[D-G] Deleuze-Guattari Digest, Vol 75, Issue 4

Rutger H. Cornets de Groot rutger at cornetsdegroot.com
Wed May 4 14:44:39 PDT 2011

Yes, Malgosia, I must admit to all these things; these are all functions 
of "A". But this is just common sense; of course there is a meaning, a 
reason, for "A"; of course it functions, and indeed in many ways. But 
that's not what I was referring to. I took the example because of the 
apparent distinction between actual "A"'s, i.e., those in books, on 
computer screens, etc., and "A" as the idea of these actualizations. 
This is not Platonic, we are not talking about the idea of "Table" or 
"Cloud" to hold all manifestations of such. I don't believe that the 
table I am sitting at is governed by a Platonic idea of that table; at 
least I have no interest in that idea because the actual table is 
fitting for my purpose. But when I write, I don't need specific 
actualizations of letters; I don't consider their font size, color or 
weight, etc. I just need the letters in their virtual state. It is only 
when I use them, i.e. when I write (or read when I am reading) that they 
become functional, and that I am concerned and confronted with their 
actual form.


Rutger H. Cornets de Groot
Joan Maetsuyckerstraat 80A
2593 ZM Den Haag
RHCdG <http://www.cornetsdegroot.com/rhcdg>

On 4-5-2011 22:04, deleuze-guattari-request at lists.driftline.org wrote:
> Rutger, it seems to me that you couldn't have chosen a worse example - i.e. one less favorable to yoursel!  First of all, if by "the concept of the letter A" you mean simply that categorization of objects whereby we decide whether a particular object is, or is not, an instance of the letter A, then this is precisely the kind of "concept" (I am putting it in quotation marks so as not to offend D&G) that Frege directly identified with a (propositional) function - in this case, the function "... is (an instance of) the letter A".  So, when D&G say "a concept is never a function" they mean, first and foremost, that this kind of "concept", the kind that Frege addressed himself to, is not what they mean by "concept".
> But if what you are talking about is the concept of the letter A in D&G's sense, then there is no such thing as "the letter A" without it being part of an alphabet, a particular structured system of graphic signs designed to encode, for a variety of purposes and in a variety of media, a specific range of structured systems of human sounds, and endowed with a specific intellectual, social and political history.  So the concept "the letter A" has a vast number of components, having to do with the ability to create, and differentiate between, graphic signs, the ability to conflate various variations of shape into versions of the same "ideal image"; the concept of a language as a consistent system of sound-elements; the categorization of these sounds into repeating patterns so that they can be encoded by a finite alphabet; the specific system of symbols which evolved as the Latin alphabet; its application and adaptation to a number of very diverse languages, and so on.  And each
>   of these components involves many functions, in every sense of the word: social functions, the way something functions (i.e. operates), energy functions, and even the most trivial of all, mathematical functions (after all, the letter A is part of a mapping, in the mathematical sense, of classes of sound-clusters into classes of graphical clusters).  And yes, of course I use the letter "A" very much like an egg, whenever the recipe (via the spelling conventions) calls for it...
> -m

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