[D-G] Concepts seen as functions

saphiregnauld saphi.regnauld at numericable.fr
Fri Apr 29 08:54:34 PDT 2011

Dear Malgosia

 thanks a lot for this post

 I think you have perfectly understood what D+G mean : according to them 
science has to slow down the infinite speed of ideas (when ideas are 
building a concept) in order to make them fit with the sampling rate, 
the protocol or what so ever is scientific and slow.

 The problem is that  what D+G are talking of is not "science" as a 
whole but just one precise aspect of science which is , for natural 
sciences field work and for the psy sciences the discussion with the 

 D+G are in the middle of a mistake : what they have in mind when they 
talk about science is just and only a small part of the scientific 
domain, and specially the one G knows. They just ignore an other domain 
of science  which is building ideas out of hundred of field work data. 
And they also ignore the building of  numerical models such as the  ones 
we use for climate simulation or sea level changes..or coasts set back 
under erosion and sea level rise.. Building a conceptual model of  
coastal behaviour is building a concept, not a set of functifs glued 
together.  And I really mean concept in a fully deleuzian way.

 Ther's nothing wrong with D+G ignoring these aspects of science. They 
(the models) were simply not existing at the moment they (D+G) wrote WIP.

 I just want to stress a simple fact : D+G are great  and even deserve 
much more praise then they get for their philosophy of "multiplicités" 
"empirisme" and "immanence" but they can't be relied upon for their 
epistemic work. They know philosophy but not science and not science as 
it is done today.

This leaves us with the main question of WIP? that is : what's the 
difference between philo and science ?.  G wanted to make a radical 
difference because he had a political aim : to forbid neuro science to 
invade the schizo analysis field. 

The political aim is clear and (I think) totally right. But the argument 
D+G used to separate philo from science is wrong because philo  creates 
concepts and science creates concepts also.. then the difference between 
the two  must be elswhere.

And today we have in front of us this large field wide open : how do 
psycho or schizo analysis may co-exist with neuro sciences (cognitivism) 
without being overwhelmed... ??? How can we resist to the buldozing of 
knowledge by hard science?? How can we save the existence (and the 
university fundings) for human science, soft science, social science and 
even art????

 Our political aim is not to associate philo with concepts and science 
with a lower order of rationality.. our present problem is to explain 
that hard science is not able to understand everything about a human 
being mind, thoughs, behaviour, dreams, loves ..

 WIP was a political statement designed to express the need for funding 
something else than pure physics or pure neurology. . I think we shall 
not achieve this aim if we try to downscale science and upraise  philo, 
but if we try to convince hard scientists that they need philosophy.

About the ability of Deleuze to understand maths (which was not so low) 
there is an excellent little book by J.C Dumoncel ( isbn 978 2 915725 08 
7) If you read french I made a short review of it on

 amicalement  RV
> Dear Jeff,
> I wouldn't dream of discouraging you from a study of calculus, but to 
> me it seems that the passage you quote from WiP doesn't call upon any 
> special knowledge of calculus, or mathematics in general.  I think 
> that "limit" here does not have any specialized mathematical sense, 
> but just refers to restricting something, setting limits upon it - and 
> that "something", in this case, is the virtual.  As for "abscissa", I 
> think that the important point here is that in the virtual there is no 
> external "clock", or standard, which "clocks" the variation of the 
> differential elements (i.e. those elements whose differences are 
> responsible for the continuous variation within the given virtual 
> domain).  The differential elements thus form what D&G call "intensive 
> ordinates" - their variations don't depend on anything extraneous, and 
> neither are there any internal dependencies between the differential 
> elements (that's why they all form "ordinates" and there is no 
> "abscissa", i.e. no variable on which they are all considered to be 
> dependent).  They vary freely, continuously and unrestrictedly.  For 
> example, the gradations of the phonemes in the Idea (or virtuality) of 
> Language would not be restricted by considerations of discernability 
> by ear, pronounciability, etc.
> Science, on the other hand, imposes limits on the virtual in more ways 
> than one, if only through its stringent methodological requirements: 
> that it be based on experiment, that the experimental results be 
> reproducible, that the theoretical results have a close connection to 
> the experimental and be formulated according to certain standards of 
> shared intelligibility, and so on.  And since the language in which it 
> expresses its results is the language of functions, the first step of 
> any scientific project is to choose the variables under study - the 
> variables whose changes express the natural phenomena under study, and 
> whose functional dependencies the study will pertain to.  And every 
> scientific project has to limit itself to studying the given phenomena 
> under a certain set of conditions - which, in turn, sets limits on the 
> possible values which the variables can range over.  So: the first two 
> components of every scientific function - i.e. the first two 
> functives, to use D&G's language - are the limit (or limits) and the 
> variable (i.e. the choice of variables).  It is these two components 
> that constitute the scientific plane as a plane of reference.  And why 
> is "the variable" an "abscissa of speeds"?  I think it is because the 
> introduction of these two components (or perhaps even just the choice 
> of variables, qua potential functives and with their limits) sets a 
> "clock" (like a sampling rate, but in a more profound sense) to the 
> free variations within the virtual - the "sampling" will only take 
> place according to certain methods, and only on certain terms, at 
> certain "speeds" of thought, according to a certain experimental 
> protocol, etc.  So if the variation of the virtual is described as 
> taking place intensively and "at infinite speeds", then the scientific 
> actualization is achieved by slowing down the virtual to speeds 
> dictated extensively, by the methods of science, which thus effectuate 
> an "abscissa".
> These are just the general lines along which I would tease that 
> passage, and perhaps completely off.

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