File deleuze-guattari/deleuze-guattari.0501, message 81

Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 12:37:15 +1100 (EST)
Subject: [D-G] Celebrity Deathmatch: D&G vs Badiou

Cool! I am happy there is some interest. Awesome.

> To these four we should add the fifth (5) Truth
> 1) The event
> 2) Ontology
> 3) Ontological role/importance of temporality
> 4) Majoritarian/minoritarian militant/ethico-aesthetic practice
> I think this would be a very fruitful project. To begin I 
> will suggest a reading: Daniel Smith has a wonderful essay on 
> Deleuze v. Badiou in relationship to mathematics. I know that 
> it was in the Southern Journal of Philosophy and I imagine 
> that it is floating around in other places (Sorry to 
> participate in the "capitalist desire to read texts but...)

It also appears in the excellent volume "Think Again" (2004) pg 77-93 
edited by Peter Hallward; the book also contains some other essays 
worth a gander. Badiou's response at the end of the book makes him seem 
like the biggest dickhead.
> These are just starting points...
> (1) It strikes me that one difference in the way that D & B 
> look at the event is in the question of the question of 
> language.  It seems that Deleuze places the event at times 
> into a linguistic enterprise. Of course, Badiou would be 
> forced to reject this being the new non-linguistic philosopher.

To expand on that. 

For Deleuze: The 'incorporeal event' is sense. Sense is the expressed 
and expressible of a proposition when a state of affairs is denotated. 
For example, the sense expressed when denotating the absurd is a purely 
ideational event. Denotation and expression happen at the same time. 
Sense is an attribute of a state of affairs. James quoted a few lines 
from LoS, I think it is important to remember that Deleuze says in the 
very beginning of the book (I have not finished this book yet either, 
although I am certainly further into Badiou's Deleuze than LoS!!):

"We bring bodies to the surface [of language], as we deprive them of 
their former depth, even if we place the entire language through this 
challenge in a situation of risk. This time the disorders are of the 
surface; they are lateral and spread out from right to left. 
*Stuttering* has replaced the *gaffe*; the phantasms of the surface 
have replaced the hallucination of depth; dreams of accelerated gliding 
replace the painful nightmare of burial and absorption. The ideal 
little girl, incorporeal and anorexic, and the ideal little boy, 
stuttering and left-handed, must disengage themselves from the real, 
voracious, gluttonous, or blundering images." (orig. *, LoS, 24)

For Badiou: The event is the retospective interpretive evaluation. 
Almost the backwash from the production of axioms that relate to the 
universalising posturing of the subject towards the eternal singularity 
of (the) truth. More later.

> (2) I am in the minority but believe that Deleuze was "to be 
> done with ontology." The insistence that being is univocal 
> seems to be great strike against ontology.  If ontological 
> difference is located in the individual and not the species 
> (if you all me to use the biological concept) then ontology 
> is moved to becoming (mutation). This is the continuation of 
> the Nietzsche project from Twilight. Badiou strikes me as 
> almost equally skeptical of the ontology, not the concept, 
> but being itself.  As with most disagreements between Deleuze 
> and Badiou, it comes down to their understanding of 
> multiplicity and difference.

I agree with the differences between deleuze and Badiou as multiplicity 
and difference. To rethink what Badiou writes in the chapters on 
eternal return and the fold (6 & 7), perhaps it is useful, in this 
Badiouian-context, to think of the labour of Deleuze as an absolute 
fascination with the differential modalities of violence required and 
precipitated by the passage from the virtual to the actual. Badiou 
states somewhere that he deals with absolute beginnings which is why he 
needs the void. Badiou starts by describing Deleuze's approach as 
dealing with the One-All, then at some point the -All gets dropped (for 
some reason?). Perhaps there is no need for point (3) below? It really 
came up because Todd May makes an excellent start interrogating 
Badiou's treatment on this in the "Think Again" book in relation to two 
conceptions of multiplicity. May is critical of Badiou's spatialising 
separation of the virtual/actual couplet from temporality. Deleuze 
distinguishes "two types of multiplicity. One is represented by space 
[...]. It is a multiplicity of exteriority, of simultaneity, of 
juxtaposition, of order, of quantitative differentiation, of 
*difference of degree*; it is a numerical multiplicity, *discontinous 
and actual*. The other type of multiplicity appears in pure duration: 
it is an internal multiplicity [...] of heterogeneity, of qualitative 
discrimination, or *difference in kind*; it is a *virtual and 
continuous* multiplicity that cannot be reduced to numbers." 
(Bergsonism 38)

In an essay available online 
me.htm> Jack Reynolds writes:

"If the future is to genuinely be the future, then it must not be 
restricted by this kind of identity. Rather, the future is pure 
difference, or pure temporality, without the identity of subjectivity 
betrothed to it, and the "esoteric truth" of the idea of the eternal 
return of difference hence concerns the idea that the eternal return 
affects only the new, the unanticipatable, or the future as such, and 
not specific agents or conditions which return (DR 90). Subjectivity 
anticipates the future, projects toward the future, and thereby 
deprives the future of its genuine futurity – it makes of the future 
a ‘future-present’. Again, this is not a genuine exposure to 
difference, but is a ‘domestication’ of difference and the future." 
(para 55)

Brian Massumi has written some brief comments on 'anticipation':

"Orders of substitution and superposition are orders of thought defined 
as *the reality of an excess over the actual*. This is clearest in the 
case of anticipation, which in a real and palpable way extends the 
actual moment beyond itself, superposing one moment upon the next, in a 
way that is not just thought but also a bodily yearning, tending, or 
tropism." (Parables, 91)

More on that later!
> (3) Nothing now.

> (4) There seems to be some aggreement that D & G's politics 
> would be different from Badiou's, hence not militant.  I am 
> not sure if this true.  I do not see that D&G are not setting 
> up a radical militant politics although it does take on a 
> group dynamic that is absent from Badiou.  Although Badiou is 
> highly involved with non-party politics, it still seems that 
> processes that bring about the militant have a party look to 
> them. If we think about is continually example Paul I think 
> we see the party lurking in the background, or at least the 
> shadow of party lurking in the background. I think this is 
> what Zizek means when he says that Badiou is afraid to ex-cize Stalin.

The difference here between them I was thinking mainly revolves around 
Badiou's reconstruction of Deleuze's enternal return (or recursivity) 
of difference. Badiou seems to be unable to accept the _continual_ 
return of difference as meaning anything else other than the eternal 
return of the same, maybe I don't understand what Badiou is doing here? 
Seems very odd. For D&G, the selection of difference by itself allows 
for an ethics of experimentality that is more than likely minoritarian 
(unless a state of affairs emerges where there is a double congruence 
of chance or something). For Badiou I argue his entire philosophy can 
been read as a thought-based arms race. By ending his book on Deleuze 
by saying it is merely a questition of taste he has made it a cold war. 
A fidelity to an event and the production of truth is primarily 
concerned with a becoming that is militantly majoritarian, but 
a 'becoming major' that is not through the assumption of a particular 
identity but through revolution (so rather than rotating on the world, 
the world rotates around the state of affairs in which you are 
materially situated). I am contemplating actually using this difference 
(Badiou's militancy vs D&G's ethico-aesthetic experimentation) in my 
thesis in the chapter looking at the road safety industry.

> (5) Deleuze was famous for his dis-taste for TRUTH, but 
> Badiou's reworking of the term renders most of Deleuze's 
> objections mute. Perhaps like not wanting to be surround by 
> "scarecrows and suken faces" (Nietzsche "the Gay Science), 
> deleuze's rejection of truth is just a matter of taste.

For Badiou: "truths are materially produced in specific situations, and 
each begins from an event or discovery that eludes the prevailing logic 
that structures and governs those situations. ... a truth comes into 
being through the subjects who proclaim it and, in doing so, constitute 
themselves as subjects in their fidelity to the event." One of the 
examples he gives is "a pair of lovers' conception of themselves as 
loving subjects, grounded only in a shared fidelity to the ephemeral 
event of their encounter." 'Love' would be the state where the 
incoherent inconsistencies of the multiplicity of the loving subjects 
is worked upon through the labour of love - a fidelity to the event. So 
militancy is evental self-interpellation. I am quoting Hallward's book 
on Badiou in the above passage, but I can't remember the pages and I 
unfortunately left the book at my Christmas break place.

"Truths coming into being through those subjects that proclaim it..." 
If this is accurate of Badiou's argument, perhaps this proclamation of 
truth is in some way comparable to a special case (or set;) to the 
expression of sense that at the same time denotes a revolutionary state 
of affairs and both of which can be traced via a fidelity to something 
(the event)? 


PhD Candidate 
Centre for Cultural Research
University of Western Sydney

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