Universal man as supplementary value

Gough, Tim (2008) Universal man as supplementary value. In: Identites en construction [Identities under construction]; 16 Oct 2008, Liege, Belgium. (Unpublished)


This paper will return to the early work of Deleuze and his �destruction of�/�assertion of the construction of� (we might say �deconstruction of�) identities and subjects in Difference and Repetition (1994) and Logic of Sense (1990). Famously, all identities are renounced in the name on the one hand of a Nietzschean differences of force and on the other in the name of particularities. Identities are, at the limit, derived and constructed from difference, and difference is defined in itself as pure difference, not in relation to the same. Thus in Deleuze�s interpretation, the eternal return of the same speaks not of the return of something identical with what came before, but return as the generation of what we call the same. The same �is said of� difference, just as �univocal Being [God, self] is said of beings which are not univocal� (1990, 300). Thus Deleuze questions the great historic division of philosophy between on the one hand the pre-enlightenment centring of the infinite divine being and, on the other, the Kantian substitution of it by the finite self. For the self can only exist by virtue of God, and in this respect the enlightenment fools itself as to its own true footing: As long as we maintain the formal identity of the self, doesn�t the self remain subject to a divine order, and to a unique God who is its foundation? Klossowski insists that God is the sole guarantor of the identity of the self and of its substantive base� One cannot conserve the self without also holding onto God (294) Subsequent to this deconstruction, in what way does Deleuze�s distinction between the differentiation of the Idea and the differenciation of its actualisation inform the construction of, or �saying of�, identities; and what implications does this have for a post-humanist, post-subject thought? It will be argued that it is not a question simply of discarding the subject or the human, and in that sense �man� must remains a universal concern. However, Deleuze�s logic, in a similar way to the supplementary logic of Derrida, implies that the locus of the �universal� would be displaced from its pretensions as implying a grounding principle, a measure of all measures. It would instead feature as constant accompaniment � perhaps of the nature of a friend; as one of those ideas that remains universally within the field of investigation, but not as arché to that field. As we know, this strategy is not more profound than humanism and the philosophy of the subject. On the contrary, it reverts to the surface of which Deleuze speaks throughout The Logic of Sense (see particularly 4-11). Its strategy is otherwise, and thus, it will be shown, potentially effective.

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