Friday, November 28, 2008

Deleuze-Leibniz drops a pile on the head of Cartesian essences

From Gilles Deleuze's The Fold:Leibniz and the Baroque:

"Leibnizian inclusion is based upon a scheme of subject-verb-object that since antiquity resists the scheme of attribution. Here we have a Baroque grammar in which the predicate is above all a relation and an event, and not an attribute. When Leibniz uses the attributive model, he does so from the point of view of a classical logic of genres and species, which follows only nominal requirements. He does not use it in order to ground inclusion. Predication is not an attribution. The predicate is the 'execution of travel,' as an act, a movement, a change, and not a state of travel. The predicate is the proposition itself. And I can no more reduce 'I travel' to 'I am a traveling being' than I can reduce 'I think' to 'I am a thinking being.' Thought is not a constant attribute, but a predicate passing endlessly from one thought to another.

"That the predicate is a verb, and that the verb is irreducible to the copula and to the attribute, mark the very basis of the Leibnizian conception of the event. In the first place the event is deemed worthy of being raised to the state of a concept: the Stoics accomplished this by making the event neither an attribute nor a quality, but the incorporal predicate of a subject of the proposition (not 'the tree is green,' but 'the tree greens...'). They conclude that the proposition stated a 'manner of being' of the thing, an 'aspect' that exceeded the Aristotelian alternative, essence-accident: for the verb 'to be' they substitute 'to follow,' and they put manner in the place of essence. Then Leibniz implemented the second great logic of the event: the world itself is an event and, as an incorporeal (= virtual) predicate, the world must be included in every subject as a basis from which each one extracts the manners that correspond to its point of view (aspects). The world is predication itself, manners being the particular predicates, and the subject, what goes form one predicate to another as if from one aspect of the world to another. The coupling basis-manners disenfranchises form or essence: Leibniz makes it the mark of philosophy. The Stoics and Leibniz invent a mannerism that is opposed to the essentialism first of Aristotle and then of Descartes. Mannerism as a composite of the Baroque is inherited from a Stoic mannerism that is now extended to the cosmos." (53)

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