I’ll be giving a series of lectures at the Deleuze Camp (Workshop) in Osaka at the end of May. Here are the abstracts of the lectures. Any comments or feedback are welcome.

“Learning to Think: Deleuze and the Art of Philosophy”

Lecture 1: The Problem with Solutions

In this first of three lectures I will begin to defend what I take to be Deleuze’s metephysics of multiplicity, a metaphysics that combines both an affirmation of Humean multiplicity and a Spinozist affirmation of monism. A guiding theme in these lectures will be Hume’s theory of taste, as found in his essay “Of the Standard of Taste.” This theme is not arbitrary, for in Chapter 3 of What is Philosophy?, Deleuze and Guattari argue that it is taste that is the “philosophical faculty of coadaptation” that  relates the three elements that “constitute the philosophical trinity”—namely, the plane of immanence, conceptual personae, and concepts. This lecture will take up the theme of problems and argue that what is distinctive about philosophy is that it has a taste for the problems that are immanent to the solutions that supposedly resolve and displace them.

Lecture 2: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

In this lecture I will revisit the problem that Deleuze takes to be central to Hume’s philosophical project—that is, the problem of how a “subject transcending the given [can] be constituted in the given.” For Hume this was the problem of accounting for how one comes to the belief that A causes B when there is nothing in A, nor in the succession of A and B, that necessitates the causal relationship between A and B. For Deleuze this emerges as the problem of accounting for how an identity that is irreducible to difference is nonetheless constituted in difference. In short, how does difference-in-itself serve as the principle of sufficient reason for any and all individuated identities. The concept of conceptual personae, we will see, needs to be understood in the context of Deleuze’s efforts to respond to this problem.

Lecture 3: Learning to Think

The focus of the final lecture will be Deleuze’s claim, in Difference and Repetition, that “to think is to create – there is no other creation—but to create is first of all to engender ‘thinking’ within thought.” (DR 147) The first two lectures will have begun to lay out the conditions necessary for engendering thinking in thought. In this lecture we will look further at the relationship between thought and thinking. Learning to think, I will argue, entails a taste for the problems within thought itself, and both Hume and Deleuze had a taste for such problems; or, both were adept at learning to think.