Experience, Time and the Subject: Deleuze's Transformation of Kant's Critical Philosophy
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The aim of this thesis is to show that Deleuze develops a new conception of experience. I
do so by showing the roots of this new conception in a transformation of Kant’s
transcendental philosophy. Kant is central toDeleuze’s project because Deleuze finds in
Kant the idea that the justification for truth is internal to the relation of subject and object.
Since the internal relation is vital to Deleuze’s notion of experience, his project is formed
as the problem of transcendental conditioning, as was Kant’s. However, Deleuze argues
that Kant did not take the critique far enough since he was able to examine claims to truth
but not the idea of truth itself. Deleuze’s notion of experience is developed in and
through his attempt to overcome this problem.
I show that Deleuze transforms Kant by rethinking fourkey notions. First, Deleuze
reconceives the notion of the system of experience. He argues that Kant’s notion of the
system of experience closes off experience sothat nothing genuinely new could occur.
For Deleuze, experience does not form a single system but, instead, there are multiple
systems of experience and they arise from within experience. In addition, new systems of
experience can occur for Deleuze. Second, he rethinks the notion of the transcendental
conditions of experience such that they condition experience but arise from within
experience. Experience can always be opened up in a new way. Moreover, since
experience can occur in a genuinely new way, the subject must be able to be transformed
as well. Third, then, he also rethinks the notion of the subject. For Deleuze, we cannot
begin with a subject that is self-identical. He provides an account for the production of
the subject. The transcendental conditions of experience belong to experience itself, not
the subject. The subject and the object of knowledge are produced together when a
system of experience opens up. As a result, the subject and object are necessarily in
relation and, for this reason, the object can always in principle be known by the subject.
Fourth, although Deleuze relies on Kant’s conception of time to explain the subject’s
relation to itself, he transforms both the subject’s self-relation and the conception of time.
In Kant the subject simply cannot know itself asit is, but only as it is given to itself.
Deleuze’s subject, which also cannot know itself, can nonetheless genuinely be
transformed and become different from itself. The transformation of the subject occurs at
the moment that a new field of experience is opened up. In conclusion, Deleuze shows
that new experience can always occur.
movement as occurring at infinite speeds.)25 However, for the sake of trying to understand how difference emerges from the state of indifference or indeterminacy, if we consider the second aspect of indifference that Deleuze describes, the white nothingness, we can see that transcendental difference overcomes the indifference of the unconnected, floating determinations. Transcendental difference must be understood as the establishment of the connection or relation of determinations. In this sense
brief review of Simondon’s L’individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d’information (Individuation Through the Notions of Form and Information), published as “On Gilbert Simondon” in Desert Islands, is somewhat more explicit on how the use of Simondon fits into Deleuze’s project.43 For Deleuze, there are individuals only through a process of becoming individual. What is prior to individuals must be more than individual, or a surplus of reality. For Deleuze, being is not the individual
the new dimension created can be understood as an equilibrium structure.50 In fact all extensive properties of an actual individual are produced during the synthesis of intensity as additional and stabilizing dimensions. Insofar as the individual is defined by these stabilizing dimensions, it is a solution to a problem. 49 50 Ibid., p. 140. Manuel DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, p. 60. 116 We can examine more closely what occurs during the process of individuation for
bridges the gap between intuition and concept. Deleuze says that Kant’s schema is like a Euclidean notion and simply occurs ‘between’ the concept and intuition, both of which must be presupposed (DR 174). His notion of the spatiotemporal dynamism attempts to replace the notion of schema. Deleuze uses the example of the straight line: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. “In this sense, the mathematician Houël remarked that the shortest distance is not a Euclidean notion at
continuation, clarification, or support of the framework by which we make sense of the world. In this way he re-conceives what it is to do philosophy. The philosopher does not think in accordance with the framework by which the world is organized, but, rather, against established presuppositions. In this sense, philosophy, as Deleuze says, serves no 194 established power.68 Some person or institution maintains its influence and power so long as the current arrangement of people, wealth,