, we will concentrate on work done in the last 15 years or so, since the early 1990s. Third, (...) we will concentrate on those philosophers who treat both consciousness and the body together. Thus we will not treat philosophers who look at body representations in culture, nor philosophers who examine socio-political bodily practices with minimal or no reference to consciousness. Finally, even with the philosophers we choose to treat, we cannot be comprehensive and will instead make representative choices among their works. With that being said, we will have a fairly liberal definition of continental philosophy, operationally defined as that which makes (non-exclusive) reference to the classic phenomenology of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. Thus we will include the radical.. (shrink)
God has been called many things, but perhaps nothing so strange as the name of “lobster” which he receives in A Thousand Plateaus.1 Is this simple profanation a pendant to the gleeful anti-clericalism of Deleuze2, for whom there is no insult so wretched as that of “priest”?3 Certainly, on one level. But it is also a clue to Deleuze’s ability to use a traditional concern of theology, the name of God, to intervene in the most basic questions of Western philosophy, (...) in this case, the interchange of theology, biology and politics inherent in the question of nature and the organism. (shrink)
Hurricane Katrina was an elemental and a social event. To understand it, you first have to understand the land, the air, the sun, the river and the sea; you have to understand earth, wind, fire and water; you have to understand geomorphology, meteorology, biology, economics, politics, history. You have to understand how they have come together to form, with the peoples of America, Europe and Africa, the historical patterns of life of Louisiana and New Orleans, the bodies politic of the (...) region, bodies you need to study with political physiology. You have to understand what those bodies could do and what they could withstand, and how they intersected the event of the storm. In this paper, simply for the sake of time and space constraints, I will concentrate on New Orleans; the stories of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, or of Saint Bernard, Saint Tammany, and Plaquemines Parishes in Louisiana are complex and dramatic as well. (shrink)
While Agamben acknowledges the Arendtian and Foucaultian thesis of the modernity of biopower, he will claim that sovereignty and biopolitics are equally ancient and essentially intertwined in the originary gesture of all politics; sovereignty is the power to decide the state of exception whereby bare life or zoe is exposed "underneath" political life or bios. Agamben then finds in the concentration camp the modern biopolitical paradigm, in which the state of exception has become the rule and we have all become (...) [potentially] bearers of exposed bare life in that we are all subject to what I will call a "de-politicizing predication": to use the current American jargon, being named an "enemy combatant.". (shrink)
The essay examines the idea of ―biological space and time‖ found in Evan Thompson‘s Mind in Life and Gilles Deleuze‘s Difference and Repetition. Tracking down this ―new Transcendental Aesthetic‖ intersects new work done on panpsychism. Both Deleuze and Thompson can be fairly said to be biological panpsychists. That‘s what ―Mind in Life‖ means: mind and life are coextensive; life is a sufficient condition for mind. Deleuze is not just a biological panpsychist, however, so we‘ll have to confront full-fledged panpsychism. At (...) the end of the essay we‘ll be able to pose the question whether or not we can supplement Thompson‘s ―Mind in Life‖ position with a ―Mind in Process‖ position and if so, what that supplement means both for his work and for panpsychism. (shrink)
Forthcoming in Cognitive Architecture: from bio-politics to noo-politics, eds. Deborah Hauptmann, Warren Neidich and Abdul-Karim Mustapha INTRODUCTION The cognitive and affective sciences have benefitted in the last twenty years from a rethinking of the long-dominant computer model of the mind espoused by the standard approaches of computationalism and connectionism. The development of this alternative, often named the “embodied mind” approach or the “4EA” approach (embodied, embedded, enactive, extended, affective), has relied on a trio of classical 20th century phenomenologists for its (...) philosophical framework: Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. In this essay I propose that the French thinker Gilles Deleuze can provide the conceptual framework that will enable us to thematize some unstated presuppositions of the 4EA School, as well as to sharpen, extend and / or radicalize some of their explicit presuppositions. I highlight three areas here: 1) an ontology of distributed and differential systems, using Deleuze’s notion of the virtual; 2) a thought of multiple subjectification practices rather than a thought of “the” subject, even if it be seen as embodied and embedded; and 3) a rethinking of the notion of affect in order to thematize a notion of “political affect.” I will develop this proposal with reference to Bruce Wexler’s Brain and Culture, a work which resonates superbly with the Deleuzean approach. (shrink)
This paper brings Georges Canguilhem and Gilles Deleuze together with the contemporary biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard. I examine the concepts of adaptation and adaptivity in Canguilhem’s The Normal and the Pathological in light of West-Eberhard’s notion of “developmental plasticity,” which is, I claim, adaptivity in the developmental register. In turn, I interpret Canguilhem’s notion of “comparative physiology” and West- Eberhard’s notion of an “eco-devo-evo” approach to biology in terms of Deleuze’s notion of multiplicity.
Both Deleuze in DR and Thompson / Jonas can be fairly said to be biological panpsychists. That‘s pretty much what ―Mind in Life‖ means: mind and life are co-extensive: life = autopoiesis and cognition = sense-making. Thus Mind in Life = autopoietic sense-making = control of action of organism in environment. Sense-making here is three-fold: 1) sensibility as openness to environment; 2) signification as positive or negative valence of environmental features relative to the subjective norms of the organism; 3) direction (...) or orientation the organism adopts in response to 1 and 2. (―Sense of the river‖ is archaic in English, but ―sens unique‖ for ―one-way street‖ is perfectly clear in French.). (shrink)
Francisco Varela’s work is a monumental achievement in 20th century biological and biophilosophical thought. After his early collaboration in neo-cybernetics with Humberto Maturana (“autopoiesis”), Varela made fundamental contributions to immunology (“network theory”), Artificial Life (“cellular automata”), cognitive science (“enaction”), philosophy of mind (“neurophenomenology”), brain studies (“the brainweb”), and East- West dialogue (the Mind and Life conferences). In the course of his career, Varela influenced many important collaborators and interlocutors, formed a generation of excellent students, and touched the lives of many (...) with the intensity of his mind, the sharpness of his wit, and the strength of his spirit. In this essay, I will trace some of the key turning points in his thought, with special focus on the concept of emergence, which was always central to his work, and on questions of politics, which operate at the margins of his thought. I will divide Varela’s work into three periods – autopoiesis, enaction, and radical embodiment – each of which is marked by a guiding concept; a specific.. (shrink)
In looking at Derrida’s career, many people claim to see a “political turn” with the 1989 essay “Force of Law.” So on this reading, the early Derrida is concerned with metaphysics and literature and the later Derrida with politics and ethics. I disagree. The concerns have always been metaphysical/literary and political/ethical at once, but the “methodology” changes: from deconstruction to aporia.
In this essay I’d like to help readers prepare to learn from Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition.1 Such an essay is needed, as truer words were never spoken than when Deleuze said of it in his "Letter to a Harsh Critic": "it's still full of academic elements, it's heavy going"2 Now part of the “academic” aspect of the work comes from Deleuze having submitted Difference and Repetition to his jury as the primary thesis for the doctorat d'Etat in 1968.3 But (...) that doesn’t lessen the need for help when first approaching the book. The context of Deleuze’s remarks in his “Letter” should be noted: he has just been noting that "the history of philosophy plays a patently repressive role in philosophy, it's philosophy's own version of the Oedipus complex."4 Deleuze continues that he tried to subvert this repressive function by various means. First, by writing on authors such as Lucretius, Hume, Spinoza and Nietzsche who contested the rationalist tradition by the "critique of negativity, the cultivation of joy, the hatred of interiority, the externality of forces and relations, the denunciation of power [pouvoir]." Second, and quite notoriously, by “a sort of buggery [enculage] or (it comes to the same thing) immaculate conception.” That is, by making the author say something in their own words that would be “monstrous.”5 These are famous lines, and the last is certainly amusing in an épater les bourgeois sort of way. But what's really important in my view comes next, when Deleuze explains what it means to finally write "in your own name," as he claims he first did in Difference and Repetition. (shrink)
I will begin by noting two of the many convergences between my approach and that of Shaun Gallagher in his paper for the Socially Extended Mind workshop (Gallagher 2011). First, his insistence on the enactive – or what we could call the “dynamic interactional” – character of mind, countering the somewhat static view of classical EM (Extended Mind); and second, the move to a distributed notion of judgment, countering the lingering individualism of classical EM.
In 2005 Mike Wheeler published a very nice book with MIT entitled Reconstructing the Cognitive World: The Next Step. Wheeler writes about – and is at the forefront of – a group of researchers calling attention to what we can call 4EA cognition: "embodied, embedded, enactive, extended, affective." The philosophical resource for Wheeler’s “next step” is Heidegger. I think it's time we use Deleuze to take another next step.1 I’m going to use Deleuze’s essay on Lucretius as a lead. There, (...) Deleuze writes about naturalism as demystification. For the 4EA schools, the fight is against myths of the subject. (shrink)
OVERVIEW. The concept of emergence – which I define as the (diachronic) construction of functional structures in complex systems that achieve a (synchronic) focus of systematic behaviour as they constrain the behaviour of individual components – plays a crucial role in debates in philosophical reflection on science as a whole (the question of reductionism) as well as in the fields of biology (the status of the organism), social science (the practical subject), and cognitive science (the cognitive subject).1 In this essay (...) I examine how the philosophy of Deleuze and that of Deleuze and Guattari2 can help us see some of the most important implications of the debate on the status of the organism, as well as prepare the ground for a discussion of the practical and cognitive subject. (shrink)
Sociologists have known for some time of the widespread incidence of prosocial behavior in the aftermath of disasters (research summarized in Rodriguez, Trainor, and Quarantelli 2006). They have also criticized the role of media in spreading “disaster myths” which include the idea of widespread anti-social behavior (Tierney, Bevc, and Kuligowski 2006). In this essay I will investigate the evolutionary theory and neuroscience needed to account for such prosocial behavior, as well as to discuss the political entailments and consequence of media (...) framing emphasizing if not inventing widespread antisocial behavior. (shrink)
As befits a French philosopher of the 1960s, Gilles Deleuze (1925-995), was famous for his antihumanism and his anti-essentialism. Humans are fully part of nature with no supernatural supplement; and essences are not the way to individuate things. That doesn’t seem to leave much room for a Deleuzean human nature, but that’s what I want to try to explore. I’ll take my clue from what he says in A Thousand Plateaus about nomads, who “reterritorialize on their power of deterritorialization.” In (...) other words, they are most at home when on the move. But this isn’t just spatial movement; we can also say that the habit of nomads is to break habits. I’ll make sense of this claim by referring to Bruce Wexler’s Brain and Culture (MIT, 2006), in particular, his claim that humans evolved for a lengthy childhood period of socially mediated neuroplasticity. Human nature on this view is such that we are individuated by our singular patterns of social – somatic interaction. And this in turn is “nomadic” in Deleuze’s sense: our nature is to be so open to our nurture that it becomes second nature. That is, we’re at home wherever home is. There’s an anti-essentialist nuance here, however. It’s children who are most “nomadic,” most plastic. Most adults drift away from nomadism and become sedentary: they want more of the same. But even here we must nuance things: what if “more of the same” means “more change”? In other words, are there adult “nomads”? I think there are. But we’ll need to discuss Deleuze’s ontology first in order to make sense of these claims. Deleuze is an interactive process philosopher: we aren't substances but processes and those processes are not individuated by properties but as singular patterns of social and somatic interaction. The embodied and the embedded aspects of our being intersect – we are bodies whose capacities form in social interaction. And it's in this intersection of the social and the somatic that subjectivity and selfhood emerge – and are sometimes attenuated and even bypassed.. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the mechanics of killing, brining together neuroscience, military history, and the work of the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari. Investigating the Columbine killers and the way they negotiate with the intensity of the act of killing allows me to construct a concept of “political physiology,” defined as “interlocking intensive processes that articulate the patterns, thresholds, and triggers of emergent bodies, forming assemblages linking the social and the somatic, with sometimes the subjective as intermediary.” (...) While most people must be in a blind rage to kill at close range, the Columbine killers raised the threshold at which an evolutionarily inherited non-subjective “rage agent” kicks in, thus allowing themselves to be subjects in the act of killing. Yet they were not “cold-blooded killers,” either, those who lower the intensity of the act of killing below the threshold that prevents most interpersonal violence from reaching lethal proportions, since they committed suicide soon after their killing spree from burning out. The success of the Columbine killing machine warns us of a “machinic phylum” whose singularities are virtually available for incorporation into bodies by subjects willing to undergo extreme experiments in political physiology. (shrink)
In the first part of this talk I show how some ideas in the new "4EA" branch of cognitive science (embodied, embedded, extended, enactive, affective), which gets away from the computer metaphor to talk about affective cognition as the direction of action of an organism, can be illuminated by Deleuze's ontology. Now that may sound ridiculous, as Deleuze's terminology is notoriously baroque – how could it ever "illuminate" anything? So I'm going to be using plain English translations of his concepts; (...) I think his concepts are too good, too useful, for his terminology to be such a barrier to entry. Then I'm going to use this mixture of Deleuze and 4EA ideas to examine a case study which has, besides its metaphysical and psychological implications, some ethical, political, and legal ones as well. So to deal with them we'll deal just a bit with Agamben and Foucault. (shrink)
In this paper I try to bring together two contexts in which the term “gene” is used. Perhaps this is overly hasty. But I’m trying to bring a term from an evolutionary context (“unexpressed genetic variation”) together with one from a developmental context (“constructed functional gene”).
The Terri Schiavo case, the latest high-profile “right-to-die” case in the United States, whose denouement saturated the US mediasphere at the end of March 2005, is a particularly complex problem in the Deleuzean sense. Its solution, which took more than 15 years, actualized lines from legal, medical, biological, political … multiplicities. The ellipses indicate the impossibility of completely delimiting the forces at work in any case (the virtual as endless differentiation) just as it indicates the necessity of cutting through them (...) in making any one solution work (actualization as differenciation). Thus that actualization, a creative resolution of the problem, brought some aspects of the virtual into distinctness, while others faded into momentary obscurity.1 The elements functioning most intensely in the Schiavo case cut across the fields of right, medical discipline and biopower, hence at the intersection of sexuality and racism, as Foucault explains.2 The turn to a liberal notion of the right to privacy as the right to die is never simple, for we remain trapped at the intersection of discipline and biopower if we ground that right in sovereign rights of personal autonomy and bodily integrity. The challenge to a Deleuzean jurisprudence is to creatively transform that right to show its basis in de-personalization. In other words, only in an extraordinary, ethical, situation, living along the fault line.. (shrink)
For the most part, this is a fairly literal translation, but I have opted for a few English idioms for the sake of readability. In that spirit, I have kept the original punctuation, which results in very long sentences, but I have inserted paragraph breaks for readability. I mark these inserted breaks with this sign [¶]; unmarked breaks are in the original. In addition to providing the French for difficult translations, I also interpolate a few English words for readability. Translator’s (...) notes appear as endnotes. (shrink)
Upon first reading, the beginning of Chapter 2 of Difference and Repetition, with its talk of ―contemplative souls‖ and ―larval subjects,‖ seems something of a bizarre biological panpsychism. Actually it does defend a sort of biological panpsychism, but by defining the kind of psyche Deleuze is talking about, I‘ll show here how we can remove the bizarreness from that concept. First, I will sketch Deleuze‘s treatment of ―larval subjects,‖ then show how Deleuze‘s discourse can be articulated with Evan Thompson‘s biologically (...) based intervention into cognitive science, the ―mind in life‖ or ―enaction‖ position. Then I will then show how each in turn fits with contemporary biological work on E. coli chemotaxis (movement in response to changes in environment). (shrink)
The magnum opus of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, is not only the most important work of 20th century French philosophy, but also provides an unprecedented opportunity for philosophers and geographers to collaborate. Although neither were professional geographers A Thousand Plateaus constitutes a “geophilosophy,” a neo-materialism, which, in linking the philosophical materialisms of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud with contemporary science, avoids the traditional bogeys of materialism: determinism and vitalism. By the same token, as a rigorous and consistent (...) materialism, A Thousand Plateaus provides an escape route from the paralyzing post-modernism that has trapped important contemporary schools of geography and philosophy. In addition, Deleuze and Guattari’s politicized stance–their historical-libidinal materialism–provides a relief from the arid scientism and naive realism to which critics of post- modernism have all too often fallen prey. (shrink)
Once one of the most important philosophical concepts (it is impossible to think of Plato without erôs, or Aristotle without philia, or Augustine without caritas and cupiditas), love doesn't get much philosophical notice nowadays, at least outside psychoanalytic circles. Or so it seems. But couldn't one just as well say that Derrida and Deleuze think about nothing but love? What have they written that isn't linked rather directly to desire, to alterity, to getting outside oneself, even if "love" isn't among (...) their.. (shrink)
For the most part, this is a fairly literal translation, but I have opted for a few English idioms for the sake of readability. In that spirit, I have kept the original punctuation, which results in very long sentences, but I have inserted paragraph breaks for readability. I mark these inserted breaks with this sign [¶]; unmarked breaks are in the original. In addition to providing the French for difficult translations, I also interpolate a few English words for readability. Simondon’s (...) notes appear as footnotes; translator’s notes as endnotes. (shrink)
In the first part of this talk I show how some ideas in the new "4EA" branch of cognitive science, which gets away from the computer metaphor to talk about affective cognition as the direction of action of an organism, can be illuminated by Deleuze's ontology. Now that may sound ridiculous, as Deleuze's terminology is notoriously baroque – how could it ever "illuminate" anything? So I'm going to be using plain English translations of his concepts; I think his concepts are (...) too good, too useful, for his terminology to be such a barrier to entry. Then I'm going to use this mixture of Deleuze and 4EA ideas to examine a case study which has, besides its metaphysical and psychological implications, some ethical, political, and legal ones as well. So to deal with them we'll deal just a bit with Agamben and Foucault. (shrink)
To be delivered at the 2nd "Deleuze Camp" in Cardiff, Wales, in August 2008. The intended audience is composed of students and scholars of Deleuze who are non-specialists in philosophy of biology. Thus these are introductory lectures with a good deal of simplification and exaggeration. I wish to thank Dominique Homberger, Vince LiCata, John Larkin, Chuck Dyke, and Alistair Welchman for critical and clarifying comments. They have helped immensely, and the remaining infelicities are solely my responsibility.