On the notion of the political in postmarxist theory.

Seminars

14.06.2013
Aesthetic existence and the ontologisation of poverty
Whatever life

20.04.2013
The practise of doing nothing 

Unemployed positivity

04.11.2012
Miguel Abensour as reader of Spinoza
Spinoza, Marx, Moses Hess

05.10.2012
Agamben and Nancy as readers of Spinoza
Leaving Immanence?

06.06.2012
Feminist readings of Spinoza
Becoming woman?

03.05.2012
Deleuze on Spinoza's theory of affects 

From the ontological to the affective

04.04.2012
Spinoza with Deleuze
The underground current of the philosophy of immanence

07.03.2012
Macherey's Spinoza
Ontology of multiplicity or materialist dialectic?

08.02.2012
Althusser's concept of immanent causality 
- Seminar
Marx with Spinoza

08.12.2011
Exhausting politics 

Being out of class (Deleuze)

01.11.2011
What is an inoperativity that consists in contemplating one's own potentiality to act?
The messianic class

29.06.2011
Sharing the inappropriable
The retreating class

26.05.2011
The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class II

07.04.2011
The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class

03.03.2011
Disrupting the logic of division
The supplementary class

04.02.2011
The antinomies of proletarian politics
The paradoxical class

02.12.2010
Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe on political difference
Retreating the political

08.11.2010
Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin
What Is to be Done? and Bolshevism

03.10.2010
The concept of capitalism in "Anti-Oedipus"
Capitalism deterritorialized

30.06.2010
Deleuze, Guattari, Lacan
An impossible encounter I

28.05.2010
An impossible encounter: Deleuze, Guattari and Lacan
Preparatory Meeting

27.05.2010
Micropolitics in "A thousand plateaus"
Molecular Politics I

07.04.2010
On affectivity and potentiality
Spinoza with Deleuze

04.03.2010
Nietzsche with Deleuze
The negative in the positive

04.02.2010
The notion of becoming in Deleuze and Guattari
Becoming

04.11.2009
On Esposito's concept of bio/politics
Biopotentiality

08.10.2009
Reading Althusser

07.10.2009
Rancière's farewell to Althusserian Marxism
La leçon d'Althusser

06.10.2009
Debating Althusser's philosophy of the encounter
What is aleatory materialism?

03.09.2009
Negri on materialism
Kairos, Alma Venus, Multitudo

02.09.2009
Tronti and Cacciari's concept of the political
The autonomy of the political

17.06.2009
"From Capital-Labor to Capital-Life" by M. Lazzarato
Invention

20.05.2009
Reading Simondon
Individuation

09.04.2009
Nancy on the singularity of death
Excess

11.03.2009
Agamben and Deleuze on pure immanence
Immanence

11.03.2009
Encountering Althusser
Preparatory meeting

11.03.2009
Workshop: becoming-major, becoming-minor
Preparatory meeting

07.02.2009
Foucault with Deleuze
The force of the outside II

06.02.2009
Superimposing diagrams: discipline and governmentality
The force of the outside

06.02.2009
Encountering Althusser
Preparatory Meeting

05.12.2008
Reading Jacques Rancière's "Dis-agreement"
Marx's Metapolitics

04.11.2008
Reading Balibar's "The Vacillation of Ideology in Marxism"
The non-totalizable complexity of the historical process

05.10.2008
Reading Jacques Derrida's "Specters of Marx"
Deconstructing Value Theory

11.09.2008
Reading Moishe Postone's "Time, Labor and Social Domination"
Value and Capitalist Capacities

01.07.2008
Debating "The mirror of production" by Jean Baudrillard
Marx with Bataille

06.06.2008
The coming communities of commons

05.06.2008
Feminist comments on the relation between politics and labor
The arcane of reproduction

09.05.2008
Rancière on the inactuality of communism and the intelligence of the unqualified

07.05.2008
Virno on Marx's "Fragments on machines"
Notes on the general intellect

04.04.2008
Virno on the concept of bio-politics in Postoperaism
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy? II

03.04.2008
Jason Read on abstract and living labor
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy?

07.03.2008
Reading Negri's "Twenty Theses on Marx"
The autonomy of living labor

08.02.2008
Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker II

07.02.2008
Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker

07.12.2007
On Badiou's concept of truth procedure
Assigning a measure to the excessive power of the state

09.11.2007
Reading Jacques Ranciere's "Ten theses on politics"
The supplementary part that disconnects the people from itself

04.10.2007
Deleuze and Guattari on the concept of minoritarian struggle
Micropolitics

07.09.2007
On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class II

06.09.2007
On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class

02.07.2007
From class to minority
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism III

01.07.2007
On the concept of the concrete universal
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism II

30.06.2007
On Marx and Foucault
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism

30.05.2007
Dictatorship of the proletariat and council movement
The Soviet experience II

29.05.2007
Rosa Luxemburg on the Russian Revolution
The Soviet experience

06.04.2007
Negri on Lenin
Democracy beyond law II

05.04.2007
Lenin's concept of the dictatorship of protetariat
Democracy beyond law

09.03.2007
Benjamin's concept of mysthic and divine violence
To bring about the real state of exception II

08.03.2007
Agamben's reading of Benjamin
To bring about the real state of exception

09.02.2007
Agamben's sovereign theoretical turn in thinking potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality II

08.02.2007
Agamben's theory of autonomous potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality

Deleuze on Spinoza's theory of affects 

From the ontological to the affective

In this session, we will discuss two chapters of Deleuze's Expressionism in philosophy, chapter 13 on modal existence and chapter 14 on affects. At stake is the question of immanent causality in Spinoza, in particular the difference between affection and affect and the two corresponding types of causality: reciprocal interaction between bodies and intensive individuation triggered by affects. Again we will examine how the questions of causality and determination are linked to the question of infinity, and in how far Deleuze presents an entirely different reading of Spinoza than Althusser regarding these questions.

Ilse van Rijn will introduce to chapter 14, Anne Lefebvre will continue by examining how Deleuze tackled the problem of causality in the first two apendices to Logic of sense, 'Simulacrum and ancient philosophy'.

— Gilles Deleuze 1992, Expressionism in philosophy. Spinoza (Chap. 13: Modal Existence, pp. 201-217; chapter 14: What can a body do?, pp. 217- 289), New York: Zone Books [for the text see the previous seminar announcement]

—Gilles Deleuze 1990, The Logic of Sense, London: The Athlone Press (appendices: 'Simulacrum and ancient philosopy', pp. 253-279)

Further reference:
— Gilles Deleuze, Sur Spinoza, Cours Vincennes, 24/01/1978: The affect and the idea, see http://www.webdeleuze.com
— Pierre-François Moreau 2011, 'The imitation of the affects and interhuman relations', in Michael Hampe et.al.: Spinoza’s Ethics, A collective commentary, Leiden: Brill, pp. 167-178

At the last session we discussed Deleuze's hypothesis that immanence is the most dangerous theme of the history of philosophy. Taken up again in What is philosophy?, Deleuze suggests that Spinoza is the great thinker of immanence ‘who knew full well that immanence was only immanent to itself and therefore that it was a plane traversed by movements of the infinite, filled with intensive ordinates.’ In Expressionism in philosophy Deleuze reconstructs the theme of immanence in Spinoza by reading it in combination with three other themes: the Platonic theme of participation, the Neoplatonic theme of emanation, and the scholastic themes of univocity and complicatio. Deleuze examines this underground current of the philosophy of immanence throughout history, in order to conceptualise an ontology of pure difference that allows for reformulating the problem of causality and determination. Doing so, Deleuze pinpoints pivotal elements in Spinoza’s model of causality that have been ignored by Althusser who also turned to Spinoza in order to reformulate the problem of causality.
According to Deleuze the anti-Cartesianism of Spinoza and Leibniz has to be traced back to the idea of expression which has remained a neglected theme in the reception of Spinoza. The post-Kantians considered Spinoza's philosophy to be one of genesis and self-unfolding but they reproached Spinoza for not having conceptualised the development of substance. They claimed Spinoza's substance to be mute and immobile, an abyss absorbing all and everything. Accordingly, they understood expression to be an exterior act of understanding as Macherey pointed out regarding Hegel's reading of Spinoza.

However, Deleuze claims, that expression and explication can in no way be reduced to an act of understanding, but have to be grasped as the genesis of the thing in itself and the relations of life. The idea of expression helps, according to Deleuze, to understand how the neoplatonic idea of creative determination has been radicalised in Spinoza by grafting 'an expressive immanence of Being onto the emanative transcendence of the One’. The emanative cause is more and more transformed into an immanent cause thereby liberated from transcendence, eminence and analogy.

Deleuze pinpoints that Plotinus’ emanative and Spinoza’s immanent cause both remain in themselves. The emanative cause, however, stands over being, and its effects leave the cause that remains in itself. They are nothing but the things that follow, the descending things, emanations representing the degradations of a being that flows out of and down from an eminent One. In contrast, Spinoza’s radicalism lies in the hypothesis that the effects remain in the cause just as the cause remains in itself: ‘From this point of view the distinction of essence between cause und effect can in no way be understood as a degradation. From the viewpoint of immanence the distinction of essence does not exclude, but rather implies, an equality of being; it is the same being that remains in itself in the cause, and in which the effect remains as in another thing.’ For Deleuze, due to the equality and univocity of being, immanence is not to be separated from the idea of expression; the substance expresses itself in its effects, while on a second level the effects express themselves in the substance as dissimilar modifications.
This second level is that of ‘the very production of particular things’, the ontogenetic level, which Althusser does not discuss in Spinoza. This omission makes him miss two fundamental characteristics of Spinoza’s model of causality: first, that determination is positive in the sense of being expressive; second, and directly related to this, that the cause is not absent but explicated in and by its effects in a non-representative, non-resembling expression.

Althusser described the activity of the immanent cause by the retroactive and reciprocal displacements of ‘indices of effectivity’, which are determined by the positions that social relations occupy ‘in the mechanism of the whole’. However, in Spinoza, expression primarily has nothing to do with the reciprocal interaction between the parts of a whole (this accounts only for the interaction between bodies), but with the activity of what medieval scholasticism calls a pars intensiva, an intensive part or intrinsic degree. While for Deleuze the individuation of such a degree occurs in a structure’s internal distances, Althusser restricts himself to saying that not the individuation but the dislocation of the degree takes place in the distance inscribed in a structure, without analysing the type of active transformation characteristic of the degree itself.

Deleuze turns to Spinoza because the latter’s philosophy of expression makes it possible to think degrees of being in terms of the individuation of the intensive or the indeterminate (both assumed to be differential in themselves), and thus to reject Hegel’s basic alternative, which Hegel himself so often attributed to Spinoza: either ‘the indeterminate, the indifferent, the undifferenciated or a difference already determined as negation, implying and enveloping the negative’. Against Hegel’s idea that each determination is a negation, Deleuze refers to Spinoza in order to think determination as affirmation – or in Spinoza’s own words: ‘That through which things are said to be determined to produce an effect must be something positive.’ The following theses that we are going to discuss in the forthcoming session are therefore linked: the cause affirms itself in its modifications; the modifications express intensive degrees of the cause; the indeterminate is not an indifferent abyss, but the internal differentiation of the cause itself. Here, everything depends on thinking difference not as distinction, but as that by which distinction makes itself, i.e. as the differenciator.