Prof. Gregg Lambert (Syracuse University)
THE CREATION OF CONCEPTS: FREUD, KANT, DELEUZE
Abstract: In this lecture, which is drawn from my new work on Deleuze’s major claim that “philosophy creates concepts, “ I will focus on what appears to be, on Deleuze’s part, a psychological reading of the motive behind Kant’s philosophical system, which he often describes as a kind of paranoia or controlled schizophrenia. For example, the CPR is described as a kind of “thinking machine” that should not immediately be identified with the philosopher himself, but instead as the construction of a secondary symbolic order that functions independently of the subject, whose construction also exhibits a frightening productivity in the creation of new concepts, which Deleuze and Guattari also identify with real schizophrenia (e.g., “Joey,” the machine boy who figures in the opening pages of Anti-Oedipus). Moreover, the mention of a “machine” should also recall the work on Kafka that Deleuze and Guattari wrote together before Deleuze’s 1987 seminar on Kant’s Critical Philosophy, and perhaps it is this machining association that explains Deleuze’s renewed interest in Kant, and especially, in the parts of the Transcendental Aesthetic and Logic especially, under the metaphor of the assemblage. For the purposes of this talk, however, this is how I will choose to interpret Deleuze’s reading of Kantian motive for the creation of a system at this point: as a defense against madness. This is also one manner of interpreting the psychological motive for the creation or concepts, which is twofold: first, preventative, to shore up the object against the dangers of its loss through a kind of delusion or madness; second, a constructive or propaedeutic exercise, which is the creation of the concept as a manner of retaining the object for the subject. Creation is also to love in order not to fall ill, or to become an average or everyday neurotic. As Freud claimed. “A strong egoism is a protection against falling ill, but we must begin to love in order not to fall ill, and we are bound to fall ill, if in the last resort, in the consequence of frustration, we are unable to love.” In “On Narcissism,” he first established the creation of the ego ideal in relation to what he calls the psychogenesis of Creation, citing the following lines by the German Romantic poet Heinrich Heine: “Illness was no doubt the final cause of the whole urge to create. By creating, I could recover; by creating, I became healthy”.