The Force of the Virtual
Deleuze, Science, and Philosophy
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The idea to make a book of this kind began at the annual meetingof the American Comparative Literature Association in 2006 at a panel discussion organized by Catherine Liu, “Individuals, Groups, Multi-plicities: Humans and Others.” The question was raised whether some-thing on the order of definitions is disturbed, if somebody somewhere ought to take offense, whenever people in the social sciences—often with ...
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This project has come a long way since our initial conversations on the topic, and its final format is more extensive than I had origi-nally planned. It has involved a number of people, both scientists and non-scientists, to whom I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude. First, I give my most sincere thanks to the contributors, who have taught me so much and have given me something even greater in the way of their trust, patience, ...
Introduction. Science in the Gap
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There are notions that are exact in nature, quantitative, defined by equations, and whose very meaning lies in their exactness: a philosopher or writer can use these only metaphorically, and that’s quite wrong, because they belong to exact science. But there are also essentially inexact yet completely rigorous notions that scientists ...
I. The Virtual in Time and Space
1. The Insistence of the Virtual in Science and the History of Philosophy
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.... . . it is a matter of evaluating every being, every action and passion, That the virtual plays a strategic role in Deleuze’s con-ceptual apparatus is not at first clear, and it is difficult to see how it would alter his interpretations of philosophy, the history of philosophy, and science. In this article, I would like to broaden the scope of the inves-tigation, beginning with the nonmodal character of the virtual, continuing ...
2. Superposing Images: Deleuze and the Virtual after Bergson’s Critique of Science
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On this new ground philosophy ought then to follow science, in order to superpose on scientific truth a knowledge of another kind, which may be called metaphysical. Thus combined, all our knowledge, both In the exact sciences, “repeatability” and “reproducibility” refer to the validity of experimental findings with regard to successive attempts to create the same results under identical (or at least similar) circumstanc-...
3. The Intense Space(s) of Gilles Deleuze
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Deterritorialization can be identified as the most famous spatial concept invented by Gilles Deleuze, but his work is full of many more ideas about space: plateaus, the fold, smooth and striated space, the cartography/tracing opposition, l’éspace quelconque [any kind of space whatsoever], nomadology, and many others.1 It is my contention that Deleuze’s reconceptualizations of space—in philosophy, in war, in ...
II. Science and Process
4. Interstitial Life: Remarks on Causality and Purpose in Biology
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The question of purpose has long haunted biology. Darwin’s explanation of evolution by means of natural selection was intended, among other things, to get rid of teleological explanations of living things. Darwin explicitly answered the “argument from design” invoked most prominently in the nineteenth century by William Paley in his once-fa-mous book Natural Theology (1802). Recapitulating what was already an ...
5. Digital Ontology and Example
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This chapter presents two incompatible ontologies of the digi-tal. The first ontology contrasts the digital with Deleuze’s notion of the virtual: whereas the virtual is creative and fecund, the digital is sterile and hermetic, precluding creativity. The second ontology describes how the digital is (nevertheless) creative: by virtue of the fold in the digital, a subtle but crucial feature of digital ontology, the digital reaches beyond its ...
6. Virtual Architecture
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What is ironic in a time of unprecedented advancement in scientific and technological inventions is the reactionary and superficial appropriation of historical forms. The problem here is not just one of form, but of the tendency for this architecture to be acquiescent to the day-to-day demands of utility and economics. . . . This romanticising ...
III. Science and Subjectivity
7. The Subject of Chaos
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The relationship between science and philosophy constitutes one of the most difficult and perplexing aspects of Gilles Deleuze’s work. Both with and without Félix Guattari, Deleuze develops a notion of philosophy that draws upon the domain of science (as well as that of art) at the same time that he seems to draw abiding distinction between them. In What Is Phi-...
8. Elemental Complexity and Relational Vitality: The Relevance of Nomadic Thought for Contemporary Science
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The theoretical core of nomadic thought consists in the rejection of the unitary vision of the subject as a self-regulating rationalist entity and of the traditional image of thought and of the scientific practices that rest upon it. These are traditionally expected to implement a number of Laws that discipline the practice of scientific research and police the borders of ...
9. Numbers and Fractals: Neuroaesthetics and the Scientific Subject
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Scientific knowledge of the brain has evolved, and carried out a general arrangement. The situation is so complicated that we should not speak of a break, but rather of new orientations . . . It is obviously not through the influence of science that our relationship with the brain changed: perhaps it was the opposite, our relationship with the ...
IV. Science and the Brain
10. The Image of Thought and the Sciences of the Brain after What Is Philosophy?
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The parts of the walls that were covered by paintings of his, all homogenous with one another, were like the luminous images of a magic lantern which in this instance was the brain of the artist.In their What Is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari define thought as a con-frontation with chaos. It is their concept and part of their image of thought—...
11. Deleuze, Guattari, and Neuroscience
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The celebration of the brain forms a surprising conclusion to Deleuze and Guattari’s writing together at the end of What Is Philoso-phy? Published at the beginning of the so-called “decade of the brain” of the 1990s, What Is Philosophy? is prescient concerning a series of contem-porary questions regarding neuroscience in culture. In What Is Philosophy? the role of the brain sciences is clear. “It is up to science to make evident ...
12. Mammalian Mathematicians
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Deleuze suggests that in order to understand a philosophy, in order to grasp the concepts it creates, we must return to the problem these concepts confront. In the case of Deleuze himself, Manuel DeLanda has proposed that the problem he confronts throughout his philosophy is one of avoiding essentialism; he tries to conceive our world without recourse to transcendent essences. There are a variety of ways of restating ...
Afterword. The Metaphysics of Science: An Interview with Manuel DeLanda
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Peter Gaffney: Deleuze once claimed that “modern science has not found its metaphysics, the metaphysics it needs.”1 I would describe your work as such a metaphysics. In any case, I am aware of no other philosopher today who has done so much to show us what such a metaphysics would look like. Do you think science needs metaphysics, and do you view your own work as addressing ...
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Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2010