Saturday, November 24, 2007

Clothed Causality

Deleuze says, "the Epicureans did not succeed in developing their theory of envelopes and surfaces and they did not reach the idea of incorporeal effects, perhaps because the 'simulacra' remain subjected to the single causality of bodies in depth" (The Logic of Sense, p. 94). I'm not sure about exactly what problem Deleuze sees with causality, but he evidently does see a problem with causality as this would explain why he would propose thinking of two types of causality. I'll call the two types of causality naked causality and clothed causality after Deleuze's discussion of two types of repetition, because perhaps the problems and the ways of addressing them are similar. (Don't ask me whether clothed causality deserves to the name of causality, because I am just getting into this.) Naked causality is straight up causality, whatever that might be. Clothed causality Deleuze calls quasi-causality or ideational causality. It concerns how surface effects "cause" other effects. Deleuze associates clothed causality with immanence, which I presume to be neither naked nor clothed for the time being. The point Deleuze is getting to in this section ("Fourteenth Series of Double Causality") is that "[t]he foundation can never resemble what it founds" (p. 99). The impulse to think of causality as doubled, like the impulse to think of repetition as doubled, responds to an impasse encountered in the course of Deleuze's critical engagement with representationalism (or simply his criticism of the idea of the same), as I see it. Deleuze then says something that quite intrigues me. He says that the foundation is another geography without being another world (ibidem). Evidently he thinks of founding as a relation of clothed causation. A question I have, then, is whether this way of thinking, or deterritorial thinking generally, is a monism. More concretely, I wonder what can be said about the character of the world to which the foundation and that which it founds belongs. Further along those lines, I wonder whether theory in the human sciences in general, or anywhere people care about foundations, isn't driven by a curiosity about the character of such an inclusive world, and whether it can ever be definitively said that such a curiosity would be fruitless. What would it mean to say that such a curiosity is misplaced? Well, if one would never think such a thought from within a curiosity, does a project of curiosity nevertheless open itself to such a critical thinking, and must it embrace the possibility of fruitlessness, the utter failure of a curiosity. (A curiosity can never resemble a project of curiosity–problem solved?) What is the character of a paradigm that would put curiosities to the test?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 8:48 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think foucault called it 'an ideal materialism of the pure event'. Not that that helps much.

The point being that D mixes up 'ideality' and 'materiality' in an 'absolute immanence'.
An immanence which is not immanent to anything.
Maybe 'What is Phil'. or 10000 plateaus develops this more...

I've just read Michael Chabon's 'Wonder Boys' which I thought was brilliant and quite tragically honest and perceptive.

November 25, 2007 11:07 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Hi, Paul.

Thanks for the note on "absolute immanence." I'll probably be following up on that someday.

We love watching Wonder Boys at least once a year. Never read it though. My wife has read it and she told me the movie is better. Now I'd like to read it for myself.

Did some reading over the Thanksgiving week while I was away from my computer. I could post some commentary, but I've been greatly concerned with tone and the tone I want the blog to have. What am I doing here? Anyway, I'm always glad to hear from you.

November 25, 2007 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think you'd really find parts of 1000 plateaus right up your alley - there's quite a bit on music...

I wouldn' get to wasted on LoS - another experiment.

"Deleuze's 'explorations' would be informal and far-ranging with frequent questions and interruptions. Discussions would range from Spinoza to modern music, from Chinese metallurgy to bird-song, from linguistics to gang warfare...The rhizome would grow, distinctions would proliferate. It was up to the participants to 'correct out' the dualisms by which D. was travelling, 'to arrive at the magic formula we all seek, PLURALISM = MONISM, by passing thru all the dualisms which are the enemy, the altogether necessary enemy.'" [there's a footnote here to the intro of 1000P.].

Interestingly Mario calls the AGNT a 'monism of efficient causality'.

The 'same' causality is at work for the semovient psyche and the hylozoic hiatus!

I will be reading more Chabon. He's got something - curious to see how he pans out.

Just bought a nice old yamaha turntable so I can play my old vinyl.
It's warming up here finally after the wettest winter on record.

J. Deely wants me to go to the SSA meeting in Houston nxt Oct. (semiotic society of amerika). almost tempted. could try and fly Auckland - Buenos Aires - Houston!!!

You won't believe this but I'm now going to dip into a bk by dear old Colin Wilson on Atlantis and Egypt. The pitch is that the Sphinx is weathered by water not wind and dates from 10,500.BC. It's actually quite well researched.
Apart from that I was flicking thru this amazing translation of Guattari's Chaosmosis - published by indiana in 1995!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 26, 2007 12:31 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

1995. It seems almost like yesterday when I bought that book from a shop in Providence, but it's been almost a decade.

Air travel makes me cranky. I've decided that from now on I won't read anything substantial on an airplane.

I expected more from Benson's book. I think because I have read a bit about improvisation and about phenomenology my expectations were too high.

I'm looking forward to reading Music and the Ineffable by Vladimir Jankelevitch, but I want the conditions to be just right. I need to get over quitting smoking and quitting espresso (it's been a rough month) and make sure I can think the way I want to think before I open that one.

November 26, 2007 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

"What is the character of a paradigm that would put curiosities to the test?"

Such a paradigm would be of a dangerous character, wouldn't it?

If we found such a paradigm,( or more likely, in my opinion, if we were to fool ourselves we'd found such a paradigm,) what would we do with the curiosities which failed the test?

My faith in our innate goodness is such that I assume we'd consign those curiosities,( their bearers, anyway,) to prison of some sort - to a concentration camp.

Doesn't this question indicate a veering away from Deleuze's intentions here?

As I see it, Deleuze in LoS is working away from (creating an alternative to) thinking influenced by hylomorphisms, the reductionism of thinking of material causalities to physics, away from downward causations...

As I interpret your question, aren't you asking for a kind of downward causation for curiosities?

(Perhaps in order to throw away "idle" curiosities, false curiosity?)

November 29, 2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

Change prison or concentration camp to - "correctional facility"...

November 29, 2007 8:29 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

"As I interpret your question, aren't you asking for a kind of downward causation for curiosities?"

No, I don't think so. I'm wondering if there can be anything like a systematic curiosity that would also be sufficiently critical to put its own "grounding," or defining curiosity to the test. (The test of curiosity?) Further, I'm wondering whether academic curiosities, esp. perhaps in the human sciences, adopt a paradigm of curiosity that is not internal to their defining curiosities. Is this what it means to be constituted as a critical curiosity? I don't know.

I'm steering away from the question of causality here. I don't know what to make of it. I think I'm veering away from Deleuze in thinking that intellectual culture shows us something like defining curiosities that, understandably if not necessarily, explore worlds that include both the ground and the grounded.

Let me say it another way. There is a question of whether curiosities are grounded in philosophy. ("Downward causation"? I haven't committed to this, so please don't hold me to it.) Well, first I might be trying to imagine such a thing in a way that wouldn't pull the rug out from under a curiosity, because evidently curiosities don't need philosophers to certify their foundations. However, something, perhaps curiosity itself, demands that curiosity inquire outside of its initial world. Would that mean curiosity pulling the rug out from under itself, or would it be able to sustain itself in a kind of paradox whereby it demands to investigate a world inclusive of the ground and the grounded as a condition of its being a particular curiosity at the same time it depends on an institutionalization of curiosity as an arbiter of curiosity in general, even though any such institution could not have a ground in the same way a curiosity has a ground, and therefore any appeal to ultimate or common ground would be arbitrary. Do I see a tension between a curiosity and its institutionalization? Would its institutionalization be like a correctional facility or a playground? (The test of a curiosity is whether it's fun.)

So in my view of curiosities as cultural elaborations is there is something of a downward causation? I'm not sure how I've said anything terribly deterministic, or downward. If a curiosity depends on an institution as an arbiter of curiosity, that doesn't mean it accepts binding arbitration or that it even respects any higher authority, though perhaps it might want to be able to claim such respect. Anyhoo, I see this as more of a negotiation than a causation. Were I to ignore cultural elaborations of curiosity I don't know that I'd avoid such questions. Any appeal to a curiosity as such, for instance, would be recognizable as coming from and belonging to a particular curiosity. Well, I'm weighing different appeals.

I'm torn between regarding academics in general as dangerous or as playful. I recently saw a tv show about an orangutan. I felt a great kinship with the beast (not a hominid, but a cousin), though I rather doubt it would completely reciprocate my kind feelings. It nearly strangled Julia Roberts.

November 30, 2007 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

"I'm wondering if there can be anything like a systematic curiosity that would also be sufficiently critical to put its own "grounding," or defining curiosity to the test."

Mr.Yak, by my reading of him this is also one of Nietzsche's most important questions.

One of the things which interests me so much is that you are, if I understand correctly, tangling with the subject-object duality in the way you are posing this...

What anonymous said, a few comments ago, is very pertinent here,

"The rhizome would grow, distinctions would proliferate. It was up to the participants to 'correct out' the dualisms by which D. was travelling, 'to arrive at the magic formula we all seek, PLURALISM = MONISM, by passing thru all the dualisms which are the enemy, the altogether necessary enemy.'"

November 30, 2007 2:18 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I haven't read much Nietzsche to be honest. Lately I've been reading all kinds of secondary literature about The Sopranos. Well, bother. I don't like tv enough to pay for a subscription, but here I've gone and purchased these dvds and checked out these books. I'm going to read Bourdieu's On Television not as penance for my corruption, but as a the next logical step in my corruption. Maybe with Nietzsche I could get away from gawdawful intellectual secondariness.

So is the subject-object business a necessary enemy? Well, when I'm in the mood of rehabilitating the subject it feels necessary, as much as I'd like to do one without the other, and as inimical as I find the whole thing. I'm not sure we really know that much about subjects and objects anyway. I don't.

Benson, whose book I have avoided commenting this past week, talks about Gadamer's idea of a fusion of horizons. Benson thinks this fusion means individual voices are lost, that otherness is lost. It doesn't say that to me though. The idea of horizons would be another way of tangling with subject-object dualities, though I have not thought it through as clearly as I would like to.

November 30, 2007 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that that quote about monism/pluralism comes from Dialogues (altho I have the first edition).
I was interested in Eric Alliez's enthusiasism for the bk...

Dialogues II

Gilles Deleuze with Claire Parnet
Translated by Hugh Tomlinson, Barbara Habberjam, and Eliot Albert

"The best introduction to Deleuzian philosophy. A dazzling exposition of Deleuze’s concepts and methodologies, of how to think in new ways in order to liberate life wherever it is prisoned . . . Dialogues affirms how a new type of revolution is about to become possible."
—Eric Alliez

In the most accessible and personal of his works, Deleuze examines, through a series of discussions with Claire Parnet, such revealing topics as his own philosophical background and development, the central themes of his work, and some of his relationships, in particular with the philosopher Félix Guattari.

November 30, 2007 10:47 PM  
Blogger Yusef Asabiyah said...

It's very useful for me to be reminded the things I think are obvious aren't at all obvious. Thanks.

November 30, 2007 11:55 PM  

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