Saturday, May 19, 2012

Smore bloodless transcendentals

Continuing from this post, Paul Patton, the other co-editor of BDD, writes chapter 1. Therein he says: 

“For both the task of philosophy...relies on a certain usage of the absolute or unconditioned” (17). For Derrida his “affirmative deconstruction” relies on this distinction between the conditioned and the unconditioned. But how is the later formulated? And how are both related?

For Derrida the unconditioned is impossible, forever to come and never arrives. And yet it is necessary to keep open the conditioned from being fixed and stagnant by inciting growth and novelty. Thus its relation to the conditioned is one of mutual penetration yet irreducible distinction. And avoids the foundationalism and dualism of some type of essential absolute realm apart from the relative. Hence there is no 'pure' conditioned or unconditioned, no bodiless (formless) absolute and no substanceless (in Bryant's terms) body/form. “In practice, it is never a question of pure... [unconditioned] since there is always some kind of 'transaction' or exchange involved” (20).

Deleuze & Guatarri's notion of deterritorialisation is similar in that it posits an unconditioned in distinction yet inseperable from the conditioned. Hoever there are virtual and actual deterritorialisations. The virtual remains per se unrealizable yet can only manifest in the actual, hence the former is the “underlying condition of all forms of [the] actual” (22). This sounds similar to Derrida's 'embodied' thesis but note that for D&G “while pure events are expressed or incarnated in bodies or states of affairs...the pure event itself exists independently of these impure incarnations” (23).

Patton realizes that “the concept of the pure event does not feature prominently in Derrida's work” (24). Yet he struggles to find instances of this 'pure event' in Derrida, showing how he uses those words. And yet per above for Derrida such an event of the unconditioned or virtual must be inextricably embodied; it is not tainted by such “impure incarnations.” Granted Derrida and D&G are alike is using the conditioned and unconditioned, and in some other ways Patton lays out, but not so on this important point.

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