dialogues at greenwich: 14 APRIL Integrations #1 Workshop on Deleuze and Calculus

dialogues at greenwich

discussion and reports from the Volcanic Lines research group at Greenwich University

18 April 2007

14 APRIL Integrations #1 Workshop on Deleuze and Calculus


The Integrations #1 workshop on Deleuze and the differential calculus took place on Saturday 14th April at Greenwich University's Maritime Greenwich Campus. It was a very productive event indeed. We would like to thank Bat for giving an absolutely invaluable and extremely effective presentation on calculus in the morning session. Our thanks are also due to the participants who took part in the discussions. The afternoon session focused upon Deleuze's use of 'the so-called barbaric or pre-scientific interpretations of the differential calculus' in chapter 4 of Deleuze's Difference and Repetition.

The morning session allowed us to get to grips with this extremely dense chapter and consider how calculus is being used here, its status in Deleuze's thought. What made this discussion particularly relevant was the recent paper by Christian Kerslake at Middlesex University's 'Deleuze and Rationalism' conference. He developed a case for developing Deleuze's reference to the 'esoteric history of differential philosophy' in terms of certain starnds of esoteric thought. The the work of the 'bright stars' differential philosophy Wronski and Maimon certainly involved such traditions. It seems as if these pages have now become a pressing challenge and a problematic for Deleuze scholarship, taking on a life of their own that challenges our assumptions about his work. This does not deny the role of mathematics but may put it in a new light, one that differs fundamentally from Manuel DeLanda's reading of Deleuze's use of maths.

Further reports on the events will follow here and contributions are very welcome indeed (e-mail volcaniclines@hotmail.com with longer contributions or leave a comment to this post).

Here are some useful texts and references provided by those who attended the workshop:

1. Here is a link to a highly relevant transcript of a seminar given by Deleuze (many thanks to Nathan Moore of Birkbeck College for this):

http://www.webdeleuze.com/php/texte.php?cle=42&groupe=Spinoza&langue=2

2. The following are texts particularly useful for philosophers exploring mathematics (many thanks to Robin Mackay of Middlesex University for this):

KLINE, M. Mathematics in Western Culture. London:Penguin 1990 (originally OUP 1964).

Chapter XV 'Grasping the Fleeting Instant: The Calculus' (pp247-268) gives an easy to follow account of how differentiation works in a simple case.

For those who want to go further, the only good technical book I've found which doesn't simply launch into equations and 'how to do it' instructions is:

EXNER, G. Inside Calculus. New York: Springer, 2000.

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