Deleuze and Dice


Today I read Chapter 4 of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. Here are some highlights.

“It is not illegitimate, therefore, to summarise in this way the movement of philosophy from Plato to Fichte or Hegel by way of Descartes, whatever the diversity of the initial hypotheses or the final apodicticities. There is at least something in common: namely, the point of departure found in a ‘hypothesis’ or proposition of consciousness affected by a coefficient of uncertainty (as with Cartesian doubt) and the point of arrival found in an eminently moral apodicticity or imperative (Plato’s One-Good, the non-deceiving God of the Cartesian Cogito, Leibniz’s principle of the best of all possible worlds, Kant’s categorical imperative, Fichte’s Self, Hegel’s ‘Science’). However, while this procedure maximally approximates the real movement of thought, it also maximally betrays and distorts this movement: this conjoint hypotheticism and moralism, this scientlstlc hypotheticism and this rationalist moralism, render unrecognisable what they approximate” (Difference and Repetition, 197).

Deleuze opposes this movement from the hypothetical to the apodictic and offers us instead a movement from the problematical to the question. To what benefit? He acknowledges that both the apodictic and the question are both related to imperatives, but a difference exists between the hypothetical and the problematical, insofar as the hypothetical is an illegitimate reduction of the problem to mere propositions of consciousness and to representations of knowledge. Let’s return to the difference between the apodictic and the question. Questions help us explore the connection between problems and imperatives from which they emerge. “Problems or Ideas emanate from imperatives of adventure or from events which appear in the form of question” (Difference and Repetition, 197). He then offers a helpful illustration of these relations by comparing it to a throw of the dice. The dots on the dice represent the singular points, the dice represents questions, the throw is the imperative, and finally the problematic combinations are the ideas. What are ideas? Ideas are pure multiplicities that “animate and describe the disjoint exercise of the faculties from a transcendental of view (Difference and Repetition, 194). He then exhorts us to affirm chance in and of itself.

“The throw of the dice carries out the calculation of problems, the determination of differential elements or the distribution of singular points which constitute a structure” (Difference and Repetition, 198).

He goes on to say:

“The imperative are those of being, while every question is ontological and distributes ‘that which is’ among problems. Ontology is the dice throw, the chaosmos from which the cosmos emerges” (Difference and Repetition, 199).


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