By V. Adoratsky
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Extra resources for DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM
In what follows, however, I would like to focus primarily on Deleuze’s relation to Kant rather than Plato or Hegel. Deleuze tends to index his own theory of Ideas on Kant, and with regard to the theory of Ideas his relations to Plato and Hegel are, in a sense, somewhat secondary. There are two reasons for the priority Deleuze gives to Kant on the question of dialectics. On the one hand, Deleuze’s critique of Plato’s theory of Ideas largely functions as a propaedeutic to his reading of Kant. For Deleuze, Plato created the concept of the Idea in order to provide a criterion to distinguish between (or to ‘select’ between) things and their simulacra – for instance, between Socrates (the true philosopher) and the sophists (the simulacral counterfeits).
If I see a flower in front of me, I can make several different types of judgement about it. I can make a judgement of knowledge, using the concepts of the understanding (‘This is a white lily’). Or I can make a judgement of beauty, in the ‘free play’ of the imagination and the understanding (‘This white lily is beautiful’). But reason, looking over the shoulder of the imagination and the understanding, can do something different: it can ‘symbolise,’ that is, it can relate the concepts of colour and flower, no longer to the white lily as such, but to something else – to an Idea, for instance, the Idea of pure innocence.
6 Different bodies are not affected by the same things, or not affected in the same way by the same things (EPS: 217/SPE: 197): each type of body is characterised by minimum and maximum thresholds concerning what can affect it, and in what degree and what way (SPP: 123–5; EPS: 204/SPE: 186), which in turn is a function of the relations among its parts (or unformed, simple elements) – particularly ratios of motion and rest, speed and slowness (SPP: 32, 127–8): ‘The speed or slowness of metabolisms, perceptions, actions and reactions link together to constitute a particular individual in the world’ (SPP: 125), or a particular, individuated essence of a body (SPP: 27/40; EPS: 93/SPE: 82).