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Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics
Without Criteria
Technologies of Lived Abstraction
Brian Massumi and Erin Manning, editors
Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy, Erin Manning, 2009
Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics, Steven Shaviro,
Without Criteria: Kant,
Whitehead, Deleuze, and
Steven Shaviro
The MIT ress !ambridge, Massachusetts London, England
" 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technolog#
All rights reserved$ %o &art of this boo' ma# be re&roduced in an# form b# an#
electronic or mechanical means (including &hotoco&#ing, recording, or
information storage and retrieval) *ithout &ermission in *riting from the
+or information about s&ecial ,uantit# discounts, &lease email
This boo' *as set in /aramond and 0otis semi1sans b# Binghamton 2alle#
!om&osition in 3uar'$ rinted and bound in the 4nited States of America$
Librar# of !ongress !ataloging1in1ublication 5ata
Shaviro, Steven$
6ithout criteria 7 8ant, 6hitehead, 5eleu9e, and aesthetics : Steven Shaviro$
&$ cm$
Includes bibliogra&hical references$
ISB% 9;<1012=21>9?;=1< (hardcover 7 al'$ &a&er)
>$ 6hitehead, Alfred %orth, ><=>@>9A;$ 2$ Aesthetics$ B$ 5eleu9e, /illes,
>92?@>99?$ A$ Ceidegger, Martin, ><<9@>9;=$ ?$ 8ant, Immanuel, >;2A@
><0A$ I$ Title$
B>=;A$6B?ASAA 2009
>0 9 < ; = ? A B 2 >
Series +ore*ord vii
reface7 A hiloso&hical +antas# iE
1 Without Criteria >
2 Actual Entities and Eternal Objects >;
3 Pulses of Emotion A;
4 Interstitial Life ;>
5 od, or !he "od# $ithout Or%ans 99
6 Conse&uences >AB
0eferences >=B
IndeE >;>
!echnolo%ies of Li'ed Abstraction
Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, editors
FWhat moves as a body, returns as the
movement of thouht!G Hf
subIectivit# (in its nascent state)
Hf the social (in its mutant state)
Hf the environment (at the &oint it can be
reinvented) FA process set up any"here reverberates
The Technologies of Lived Abstraction boo' series is
dedicated to *or's of transdisci&linar# reach in,uiring
criticall# but es&eciall# creativel# into &ro1 cesses of
subIective, social, and ethical1&olitical emergence abroad in
the *orld toda#$ Thought and bod#, abstract and concrete,
local and global, individual and collective7 the *or's
&resented are not content to rest *ith the habitual di1
visions$ The# eE&lore ho* these facets come formativel#,
reverberativel# to1 gether, if onl# to form the movement
b# *hich the# come again to diJer$
ossible &aradigms are man#7 autonomi9ation,
relationK emergence, com&leEit#, &rocessK individuation,
(auto)&oiesisK direct &erce&tion, embodied &erce&tion,
&erce&tion1as1actionK s&eculative &ragmatism, s&eculative
realism, radical em&iricismK mediation, virtuali9ationK
ecolog# of &ractices, media ecolog#K technicit#K
micro&olitics, bio&olitics, onto&o*er$ Let there *ill be a
common aim7 to catch ne* thought and action da*ning,
at a creative cross1 ing$ The Technologies of Lived
Abstraction series orients to the creativit# at this crossing,
in virtue of *hich life ever#*here can be considered
germinall# aesthetic, and the aesthetic an#*here alread#
FConcepts must be e#perienced! $hey are lived!G
Preface: A Philoso(hical )antas#
This boo' originated out of a &hiloso&hical fantas#$ I
imagine a *orld in *hich 6hitehead ta'es the &lace of
Ceidegger$ Thin' of ho* im&ortant Cei1 degger has been
for thin'ing and critical reMection over the &ast siEt#
#ears$ 6hat if 6hitehead, instead of Ceidegger, had set
the agenda for &ostmodern thoughtN 6hat *ould
&hiloso&h# be li'e toda#N 6hat diJerent ,uestions might
*e be as'ingN 6hat diJerent &ers&ectives might *e be
vie*ing the *orld fromN
The &arallels bet*een Ceidegger and 6hitehead are
stri'ing$ %ein and $ime *as &ublished in >92;, Process
and Reality in >929$ T*o enormous &hi1 loso&h# boo's,
almost eEact contem&oraries$ Both boo's res&ond
magisteri1 all# to the situation (IOd rather not sa# the crisis)
of modernit#, the immensit# of scientiPc and technological
change, the dissolution of old certainties, the increasingl#
fast &ace of life, the massive reorgani9ations that
follo*ed the horrors of 6orld 6ar I$ Both boo's ta'e for
granted the ineEistence of foun1 dations, not even PEating
on them as missing, but sim&l# going on *ithout concern
over their absence$ Both boo's are antiessentialist and
anti&ositivist, both of them are activel# engaged in
*or'ing out ne* *a#s to thin', ne* *a#s to do
&hiloso&h#, ne* *a#s to eEercise the facult# of *onder$
And #et ho* diJerent these t*o boo's are7 in
conce&ts, in method, in aJect, and in s&irit$ IOd li'e to go
through a series of &hiloso&hical ,uestions and ma'e a
series of (admittedl# tendentious) com&arisons, in order to
s&ell out these diJerences as clearl# as &ossible$
> $he &uestion of beinnins 6here does one start in
&hiloso&h#N Ceidegger as's the ,uestion of Being7 F6h#
is there something, rather than nothingNG But 6hitehead
is s&lendidl# indiJerent to this ,uestion$ Ce as's,
instead7 FCo* is it that there is al*a#s something ne*NG
6hitehead doesnOt see an# &oint in returning to our
ultimate beginnings$ Ce is interested in creation
rather than rectiPcation, Becoming rather than Being, the
%e* rather than the immemoriall# old$ I *ould suggest
that, in a *orld *here ever#thing from music to 5%A is
continuall# being sam&led and recombined, and *here the
shelf life of an idea, no less than of a fashion in clothing,
can be measured in months if not *ee's, 6hiteheadOs
,uestion is the trul# urgent one$ Ceidegger Mees the
challenges of the &resent in horror$ 6hitehead urges us to
*or' *ith these challenges, to negotiate them$ Co*, he
as's, can our cultureOs incessant re&etition and rec#cling
nonetheless issue forth in something genuinel# ne* and
2$he &uestion of the history of philosophy Ceidegger
interrogates the histor# of &hiloso&h#, tr#ing to locate the
&oint *here it *ent *rong, *here it closed do*n the
&ossibilities it should have o&ened u&$ 6hitehead, to the
contrar#, is not interested in such an interrogation$ FIt is
reall# not sufPcient,G he *rites, Fto direct attention to the
best that has been said and done in the an1 cient *orld$
The result is static, re&ressive, and &romotes a decadent
habit of mind$G Instead of tr#ing to &in do*n the histor#
of &hiloso&h#, 6hitehead t*ists this histor# in *onderfull#
ungainl# *a#s$ Ce mines it for uneE&ected creative
s&ar's, eEcer&ting those moments *here, for instance,
lato afPrms Becoming against the static *orld of Ideas,
or 5escartes refutes mind@bod# dualism$
3$he &uestion of metaphysics Ceidegger see's a *a# out
of meta&h#sics$ Ce endeavors to clear a s&ace *here he
can evade its gras&$ But 6hitehead doesnOt #earn for a
return before, or for a lea& be#ond, meta&h#sics$ Much
more sub1 versivel#, I thin', he sim&l# does meta&h#sics
in his o*n *a#, inventing his o*n categories and *or'ing
through his o*n &roblems$ Ce thereb# ma'es
meta&h#sics s&ea' *hat it has usuall# denied and
reIected7 the bod#, emo1 tions, inconstanc# and change,
the radical contingenc# of all &ers&ectives and all
4 $he &uestion of lanuae Ceidegger eEhorts us to
Fhear'en &atientl# to the 2oice of Being$G Ce is al*a#s
genuMecting before the enigmas of Lan1 guage, the *a#s
that it calls to us and commands us$ 6hitehead ta'es a
much more o&en, &luralist vie* of the *a#s that
language *or's$ Ce 'no*s that it contains m#steries, that
it is far more than a mere tool or instrument$ But he also
*arns us against eEaggerating its im&ortance$ Ce al*a#s
&oints u& the
inca&acities of languageD*hich means also the
inade,uac# of reducing &hi1 loso&h# to the interrogation
and anal#sis of language$
5$he &uestion of style A &hiloso&herOs attitude to*ard
language is also em1 bodied in his st#le of *riting$
CeideggerOs contorted *riting combines a height1 ened
0omantic &oeticism *ith the self1referential interrogation
of linguistic roots and meanings$ ItOs a st#le as &ortentous
and eEas&erating as the m#ster1 ies it claims to disclose$
6hiteheadOs language, to the contrar#, is dr#, gra#, and
abstract$ But in this academic, fuss#, almost &edantic
&rose, he is contin1 uall# sa#ing the most astonishing
things, reigniting the &hiloso&hic sense of *onder at
ever# ste&$ The neutralit# of 6hiteheadOs st#le is *hat
gives him the freedom to construct, to reorient, to s*itch
direction$ ItOs a 'ind of strate1 gic counterinvestment,
allo*ing him to ste& a*a# from his o*n &assions and
interests, *ithout thereb# falling into the &retense of a
universal higher 'no*l1 edge$ 6hiteheadOs language
eEhibits a s&ecial sort of detachment, one that continues
to insist u&on that from *hich it has become detached7
&articulars, singularities, and &ers&ectives that are al*a#s
&artial (in both senses of this *ord7 &artial as o&&osed to
*hole, but also &artial in the sense of &artialit# or bias)$
6$he &uestion of technoloy Ceidegger *arns us against
the danger of tech1 nological Fenframing,G *ith its
reduction of nature to the status of a Fstanding reserve$G
Ce demoni9es science, in a manner so s*ee&ing and
absolute as to be the mirror image of scienceOs o*n
claims to uni,ue authorit#$ But #ou canOt undo *hat
6hitehead calls the Fbifurcation of natureG b# sim&l#
dismissing one side of the dichotom#$ 6hiteheadOs account
of science and technolog# is far subtler than CeideggerOs,
in &art because he actuall# understands modern science,
as Ceidegger clearl# does not$ +or 6hitehead, scientiPc
and technical rationalit# is one 'ind of Fabstraction$G This,
in itself, is not an#thing bad$ An abstraction is a
sim&liPcation, a reduction, made in the service of some
&artic1 ular interest$ As such, it is indis&ensable$ 6e cannot
live *ithout abstractionsK the# alone ma'e thought and
action &ossible$ 6e onl# get into trouble *hen *e eEtend
these abstractions be#ond their limits, &ushing them into
realms *here the# no longer a&&l#$ This is *hat 6hitehead
calls Fthe fallac# of mis1 &laced concreteness,G and itOs
one to *hich modern science and technolog# have been
es&eciall# &rone$ But all our other abstractionsDnotabl#
including the abstraction *e call languageDneed to be
a&&roached in the same s&irit of
E Ei
caution$ Indeed, 6hiteheadOs reservations about science
run entirel# &arallel to his reservations about language$
(B# rights, Ceidegger ought to treat sci1 ence and
technolog# in the same *a# that he treats language7 for
language it1 self is a technolog#, and the essence of *hat
is human involves technolog# in Iust the same *a# as it
does language)$
7 $he &uestion of representation Ceidegger mounts an
incessant criti,ue of re&resentationalist thought$ As *e
busil# re&resent the *orld to ourselves, he sa#s, *e do
not allo* it to stand forth in its Being$ 6hitehead similarl#
criti1 ci9es the *a# that 6estern &hiloso&hical thought,
from 5escartes on*ard, has eEcessivel# &rivileged Fclear
and distinctG conscious &erce&tion (*hat 6hite1 head calls
F&resentational immediac#G), ignoring the *a#s that this
&erce&1 tion is al*a#s alread# grounded in our bodies,
and in the inheritance of the &resent from the &ast
(through the &rocess of *hat 6hitehead calls Fcausal
efPcac#G)$ But thereOs a big diJerence here of em&hasis$
+or Ceidegger, re&re1 sentation is the problem7 one Pnds it
ever#*here, and one must al*a#s be vig1 ilant against it$
+or 6hitehead, this concern is eEaggerated and mis&laced$
In ever#da# life (if not in &ost1!artesian &hiloso&h#)
re&resentation &la#s onl# a minor role$ Even *hen *e do
re&resent, *e are also feelin our bodies, and feel' in
"ith our bodies$ The Ceideggerian (and deconstructionist)
criti,ue isnOt *rong so much as it isnOt all that interesting
or im&ortant$ 0ather than insist1 ing on criti,ue,
therefore, 6hitehead sho*s us ho* the *orld is already
8 $he &uestion of sub(ectivity Ceidegger &olemicall#
,uestions the ram&ant subIectivism of the humanist
tradition$ Ce see's to undo the illusion of the
autonomous, essentiali9ed ego, *ith its voracious *ill1to1
&o*er$ Hf course, this aggressive ,uestioning is the Mi&
side of CeideggerOs ontological &rivileging of Man as the
Fshe&herd of Being,G and as the site *here Language
manifests itself$ The subIect must be understood as an
eJect of Language, because Lan1 guage is *hat calls to us
and interrogates us$ %o*, nothing could be more for1 eign
to 6hitehead than this *hole &olemic$ As before, this is
not because 6hitehead is concerned to defend *hat
Ceidegger is attac'ing, but because his interests lie
else*here$ 6hitehead does not see the subIect as an
eJect of language$ 0ather, he sees subIectivit# as
embedded in the *orld$ The subIect is an irreducible &art
of the universe, of the *a# things ha&&en$ There is noth1
ing outside of eE&erienceK and eE&erience al*a#s ha&&ens
to some subIect or
other$ This subIect ma# be human, but it also ma# be a
dog, a tree, a mush1 room, or a grain of sand$ (Strictl#
s&ea'ing, an# such entities are *hat 6hite1 head calls
Fsocieties,G each com&osed of multitudes of Factual
occasions,G *hich themselves are the subIects in
,uestion$) In an# case, the subIect consti1 tutes itself in
and through its eE&erienceK and thereu&on it &erishes,
entering into the FobIective immortalit#G of being a
FdatumG for other eE&eriences of other subIects$ In this
*a#, 6hitehead abolishes the ontoloical &rivileging of
human beings over all other subIectivities$ This doesnOt
mean, of course, that the diJerences bet*een human
beings and other sorts of beings are irrelevantK such
diJerences remain &ragmaticall# im&ortant in all 'inds of
situations, and for all sorts of reasons$ But in undoing the
ontological &rivilege of being hu1 man, 6hitehead
suggests that the criti,ue of the subIect need not be so
com1 &ulsive a focus of &hiloso&hical in,uir#$
If 6hitehead *ere to re&lace Ceidegger as the
ins&iration of &ostmodern thought, our intellectual
landsca&e *ould loo' ,uite diJerent$ !ertain &rob1 lems
that *e have been overl# obsessed *ith *ould recede in
im&ortance, to be re&laced b# other ,uestions, and other
&ers&ectives$ 6hat Isabelle Stengers calls a
FconstructivistG a&&roach to &hiloso&h# *ould ta'e
&recedence over the tas's of incessant deconstruction$
6hiteheadOs thought has a 'ind of cosmic iron# to it,
*hich oJers a *elcome contrast both to the narcissistic
theori9ing to *hich the heirs of Ceidegger are &rone, and
to the fatuous com1 &lacenc# of mainstream American
&ragmatism$ 6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics is a ramshac'le
construction, continuall# o&en to revision, and not an
assertion of absolute truths$ It stands outside the dualities
Dthe subIect or not, meaning or not, humanism or notD
*ith *hich recent theoretical thought has so often
burdened us$ 6hitehead both eEem&liPes, and
encourages, the virtues of s&eculation, fabulation, and
invention$ These ma# be o&&osed both to the dogmatism
of humanistic or &ositivistic certitudes and to the
endless dis1 avo*als, s&litting of hairs, and one1u&manshi&
that has characteri9ed so much recent academic Ftheor#$G
Without Criteria is an eE&erimentK it is an attem&t to
rethin' F&ostmod1 ernG theor#, and es&eciall# the theor#
of aesthetics, from a &oint of vie* that hear'ens bac' to
6hitehead instead of Ceidegger$ I do this largel# b#
reading 6hitehead in conIunction *ith /illes 5eleu9e$
5eleu9e *rote onl# brieM# about 6hiteheadK it is unclear
ho* familiar he *as *ith 6hitehead, or to
*hat degree he *as inMuenced b# 6hitehead$
%evertheless, as I *ill tr# to sho*, there are im&ortant
afPnities and resonances bet*een the *or' of
6hitehead and that of 5eleu9e$ In this boo', I have tried to
establish a sort of rela# bet*een the t*o thin'ers, so that
each of them hel&s to resolve difPcul1 ties in the *or' of
the other$ I started this boo' reading 6hitehead from a
5eleu9ian &ers&ectiveK b# the time I *as Pnished, I found
m#self, instead, reading 5eleu9e from a 6hiteheadian
&ers&ective$ This reversal of &ers&ec1 tives is one of the
eJects that reading 6hitehead, and *riting about him, has
had on me$ !ritical *riting should al*a#s be a
transformative eE&erience$ As Michel +oucault &ut it man#
#ears ago7 F*hat *ould be the value of the &as1 sion for
'no*ledge if it resulted onl# in a certain amount of
'no*ledgeable1 ness and not, in one *a# or another and
to the eEtent &ossible, in the 'no*erOs stra#ing aPeld of
himselfNG (+oucault >9<=, <)$
5eleu9eOs afPnit# *ith 6hitehead lies, above all, in
his focus on aJect and singularit#, as a *a# of *or'ing
to*ard a nondialectical and highl# aes1 thetici9ed mode of
criti,ue$ 5eleu9eOs aestheticism, rooted in his readings of
8ant and %iet9sche, is the most misunderstood as&ect of
his *or'$ It remains a scandal for those fe* commentators
*ho are *illing to ac'no*ledge it at all$ Hne of the aims of
Without Criteria is to argue for *hat can be best described
as a critical aestheticism$ I am *ell a*are that aesthetics
and aestheticism have had a bad name for ,uite some
time$ But &erha&s *e have reached the &oint toda#, in our
&ost1ever#thing *orld, *here *e can ta'e a fresh loo' at
aesthet1 ics$ %ot the least scandalous of 6hiteheadOs
assertions are his maEims that FBeaut# is a *ider, and
more fundamental, notion than Truth,G and even that
FBeaut# is $ $ $ the one aim *hich b# its ver# nature is self1
Iustif#ing$G I *ould li'e to eE&lore these claimsDin
deliberate contrast to the ethical focus of so much recent
academic discourse$
In *or'ing through the ideas of 6hitehead and
5eleu9e, I have found it necessar#, again and again, to
revert to 8antDor at least to a certain dimension of 8ant$
6hitehead and 5eleu9e are not usuall# thought of as
8antian or FcriticalG thin'ers$ The# seem much more
attuned to &re18antian &hiloso&hers li'e S&ino9a and
Leibni9K *hen the# do refer to 8ant, it is most often in a dis1
&araging *a#$ 5eleu9e even sa#s that his o*n boo' on
8ant a&&roaches 8ant as an Fenem#$G %evertheless, I
argue that certain crucial as&ects of 8antOs thought &ave
the *a# for the &hiloso&hical FconstructivismG embraced b#
both 6hitehead and 5eleu9e$ I am thin'ing &articularl# of
8antOs aesthetics (above
all, his FAnal#tic of the BeautifulG in the Third !riti,ue), of
his transcendental argument in the +irst !riti,ue (*ith
*hat 6hitehead calls its Fconce&tion of an act of
eE&erience as a constructive functioningG), and of his
Transcendental 5ialectic in the second half of the +irst
!riti,ue (*hich oJers an alternative to, and an antici&ator#
criticism of, the Cegelian dialectic)$
In the *ords of Michel +oucault, 8ant in these teEts
made an Fo&eningG in 6estern thought because he
Farticulated, in a manner that is still enigmatic,
meta&h#sical discourse and reMection on the limits of our
reasonG (+oucault >99<, ;=)$ It is &erfectl# true that 8ant
himself does ver# little to eE&lore this o&eningK most of the
time, he closes it do*n again, returning us to *hat +ou1
cault calls Fthe confused slee& of dialectics and of
anthro&olog#G (ibid$)$ %onetheless, this o&ening is there,
in the margins of 8antOs teEts, *hich over1 Mo* *ith
suggestions and &ossibilities that still a*ait their &ro&er
elaboration$ 6hitehead and 5eleu9e eE&lore certain of
these alternative &ossibilities$ Their encounters *ith 8ant
(or better, their corrections and revisions of 8ant) ma'e for
an im&ortant dimension of their teEts$ These encounters
also allo* us to see 8ant himself in a ne* light$ The 8ant
*ith *hom *e are most familiar is the thin'er *ho stands
behind QRrgen CabermasOs &roIect of establishing norms of
communicative action$ But the 8ant revealed b# 6hitehead
and 5eleu9e &uts this &roIect most radicall# into ,uestion,
b# &roblemati9ing the ver# idea of such norms$ As
5eleu9e and /uattari &ut it, F8antOs Criti&ue of )udment
is an unrestrained *or' of old age, *hich his successors
have still not caught u& *ith7 all the mindOs faculties
overcome their limits, the ver# limits that 8ant had so
carefull# laid do*n in the *or's of his &rimeG (>99A, 2)$
In the course of its readings of 8ant, 6hitehead, and
5eleu9e, Without Criteria see's to address a range of
issues that are crucial to cultural theor# toda#$ The
critical aestheticism that I discover in the conIunction of
8ant, 6hitehead, and 5eleu9e hel&s to illuminate
contem&orar# art and media &ractices (es&eciall#
develo&ments in digital Plm and video), contem&orar# sci1
entiPc and technological &ractices (es&eciall# the recent
advances in neuro1 science and in biogenetic technolog#),
and controversies in cultural theor# and MarEist theor#
(such as ,uestions about commodit# fetishism, about
imma1 nence and transcendence, about the role of
auto&oietic or self1organi9ing s#s1 tems, and about the
*a#s that FinnovationG and Fcreativit#G seem to have
become so central to the d#namics of &ostmodern, or &ost1
+ordist, ca&italism)$ +or the most &art, I do not address
these matters directl# hereDthat *ill be a
Eiv Ev
tas' for another boo'$ But m# interest in them has largel#
sha&ed m# selective readings of the teEts of 8ant,
6hitehead, and 5eleu9e$
%o boo' is ever *ritten in a vacuumK and m#
intellectual indebtedness in the case of Without Criteria is
es&eciall# great$ M# boo' is largel# *ritten in the margins
of Isabelle StengersOs magniPcent Penser avec Whitehead$
6ith this teEt, Stengers both made 6hitehead accessible
to me for the Prst time, and o&ened u& the ,uestion of
6hiteheadOs afPnit# *ith 5eleu9e$ Erin Manning and Brian
Massumi encouraged me to *rite this boo', nurtured it
throughout the stages of its &re&aration, and invited me a
number of times to their semi1 nars and forums in
research creation, *here I *as able to &resent &ortions of
this teEt, and *hich &rovided me *ith the intellectual
stimulus that I needed to com&lete it$ Among the man#
other &eo&le *ith *hom I discussed m# *or', or *ho read
and commented on &ortions of the manuscri&t, I
&articularl# *ish to than' 8eith 0obinson, !harles Stivale,
5aniel Smith, Tim !lar', Sha Sin 6ei, 6illiam +lesch,
0obert /ooding16illiams, and Barrett 6atten, as *ell as
the anon#mous readers of m# manuscri&t for MIT ress,
the members of the Sense Lab at !oncordia 4niversit# in
Montreal, and the readers of m# blog the inocchio Theor#
Some sections of this boo' have &reviousl# been
&ublished else*here$ An earlier version of cha&ter >
a&&ears in *ensorium: Aesthetics, Art, +ife, ed1 ited b#
Barbara Bolt, +elicit# !olman, /raham Qones, and Ashle#
6ood*ard (London7 !ambridge Scholars ress, 200;)$ A
&ortion of cha&ter 2 a&&ears in *ecrets of %ecomin:
,eotiatin Whitehead, Deleuze and %utler, edited b#
0oland +aber (%e* Lor'7 +ordham 4niversit# ress,
2009)$ A version of cha&ter B a&&ears in $he A-ect
Reader, edited b# /reg Seig*orth and Melissa /regg
(5urham7 5u'e 4niversit# ress, 200<)$ A &ortion of
cha&ter A a&1 &ears in Deleuze, .uattari, and the
Production of the ,e", edited b# Simon HOSullivan and
Ste&hen Te&'e (%e* Lor'7 !ontinuum, 200<)$ Another
&ortion of cha&ter A a&&ears in Deleuze, *cience, and the
/orce of the 0irtual, edited b# eter /aJne# (Minnea&olis7
4niversit# of Minnesota ress, 2009)$
Without Criteria
FThere is no science of the beautiful Udas *ch1neV, but
onl# criti,ue,G 8ant sa#s in the Criti&ue of )udment,
Fand there is no Pne Usch1nV science, but onl# Pne artG
(>9<;, >;2)$ Most recent discussions of 8antOs aesthetics
have concentrated on his anal#sis of the sublime (*hich
is seen as &rePguring modernistDor &ostmodernistD
concerns and &ractices), rather than on his anal#sis of
the beautiful (*hich is generall# regarded as rather
conservative and old1fashioned)$ In *hat follo*s, I
endeavor to suggest, against this com1 mon *isdom, that
8antOs account of beaut# is ,uite radical in *a#s that have
not #et been sufPcientl# recogni9ed$ +or 8antOs theor# of
the beautiful is reall# a theor# of aJect and of singularit#K
and it im&lies an entirel# ne* form of Iudgment$ In the
FAnal#tic of the BeautifulG in the Third !riti,ue, 8ant ste&s
bac' from the legitimi9ing and universali9ing &roIects of
the Prst t*o !ri1 ti,ues, in order to &roblemati9e
universali9ation and legitimation themselves$ Beaut#
cannot be Iudged according to conce&tsK it is a matter
neither of em1 &irical fact, nor of moral obligation$ This is
*h# there is no science of the beautiful$ +or 8ant,
aesthetics has no foundation, and it oJers us no guaran1
tees$ 0ather, it thro*s all norms and values into ,uestion,
or into crisis$ Even if 8ant himself ultimatel# shrin's from
the more radical im&lications of his theories, a certain
critical aestheticism still haunts his teEts, and es&eciall#
the Third !riti,ue$ M# aim in Without Criteria is to unearth
this subterranean di1 mension of 8antOs argument, and to
trac' its crucial role in the meta&h#sical s&eculations of
Alfred %orth 6hitehead and /illes 5eleu9e$
1.My starting point for these readings and speculations is an article I wrote quite some time
ago: eauty !ies in the "ye# $%ha&iro '((')* In that te+t, I argued for the continuing rele,
&ance of the -eautiful, rather than the su-lime, for a contemporary or postmodern# aesthetics.
Beaut#, 8ant sa#s, is not cognitive, not conce&tual$
FA Iudgment of taste is not based on determinate
conce&tsGK that is to sa#, the conce&t behind such a
Iudgment (if it can be called a Fconce&tG at all) Fdoes not
allo* us to cogni9e and &rove an#thing concerning the
obIect because it is intrinsicall# indeterminable and
inade,ute for cognitionG (8ant >9<;, 2>B)$ There is no
obIective or scientiPc *a# to determine *hether an obIect
is beautiful, andD if it isDto eE&lain *h#$ This is because of
the strange status of aesthetic Iudg1 ment$ I ma# Iudge a
Mo*er to be beautiful, #et I 'no* that Fbeaut# is not a
&ro&ert# of the Mo*er itself GK the Mo*er is beautiful Fonl#
b# virtue of that characteristic in *hich it ada&ts itself to
the *a# *e a&&rehend itG (>A?)$ So beaut# is not
obIectivel# there, in the *orld$ It is not in natureK it is
rather something that *e attribute to nature$ An
aesthetic Iudgment, therefore, is one F*hose determining
basis cannot be other than sub(ectiveG (AA)$
Let at the same time, beaut# isnOt merely subIective$
It isnOt Iust some1 thing that *e &roIect u&on *hatever it is
that *e see, hear, feel, touch, or taste$ The attribution of
beaut# is not an arbitrar# im&osition$ There is nothing
about it that is s&ecial, or &articular, to the &erson *ho
ha&&ens to be ma'ing the Iudgment$ It is not even
Funiversall#G subIectiveK for, in contrast to an em1 &irical
Iudgment of the understanding, a Iudgment of taste does
not involve the mindOs active im&ressing of its o*n
!ategories u&on a &assive eEternal *orld$ 0ather, a
Iudgment of taste involves an uncoerced response, on the
&art of the subIect, to the obIect that is being Iudged
beautiful$ Aesthetic Iudgment is a 'ind of reconition7 itOs
an a&&reciation of ho* the obIect Fada&ts itself to the *a#
*e a&&rehend it,G even though, at the same time, it
remains indiJer1 ent to us$
IOm inclined to read Fada&tG here in a 5ar*inian sense
(even though, of course, 8ant could not have intended it
this *a#)$ 5eleu9e and /uattari
I e+plored the rami/cations of Kant0s claim that a 1udgment of taste is nonconceptual. I
sug, gested that there was a close af/nity -etween Kant0s notion of -eauty and Deleuze0s
notion of singularity. and I proposed that a radicalization of Kant0s Antinomy of 2aste#
$3456, '3(ff*) could lead to the transformation of Kant0s sensus communis into a
culti&ation and sharing of the highest possi-le degree of singularity# $%ha&iro '((', 36),
or into what today we should call a dissensus $7anciere '((8) rather than a consensus* All
these points are pursued further, and e+panded on, in the course of Without Criteria*
(>9<;) use the familiar scientiPc eEam&le of the orchid and
the *as&$ The or1 chid Fada&ts itself G to the *a# the
*as& a&&rehends itK as a result, the *as& Pnds the orchid
beautiful$ The orchid isnOt beautiful in and for itselfK it is
onl# beautiful for the *as& (and &erha&s, too, for us)$ The
orchidOs interests, ho*1 ever, have nothing in &articular to
do *ith the *as&K the orchid onl# uses the *as& as a
vector for its o*n &ollination$ It suits the &lant Iust as *ell
if a hu1 man being, having been seduced b# the Mo*erOs
beaut#, &ollinates it instead$ Thus the orchid is indiJerent
even to the eEistence of the *as&K the eEchange bet*een
the t*o organisms is *hat 5eleu9e and /uattari,
,uoting 0Wm# !hauvin, call Fthe aparallel evolution of t*o
beings that have absolutel# noth1 ing to do *ith each
otherG (>9<;, >0)$
Lou might sa# that the beaut# of the orchid is *hat
6hitehead, in Process and Reality, calls Fa lure for
feelingG (>929:>9;<, 2? and passim)$ 6hitehead &refers
to s&ea' of propositions, rather than Iudgments, because
the notion of Iudgment tends to im&l#, *rongl#, that Fthe
one functionG of &ro&o1 sitions and theories Fis to be
Iudged as to their truth or falsehoodG (><A)$ 6hitehead
insists, rather, that Fat some &ointG in the entertainment
of a &ro&osition FIudgment is ecli&sed b# aesthetic
delightG (><?)$ Sometimes, of course, *hat su&ervenes is
aesthetic re&ulsion rather than delight$ But in an# case,
*hether true or false, delicious or re&ugnant, a
&ro&osition &oints to a potentiality (><=, >9=@>9;)$ That is
to sa#, &ro&ositions are neither actual nor PctiveK the# are
Fthe tales that might be told about &articular actualities,G
from a given &ers&ective, and that enter into the
construction (or *hat 6hitehead calls the concrescence) of
that ver# &ers&ective (2?=)$ As such, &ro&ositions are
&ossible routes of actuali9ation, vectors of nondeterministic
change$ The F&ri1 mar# roleG of a &ro&osition, 6hitehead
sa#s, is to F&ave the *a# along *hich the *orld advances
into novelt#$ $ $ $ A &ro&osition is an element in the obIec1
tive lure proposed for feelin, and *hen admitted into
feeling it constitutes "hat is feltG (><;)$ The orchid is not
beautiful in itself7 but something happens to the *as&, or
to the gardener, *ho encounters the orchid and feels it to
be beautiful$
2. Whitehead does not ignore the question of 1udgment. -ut he regards judgment as a
much nar, rower term than proposition* Any proposition that is admitted into thought is
there-y felt, and
2 B
Though 8ant refers to FIudgments of tasteG rather than
to F&ro&ositions,G he is in accord *ith 6hitehead at least
to this eEtent7 he sa#s that aesthetic Iudgments have
nothing to do *ith determinations of truth and falsehood$
(The# also have nothing to do *ith moral determinations
of good and evil$) This is because a Iudgment of beaut# is
aJective, rather than cognitive$ More &recisel#, it is a
feeling entirel# divorced from obIective 'no*ledge$ FA
Iudg1 ment of taste,G 8ant sa#s, Fis merel# contemplative,
i$e$, it is a Iudgment that is indiJerent to the eEistence of
the obIect7 it UconsidersV the character of the obIect onl#
b# holding it u& to our feeling of &leasure and
dis&leasure$G Such a Iudgment Fis neither based on
conce&ts, nor directed to them as purposesG (8ant >9<;,
?>)$ In an aesthetic Iudgment, I am not asserting
an#thing about *hat is, nor am I legislating as to *hat
ought to be$ 0ather, I am being lured, allured, seduced,
re&ulsed, incited, or dissuaded$ And for 6hiteheadD if not
eE&licitl# for 8antDthis is &art of the &rocess b# *hich I
become *hat I am$
Beaut# is therefore an event, a &rocess, rather than a
condition or a state$ The Mo*er is not beautiful in itselfK
rather, beaut# happens *hen I encounter the Mo*er$
Beaut# is Meeting, and it is al*a#s imbued *ith
otherness$ +or although the feeling of beaut# is
FsubIective,G I cannot eE&erience it at *ill$ I can onl# Pnd
beaut# *hen the obIect solicits me, or arouses m# sense
of beaut#, in a certain *a#$ Also, beaut# does not survive
the moment of the en1
-ecomes a feeling* ut only some of these feelings are 1udgments* In the realization of
propo, sitions, 91udgment0 is at &ery rare component, and so is 9consciousness0 # $34'4:3465,
More speci/cally, the term 91udgment0 refers to three species among the
comparati&e feelings* * * * In each of these feelings the datum is the generic contrast
-etween an o-1ecti/ed ne+us and a proposition whose logical su-1ects ma;e up the ne+us#
$i-id*, '6()* 2hat is to say, a 1udgment in&ol&es a felt contrast# -etween a state of affairs
$an o-1ecti/ed ne+us#) and a hypothesis $a proposition#) concerning that state of affairs*
2he three species# of 1udgment are the af/rmati&e $the 9yes,form0 #), the negati&e $the
9no,form0 #), and the uncertain $the 9suspense,form0 #)* 2hus, what Whitehead calls
1udgments are the feelings corresponding to the cognitions that Kant calls 1udgments of the
understanding, or 1udgments -ased on determinate concepts# $3456, '3<)* As for Kant0s
1udgments of taste, or 1udgments -ased only on indetermi- nate concepts, Whitehead would
regard their corresponding feelings as propositional, -ut not as in&ol&ing 1udgment*
counter in *hich it is created$ It cannot be recovered once
it is gone$ It can onl# be born afresh in another event,
another encounter$ A subIect does not cogni9e the beaut#
of an obIect$ 0ather, the obIect lures the subIect *hile re1
maining indiJerent to itK and the subIect feels the obIect,
*ithout 'no*ing it or &ossessing it or even caring about it$
The obIect touches me, but for m# &art I cannot gras& it or
la# hold of it, or ma'e it last$ I cannot dis&el its otherness,
its alien s&lendor$ If I could, I *ould no longer Pnd it
beautifulK I *ould, alas, merel# Pnd it useful$
This is *h# the a&&rehension of beaut# is
disinterested$ The beautiful obIect is unconcerned *ith
meK and in return, I have no actual interest in it$ I donOt
care *hat benePt it can oJer me, or *hat em&irical
FgratiPcationG (8ant >9<;, A;) it can give me, or even if it
eEists or not$ I am onl# concerned *ith ho* it ma'es me
feelK that is to sa#, *ith ho* it a-ects me$ Hutside of cog1
nition or utilitarian interest, this is ho* the beautiful
obIect allures me$ In 6hiteheadOs terms, Fthe basis of
eE&erience is emotional $ $ $ the basic fact is the rise of an
aJective tone originating from things *hose relevance is
given$G This a-ective tone is the FsubIective formG
through *hich Fthe eE&erience constitutes itselfG
(6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, >;=@>;;)$
In this *a#, the aesthetic eE&erience is intense
&recisel# to the eEtent that it is devoid of interest$ FAll
interest,G 8ant sa#s, *hether em&irical or rational, Feither
&resu&&oses a need or gives rise to oneGK onl# aesthetic
Iudgment is de1 tached from need$ 8ant notes that a
starving &erson *ill eat Iust about an#1 thingK it is Fonl#
*hen their need has been satisPed,G onl# *hen the# are
*ell fed and assured of remaining so, that &eo&le have
the leisure to develo& and eE&ress their taste *ith regard
to food$ ItOs onl# *hen I donOt need something that m#
li'ing for it, m# being aJected b# it, can be Fdisinterested
and freeG (8ant >9<;, ?2)$ The disinterested
contem&lation of beaut# is a uto&ian con1 ce&tion, in that
it re,uires and &resu&&oses a *orld in *hich human
needs have alread# been fulPlled$
Aesthetic disinterest ma# seem cold and detached,
but it isnOt neutral$ +rom the indiJerence of the obIect to
the disinterest of the subIectDor from the formerOs
su&erMuous self1eEhibition to the latterOs ungrounded
rece&tionD the eE&erience of beaut# is one of distance
and se&aration$ This distance is not a mere absenceK it is
something &ositivel# felt$ 6hen I contem&late something
that I consider beautiful, I am moved &recisel# b# that
somethingOs se&aration from me, its eEem&tion from the
categories that I *ould normall# a&&l# to it$
A ?
This is *h# beaut# is a lure, dra*ing me out of m#self$
Aesthetic eE&erience is a 'ind of communication "ithout
communion and "ithout consensus$ It can be shared, or
held in common, *ithout uniting the ones *ho share it$
This is all because it is Fa universal communicabilit# that
is indeed not based on a con1 ce&tG (8ant >9<;, ;9)$ As
&ure, contentless communicabilit#, beaut# is also a &ure
eJect, divorced from its rational and material causes$
The &ainter +rancis Bacon conve#s this &oint *ell *hen
he sa#s that, in his &aintings of Fthe human cr#,G he
F*anted to &aint the scream Uitself V more than the hor1
rorG that &rovo'ed it (S#lvester >9<;, BA, A<)$ BaconOs
scream &aintings are disturbingl# beautiful, all the more
so in that the situations to *hich the# refer are not$
A good s#non#m for 8antian aesthetic disinterest
might *ell be pas' sion$ The scandal of &assion is that it
is utterl# gratuitous7 it has no ground1 ing, and no &ro&er
occasion$ In this sense, it is entirel# free (though I am not
free *ith regard to it)$ assion has nothing to do *ith m#
actual needs, let alone *ith m# self1interest, or *ith *hat
is Fgood for me$G It doesnOt seem to be an#thing of mine$
It moves me, drives me, ta'es &ossession of meK but it al1
3. =illes Deleuze $'((>, <8) cites this aphorism of acon0s in the course of his
discussion of the painter* 2he cry without the horror is the effect without the cause, or
the e&ent freed from the limits of its actualization in the depths of -odies: a con/guration
of the &irtual# to which I will return se&eral times in the later chapters of this -oo;*
Deleuze also implicitly in&o;es the Kantian notion of aesthetic disinterest in his dis,
cussion, in the second Cinema &olume, of how /lms in&o;e a pure optical and sound situa,
tion#: one that does not e+tend into action, any more than it is induced -y an action*# In
such a situation, the sensory,motor circuits are paralyzed* Instead of allowing us to act, an
op, tical and sound situation ma;es us grasp, it is supposed to ma;e us grasp, something
intoler, a-le and un-eara-le# $3454, 35)* In this &isionary# state, the spectator is forci-ly
disinterested, in the sense that he or she is una-le to act, una-le to respond, una-le to -ring
the &ision in re, lation to himself or herself, una-le to -e equal to its e+tremity* 2he
compulsion that Deleuze is descri-ing might seem to -e leagues away from the free
e+ercise of the faculties that char, acterizes the aesthetic state according to Kant* ut
Deleuzian compulsion and Kantian freeplay ali;e are states in which the su-1ect0s
interests# play no part, -ecause the su-1ect e+periences, and is -rought into intimate
contact with, something that is irreduci-ly distant from itself, something that e+ceeds any
possi-ility of actualization*
*a#s remains apart from me, outside of m# control$ It is
something su&erMuous and su&&lemental, #et inesca&able$
I &ursue m# &assions *ithout regard to m# interests and
needs, and even to their detriment$
At the same time that &assion is divorced from need,
it also does not have the grandeur and seriousness that
*e commonl# associate *ith desire$ 8ant is ,uite eE&licit
about the diJerence bet*een Fthe &o*er of desireG (as
theori9ed in the Second !riti,ue) and the Ffeeling of
&leasure and dis&lea1 sureG that is the main to&ic of the
Third (8ant >9<;, >=)$ Ce dePnes desire as Fthe &o*er of
being the cause, through oneOs &resentations, of the
actual1 it# of the obIects of these &resentationsG (ibid$)$
This is a difPcult formula1 tion, but it is *orth un&ac'ing$
5esire, for 8ant, is *hat determines the *ill$ It cannot be
understood in terms of negativit# and absence, for it is an
active, autonomous &o*er of the mind$ The FobIect of
desireG is not something that the subIect lac'sK to the
contrar#, it is *hat the subIect imagines and creates$ The
act of desiring is the cause, and the eEistence of the
desired obIect is the eJect$
4. In thus relating passion and disinterest, I am drawing a parallel -etween the paralyzing
&ision of the intolera-le descri-ed -y Deleuze $see pre&ious note) and Andy Warhol0s self,
descri-ed affectless gaze# of -asically passi&e astonishment# $Warhol 346>, 3(. cf*
%ha&iro '((8, 3<5)* 2hese might seem li;e opposites, -ut they -oth turn on the
aesthetic# suspen, sion of ordinary self,interest* In other words, they -oth in&ol&e a
lure# which impinges on a pre&iously constituted su-1ect, and forci-ly e1ects it from its
self,constituting, and self, con/rming or-it* 2he ultimate form of aesthetic disinterest or
passion would -e the so,called %tendhal syndrome, in which the encounter with a
-eautiful wor; of art leads to swooning and hallucinations $cf* Dario Argento0s /lm The
Stendhal Syndrome, 344?)*
@assion or disinterest is, of course, the dimension of human e+perience that is
entirely left out of consideration -y cogniti&e psychology, and -y rational choice#
theory in eco, nomics and political science* If $neoclassical) economics is the science# of
how people ma;e choices# when faced with scarcity or limited resources, and if it is -ased
on the assumptions that people -asically aim to ful/ll their self,interests,# and that they
are rational in their ef, forts to ful/ll their unlimited wants and needs# $In&estopedia
'((5), then passion and aes, thetic disinterest are e+cluded from economics a priori and
-y de/nition* 2hey -elong, rather, to what =eorges ataille calls expenditure $345>, 33?A
3'4), or the accursed share# not re, duci-le to the demands of utility $3455)*
= ;
In short, desire produces the real$
8ant insists that
the em&irical eEis1 tence of failed and unfulPlled desires
does not contradict this formulation$ +or even *hen a
desire turns out to be FinsufPcient,G so that the cor&oreal
forces it calls on are unable to full# actuali9e its obIect,
there is still a &osi1 tive Fcausal relationG bet*een the
desire as a mobili9ation of force, and the eJect to*ard
*hich it *as striving (ibid$, >;)$ This is also *hat lin's
desire to moralit#$ In its &ure form, the &o*er of desire
is 0eason and universal La*7 it legislates, and &roduces,
the categorical im&erative$ Hf course, Iust as em&irical
actions never full# conform to the categorical im&erative,
since the# have other motivations than that of res&ect
for the La*, so em&irical desires are never &ure, but
al*a#s F&athological,G or tinged *ith interest$
%onetheless, even the most limited and &athological
desire, far from com1 &romising the La*, bears *itness
to it, as a sort of Fevidence of things not seen$G
6e can thus o&&ose desire to &assion, reason to
feelings of &leasure and dis&leasure, moral disinterest to
aesthetic disinterest, the concerns of the Sec1 ond !riti,ue
to those of the Third$ 5esire is autonomous, absolute, and
uni1 versali9ing, *hereas &assion is heteronomous,
gratuitous, and singular$ 0eason transcends all interestsK
aesthetic feeling subsists beneath or before an# inter1
ests$ 5esire is active and eE&ressive7 it comes out of the
subIect and legislates
5.Deleuze and =uattari $345<, '>) are rigorously Kantian when they assert that desire pro,
duces the real, in opposition to Begelian and !acanian de/nitions of desire as lac;*# 2hey
are closer to Whitehead than to Kant, howe&er, in that they place the su-1ect not at the -e,
ginning of the producti&e process of desire, -ut at the end* 2he su-1ect is produced as a
mere residuum alongside the desiring,machines * * * a con1uncti&e synthesis of
consummation in the form of a wonderstruc; 9%o thats what it wasC0 # $i-id*, 36A35)* In
this sense, the su-1ect is de/ned as a supplemental torsion in the /eld of desiring
production, a self,reDe+i&e twist that produces self,en1oyment* "&en suffering, as Mar+
says, is a form of self,en1oyment# $i-id*, 3?)* 2his accords with Whitehead0s doctrine that
the su-1ect is always also a superject $34'4:3465, '4), coming after the process of creation
rather than -efore, and e+periencing satisfaction# $'>A'?), or self,en1oyment# $38>,
'54), precisely to the e+tent that it is itself a product of this satisfaction* Eor -oth
Whitehead and Deleuze and =uattari, this in&ersion implies a mo&ement from the world
to the self $rather than, as in Kant, from the self to the world), and implicitly pri&ileges
passion:disinterest o&er desire*
for the *orld$ assion, in contrast, emerges out of the
*orld and a&&roaches, or &ro&oses itself to, the subIect$
More &recisel#, &assion is not Iust &assive (as its
et#molog# suggests), but h#&erbolicall# more1than1
&assive$ The subIect is not so much acted u&on as it is
incited to re1create itself$ 5esire is ho* the self &roIects
itself into, and rema'es, the *orldK aesthetic feeling is ho*
the *orld &roIects itself into, and rema'es, the self$
These diJerences corres&ond to 8antOs doctrine of the
faculties$ FAll of the soulOs &o*ers or ca&acities,G he sa#s,
Fcan be reduced to three that cannot be derived further
from a common basis7 the conitive po"er, the feelin of
pleasure and displeasure, and the po"er of desireG (>9<;,
>=)$ The doctrine of the faculties has little currenc# toda#K
but even if it is Iust a Pction, it is a use1 ful and illuminating
one$ +or the doctrine of the faculties allo*s 8ant to dra*
crucial structural distinctions$ 6hereas cognition and
desire are &o*ers (0er' m1en), the aesthetic ca&acit# is a
feeling (.ef2hl)$ !ognition and desire o out from the
subIect to the *orld, *hile the &leasure of beaut# comes
into it, from else*here$ In desire, as in cognition,
eE&erience begins *ith the subIectK in aesthetic feeling,
eE&erience begins outside, and culminates, or eventuates,
in the subIect$
All this can also be stated in terms of 8antOs
distinction bet*een con1 ce&ts of understanding and
ideasK and among ideas bet*een aesthetic and rational
ones$ FIdeas, in the broadest sense, are &resentations
referred to an obIect $ $ $ but are such that the# can still
never become cognition of an ob1 IectG (8ant >9<;, 2>A@
2>?)$ So man# of our thoughts are not statements of
matters of factK so man# of our utterances are not
constative$ And these noncognitive F&resentationsG are
themselves of t*o sorts$ Aesthetic ideas are Finner
intuitions to *hich no conce&t can be com&letel#
ade,uateG (><2@><B)K Fan aesthetic idea cannot become
cognition because it is an in' tuition (of the imagination)
for *hich an ade,uate conce&t can never be foundG
(2>?)$ In contrast, Fa rational idea can never become
cognition because it contains a concept (of the
su&ersensible) for *hich no ade,uate intuition can ever
be givenG (2>?)$ Aesthetic ideas are Fune#poundable &re1
sentations,G *hereas rational ideas are Findemonstrable
conce&tsG (2>?)$ An aesthetic idea is a singular
intimation of beaut#K it F&rom&ts much thought,G but Fno
language can eE&ress it com&letel# and allo* us to gras&
itG (><2)$ A rational idea has to do, rather, *ith the
sublimeK it resists and subdues thought, #et thereb#
seems to &rom&t an eEcess of language$ I cannot
understand a
< 9
sublime eE&erience, but I am im&elled to s&ea' endlessl#
about m# failure to understand it$
8ant famousl# *rites in the +irst !riti,ue that
Fthoughts *ithout con1 tent are em&t#K intuitions *ithout
conce&ts are blindG (>99=, >0;)$ This is su&&osed to
mean that intuition and conce&t must al*a#s go together$
But no*, in the Third !riti,ue, he discovers the actualit# of
contentless thoughts and blind intuitions$ +or rational
ideas are &recisel# thoughts that no content can PllK and
aesthetic ideas are intuitions that admit of no conce&t$
Hnce *e leave the realm of the understanding, *e
discover a fundamental as#mmetr# bet*een conce&ts and
intuitions, such that each of them eEceeds the &o*ers of
the other$ In the Second !riti,ue, *e are obliged to afPrmD
and indeed to live b#Dcertain conce&ts, even though *e
'no* them to be undemonstrable$ But at least *e still
have conce&ts, and the *ill that legislates these conce&ts
is still, ultimatel#, our o*n$ The Third !riti,ue goes much
further, as it dis1 &enses *ith conce&ts altogether, as *ell
as *ith an active, orginar# self$ Aes1 thetic ideas are no
more moral than the# are conce&tual$ Beaut# is felt, rather
than com&rehended or *illed$ Intuition is decou&led from
In Process and Reality 6hitehead cites 8antOs famous
statement about intuitions and thoughts t*ice, in order
to &oint u& this disconnection$ Ce ironicall# acce&ts
F8antOs &rinci&le,G onl# to a&&l# it Fin eEactl# the converse
*a# to 8antOs o*n use of itG (>929:>9;<, >B9)$
6hitehead suggests that 8antOs s#stem is founded on
the Fsu&&ressed &remiseG that Fintuitions are never
blindG7 that is to sa#, that all a&&rehension is, in &rinci&le
and in fact,
6.2his approach to the su-lime would seem to -e the strategy of deconstruction, which I
largely regard as a footnote to Kant* Facques Derrida0s lifelong tas; as a philosopher was
-asi, cally the Kantian one of critiquing what Kant calls transcendental illusions:
sophistries not of human -eings -ut of pure reason itself* "&en the wisest among all
human -eings cannot de, tach himself from them. perhaps he can after much effort
forestall the error, -ut he can ne&er fully rid himself of the illusion that incessantly teases
and moc;s him# $Kant 344?, <5(A<53)* Derrida follows Kant0s program in that he
ceaselessly interrogates these illusions that are -uilt into the &ery nature of rationality
itself, and endea&ors, patiently and carefully, to undo them, while remaining aware that
such an undoing will ne&er -e de/niti&e or /nal* In sum, Derrida is the great twentieth,
century thin;er of the Kantian su-lime, whereas Whitehead and Deleuze are $more
interestingly to my mind) thin;ers of the Kantian -eautiful*
alread# governed b# conce&ts$ But this &remise must be
reIected, once *e have reIected 8antOs FobsessUionV *ith
the mentalit# of Xintuition,O and hence *ith its necessar#
involution in consciousnessG (ibid$)$ Some &ages later,
6hitehead acce&ts 8antOs claim that Fin ever# act of
eE&erience there are ob1 Iects for 'no*ledge,G obIects
that, in &rinci&le, can be 'no*n$ But 6hitehead
immediatel# adds that there is no reason to assume that
these obIects actuall# are cogni9ed, or that cognition
actuall# is involved, in an# given eE&erience$ Most of the
time, it is not$ FThe inclusion of intellectual functioning in
thUeV act of eE&erienceG is in fact ,uite rareK Fno
'no*ledgeG is b# far the most usual case (>??@>?=)$
6hitehead describes the diJerence bet*een his o*n
&hiloso&h# and 8antian criti,ue thus7 F+or 8ant, the *orld
emerges from the subIectK for the &hiloso&h# of organism,
the subIect emerges from the *orldDa Xsu&erIectO rather
than a XsubIectO G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, <<)$ 8antOs
greatness, 6hite1 head sa#s, is that Fhe Prst, full# and
eE&licitl#, introduced into &hiloso&h# the conce&tion of an
act of eE&erience as a constructive functioning$G But the
&roblem is that Ffor 8ant the &rocess *hereb# there is
eE&erience is a &assage from subIectivit# to a&&arent
obIectivit#$ The &hiloso&h# of organism inverts this
anal#sis, and eE&lains the &rocess as &roceeding from
obIectivit# to sub1 Iectivit#, namel#, from the obIectivit#
*hereb# the eEternal *orld is a datum, to the subIectivit#,
*hereb# there is one individual eE&erienceG (>?=)$ 6hite1
head thus &resents his o*n &hiloso&h# as the inversion,
correction, and cul1 mination of 8antian criti,ue7 Fa
criti,ue of &ure feeling, in the &hiloso&hical &osition in
*hich 8ant &ut his Criti&ue of Pure Reason$ This should
also su1 &ercede the remaining Criti&ues re,uired in the
8antian &hiloso&h#G (>>B)$ In this *a#, he &erforms a
&hiloso&hical Fself1correctionG of the Finitial eEcess of
subIectivit#G of 8antOs o*n criti,ues (>?)$
6hitehead continues to as' the 8antian ,uestion of
Fconstructive functioning,G of ho* the subIect arises in
and through eE&erience$ 8ant and 6hitehead do not
&resu&&ose a subIect eEisting outside of, and &rior to, eE1
&erience, as 5escartes doesK but neither do the# dissolve
the subIect into the MuE of eE&erience, as Cume does$
Co*ever, 8ant assumes, in the +irst !ri1 ti,ue, that
eE&erience is fundamentall# conscious and cognitive$
6hitehead sa#s, to the contrar#, that Fin general,
consciousness is negligibleG in subIec1 tive eE&erience
(>929:>9;<, B0<)$ Most of the time, even for human
beings, let alone for other entities, eE&erience is Fim&licit,
belo* consciousness, in our
>0 >>
&h#sical feelingsG (229)$ These F&h#sical feelingsG &recede
the subIectK the lat1 ter is best described as the
integration (in a ,uasi1mathematical sense), or as the
FendG (both se,uentiall# and causall#), of the former$ The
subIect is so1 licited b# the feelings that com&rise itK it
onl# comes to be through those feel1 ings$ It is not a
substance, but a &rocess$ And this &rocess is not usuall#
consciousK it onl# becomes so under eEce&tional
circumstances$ This is *h# 6hitehead devalues
'no*ledge, inverting the 8antian relation bet*een sub1
Iect and obIect, self and *orld$
This is also *h# 6hitehead sa#s that the subIect is not
self1&er&etuating, but must be continuall# rene*ed$ The
subIect does not outlive the feelings that animate it at
an# given moment$ FThe ancient doctrine that Xno one
crosses the same river t*iceO is eEtended,G 6hitehead
sa#sK Fno thin'er thin's t*iceK and, to &ut the matter
more generall#, no subIect eE&eriences t*iceG
(>929:>9;<, 29)$ Each ne* eE&erience, even each
re&etition of *hat *e thin' of as the FsameG eE&erience,
im&lies a fresh creation, and a ne* subIect$ To sa# this is
not to den# the sense of continuit# that *e actuall# feel
from one mo1 ment to the neEt$ Such a sense of
continuit# is easil# eE&lained, in 6hite1 headOs terms, b#
inheritance$ +or the FdatumG of an# ne* eE&erience is
largel# com&osed of the remnants of immediatel# &ast
eE&eriences, located in the same bodil# mass, or in the
same close neighborhood$ But 6hiteheadOs cru1 cial &oint
is that this sense of continuit# is not self1evident, not
given in ad1 vance$ 6e cannot &resu&&ose it, or ta'e it for
granted$ It is rather *hat most urgentl# re,uires
eE&lanation$ +or the default situation of the subIect, as of
ever#thing that eEists in time, is to &erish$ Loc'eOs &hrase,
that time is a F&er1 &etual &erishing,G runs li'e a leitmotif
through the &ages of Process and Reality (e$g$, 29, >A;,
I have alread# mentioned that, for 6hitehead, the
subIect is also a super' (ect7 not something that underlies
eE&erience, but something that emerges from
eE&erience, something that is su&eradded to it$ This
doesnOt mean that 6hitehead abolishes the subIect, as
F&ostmodernG thin'ers are often accused of doing$ Indeed,
for 6hitehead, Iust as much as for 8ant, there is nothing
outside of eE&erience, and no eE&erience *ithout a
subIect$ FThe *hole uni1 verse,G 6hitehead sa#s, Fconsists
of elements disclosed in the eE&eriences of subIectsG
(ibid$, >==)$ There is al*a#s a subIect, though not
necessaril# a hu1 man one$ Even a roc'Dand for that
matter even an electronDhas eE&eri1 ences, and must be
considered a subIect1su&erIect to a certain eEtent$ A falling
roc' Ffeels,G or F&erceives,G the gravitational Peld of the
earth$ The roc' isnOt conscious, of courseK but it is a-ected
b# the earth, and this bein a-ected is its eE&erience$
6hat ma'es a subIect1su&erIect is not consciousness, but
unit#, identit#, closure, and transcendence$ Each subIect
is Fsomething individual for its o*n sa'eK and thereb#
transcends the rest of actualit#G (ibid$, <<)$ It is diJerent
from ever#thing elseK nothing can be substituted or
eEchanged for it$ FThe term XmonadO also eE&resses this
essential unit# at the decisive moment, *hich stands
bet*een its birth and its &erishingG (6hitehead
>9BB:>9=;, >;;)$ In the moment of its actuali9ation, a
subIect is entirel#, irreducibl# sin' ular$ 0ight after*ard,
of course, the moment &asses, and the subIect is Fob1
IectiPedG as a FdatumG for other occasionsK but that is
another stor#$
I have been d*elling on 6hiteheadOs self1&roclaimed
inversion of 8ant, because I *ant to suggest that 8ant
himself alread# &erforms something li'e this inversion, or
self1correction, in the Third !riti,ue$ +or there, 8ant &ro1
&oses a subIect that neither com&rehends nor legislates,
but onl# feels and re1 s&onds$ The aesthetic subIect does
not im&ose its forms u&on an other*ise chaotic outside
*orld$ 0ather, this subIect is itself informed by the *orld
out1 side, a *orld that (in the *ords of 6allace Stevens)
FPlls the being before the mind can thin'$G Being thus
informed, the aesthetic subIect is contemplative7 it is
neither active nor ,uite &assive, nor even reall# self1
reMeEive, but best de1 scribed grammaticall# in the
middle voice (*hich unfortunatel# doesnOt eEist in /erman
or English)$ In aesthetic contem&lation, I donOt have
&articular feelings, so much as m# ver# eEistence is
sus&ended u&on these feelings$ The onl# Fcausalit#G of an
aesthetic &resentation, 8ant sa#s, is Fto 3eep Uus inV the
state of UhavingV the &resentation itself$ $ $ $ 6e liner in
our contem&lation of the beautiful, because this
contem&lation reinforces and re&roduces itself G (>9<;,
=<)$ It is a 'ind of auto1aJecting short circuit$ The
contem&lated ob1 Iect &er&etuates itself in, and for, the
contem&lating subIectK the subIect sub1 sists onl# to the
eEtent that it resonates *ith the feelings ins&ired b# that
obIect$ 6e can sa#, some*hat &aradoEicall#, that the
subIect is auto'a-ected by the obIectiPed FdatumG that
enters into it$ The feelings cannot be se&arated from the
subIect for *hom the# eEistK #et the subIect itself can
onl# be said to eEist b# virtue of these feelings, and in
relation to them$
EE&ressed in this auto1aJecting short circuit, and
*ithout an# conce&t to determine it, beaut# is al*a#s
singular$ An aesthetic Iudgment res&onds to a uni,ue
situationK it cannot be re&eated, generali9ed, or codiPed
into rules$
>2 >B
In 8antOs terms, *e are faced *ith Fthe universalit# of a
singular IudgmentG (>9<;, >AA)7 the claim to beaut# is
absolute, and #et at the same time limited to Iust this one
instance$ Each encounter *ith beaut# is something
entirel# ne*K each aesthetic Iudgment res&onds to a
contingenc#$ This is *h# beaut# is incommunicable7 it
cannot be co&ied and imitated, Iust as Fit cannot be
couched in a formula and serve as a &rece&tG (>;;)$
0ather, 8ant sa#s, beaut# is e#emplary (>;?)$ An art*or'
of genius, for instance, Fis an eEam&le that is meant not
to be imitated, but to be follo*ed b# another genius$ $ $ $
The other genius, *ho follo*s the eEam&le, is aroused b#
it to a feeling of his o*n originalit#, *hich allo*s him to
eEercise in art his freedom from the con1 straint of rulesG
(><=@><;)$ That is to sa#, although *e cannot mimic or
re&li1 cate *hat *e Pnd beautiful, or eE&lain it to others
(or even to ourselves), it can ins&ire us to an act of
emulation$ And *here *e cannot communicate the inner
sensations of beaut#, or the grounds for an# &articular
Iudgment of taste, the onl# things that do remain
Funiversall# communicableG (>?;) are Fthe subIective
conditions for our em&lo#ment of the &o*er of Iudgment
as suchG (>??)$ In short, there are no rules, methods,
foundations, or criteria for the creation and a&&reciation of
beaut#$ All *e have are eEam&les of *hat is beautiful, and
the FsubIective conditionsG for striving to e,ual or
sur&ass them$
8antOs aesthetics is Iust one &art of his s#stem$ Ce
insists that aesthetic Iudgments are noncognitive, in order
to diJerentiate them from Iudgments of understanding
(*hich concern matters of em&irical fact) and from
moral Iudgments (*hich are categorical obligations or
commands)$ This attem&t to distinguish diJerent sorts of
Iudgment, and to circumscribe the &o*ers and limits of
each, remains crucial toda#$ +or it *arns us against the
totalitar1 ianism of reason, or (to eE&ress the &oint more
modestl#) against the endeavor of scientists, &hiloso&hers,
&olitical des&ots, and religious fanatics to im&ose a uniPed
Peld of assessment, in *hich the same fundamental
critical standards
7. Derrida0s frequent discussions of exemplarity, of the noncoincidence -etween the
e+ample and that of which it is an e+ample, of the way that an e+ample always carries
-eyond itself # $3448, <8), are &ery much written in the margins of Kant0s discussions of
e+emplarity in The Critique of Judgment*
*ould a&&l# across all disci&lines$ Such an im&osition
could onl# have cata1 stro&hic conse,uences, for it *ould
mean the end of an# sort of novelt#, cre1 ativit#, or
invention$ %eedless to sa#, this dream of totali9ing
reason is as inca&able of reali9ation as it is undesirable in
&rinci&le$ But it is also a dream that never goes a*a#,
since it is *hat 8ant calls a Ftranscendental illusion,G a
self1dece&tion built into the ver# nature of reason$ Since
*e are al*a#s being lured b# this illusion, li'e moths to a
Mame, *e al*a#s need 8ant to *arn us against it$ In the
end, of course, the mania for reason, truth, foundations,
and universall# valid criteria is as singular, as gratuitous,
and as intractable as an# other &assion$ As 6hitehead
sa#s, Fthe &rimar# function of theories is as a lure for
feelingG (>929:>9;<, ><A)K and *e cannot do *ithout such
theories and such lures$
The Criti&ue of )udment might seem to &la# merel# a
marginal role in 8antOs s#stem$ But *hen 6hitehead sa#s
that &hiloso&h# should begin *ith a Fcriti,ue of &ure
feeling,G instead of reason, this amounts to &utting the
Third !riti,ue Prst$ +or 6hitehead, aJect &recedes
cognition, and has a much *ider sco&e than cognition$
4nderstanding and moralit# ali'e must therefore be sub1
ordinated to aesthetics$ It is onl# after the subIect has
constructed or s#nthe1 si9ed itself out of its feelings, out of
its encounters *ith the *orld, that it can then go on to
understand that *orldDor to change it$
Such a revision or FcorrectionG of 8ant is more relevant
toda# than ever$ 8ant *as tr#ing, among other things, to
se&arate science from art, in order to dePne the &ro&er
limits of each$ In &ractice, this meant &reserving the arts
and humanities from scientiPc encroachment, something
that is still im&ortant toda#$ But *e also live in an age of
astonishing invention and relentless inno1 vation, *hen, as
+redric Qameson &uts it, Faesthetic &roductionG has
become the Fdominant cultural logic or hegemonic normG
(>99>, A@=)$ Even &osi1 tivistic science Pnds itself
a&&roaching ever closer to the condition of aesthet1 ics$
Theoretical &h#sics, for instance, seems to leave
,uestions of em&irical veriPcation behind, as it &ursues an
ever1receding FPnal theor# of ever#thing,G *hose sole
IustiPcation lies in the beaut# of its theorems, the
elegance and internal self1consistenc# of its mathematics$
/enetics and biotechnolog# are even more
&er&leEing, since the# are less about understanding the
eEternal *orld than the# are about eE&eriment1 ing onD
and thereb# alteringDourselves$ 6e are on the verge of
develo&ing the abilit# to clone ourselves, to t*ea' our
genetic ma'eu&, to h#bridi9e ourselves
>A >?
through gene s&licing, to incor&orate silicon chi&s into our
brains, to inter1 face machiner# directl# *ith our nervous
s#stems, and to reset our neuro1 transmitter and
hormone levels at *ill$ Such &ractices are inherentl# ris'#
and un&redictable$ Co* can *e come to terms *ith forms
of F'no*ledgeG *hose ver# eJect is to change *ho F*eG
areN Co* do *e Iudge these disci&lines, *hen the#
undermine, or render irrelevant, the ver# norms and
criteria that *e use to ground our IudgmentsN 6hat *ill
*e do *hen advances in these &ractices force us to
redePne, ever more radicall#, *hat *e mean b# such basic
notions as self, life, humanit#, and natureN The ne*
biolog#, as much as an# ne* *or' of art, re,uires us to
abandon ever#thing *e thin' *e 'no*, and ma'e singular
Iudgments that cannot be subsumed under &reeEisting
criteria$ Aesthetics &recedes cognition in such cases,
because *e are dealing *ith &rac1 tices that can onl# be
com&rehended through the ne* categories that the#
themselves create$ The ,uestion *e should be as'ing,
therefore, is not7 Co* can *e establish valid criteria and
critical standardsN but rather7 Co* can *e et a"ay from
such criteria and standards, *hich *or' onl# to bloc'
innova1 tion and changeN
Actual Entities and Eternal Objects
In a short cha&ter of $he /old that constitutes his onl#
eEtended discussion of Alfred %orth 6hitehead, /illes
5eleu9e &raises 6hitehead for as'ing the ,uestion,
F6hat Is an EventNG (5eleu9e >99B, ;=)$ 6hiteheadOs
*or' mar's onl# the third timeDafter the Stoics and
Leibni9Dthat events move to the center of
&hiloso&hical thought$ 6hitehead mar's an im&ortant
turning &oint in the histor# of &hiloso&h# because he
afPrms that, in fact, ever#thing is an event$ The *orld,
he sa#s, is made of events, and nothing but events7
ha&&enings rather than things, verbs rather than nouns,
&rocesses rather than substances$ As 5eleu9e
summari9es it, Fan event does not Iust mean that Xa
man has been run over$O The /reat #ramid is an event,
and its duration for a &eriod of one hour, thirt# minutes,
Pve minutes $ $ $ , a &assage of %ature, of /od, or a vie*
of /odG (ibid$, ;=)$ Becoming is the dee&est dimension of
Even a seemingl# solid and &ermanent obIect is an
eventK or, better, a multi&licit# and a series of events$ In
his earl# meta&h#sical boo' $he Con' cept of ,ature
(>920:200A), 6hitehead gives the eEam&le of
!leo&atraOs %eedle on the 2ictoria Emban'ment in
London (>=?J$)$ %o*, *e 'no*, of course, that this
monument is not Iust Fthere$G It has a histor#$ Its granite
*as scul&ted b# human hands, sometime around >A?0
-ce$ It *as moved from Celio&olis to AleEandria in >2
-ce, and again from AleEandria to London in ><;;@><;<
ce$ And some da#, no doubt, it *ill be destro#ed, or
1.My discussion of the af/nities -etween Whitehead and Deleuze, -oth in this chapter and
throughout Without Criteria, is deeply inde-ted to a num-er of recent studies comparing the
two thin;ers: most nota-ly those -y Keith 7o-inson $'((?), Fames Williams $'((>, 66A
3((), and Michael Balewood $'((>)*
other*ise cease to eEist$ But for 6hitehead, there is
much more to it than that$ !leo&atraOs %eedle isnOt Iust a
solid, im&assive obIect u&on *hich certain grand historical
eventsDbeing scul&ted, being movedDhave occasionall#
su&ervened$ 0ather, it is eventful at ever# moment$ +rom
second to second, even as it stands seemingl#
motionless, !leo&atraOs %eedle is activel# hap' penin$ It
never remains the same$ FA &h#sicist *ho loo's on that
&art of the life of nature as a dance of electrons, *ill tell
#ou that dail# it has lost some molecules and gained
others, and even the &lain man can see that it gets dirt1
ier and is occasionall# *ashedG (ibid$, >=;)$ At ever#
instant, the mere standing1in1&lace of !leo&atraOs
%eedle is an event7 a rene*al, a novelt#, a fresh
That is *hat 6hitehead means, *hen he sa#s that
eventsD*hich he also calls Factual entitiesG or Factual
occasionsGDare the ultimate com&onents of realit#$
Co*ever, I am being a little slo&&# here$ In Process and
Reality (>929:>9;<), 6hitehead strictl# distinguishes
bet*een occasions and events, and bet*een entities
and societies$ Ce FuseUsV the term XeventO in the more
general sense of a neEus of actual occasions, inter1
related in some determi1 nate fashion in one eEtensive
,uantum$ An actual occasion is the limiting t#&e of an
event *ith onl# one memberG (;B)$ At the limit, an event
ma# be Iust one &articular occasion, a single incident of
becoming$ But more gener1 all#, it is a grou& of such
incidents, a multi&licit# of becomings7 *hat 6hite1 head
calls a ne#us$ A neEus is Fa &articular fact of togetherness
among actual entitiesG (20)K that is to sa#, it is a
mathematical set of occasions, contiguous in s&ace and
time, or other*ise adhering to one another$ 6hen the
elements of a neEus are united, not Iust b# contiguit#,
but also b# a FdePning charac1 teristicG that is common
to all of them, and that the# have all FinheritedG from
one another, or ac,uired b# a common &rocess, then
6hitehead calls it a societ# (BA)$ A societ# is Fself1
sustainingK in other *ords $ $ $ it is its o*n reason$ $ $ $
The real actual things that endure,G and that *e
encounter in ever#da# eE&erience, Fare all societiesG
(>9BB:>9=;, 20B@20A)$ 6hitehead sometimes also calls
them endurin ob(ects (>929:>9;<, B?, >09)$ !leo&atraOs
%eedle is a societ#, or an enduring obIectK for that
matter, so am I m#self (>929:>9;<, >=>)$
To summari9e, an FoccasionG is the &rocess b# *hich
an#thing becomes, and an FeventGDa&&l#ing to a neEus or
a societ#Dis an eEtensive set, or a tem1 &oral series, of
such occasions$ This contrast bet*een individual
and the &rogressive summation of such becomings, is
crucial to 6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics$ An actual occasion is
something li'e *hat 5eleu9e calls a sinu' larity7 a &oint
of inMection or of discontinuous transformation$ %o
actual occasion comes into being e# nihiloK rather, it
inherits its FdataG from &ast occasions$ Let each actual
occasion is also self1creating, or causa sui, b# virtue of the
novel *a# in *hich it treats these &reeEisting data or
&rior occasions$ Cence, no occasion is the same as an#
otherK each occasion introduces some1 thing ne* into the
*orld$ This means that each occasion, ta'en in itself, is a
&uantum7 a discrete, indivisible unit of becoming$ But this
also means that oc1 casions are strictl# limited in sco&e$
Hnce an occasion ha&&ens, it is alread# over, alread#
dead$ Hnce it has reached its Pnal Fsatisfaction,G it no
longer has an# vital &o*er$ FAn actual occasion $ $ $ never
changes,G 6hitehead sa#sK Fit onl# becomes and
&erishesG (>9BB:>9=;, 20A)$ And a &erished occasion
subsists onl# as a FdatumG7 a sort of ra* material, *hich
an# subse,uent occa1 sion ma# ta'e u& in its o*n turn, in
order to transform it in a ne* &rocess of self1creation$
In contrast to the immediate becoming and &erishing
of actual occa1 sions, change al*a#s involves a
com&arison$ It can be understood as a &assage bet"een
occasions, or as the Froute of inheritanceG (6hitehead
2;9) from one incident of becoming to another$
Therefore change is the mar' of an event, understood
in 6hiteheadOs broader sense$ FThe funda1 mental
meaning of the notion of XchangeO is the diJerence
bet*een actual occasions com&rised in some
determinate eventG (ibid$, ;BK cf$ <0)$ This has an
im&ortant conse,uence7 it means that becoming is
&unctual and atom1 istic, and al*a#s needs to be
re&eated or rene*ed$ There is Fno continuit# of
becoming,G 6hitehead sa#s, but onl# Fa becoming of
continuit#G (B?)$
2. 7o-inson $'((6) argues that one ma1or difference -etween Whitehead and Deleuze is
pre, cisely that Deleuze is committed to a continuity of -ecoming -ut Whitehead is
committed to the idea of a -ecoming of continuity*# 2he pro-lem for -oth thin;ers is how
to resol&e the conDicting claims of unity and multiplicity, or how to achie&e what
Deleuze and =uattari $3456, '() call the magic formula we all see;G@!H7A!I%M
= MIJI%M*# Deleuze, fol, lowing %pinoza and ergson, opts for radical continuity, and
hence leans toward monism more than Whitehead, whose quantum theory of e&ents puts
more of an emphasis on irre, duci-le plurality*
>< >9
Becoming is not continuous, because each occasion, each
act of becoming, is uni,ue7 a F&roduction of novelt#G
that is also a ne* form of Fconcrete to1 gethernessG
(2>), or *hat 6hitehead calls a concrescence$ Something
ne* has been added to the universeK it mar's a radical
brea' *ith *hatever *as there before$ +or its &art,
continuit# al*a#s has to become, &recisel# because it is
never given in advance$ The continuit# im&lied b# the
eEistence of an endur1 ing obIectDli'e !leo&atraOs
%eedle, or li'e m#selfDis something that al1 *a#s needs
to be activel# &roduced$ %othing comes into being once
and for allK and nothing Iust sustains itself in being, as if
b# inertia or its o*n inner force$ 0ather, an obIect can
onl# endure insofar as it rene*s itself, or creates itself
afresh, over and over again$
At ever# moment, then, the continuing eEistence of
!leo&atraOs %eedle is a ne* event$ Lou canOt bum& into the
same obelis' t*ice$ All the more so, in that the same logic
holds for me m#self, as *ell as for m# &erce&tion of the
%eedle$ At an# given instant, m# encounter *ith the
%eedle is itself an event (6hitehead >920:200A, >=9)$ This
encounter might ta'e the form of m# sur1 &rise at seeing
the %eedle for the Prst timeK of m# close scrutin# of its
aesthetic featuresK of m# barel# conscious recognition of it
as I *al' negligentl# b#K of the &ain in m# forehead, as I
'noc' against it, *ithout loo'ingK of m# vague
In any case, the ad&antage of Whitehead0s e&ent epochalism,# or atomism on the
le&el of actual occasions, isGas =eorge 7* !ucas e+plainsGthat it allows him to a&oid the
s;epti, cal implications of an apparent 9parado+ of -ecoming0 common to ergson and
Fames* 2he parado+ is that an undifferentiated continuity of -ecoming, since it neither
-egins nor ends, cannot itself -e concei&ed of as determinate or concrete, nor can it
meaningfully -e said to gi&e rise to a plurality of distinct e+istents# $!ucas 344(, 33<)*
Eor an attempt to re&ise Whitehead in the direction of a $more ergsonian or
Deleuz, ian) sense of the continuity of -ecoming, see %ha Kin Wei $'((>)*
3. 2his implies that Whitehead re1ects %pinoza0s -asic principle of conatus, the claim
that each thing, in so far as it is in itself, endea&ours to persist in its own -eing,# and that
this stri&ing is the actual essence of the thing itself # $de %pinoza 3443, 3(5: Ethics, @art
III, propositions ? and 6)* Eor Whitehead, things stri&e not to persist in their own -eing,
-ut rather to -ecome other than they were, to ma;e some alteration in the data# that they
recei&e* An entity0s sat, isfaction# consists not in persisting in its own -eing, -ut in
achie&ing difference and no&elty, in introducing something new into the world*
memor# of having seen it #ears agoK or even, if I have
never been to London, of m# reading about it in
6hiteheadOs boo'$ Each of these encounters is a fresh
eventK and each of the selves to *hich it ha&&ens is also a
fresh event$ erceiv1 ing the %eedle is not something that
ha&&ens to me as an alread#1constituted subIect, but
rather something that constitutes me ane* as a subIect$
That is to sa#, *hereas for 8ant, and most &ost18antian
thought, Fthe *orld emerges from the subIect,G in
6hiteheadOs &hiloso&h# the &rocess is inverted, so that
Fthe subIect emerges from the *orldDa Xsu&erIectO rather
than a XsubIectO G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, <<)$ This
su&erIect is the remnant that the occa1 sion leaves
behind$ I am not an entit# that &roIects to*ard the
*orld, or that &henomenologicall# FintendsG the *orld,
but rather one that is onl# born in the ver# course of its
encounter *ith the *orld (FsubIectG), and that gets
&reci&itated out of this encounter, li'e a salt &reci&itated
out of a solu1 tion (Fsu&erIectG)$
+or 6hitehead, there is no ontoloical diJerence
bet*een *hat *e gen1 erall# call &h#sical obIects and
*hat *e generall# call mental or subIective acts$
6hitehead is in accord *ith 6illiam Qames in reIecting Fthe
radical dualism of thought and thingG (Qames >99=, 2<),
and insisting rather that Fthoughts in the concrete are
made of the same stuJ as things areG (B;)$ The sheer ma1
terial eEistence of !leo&atraOs %eedle is an eventK and so
is m# &erce&tion of the %eedle$ 6hitehead thus insists
u&on *hat 5eleu9e calls the Funivocit#G of Being7 that
FBeing is said in a single and same sense of ever#thing of
*hich it is said,G even *hen Fthat of *hich it is said
diJersG (5eleu9e >99A, B=)$ Hf course, m# &erce&tion of
the %eedle is not the same thing as the %eedle itself,
4. More needs to -e said a-out the resonances -etween Whitehead0s account of
concresence and the su-1ect,super1ect, and =il-ert %imondon0s $'((>) notion of
indi&iduation* %imondon draws e+tensi&ely on the e+ample of a crystal -eing precipitated
out of a solution, which I ha&e -orrowed as a metaphor here* In addition, %imondon0s
account of perception as dispara- tion, a process where-y indi&iduation creates a
relational system that 9holds together0 what prior to its occurrence was incompati-le#
$2oscano '((?, 3<4), has close af/nities with Whitehead0s $34'4:3465, ''5) claim that
what are ordinarily termed 9relations0 are a-strac, tions from contrasts,# and his
description of the processes where-y entities stri&e toward a heightened intensity of
contrast# $i-id*, '64), and ultimately toward the con&ersion of op, positions into contrasts
$i-id*, <85)*
20 2>
*hich stands there *hether I loo' at it or not$ Hr, to &ut it
more &recisel#, the event b# *hich the %eedle stands on
the 2ictoria Emban'ment is diJer1 ent from the event b#
*hich I &erceive the %eedle standing on the 2ictoria
Emban'ment$ But these events are both of the same
natureK the# are both Fs&o1 'enG or eE&ressed in the same
*a#K and the# eEist together in one and the same *orld$
In order to s&ea' ade,uatel#D*hich is to sa#,
univocall#Dabout events, 6hitehead reIects the FsubIect1
&redicate forms of thoughtG (>929:>9;<, ;) that have
dominated 6estern &hiloso&h# since 5escartes$ In
subIect1 &redicate thought, an underl#ing substance or
subIect is assumed to remain the same, no matter *hat
Fsecondar# ,ualitiesG are attributed to it, or &redi1 cated
of it$ Events are subordinated to the subIects to *hom
the# ha&&en, or to the substances u&on *hich the#
su&ervene$ Even at its best, as *ith S&in1 o9a, classical
thought still leaves us *ith a division bet*een Fone
substance, causa sui,G on the one hand, and the man#
aJections of this substance, Fits individuali9ed modes,G
on the other$ 6hitehead declares that his o*n &hi1
loso&h# Fis closel# allied to S&ino9aOs scheme of
thought$G But he critici9es Fthe ga& in US&ino9aOsV
s#stemG that is due to Fthe arbitrar# introduction of the
XmodesO G (=@;)$ The trouble *ith S&ino9a, in other
*ords, is that he Fbases his &hiloso&h# u&on the monistic
substance, of *hich the actual occa1 sions are inferior
modesGK 6hiteheadOs &hiloso&h# Finverts this &oint of
5.7o-inson $'((6) questions the degree to which Whitehead is committed to uni&ocity in
Deleuze0s sense of this term* 7o-inson sees the persistence of the assumption of an
analog, ical structure of -eing in Whitehead0s thought#. whereas Deleuze0s doctrine of
radical uni, &ocity e+cludes analogical thought altogether* Analogy implies an underlying
similarity. -ut Deleuze always insists on a primordial difference that su-tends, and
ruptures, any apparent similarities* Eor Deleuze, analogical reasoning necessarily implies a
collapse -ac; into dualist and representationalist thought* Whitehead0s continuing use of
analogy would therefore entail an irreduci-le -rea; with Deleuze*# e this as it may, and
howe&er much Whitehead may rely on analogical reasoning elsewhere in his wor;, nothing
in 7o-inson0s argument precludes Whitehead0s committment to the uni&ocity of how
e&ents are e+pressed, in the sense that I am noting here* And indeed, 7o-inson concedes
that the differences he notices -etween Whitehead and Deleuze are matters of -alance#
or emphasis, rather than fundamental in, compati-ilities*
vie*G (<>)$ In altogether abolishing the distinction
bet*een substance and mode, 6hitehead converts
S&ino9a from a logic of monism to one of &lural1 ism (;A)$
In Process and Reality, Fmor&hological descri&tion is
re&laced b# descri&tion of d#namic &rocess$ Also
S&ino9aOs XmodesO no* become the sheer actualitiesK so
that, though anal#sis of them increases our understand1
ing, it does not lead us to the discover# of an# higher
grade of realit#G (;)$ +or 6hitehead, there is nothing
besides the modes, no uniPed substance that subsumes
themDnot even immanentl#$ Even /od, 6hitehead
suggests, is natura naturata as *ell as natura naturans,
Fat once a creature of creativit# and a condition for
creativit#$ It shares this double character *ith all crea1
turesG (B>)$ In itself, ever# individual Factual entit#
satisPes S&ino9aOs notion of substance7 it is causa sui G
(222)$ The modes, aJections, or actual occasions are all
there is$
There is therefore no stable and essential distinction,
for 6hitehead, bet*een mind and matter, or bet*een
subIect and obIect$ There is also no stable and essential
distinction bet*een human and nonhuman, or even be1
t*een living and nonliving$ ItOs not that such distinctions
are unim&ortantK often the# are of the greatest
&ragmatic im&ortance$ I should not treat a human being
the *a# that I treat a stone$ But *e need to remember
that these distinctions are al*a#s situational$ The# are
diJerences of degree, not diJerences of essence or 'ind$
6hitehead see's to &roduce a meta&h#sics that is
nonanthro&omor&hic and nonanthro&ocentric$ This means
that he is a secular and naturalistic thin'er, but one of a
ver# s&ecial sort$ Ce reIects su&ernatural eE&lanations,
holding to *hat he calls the ontoloical principle7 the
claim that Factual entities are the onl# reasonsG
(>929:>9;<, 2A), that Fthe search for a reason is al*a#s
the search for an actual fact *hich is the vehi1 cle of that
reasonG (A0)$ +or Fthere is nothing *hich Moats into the
*orld from no*here$ Ever#thing in the actual *orld is
referable to some actual entit#G (2AA)$ This means that
em&iricism is ultimatel# correct7 all our 'no*ledge
comes from eE&erience, and there is nothing outside
6. Whitehead0s re1ection of %pinoza0s monism in fa&or of William Fames0s pluralism
goes along with his re1ection of %pinoza0s conatus in fa&or of Fames0s $and ergson0s) sense
of continual change, -ecoming or process, or what he also calls creativity*
22 2B
or be#ond it$ Even the conce&t of /od needs to be
seculari9ed, eE&lained in em&irical terms, and located
*ithin &henomenal eE&erience (20;)$
In this regard, it is im&ortant to note that 6hitehead
al*a#s see'sDas does 5eleu9e, after himDto conciliate
his arguments *ith the Pndings of eE1 &erimental science$
Too man# t*entieth1centur# &hiloso&hers reIect science
and technolog# as abusive FenframingsG of eE&erience
(Ceidegger), or as eEer1 cises in Finstrumental reasonG
(Cor'heimer and Adorno)$ 6hitehead, ho*1 ever, is
&ositivel# stimulated b# the science of his da#7 the theor#
of relativit#, and to a lesser eEtent ,uantum mechanics$
Hne of his goals is to create a meta1 &h#sics that frees
itself from the outdated assum&tions of classical
(!artesian and %e*tonian) thought as thoroughl# as
t*entieth1centur# &h#sics does$ This doesnOt mean that
&hiloso&h# is subsumed into science (as certain &osi1 tivist
and anal#tical &hiloso&hers *ould *ish)K 6hitehead, no less
than 5eleu9e, insists on the essential diJerence bet*een
the &hiloso&hical enter&rise and the scientiPc one, and
the irreducibilit# of the former to the latter$ But 6hite1
headOs meta&h#sics al*a#s &resumes a res&ect for the
Pndings of &h#sical sci1 ence$ Toda#, 6hiteheadOs thought
(li'e that of 5eleu9e) can be brought into fruitful contact
*ith such livel# areas of contem&orar# scientiPc research
and debate as com&leEit# theor# (0obinson 200?) and
neurobiolog# (red 200?K Me#er 200?)$
But 6hiteheadOs ontological &rinci&le also im&lies
that &h#sical scienceD*ith its reIection of the Fsearch for
a reason,G its se&aration of ,ues1 tions of ho" from
,uestions of "hyDis not altogether ade,uate for com&re1
hending realit#$ It is incom&lete$ As Isabelle Stengers
(200?, B;J) &uts it, science is a necessar# condition for
understanding the *orld, but not a sufP1 cient one$ To
sto& at the level of scientiPc eE&lanation *ould be to
acce&t the Fbifurcation of nature into t*o s#stems of
realit#,G one the realm of Fmole1 cules and electrons,G
and the other that of mental &henomena (Loc'eOs Fsec1
ondar# ,ualitiesG) li'e Fthe greenness of the trees, the
song of the birds, the *armth of the sunG (6hitehead
>920:200A, B0@B>)$ To overcome this bifurcation,
6hitehead, li'e Leibni9, see's a FsufPcient reasonG for all
&he1 nomena$ And as 5eleu9e (>99B, A>) sa#s,
commenting on Leibni9, Fa cause is not the reason being
soughtG hereK or at least, the causalit# traced b# &h#s1
ical science is not enouh of a reason$ As 5eleu9e further
eE&lains, Leibni9Os &rinci&le of sufPcient reason Fclaims
that ever#thing that ha&&ens to a thingDcausations
includedDhas a reason$ If an event is called *hat ha&&ens
to a thing, *hether it undergoes the event or ma'es it
ha&&en, it can be said that sufPcient reason is *hat
includes the event as one of its &redicatesG (ibid$)$ 6e
cannot ignore the &h#sical chain of causalit# that is at
*or' in a given eventK but *e do not *ant our
eE&lanation to sto& there$ 6e also Fre,uire to
understand,G as 6hitehead sa#s (cited in Stengers 200?,
A2), the reason behind this chain of causalit#, the
FdecisionG that ma'es of it *hat it is$ 6hitehead *arns
us that such F XdecisionO cannot be construed as a
casual adIunct of an actual entit#$ It constitutes the ver#
meaning of actualit#G (>929:>9;<, AB)$
6hiteheadOs ontological &rinci&le thus ma'es the
same meta&h#sical demand as Leibni9Os &rinci&le of
sufPcient reasonDeEce&t that 6hitehead, once again,
reIects the subIect1&redicate form of thought found in
Leibni9$ +or 6hitehead, events do not Fha&&en toG
things7 rather, events themselves are the onl# things$ An
event is not Fone of Uthe thingOsV &redicates,G but the ver#
thing itself$
6here Leibni9 refers all Pnal causes and
sufPcient reasons to /od, the ground of being and the
architect of a F&reestablished har1 mon#,G 6hitehead
inverts this logic$ In 6hiteheadOs account, /od is the
result of the sufPcient reasons, or Pnal causes, of all Pnite
entities, rather than their ground$ In a *orld of &rocess
rather than &redication, the sufPcient rea1 son for an#
actual occasion is FdecidedG b#, and is entirel# immanent
to, the occasion itself$ Each actual entit# is the architect of
its o*n &rivate F&reestab1 lished harmon#G (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, 2;K cf$ 22A)$ In contrast to Leibni9Os /od, *hat
6hitehead calls the Fconse,uent nature of /odG (BA?J$)
onl# *or's e# post facto, gathering these man# little
&rivate harmonies, *ithout eEce&tion, into a grand,
&ublic, and never1com&leted Fconce&tual harmoni9a1 tionG
All this im&lies a ne*, modernist sort of Fharmon#G7
one that does not eEclude dissonances, but encom&asses
them *ithin itself as *ell$ In dealing
7. As I ha&e already noted, the things to hich e&ents happen are not actual entities or
occa, sions, -ut societies and enduring o-1ects* At the same time, these societies and
enduring o-, 1ects are themsel&es composed of nothing more than a set of actual occasions,
together with the historical routes# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, ?<) or routes of inheritance#
$35() that lin; them together*
2A 2?
*ith Fantitheses,G or Fa&&arent self1contradictions,G
6hiteheadOs /od nei1 ther selects among the
alternative &ossibilities in the manner of Leibni9Os
divinit#, nor FsublatesG the o&&ositions into a higher, self1
reMeEive and self1 diJerentiating unit# in the manner of
CegelOs Absolute$ 0ather, 6hiteheadOs /od o&erates Fa
shift of meaning *hich converts the o&&osition into a
contrastG (>929:>9;<, BA<)$
6here Leibni9Os /od selects
Fthe best of all &ossible *orldsG b# eEcluding
incom&ossibilities, 6hiteheadOs /od afPrms, *ithout
&reference or restriction, the Fdiscordant multi&licit# of
actual thingsG (BA9)$ Hr, as 5eleu9e &uts it7 for
6hitehead, in contrast to Leibni9, Fbifurcations,
divergences, incom&ossibilities, and discord belong to
the same motle# *orld$ $ $ $ Even /od desists from being
a Being *ho com&ares *orlds and chooses the richest
com&ossible$ Ce becomes rocess, a &rocess that at
once afPrms incom&ossibles and &asses through themG
(5eleu9e >99B, <>)$
6hat diJerence does this a&&roach ma'e to
6hiteheadOs understand1 ing of the *orldN Co* does his
F&hiloso&h# of organismG com&are to more conventional
varieties of em&iricism and naturalismN The most
im&ortant diJerence, I thin', is this$ In reIecting the
bifurcation of nature, and in
8. 2his merits more e+tended commentary than I am a-le to gi&e it here*
Whitehead0s resolu, tion of antithesesG-y operating a shift of meaning,# and -y con&erting
conceptual oppositions into aesthetic contrasts#Ghas a strong af/nity with Kant0s
decidedly non,Begelian $or anti, Begelian in anticipation) treatment of antitheses, or
Antinomies,# in the 2ranscendental Dialectic# section of the Eirst Lritique*
9.2im Llar; $'((') questions Deleuze0s reading of Whitehead as a thin;er of dis1unction,
incompossi-ility, and chaosmology*# Llosely reading Whitehead0s account of =od in
!rocess and "eality and elsewhere, Llar; concludes that Whitehead does not quite af/rm
difference, incompossi-ility, openness, and the dis1uncti&e synthesis# in the radical
manner that Deleuze himself does* Within Whitehead0s system, the uni&erse remains, in
principle, only semi, open# rather than radically open# $i-id*, '(')*
In other words, although Whitehead goes -eyond the aroque harmony of !ei-niz,
he doesn0t quite mo&e to the dissipation of tonality,# polytonality,# and $citing oulez)
polyphony of polyphonies# that Deleuze /nds in the modernist neo,aroque# $Deleuze
344<, 5')* Barmony is more than 1ust a metaphor here. -ut in loo;ing at Whitehead0s
re,uiring a sufPcient reason for all &henomena,
6hitehead necessaril# chal1 lenges the founding
assum&tion of modern scientiPc reason7 that of a Fs&lit
subIectG (Lacan >9;<, >B<J$), or a Pgure of Man as
Fem&irico1transcendental doubletG (+oucault >9;0, B><J )$
+or 6hitehead, the eE&erimenter cannot be se&arated
from the eE&eriment, because the# are both &resent in the
*orld in the same manner$ I cannot observe other entities
an# diJerentl# from ho* I observe m#self$ There can be
no formal, &ermanent distinction bet*een the observing
self (the self as transcendental subIect, or subIect of
enunciation) and the self being observed (the self as
obIect in the *orld, or subIect of the statement)$
Therefore there can be neither &henomenolog# nor
&ositivism, and neither cognitivism nor behaviorism$
6hitehead underscores this &oint b# using the same
vocabular# to describe the biological *orld, and even the
inorganic *orld, as he does the human *orld$ Ce suggests
that categories li'e *ill, desire, and creation are valid, not
Iust for us, but for nonhuman (and even nonorganic)
entities as *ell$ Ce *rites *ithout embarrassment of the
FfeelingsG and FsatisfactionsG of a &lant, an inorganic
obIect li'e !leo&atraOs %eedle, or even an electron$ Ever#
event or entit# has *hat he calls both FmentalG and
F&h#sicalG &oles, and both a F&rivateG and a F&ublicG
dimension$ In the vast interconnections of the universe,
ever#thing both &erceives and is &erceived$
6eird as this ma# sound, it is a necessar#
conse,uence of 6hiteheadOs &ursuit of univocit#, or of
*hat Manuel 5e Landa (200=) calls a 4at ontoloy7 one in
*hich entities on diJerent scales, and of diJerent levels of
aesthetics of harmony,# I thin; that we need to get away from Deleuze0s implicit endorse,
ment of the modernist narrati&e of the progressi&e e+pansion and li-eration of harmony in
Western concert music, culminating in the twel&e,tone method of composers li;e oulez*
I return to Llar;0s argument, and to the question of Whitehead0s notion of god, in
Lhapter >* ut e&en granting Llar;0s interpretation, Whitehead is suf/ciently open as
regards =od and the chaosmos# as to not altogether e+clude Deleuze0s readingGat least in
the way that I am citing it here* I&erall, I am less concerned with reconstructing
Whitehead0s thought precisely than in delineating the outlines of the encounter -etween
Whitehead and Deleuze, an encounter that changes our apprehension of -oth of them*
2= 2;
and com&leEit#, are all treated in the same manner$
6hitehead *rites of the Fmental &oleG of an electron, or a
monument, *e must remember that Fmental o&erations
do not necessaril# involve consciousnessGK indeed, most
often the# ha&&en entirel# *ithout consciousness
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, <?)$ 6hitehead derives his terms
from our ordinar# language about human thought, feeling,
and behaviorK in this *a#, he signals his distance from
an# sort of &ositivism, or from *hat more recentl# has
come to be called Felimi1 native materialism$G But he also
radicall# deanthro&omor&hi9es these terms, in order to
distinguish his &osition from an# sim&le &rivileging of the
human, or from the F&an&s#chismG of *hich he is
sometimes accused$ It is not the case that *e human
beings have some s&ecial essence of Fmentalit#,G *hereas
trees and roc's and electrons donOt$ But neither is our
sentience Iust an illu1 sion$ The diJerence is rather one of
degree$ The Fmental &oleG of an occasion contributing to
the eEistence of a tree or a roc' or an electron is never
entirel# absent, but it is so feeble as to be Fnegligible$G In
contrast, the Fmental &oleG of an occasion that
contributes to m# consciousness, or to m# identit#, is
intense, active, and largel# dominant$
To avoid the anthro&omor&hicDor at least cognitive
and rationalisticD connotations of *ords li'e Fmentalit#G
and F&erce&tion,G 6hitehead uses the term prehension for
the act b# *hich one actual occasion ta'es u& and
res&onds to another$ !lear and distinct human sense
&erce&tion, as it is conceived in
10. It is sometimes argued that Whitehead0s distinction -etween actual entities and
societies, or -etween occasions $which are atomistic) and e&ents $which in&ol&e change),
&iolates the dictum of a Dat ontology and reintroduces the &ery -ifurcation of nature# that
Whitehead is so concerned to o&ercome* As I ha&e already suggested, Whitehead needs this
distinction in order to af/rm the actuality of meaningful changeGor what he calls the
creati&e ad&ance into no&elty# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, '5 and passim)Gand to a&oid
reducing -ecoming to what "rnst loch, criticizing -oth ergson and the endless
alternation of fashions in capital, ist consumer society, calls sheer aimless in/nity and
incessant changea-ility. where e&ery, thing ought to -e constantly new, e&erything
remains 1ust as it was * * * a merely endless, contentless zigzag# $loch 345?, 38()*
In any case, the dictum of a Dat ontology at least applies to anything that we may en,
counter in li&ed e+perience, since e&erything from a neutrino to the cosmos as a whole is
equally a society# in Whitehead0s de/nition of the term*
the classical &hiloso&hical tradition from 5escartes to the
&ositivists of the t*entieth centur#, is one sort of
&rehension$ But it is far from the onl# one$ Hur lives are
Plled *ith eE&eriences of Fnon1sensuous &erce&tionG
(6hite1 head >9BB:>9=;, ><0@><>)7 from our a*areness of
the immediate &ast (><>), to the feelings *e have of Fthe
X"ithnessO of the bodyG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, B>2)$ F6e
see the contem&orar# chair, but *e see it "ith our e#esK
and *e touch the contem&orar# chair, but *e touch it
"ith our handsG (=2)$ Hr again, F*e see by our eyes, and
taste by our palatesG (>22)$ In the same *a#, Fa Iell#Psh
advances and *ithdra*s, and in so doing eEhibits some
&erce&tion of causal relationshi& *ith the *orld be#ond
itselfK a &lant gro*s do*n*ards to the dam& earth, and
u&*ards to the lightG (>;=)$ These are all &rehensions$ +or
that matter, the earth &rehends the sun that gives it
energ#K the stone &re1 hends the earth to *hich it falls$
!leo&atraOs %eedle &rehends its material sur1 roundingsK
and I &rehend, among other things, the %eedle$ A ne*
entit# comes into being b# &rehending other entitiesK
ever# event is the &rehension of other events$
All this a&&lies, it should be noted, not onl# to the
encounter bet*een subIect and obIect, but also to
encounters bet*een one obIect and another, as *ell as to
*hat is commonl# called the Fidentit#G of the individual
subIect$ Self1identit#, the relation of a subIect to itself, has
the same structure as the re1 lation of a subIect to an
obIect$ The# are both grounded in &rehensions$ I &re1 hend
!leo&atraOs %eedle afresh ever# time I &ass it, or thin'
about it$ But also, I continuall# &rehend m#selfK I rene*
m#self in being, at ever# instant, b# &rehending *hat I
*as Iust a moment ago, Fbet*een a tenth of a second and
11. As Deleuze puts it: "&erything prehends its antecedents and its concomitants and,
-y de, grees, prehends a world* 2he eye is a prehension of light* !i&ing -eings prehend
water, soil, car-on, and salts* At a gi&en moment the pyramid prehends Japoleon0s
soldiers $forty cen, turies are contemplating us) and in&ersely# $Deleuze 344<, 65)*
Bowe&er, regarding Deleuze0s summary, as well as my own, two precautions are in order* In
the /rst place, as Didier De-aise notes, all these e+amples refer to what Whitehead calls
societies, rather thanGas would -e more properGto actual entities themsel&es $De-aise
'((?, 6<A6>)* %econd, Deleuze fails to mention the temporal dimension of prehension*
An actual entity does not prehend what is contemporaneous with it, -ut only what lies in
its past $although this is usually its immediate past, so that the distinction is for the most
part unnoticea-le)*
2< 29
half a second ago$G Such an immediate &ast Fis gone,
and #et it is here$ It is our indubitable self, the foundation
of our &resent eEistenceG (6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, ><>)$
An Fenduring obIectG can onl# &ersist through time, and
retain a certain Fidentit#G amid the becomings that it
&asses through, b# virtue of Fa genetic character inherited
through a historic route of actual occasionsG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, >09)$ I am onl# the Fsame,G onl# able to
Fsustain a characterG (B?), to the eEtent that I continuall#,
and activel#, ta'e u& this in1 heritance from the immediate
&ast$ M# self1identit#, or the manner in *hich I relate to
m#self, is the eE&ression of such an inheritance7 the
&rocess b# *hich I receive it, reMect on it, and transform
it, again and again$
And the same could be said, more or
less, for !leo&atraOs %eedle$ The onl# diJerence is that I
ta'e u& m# inheritance from the &ast on a higher and
more reMeEive level than does a &lant, a stone, or an
If Being is univocal, and ever#thing is an event, and
the human and the rational hold no s&ecial &rivileges, then
e&istemolog# must be demoted from the central role that
it generall# holds in &ost1!artesian (and es&eciall# &ost1
8antian) thought$ The *hole &oint of 6hiteheadOs
&hiloso&h# is Fto free our notions from &artici&ation in an
e&istemological theor# of sense1&erce&tionG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, ;B)$ It no longer ma'es sense to se&arate the
theor# of ho" *e 'no* from the theor# of "hat *e 'no*$
6hitehead &oints out the unac'no*ledged ontological
&remises l#ing behind traditional &hiloso&h#Os
12. In other words, I am continually caught up in what Eoucault calls the care of the
self,# or the practice of constructing and go&erning the relationship of the self to itself #
$Eoucault 3446, <(()* Much more needs to -e said a-out this process of self,constitution,
and how it dif, fers from the ways that the su-1ect is concei&ed in su-1ect,predicate forms
of thought#Gor for that matter, from the ways that it is concei&ed in forms of thought that
critique or decon, struct the su-1ect,predicate# approach, -ut without proposing any
alternati&e, constructi&ist account*
I thin; that Whitehead0s understanding of su-1ecti&ity as process $and Eoucault0s ac,
count as well, for that matter) is -est grasped in relation to Kant0s discussions of time as
the form of inner sense,# and of the constitution of the I# as transcendental unity of
appercep, tion* Whitehead $34'4:3465, 3>?) in&erts# the Kantian analysisGor, as I prefer
to say, con- verts it from a cogniti&e to an e+periential -asisG-y replacing Kant0s a-stract
temporality with ergson0s concrete duration,# or -etter with what William Fames calls
the specious present*#
e&istemological investigations7 5escartesOs methodical
doubt, CumeOs s'e&ti1 cism, and 8antOs transcendental
deduction$ In all these cases, continuit# and causalit# are
in fact alread# &reassumed b# the arguments that claim
to &ut them into doubt (or, in the case of 8ant, to
ground and authori9e them)$ Cume, for instance,
,uestions causalit# b# arguing that all *e can reall# 'no*
of a necessar# lin' bet*een events is their constant
conIunction in memor#$ Such a conIunction, Cume sa#s,
must be ascribed to our habits and associa1 tionsK it is in
our minds, rather than in the *orld$ But 6hitehead reIects
this ver# distinction$ Ce remar's that Fit is difPcult to
understand *h# Cume eE1 em&ts XhabitO from the same
criticism as that a&&lied to the notion of Xcause$O 6e have
no Xim&ressionO of Xhabit,O Iust as *e have no Xim&ressionO
of Xcause$O !ause, re&etition, habit are all in the same
boatG (ibid$, >A0)$
In other *ords, habits and mental associations could
not themselves be &osited *ithout the hidden assum&tion
of *hat 6hitehead calls causal ef' 5cacy7 Fthe sense of
derivation from an immediate &ast, and of &assage to an
immediate futureG (ibid$, >;<)$ So *here Cume se&arates
subIective im&res1 sions from obIective matters of fact,
and argues that *e cannot ma'e infer1 ences from the
former to the latter, 6hitehead notes that the logics, and
the contents, of these t*o ostensibl# se&arate realms are
in fact entirel# the same$ There is no reason *h# mental
events should be treated an# diJerentl# than an# other
sort of eventsK the# are all &arts of the same stream of
eE&erience$ If Cume *ere consistent, he *ould have to
reIect habit, memor#, and mental as1 sociation on the
same grounds that he reIects causalit#$ The lesson is that
e&is1 temological meta,uestions (Fho* do *e 'no* *hat
eEistsNGK Fdo *e reall# 'no* *hat *e thin' *e 'no*
about *hat eEistsNG) have the same ontological status as
the Prst1order ,uestions to *hich the# ostensibl# refer
(F*hat eE1 istsNG)$ 6hitehead thus short1circuits the
entire &rocess of e&istemological reMection$ There is no
metalanguage, and e&istemolog# colla&ses bac' into
This reIection of e&istemolog# is *hat leads 5eleu9e
to &raise Fthe list of em&irico1ideal notions that *e Pnd
in 6hitehead, *hich ma'es Process and Reality one of
the greatest boo's of modern &hiloso&h#G (5eleu9e >99A,
2<A@2<?)$ 5eleu9e o&&oses 6hiteheadOs &roliferating list
of categoriesDa list that includes Fthe !ategor# of the
4ltimate,G together *ith eight F!ate1 gories of
EEistence,G t*ent#1seven !ategories of EE&lanation,G
and nine F!ategoreal HbligationsG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, 20@2<)Dto the t*elve
B0 B>
PEed !ategories of the understanding in 8antOs Criti&ue of
Pure Reason$ 8antOs categories are logical and
e&istemologicalK the# Fbelong to the *orld of re&re1
sentationG (5eleu9e >99A, 2<A), and concern the *a#s in
*hich *e organi9eD and thereb# &resent to ourselvesD
the data that *e receive from the senses$ 6hitehead
calls them Fthe ghosts of the old Xfaculties,O banished from
&s#chol1 og#, but still haunting meta&h#sicsG (>929:>9;<,
><)$ 6hiteheadOs o*n cate1 gories, to the contrar#, are
Fgeneric notions inevitabl# &resu&&osed in our reMective
eE&erience $ $ $ UbasedV u&on the most concrete elements in
our eE&e1 rienceG (ibid$)$ The# do not represent that
eE&erience, nor do the# eE&lain ho* it is &ossible for us to
3no" things in eE&erience$ The# cannot be applied to
eE&erience, because the# are alread# located "ithin
eE&erience itself$ 5eleu9e calls them Fnotions *hich are
reall# o&en and *hich betra# an em&irical and &luralist
sense of Ideas $ $ $ Such notions $ $ $ are conditions of real
eE&erience, and not onl# of &ossible eE&erienceG
(5eleu9e >99A, 2<A@2<?)$
8antOs categories of understanding are universal and
intrinsic to the mind that im&oses them u&on an
other*ise inchoate eEternal realit#$ But 6hite1 headOs
categories are not im&osed b# the mind$ The# are
immanent to the FdataGDthe events or actual occasionsD
out of *hich the# arise b# a &rocess of abstraction$ FIt is a
com&lete mista'e,G 6hitehead sa#s, Fto as' ho* con1
crete &articular fact can be built u& out of universals$ The
ans*er is, XIn no *a#$O The true &hiloso&hic ,uestion is,
Co* can concrete fact eEhibit entities abstract from itself
and #et &artici&ated in b# its o*n natureNG (>929:>9;<,
6hitehead abstracts Fem&irico1idealG categories
from the events that &artici&ate in them, rather than
im&osing a priori categories u&on &henom1 ena that
remain eEternal to them$ In anal#9ing events, he does
not assume an# &riorit# of the subIect, but rather traces
its genesis alongside that of the *orld in *hich it Pnds
itself$ And he delineates the conditions of real eE&eri1
ence, *hich determine concrete &rocesses of emergence,
rather than &ro&os1 ing a&odictic conditions for all &ossible
eE&erience$ 6hitehead reIects 8antOs Fendeavor to
balance the *orld u&on thoughtDoblivious to the scant#
su&&l# of thin'ing$G But he still agrees *ith 8ant on the
fundamental &rinci&le Fthat
13. Deleuze and =uattari $3448, 6) similarly remar; that the /rst principle of
philosophy is that Hni&ersals e+plain nothing -ut must themsel&es -e e+plained*#
the tas' of the critical reason is the anal#sis of constructsK
and XconstructionO is X&rocessO G (ibid$, >?>)$ In this *a#,
6hitehead is far from sim&l# reIecting 8antK rather, he
converts 8antOs Ftranscendental idealismG into something
li'e *hat 5eleu9e calls Ftranscendental em&iricism$G
5eleu9eOs o*n Ftranscendental em&iricismG centers on
his notion of the virtual$ I thin' that this much1dis&uted
conce&t can best be understood in 8antian terms$ The
virtual is the transcendental condition of all eE&erience$
And Ideas in the virtual, *hich are al*a#s F&roblematic or
&roblemati9ing,G are 5eleu9eOs e,uivalent of Fregulative
ideasG in 8ant (5eleu9e >99A, >=<J )$ +or 8ant, as
5eleu9e &oints out, F&roblematic Ideas are both obIective
and undetermined$G The# cannot be &resented directl#, or
re1&resentedK but their ver# indeterminac# Fis a &erfectl#
&ositive, obIective structure *hich acts as a focus or
hori9on *ithin &erce&tionG (ibid$)$ The error of
meta&h#sical dog1 matism is to use these Ideas
constitutivel#7 to ta'e their obIects as determi1 nate,
transcendent entities$ This is to forget that such obIects
Fcan be neither given nor 'no*n$G The correlative error of
s'e&ticism is to thin' that, since the Ideas are
indeterminate and unre&resentable, the# are thereb#
merel# sub1 Iective, and their obIects merel# Pctive$ This
is to forget that F&roblems have an obIective value,G and
that F X&roblematicO does not mean onl# a &articularl#
im&ortant s&ecies of subIective acts, but a dimension of
obIectivit# as such *hich is occu&ied b# these actsG
(ibid$, >=<)$ Against both of these errors, 8ant u&holds
the regulative and transcendental use of the Ideas$ A
regulative idea does not determine an# &articular solution
in advance$ But o&erating as a guideline, or as a frame of
reference, the regulative idea *or's problematically, to
establish the conditions out of *hich solutions, or
Fdecisions,G can emerge$ In &ositing a &rocess of this sort,
8ant invents the notion of the transcenden1 tal realm, or of
*hat 5eleu9e *ill call the virtual$
14. As 7o-inson $'((?, 6') forcefully puts it, the ;ey conte+t for understanding * * *
White, head is to refuse to read Whitehead as simply a pre,Kantian metaphysical realist*
* * * 7ather, Whitehead0s pre,Kantianism plays much the same role in his thought as it
does in Deleuze: a way of approaching and confronting the aporias of Kantianism as
preparation for the laying out of an essentially post,Kantian philosophy of creati&ity and
-ecoming* Whitehead is a deeply post,Kantian philosopher in much the same way that
Deleuze is post,Kantian*#
There are, of course, im&ortant diJerences bet*een
8antOs transcenden1 tal argument and 5eleu9eOs
invocation of the virtual$ +or one thing, 8antOs stance is
legislative and Iuridical7 he see's to distinguish legitimate
from ille1 gitimate uses of reason$ 5eleu9e see's rather
(citing Artaud) Fto have done *ith the Iudgment of /odGK
his criterion is constructivist rather than Iuridi1 cal,
concerned *ith &ushing forces to the limits of *hat the#
can do, rather than *ith evaluating their legitimac#$ Also,
8antOs transcendental realm deter1 mines the necessar#
formDbut onl# the formDof all &ossible eE&erience$
5eleu9eOs virtual, in contrast, is Fgenetic and &roductiveG
of actual eE&eri1 ence (5eleu9e >9<B, ?>@?2)$ +inall#,
8antOs transcendental realm has the structure of a
subIectivit#K at the ver# least, it ta'es on the bare form of
the FIG in the Ftranscendental unit# of a&&erce&tion$G But
5eleu9eOs virtual is an Fim1 &ersonal and &re1individual
transcendental PeldG (5eleu9e >990, >02)K it does not
have the form of a consciousness$ In ma'ing these
corrections to 8ant, 5eleu9e himself does *hat he credits
%iet9sche *ith doing7 he Fstands U8an1 tianV criti,ue on
its feet, Iust as MarE does *ith the UCegelianV dialecticG
(5eleu9e >9<B, <9)$
To convert 8ant from transcendental idealism to
transcendental em&ir1 cism, and from a Iuridico1legislative
&roIect to a constructivist one, is to move from the
&ossible to the virtual, and from merel# formal conditions
of &ossi1 bilit# to concrete conditions of actuali9ation$
5eleu9eOs transformation of 8ant thus leads directl# to his
famous distinction bet*een the virtual and the &ossible$
+or 5eleu9e, the &ossible is an em&t# form, dePned onl# b#
the &rin1 ci&le of noncontradiction$ To sa# that something
is &ossible is to sa# nothing more than that its conce&t
cannot be eEcluded a priori, on logical grounds alone$
This means that &ossibilit# is a &urel# negative categor#K
it lac's an# &ro&er being of its o*n$ Mere &ossibilit# is not
generative or &roductiveK it is not enouh to ma'e
an#thing ha&&en$ It does not satisf# the &rinci&le of suf1
Pcient reason$ This is *h# 5eleu9e sa#s that Fthe &ossible
is o&&osed to the realG (5eleu9e >99A, 2>>)$ Something
that is merel# &ossible has no claim to eEistence, and no
intrinsic mode of being$ Its onl# &ositive characteristics are
those that it borro*s from the real that it is not$ The
&ossible Frefers to the form of identit# in the conce&tGK it
Fis understood as an image of the real, *hile the real is
su&&osed to resemble the &ossibleG (2>>@2>2)$ That is to
sa#, the &ossible is eEactl# li'e the real, eEce&t for the
contingenc# that it does not, in fact, eEist$ And the real is
nothing more than the the *or'ing1out of *hat
*as alread# &rePgured and envisioned as &ossible$ In
this mirror &la# of resemblances, there can be nothing
ne* or uneE&ected$ 6hen a &ossibilit# is reali9edD*hen
it does come into eEistenceDno actual creation has ta'en
&lace$ As 5eleu9e sa#s, Fit is difPcult to understand *hat
eEistence adds to the conce&t *hen all it does is double
li'e *ith li'eG (2>2)$
The virtual, on the other hand, is altogether real in
its o*n rightK it F&ossesses a full realit# b# itself G (ibid$
2>>)$ It is Iust that this realit# is not ac1 tual$ The virtual is
li'e a Peld of energies that have not #et been eE&ended, or
a reservoir of &otentialities that have not #et been ta&&ed$
That is to sa#, the virtual is not com&osed of atomsK it
doesnOt have bod# or eEtension$ But the &otential for
change that it oJers is real in its o*n *a#$ In the roustian
for1 mulation so fre,uentl# used b# 5eleu9e, the virtual is
Freal *ithout being ac1 tual, ideal *ithout being abstractG
(20<)$ Hne can in fact eE&lain the virtual in entirel#
&h#sicalist terms7 as /ilbert Simondon (200?) did in *or'
that greatl# inMuenced 5eleu9e, and as Manuel 5e Landa
(2002) has more recentl# done$ But 5eleu9e most often
describes the virtual as a transcendental Peld or
structure, conditioning and generating the actual$ The
virtual is a &rinci&le of emergence, or of creation$ As such,
it does not &rePgure or &redetermine the actualities that
emerge from it$ 0ather, it is the im&elling force, or the
&rinci&le, that allo*s each actual entit# to a&&ear (to
manifest itself ) as some1 thing ne*, something *ithout
&recedence or resemblance, something that has never
eEisted in the universe in ,uite that *a# before$ That is
*h# the virtual is entirel# distinct from the &ossible$ If
an#thing, it is closer to %iet9scheOs *ill1to1&o*er, or
BergsonOs 6lan vital$ All of these must be understood, not
as inner essences, but as &ost18antian Fs#nthesesG of
diJerence7 transcendental conditions for d#namic
becoming, rather than for static being (see 5eleu9e >9<B,
The virtual *or's as a transcendental condition for
the actual b# &ro1 viding a sufPcient reason for *hatever
ha&&ens$ This brings us bac' to the distinctionDor
better, the ga&Dbet*een sufPcient reason and ordinar#
causalit#$ Linear causalit#, of the sort that &h#sical
science traces, is al*a#s, and onl#, a relation among
bodies$ It is a matter, as 5eleu9e &uts it in $he +oic of
*ense, of Fbodies *ith their tensions, &h#sical ,ualities,
actions and &assions, and the corres&onding Xstates of
aJairs$O These states of aJairs, ac1 tions and &assions, are
determined b# the miEtures of bodies $ $ $ all bodies are
causesDcauses in relation to each other and for each
otherG (5eleu9e >990, A)$
Ever#thing in the *orld is determined b# such &h#sical
causesK the# consi1 tute a necessar# condition for ever#
eventDbut as *e have seen, not a sufP1 cient one$
This linear causalit#, and this necessit#, are *hat 8ant
see's to guarantee against CumeOs s'e&ticism$ But if *e
acce&t 6hiteheadOs criti,ue of Cume, then *e can onl#
conclude that 8antOs ver# search for such a guarantee is
su1 &erMuous$ !ausal efPcac# is al*a#s alread# at *or'
in the de&ths of bodies$ 8ant never ,uestions CumeOs
initial dubious assum&tion7 that causalit# can1 not be
found out there, in the *orld, and that conse,uentl# it
can onl# be located in here, in the mind of the &erceiver$
Cume a&&eals to habit as the basis of the mindOs
ascri&tion of causalit# to thingsK 8antOs transcendental
argument converts this em&irical generali9ation into an
a priori necessit#$ But 8ant still acce&ts *hat 6hitehead
(>929:>9;<, >?;) calls the sub(ec' tivist and
sensationalist &rinci&les derived from Loc'e and Cume$
In conse1 ,uence, 8antOs transcendental deduction
remains caught *ithin Fa logic of tracing and
re&roductionG (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<;, >2), Fa tracing
of the transcendental from the em&iricalG (5eleu9e
>99A, >AB)$ 8ant merel# transfers the structure of causal
efPcac# from the *orld to the subIect a&&re1 hending the
*orld$ The &ossible Iust doubles the real, *ithout adding
an#1 thing to it$
5eleu9e converts 8antOs argument from &ossibilit# to
virtualit#, and from the role of guaranteeing causal
efPcac# to one of &roviding sufPcient rea1 sons, b# &ositing
a diJerent sort of transcendental logic$ Alongside the
actual, material FconnectionG of &h#sical causes to one
another, there is also a virtual relation, or a Fbond,G lin'ing
FeJects or incor&oreal eventsG among themselves
(5eleu9e >990, =)$ The virtual is the realm of eJects
se&arated from their causes7 FeJects in the causal sense,
but also sonorous, o&tical, or linguistic Xef1 fectsO G (;), or
*hat in the movies are called Fs&ecial eJects$G EJects
come after
15. As Whitehead $34'4:3465, 3>6) speci/es: 2he su-1ecti&ist principle is, that the
datum in the act of e+perience can -e adequately analysed purely in terms of uni&ersals*
2he sensationalist principle is, that the primary acti&ity in the act of e+perience is
the -are su-1ecti&e entertainment of the datum, de&oid of any su-1ecti&e form of reception*
2his is the doctrine of mere sensation*#
causes, of course, in the &h#sical *orld of bodies$ But
transcendentall#, these incor&oreal s&ecial eJects establish
a strange &recedence$ !onsidered a&art from their &h#sical
causes, and inde&endentl# of an# bodil# instantiation, the#
are something li'e the generative conditionsDthe
FmeaningsG and the Freasons,G or *hat 6hitehead calls
the Pnal causesDfor the ver# &rocesses that &h#si1 call#
give rise to them$
5eleu9e (>990, =) refers to such generative
aftereJects as F,uasi1causes$G 3uasi1causalit# is Fan unreal
and ghostl# causalit#G (BB), more an insinuation than a
determination$ It ha&&ens, not in the bodil# densit# of the
living &res1 ent, but in an Finstant *ithout thic'ness and
*ithout eEtension, *hich subdi1 vides each &resent into
&ast and futureG (>=A)$ The ,uasi1cause Fis nothing
outside of its eJectGK but neither can it Iust be identiPed
*ith, or reduced to, its eJect$ +or Fit haunts this eJect $ $ $
it maintains *ith the eJect an imma1 nent relation *hich
turns the &roduct, the moment that it is &roduced, into
something &roductiveG (9?)$ In itself, the virtual ,uasi1
cause &arta'es onl# of FeEtra1beingGK it is Fsterile,
inefPcacious, and on the surface of thingsG (;)$ But at the
same time, b# virtue of its inPnite relations, and insofar as
it Fevades the &resentG (>=?), the ,uasi1cause is also a
&rinci&le of creativit#$ Loo'ing for1 *ard, it induces the
&rocess of actuali9ationK loo'ing bac'*ard, it is an e#pres'
sion of that &rocess$ 5eleu9eOs transcendental realm is
thus Fan aggregate of noncausal corres&ondences *hich
form a s#stem of echoes, of resum&tions and resonances,
a s#stem of signsDin short, an eE&ressive ,uasi1causalit#,
and not at all a necessitating causalit#G (>;0)$ Hnl# in
this ghostl#, &aradoEical *a# can 5eleu9e &osit a
transcendental that neither co&ies the actual, nor &re1
Pgures it$
6hat does all this have to do *ith 6hiteheadN As far
as I 'no*, 6hite1 head never uses the *ord virtual$ But
as 0obinson notes, 6hiteheadOs Fdistinction bet*een the
actual and the &otential $ $ $ resembles the 5eleu9ian
distinction bet*een the actual and the virtualG (0obinson
200=, ;2)$ And &o1 tentialit#, for 6hitehead, is al*a#s
something more, and other, than mere &ossibilit#$
Alongside events or actual entities, 6hitehead also &osits
*hat he calls Feternal obIects$G These are Fure
otentialsG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 22), or F&otentials for
the &rocess of becomingG (29)$ If actual entities are sin1
gular FoccasionsG of becoming, then eternal obIects
&rovide Fthe X,ualitiesO and XrelationsO G (>9>) that enter
into, and hel& to dePne, these occasions$ 6hen Fthe
&otentialit# of an eternal obIect is reali9ed in a &articular
B= B;
entit#,G it FcontributUesV to the dePniteness of that actual
entit#G (2B)$ It gives it a &articular character$ Eternal
obIects thus ta'e on something of the role that
universals (A<, >?<), &redicates (><=), latonic forms (AA),
and ideas (?2K
>A9) &la#ed in older meta&h#sical s#stems$ But *e have
alread# seen that, for 6hitehead, a Fconcrete &articular
factG cannot sim&l# Fbe built u& out of uni1 versalsGK it is
more the other *a# around$ 4niversals, or Fthings *hich
are eternal,G can and must be abstracted from Fthings
*hich are tem&oralG (A0)$ But the# cannot be conceived
b# themselves, in the absence of the em&irical, tem&oral
entities that the# inform$ Eternal obIects, therefore, are
neither a priori logical structures, nor latonic essences,
nor constitutive rational ideas$ The# are adverbial, rather
than substantiveK the# determine and eE&ress ho" actual
entities relate to one another, ta'e one another u&, and
Fenter into each othersO constitutionsG (>A<@>A9)$ Li'e
8antian and 5eleu9ian ideas, eternal obIects *or'
regulativel#, or &roblematicall#$
To be more &recise, 6hitehead dePnes eternal obIects
as follo*s7 Fan# entit# *hose conce&tual recognition does
not involve a necessar# reference to an# dePnite actual
entites of the tem&oral *orld is called an Xeternal obIectO G
16. Whitehead0s account of eternal o-1ects thus has strong af/nities with Kant0s
transcenden, tal argument* Fust as Kant sought to re1ect -oth idealism and empiricism -y
posing the tran, scendental in opposition to -oth the transcendent and the mere Du+
of sensations, so Whitehead argues against two opposed, -ut complementary,
philosophical positions* In the one hand, to assert the o-1ecti&e reality of sensa or qualia is
to re1ect mainstream empiricism and positi&ism* Erom !oc;e through Bume, and right on
up to mid,twentieth,century posi, ti&ism, sensa are regarded as secondary qualities,# not
present in reality, -ut only in the mind* 2he doctrine of pri&ate psychological /elds# still
remains a feature of our commonsense un, derstanding of the world today, e&en though, as
Whitehead $34'4:3465, <'?) wryly notes, it raises a great dif/culty in the interpretation
of modern science*# In the other hand, to insist that eternal o-1ects e+ist only insofar as
their conceptual recognition# must -e an operation constituting a real feeling -elonging
to some actual entity# $i-id*, 88) is to re1ect all forms of idealism $whether of the classical
or the post,Begelian &ariety)* 2here can -e no in/nite spirit or a-solute $such as that of
radley, on whom Whitehead unfa&ora-ly comments at se&eral points in !rocess and
"eality)* As I will discuss in chapter >, e&en =od, who is a-le to en&ision the totality of
eternal o-1ects, must -e &iewed as an empirical entity rather than as a transcen, dent one*
(>929:>9;<, AA)$ This means that eternal obIects include
sensor# ,ualities, li'e colors (blueness or reenness) and
tactile sensations (softness or rouhness), conce&tual
abstractions li'e sha&es (a heli#, or a dodecahedron) and
numbers (seven, or the s&uare root of minus t"o), moral
,ualities (li'e bravery or co"ar' dice), &h#sical
fundamentals (li'e ravitational attraction or electric
chare), and much more besides$ An eternal obIect can
also be Fa determinate *a# in *hich a feeling can feel$ It
is an emotion, or an intensit#, or an adversion, or an
aversion, or a &leasure, or a &ainG (29>)$
*hat toda# are more commonl# called F,ualiaGDare Fthe
lo*est categor# of eternal obIectsG (>>A)$ But there are
also Fcom&leE eternal obIectsG that have the sim&ler ones
as com&onents$ In this *a#, aJects or emotions are eternal
obIectsK and so are Fcontrasts, or &atterns,G or an#thing
else that can FeE&ress a manner of relat1 edness bet*een
other eternal obIectsG (>>A)$ There is, in fact, Fan
indePnite &rogression of categories, as *e &roceed from
XcontrastsO to Xcontrasts of con1 trasts,O and on indePnitel#
to higher grades of contrastsG (22)$ The levels and
com&leEities &roliferate, *ithout limit$ But regardless of
level, eternal obIects are ideal abstractions that
nevertheless (in contrast to latonic forms) can onl# be
encountered "ithin eE&erience, *hen the# are FselectedG
and FfeltG b# &ar1 ticular actual occasions$
6hiteheadOs use of the *ord FeternalG might seem to
be a strange move, in the conteEt of a &hiloso&h#
grounded in events, becomings, and continual change and
novelt#$ And indeed, as if ac'no*ledging this, he remar's
that, Fif the term Xeternal obIectsO is disli'ed, the term
X&otentialsO *ould be suitableG instead (>929:>9;<, >A9)$
But if 6hitehead &refers to retain the a&&ellation Feternal
obIects,G this is &recisel# because he see'sDli'e
%iet9sche, Bergson, and 5eleu9eDto reIect the latonic
se&aration bet*een eternit# and time, the binar#
o&&osition that sets a higher *orld of &ermanence and
&erfection (Fa static, s&iritual heavenG) against an
im&erfect lo*er *orld of MuE (209)$ The t*o instead must
continuall# inter&enetrate$ +or F&ermanence can be
snatched onl# out of MuEK and the &assing moment can
Pnd its ade,uate in1 tensit# onl# b# its submission to
&ermanence$ Those *ho *ould disIoin the
17. It is important to recall here that, for Whitehead, all entities feel and ha&e feelings,
and not 1ust sentient ones*
B< B9
t*o elements can Pnd no inter&retation of &atent factsG
(BB<)$ Actual entities continuall# &erishK but the relations
bet*een them, or the &atterns that the# ma'e, tend to
recur, or endure$ Thus Fit is not XsubstanceO *hich is
&erma1 nent, but Xform$O G And even forms do not subsist
absolutel#, but continuall# FsuJer changing relationsG
(29)$ In asserting this, 6hitehead converts lato from
idealism to em&iricism, Iust as he similarl# converts
S&ino9a, Leibni9, Cume, and 8ant$
6hen 6hitehead sa#s that forms as *ell as
substances, or eternal ob1 Iects as *ell as actual
entities, must be acce&ted as real, he is arguing ver#
much in the s&irit of the radical empiricism of 6illiam
Qames$ +or Qames, e#perience is the sole criterion of
realit#K *e live in Fa *orld of &ure eE&eri1 enceG (Qames
>99=, B9@9>)$ !lassical em&iricism has great difPcultl#
in ma'ing sense of relations, as *ell as of emotions,
contrasts and &atterns, and all the other &henomena that
6hitehead classiPes as Feternal obIects$G Since these
cannot be recogni9ed as Fthings,G or as direct
Fim&ressions of sensa1 tion,G the# are relegated to the
status of mental Pctions (habits, derivatives, secondar#
,ualities, and so on)$ But Qames sa#s that, in a *orld of
&ure eE1 &erience, FrelationsG are ever# bit as real as
FthingsG7 Fthe relations that con1 nect eE&eriences must
themselves be eE&erienced relations, and an# 'ind of
relation eE&erienced must be accounted as XrealO as
an#thing else in the s#s1 temG (ibid$, A2)$ 6hitehead
argues, b# the same logic, that eternal obIects must be
accounted as real as the actual entities *hich the#
,ualif#, and *hich select them, include them, and
incarnate them$ Eternal obIects are
18. 2he distinction -etween perishing su-stances and permanent forms is rele&ant to
the way in which so much postmodern# and posthuman# thoughtGfrom cy-ernetics to
comple+, ity theoryGis concerned with form rather than su-stance* As Katherine Bayles
$3444, '6, passim) puts it, postmodernity is characterized -y a dialectic of pattern and
randomness, rather than one of presence and a-sence* 2oday, we are all still @latonists, to
the e+tent that we -e, lie&e in recurring patterns that can -e instantiated indifferently in
any num-er of material su-strates* 2he same mathematical equations are supposed to
descri-e the de&elopment of the weather, the changing -alances -etween predators and
prey in an ecosystem, the irregularities of a heart murmur, and the Ductuations of the
stoc; mar;et* Whitehead see;s -oth to ac, ;nowledge this in&eterate @latonism and to
indicate its limitations*
real, because the# are themselves FeE&erienced
relations,G or &rimordial ele1 ments of eE&erience$
But even though eternal obIects are altogether real,
the# are not the same as actual entities$ Li'e 5eleu9eOs
virtualities, the# are &recisel# not ac1 tual$ This is
because, in themselves, the# are not causall# determined,
and the# cannot ma'e an#thing ha&&en$ Eternal obIects
Finvolve in their o*n natures indecisionG and
FindeterminationG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 29)K the# al*a#s
im&l# alternatives, contingencies, situations that could
have been other*ise$ This &atch of *all is #ello*, but it
might have been blue$ This means that their role is
essentiall# &assive$ FAn eternal obIect is al*a#s a
&otentialit# for actual entitiesK but in itself, as conce&tuall#
felt, it is neutral as to the fact of its &h#sical ingression in
an# &articular actual entit# of the tem&oral *orldG (AA)$
Lou might sa# that #ello*ness Fin itself,G understood as a
&ure &otentialit#, is utterl# indiJerent to the actual #ello*
color of this &articular &atch of *all$ Lello*ness per se
has no causal efPcac#, and no inMuence over the
FdecisionG b# *hich it is admitted (or not) into an#
&articular actual state of aJairs$ Eternal obIects, li'e
5eleu9eOs ,uasi1causes, are neutral, sterile, and inefPca1
cious, as &o*erless as the# are indiJerent$
At the same time, ever# event, ever# actual occasion,
involves the actual' ization of certain of these mere
&otentialities$ Each actual entit# is determined
19. Da&id !apou1ade $'(((, 34() reads Fames as a transcendental empiricist* Where
classical empiricism -eginMsN with an anarchic distri-ution of sensi-le minimaG
psychic atoms,# Fames0s radical empiricism# instead posits what Deleuze calls a plane of
immanence, or an impersonal and pre,indi&idual transcendental /eld*# At the same time,
in contrast to the tran, scendental reductions of Kant and Busserl, which posit the pure
form of the I# as the a pri- ori condition for all e+perience, Fames0s transcendental pure
e+perience# does not ta;e the form of a su-1ecti&ity or a consciousness* It is rather a Du+
pure of all form,# and free * * * from the categories with which it is traditionally
partitioned# $i-id*, 34<)*
Eor his part, Whitehead simply ma;es more fully e+plicit the transcendental
argument that is implicit in the wor; of Fames* Be follows Fames in positing pure
e+perience# as a fun, damental category: apart from the e+periences of su-1ects there is
nothing, nothing, noth, ing, -are nothingness# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, 3?6)* And amid all
this e+perience, he says, we /nd oursel&es in a -uzzing world# $i-id*, >()Gdeli-erately
echoing Fames0s famous de, scription of the -looming, -uzzing confusion# of the stream
of consciousness*
A0 A>
b# *hat 6hitehead calls the inression of s&eciPc eternal
obIects into it$ FThe term XingressionO refers to the
&articular mode in *hich the &otentialit# of an eternal
obIect is reali9ed in a &articular actual entit#, contributing
to the deP1 niteness of that actual entit#G (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, 2B)$ Each actual entit# creates itself, in a
&rocess of decision, b# ma'ing a selection among the
&oten1 tialities oJered to it b# eternal obIects$ The
concrescence of each actual entit# involves the reIection of
some eternal obIects, and the active Fentertainment,G or
FadmiUssionV into feelingG (><<), of others$ And b# a 'ind
of circular &ro1 cess, the eternal obIects thus admitted or
entertained serve to dePne and de1 termine the entit#
that selected them$ That is *h#Dor better, ho*Dthis
&articular &atch of *all actuall# is #ello*$ B# oJering
themselves for actuali9a1 tion, and b# determining the
ver# entities that select and actuali9e them, eter1 nal
obIects &la# a transcendental, ,uasi1causal role in the
constitution of the actual *orld$
6hitehead also eE&lains the diJerence, and the
relation, bet*een eter1 nal obIects and actual entities b#
noting that the former Fcan be dismissedG at an# moment,
*hereas the latter al*a#s Fhave to be feltG (ibid$, 2B9)$
oten1 tialities are o&tionalK the# ma# or ma# not be
fulPlled$ But actualities cannot be avoided$ Indeed, Fan
actual entit# in the actual *orld of a subIect must en1 ter
into the concrescence of that subIect b# some sim&le
causal feeling, ho*1 ever vague, trivial, and submergedG
(ibid$)$ An actual entit# can, in fact, be reIected or
eEcluded, b# the &rocess of *hat 6hitehead calls a
neative prehen' sion7 Fthe dePnite eEclusion of Ua givenV
item from &ositive contribution to the subIectOs o*n real
internal constituionG (A>)$ But even this is a sort of bac'1
handed ac'no*ledgement, an active res&onse to
something that cannot Iust be ignored$ Even Fthe
negative &rehension of an entit# is a &ositive fact *ith its
emotional subIective formG (A>@A2)$
An actual entit# has
causal efPcac#,
20. 2he actual and the potential thus reciprocally determine one another in Whitehead,
much as the actual and the &irtual are reciprocally determining in Deleuze* Fames Williams
$'((>, 66A3(() rigorously e+amines the concept of reciprocal determination# in -oth
21. %trictly spea;ing, Whitehead uses the term negati&e prehension# to designate -oth
the e+, clusion of an actual entity and the e+clusion of an eternal o-1ect* ut although a
negati&e pre, hension of an actual entity may eliminate its distincti&e importance,#
ne&ertheless in some
because in itself it is entirel# determinedK it is em&iricall#
Fgiven,G and this FgivennessG means %ecessit# (A2@AB)$
Hnce actual entities have com&leted their &rocess, once
the ingression of eternal obIects into them has been PEed,
the# Fare devoid of all indetermination$ $ $ $ The# are
com&lete and determi1 nate $ $ $ devoid of all indecisionG
(29)$ Ever# event thus culminates in a Fstubborn matter
of factG (2B9), a state of aJairs that has no &otential left,
and that cannot be other*ise than it is$ An event
consists &recisel# in this movement from &otentialit#
(and indeterminac#) into actualit# (and com1 &lete
determination)$ The &rocess of actuali9ation follo*s a
traIector# from the mere, disinterested (aesthetic)
FenvisagementG of eternal obIects (AA) to a &ragmatic
interest in some of these obIects, and their incor&oration
*ithin Fstubborn fact *hich cannot be evadedG (AB)$
In the course of full# determining itself, an actual
entit# thus &erishes, and subsists onl# as a FdatumG for
other entities to &rehend in their o*n turn$ An eternal
obIect, on the other hand, is not eEhausted b# the event
into *hich it ingresses, or *hich includes itK it Fnever
loses its XaccentO of &otentialit#G (ibid$, 2B9)$ It remains
available for other events, other actuali9ations$ This is
another mar' of the transcendental$ As 5eleu9e similarl#
sa#s, referring both to 8antian Ideas and to his o*n notion
of the &roblematic virtual, Ftrue &rob1 lems are Ideas, and
$ $ $ these Ideas do not disa&&ear *ith XtheirO solutions,
since the# are the indis&ensible condition *ithout *hich
no solution *ould ever eEistG (5eleu9e >99A, >=<)$ Eternal
obIects and &roblematic Ideas never disa&&ear$ The# are
Findis&ensible conditionsG that cannot be gras&ed outside
of the actualities that the# condition, and that incarnate
them$ But the# also cannot be reduced to those
actualities, and cannot be contained *ithin them$ The#
are not actual, but the# haunt the actual$ The# subsist,
way, -y some trace of causal feeling, the remote actual entity is MstillN prehended positi&ely* In
the case of an eternal o-1ect, there is no such necessity# $34'4:3465, '<4)* All the actual
entities are positi&ely prehended, -ut only a selection of the eternal o-1ects# $i-id*, '34)*
Actual entities, you might say, can only -e e+cluded &ia something li;e $psychoanalytic)
repression whereas eternal o-1ects can actually -e dismissed, without residue, when su-1ect
to a negati&e prehen, sion* 2his follows from the &ery nature of eternal o-1ects: although
they are real, they are not facts,# and they ha&e no causal ef/cacy*
s&ecters, outside of their ingressions and actuali9ations,
and according to a diJerent tem&oral logic than that of
the Fs&ecious &resent of the &erci&ientG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, >=9), the &resent in *hich things ha&&en$ This
out1 side, this eEtra1being, this s&ace *ithout Fsim&le
locationG (ibid$, >B;), this time in *hich Fa future and &ast
divide the &resent at ever# instant and subdi1 vide it ad
inPnitum into &ast and future, in both directions at onceG
(5eleu9e >990, >=A)7 all this is the realm of the
8antOs transcendental deduction serves (at least) t*o
&ur&oses$ It has both a Iuridical use, and a &roblematic or
s&eculative use$ The Iuridical use is to determine the
legitimate conditions of rationalit#7 to Fma'e reason secure
in its rightful claims and $ $ $ dismiss all UitsV baseless
&retensionsG (8ant >99=, <)$ The &roblematic or
s&eculative use of the deduction is to ans*er the three
basic ,uestions7 F6hat can I 'no*N 6hat ought I to doN
6hat ma# I ho&eNG (;B?)$ In converting 8ant from
transcendental idealism to transcendental em&iricism,
6hitehead and 5eleu9e refashion both of these uses$ The
Iuridi1 cal use of the transcendental deduction is
dis&laced, as I have alread# sug1 gested, from 8antOs
FtribunalG in *hich reason turns bac' u&on and scrutini9es
itself, into an evaluation according to immanent criteria$
And the &roblem1 atic use of the transcendental
deduction is transformed, because 6hitehead and
5eleu9e as' diJerent sorts of ,uestions than 8ant does$
The fundamen1 tal ,uestions that 6hitehead and 5eleu9e
as', and see' to ans*er *ith their
22. I ha&e already mentioned Deleuze0s re1ection of questions of legitimation, his desire
to ha&e done with the 1udgment of =od*# ut Deleuze0s immanent and constructi&ist mode
of thought also, in its own way, in&ol&es a ;ind of critical self,reDe+i&ity, and there-y poses
the transcen, dental question of the limit: Oou ne&er reach the ody without Irgans, you
can0t reach it, you are fore&er attaining it, it is a limit# $Deleuze and =uattari 3456, 3>()* An
e+perimental, con, structi&ist practice see;s to af/rm itself to the full e+tent of what it can
doGa concept that Deleuze de&elops in his discussions of %pinoza0s conatus $Deleuze 3455),
and Jietzsche0s doc, trine of acti&e forces $Deleuze 345<)* ut this means precisely pushing
a force, or a practice, to its limits, and confronting the ody without Irgans as ultimate
limit* 2his is where we face the question of -loc;ages and Dows, emptied -odies# and full
ones,# accomplishments and fur, ther pro-lematizations*
Whitehead, for his part, is always circumspect in his critiques* When he discusses
other philosophical systems, he always recognizes their &alidity within limits, -ut criticizes
the attempt
transcendental arguments about eternal obIects and the
virtual, are these7 Co* is it that there is al*a#s
something ne*N Co* are novelt# and change &ossibleN
Co* can *e account for a future that is diJerent from,
and not merel# &redetermined b#, the &astN And behind
all these is the ,uestion *ith *hich I began7 F6hat is an
The shift from 8antOs ,uestions to 6hiteheadOs and
5eleu9eOs ,uestions is largel# a historical one, dee&l#
embedded in the &rogress (if *e can still call it that) of our
modernit#$ 8ant, of course, is a great thin'er of the
Enlighten1 ment, *hich he famousl# dePnes as FmanOs
emergence from his self1im&osed immaturit#G into
intellectual adulthood (8ant >9<B, A>)$ +oucault, com1
menting on 8antOs Enlightenment teEt some t*o centuries
later, remar's that Fthe historical event of the
Enlightenment did not ma'e us mature adults, and *e
have not reached that stage #etG (+oucault >99;, B>9)$
%onetheless, he &raises 8antOs stance for &roviding Fa
&oint of de&arture7 the outline of *hat one might call the
attitude of modernit#G (B09)$ And he urges us to con1 tinue
8antOs reMection in the form of Fan attitude, an ethos, a
&hiloso&hical life in *hich the criti,ue of *hat *e are is at
one and the same time the histor1 ical anal#sis of the
limits im&osed on us and an eE&eriment *ith the &ossibil1
it# of going be#ond themG (B>9)$ This is the tas' that lies
behind 6hiteheadOs and 5eleu9eOs rene*als of the
8antian transcendental argument$ As for the shift from
foundational ,uestions about 'no*ing, obligation, and
belief to &ragmatic, constructivist ,uestions about events,
&otentialities, and the &ro1 cess of actuali9ing them, this is
not a betra#al of 8ant, but an urgent and nec1 essar#
rene*al of his legac#, at a time *hen Fall that is solid
melts into air,G
to push -eyond these limits: the chief error in philosophy is o&erstatement* 2he aim at gener,
alization is sound, -ut the estimate of success is e+aggerated* 2here are two main forms of
such o&erstatement* Ine form is what I ha&e termed elsewhere the 9fallacy of misplaced
concrete, ness*0 * * * 2he other form of o&erstatement consists in a false estimate of logical
procedure in re, spect to certainty, and in respect to premises# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, 6A
5)* In many ways, this is &ery close to Kant0s pro1ect of re1ecting the dogmatic e+cesses of
rationalism, -ut without adopting, in their place, a generalized $and e&entually self,
discrediting) s;epticism* 2he differ, ence, of course, is one of affect or temperament:
Whitehead0s genial and rela+ed mode of cri, tique is far remo&ed from Kant0s high
seriousness and se&erity*
and *hen *e are told that the grand narratives of
modernit# are dead (L#1 otard >9<A), and even that F*e
have never been modernG in the Prst &lace (Latour >99B)$
+or, as 5eleu9e and /uattari suggest, Fit ma# be that
believing in this *orld, in this life, becomes our most
difPcult tas', or the tas' of a mode of eEistence still to
be discovered on our &lane of immanence toda#G
(5eleu9e and /uattari >99A, ;?)$ It is such a tas', *ith the
aim of converting ourselves to this 'ind of belief, that
6hitehead envisions as Fthe use of &hi1 loso&h#,G *hich is
Fto maintain an active novelt# of fundamental ideas illumi1
nating the social s#stemG (6hitehead >9B<:>9=<, >;A)$
Pulses of Emotion
6hitehead insists that Fthe basis of eE&erience is
emotionalG (>9BB:>9=;, >;=)$ In this cha&ter, I *ill *or'
through 6hiteheadOs Ftheor# of feelingsG (>929:>9;<,
2>9J$), and sho* ho* this theor# o&ens the *a# to an
aJect1 based account of human (and not Iust human)
eE&erience$ +or 6hitehead, the ,uestions of ho* *e feel,
and *hat *e feel, are more fundamental than the
e&istemological and hermeneutical ,uestions that are the
focus of most &hiloso&h# and criticism (including 8antOs
Criti&ues)$ This em&hasis on feel1 ing leads, in turn, to a
ne* account of aJect1laden subIectivit#$ Most broadl#,
6hiteheadOs aJect theor# &laces aestheticsDrather than
ontolog# (Ceideg1 ger) or ethics (Levinas)Dat the center
of &hiloso&hical in,uir#$ Aesthetics is the mar' of *hat
6hitehead calls our concern for the *orld, and for entities
in the *orld (>9BB:>9=;, >;=)$
6hitehead characteri9es his &hiloso&h# as ta'ing the
form of a Fcriti,ue of &ure feelingG (>929:>9;<, >>B)$ As
*e have alread# seen, the reference to
1. In what follows, I will use the terms feeling,# emotion,# and affect# pretty much
inter, changea-ly* 2his is in accordance with Whitehead0s own usage* Jonetheless, I remain
mind, ful of rian Massumi0s crucial distinction -etween affect and emotion $Massumi
'((', '6A'5 and passim)* Eor Massumi, affect is primary, nonconscious, asu-1ecti&e or
presu-1ecti&e, asig, nifying, unquali/ed, and intensi&e, whereas emotion is deri&ati&e,
conscious, quali/ed, and meaningful, a content# that can -e attri-uted to an already
constituted su-1ect* I thin; that this distinction is rele&ant for Whitehead as well, -ut he
does not mar; it terminologically* As I will argue, Whitehead0s feeling# largely coincides,
in the /rst instance, with Massumi0s af, fect*# Whitehead goes on, howe&er, to gi&e a
genetic account of how, in high,grade# organ, isms such as oursel&es, something li;e
emotion# in Massumi0s sense arises out of this more primordial sort of feeling*
8ant is b# no means trivial or merel# occasional$ +or
6hitehead, the great ac1 com&lishment of 8antOs
!o&ernican 0evolution in &hiloso&h# is its Fconce&1 tion of
an act of eE&erience as a constructive functioningG (>?=)$
That is to sa#, 6hitehead credits 8ant *ith originating
&hiloso&hical constructivism$
8ant denies the &ossibilit#
(or even the meaningfulness) of 'no*ing Fthings in
themselves,G and &oints instead to the *a#s that *e are
al*a#s alread# con1 structivel# involved *ith *hatever it is
that *e eE&erience or observe$ That is to sa#, 8ant reIects
the notion of re&resenting, in our minds, a realit# that
*ould sim&l# eEist out there, b# itself, inde&endent of and
&rior to our eE&eri1 ence of it$ +or our observation of the
*orld, or of an#thing in the *orld, is a &rocess that
interacts *ith, intervenes in, and changes the nature of,
*hatever it is that *e are observing$ In this *a#, our
subIective eE&erience of the *orld is itself the reMeEive
&rocess through *hich the *orld, including ourselves,
gets constituted$ +or 6hitehead, as for 8ant, there is no
&ossibilit# of 'no*1 ing the *orld nonsubIectivel# or
eEtraeE&erientiall#, sub specie aeternitatis$ +or Fthe *hole
universe consists of elements disclosed in the eE&eriences
of sub1 Iects,G and nothing else (ibid$, >==)$ As a
constructivist, 6hitehead is ver#
2. My sense of Whitehead as a constructi&ist philosopher comes from Isa-elle
%tengers0 great -oo; on Whitehead $%tengers '(('-)* Eor %tengers, philosophical
constructi&ism is nonfoun, dationalist: it re1ects the notion that truth is already there in the
world, or in the mind, inde, pendent of all e+perience and 1ust waiting to -e disco&ered*
Instead, constructi&ism loo;s at how truths are produced within e+perience, through a
&ariety of processes and practices* 2his does not mean that nothing is true, or that truth is
merely su-1ecti&e. rather, truth is always em-odied in an actual process, and it cannot -e
disentangled from this process* Buman su-, 1ecti&ity is one such process, -ut it is not the
only one* Lonstructi&ism does not place human cognition at the center of e&erything,
-ecause the processes that produce and em-ody truth are not necessarily human ones* Eor
%tengers, as for runo !atour $'((>), the practices and processes that produce truth in&ol&e
such actors# as animals, &iruses, roc;s, weather systems, and neutrinos, as well as human
-eings* Lonstructi&ism also does not imply relati&ism. in a phrase that %tengers -orrows
from Deleuze and =uattari, constructi&ism posits not a relati&, ity of truth, -ut, on the
contrary, a truth of the relati&e# $%tengers '((?, 36(, citing Deleuze and =uattari 3448,
3<()* In insisting on the truth of the relati&e, and on nonhuman agents in the production of
this truth, constructi&ism is ultimately a realism, in contrast to the anthro, pocentrism and
antirealism of so much postmodern, and indeed post,Kantian, philosophy*
much a 8antian, or &ost18antian, thin'erDrather than
the &re18antian thro*bac' that he is sometimes ta'en to
Even 8antOs notorious doctrine of Fthings in
themselvesG is a conse1 ,uence of his constructivism$ +or
the ver# &oint of 8antOs insistence u&on the eEistence of
Fthings in themselvesG that *e cannot 'no* or describe,
but *hose un'no*abilit# and ungras&abilit# *e are
nonetheless obliged to afPrm, is that obIects subsist
be#ond the limited and incom&lete *a#s that *e are able
to gras& them$ The given al*a#s eEceeds our
re&resentations of it$ Hur constructions are al*a#s
&rovisional and ongoing$ Hur thoughts and actions cannot
sha&e the *orld all b# themselves$ Hur mental &rocesses
or forms of re&resentation are al*a#s limited, al*a#s
com&elled to confront their o*n limits$
6hitehead is not directl# concerned *ith the ,uestion of
limits, he similarl# reminds us that no meta&h#sical
s#stem is ever com&lete$ FIn its turn ever# &hiloso&h# *ill
suJer a de&osition,G he sa#sDincluding his o*n
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, ;)$ More immediatel#, ever#
&rehension in1 volves a &articular selectionDan
FobIectiPcationG and an FabstractionG (>=0)D of the FdataG
that are being &rehended$ Something *ill al*a#s be
missing, or
3. Kant refuses, as it were in ad&ance, Begel0s intellectualizing mo&e, which consists in
shift, ing the ground from epistemological o-stacle to positi&e ontological condition,# so
that our incomplete ;nowledge of the 2hing Min itself N turns into a positi&e feature of
the 2hing which is in itself incomplete, inconsistent# $Vive; '((?, '6)* Eor Begel, Kant
fails to see that, in positing limits, he is at the same time af/rming the power of the mind,
or %pirit, as that which performs this positing* ut when Kant proclaims the limits of
thought, he is precisely insisting on the radical e+teriority of o-1ects to the ways that we
cognize them* Be is not ma;ing an idealist claim a-out the supposed self,containment
and perfection of things in themsel&es. rather, he is suggesting that e&en to posit things in
themsel&es as radically incom, plete and inconsistent is already to claim too much* Kant
there-y disquali/es, in ad&ance, the sort of self,aggrandizing, self,reDe+i&e mo&e that
Begel ma;es* 2he incompleteness of our understanding of the 2hing cannot -e posited as
a feature of the 2hing $in) itself* 2he limits of cognition cannot themsel&es -e cogniti&ized*
In positing limits in this radical sense, Kant opens the way $despite his own cogniti&e -ias)
toward a sense of relations that are precogniti&e and affecti&e* ut when Begel transforms
the pre, and noncogniti&e into negati&e cognition, and cognition of the negati&e, he lea&es
no room for affect* 2he relation of Kant to Begel merits more e+tended discussion*
A< A9
left out$ There is nothing outside FeE&erience as a
constructive functioningGK but eE&erience itself is al*a#s
&artial (in both senses of the *ord7 incomplete, and
biased )$
6hitehead nonetheless critici9es 8antDas he
critici9es other &hiloso1 &hers of the siEteenth through
the eighteenth centuriesDfor eEhibiting an FeEcess of
subIectivit#G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >?)$ 8ant sim&l#
claims too much for the mind$ Ce undul# &rivileges those
&articular sorts of abstraction that are &eculiar to human
beings and other Fhigh1gradeG organisms (>;2)$ According
to 8ant, our minds activel# sha&e eE&erience b#
structuring it ac1 cording to *hat he calls the Fconce&ts
of understanding,G or !ategories$ FThere can be no doubt
that all our cognition begins *ith eE&erience,G 8ant *rites$
FBut even though all our cognition starts "ith eE&erience,
that does not mean that all of it arises from eE&erienceG
(8ant >99=, AB@AA)$ +or 8ant, the !ategories of the
understanding cannot be derived from eE&erienceDeven
though the# can onl# be legitimatel# a&&lied "ithin
eE&erience$ In referring the !ategories to Four spontaneity
of cognitionG (>0=), 8ant in eJect reafPrms the coito7 the
!artesian subIect that is se&arated from, unconditioned b#,
and im1 &licitl# su&erior to the *orld that it onl# observes
from a distance$ Though 8ant, in the Faralogisms of ure
0eason,G demolishes an# substantive claims for the
!artesian ego, he nonetheless retains that ego in the
ghostl# form of the Ftranscendental unit# of a&&erce&tionG
that accom&anies ever# act of cog1 nition$ In this *a#,
8ant ris's limiting the sco&e of his o*n discover# of con1
structivism$ FEE&erience as a constructive functioningG is
reserved for rational beings alone$ At the same time, those
beings are not themselves vulnerable to the vagaries of
such eE&erience$ 8antOs subIect both mono&oli9es
eE&erience, and eEem&ts itself from immersion in that
6hitehead, li'e man# &ost18antians, reIects this
eEem&tion or se&a1 ration$
+or constructivism to be
com&lete, the human or rational subIect
4. As Deleuze puts it, the post,Kantians demanded a principle which was not
merely condi, tioning in relation to o-1ects -ut was also truly genetic and producti&e* * * *
2hey also con, demned the sur&i&al, in Kant, of miraculous harmonies -etween terms that
remain e+ternal to one another# $Deleuze 345<, >3A>')* Deleuze, of course, credits
Jietzsche as the thin;er who most fully carried out this post,Kantian program*
Whitehead shows little interest in Jietzsche, -ut he similarly radicalizes and re&ises Kant*
cannot be s&eciall# &rivileged$ And the transcendental
&resu&&ositions of eE1 &erience must themselves ariseD
immanentl#, contingentl#, and historicall#D from "ithin
eE&erience$ Even 8antOs basic Fform of intuition,G 6hitehead
sa#s, must be Fderived from the actual *orld &ua datum,
and thus is not X&ureO in 8antOs sense of that termG
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, ;2)$ In line *ith this re1
,uirement, the transcendental &resu&&ositions of
eE&erience must be &rocesses, rather than PEed logical
categories$ And the# cannot be attributed to the Fs&on1
taneit#G of a subIect that *ould alread# be in &lace$ F+or
8ant,G 6hitehead sa#s, Fthe &rocess *hereb# there is
eE&erience is a &rocess from subIectivit# to a&&ar1 ent
obIectivit#$G But 6hiteheadOs o*n &hiloso&h# Finverts this
anal#sis, and eE1 &lains the &rocess as &roceeding from
obIectivit# to subIectivit#G (ibid$, >?=)$ The subIect
emerges out of constructive eE&erience, rather than being
&resu&1 &osed b# it$ Also, the FsubIective unit#G of an#
given act of eE&erience does not &reeEist that eE&erience,
but is itself onl# &roduced in the course of its unfold1 ing$
6hitehead thus re&laces 8antOs Ftranscendental idealismGD
his Fdoctrine of the obIective *orld as a construct from
subIective eE&erienceG (ibid$)D*ith something more on
the order of 6illiam QamesO Fradical em&iricism,G or of
*hat 5eleu9e *ill later call Ftranscendental em&iricism$G
The im&ortant thing for 6hitehead about 8antian
Fcriti,ue,G therefore, is neither its determination of the
limits of reason, nor its deduction of the conce&ts of
understanding, but rather its constructivist account of the
condi1 tions of rece&tivit#, or sensibilit#$ That is to sa#,
6hitehead reIects 8antOs FTranscendental Logic,G
according to *hich Fordered eE&erience is the result of
schemati9ation of modes of thouht, concerning causation,
substance, ,ualit#,
5. Whitehead, wor;s this out in the form of what he calls the Lategory of %u-1ecti&e
Hnity# $34'4:3465, '?, ''<A''>)* More generally, all of Whitehead0s Lategories are
empirico, ideal# transformations of Kant0s synthetic a priori notions* 2he entire question
of su-1ec, ti&e unity# as a transcendental condition, and how Whitehead transforms it
from a necessary presupposition into a Lategorial I-ligation# $i-id*, '?)Gor what I
would want to call a postsuppositionGmerits more e+tended discussion*
6. It is crucial to remem-er that, despite these critical re&isions of Kant, Whitehead
nonethe, less maintains that the order Mfrom su-1ecti&ity to o-1ecti&ity, or from o-1ecti&ity
to su-1ec, ti&ityN is immaterial in comparison with MKant0sN general idea# of e+perience as
constructi&e functioning,# which is the really important thing $Whitehead 34'4:3465,
?0 ?>
,uantit#G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >>B)$ But he largel#
acce&ts the FTranscen1 dental Aesthetic,G in *hich 8ant
gives his FeE&ositionG of s&ace and time$ This rendering of
Fthe rules of sensibilit# as suchG (8ant >99=, >0;) is, for
6hite1 head, Fa distorted fragment of *hat should have
been U8antOsV main to&icG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >>B)$
8antOs great discover# in the FTranscendental AestheticG is
that s&ace and time are Fconstructs,G in o&&osition to Fthe
%e*1 tonian XabsoluteO theor# of s&ace1timeG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, ;0@;2)K but also that s&ace and time, as
constructs, are acategorical and non1conce&tual$
S&ace is
Fan a &riori intuition, not a concept,G 8ant (>99=, ;9)
reminds us$ Time, similarl#, Fis not a discursive or, as it is
called, universal conce&tK rather, it is a &ure form of
sensible intuitionG (<=)$ This is *h# time is Fnothing but
the form of inner sense $ $ $ the formal a &riori condition
of all a&&earances generall#G (<<)$ S&ace and time are
immanent conditions of sensible intu1 ition7 the# indicate
the "ays in *hich *e receive the FdataG that obIects &ro1
vide to us, rather than being logical categories to *hich
the obIects &roviding such data are themselves com&elled
to conform$ Because the# are merel# forms of rece&tion,
s&ace and time are not ade,uate for cognition$ Indeed,
8ant sa#s that s&ace and time are Fsources of cognitionG
(92), in that nothing can be cogni9ed a&art from them$
But s&ace and time still come before cognitionK the# are
not in themselves enough to ground or authori9e it$
This is *h# 8ant, *ith his demand for ade,uate
cognition, moves on from the FTranscendental AestheticG
to the FTranscendental Logic$G 8antOs great mista'e,
according to 6hitehead, is to acce&t CumeOs founding
as1 sum&tion7 a com&lete atomism of subIective
sensations, or Fthe radical dis1 connection of im&ressions
&ua dataG from one another (6hitehead >929: >9;<,
>>B)$ +or Cume, Fthe &rimar# activit# in the act of
eE&erience is the bare subIective entertainment of the
datum, devoid of an# subIective form of
7. Kant is often ta;en, e&en -y Whitehead, as ha&ing sought to sa&e# Jewtonian
physics and "uclidean geometry -y gi&ing them an a priori grounding* ut I agree with
Ko1in Karatani $'((<, ?<) that, in fact, 1ust the opposite is closer to the truth*# As
Karatani shows, the whole point -ehind Kant0s discussion of time and space, and the
mathematics of time and space, is to show that these are synthetic conditions, rather than
analytic logical necessities, and hence that they actually need to -e constructed, and
cannot simply -e ta;en for granted, or presup, posed $i-id*, >>A?<)*
rece&tionG (>?;)$ 8antOs aim, in the Criti&ue of Pure
Reason, is to avoid the s'e&tical conse,uences of this
&osition$ But 8ant never ,uestions the &remise of starting
out *ith the chaos of Fmere sensationGK he onl# tries to
sho* ho* this chaos can be ordered, and its elements
connected, in a more satisfactor# *a# than Cume *as
able to accom&lish$ Cume oJers nothing but mere habit as
an eE&lanation for the basic stabilit# of eE&erience$ In
8antOs account in the FTranscendental Logic,G the
understanding, *ith its !ategories, forcefull# im1 &oses a
conce&tual order on an other*ise disconnected and
featureless MuE of individual im&ressions$ In resolving the
matter in this *a#, 8ant relies eEclu1 sivel# on Fthe higher
of the human modes of functioningG and ignores the
more F&rimitive t#&es of eE&erienceG (>>B)$ Ce retains
*hat 6hitehead criti1 ci9es as Fthe overintellectualist bias
&revalent among &hiloso&hersG (>A>)$
B# ordering eE&erience as he does in the
FTranscendental Logic,G 8ant remains *ithin the tradition
Dstretching bac' at least to AristotleDof *hat /ilbert
Simondon calls hylomorphism (Simondon 200?, A?@=0)$
This is the dualism of form and matter$ C#lomor&hism
&resumes that materialit#, or the FsensibleG (that *hich
can be a&&rehended b# the senses alone), is &assive, in1
ert, and intrinsicall# sha&eless, and that it can onl# be
organi9ed b# an intelli1 gible form that is im&osed u&on it
from outside, or from above$ Simondon argues that
h#lomor&hism, *ith its rigid dualism, ignores all the
intermedi' aries that are at *or' in an# actual &rocess of
formation or construction$ In fact, matter is never entirel#
&assive and inert, for it al*a#s contains inci&ient
structures$ Matter alread# contains distributions of energ#,
and &otentials for being sha&ed in &articular directions or
*a#s$ (ItOs easier to &lane a &iece of *ood if #ou *or' in
the direction of the grain, rather than across itDcf$ Mas1
sumi >992, >0$) +or its &art, form is never absolute, and
never sim&l# im1 &osed from the outside, since it can onl#
be eJective to the eEtent that it is able to translate itself,
b# a &rocess of Ftransduction,G into one or another ma1
terial$ That is to sa#, form is energetic7 it *or's b# a series
of transformations that transmit energ#, and thereb#
FinformG matter, aJecting it or modulating it in a &rocess
of eEchange and communication$ (The medium is the
message, as Marshall McLuhan &uts itK contrar# to the
h#lomor&hic assum&tions of ShannonOs theor# of
communication, no message, or formal structure, can be
indiJerent to the medium b# and through *hich it is
In the Transcendental Aesthetic, in contrast to the
Transcendental Logic, 8ant does not altogther adhere to
h#lomor&hism$ Ce does indeed sa# that
?2 ?B
s&ace and time are the F&ure formsG of &erce&tion, and
that Fsensation as such is its matterG (8ant >99=, 9?)$ But
his discussion also bears the traces of a dif1 ferent logic,
one that is more o&en to intermediaries$ Because time and
s&ace are not categories or conce&ts, the# do not relate
to their obIects in the *a# that the forms of logical
intelligibilit# (Fcausation, substance, ,ualit#, ,uan1 tit#G)
do$ The# are not organi9ing &rinci&les activel# im&rinted
u&on an oth1 er*ise sha&eless and disorgani9ed matter$ In
SimondonOs terminolog#, s&ace and time are the media of
a MeEible, al*a#s1var#ing modulation, *hereas the
!ategories are the &rinci&les of a rigid and al*a#s
identical moldin (Simon1 don 200?, A;)$
S&ace and time
have a certain MeEibilit#, because the# are modes of
rece&tivit# rather than s&ontaneit#$ 8ant sa#s that
sensibilit# or re1 ce&tivit# Fremains as diJerent as da# and
night from cognition of the obIect in itself GK rather than
being cognitive, sensibilit# has to do *ith Fthe a&&ear1
ance of something, and the "ay "e are a-ected by that
somethinG (8ant >99=, 9=K italics added)$
And that is the crucial &oint$ Even though the Fthing
in itself G is un1 'no*able, or uncogni9able, nevertheless it
a-ects us, in a &articular *a#$ And b# conve#ing and
eE&ressing Fthe *a# *e are aJected,G s&ace and time
estab1 lish immanent, noncognitive connections among
obIects, bet*een the obIect and the subIect, and bet*een
the subIect and itself$ These aJective connec1 tions are
intrinsic to the ver# course of an# eE&erience in s&ace
and time$ 6hitehead laments the fact that 8ant
Fconceives his transcendental aesthetic to be the mere
descri&tion of a subIective &rocessG (6hitehead
>>B) and reserves for the Transcendental Logic the more
basic tas' of giving an account of the necessar# conditions
of all eE&erience$ But once *e ta'e the Transcendental
Aesthetic in the more radical manner that 6hitehead
suggests, there is no &roblem of formlessness, or of
disconnected, atomistic im&ressionsK
8. As DeleuzeGe+plicitly drawing on %imondon0s terminologyGputs it, traditional
philoso, phy posits a concept,o-1ect relation in which the concept is an acti&e form, and
the o-1ect a merely potential matter* It is a mold, a process of molding*# ut with Kant,
than;s to his new treatment of time and space, e&erything changes: 2he concept,o-1ect
relation su-sists in Kant, -ut it is dou-led -y the I,%elf relation,which constitutes a
modulation and no longer a mold# $Deleuze 3446, <()*
and therefore there is no need to im&ose the !ategories
of understanding from above, in order to give these
im&ressions form, or to #o'e them together$ As 6hitehead
&uts it, in such a process of feelin causalit# does not need
to be established eEtrinsicall#, since Fthe datum includes
its o*n interconnectionsG alread# (ibid$)$
4nderstood in this *a#, 8antOs Transcendental
Aesthetic &rovides the basis for one of 6hiteheadOs most
im&ortant notions, that of FsubIective form$G In
6hiteheadOs account, ever# &rehension Fconsists of three
factors7 (a) the XsubIectO *hich is &rehending, namel#, the
actual entit# in *hich that &re1 hension is a concrete
elementK (b) the XdatumO *hich is &rehendedK (c) the
XsubIective formO *hich is ho" that subIect &rehends that
datumG (ibid$, 2B)$ Else*here, in another list of the same
three factors, 6hitehead dePnes subIec1 tive form as Fthe
aJective tone determining the eJectiveness of that
&rehen1 sion in that occasion of eE&erienceG (>9BB:>9=;,
>;=)$ The Prst t*o of these factorsDFsubIect,G or
Foccasion of eE&erience,G and FdatumG or F&rehended
obIectGDma# stand in for the FsubIectG and FobIectG of
traditional e&istemol1 og#, though the &arallels are not
But the third factor, the ho" or the af' fective tone,
is the reall# crucial one$ An# given Fdatum,G 6hitehead
sa#s, is obIective and entirel# determinate$ In itself, a
datum is al*a#s the same$ But this self1identit# does not
entirel# determine, although it some*hat limits, the
&articular "ay in *hich a given entit# receives (&rehends
or &erceives) that da1 tum$ There is al*a#s some margin
of indeterminac#, some room for Fdeci1 sionG (>929:>9;<,
AB), *ith regard to Fho" that subIect feels that obIective
datumG (22>)$
9. 2he differences include the fact that prehension is not necessarily conscious, and
indeed most of the time is entirely unconscious. as well as the fact that the su-1ect# does
not pree+ist its en, counter with the datum# or o-1ect,# -ut is only produced in the course
of that encounter* In any encounter -etween entities, su-1ect and o-1ect are relati&e terms#
$Whitehead 34<<:34?6, 36?)* Whitehead regards the clear and distinct# perception
pri&ileged in se&enteenth, and eigh, teenth,century epistemology as only a &ery special case
of prehension, and not a typical one. generalizing from this case, as philosophers from
Descartes through Kant tend to do, leads pre, cisely to the sensationalist principle and the
o&er&aluation of the higher of the human modes of functioning*#
?A ??
This margin is *hat allo*s for novelty7 Fthe essential
novelt# of a feeling attaches to its subIective form$ The
initial data, and even the neEus *hich is the obIective
datum, ma# have served other feelings *ith other
subIects$ But the subIective form is the immediate
novelt#K it is ho* that subIect is feeling that obIective
datumG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2B2)$ Ever# subIective
form is diJerent from ever# otherK no subIect feels a given
datum in &recisel# the same manner as an# other subIect
has done$
This means, among other things, that novelt#
is a function of manner, rather than of essence$ The
im&ortant ,uestion for 6hitehead is not "hat something is,
but ho" it isDor, more &recisel#, ho* it aJects, and ho* it
is aJected b#, other things$ If Being is a substantive for the
classical meta&h#sicians and a verb for Ceidegger, then for
6hitehead it is ad1 verbial$ F7o" an actual entit#
becomes constitutes "hat that actual entit# is$ $ $ $ Its
XbeingO is constituted b# its XbecomingO G (2B)$
This em&hasis on FsubIective formG as a manner of
rece&tion is *hat lin's 6hitehead to 8antOs
Transcendental Aesthetic$ +or all that 8ant &rivi1 leges and
foregrounds cognition, he is dra*n into a movement that
&recedes it and that is irreducible to it$ Time and s&ace,
the inner and outer forms of in1 tuition, are modes of
feeling before the# are conditions for understanding$ This
follo*s from 8antOs ver# dePnition of sensibilit# as Fthe
ca&acit# (a rece&tiv1 it#) to ac,uire &resentations as a
result of the *a# *e are aJected b# obIectsGK 8ant goes
on to sa# that this is ho* FobIects are iven to usG (8ant
>99=, ;2)$ 6hitehead retains a number of things from
this formulation$ +irst, there is 8antOs insistence u&on the
sheer ivennness of the eEternal *orld, and u&on the
rece&tivit# *ith *hich *e encounter it$ This &arallels
6hiteheadOs o*n
10. 2his is e&en the case when the su-1ects# in question are successi&e instances of
the same person or self* I do not feel a gi&en datum in the same way that I did a minute
ago, if only -e, cause the memory of my e+perience of a minute ago has added itself to
what I am feeling now* 2his is what Whitehead means when he states that no two
actual entities originate from an identical uni&erse. though the difference -etween the two
uni&erses only consists in some actual entities, included in one and not in the other#
$34'4:3465, ''A'<)* 2he differ, ence -etween my uni&erse of -etween a tenth of a
second and half a second ago# $White, head 34<<:34?6, 353) and my uni&erse right now, in
the present instant, is that my e+perience of the former is an actual entity# that has -een
o-1ecti/ed# and added to the data# pre, hended -y the latter*
insistence u&on Fstubborn fact *hich cannot be evadedG
(>929:>9;<, AB), and F*hich at once limits and &rovides
o&&ortunit# for the actual occasionG (>29)$ Then, there is
the fact that 8ant &hrases his account in terms of actual
FobIects,G rather than in terms of sensa (CumeOs bare
sense im&ressions)$ This accords *ith 6hiteheadOs a&&eal
to Factual entities,G or res verae, as the ulti1 mate
constituents of realit#, and his insistence that the FideasG
of seventeenth1 and eighteenth1centur# em&iricism
al*a#s alread# (des&ite the em&iricistsO o*n mentalist
&resu&&ositions) refer to FeEterior thingsG (??), or are F
Xdeter1 minedO to &articular eEistentsG (>B<)$ +inall#, there
is 8antOs im&licit ac'no*1 ledgment that these obIects
a-ect us, &rior to an# 'no*ledge of them on our &art, or
to an# formal &rocess of cause and eJect (since 8ant onl#
accounts for, or acce&ts, causalit# at a later stage, in his
FdeductionG of the !ategories of understanding)$ This
means that 8ant, li'e Cume before him, im&licitl# (and in
contradiction to his o*n &remises) acce&ts the eEistence of
relations of Fin1 heritanceG and inMuence, connecting
entities to one another according to *hat 6hitehead calls
the mode of Fcausal efPcac#G (>=<@><B)$ In all these
*a#s, 8ant o&ens the door to 6hiteheadOs Ftheor# of
Through his anal#sis of FsubIective form,G 6hitehead
&rivileges feeling over understanding, and oJers an
account of eE&erience that is aJective rather than
cognitive$ Even if *e restrict our focus, as 8ant did, to
FsensaG (,ualia, the basic atoms of sense1&erce&tion in the
mode of F&resentational immediac#G), the Fmain
characteristicG of these sensa Fis their enormous
emotional signiP1 canceG (6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2>?)$ The
FaJective toneG (>;=) that suJuses ever# eE&erience of
&erce&tion both determines and eEceeds cognition$ 6e do
not Prst &erceive *hat is before us, and then res&ond
emotionall# to these &erce&tions$ 6hitehead sa#s that
the order is rather the reverse$ +or Fthe di1 rect
information to be derived from sense1&erce&tion *holl#
concerns the functionings of the animal bod#G (2>?)$
erce&tion is Prst of all a matter of being aJected bodil#$
!ontact *ith the outside *orld strengthens or *ea'1 ens
the bod#, stimulates it or inhibits it, furthers or im&airs its
various func1 tions$ Ever# &erce&tion or &rehension thus
&rovo'es the bod# into Fadversion or aversionGDand this
is alread# the FsubIective formG of the &rehension
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, ><A)$ It is onl# later that (in
Fhigh1gradeG organ1 isms such as ourselves, at least)
Fthe ,ualitative characters of aJective tones inherent in
the bodil# functionings are transmuted into the characters
of re1 gionsG in s&ace (6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2>?), so
that sensa can be ta'en u&
?= ?;
into &ro&ositions and thereb# be used to ,ualif# (or to
give us information about) obIects of 'no*ledge in the
eEternal *orld$ 6e res&ond to things in the Prst &lace b#
feeling themK it is onl# after*ard that *e identif#, and cog1
ni9e, *hat it is that *e are feeling$
6hiteheadOs account of &erce&tion as feeling is a
rePnement, and an eE1 tension, of 6illiam QamesOs theor#
of the emotions$ Qames claims Fthat *e feel sorr# because
*e cr#, angr# because *e stri'e, afraid because *e
tremble, and not that *e cr#, stri'e, or tremble, because
*e are sorr#, angr#, or fearful, as the case ma# beG
(Qames >9<B, >0=?@>0==)$ Emotions do not cause bodil#
statesK rather, the bodil# states come Prst, and the
emotions arise out of them$ Strictl# s&ea'ing, this is more
an argument about eE&ression than about causal1 it#$ Hur
F&erce&tionG of an FeEciting factG ta'es the form of Fbodil#
changesGK and Four feeling of the same changes as the#
occur 8* the emotionG (>0=?)$ QamesOs real &oint is not to
reverse the order of causalit#, so that (contrar# to *hat
*e usuall# thin') the bodil# state *ould be the cause and
the mental state the eJect$ 0ather, he asserts the identity
of these conditions, in a radical monism of aJect7
F*hatever moods, aJections, and &assions I have are in
ver# truth constituted b#, and made u& of, those bodil#
changes *hich *e ordinar1 il# call their eE&ression or
conse,uenceG (>0=<)$ There is no se&arating bod# from
mind, or the (bodil#) eE&ression from *hat it (mentall#)
eE&resses$ er1 ce&tion is alread#, immediatel#,
action:&assion that ta'es the form of Fbodil# changes$G
The *a# that I receive a &erce&tion, or a&&rehend its
Fsensa,G is the *a# that m# bod# changes, or has
changed$ erce&tion or eEcitation, ac1 tion or bodil#
changes, and emotion or res&onse, are all one and the
same event$ It is onl# in subse,uent reMection that *e can
se&arate them from one another ( Iust as, for 6hitehead,
it is onl# in subse,uent reMection, and b# a &rocess of
abstraction, that *e can se&arate the FsubIective formG of
a &rehen1 sion from the datum being &rehended, and both
of these from the Factual en1 tit#G of *hich the &rehension
is a Fconcrete elementG)$
11. Immediately# here means in the same undecomposa-le present moment* If
course, Fames insists that such a present moment of time,# or what he prefers to call the
specious present,# is ne&er literally instantaneous, -ut always possesses a certain thic;ness
of duration $ Fames 345<, >6<A>68)*
Qames describes emotion as a &articular sort of
eE&erience$ 6hitehead radicali9es this argument, and
eE&ands its sco&e, b# describing all eE&erience as
emotional$ This includes bare sense1&erce&tionK it also
includes modes of FeE&erienceG that are not conscious,
and not necessaril# human$ Indeed, 6hiteheadOs
&hiloso&h# Fattributes XfeelingO throughout the actual
*orldG (>929:>9;<, >;;)$ +or 6hitehead, FfeelingsG are
identical *ith F&ositive &re1 hensionsG in general, *hich
are all the *a#s in *hich entities interact *ith one another,
or aJect one another (220)$
To feel something is to be
aJected b# that something$ And the "ay that the feeling
entit# is aJected, or changed, is the ver# content of *hat
it feels$ Ever#thing that ha&&ens in the universe is thus in
some sense an e&isode of feeling7 even the Factual
occasions in so1 called Xem&t# s&aceO G discovered b#
modern &h#sics (>;;)$ Hf course, ,uan1 tum Muctuations
in the void do not involve an#thing li'e consciousness or
sense1&erce&tion$ But *hen *e eEamine these
Muctuations, Fthe inMuE of feel1 ing *ith vague ,ualitative
and XvectorO dePnition is *hat *e PndG (>;;)$ Hverall,
there is Fa hierarch# of categories of feelingG (>==), from
the F*ave1 lengths and vibrationsG of subatomic &h#sics
(>=B) to the Pnest subtleties of human subIective
eE&erience$ But in ever# case, &henomena are felt, and
gras&ed as modes of feeling, before the# can be cogni9ed
and categori9ed$ In this *a#, 6hitehead &osits feeling as a
basic condition of eE&erience, much as 8ant establishes
s&ace and time as transcendental conditions of sensibilit#$
This brings us bac' to the Transcendental Aesthetic$
If time and s&ace are the forms, res&ectivel#, of inner and
outer intuition, then feeling is their common generative
matriE$ It is by the rece&tive act of feeling that I locate
things in s&ace and in time$ In other *ords, feeling is the
&rocess b# *hich all
12. 2o -e more precise, Whitehead distinguishes -etween physical prehensions,# in
which an actual entity feels, or interacts with, other actual entities, and conceptual
prehensions,# in which an actual entity feels, or interacts with, eternal o-1ects#
$potentialities, including qual, ities and concepts)* And most prehensions are hy-rids# of
-oth of these ;inds* ut in e&ery case, a prehension is a process where-y an actual entity
feels something*
2here are also negati&e prehensions,# in which an actual entity excludes other
entities $or eternal o-1ects) from -eing felt, or from any such interaction* ut Whitehead
says that these can -e treated in their su-ordination to the positi&e prehensions#
$34'4:3465, ''()*
?< ?9
entities get s&atiali9ed and tem&orali9ed$ 6hitehead thus
agrees *ith 8ant that Fs&ace re&resents no &ro&ert#
*hatever of an# things in themselvesG (8ant >99=, <>),
and that Ftime is not something that is self1subsistent or
that attaches to things as an obIective determinationG
(<;)$ S&ace and time are basic forms of aJectivit#K the#
cannot be &reassumed, but need to be con1 structed in
and through the &rocess of eE&erience$ 6hitehead is in
accord, then, *ith 8antOs contention that s&ace Fis the
subIective condition of sensi1 bilit# under *hich alone
outer intuition is &ossible for usG (<>), and that Ftime is
nothing but the subIective condition under *hich alone an#
intuition can ta'e &lace in usG (<<)$ 6hiteheadOs one
crucial diJerence from 8ant on this &oint is that, for
6hitehead, such FsubIective conditionsG a&&l# for all
entities, and not Iust for human (rational) minds$ Time
and s&ace are not e&istemological necessities that *e
alone im&ose u&on the *orld, but FsubIec1 tive conditionsG
that all beings in the *orld eJectivel# &roduce, in the
course of their eE&eriences$
In line *ith this assertion of the constructed,
conditional nature of time and s&ace, 6hitehead
denounces *hat he calls Fthe fallac# of sim&le lo1 cationG
(>929:>9;<, >B;K citing >92?:>9=;, A9J$)$ This fallac#
consists in believing that a Fbit of matterG can be located
absolutel# Fin a dePnite Pnite region of s&ace, and
throughout a dePnite Pnite duration of time, a&art from
an# essential reference of that bit of matter to other
regions of s&ace and to other durations of timeG
(>92?:>9=;, ?<)$ But so to &osit Fthe individual in1
de&endence of successive tem&oral occasionsG
(>929:>9;<, >B;), and the correlative notion of
Fabsolute &lacesG in s&ace (;>), is to ignore the *a# that
feeling is relational, and Fessentiall# a transitionG (22>)$
+eeling al*a#s &oints from &lace to &laceK and feeling
inherits from the &ast and &roIects to1 *ard the future$
Through the &rocess of feeling, diJerent &oints in s&ace
Fare united in the solidarit# of one common *orldG (;2)$
And ever# &rocess of feeling &roduces time7 both as the
F&er&etual &erishingG of the entit# that feels, and as
Fthe origination of the &resent in conformit# *ith the
X&o*erO of the &astG (2>0)$ This F&o*erG of the &ast,
*hich mar's time as transition, and *hich forges
relations from one &oint in s&ace to another, is the force of
repetition$ Ever# F&resentG moment forcibl# Finherits,G
and thereb# re&eats, *hat came before$ FThe notion of
Xsim&le locationO G is a fallac#, because it Fis inconsistent
*ith an# admission of Xre&etition,O G or of a time that
intrinsi1 call# refers to another time (>B;)$ To establish a
&articular s&acetime location
is al*a#s, Prst of all, to afPrm re&etition, and thereb#
establish a diJerence b# referring else*here and
else*hen, to other stretches of s&ace and other &eri1 ods
of time$
Actual entities, then, are not &rimordiall# located in
s&ace and or1 dered b# time$ 0ather, s&atial location
and tem&oral se,uence are them1 selves generated
through the becoming of these actual entities$ That is to
sa#, an entit# com&oses or creates itself b# feeling the
other entities that have inMuenced and informed itK and
it feels them as being s&atiall# and tem&orall# distinct
from itself$ This self1distinguishing action of each ne*
entit#, and the conse,uent diJerentiation of time and
s&ace, is a necessar# concomitant of the ver# &rocess of
feeling$ Ever# F&ulse of emotionG (6hite1 head >929:>9;<,
>=B) is both a fresh creation of s&acetime and an immedi1
ate &erishing, or FobIectiPcation$G The Femotional
continuit# of &ast *ith &resent $ $ $ is a basic element
from *hich s&rings the self1creation of each tem&oral
occasion$ $ $ $ Co* the &ast &erishes is ho* the future
becomesG (6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2B<)$ It is onl# *hen
an actual entit# &erishesD *hen it is no longer activel#
engaged in the &rocess of feelingDthat it is full# F
Xs&atiali9ed,O to use BergsonOs termG (>929:>9;<, 220K cf$
209)$ It is thereb# full# tem&orali9ed as *ell, since Fthe
atomi9ation of the eEtensive contin1 uum is also its
tem&orali9ationG (;2)$
Hnl# *hen a &rocess of feeling
13. Eor this account of time as transition,# I draw hea&ily on the discussion -y Keith
7o-in, son $'((?, 68A66)*
As for the idea that repetition produces newness, or difference, I am of course
drawing it from =illes Deleuze. repetition as difference is a central motif of his thought*
Bowe&er, Deleuze0s sense of repetition as the af/rmation of difference is de&eloped mostly
through his analysis of Jietzsche0s eternal return, and seems to owe &ery little to
14. 2his latter de&elopment is something that ergson would not accept, since he insists
on time as the form of inner intuition, and on the a-solute priority of such time o&er mere
space* Whitehead0s parallel -etween temporalization and spatialization follows from his
endea&or to come to terms, more adequately than ergson did, with "insteinian relati&ity,
and the conse, quent conceptual unity of spacetime* 2hough Whitehead says that his own
idea of feeling has * * * some ;inship# with ergson0s use of the term 9intuition0 #
$34'4:3465, 83), he also o-1ects that ergson0s notion of intuition is incomplete, since it
seems to a-stract from the su-1ecti&e form of emotion and purpose# $<<)*
=0 =>
com&leted itself and &erished can it be circumscribed as a
datum to be felt, Fa dePnite fact *ith a dateG (2B0)$
4nder these conditions, ever# feeling is a F Xvector
feeling,O that is to sa#, feeling from a be#ond *hich is
determinate and &ointing to a be#ond *hich is to be
determinedG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >=B)$ In the material
*orld, as it is described b# modern (relativistic and
,uantum) &h#sics, Fall fundamental &h#sical ,uantities are
vector and not scalarG (>;;)K Fscalar ,uantities are con1
structs derivative from vector ,uantitiesG (2>2)$ The
&recedence of vectors over scalars, or of relational terms
over atomistic ones, means that no &oint of s&acetime can
be isolated from the overall F&h#sical electromagnetic
PeldG (9<), *ith its inter&la# of forces and its ,uantum
interactions$ This immanent connectedness, rather than
an# im&osition from above of the !ategories of the
understanding, is the real basis for &h#sical causalit#$ In
6hiteheadOs the1 or# of feelings, corres&ondingl#, Fthe
crude aboriginal character of direct &er1 ce&tion is
inheritance$ 6hat is inherited is feeling1tone *ith
evidence of its origin7 in other *ords, vector feeling1toneG
(>>9)$ 6hitehead uses the lan1 guage of vectors to s&ea'
about feelings, because he ma'es no essential dis1
tinction bet*een &h#sical causalit# (the *a# that one
entit# transmits energ# or movement to another entit#)
on the one hand, and &erce&tion (the *a#
15. 2his is also the point at which, in Massumi0s $'((') terms, impersonal affect#
has -een captured and contained as a personal, psychological emotion*#
2he whole question of Whitehead0s theory of space and time requires a far lengthier,
and more careful, e+position than I am a-le to gi&e it here* In the present conte+t, I only
wish to emphasize how Whitehead, li;e ergson, is the heir of what Deleuze calls Kant0s
re&olu, tionary re&ersal of the mo&ement,time relationship,# so that, instead of time -eing
su-or, dinate to mo&ement * * * it is now mo&ement which is su-ordinate to time#
$Deleuze 3458, &ii)* As a result, time can no longer -e de/ned -y succession,# and space
cannot -e de/ned -y coe+istence# $&iii)* 2o the contrary, succession and coe+istence can
themsel&es only -e un, derstood as effects of the more fundamental, creati&e processes of
temporalization and spatial, ization* Hnder Kant0s new conceptualization, time mo&es
into the su-1ect# as a force of affecting and -eing,affected $i+)* 2his is how the
2ranscendental Aesthetic pro&ides a -asis for Whitehead0s doctrine of feeling* When
Whitehead attri-utes temporalization and spatializa, tion to a prior mo&ement of feeling,#
he is e+panding on, and radicalizing, Kant0s own claim that sensi-le intuition is non, or
that one entit# feels, and res&onds to, another entit#) on
the other$ To sa# that entit# A is the cause of entit# B as
eJect is also to sa# that entit# B &rehends entit# A$ Even
mechanistic (and ,uantum1mechanistic) interactions are
feel1 ings, according to 6hiteheadK and even the most
Fsim&le &h#sical feelingG is at once both Fan act of
&erce&tionG and Fan act of causationG (2B=)$ The
Femotional feelingG *ith *hich *e receive sensa li'e color
is not fundamen1 tall# diJerent in 'ind from the manner in
*hich subatomic &articles relate to one anotherK it is onl#
much broader in sco&e (>=B)$ +eeling, as such, is the
&rimordial form of all relation and all communication$
To summari9e, feeling can be conceived as vector
transmission, as ref1 erence, and as re&etition$ These
three determinations are closel# intert*ined$ Ever# feeling
involves a reference to another feeling$ But reference
moves along the line of the vector$ +eeling as reference is a
transmission through s&ace, a di1 rection of movement as
*ell as a magnitude$ This transmission is also a &roduc1
tion of time$ In the vector, time has a direction7 the arro*
of time is al*a#s moving from the alread# determined to
the not1#et1determined and the to1be1 determined$ The
feeling entit# is FconditionedG b#, or is an FeJectG of, all
the other entities that it feels (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2B=)K
and this entit#, in turn, becomes a condition, or a cause,
for *hatever subse,uent entities feel it in their o*n *a#s$
Ever# entit# thus Fconforms to the dataG that it receives
from the &ast, Fin that it feels the dataG (<?)$ But in the act
of feeling its data, ever# entit# also selects among, sha&es,
and alters these data, until it reaches a Pnal determi1
nation$ In so doing, it oJers itself to be felt b# other entities
in its o*n turn, so that it is Freferent be#ond itselfG (;2)$
The FobIectiPcationG of the entit#, once it has been
com&letel# determined, allo*s for its re&etition$ And this
re&etition is the 'e# to the future as *ell as to the &astK for
ever# ne* &rocess of becoming Finvolves repetition
transformed into novel immediacyG (>B;)$
An act of feeling is an encounterDa contingent
event, an o&ening to the outsideDrather than an intrinsic,
&redetermined relationshi&$ And feeling changes *hatever
it encounters, even in the ver# act of FconformingG to it$
That is *h# feeling is irreducible to cognition$ It isnOt
an#thing that *e alread# 'no*$ The &roblem *ith cognitive
theories of mind, and *ith hermeneutical modes of
inter&retation, is that the# reduce the un'no*n to the
alread# 'no*n, the alread# determined$ These theories
assume that m# not1'no*ing is onl# a contingenc# for
m#self, that ignorance is a &articular state that I am inK
the# imagine that the obIect I am see'ing to 'no* is in
itself alread# &erfectl#
=2 =B
determinate, if onl# I could come to 'no* it$ The# thereb#
elide FeE&erience as a constructive functioning,G and
restrict their attention to that *hich has al1 read# been
eE&erienced and constructed$ The# onl# get half the
&ictureK the# trace the vector bac'*ard into the &ast, but
not for*ard into the future$ The# gras& the actual, but
miss the &otential, the #et1to1be$ The# a&&reciate Fcon1
formit# of feeling,G but ignore deviation and novelt#$ The#
anal#9e *hatever has alread# been felt, selected, and
determinedK but the# miss the ver# &rocess of selection
and determination, *hich is feeling itself$
All this might sound li'e the sheerest romantic blather,
the sort of naive &rotest of Life against Intellect, and
+eeling against Thought, that decades of modernist critical
theor#, and &ostmodernist deconstruction, have taught us
to distrust$ But I *ant to insist that it is, rather, a
rigorous eE&ression of 6hiteheadOs Fcriti,ue of &ure
feeling,G and of his conversion of 8ant from
transcendental idealism to transcendental em&iricism$
The &rocess of this conversion is t*ofold$ +irst,
6hitehead recasts 8antOs Transcendental Aes1 thetic so
that the intuition of s&ace and time is Fnot &roductive of
the ordered *orld, but derivative from itG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, ;2)$ And second, 6hitehead eEtends the
sco&e of the Transcendental Aesthetic so that it also
includes all those o&erationsDli'e relations of causalit#D
that 8ant assigned to the Transcendental Logic$ This
means that, far from eEalting an#thing li'e a sentimental
cult of s&ontaneous feeling, or a 0omantic theor# of the
creative imagination, 6hitehead eliminates 8antOs notion
of s&ontaneit# altogether$ +or 8ant, Four spontaneity of
cognition,G or understanding, Fis our abilit# to thin3 the
obIect of sensible intuitionG (8ant >99=, >0=@>0;), *hich is
some1 thing entirel# se&arate from the intuition itself$
6hitehead reIects this dual1 ismK he insists (against both
Cume and 8ant, but in accordance *ith certain
suggestions that he Pnds in Loc'e) that the mere
rece&tion of sense im&res1 sions alread# im&licates the
fact that these im&ressions are FdetermineUdV to this or
that &articular eEistenceG (>929:>9;<, >B<)$ 6hitehead
thus refers all eE&erience, thought included, to a &rocess
of being aJected, a &rocess located "ithin *hat 8ant calls
the rece&tivit# of sensible intuition$
16. In this sense, the recepti&ity of sensi-le intuition# includes, not 1ust physical
prehensions, or prehensions of actual entities $sensi-le data), -ut also what Whitehead
calls conceptual
Action, then, cannot be o&&osed to &assive rece&tion,
in the *a# that traditional meta&h#sics o&&oses form to
matter, or mind to bod#, or essence to accident$ It is
rather that activit#, no less than &assivit#, is a dimension
of rece&tivit# itself$ Ever# eE&erience, ever# feeling, is at
one and the same time an FinheritanceG from the &ast
and a fresh creation$ And both of these di1 mensions are
contained *ithin an o&en aJectivit#$ FThe se&aration of
the emotional eE&erience from the &resentational
intuition,G a se&aration that 8ant &resu&&oses, and that
is necessar# for cognition, is in fact ,uite rare, since it is
onl# Fa high abstraction of thoughtG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, >=2@>=B)$ More generall#, there is a
continuum from &rimordial, entirel# Fconformal feelings,G
to later, or higher, stages of Fsu&&lementar# feeling$G In
conformal feeling, Fthe ho" of feeling re&roduces *hat is
felt,G so that it Fmerel# trans1 forms the obIective content
into subIective feelings$G Su&&lemental feelings, to the
contrar#, activel# involve Fthe subIective a&&ro&riation of
the obIective dataG (>=A@>=?)$ That is to sa#,
su&&lemental feelings ma# alter the data, or *ish to alter
the data, or den# the data, or com&are and contrast the
given data *ith other (remembered or imagined) data, or
self1reMeEivel# res&ond to the Prst, conformal res&onses
to the dataDand so on, almost ad in5nitum$
prehensions,# or prehensions of eternal o-1ects# $concepts and mere potentialitiesGsee
White, head 34'4:3465, '<)* In e&ery act of sensation, perception, or prehension, in some
sense one actual e+istent repeats itself in another actual e+istent, so that in the analysis of
the latter e+, istent a component 9determined to0 the former e+istent is disco&era-le#
$3<4)* 2his renders Kant0s 2ranscendental !ogic superDuous. e&erything that Kant wants
it to accomplish has already -een performed on the -asis of the operations of the
2ranscendental Analytic*
17. Jegation $denying the data) has its place within the many forms of supplemental
feeling* Whitehead e&en gi&es negation an especially important place, arguing that the
general case of conscious perception is the negati&e perception,# that more generally
consciousness is the feeling of negation,# and that it is through negation that
consciousness /nally rises to the pea; of free imagination# $34'4:3465, 3?3)* In this way,
Whitehead recognizes and ac;nowl, edges the role of Begelian negati&ity* Jonetheless,
negation remains a ;ind of feeling, and a rare/ed and uncommon one at that* Eor
Whitehead, the Begelian tradition indulges in e+ag, geration and o&erstatement,# the &ice
of all philosophy $6A5), when it puts negation at the heart of -eing and treats the logic of
negation as a cogniti&e principle, rather than attending to its emotional roots and emotional
=A =?
But all of these are still forms of rece&tivit#, still *a#s of
feeling the data$ There is no &oint at *hich *e &ass from
rece&tivit# to s&ontaneit#, from relational res&onse to &ure
originalit#, or from emotion to Fclear and distinctG
cognition$ Even the most com&leE and reMeEive modes of
thought are still instances of su&&lemental feeling$ As
such, the# continue to Finvolve essential com&atibil1 it#G
*ith the initial conformal feelings from *hich the# arose, so
that Fthe &ro1 cess eEhibits an inevitable continuit# of
functioningG (>=?)$
If feeling, rather than cognition, is the basis of all
eE&erience, and if Fa&art from the eE&eriences of
subIects there is nothing, nothing, nothing, bare
nothingnessG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >=;), then the onl#
*a# of orga1 ni9ing and ordering this eE&erience must be
an immanent one, from *ithin subIective feeling itself$ 6e
'no* that, in fact, eE&erience is not as chaotic as it *ould
have to be if CumeOs s'e&tical s&eculations *ere correct$
Hur eE&e1 rience al*a#s dis&la#s an immanent orderK if
an#thing, in fact, it has too much order$ %o 0imbaudian
FdWrYglement de tous les sensG is ever enough to disru&t
it$ Most traditional meta&h#sics is concerned *ith
grounding the order of eE&erience in Fclear and distinctG
cognition7 as if, *ere it not for &hiloso&h#Os strong
guiding hand, ever#thing *ould immediatel# brea'
do*n$ But 6hitehead 'no*s that such fears are baseless$
rotecting rational order is not the &roblem$ The real
difPcult# is ho* to account for the order, or the Fessential
com&atibilit#,G that continues to organi9e and regulate
eE1 &erience, no matter *hat *e do to sha'e it u&, and
even in the absence of cognition$ In other *ords,
6hitehead is concerned *ith *hat toda# *e *ould call
Femergent orderG or Fself1organi9ation$G In reIecting
8antOs Tran1 scendental Logic as the source of this order,
6hitehead is left onl# *ith his revised version of the
Transcendental Aesthetic$ %othing else can &rovide an
immanent &rinci&le, or criterion, for order *ithin the
boundaries of mere feeling$
This means that 6hiteheadOs immanent criterion for
order can onl# be an aesthetic one$ Truth and
understanding are not ade,uate to the tas'7 feeling is
more basic than cognition, and Fit is more im&ortant that a
&ro&osition be interesting than that it be trueG
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2?9K >9BB:>9=;, 2AA)$ Indeed, Fin
itself, and a&art from other factors, there seems to be no
s&e1 cial im&ortance about the truth1relationG (6hitehead
>9BB:>9=;, 2=?)$ These Fother factorsG that ma'e truth
FinterestingG are, &recisel#, noncognitive feel1 ings$
Qudgments of truthDor, as 6hitehead &refers to call
them, F&ro&osi1
tionsG or FtheoriesGDare onl# im&ortant *hen the# are felt,
and to the eEtent that the# are felt$ In asserting this,
6hitehead is ver# much a Qamesian &rag1 matist$ The
&ragmatic test for truth is the interest that it sustainsK Fthe
&rimar# function of theories is as a lure for feeling, thereb#
&roviding immediac# of en1 Io#ment and &ur&oseG
(>929:>9;<, ><A)$ Truth is Pnall# a matter not of em1
&irical veriPcation, but of FenIo#ment and &ur&ose,G or (to
use 6hiteheadOs more fre,uent term) Fsatisfaction$G That
is *h# FBeaut# is a *ider, and more fundamental, notion
than TruthG (>9BB:>9=;, 2=?)$
In lin'ing feeling to beaut#, rather than subordinating
it to truth, 6hite1 head unites the t*o senses of the *ord
FaestheticG that *e Pnd in 8ant (and in the &hiloso&hical
tradition more generall#)$ Hn the one hand, the Tran1
scendental Aesthetic has to do *ith sensation and the
forms of sensibilit#K on the other hand, the !riti,ue of
Aesthetic Qudgment in the $hird Criti&ue has to do *ith
eE&eriences of the beautiful and the sublime$ Though 8ant
himself doesnOt comment on the dis&arit# bet*een these
t*o senses, other thin'ers have found it &roblematic$ As
5eleu9e &uts it, Faesthetics suJers from a *renching
dualit#$ Hn one hand, it designates the theor# of sensibilit#
as the form of &ossible eE&erienceK on the other hand, it
designates the theor# of art as the reMection of real
eE&erience$ +or these t*o meanings to be tied together,
the conditions of eE&erience in general must become
conditions of real eE&e1 rienceG (5eleu9e >990, 2=0)$ +or
5eleu9e, such a transformation is accom1 &lished in
certain modernist art &ractices$ In Qo#ceOs /inneans
Wa3e and
18. It is important to point out, once again, that this means not a relati&ity of truth, -ut,
on the contrary, a truth of the relati&e*# Fames0s and Whitehead0s pragmatism is not a
slipshod relati&ism, -ut rather a claim a-out the situatedness of truth* A truth that is not
important,# or not strongly felt, does not there-y cease to -e true. and a false proposition
doesn0t -ecome true, merely -y &irtue of -eing in&ested with intense feeling or great
aesthetic appeal* An unimportant truth is 1ust that: unimportant* ut it may #ecome
important, if it is in&ested with feeling* And when a false proposition operates effecti&ely
as a lure,# so that it is in, &ested with great feeling, one result may -e the arousal of an
appetition# that wor;s to, ward changing the world in order to ma$e the proposition
true* 2his is the &ery -asis of change and creati&e ad&ance: the realization of what is not
and may -e# $Whitehead 34'4: 3465, <')*
== =;
/ombro*ic9Os Cosmos, among other *or's, Fthe conditions
of real eE&erience and the structures of the *or' of art are
reunitedG (2=>)$
But 6hitehead unites the t*o senses of aesthetics
*ithout &rivileging modernist aesthetic eE&erimentation in
&articular$ This is because, for 6hite1 head as for 8ant, the
,uestion of beaut# &ertains not Iust to the creation and
rece&tion of *or's of art, but to sensible eE&erience more
generall#$ The con1 nection, unremar'ed b# 8ant, bet*een
the Transcendental Aesthetic and the !riti,ue of Aesthetic
Qudgment is that acts of sensible intuition and Iudg1
ments of beaut# ali'e involve feelings that are rece&tive
and not s&ontaneous, and for *hich there can be no
ade,uate conce&ts$ In both cases, there is a cer1 tain act
of creative construction on the &art of the subIectK #et this
construc1 tion is res&onsive to the given data, and
cannot be described as arbitraril# im&osed, or as merel#
subIective$ %either the attribution of time and s&ace to
&henomena, nor the attribution of beaut# to &henomenal
obIects, can be Ius1 tiPed on cognitive grounds$ Let both
these attributions ma'e universali9ing claims that have to
be ta'en seriousl#$
6hitehead em&hasi9es these continuities bet*een
the t*o senses of aesthetics$ Ce notes that the creation
of FsubIective form,G as an element in an# act of sensible
intuition, is alread# a &roto1artistic &rocess, involving as
it does the selection, &atterning, and intensiPcation of
sensor# data$ There is al*a#s alread# a FdePnite
aesthetic attitude im&osed b# sense1&erce&tionG itself
(6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2>=)$ Even the most utilitarian,
result1 and action1oriented modes of &erce&tion
nonetheless remain largel# rece&tive,
19. "lsewhere, Deleuze states the same point slightly differently* Aesthetics is
di&ided into two irreduci-le domains: that of the theory of the sensi-le which captures
only the real0s con, formity with possi-le e+perience. and that of the theory of the
-eautiful, which deals with the reality of the real insofar as it is thought* "&erything
changes once we determine the con, ditions of real e+perience, which are not larger than
the conditioned and which differ in ;ind from the categories: the two senses of the
aesthetic -ecome one, to the point where the -eing of the sensi-le re&eals itself in the
wor; of art, while at the same time the wor; of art appears as e+perimentation# $Deleuze
3448, ?5)* Bere, the emphasis is less on speci/c modernist art practices than on the
-roader way in which philosophical constructi&ismG particularly the post,Kantian
thought of Jietzsche and of ergsonGcon&erts Kant0s tran, scendental conditions of
possi-ility into generati&e conditions of actualization*
and thereb# involve a certain FaJective toneG and a certain
degree of aesthetic contem&lationDand, 6hitehead adds,
Fthus art is &ossibleG (ibid$)$ In the &rocess of feeling,
Fan# &art of eE&erience can be beautiful,G and Fan# s#s1
tem of things *hich in an# *ide sense is beautiful is to
that eEtent IustiPed in its eEistenceG (2=?)$ Though it
falls to 6hitehead to ma'e these imma1 nent
connections eE&licit, the# are alread# there, im&licitl#, in
8antOs o*n accounts of sensible rece&tion and aesthetic
Iudgment$ It is onl# 8antOs &riv1 ileging of cognition over
aJect that leads to the F*renching dualit#G de1 &lored
b# 5eleu9e$
If Fthe basis of eE&erience is emotional,G then the
culmination of eE&erienceD*hat 6hitehead li'es to call
its FsatisfactionG
Dcan onl# be aesthetic$ This is the
reason for 6hiteheadOs outrageousl# h#&erbolic claim
that Fthe teleolog# of the 4niverse is directed to the
&roduction of Beaut#G (6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2=?)$
6hitehead dePnes Beaut# as Fthe mutual ada&tation of
the several factors in an occasion of eE&erienceGK it is the
FCar1 mon#G of F&atterned contrastsG in the subIective
form of an# such occasion$ The &ur&ose of such
F&atterned contrastsG is to increase, as much as &ossible,
the eE&erienceOs Fintensit# of feelingG (2?2)$ Such a
building1u& of intensit# through contrast is the basic
&rinci&le of 6hiteheadOs aesthetics, a&&l#ing to all entities
in the universe$ At the lo* end of the scale, even the
most rudi1 mentar# F&ulses of emotionG (li'e the
vibrations of subatomic &articles) eE1 hibit a F&rimitive
&rovision of *idth for contrastG (6hitehead >929:>9;<,
>=B)$ And at the highest end, even /od is basicall# an
aesthete$ F/od is indif1 ferent ali'e to &reservation and to
novelt#,G 6hitehead sa#s$ F/odOs &ur&ose in the creative
advance is the evocation of intensitiesG (>0?)$
20. Whitehead uses satisfaction# as a technical term* Be de/nes it as the /nal unity#
of any actual occasion or e+perience, the culmination of the concrescence into a
completely deter, minate matter of fact# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, '3')* %atisfaction#
e&idently does not mean that an e+perience has turned out happily, or fa&ora-ly, or
unfrustratingly, -ut 1ust that the process of e+periencing has terminated, and now only
su-sists as a stu--orn fact,# or a da, tum,# for other e+periences to prehend in their own
turns* In the present conte+t, the crucial point is that the same mo&ement that transforms
an affecti&e encounter into an o-1ecti&ely cogniza-le state of affairs also, and
simultaneously, offers up that state of affairs as an o-1ect for aesthetic contemplation*
=< =9
overall &rinci&le of Fcreative advance,G his F!ategor# of the
4ltimateG under1 l#ing all being (2>), has nothing to do
*ith 2ictorian notions of moral and &olitical im&rovement,
nor *ith the ca&italist ideal of endless accumulation$
!reative advance is rather an intensive, ,ualitative, and
aesthetic drive for Fde&th of satisfactionG (9B, >>0)$
Emotions are intensiPed, and eE&eriences made richer,
*hen incom&atibilities, instead of being eEcluded
(negativel# &rehended), are transformed into contrasts
that can be &ositivel# integrated *ithin a greater
Fcom&leEit# of orderG (>00)$ But this &rocess is not a
tran,uil or banall# &ositive one, and 6hitehead certainl#
does not regard ForderG as an intrinsic good$ The
F&atterned contrastsG must not be too tastefull# arranged$
!reative advance is stiMed b# an# sort of static &erfection$
It demands, rather, the im&etus for rene*al that comes
from Fthe emotional eE&erience of aesthetic destructionG
(6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2?=@2?;)$ 6hitehead al*a#s
reminds us that Fit is the business of the future to be
dangerousG (>92?:>9=;, 20;)K his aesthetics of feeling is
both an eE&ression of this danger, and the best means *e
have for coming to gri&s *ith it$
Interstitial Life
Both 6hitehead and 5eleu9e &lace creativit#, novelt#,
innovation, and the ne* at the center of meta&h#sical
s&eculation$ These conce&ts (or at least these *ords) are
so familiar to us toda#Dfamiliar, &erha&s, to the &oint of
nauseaD that it is difPcult to gras& ho* radical a ru&ture
the# mar' in the histor# of 6estern thought$ In fact, the
valori9ation of change and novelt#, *hich *e so ta'e for
granted toda#, is itself a novelt# of relativel# recent origin$
hiloso&h# from lato to Ceidegger is largel# oriented
to*ard anamnesis (reminiscence) and aletheia
(unforgetting), to*ard origins and foundations, to*ard the
&ast rather than the future$ 6hitehead brea's *ith this
tradition *hen he desig1 nates the F&roduction of novelt#G
as an Fultimate notion,G or Fultimate meta1 &h#sical
&rinci&leG (>929:>9;<, 2>)$ This means that the ne* is one
of those fundamental conce&ts that Fare inca&able of
anal#sis in terms of factors more far1reaching than
themselvesG (6hitehead >9B<:>9=<, >)$ 5eleu9e similarl#
insists that the ne* is a value in itself7 Fthe ne*, *ith its
&o*er of beginning and beginning again, remains forever
ne*$G There is Fa diJerence $ $ $ both for1 mal and in
'indG bet*een the genuinel# ne* and that *hich is
customar# and established (5eleu9e >99A, >B=)$ 5eleu9e
and /uattari therefore sa# that Fthe obIect of &hiloso&h# is
to create conce&ts that are al*a#s ne*G (5eleu9e and
/uattari >99A, ?)$ hiloso&hical conce&ts are not for all
timeK the# are not given in advance, and the# Fare not
*aiting for us read#1made, li'e heavenl# bodies$G Instead,
the# must al*a#s be Finvented, fabricated, or rather
createdG afreshK F&hiloso&hers must distrust $ $ $ those
conce&ts the# did not create themselvesG (?@=)$ +or
both 6hitehead and 5eleu9e, novelt# is the highest
criterion for thoughtK even truth de&ends on novelt# and
creativit#, rather than the reverse$ As for creativit# itself, it
a&&ears Fthat 6hitehead actuall# coined the termDour
term, still the &referred currenc# of eEchange among
literature, science, and the arts $ $ $ a term that ,uic'l#
became so &o&ular, so omni&resent,
that its invention *ithin living memor#, and b# Alfred
%orth 6hitehead of all &eo&le, ,uic'l# became occludedG
(Me#er 200?, 2@B)$
6hat is the meaning, and *hat is the im&ort, of our
belief in creativit# toda#N Co* does the ne* enter into the
*orldN And ho* does the valuation of the ne* enter into
thoughtN 5eleu9e eE&licitl# invo'es %iet9scheOs call for a
Frevaluation of all values,G and for the continual
Fcreation of ne* valuesG (5eleu9e >99A, >B=)$ And
6hitehead and 5eleu9e ali'e are ins&ired b# BergsonOs
insistence that Flife $ $ $ is invention, is unceasing
creationG (Berg1 son 200?, 2;)$ But the real turning &oint
comes a centur# before Bergson and %iet9sche, in 8antOs
F!o&ernican revolutionG in &hiloso&h#$ 8ant himself does
not eE&licitl# value the ne*, but he ma'es such a
valuation (or revalua1 tion) thin'able for the Prst time$ Ce
does this b# shifting the focus of &hilos1 o&h# from
,uestions of essence (F*hat is itNG) to ,uestions of
manner (Fho* is it &ossibleNG)$
8ant reIects the ,uest for
an absolute determination of be1 ing7 this is an
unfulPllable, and indeed a meaningless, tas'$ Instead, he
see's to dePne the necessar# conditionsDor *hat toda#
*e *ould call the struc1 tural &resu&&ositionsDfor the
eEistence of *hatever there is, in all its variet# and
mutabilit#$ That is to sa#, 8ant *arns us that *e cannot
thin' be#ond the conditions, or limits of thought, that he
establishes$ But he also tells us that, once these
conditions are given, the contents of a&&earance cannot be
further &rescribed$ The "ays in *hich things a&&ear are
limited, but a&&earances themselves are not$ The# cannot
be 'no*n in advance, but must be encoun1 tered in the
course of eE&erience$ This means that eE&erience is
al*a#s able to sur&rise us$ Hur categories are never
dePnitive or all1inclusive$ 8antOs argu1 ment against
meta&h#sical dogmatism, *hich both 6hitehead and
5eleu9e endorse, entails that being al*a#s remains o&en$
FThe *hole is neither given nor giveable $ $ $ because it is
the H&en, and because its nature is to change constantl#,
or to give rise to something ne*, in short, to endureG
(5eleu9e >9<=, 9)$ F!reative advance into novelt#G
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, 222) is al1 *a#s &ossible, al*a#s
about to ha&&en$
1.Whitehead disparagingly remar;s that, in philosophy since the eighteenth century, the
question, What do we ;nowP, has -een transformed into the question, What can we ;nowP
2his latter question has -een dogmatically sol&ed -y the presupposition that all ;nowledge
This also means that the diversity of the given (or of
*hat 8ant calls Fsensible intuitionG) is irreducible$
5iversit# is al*a#s &reserved as such in 8antOs critical
&hiloso&h#, even though it is also gathered into Hne under
the rubric of *hat 8ant calls the Ftranscendental unit# of
a&&erce&tion$G 6hen 8ant sa#s that Fthe 8 thin3 must be
capable of accom&an#ing all m# &resenta1 tionsG (>99=,
>;;), he is arguing against both 5escartes and Cume$
Cume moc's the !artesian coito, remar'ing that F*hen I
enter most intimatel# into *hat I call myself, I al*a#s
stumble on some &articular &erce&tion or other,G but
never Pnd an underl#ing Fself G in addition to these
&articular &erce&tions (Cume >9;<, 2?2)$ 8ant follo*s
Cume in reIecting the !artesian ego as a substantial
entit#K but he insists, against Cume, that unit# must be
retained as a form, or as an organi9ing &rinci&le$ If our
&erce&tions *ere reall# as chaotic and unrelated to one
another as Cume claims, then *e *ould not be able to
have an#thing li'e e#perience at all$ It is onl# *hen ever#
element of a multi1 &licit# of &erce&tions is accom&anied
b# an 8 thin3Dor, more &recisel#, onl# *hen ever# element
of this multi&licit# is at least capable of being so
accom&aniedDthat it is even &ossible to thin' these
&erce&tions as a multi1 &licit#, or as *hat 8ant calls the
FmanifoldG of intuition$
starts from the consciousness of spatio,temporal patterns of such sense percepta#
$34<5:34?5, 68)* 2his is e&idently a direct criticism of Kant and of nearly all post,
Kantian philosophy* Whitehead deplores the way that Kant shifts the focus of philosophy
from ontological ques, tions to epistemological ones* ut his greatest o-1ection is to what
he sees as the dogmatic# way that Kant resol&es the question of what we can ;now, -y
retaining his predecessors0 re, striction of e+perience to the realm of presentational
I want to suggest, howe&er, that Kant0s epochal shift of focusGfrom do# to can#G
should also -e read as a widening and ena-ling mo&e* %ince it does not preempt the
empirical -ut meets it halfway, it opens a place for potentiality, and there-y for a
ergsonian open fu, ture, one that is not already predetermined -y the past* 2o as; how is
it possi-leP# is to focus on manner instead of on essence* Kant implicitly does what
!ei-niz -efore him and Whitehead after him do e+plicitly: he in&ents a mannerism in
philosophy, a way of thin;ing that is op, posed to the essentialism /rst of Aristotle and
then of Descartes# $Deleuze 344<, ><)* oth Whitehead and Deleuze may -e seen as
re&i&ing !ei-niz0s mannerist pro1ect, in a world where Kantian critique has disallowed
what Whitehead calls the audacious fudge# of !ei-, niz0s theodicy $Whitehead
34'4:3465, 86)*
;2 ;B
6hitehead radicali9es 8antOs argument about the
manifold$ Qust as 8ant insists on the formal uniPcation of
the sensible manifold in the transcendental unit# of
a&&erce&tion, so 6hiteheadD*ith his F!ategoreal
HbligationsG of SubIective 4nit#, SubIective Carmon#,
SubIective Intensit#, and +reedom and 5eterminationD
insists on the formal uniPcation of di1 verse data, and
multi&le &rehensions, in ever# entit#Os concrescence or
Pnal satisfaction (>929:>9;<, 2=@2;)$ 5uring a &rocess
of becoming, the &re1 hended data are Funintegrated,G
or not #et integratedK but the# are at least Fcom&atible
for integrationG (2=7 !ategor# of SubIective 4nit#)$ The
inte1 gration Pnall# ha&&ens *hen the &rocess is done$
Multi&le &rehensions are combined or coordinated b#
their Fada&tationG to a &articular FsubIective aimGDeven
though this FaimG does not &reeEist, but itself onl#
emerges in the course of the Fada&tation$G The &rocess is
circular and autotelic$ It is not guided b# an# eEternal
criteria$ 0ather, *e ma# sa# that the FsubIective aimG
that dePnes an entit#Os manner of being is, Prst of all, a
&rinci&le of selec1 tion, and an act of self1selection$
Each actual occasion selects among the data that it
encounters, and thereb# creates itself, establishing its
o*n im1 manent criteria for a F&reestablished harmon#G
of eE&erience (2;7 !ategor# of SubIective Carmon#)$
These criteria are aesthetic, rather than logicalK *hat is
aimed at in the FsubIective aimG is not mere
com&atibilit#, or non1 contradiction, but a &ositive
Fintensit# of feelingG (2;7 !ategor# of SubIec1 tive
Intensit#)$ In this *a#, Fthe concrescence of each
individual actual entit# is internall# determined and is
eEternall# freeG (2;7 !ategor# of +ree1 dom and
5etermination)$ It is self1generated and self1uniPedK but it
is also o&en to contingenc#$
6hitehead diJers from 8ant in seeing subIective
unit# as an ongoing &rocess, rather than as a PEed form,
and in describing this &rocess as a matter of feeling, rather
than as one of thin'ing$ Also, 6hitehead &osits unit# as an
Fobligation,G a demand that al*a#s needs to be fulPlled,
rather than as an al1 read# eEisting condition$ +or 8ant,
the formal unit# of the subIect is given once and for allK
for 6hitehead, this unit# has to be &roduced afresh at
ever# momentDsince the subIect itself must be &roduced
afresh at ever# moment$ This means that subIective unit#
is not the frame*or' of eE&erience (as it is for 8ant), but
rather a necessar# conse&uence of eE&erience$ And that is
*hat o&ens the door to novelt#$ Ever# achievement of
unit# is something that has never eEisted before7
something diJerent, something radicall# ne*$ FAn actual
occasion is a novel entit# diverse from an# entit# in the
Xman#O *hich it uni1 Pes$ $ $ $ The ultimate meta&h#sical
&rinci&le is the advance from disIunction to conIunction,
creating a novel entit# other than the entities given in
dis1 Iunction$ $ $ $ The man# become one, and are
increased b# oneG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2>)$ There is no
&ermanent unit#, but onl# a continual transition to unit#$
6hitehead thus temporalizes 8antOs transcendental unit#
of a&&er1 ce&tion$ The genesis of subIective unit# in time
is the continual &roduction of novelt#$
6hiteheadDli'e %iet9sche and Bergson before himD
denounces the *a# that, in traditional Euro&ean
&hiloso&h#, Fchangeless order is conceived as the Pnal
&erfection, *ith the result that the historic universe is
degraded to a status of &artial realit#, issuing into the
notion of mere a&&earanceG (6hitehead >9B<:>9=<, <0)$
8ant *ould seem to be included *ithin the sco&e of this
criticism, insofar as he divides Fthings in themselvesG
from things as the# a&&ear to us$ But although 8ant does
not ,uite abandon the old dualism of realit# and
a&&earance, at the ver# least he radicall# revalues it$ +or
in the Criti&ue of Pure Reason, the changeless real is
dismissed as unat1 tainable and un'no*able, and
therefore not a &ro&er obIect of meta&h#sical s&eculation$
In removing the noumenal realm from an# &ossibilit# of
cogni1 tion, 8ant in eJect endorses a version of
6hiteheadOs Fontological &rinci1 &le,G *hich asserts that
Fthere is nothing that Moats into the *orld from
no*here$ Ever#thing in the actual *orld is referable to
some actual entit#G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2AA)$ In
8antian terms, this means that &henom1 ena can onl# be
referred to other &henomenaDand not to noumena as
(su&1 &osed) underl#ing causes$ Ever#thing that aJects
us, ever#thing that matters to us, falls *ithin the realm
of mutable a&&earances$
In this *a#, even if he does not
full# reali9e it, 8ant ma'es it &ossible to thin' change,
2. What matters, or what ma;es a difference, is the important thing here* Iur
en1oyment of actuality is a realization of worth, good or -ad* It is a &alue e+perience* Its
-asic e+pression isGBa&e a care, here is something that mattersC OesGthat is the -est
phraseGthe primary glimmering of consciousness re&eals something that matters#
$Whitehead 34<5:34?5, 33?)* 2his may -e compared to =regory ateson0s famous
de/nition of information as a difference which ma;es a difference# $'(((, 8>4)*
;A ;?
and the emergence of the ne*, rather than subordinating
them to Fchange1 less orderG or Fstatic forms$G
8ant undermines the &rivilege of Fchangeless orderG
b# introducing a ne* notion of time, one that reverses
&hiloso&hical tradition$ Before 8ant, time *as regarded
as merel# an eEternal measurement of the relations
among obIects that did not fundamentall# de&end u&on
it$ But *ith 8ant, as 5eleu9e &uts it, instead of time
being the measure of movement, and thereb# being
Fsubordinate to movement $ $ $ it is no* movement *hich
is subordinate to timeG (5eleu9e >9<A, vii)$ It is onl# *hen
time is not a mere measurement, but an inner &rinci&le of
eEistence, that becoming is liberated from static being,
and the ne* can be &rivileged over the eternal$ It is onl#
*hen time is no longer a mere ,uantitative measurement
that it can ta'e on the intensive form of *hat Bergson
calls duration$ Bergson tends to be highl# critical of
8antK but 5eleu9e &oints out that, in fact, FBergson is
much closer to 8ant than he himself thin's7 8ant dePned
time as the form of interiorit#, in the sense that *e are
internal to timeG (5eleu9e >9<9, <2)$ That is to sa#,
*hen 8ant dePnes time as the inner form of sensible
intu1 ition, he is not reall# sa#ing that time is *ithin us, or
that time is something that *e im&ose u&on the *orld$
Ce is sa#ing, rather, that *e are *ithin time, and that
our subIectivit# can onl# be articulated in and through
time$ Hnce interiorit# has been tem&orali9ed, it cannot
retain the static form of the !artesian coito$
3.Jietzsche, in his chapter Bow the 97eal World0 Einally ecame a Ea-le: Bistory of an
"rror,# from Tilight of the %dols $34?5, '(), distinguishes -etween the KQnigs-ergian#
$Kant, ian) moment, with the real world unattaina-le, unpro&a-le, unpromisa-le, -ut
the mere thought of it a consolation, an o-ligation, an imperati&e,# and the su-sequent
coc;,crow of positi&ism# in which, -ecause the real world# is un;nowa-le,# it is also no
longer a source of consolation, redemption, o-ligation*# I am choosing instead to conDate
these moments, -oth -ecause it helps to show how Jietzsche, Whitehead, and Deleuze
ali;e are drawing upon Kant to a greater e+tent than any of them is usually willing to
admit, and -ecauseGas I discuss -elowGKant0s theory of morality, with its sense of
o-ligation,# and its account of a dou-le causality, has more force to it $e&en in
Jietzschean terms) than Jietzsche is willing to ac;nowledge*
8ant thus unhinges time, or &ulls it out of Ioint
(5eleu9e >9<A, vii)$ +or a time that activel# articulates
movement, rather than merel# measuring it, cannot be
divided into Fdurationless instantsG (6hitehead
>A=) or Finstantaneous immobile sectionsG (5eleu9e >9<=,
B)$ It is no longer &ossible, after 8ant, to maintain the
%e*tonian Pction of Fthe full realit# of nature at an instant,
in abstraction from an# tem&oral duration and character1
i9ed as to its interrelations sole# b# the instantaneous
distribution of matter in s&aceG (6hitehead >9B<:>9=<,
>A?)$ 6ith his !o&ernican revolution, there1 fore, 8ant
starts do*n the &ath that culminates in the &ost1
%e*tonian &h#sics of the t*entieth centur#, for *hich, as
6hitehead &uts it, F&rocess, activit#, and change are the
matter of fact$ At an instant there is nothing$ $ $ $ Thus
since there are no instants, conceived as sim&le &rimar#
entities, there is no nature at an instant$ Thus all the
interrelations of matters of fact must involve transition in
their essenceG (>9B<:>9=<, >A=)$
Hf course, 8antOs radical reconce&tuali9ation of time is
com&romised to the eEtent that he still &rivileges human
subIectivit#$ Cis account of tem&oralit# onl# concerns the
human or rational FIG7 the self that encounters, but 'ee&s it1
self a&art from, the &henomenal *orld$ As 6hitehead &oints
out, 8antOs Fsub1 Iectivist &ositionG is that Fthe tem&oral
*orld UiVs merel# eE&erienced,G and not activel# entered
into (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >90)$ In fact, 6hitehead
himself Fentirel# acce&ts the subIectivist bias of modern
Ui$e$ &ost18antianV &hiloso&h#G (>==)$ Such an a&&roach is
the basis for his Frational scheme of cosmolog# in *hich a
Pnal realit# is identiPed *ith acts of eE&erienceG (>AB)$ The
&roblem *ith 8ant, ho*ever, is that, Faccording to his form
of the subIectivist doctrine, in the Criti&ue of Pure Reason,
no element in the tem&oral *orld UcanV itself be an
eE&erientGDonl# the transcendental subIect can be one
(>90)$ This means that 8ant fails to &ush his !o&ernican
revolution far enough$ Ce resists the rad1 ical
conse,uences of his o*n notions of tem&oralit# and
eE&erience$ +or if the &henomenal *orld is entirel#
tem&oral, and entirel# a *orld of eE&erience, then *e
should no longer sa# that it is Fmerely eE&eriencedG b# a
subIect that remains outside it$ 0ather, the &henomenal
*orld consists in the subIective eE&eriences of all the
entities that ma'e it u&$ If FtransitionG is indeed universal,
then dura1 tion, or &rimordial tem&oralit#, is the inner
dimension of all entities in the universeDand not Iust of
human subIects$
6hitehead, li'e 8ant, reIects Fthe %e*tonian
XabsoluteO theor# of s&ace1timeG (6hitehead >929:>9;<,
;0), according to *hich time *ould be
;= ;;
Fself1subsistent $ $ $ something that *ithout there being an
actual obIect *ould #et be actualG (8ant >99=, <;)$ Time
is not given in advanceK it needs to be ef1 fectivel#
&roduced, or constructed, in the course of subIective
eE&erience$ 6hitehead radicali9es 8antOs doctrine of time,
ho*ever, b# sa#ing that such a s&ecial relationsi& bet*een
subIectivit# and time cannot a&&l# to human or rational
subIects alone$ 0ather, time is subIective onl# in the sense,
and to the eEtent, that every entity is a sub(ect$
6hitehead thereb# re&laces 8antOs FeEcess of subIectivit#G
(>?) *ith *hat he calls the reformed sub(ectivist principle7
Fthe *a# in *hich one actual entit# is ,ualiPed b# other
actual entities is the XeE1 &erienceO of the actual *orld
enIo#ed b# that actual entit#, as subIect$ $ $ $ UTVhe
*hole universe consists of elements disclosed in the
anal#sis of the eE1 &eriences of subIectsG (>==)$ Time is
&roduced in and through eE&erienceK and eE&erience, in
turn, is im&licitl# tem&oral$ But this circularit# does not
onl# a&&l# to us$ Ta'en in this eE&anded sense, 8antOs
!o&ernican revolu1 tion no longer &uts human
subIectivit# at the center of ever#thing$ 0atherDin
better accord *ith the actual achievement of
!o&ernicusDit decenters that subIect$ +or subIectivit#, in
the Prst &lace, is not an eEclu1 sivel# human &rivilege$
In the second &lace, it is a manner or formal &rinci1 &le,
rather than an#thing substantial$ And Pnall#, subIectivit#
is decentered because it is itself subIect to the ver#
&henomenon that it &roduces7 the in1 ner &assage of
4. Kant0s Lopernican re&olution# is usually read as an assertion of what Ruentin
Meillas, sou+ calls correlationalism#: the theory that af/rms the indissolu-le primacy
of the rela, tion -etween thought and its correlate o&er the metaphysical hypostatization or
representalist rei/cation of either term of the relation# $rassier '((6, 35)* Kant0s
thought would thus -e anthropocentric. it would lea&e us with what =raham Barman calls
a single lonely rift -etween people and e&erything else*# "&en the distinction
-etween phenomena and noumena# is then something endured -y humans alone#
$Barman '((6, 36')* Meillas, sou+, rassier, and Barman urge us to re1ect this
equation of -eing and thought,# which lea&es us stranded in a humanAworld coupling#
that is sterile and untena-le $Barman '((6, 36<)*
My point is not to dispute this fairly e&ident reading of Kant* I merely wish to
suggest that there are also other directions, other potentialities, to -e found in Kant0s
Critiques* Kant0s emphasis on conditions rather than essences can -e separated from his
anthropomorphism and
8antian tem&oralit#, therefore, divides the self from
itself$ As 5eleu9e summari9es it, *e must distinguish the I
( (e) Fas an act *hich continuall# car1 ries out a s#nthesis
of time,G from the Ego (moi) as a Fconstantl# changingG
entit# *ithin time$ These t*o dimensions of the subIect are
Fse&arated b# the line of time *hich relates them to each
other, but under the condition of a fundamental
diJerenceG (5eleu9e >9<A, viii)$ In the +irst !riti,ue,
subIectiv1 it# therefore has a double as&ect$ Hn the one
hand, there is the FIG as an active &rocess of
determinationK on the other hand, there is the FEgoG as
something that is determined, from moment to moment,
b# this &rocess$ Hn one side, time is generated in the
activit# of the subIectK on the other side, subIectivit# is
generated in and through the &assage of time$ The ga&
bet*een these t*o sides is *hat ma'es novelt# &ossibleK
or, to &ut the &oint more strongl#, this ga& necessitates
creativit#, b# ma'ing it im&ossible for things to remain
the same$
The doubling of the (e and the moi is reca&itulated, in
the Criti&ue of Practical Reason, in the form of a doubling
bet*een the subIect as a rational being, *hose *ill ta'es
on the determining form of universal la*, and the
em&irical subIect, *hose *ill is determined eEtrinsicall#
and contingentl#$
his e+cess of su-1ecti&ity*# Indeed, this is precisely what Whitehead does* Where Busserl
and other phenomenologists continue to ta;e correlationalism for granted $rassier
'((6, 34. Barman '((6, 36<), Whitehead re1ects correlationism and anthropocentrism
precisely -y e+, tending Kant0s analyses of conditions of possi-ility, and of the generati&e
role of time, to all entities in the uni&erse, rather than con/ning them to the pri&ileged
realm of human -eings, or of rational minds*
We might say much the same for ergson* As Deleuze puts it, where Busserl see;s
to o&ercome the duality * * * of consciousness and thing# -y asserting that all
consciousness is consciousness of something#Ga mo&e that lea&es correlationism intactG
ergson more radi, cally asserts that all consciousness is something#Gthus placing
thought entirely within the phenomenal world, or within William Fames0s single stream of
e+perience, and there-y a&ert, ing correlationalist dualism altogether $ergson 345?, >?)*
5. I do not mean to conDate the I# of the Eirst Lritique, the transcendental principle of
tem, poral synthesis, with the I# of the %econd Lritique, the noumenal self, or rational,
legislat, ing su-1ect* 2hese are, of course, entirely different entities* 7ather, I am noting the
structural parallelism -etween the two Lritiques, in the way that they -oth posit a su-1ect
split -etween
;< ;9
The Fautonomy of the *illG is o&&osed to the
Fheteronomy of the &o*er of choiceG (8ant 2002, A<)$
This o&&osition leads directl# to the determination of moral
la*s as F&rinci&les that contain the determining basis of
the *ill not b# their matter but merel# b# their formG (A0)$
If the moral la* had an# &os1 itive content, if it *ere
an#thing more than Fthe &ure form of universalit#,G then
it *ould be contingent rather than categorical, determined
b# its obIect rather than activel# determining$ 5eleu9e
therefore sa#s that Fthe la* as em&t# form in the
Criti&ue of Practical Reason corres&onds to time as &ure
form in the Criti&ue of Pure ReasonG (>9<A, E)$ In both
!riti,ues, the deter1 minate, em&irical subIect is
se&arated from, and #et subIected to, a higher &rinci&le
(a &ure or em&t# form) that determines it$ 8ant
attributes s&on1 taneit# or autonom# to this &rinci&le,
thereb# characteri9ing it as a (nonem1 &irical) subIect$ But
in both !riti,ues this &rinci&le corres&onds to *hat,
toda#, *e *ould more li'el# regard as an im&ersonal,
asubIective &rocess of s#nthesis and subIectiPcation$
This re&lacement of the form of the subIect *ith the
&rocess of subIec1 tiPcation is a crucial move in &ost1
8antian thought$ 5eleu9e often denounces the *a# that
8ant Ftraces the so1called transcendental structures from
the em1 &irical acts of a &s#chological consciousnessG
(5eleu9e >99A, >B?)$ Such a Ftracing of the
transcendental from the em&iricalG (>AB) tra&s thought in
a vi1 cious circularit#$ The active force that is su&&osed to
condition all &ossible eE1 &erience is itself &assivel#
modeled on, and therefore in its o*n turn conditioned b#,
that eE&erience$ SubIectivit# is &reformed or &rePgured,
acti&e $producti&e, conditioning) and passi&e $recepti&e, conditioned) rolesGe&en if these
are not the same# su-1ect*
6. Kant0s association of choice# with the heteronomy of a will that has -een
e+trinsically de, termined, and in opposition to an act of freedom, especially needs to -e
recalled today, gi&en the current hegemony of neoli-eral economics and rational choice#
political science* Eor these approaches, e&erything is, and ought to -e, determined, -y
indi&iduals ma;ing choices among &arious possi-ilities in a world of scarcity or limited
resources* Erom a Kantian point of &iew, this sort of mar;et,dri&en choice# is a-solutely
incompati-le with any genuine notion of freedom or autonomy* 2o put it a -it crudely,
-ut not inaccurately, you can ha&e con, sumerism and the free mar;et,# or you can ha&e
democracy and self,determination, -ut you can0t ha&e -oth*
cause it is generated b# something that has the form of
the subIect alread#$ The &roblem *ith the 8antian
transcendental subIect is that it Fretains the form of the
&erson, of &ersonal consciousness, and of subIective
identit#G (5eleu9e >990, 9<)$ If this circularit# *ere actuall#
the case, nothing ne* could ever emerge$ This is *h#
5eleu9e accuses 8ant of misa&&rehending the F&rodi1 gious
realm of the transcendental,G even though this realm is
8antOs o*n dis1 cover# (5eleu9e >99A, >B?)$ 8ant
describes the transcendental as something li'e a set of
tem&lates, &reeEisting conditions of &ossibilit# to *hich
ever#thing em&irical must conform$
5eleu9e FcorrectsG 8ant, or converts him, b# redePning
the transcenden1 tal as the virtual, rather than as the
merel# &ossible$ This means that the &rocess of
subIectiPcation, or the force that im&els this &rocess, does
not itself have the form of a subIect$ 0ather, the virtual is
*hat 5eleu9e calls Fan im&ersonal and &re1individual
transcendental Peld, *hich does not resemble the
corres&onding em&irical Pelds$ $ $ $ This Peld can not be
determined as that of a consciousnessG (5eleu9e >990,
>02)$ 5eleu9e, follo*ing /ilbert Simondon (200?),
describes the transcendental as a Peld of &otential
energies in metastable e,uilibrium$ These &otentials can
energi9e or FinformG a subIect, but the# do not determine
its nature ahead of time$ There is no resemblance, and
hence no &reformation$ The subIect cannot be given in
advanceK it must al*a#s emerge ane*, in an un1
foreseeable *a#, as it is &reci&itated out of the metastable
transcendental Peld$ 6hatOs basic, for Simondon and
5eleu9e, is not the individual, but the al*a#s ongoing, and
never com&lete or dePnitive, &rocess of individuation$
7. In chemistry and physics, metasta-ility# refers to a physical state that is sta-le, -ut
1ust -arely* "&en a small distur-ance will -e enough to desta-ilize it* Eor instance, a
supersaturated solution is metasta-le* !eft to itself, it can persist inde/nitely. -ut any
pertur-ation will cause the dissol&ed su-stance to precipitate out of the solution* More
generally, a metasta-le state is a state of tension, or contradiction,# full of potential energy
that, gi&en the right sort of push, will -e discharged, causing a transformation* Eor
%imondon, this is how the process of indi&id, uation ta;es place: the unleashing of potential
energy, in a preindi&idual# metasta-le state, leads to a process of emergence, as the formerly
preindi&idual su-stance is di&ided into a more,or,less structured indi&idual, on the one hand,
and the milieu that supports it, out of which it emerges, and from which it distinguishes
itself, on the other* ut this process is ne&er completed once and for all* "&ery indi&idual is
still metasta-le, rather than entirely sta-le, which is to say that it still
<0 <>
Evidentl#, there is no such theor# of individuation in
8ant$ Ce acce&ts the Pgure of the subIect as an alread#
given form$ %onetheless, there are hints of a &roductive
&otentialit#Dgoing be#ond mere conditions of &ossibilit#D
in 8antOs re&eated doubling of this subIect$ +or such
doubling &oints to a double causality as *ell$ In the
Second !riti,ue, the ga& bet*een the rational subIect and
the em&irical subIect corres&onds to the distinction
bet*een Fcausalit# as freedomG and Fcausalit# as natural
mechanismG (8ant 2002, 9)$ This distinction ta'es the
form of an Antinom#7 FThe determination of the causalit#
of beings $ $ $ can never be unconditioned, and #et for
ever# series of conditions there must necessaril# be
something unconditioned, and hence there must be a
causalit# that determines itself entirel# on its o*nG (=9)$
The solution to the Antinom# is that &h#sical, efPcient
causalit# al*a#s obtains in the &henomenal *orld, but Fa
freel# acting causeG can be conceived as o&erat1 ing at
the same time, to the eEtent that the &henomenal being
*ho *ills and acts is Falso regarded as a noumenonG (=;)$
8ant &oses a similar Antinom# in the F!riti,ue of
Teleological Qudg1 ment,G the second half of the Third
!riti,ue$ Hn the one hand, *e must as1 sume that the
com&leE organi9ation of living beings is F&roduced through
the mere mechanism of natureGK indeed, no other
eE&lanation is &ossible$ And #et, on the other hand,
mechanistic determinism Fcannot &rovide our cognitive
contains undischarged potential energy, still contains a degree of the preindi&idual, which is
a&aila-le for new transformations*
Eor a fuller treatment of %imondon0s theory of indi&iduation, and its relation -oth to
the impasses of Kant0s transcendental argument and to what I am calling Deleuze0s
correction or con&ersion of Kant, see Al-erto 2oscano0s super- discussions in his -oo; The
Theatre of !ro- duction $'((?)* 2oscano also /nds a signi/cant place for Whitehead, in the
course of tracing the genealogy that runs from Kant0s dif/culties with the phenomena of
li&ing organisms and self,organizing systems to Deleuze0s ontology of difference* Bowe&er,
I thin; that 2oscano is too quic; to dismiss the teleology# present in Whitehead0s notion
of su-1ecti&e aim,# and the @latonic 9formalism0 # of his theory of eternal o-1ects $6?A
66), as well as his in&ocation of =od $53A5<)* My own accounts of eternal o-1ects in
chapter ', of decision and dou-le causality in the present chapter, and of =od in chapter >,
endea&or to show that all these ele, ments of Whitehead0s ontology remain &ital and useful,
rather than -eing the regressions to an outdated metaphysics that 2oscano seemingly ta;es
them to -e*
&o*er *ith a basis on *hich *e could eE&lain the
&roduction of organi9ed beings$G 6hen *e tr# to establish
such a basis, *e are compelled Fto thin' a causalit#
distinct from mechanismDvi9$, the causalit# of an
(intelligent) *orld cause that acts according to &ur&osesG
(8ant >9<;, 2=9)$ +or F*e cannot even thin' Uliving thingsV
as organi9ed beings *ithout also thin'ing that the# *ere
&roduced intentionall#G (2<>)$ 6e are unable to avoid the
idea of &ur&osive design, even though F*e ma'e no claim
that this idea has realit#G (2=9)$
In both the Second and the Third !riti,ues, then, 8ant
insists that lin1 ear, mechanistic causalit# is universall#
valid for all &henomena$ But at the same time, he also
&ro&oses a second 'ind of causalit#, one that is &ur&osive
and freel# *illed$ This second causalit# does not negate
the Prst, and does not oJer an# eEce&tions to it$ 0ather,
FfreedomG and F&ur&oseG eEist alonside Fnatural
mechanismG7 the# are *hat 5errida *ould call
supplements to it$ Ac1 cording to the Second !riti,ue,
Fnothing corres&onding to Uthe morall# goodV can be
found in an# sensible intuitionG (8ant 2002, 90)K this is
&re1 cisel# *h# the moral la*, or Fcausalit# as freedom,G
can onl# be a &ure, em&t# form$ The content of an action
is al"ays F&athologicalG or em&iricall# deter1 mined,
Fde&endenUtV on the natural la* of follo*ing some im&ulse
or inclina1 tionG (A9)$ The second sort of causalit#, a free
determination that o&erates according to moral la* rather
than natural la*, ma# coeEist *ith this F&atho1 logicalG
determination, but cannot sus&end it$ This is *h# 8ant
8. Kant, of course, was writing long -efore Darwin* It is sometimes argued that
Darwin0s dis, co&ery of a naturalistic -asis for the organized comple+ity of lifeG
something that Kant con, sidered impossi-le in principle $Kant 3456, '5'A'5<)Gentirely
o-&iates the arguments of the Lritique of 2eleological 7eason*# Oet the dichotomy Kant
descri-es still e+ists in contem, porary -iology, e&en though its location has -een
displaced* "&olutionary -iologists today are only a-le to e+plain an organism -y spea;ing
as if its features $eyes, or reproducti&e -eha&iors, or whate&er) were purposi&e, e&en
though they $no that this purposi&eness was ne&er in, tended -y any agency, -ut arose
through the wor;ings of natural selection* Kant is still correct in asserting that -iologists
must accept the ma+im that nothing in such a creature is gratu- itous* * * * Indeed, they can
no more gi&e up that teleological principle than they can this uni, &ersal physical principle#
$'>?)* Bardcore adaptationists are especially insistent that no features of an organism are
gratuitous. their opponents $e*g*, =ould, =oodwin, Kauffman) in&o;e teleology through
their interest in emergent properties*
<2 <B
,ualiPes his afPrmations of freedom, reminding us that
Fthere is no intuition and hence no schema that can be
laid at its basis for the sa'e of an a&&lication in concretoG
(9>), and that it is an Fem&t#G conce&t theoreticall#
s&ea'ing, *hich can be IustiPed Ffor the sa'e not of the
theoretical but merel# of the &ractical use of reasonG (;?)$
In the Third !riti,ue, &ur&osive (teleological) causalit#
has a similarl# ghostl#, su&&lemental status$ 8ant sa#s
that F*e do not actuall# observe &ur1 &oses in nature as
intentional ones, but merel# add this conce&t Uto natureOs
&roductsV in our thouht, as a guide for Iudgment in
reMecting on these &rod1 uctsG (8ant >9<;, 2<2)$ ur&ose,
li'e freedom, is Fa universal reulative &rinci1 &leG for
co&ing *ith the universe (2<;)K but *e cannot a&&l# it
constitutivel#$ The idea of Fnatural &ur&oseG is onl# Fa
&rinci&le of reason for the &o*er of Iudgment, not for the
understandingG (2<9)$ That is to sa#, *hen *e regard a
given being as something that is alive, as an oranism, *e
are rightl# Iudging it to be an eJectivel# &ur&osive unit#K
but *e do not thereb# actuall# understand *hat im&els it,
or ho* it came to be$ The understanding has to do *ith a
one1 *a#, Fdescending seriesG of FefPcient causes,G or
Freal causes$G But Iudgment in terms of &ur&oses invo'es a
nonlinear (both ascending and descending) series of FPnal
causes,G or Fideal causesG (2?>@2?2)$ The idea of &ur&ose,
or of Pnal cause, involves a circular relation bet*een &arts
and *hole$ The *hole &recedes the &arts, in the sense that
Fthe &ossibilit# of Ua thingOsV &arts (as concerns both their
eEistence and their form) must de&end on their relation to
the *hole$G But the &arts also &recede and &roduce the
*hole, insofar as the# mutuall# de1 termine, and ada&t to,
one another7 Fthe &arts of the thing combine into the
unit# of a *hole because the# are reci&rocall# cause and
eJect of their formG (2?2)$ An organism must therefore be
regarded as Fboth an oranized and a self'oranizin
being$G It is both the &assive eJect of &receding, eEternal
causes, and something that is activel#, immanentl# self1
caused and self1generating$ Hnl# in this *a# can Fthe
connection of ef5cient causes $ $ $ at the same time be
Iudged to be a causation throuh 5nal causesG (2?B)$
6hat 8ant calls efPcient causalit# is still the norm of
reductionist sci1 ence toda#$ At the same time, 8antOs
account of Pnal causes, or of teleological circularit# and
self1organi9ation, lies at the root of most versions of
dialectics, hermeneutics, and s#stems theor#$ 6hatOs most
crucial to 8antOs account, ho*1 ever, is the necessar#
coeEistence of these t*o sorts of eE&lanation, together *ith
the irreducible distance bet*een them$ EfPcient and Pnal
causalit# cannot be
reconciledK nor is it &ossible to reduce one to the other, or
to eE&lain one a*a# in terms of the other$ Ed*ard H$
6ilsonOs FconsilienceG (6ilson >999) is as dubious an ideal
as an# grand Cegelian scheme of uniPcation$ And indeed,
atomistic reductionism and holistic s#stems theor# ali'e
&ro&ose schemas that are inPnite in ca&acit# and eEtent,
but nonetheless fundamentall# closed$ %o true novelt#
can emerge from the linear chain of cause and eJect,
*hen Fall tangible &henomena, from the birth of stars to
the *or'ings of social institu1 tions, are based on material
&rocesses that are ultimatel# reducible, ho*ever long and
tortuous the se,uences, to the la*s of &h#sicsG (6ilson
>999, 29>)$ But novelt# is also eEcluded b# *hat %i'las
Luhmann calls the Fo&erational closureG of an# Fself1
referential s#stem$G +or such a s#stem can onl# be inMu1
enced from the outside to the eEtent that the eEternal
&erturbation is coded as FinformationG in the s#stemOs
o*n &redePned terms$ Luhmann rightl# sa#s that Fsuch
s#stems, *hich &rocure causalit# for themselves, can no
longer be Xcausall# eE&lainedO G according to the
mechanisms of linear, efPcient causalit# (Luhmann >99=,
A>)$ But these s#stemsO auto&oietic Pnal causalit# also
*or's to re&roduce sameness and avert fundamental
change$ !an *e imagine a form of self1organi9ation that
is not also one of self1&reservation and self1
re&roductionN 8ant o&ens u& this ,uestion *hen he &osits
the Antinom# of the t*o 'inds of causalit#$
5eleu9e ta'es u& this &roblem in $he +oic of *ense,
*here he &ro&oses his o*n version of Fdouble causalit#G
(5eleu9e >990, 9A@99)$ 0ather than re1 ferring directl# to
8ant, 5eleu9e reverts to *hat he describes as the ancient
StoicsO Fcleavage of the causal relationG (=)$ Hn the one
hand, there is real, or &h#sical, causalit#7 causes relate to
other causes in the de&ths of matter$ This is the materialist
realm of Fbodies &enetrating other bodies $ $ $ of &assions1
bodies and of the infernal miEtures *hich the# organi9e
or submit toG (>B>)$ Hn the other hand, there is the
ideali9ed, or transcendental, F,uasi1causalit#G of eJects
relating solel# to other eJects, on the surfaces of bodies or
of things (=)$ This ,uasi1causalit# is Fincor&oreal $ $ $
ideational or XPctive,O G rather than actual and
eJectiveK it *or's, not to constrain things to a
&redetermined destin#, but to FassurUeV the full autonom#
of the eJectG (9A@9?)$ And this autonom#, this s&litting of
the causal relation, F&reserveUsVG or Fgrounds freedom,G
liber1 ating events from the destin# that *eighs do*n
u&on them (=)$ An act is free, even though it is also
causall# determined, to the eEtent that the actor is able
Fto be the mime of *hat eJectivel# occurs, to double the
<A <?
*ith a counter1actuali9ation, the identiPcation *ith a
distanceG (>=>)$ That is to sa#, 5eleu9eOs counter1
actuali9ing Fdancer,G li'e the 8antian moral agentD and,
as I *ill discuss shortl#, li'e the 6hiteheadian living
occasionDma'es a decision that su&&lements causal
efPcac# and remains irreducible to it, *ith1 out actuall#
violating it$ This is *hat it means to &reserve Fthe truth
of the event,G in its ineEhaustible &otentialit#, from the
catastro&he of Fits inevitable actuali9ationG (>=>)$
It is, ho*ever, 6hiteheadOs treatment of the
Antinom# of double causalit# that most directl#
addresses the &roblem of the ne*$ 6hitehead, no less
than 8ant, distinguishes bet*een, and see's to reconcile,
efPcient and Pnal causes$ These t*o modes of causalit#
can be correlated, to a certain eE1 tent, *ith the t*o
modes of &erce&tion recogni9ed b# 6hitehead7 causal ef1
Pcac# and &resentational immediac#$ The# can also be
aligned *ith *hat 6hitehead calls the F&h#sicalG and
FmentalG &oles of an# entit# (6hitehead >929:>9;<,
2B9)$ EfPcient causalit# refers to the naturalistic chain of
causes and eJects, or the *a# that an entit# inherits
conditions and orientations from Fthe immortal &astG
(2>0)$ Hn this level, the causal de&endenc# of a given
entit# u&on its &redecessorsDits status as an e-ectD
cannot be distin1 guished from that entit#Os &rehension
(its rece&tion, or nonconscious &erce&1 tion) of those
&redecessors$ FThe &roblems of efPcient causation and
of 'no*ledge receive a common eE&lanationG (>90)$ An
entit# feels its &recur1 sors, and is thereb# both a-ected
and caused b# them$ FAll our &h#sical rela1 tionshi&s are
made u& of such sim&le &h#sical feelings $ $ $ the
9.%trictly spea;ing, Deleuze differentiates %toic dou-le causality from what I am
descri-ing as a dou-le causality of the Kantian sort* Eor with the %toics $and in another
way with the "picureans) one -egins -y splitting the causal relation, instead of
distinguishing types of causality as Aristotle had done and as Kant would do# $Deleuze
344(, ?)* I am arguing, how, e&er, for a more generous reading of KantGone that is
warranted -y the o&erall pattern of Deleuze0s -orrowings from, and criticisms of, Kant*
Eor one thing, Deleuze0s adaptation of the %toics can only -e understood in terms of his
o&erall post,Kantian framewor;. for an, other, Kant0s &ery distinction -etween ef/cient
and /nal causality is not merely a matter of categorization, -ut in&ol&es an Antinomy: the
coe+istence of two entirely different and irrec, oncila-le logics* Eor, as Deleuze himself
puts it, this opposition -etween simple formal logic and transcendental logic cuts through
the entire theory of sense# $344(, 4?)*
form of a &h#sical feeling is re1enaction of the subIective
form of the feeling felt$ Thus the cause &asses on its
feeling to be re&roduced b# the ne* subIect as its o*n,
and #et as inse&arable from the cause $ $ $ the cause is
obIectivel# in the constitution of the eJectG (2B;)$
EfPcient causalit# is a &assage, a trans1 mission (2>0), an
inMuence or a contagion$ This obIective inheritance con1
stitutes the &h#sical &ole of the aJected entit#, its
embodiment in a material universe$
Co*ever, as this &rocess of causalit#1as1re&etition
unfolds, Fthe re1 enaction is not &erfectG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, 2B;)$ ThereOs al*a#s a glitch in the course of
the Fvector transmissionG of energ# and aJect from &ast
to &resent, or from cause to eJect$ There are at least t*o
reasons for this$ In the Prst &lace, nothing can ever &urel#
and sim&l# recur, because of the Fcumula1 tive character
of time,G its Firreversibilit#G (2B;)$ Ever# event, once it
has ta'en &lace, adds itself to the &ast that *eighs u&on
all subse,uent events$ %o matter ho* &recisel# event B
mimics event A, B *ill be diJerent from A sim1 &l# due to
the Fstubborn factG that A has alread# ta'en &lace$ The
&astness of ADor *hat 6hitehead calls its
FobIectiPcation,G or FobIective immortalit#GD is a
constitutive feature of BOs *orld, a crucial &art of the
conteEt in *hich B occurs$ Thus, b# the ver# fact that B
re&eats A, BOs circumstances must be dif1 ferent from AOs$
FTime is cumulative as *ell as re&roductive, and the
cumula1 tion of the man# is not their re&roduction as
man#G (2B<)$ The eJect is subtl# diJerent from the cause
*hose im&ulsion it inherits, &recisel# to the eEtent that
the eJect &rehends (or recogni9es) the cause as an
additional factor in the universe$ 6hitehead thus eEtends
Leibni9Os rinci&le of Indiscernibles$ %ot onl# can no t*o
occasions ever be identical, but also Fno t*o occasions
can have identical actual *orldsG (2>0)$
In the second &lace, the causal re&roduction of the
&ast in the &resent is im&erfect, because no inheritance,
and no feeling, is entirel# neutral$ The Fsub1 Iective form,G
as an element in the &rocess of rece&tion, diJerentiall#
evaluates the data it receives, and thereb# selects among
these data$
Ever# &rehension,
10. Ir, more precisely, it selects not among the data themsel&es, which are simply gi&en
and cannot -e e&aded# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, 8<), -ut among the eternal o-1ects#
implicit in these data* y &irtue of a selection of rele&ant eternal o-1ects * * * what is a
datum from
<= <;
ever# causal connection, involves a FvaluationG on the
&art of the receiving entit#7 a valuation that does not Iust
ta'e the transmitted data as given, but Fval1 ues UthemV u&
or do*nG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2A>)$ As a result, Fthe
actual *orld UisV selectivel# a&&ro&riatedG (2BB), according
to the F,ualities of Io# and distaste, of adversion and of
aversion, *hich attach integrall#G to ever# eE&eri1 ence
(2BA)$ This aJective res&onse, *ith its selective and
gradated Fconce&tual &rehensionG of the ,ualities (eternal
obIects) im&licit in the data, constitutes the mental &ole of
the aJected entit#, its &otential for change or novelt#$
6hitehead insists that ever# entit# is Fessentiall#
di&olar, *ith its &h#s1 ical and mental &olesK and even the
&h#sical *orld cannot be &ro&erl# under1 stood *ithout
reference to its other side, *hich is the com&leE of
mental o&erationsG (>929:>9;<, 2B9)$ Ever# entit#Os
sim&le &h#sical feelings are su&1 &lemented b# its
conce&tual feelings$ Hf course, these Fmental o&erations,G
or conce&tual feelings, Fdo not necessaril# involve
consciousnessGK indeed, most of the time, consciousness
is entirel# absent$ But in ever# occasion of eE&eri1 ence,
both &h#sical and mental &oles are &resent$ This means
that ever#thing ha&&ens according to a double causalit#$
A Pnal (or teleological) cause is al1 *a#s at *or',
alongside the efPcient (mechanistic) cause$ If Ftransition
Ufrom the &astV is the vehicle of the efPcient cause,G then
concrescence, or the actual becoming of the entit#Dits
orientation to*ard the futureDFmoves to*ard its Pnal
causeG (2>0)$ As *ith 8ant, so too for 6hitehead7 the Pnal
cause does not sus&end or interru&t the action of the
efPcient cause, but su&ervenes u&on it, accom&anies it,
demands to be recogni9ed alongside it$ And once again,
6hitehead radicali9es 8ant b# eEtending the sco&e of his
without is transformed into a complete determination as a fact within# $3>8)* 2he principle
of this selection is the need for compati-ility among the forms selected, as required -y the
Lategories of %u-1ecti&e Hnity and %u-1ecti&e Barmony* 2his means that Whitehead0s crite,
rion for selection is, li;e Kant0s, an entirely formal one* 2he Lategorical Imperati&e in the
%ec, ond Lritique has to do, not with the content of any action, -ut only with the
question of whether the action can -e generalized to the form of a uni&ersal law* %imilarly,
in the 2hird Lritique, aesthetic 1udgment does not depend upon the actual feelings aroused
-y any o-1ect, -ut only upon the formal possi-ility for the uni&ersal communica-ility of
those feelings* White, head0s demand for compati-ility or harmony is similarly a purely
formal condition, without any particular predetermined contents*
arguments7 the# no* a&&l#, not Iust to human or rational
beings, but to all entities in the universe$
+or 6hitehead, the Pnal cause is the FdecisionG
(>929:>9;<, AB) b# means of *hich an actual entit#
becomes *hat it is$ FCo*ever far the s&here of efPcient
causation be &ushed in the determination of com&onents
of a concrescence $ $ $ be#ond the determination of these
com&onents there al*a#s remains the Pnal reaction of the
self1creative unit# of the universeG (A;)$ This FPnal
reactionG is the *a# that Fthe man# become one, and are
increased b# oneG (2>) in ever# ne* eEistence$ The &oint
is that F XdecidedO conditions are never such as to banish
freedom$ The# onl# ,ualif# it$ There is al*a#s a con1
tingenc# left o&en for immediate decisionG (2<A)$ This
contingenc#, this o&ening, is the &oint of ever# entit#Os
self1determining activit#7 its creative self1actuali9ation or
Fself1&roductionG (22A)$ And this is ho* novelt# enters the
universe$ The decision is al*a#s a singular one, uni,ue to
the entit# *hose FsubIective aimG it is$ It cannot be
categori9ed or classiPed7 for that *ould mean returning
the decision to the alread# decided, to the efPcient
causes at the &oint of *hose conIunction it arose$
11. I thin; that Whitehead is already pointing here to a logic of singularity and
uni&ersality, such as the one de&eloped more e+plicitly -y Deleuze* Eor Deleuze,
singularities are acate, gorical: they cannot -e categorized in any terms -roader than their
own* 2hat is to say, they cannot -e /tted into a hierarchy of species and genera, of the
particular and the general. 1ust as they cannot -e deri&ed as instances of any larger, more
o&erarching and predetermining structure* ut in their &ery uniqueness, singularities are
there-y also uni&ersal* 2he singular directly touches the uni&ersal without the mediation of
any inter&ening terms* 2he e+treme concreteness of a singularity is also the mar; of an
e+treme a-straction* 2he thisness, or what Deleuze and =uattari call the haecceity $3456,
'?(ff*), of an e&ent is uni&ersalized# in itself, as it is in all its details, rather than -eing
su-ordinated to some &aguer or more general category*
An e+ample might -e helpful here* When @roustGan e+tremely important author
for DeleuzeGwrites a-out 1ealousy, in his great no&el, he is -eing at once uni&ersal and
singu, lar* Hni&ersal, -ecause he isn0t merely descri-ing the narrator0s feelings a-out
Al-ertine* 2he -oo;0s analyses e+tend far -eyond the psychology of particular characters
in a particular situ, ation* 2hey ma;e connections that reDect upon other characters and
situations in the no&el, and upon the reader0s e+periences outside the te+t, as well* 2he
no&el descri-es, enacts, or cre, ates an a-stract, uni&ersal portrait of 1ealousy: what I am
tempted to call the transcendental
<< <9
To be sure, much of the time, this decision or Pnal
cause is FnegligibleG in sco&e, and can safel# be ignored
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, >>?, 2A?)$ In man# inorganic
&h#sical &rocesses, the s&ace of Fcontingenc# left o&en for
im1 mediate decisionG is vanishingl# small$ %ovelt# is
nearl# noneEistent, and lin1 ear, efPcient causalit# can
eE&lain (almost) ever#thing$ It is onl# in cases of higher1
order emergenceD&rocesses that *ere mostl# ignored b#
the &h#sics of 6hiteheadOs o*n time, but that are
intensivel# studied toda# b# chaos and com&leEit# theor#
Dthat an#thing genuinel# ne* is &roduced$ F5eterministic
chaosG is, li'e all em&irical &henomena, entirel#
determined in &rinci&le (or, as 8ant *ould sa#,
Ftheoreticall#G) b# linear cause and eJect$ But since its de1
velo&ment is sensitive to diJerences in initial conditions
too slight to be mea1 sured, it is not actuall# determinable
ahead of time &ragmaticall# (or, as 8ant
form of this emotion* At the same time, @roust0s description remains highly contingent and
limited: that is to say, singular* It is em-edded in a thic; constellation of concrete details
and te+tures, ha&ing to do with the particularities of the -oo;0s characters, of their gender
and so, cial class and historical moment in Erance, and all the other aspects of their social
setting* It is this sense of concrete em-eddedness that most fully differentiates @roust0s te+t
from an essay in psychology* In short, @roust uni&ersalizes his description of the
narrator0s 1ealousy o&er Al-ertine, -y a-stracting it away from the merely anecdotal* ut
what he uni&ersalizes in this manner remains entirely singular and concrete* Be doesn0t
generalize -y lea&ing out details and anomalies. rather, it is only his e+hausti&e
e+amination of all the anomalies and minutiae of the situation that ma;es the
uni&ersalization possi-le* @roust plum-s the utmost depths of 1ealousy, all the more so
-ecause he e+amines it in and for itself, in its special circumstances, rather than placing it
in relation to other emotions, or classifying it as an instance of some more widespread
class of -eha&iors or feelings* @roust uni&ersalizes the singular, while re1ect, ing any sort of
Whitehead ne&er offers an e+plicit theory of singularity, in the way that Deleuze
does* ut I thin; that a similar logic is at wor; in his discussion of the decision made -y
e&ery ac, tual entity* 2his decision is always singular, -ecause it is unique to the entity that
ma;es it, and that circularly determines what it is -y ha&ing made it* Jo general
principles or rules can guide this decision, or circumscri-e it* And yet the singular
decision is also a uni&ersal one, -ecause it is affected -y e&erything that precedes it, and in
turn affects e&erything that fol, lows it* "&ery concrescence is a con1uncti&e unity,#
gathering together the dis1uncti&e 9many0 # $Whitehead 34'4:3465, '3)* It is a
determination of the entire uni&erse, reducing its
*ould sa#, F&racticall#G)$ In these cases, linear,
mechanistic causalit# is inade1 ,uate for the &ur&oses of
our understanding, and an eE&lanation in terms of
&ur&ose, FsubIective aim,G or FdecisionG becomes
The role of subIective FdecisionG becomes es&eciall#
im&ortantDso that it can no longer be dismissed as
FnegligibleGD*hen *e get to those emergent &rocesses of
self1organi9ation 'no*n as living things$ It is &recisel# in
the case of living entities that the recourse to efPcient
causes is most inade,uate, and that F*e re,uire
eE&lanation b# XPnal causeO G instead (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, >0A)$ Indeed, 6hitehead dePnes FlifeG itself (to
the eEtent that a conce&t *ith such fu99# boundaries can
be dePned at all) as Fthe origination of conce&tual novelt#
Dnovelt# of a&&etitionG (>02)$ B# Fa&&etition,G 6hitehead
means Fa &rinci&le of unrest $ $ $ an a&&etite to*ards a
diJerence $ $ $ something *ith a dePnite novelt#G (B2)$
Most broadl#, Fa&&etitionG has to do *ith the fact that
Fall &h#sical eE&erience is accom&anied b# an a&&etite for,
or against, its
potentiality and multiplicity to the actuality of one stu--orn fact*# 2his actuality has ne&er
e+isted -efore: it is an a-solute no&elty* As such, it re&erts to -eing one# rather than e&ery,
thing#: it is a no&el entity, dis1uncti&ely among the many entities which it synthesizes#
$'3)* 2his is why Whitehead can descri-e the decision, or /nal cause, of an entity, -oth
as the unique acti&ityGthe a-solute, indi&idual self,en1oyment# $34<5:34?5, 3>()Gof
that entity itself, and as the /nal reaction of the self,creati&e unity of the uni&erse# as a
12. 2hough I ha&e 1ust said that an e+planation in turns of /nal cause is required for the
pur, poses of our understanding,# this should not -e ta;en as merely the contingent result
of our empirical ignorance or uncertainty* 2he dif/culty is ontological, rather than
epistemological* It is not 1ust that our particular powers of o-ser&ation are limited and that
the quantity of in, formation we happen to possess is /nite* Eor any possi-le o-ser&er will
-e in the same situa, tion* 2here cannot #e a !aplacean =od, or a supercomputer, that
;nows e&erything and that can trace all the lines of ef/cient causality for all the particles in
the uni&erse* %uch a position of omnipotence is simply not possi-le* In Whitehead0s terms,
to posit such a position is to &i, olate -oth the ontological principle# $that e&erything
actual must come from somewhere) and the reformed su-1ecti&ist principle# $that
e&erything actual must -e disclosed in the e+, perience of some actual su-1ect)* "&en the
actual entity Whitehead calls =od# is not om, nipotent* Be is also su-1ect to these
restrictions, and he cannot transcend them*
13. It is important to note that Whitehead uses appetition# as a technical term* Be
warns us against the danger which lur;s in technical terms# of ta;ing them according to
their com, mon meanings in ordinary language* In the case of appetition,# this can lead to
the improper
90 9>
continuance7 an eEam&le is the a&&etition of self1
&reservationG (B2)$ But eE1 &erience becomes more
com&leE *hen the a&&etition &ushes be#ond itself, and
does not merel# *or' to*ard the &reservation and
continuation of *hat1 ever alread# eEists$ This is &recisel#
the case *ith living beings$ 6hen an entit# dis&la#s
Fa&&etite to*ard a diJerenceGD6hitehead gives the
sim&le eEam&le of FthirstGDthe initial &h#sical eE&erience
is su&&lemented and eE&anded b# a Fnovel conce&tual
&rehension,G an envisioning (or FenvisagementGDBA) of
something that is not alread# given, not (#et) actual$
Even Fat a lo* level,G such a &rocess Fsho*s the germ of
a free imaginationG (B2)$
This means that it is insufPcient to inter&ret something
li'e an animalOs thirst, and its conse,uent behavior of
searching for *ater, as merel# a mecha1 nism for
maintaining (or returning to) a state of homeostatic
e,uilibrium$ FA&&etition to*ard a diJerenceG see's
transformation, not &reservation$ Life cannot be
ade,uatel# dePned in terms of conce&ts li'e S&ino9aOs
conatus, or Maturana and 2arelaOs autopoiesis$ 0ather, an
entit# is alive &recisel# to the eE1 tent that it envisions
diJerence and thereb# strives for something other than
the mere continuation of *hat it alread# is$ F XLifeO means
novelt#$ $ $ $ A sin1 gle occasion is alive *hen the
subIective aim *hich determines its &rocess of
concrescence has introduced a novelt# of dePniteness not
to be found in the inherited data of its &rimar# &haseG
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, >0A)$ A&&etition is the Fconce&tual
&rehension,G and then the ma'ing1dePnite, of something
that has no &rior eEistence in the Finherited dataG (i$e$,
something that, &rior to the a&&etition, *as merel#
&otential)$ But if life is a&&etition, then it cannot be
understood as a matter of continuit# or endurance (for
things li'e stones endure much longer, and more
successfull#, than living things do), nor even in terms of
res&onse to stimulus (for Fthe mere res&onse to stimulus is
characteristic of all so1 cieties *hether inorganic or aliveGD
>0A)$ 0ather, life must be understood as a matter of
Foriinality of res&onse to stimulusG (em&hasis added)$ Life
is Fa bid
anthropomorphization of a process that applies to all entities* 2he word also potentially
sug, gests a degrading notion of this -asic acti&ity in its more intense operations*# 2erms
that are technically synonymous ha&e different ranges of connotation in ordinary speech*
2his means that we must -e particularly careful and attenti&e when using any of them
$Whitehead 34'4:3465, <'A<<)*
for freedom,G and a &rocess that Fdisturbs the inherited
Xres&onsiveO adIustment of subIective formsG (>0A)$ It
ha&&ens F*hen there is intense eE&erience *ith1 out the
shac'le of reiteration from the &astG (>0?)$ In sum,
6hitehead main1 tains Fthe doctrine that an organism is
XaliveO *hen in some measure its reactions are ineE&licable
b# any tradition of &ure &h#sical inheritanceG (>0A)$
Hf course, contem&orar# biolog# is not &rone to
s&ea' of Pnal causes, or to dePne life in the *a# that
6hitehead does$ According to the mainstream neo1
5ar*inian s#nthesis, F&ure &h#sical inheritance,G *hen
combined *ith occasional random mutation and the force
of natural selection, is sufPcient to account for biological
variation$ Hn this vie*, innovation and change are not
&rimar# &rocesses, but ada&tive reactions to
environmental &ressures$ Life is essentiall# conservative7
not oriented to*ard diJerence and novelt# as 6hite1 head
*ould have it, but organi9ed for the &ur&oses of self1
&reservation and self1re&roduction$ It is not a bid for
freedom, but an inesca&able com&ulsion$ The image of a
Flife forceG that *e have toda# is not an#thing li'e
BergsonOs 6lan vitalK it is rather a virus, a mindlessl#,
relentlessl# self1re&licating bit of 5%A or 0%A$ Even the
alternatives to the neo15ar*inian s#nthesis that are
sometimes &ro&osed toda#Dli'e Maturana and 2arelaOs
theor# of auto&oiesis (>99>), Stuart 8auJmanOs
eE&loration of com&leEit# and self1organi9ing s#s1 tems
(2000), L#nn MargulisOs *or' on s#mbiosis (Margulis and
Sagan 2002), Qames Loveloc'Os /aia theor# (2000), and
Susan H#amaOs develo&mental s#s1 tems theor# (2000)D
share mainstream biolog#Os overriding concern *ith the
*a#s that organisms maintain homeostatic e,uilibrium
in relation to their environment and strive to &er&etuate
themselves through re&roduction$ It *ould seem that
organic beings onl# innovate *hen the# are absolutel#
com&elled to, and as it *ere in s&ite of themselves$
%evertheless, *hen biologists actuall# loo' at the
concrete behavior of living organisms, the# encounter a
some*hat diJerent &icture$ +or the# con1 tinuall# discover
the im&ortant role of FdecisionG in this behavior$ And not
onl# in the case of mammals and other FhigherG animals$
Even Fbacteria are sensitive, communicative and decisive
organisms $ $ $ bacterial behaviour is highl# MeEible and
involves com&licated decision1ma'ingG (5evitt 200;)$
Slime molds can negotiate ma9es and choose one &ath
over another (%a'aga'i, Lamada, and Toth 2000)$ lants do
not have brains or central nervous s#stems, but Fdecisions
are made continuall# as &lants gro*,G concerning such
matters as the &lacement of roots, shoots, and leaves,
and orientation *ith regard to
92 9B
sunlight (Tre*avas 200?, A>A)$ In the animal 'ingdom,
even fruit Mies eEhibit Fs&ontaneous behaviorG that is
nondeterministic, un&redictable, Fnonlinear and unstable$G
This behavioral variabilit# cannot be attributed to Fresidual
devia1 tions due to eEtrinsic random noise$G 0ather, it has
an FintrinsicG origin7 Fs&on1 taneit# (XvoluntarinessO) UisV a
biological trait even in MiesG (Ma#e et al$ 200;)$ In sum, it
*ould seem that all living organisms ma'e decisions
that are not causall# &rogrammed or &redetermined$ 6e
must &osit that Fcognition is &art of basic biological
function, li'e res&irationG (5evitt 200;, ,uoting amela
L#on)$ Indeed, there is good evidence that, in multicellular
organisms, not onl# does the entire organism
s&ontaneousl# generate novelt#, but Feach cell has a
certain intelligence to ma'e decisions on its o*nG (Albrecht1
Buehler >99<)$
Thus, biologists have come to see cognition, or
Finformation &rocessing,G at *or' ever#*here in the living
*orld7 Fall organisms, including bacteria, the most
&rimitive (fundamental) ones, must be able to sense the
environment and &erform internal information &rocessing
for thriving on latent information embedded in the
com&leEit# of their environmentG (Ben Qacob, Sha&ira, and
Tauber 200=, A9=)$ Hrganisms *ould then ma'e decisionsD
*hich are Ffree,G in the sense that the# are not
&re&rogrammed, mechanisticall# forced, or de1 termined
in advanceDin accordance *ith this cognitive &rocessing$
This Pts ,uite *ell *ith 6hiteheadOs account of
Fconce&tual &rehensionG as the Fvalua1 tionG (>929:>9;<,
2A0) of &ossibilities for change (BB), the envisioning of
Fconditioned alternativesG that are then Freduced to
coherenceG (22A)$ But it is getting things bac'*ard to see
this *hole &rocess as the result of cognition or information
&rocessing$ +or Fconce&tual &rehensionG basicall# means
Fa&&eti1 tionG (BB)$ It deals in abstract &otentialities, and
not Iust concrete actualitiesK but it is emotional, and
desiring, before it is cognitive$ +ollo*ing 6hitehead, *e
should sa# that it is the ver# act of decision (conce&tual
&rehension, valua1 tion in accordance *ith subIective aim,
selection) that ma'es cognition &ossibleDrather than
cognition &roviding the grounds for decision$ And this
a&&lies all the *a# from bacteria to human beings, for
*hom, as 6hitehead &uts it, Fthe Pnal decision $ $ $
constituting the ultimate modiPcation of sub1 Iective
aim, is the foundation of our eE&erience of res&onsibilit#,
of a&&ro1 bation or of disa&&robation, of self1a&&roval or of
self1re&roach, of freedom, of em&hasisG (A;)$ 6e donOt
ma'e decisions because *e are free and res&onsibleK
rather, *e are free and res&onsible becauseDand &recisel#
to the eEtent thatD *e ma'e decisions$
Life itself is characteri9ed b# indeterminac#,
nonclosure, and *hat 6hitehead calls Fs&ontaneit# of
conce&tual reactionG (>929:>9;<, >0?)$ It necessaril#
involves Fa certain absoluteness of self1enIo#ment,G
together *ith Fself1creation,G dePned as Fthe
transformation of the &otential into the actualG (6hitehead
>9B<:>9=<, >?0@>?>)$ All this does not im&l# an# sort of
m#sti1 cism or vitalism, ho*everK it can be accounted for in
*holl# 5ar*inian terms$ In fruit M# brains no less than in
human ones, Fthe nonlinear &rocesses un1 derl#ing
s&ontaneous behavior initiation have evolved to generate
behavioral indeterminac#G (Ma#e et al$ 200;, =)$ That is
to sa#, strict determinism no longer a&&les to living
things, or rather it a&&lies to them onl# to a limited eE1
tent, because Ffreedom,G or the abilit# to generate
indeterminac#, has itself been develo&ed and elaborated in
the course of evolution$ As Morse ec'ham s&ec1 ulated
long ago, Frandomness has a survival value$ $ $ $ The
brainOs &otentialit# for the &roduction of random res&onses
is evolutionaril# selected for survival$ As evolutionar#
develo&ment increases and more com&leE organisms
come into eEistence, a result of that randomness, the
brainOs &otentialit# for random1 ness accumulates and
increases *ith each emerging s&eciesG (>9;9, >=?)$ The
&o*er of ma'ing an unguided and unforeseeable decision
has &roven to be evolutionaril# ada&tive$ It has therefore
been for*arded b# natural selection$ Some sim&le life
&rocesses can be regulated through &re&rogrammed
behav1 iorK but Fmore com&leE interactions re,uire
behavioral indeterminismG in order to be eJective (Ma#e et
al$ 200;, <)$ Hrganisms that remain inMeEible tend to
&erishK the MeEible ones survive b# transforming
themselves instead of merel# &er&etuating themselves$ In
this *a#, the Fa&&etition of self1&reservationG it1 self
creates a counter1a&&etition for transformation and
diJerence$ Life has evolved so as to crave and to generate
14. 2he implicit Whiteheadian reading of Darwin that I am proposing here can -e
compared with Jietzsche0s e+plicit critique of Darwin* Hnder the heading &nti-'arin,
Jietzsche writes: As regards the cele-rated 9struggle for life,0 it seems to me, in the
meantime, to -e more asserted than pro&ed* It occurs, -ut only as an e+ception. the general
aspect of life is not a state of want or hunger. it is a state of opulence, lu+uriance, and e&en
a-surd prodigality,G where there is struggle, it is a struggle for poer*GWe must not
confound Malthus with nature# $Jietzsche 34?5, 8?)*
9A 9?
Such is 6hiteheadOs version of double causalit#$ 6e
might summari9e it b# eE&anding MarEOs famous maEim to
a&&l# to all organisms, and not Iust hu1 man beings7 all
organisms Fma'e their o*n histor#, but the# do not ma'e it
Iust as the# &lease7 the# do not ma'e it under
circumstances chosen b# themselves, but under
circumstances directl# encountered, given and transmitted
from the &astG (MarE >9=<, 9;)$ 6hitehead reminds us
again and again that *e never sim&l# transcend efPcient
causalit#$ Ever# eE&erience Fis concerned *ith the
givenness of the actual *orld, considered as the stubborn
fact *hich at once limits and &rovides o&&ortunit# for the
actual occasion$ $ $ $ 6e are governed b# stubborn factG
(>929:>9;<, >29)$ 6e are im&elled b# the accumulation of
the &ast, and b# the deterministic &rocesses arising out of
that &ast$ But at the same time, these deterministic
&rocesses themselves o&en u& an ever1*idening 9one of
indetermination$ In this *a#, FefPcient causation
eE&resses the transition from actual entit# to actual
entit#K and Pnal causation eE&resses the internal
Whitehead concurs with Jietzsche in asserting that sur&i&al $or mere self,
preser&ation) is secondary in relation to power#Gthough the term Whitehead uses is
self,creation# $34'4:3465, 5>)* 2his is argua-ly a ma1or facet of what Jietzsche means
-y power*# Jote that Whitehead e+plicitly de/nes power# as a matter of how each
indi&idual actual entity contri-utes to the datum from hich its successors arise and to
hich they must conform# $>?)* 2his de/nition is drawn from !oc;e, rather than
Jietzsche. -ut I thin; that it is largely com, pati-le with the %pinozianAJietzschean sense
of power# as a capacity to affect and to -e affected*
Whitehead also maintains that struggle or competition in general $whether for
power, or for mere sur&i&al), is secondary in relation to the aesthetic concerns of
generosity, opulence, and prodigality, or what he calls the e&ocation of intensities# $3(>)*
Again, this is argua-ly in accord with Jietzsche0s position, since Jietzsche says only that
power is more important than mere sur&i&al where there is struggle#. o&erall, e+u-erance
and prodigality remain more important*
Jeither Jietzsche nor Whitehead denies the causal ef/cacy# of natural selection.
-ut they -oth argue for a supplemental, self,determining intensity of life that arises in the
&ery course of this selection* oth Jietzsche and Whitehead point toward the phenomena
of -i, ological e+u-erance# $agemihl 3444), in&ol&ing the continuing production and
proliferation of traits and &ariations that are not necessarily fa&ored -y, or e+plica-le in
terms of, natural selection alone*
&rocess *hereb# the actual entit# becomes itself$ There is
the becoming of the datum, *hich is to be found in the
&ast of the *orldK and there is the becoming of the
immediate self from the datum$ $ $ $ An actual entit# is at
once the &rod1 uct of the efPcient &ast, and is also, in
S&ino9aOs &hrase, causa sui G (>?0)$
6hitehead thus re&eats 8antOs assertion that a Pnal
cause (Fcausalit# as freedomG) subsists alongside (or
su&&lements) the efPcient cause (Fcausalit# as natural
mechanismG)$ But 6hitehead attem&ts to naturali9e
8antOs distinc1 tion, to ma'e it entirel# immanent and
&henomenal, *ithout thereb# eJacing it$ This is a tric'#
move, and one that Fthe &o&ular &ositivistic &hiloso&h#G
(6hitehead >9B<:>9=<, >A<) *ill not acce&t$ +or once the
subIect has been absorbed bac' into the &henomenal
realm, there is no longer an# Archimedean &oint for the
eEercise of freedom$ Co* can a subIect that is entirel#
determined b# material causes also be said to freel#
determine itselfN 6hiteheadOs ans*er is to re&lace 8antOs
noumenal subIect *ith a FsubIect1su&erIectG that is both a
&roducer and a bearer of novelt#, and that eE&ires in the
ver# movement b# *hich it comes into being$ !reativit#, or
the !ategor# of the 4ltimate (6hite1 head >929:>9;<, 2>),
re&laces the categorical im&erative as the inner &rinci&le of
It remains the case, under this &rinci&le, that
F*hatever is deter1 minable is determinedG according to
efPcient causalit#K but at the same time Fthere is al*a#s a
remainder for the decision of the subIect1su&erIectG (2;@
2<)$ But rather than being noumenal or eternal, this
decision or Pnal cause is im1 manent to the &henomenal
*orld$ The entit# that ma'es this decision, and that is
determined b# it, is evanescent or F&er&etuall# &erishing$G
It fades a*a# before it can be caught *ithin the chains of
deterministic causalit#$ Hr more &recisel#, its so being
caught is &recisel# the event of its FsatisfactionG and
&assing1a*a#$ Thus Factual entities X&er&etuall# &erishO
subIectivel#, but are immortal obIectivel#$ Actualit# in
&erishing ac,uires obIectivit#, *hile it loses
15. Whitehead says that creati&ity is without a character of its own* * * * It cannot -e
charac, terized, -ecause all characters are more special than itself*# It is always found
under condi, tions, and descri-ed as conditioned#. -ut it does not intrisically possess any of
these conditions $34'4:3465, <3)* In this way, creati&ity is neutral, and entirely formal, 1ust
li;e Kant0s categori, cal imperati&e* Whitehead also equates creati&ity with appetition $<').
in this way, too, it is par, allel to Kant0s determination of the categorical imperati&e as the
highest form of the faculty of desire*
9= 9;
subIective immediac#$ It loses the Pnal causation *hich is
its internal &rinci&le of unrest, and it ac,uires efPcient
causation *hereb# it is a ground of obliga1 tion
characteri9ing the creativit#G (29)$ +reedom, or the
Finternal &rinci&le of unrest,G is su&erseded b# causal
necessit#, or the eEternal conformit# of the &resent to the
&ast$ The initiative that created something ne* in the
moment of decision subsists after*ard as an FobligationG
of Fstubborn fact,G condition1 ing and limiting the neEt
eEercise of freedom$
6hiteheadOs conversion, or &henomenali9ation, of
8ant cannot be de1 scribed as a form of vitalism$ +or the
ghost, or the trace, that the noumenal leaves in the
&henomenal *orld is more an absence than a &resence,
more a vac1 uum than a force$ If life is a locus of a&&etition
and decision, this can onl# be because Flife is a
characteristic of Xem&t# s&ace$O $ $ $ Life lur's in the
interstices of each living cell, and in the interstices of the
brainG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >0?@>0=)$ Life involves a
'ind of subtraction, a ru&turing or em&t#ing1out of the
chains of &h#sical causalit#$ As a result of this delin'ing,
Fthe transmission of &h#sical inMuence, through the em&t#
s&ace *ithin Uthe animal bod#V, has not been entirel# in
conformit# *ith the &h#sical la*s holding for inorganic
soci1 etiesG (>0=)$ These em&t# s&aces or interstices are
the realm of the &otential, of a futurit# that alread# haunts
the &resentDor of *hat 5eleu9e *ill call the vir1 tual$ +or,
Iust as the &ast remains active *ithin the &resent b# means
of the Fvec1 tor transmissionG of efPcient causalit#, so the
future is alread# latent *ithin the &resent, than's to the
Fmulti&licit# of &ure &otentialit#G (>=A) that can be ta'en
u& b# the living actual occasion$ FThe &ast is a neEus of
actualitiesG (2>A)K it is still actual, still a force in the
&resent, because it is re&roduced as a Fdatum,G &h#sicall#
&rehended b# each ne* actual occasion$ Hn the other
hand, the fu1 ture is available, *ithout having #et been
actuall# determined7 it ta'es the form of eternal obIects,
or F&ure &otentials,G that ma# be conce&tuall# &re1
hended (or not) b# each ne* actual occasion$ 6hitehead
sa#s, therefore, that Fthe future is merel# real, *ithout
being actualG (2>A)$ Stri'ingl#, this is the same formula
that 5eleu9e (borro*ing from roust) uses to describe the
vir1 tual (5eleu9e >99A, 20<)$ 6here 5eleu9e describes
novelt# or invention as the actuali9ation of the virtual,
6hitehead sa#s that Frealit# becomes actualG (>929:>9;<,
2>A) in the &resent, or in the decision of each living
occasion$ The &rocess of actuali9ation is the hinge, or the
interstice, not onl# bet*een &ast and future, but also
bet*een the t*o forms of causalit#$
od, or !he "od# $ithout Or%ans
/od is the most &er&leEing Pgure in 6hiteheadOs
meta&h#sics$ 6ho is he, *hat does he *ant, and *hat is
he doing in Process and RealityN 6hiteheadOs thought is
entirel# about &rocess and transformationK it values
becoming over being, relation over substance, and
continual novelt# over the &er&etuation of the same$ It
reIects the Fbifurcation of natureG (6hitehead
>920:200A, B0@B>), or the se&aration of realit# from
a&&earance (>929:>9;<, ;2)$ It holds that there is
nothing besides Fthe eE&eriences of subIectsG (>=;)K and
it grants to all subIectsDincluding inhuman and
nonsentient onesDand to all their eE&eriencesD
conscious or notDthe same ontological status$ Such a
thought has no room for a s&eciall# FeminentG entit#7 one
that *ould be absolute, unchanging, transcendent, and
su&ersensible, as /od is usuall# ta'en to be$ /iven
6hiteheadOs reIection of traditional meta&h#sics and
theolog#, *h# does /od remain such a Fstubborn factG
throughout Process and RealityN 6hat role does this
/od &la# in 6hiteheadOs cosmological s#stemN
1.Eor the purposes of this chapter, I deli-erately ignore the e+tensi&e literature on process
theology*# Instead, I approach Whitehead0s notion of =od from an insistently
nontheological perspecti&e* 2hat is to say, I see; to situate Whitehead in relation to the
radical critique of transcendence that runs through %pinoza, Jietzsche, and Deleuze: a
critique that is also, in a certain manner, one of the ma1or sta;es in Kant0s transcendental
argument, and in William Fames0s radical empiricism*# Erom this point of &iew, it is
tempting to follow Donald %her, -urne0s effort to e+cise =od altogether from Whitehead0s
&ision, the -etter to af/rm a neo, Whiteheadian naturalism# $%her-urne 345?, 5<)* ut
I thin; that =od is too insistently present throughout the te+t of !rocess and "eality for
this to -e a &ia-le option* I see; instead to de&elop a nonreligious, or atheological,
understanding of Whitehead0s =od*
Evidentl#, the /od described b# 6hitehead bears little
resemblance to the /od of !hristianit#, or an# other
organi9ed religion$ Indeed, 6hitehead is re&ulsed b# the
F/ree', Cebre*, and !hristianG &icture of Fa static /od
con1 descending to the *orldG from transcendent heights
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, BA;)$ Ce de&lores the *a# that
Fthe vicious se&aration of the MuE from the &er1 manence
leads to the conce&t of an entirel# static /od, *ith eminent
realit#, in relation to an entirel# Muent *orld, *ith
dePcient realit#G (BA=)$ Ce reIects *hat he *r#l# calls the
Funfortunate habit $ $ $ of &a#ing U/odV meta&h#sical
com&limentsG (>92?:>9=;, >;9)$ Ce &rotests against the
traditional adulation of /od as a Pgure of might7 the
F*orshi& of glor# arising from &o*er is not onl#
dangerousK it arises from a barbaric conce&tion of /odG
(>92=:>99=, ??)$ And he denounces Fthe doctrine of an
aboriginal, eminentl# real, transcendent creator, at *hose
Pat the *orld came into being, and *hose im&osed *ill it
obe#s,G as a &ernicious Ffallac# *hich has infused traged#G
into the histor# of the *orld (>929:>9;<, BA2)$ +or he
Iudges that, des&ite the ethical content of QesusO o*n
teachings, through most of Euro&ean histor# Fthe /os&el
of love *as turned into a /os&el of fear$ The !hristian
*orld *as com&osed of terri1 Ped &o&ulationsG (>92=:>99=,
6hitehead reIects the more rePned &hiloso&hical
notions of /od as much as he does the Fbarbaric,G
&o&ular or traditional ones$ +or instance, de1 s&ite his o*n
afPnit# *ith Leibni9, 6hitehead dismisses Fthe Leibni9ian
the1 or# of the Xbest of &ossible *orldsO G as Fan audacious
fudge &roduced in order to save the face of a !reator
constructed b# contem&orar#, and antecedent,
2.2he e+emption of Fesus0 ethical teachings from an otherwise thoroughgoing re1ection of
Lhristianity is a frequent theme in modern antireligious thought* "&en Jietzsche often ta;es
this position* Whitehead has little interest in Jietzsche. in fact, he claims in con&ersation
ne&er to ha&e read The &ntichrist $@rice '((3, 3<3)* Jonetheless, Whitehead, li;e Jietzsche,
puts the -lame for all that is -ad in historical Lhristianity upon %t* @aul* In con&ersation,
Whitehead descri-es @aul as the man who did more than any-ody else to distort and
su-&ert Lhrist0s teaching# $<(<). and he says that @aul0s idea of =od, to my mind, is the
idea of the de&il# $35?)* In his pu-lished wor;s, he e+plicitly prefers Fohn to @aul
$Whitehead 34'?:344?, 6?)* All this is worth recalling at a time when such thin;ers as
adiou $'((<) and Vive; $'((<) ha&e cited @aul as an e+emplary re&olutionary /gure*
Whitehead e&idently re1ects the e+plicitly an, tipluralist uni&ersalism that adiou and Vive;
champion and attri-ute to @aul*
theologiansG (>929:>9;<, A;)$ Leibni9Os /od selects among
Fan inPnite num1 ber of &ossible universes,G choosing the
one that is the best$ Ce bases his choice on these
*orldsO diJerent degrees of &erfection7 Feach &ossible
*orld UhasV the right to claim eEistence in &ro&ortion to
the &erfection *hich it in1 volvesG (Leibni9 >9;B, ><;)$
erfection, ho*ever, has alread# been dePned b# Leibni9
as a Fmagnitude of &ositive realit#G (><?)$ So /od chooses
the *orld that is alread#, in itself, the most real$ But
6hitehead does not acce&t the Leibni9ian notion of
diJerent degrees of realit#$ There is no ontological &re1
eminence$ The *orld, as Fmerel# XgivenO $ $ $ does not
disclose an# &eculiar character of X&erfectionO G
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, A;)$ +or Fno reason, in1 ternal to
histor#, can be assigned *h# that MuE of forms, rather
than another MuE, should have been illustratedG (A=)$ The
*orld is not &redetermined, but radicall# contingent,
because it is o&en to the immanent FdecisionG of each
actual entit#$ /od cannot have the &o*er to decide for
all these entities$ Cence no F&ossible universeG can be
Iudged a priori to be more &erfect, or more intrinsicall#
real, than an# other$ This is reall# Iust another *a# of sa#1
ing that, for 6hitehead as for 5eleu9e, FBeing is
univocalG (5eleu9e >99A, B?)$ In addition, 6hitehead
notes that, if /od is held to be omni&otent, and is given
the credit for ever#thing good that ha&&ens, Fthen the
evil in the *orld is in conformit# *ith the nature of
/odG as *ell (6hitehead >92=:>99=, 9?)$
6hiteheadOs reIection of the Leibni9ian /od is entirel#
in accord *ith 8antOs demonstration, in the
Transcendental 5ialectic of the +irst !riti,ue, of the
fallacies of s&eculative theolog#$ 8ant distinguishes three
&hiloso&hical endeavors to &rove the eEistence of /od7
the ontological, cosmological, and &h#siotheological
&roofs (8ant >99=, ?;;)$ But 8ant reIects all of these al1
leged &roofs, because in all of them, Fa reulative &rinci&le
is transformed into a constitutive oneG (?99)$ That is to
sa#, these ostensible &roofs ta'e relations and
determinations that are valid for entities *ithin the *orld,
and illegiti1 matel# a&&l# them in order to eE&lain the
Fthorouhoin determinationG of the *orld itself as a
*hole and in the Prst &lace (?=B)$ The# then go on to h#1
&ostasi9e this &rinci&le of determination in the form of a
su&reme Fbein of all beinsG (?=9)$ All such attem&ts to
&rove the eEistence of /od thus ma'e the mista'e of
a&&l#ing em&irical &rinci&les to establish something that is
su&er1 sensible and nonem&irical$ This can never *or',
because Fif the em&iricall# valid la* of causalit# is to
lead to the original being, then this being *ould
li'e*ise have to belong to the chain of obIects of
eE&erienceK but in that case this being *ould itself, li'e all
a&&earances, be conditioned in turnG (=>B)$
6hiteheadOs o*n discussions of theolog# largel#
follo* 8antOs logic$ Thus 6hitehead dismisses the
Fontological &roofG of /odOs eEistence, because Fan# &roof
*hich commences *ith the consideration of the character
of the ac1 tual *orld cannot rise above the actualit# of this
*orld$ $ $ $ In other *ords, it ma# discover an immanent
/od, but not a /od *holl# transcendentG (6hite1 head
>92=:>99=, ;>)$ And he reIects the Fcosmological
argument,G on the grounds that Four notion of causation
concerns the relations of states of things *ithin the actual
*orld, and can onl# be illegitimatel# eEtended to a
transcen1 dent derivationG (>929:>9;<, 9B)$
An# attem&t
to ground immanence in
3. Whitehead does not e+plicitly mention Kant0s third argument, the physiotheological
one, or the claim that a determinate experience# $Kant 344?, ?(() can pro&ide proof of
=od0s e+istence* 2his is the line of argument more commonly ;nown as natural theology, or
the argument from de- sign* It maintains that the manifoldness, order, purposi&eness, and
-eauty# of the empirical world are such as to point to, and indeed necessitate, the
e+istence of a Lreator or Designer $?(')* Kant re1ects this argument -ecause no e+perience
at all can e&er -e congruent with,# or adequate to, the Idea of a transcendent eing* Kant0s
argument is a formalization of Bume0s demonstration, in 'ialogues Concerning (atural
"eligion $3445), of the indeterminacy of the ar, gument from design: if we do not limit
induction to the empirical world, then nearly any tran, scendent conception, no matter how
-izarre, can -e equally well inferred from our o-ser&ations of empirical order* Whitehead
e+plicitly places himself within this line of argument. he states that his own speculation on
the nature of =od is merely an attempt to add another spea;er to that masterpiece, Bume0s
'ialogues Concerning (atural "eligion# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, <8<)*
Moreo&er, Whitehead implicitly follows Kant0s re1ection of the physiotheological
proof in the &ery way that he structures his own argument* In his discussion of "eligion in
the )a$ing $34'?:344?), Whitehead proceeds from the fact# of human;ind0s religious
e+perience# $5?). he is concerned with the social, psychological, and affecti&e -asis of
religion, rather than with its possi-le o-1ecti&e truth* Erom this perspecti&e, the argument
from design is itself an emotional response* It arises, as religion itself does, from our sense of
wonder at the uni&erse, and from hu, man;ind0s long ha-it of arti/cially stimulating
emotion# through ritual $'')* ut the emotions that are -oth the cause and the effect of
religious practices cannot in themsel&es count as proof for any conception of =od* If
anything, religion0s authority is endangered -y the intensity of the emotions which it
generates* %uch emotions are e&idence of some &i&id e+perience. -ut they are a &ery poor
guarantee for its correct interpretation# $5<)*
transcendence, or eE&lain Fstubborn factG (the em&iricall#
given) b# reference to an Absolute, *ould violate
6hiteheadOs Fontological &rinci&le,G *hich states that
Fthere is nothing *hich Moats into the *orld from
no*hereG (2AA), that Fever# eE&lanator# fact refers to the
decision and to the efPcac# of an actual thingG (A=), and
that, therefore, Fthe reasons for things are al*a#s to be
found in the com&osite nature of dePnite actual entitiesG
The one &hiloso&hical account of /od that *ould
seem to be eEem&t from this 8antian criti,ue, and that
does not violate the ontological &rinci&le, is S&ino9aOs$ +or
S&ino9a does indeed &ro&ose an entirel# immanent /od,
*ho does not transcend the given *orld, but is
coeEtensive *ith it (Deus sive natura)$ %onetheless, and
even though his o*n &hiloso&h# Fis closel# allied to
S&ino9aOs scheme of thought,G 6hitehead reIects the
S&ino9istic /od, Iust he does the Leibni9ian one
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, ;)$ +or S&ino9a still &rivi1 leges
/od eEcessivel#$ Even in S&ino9aOs monistic, immanent
account of sub1 stance, Fthe ultimate is illegitimatel#
allo*ed a Pnal, XeminentO realit#, be#ond that ascribed to
an# of its accidentsG (;)$ S&ino9a distinguishes bet*een
sub1 stance and its attributes, on the one hand, and the
multi&le Findividuali9ed modes,G or aJections of this
substance, on the other$ This in itself is uneEce&1 tionableK
Fin all &hiloso&hic theor# there is an ultimate *hich is
actual in virtue of its accidents$G But 6hitehead *arns us
that this ultimate Fis onl# then ca1 &able of
characteri9ation through its accidental embodiments, and
a&art from these embodiments is devoid of actualit#G (;)$
That is to sa#, the ultimateDor *hat 6hitehead also calls
Fcreativit#G (2>)Dis altogether virtual or &otential$ It has
no actualit# of its o*n, but eEists merel# through its
actuali9ations or em1 bodiments$ It cannot be conceived as
an Factual entit#G at all, Ffor its character lac's
determinateness$G !orrelativel#, the Ftem&oral *orldG as a
*hole cannot be regarded Fas a dePnite actual creature,G
because all actual entities are com1 &lete in themselves,
*hereas the *orld as a *hole Fis an essential incom&lete1
nessG (6hitehead >92=:>99=, 92)$
According to 6hiteheadOs reading, S&ino9a ignores all
this to the eEtent that he grants a higher, more FeminentG
order of realit# to substance itself, or to *hat he calls /od,
than he does to the merel# Pnite accidents of substance$
S&ino9aOs /od ma# be immanent, or coeEtensive *ith the
*orld, but this onl# com&ounds the difPcult#$ +or S&ino9aOs
monism thereb# treats the *orld as a totalit#, entirel#
a&&rehensible through /od, or through the Fthird 'ind of
'no*ledge$G The FeminenceG of the ultimate as creator
(natura naturans) is
re&licated in the form of a total 'no*ledge through Prst
causes of the *orld as creature (natura naturata)$ And
there is still a Fga&G bet*een this ideal 'no*ledge and
the actual eEistence of a Fmulti&licit# of modes,G each *ith
its o*n &articular actions and &assions (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, ;)$ S&ino9a eliminates em&irical contingenc#K
and *ith it, he disallo*s all novelt#, all ho&e for a future
diJerent from the &ast$ S&ino9aOs error, therefore, is
&recisel# to substantialize the ultimate, to treat the
totalit# of all accidents (or, more &recisel#, the total set of
conditions for the Fthoroughgoing determinationG of all
conceivable Faccidental embodimentsG) as if it *ere
someho* actual in it1 self$ In this *a#, S&ino9a remains
*ithin the bounds of s&eculative theolog#, and his notion
of /od remains susce&tible to 8antian criti,ue$
I have d*elt at such length on 6hiteheadOs criticisms
of S&ino9a and Leibni9 &recisel# because, in s&ite of
ever#thing, their notions of /od are closer than an#one
elseOs to his o*n$ 6hitehead es&eciall# values these t*o
thin'ers, because the# stand a&art from the other*ise
ubi,uitous dualism of &ost1!artesian thought (6hitehead
>92?:>9=;, >AB)$ But nevertheless, on a broader time
scale, S&ino9a and Leibni9 do not esca&e the com&romises
made b# their &eers$ Li'e nearl# all thin'ers of the last t*o
thousand #ears, the# al1 lo* Fethical and religious interests
$ $ $ to inMuence meta&h#sical conclusionsG (>;B)$ Leibni9Os
mathemati9ing /od, and S&ino9aOs immanent and
im&ersonal one, are &referable to the deit# of !hristianit#,
or to the notion of Fa &ersonal /od in an# sense
transcendent or creativeG (6hitehead >92=:>99=, <;)$ But
Leibni9 and S&ino9a still share traditional ethical and
religious biases$ 6hite1 head insists that Fdis&assionate
criticism of religious belief is be#ond all things necessar#G
(<B)$ But Leibni9Os F&ious de&endence u&on /odG to shore
u& his meta&h#sics (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >90) &revents
him from ma'ing an# such criticismK and even S&ino9aD
radical as he is in his deconstruction of re1 ligious
revelation and authorit# in the $ractatus $heoloico'
PoliticusDdoes not sufPcientl# &rovide it$
6hitehead is not usuall# thought of as a FcriticalG
thin'er in the 8an1 tian mold$ But his Fcriticism of religious
belief G is &recisel# a 8antian, tran1 scendental one, rather
than a S&ino9ian, immanent one$ This Fcriticism,G in turn,
is *hat motivates his o*n construction of the Pgure of
/od$ +or 6hite1 head does not announce the Fdeath of
/od,G Iust as he does not announce the Fend of
meta&h#sics$G Ce b#&asses %iet9sche, no less than
Ceidegger$ 0ather than reIecting meta&h#sical s&eculation,
6hitehead see's for a *a# to
do meta&h#sics other*ise$ And rather than eliminating
/od, he see's to ac1 com&lish Fthe seculari9ation of
/odOs functions in the *orldG (>929:>9;<, 20;)$ This is
one of the most startling &ro&osals in all of Process and
Reality$ The seculari9ation of /od, 6hitehead *rites, Fis at
least as urgent a re,uisite of thought as is the
seculari9ation of other elements in eE&erienceG (20;)$
In sa#ing this, 6hitehead &ositions himself *ithin the
general Enlight1 enment &roIect of emanci&ationDbut *ith
a t*ist$ +or seculari9ation is not the same thing as
outright elimination$ It *or's in a *a# that is ,uieter and
less confrontational$ 0eligion is not abolished, nor even
reall# de&osedK but it does lose a certain degree of
importance$ FThe conce&t of /od is certainl# one essential
element in religious feeling$ But the converse is not true7
the conce&t of religious feeling is not an essential
element in the conce&t of /odOs func1 tion in the
universeG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 20;)$ 0eligion, for
6hitehead, is not *ithout valueK it ma# even be
&ragmaticall# indis&ensable, to the eEtent that it conve#s
a Flonging of the s&iritG for some sort of FIustiPcationG of
its o*n eEistence, and of eEistence generall# (6hitehead
>92=:>99=, <?)$ But religion, li'e science, still occu&ies
onl# a subordinate &osition in 6hiteheadOs overall scheme
of values$ F0eligion re,uires a meta&h#sical bac'ingG
(<B), *hich means that theolog#, li'e ethics, is subordinate
to meta&h#sics and cos1 molog#$ 6hitehead see's to
establish a /od *ithout religion, in the same *a# that he
see's to articulate a meta&h#sics *ithout essentialism,
and to res&ect the Pndings of &h#sical science *ithout
endorsing scienceOs reductionist &ositivism or its
tendentious se&aration of facts from values$
6hat might the Fseculari9ationG of /od actuall# entailN
There is onl# one model for such an underta'ing$ In
*cience and the Modern World, 6hitehead credits Aristotle
*ith being Fthe last Euro&ean meta&h#sician of Prst1rate
im&or1 tanceG to contem&late /od disinterestedl# and in a
trul# &hiloso&hical manner$ Aristotle alone, in his conce&tion
of the rime Mover, a&&roaches the ,uestion of /od in an
Fentirel# dis&assionateG *a#, *ith Fno motive, eEce&t to
follo* his meta&h#sical train of thought *ithersoever it led
him$G Aristotle &osits the Pg1 ure of an ultimate being, not
for eEtrinsic (ethical, religious, or theological) rea1 sons, but
onl# because Fthe general character of things re,uires
that there be such an entit#G (6hitehead >92?:>9=;,
>;B@>;A)$ Aristotle is thus the last &rereligious thin'er of
/odK 6hitehead &ro&oses to be the Prst &ostreligious, or
secular, one$ FA&art from an# reference to eEisting
religions as the# are, or as the# ought to be,G he *rites,
F*e must investigate dis&assionatel# *hat the
meta&h#sical &rinci&les, here develo&ed, re,uire on these
&oints, as to the na1 ture of /od$G 6hitehead therefore
oJers, not dePnitive formulations, but Fsuggestions as to
ho* the &roblem Uof /odV is transformed in the light of
Uhis o*n theoreticalV s#stemG (>929:>9;<, BAB)$
In &ursuing this tas', 6hitehead needs to divest
himself of all &reeEist1 ing theolog#, *hich of course is
something that Aristotle never had to do$ But 6hitehead
&arallels Aristotle in that his o*n a&&roach to divinit# is
e,uall# a matter of Ffollo*UingV his meta&h#sical train of
thought *ithersoever it UleadsV him$G 6hitehead &osits
/od, neither out of &iet# and devotion, nor as a defense
against nihilism and chaos, but sim&l# because his o*n
logic re1 ,uires it$ As Isabelle Stengers often reminds us,
*hen 6hitehead does meta1 &h#sics and cosmolog#, he
continues to thin' li'e a mathematician$ That is to sa#, he
&oses a s&eciPc &roblem, and *or's under the FobligationG
to construct a solution that establishes coherence, *hile
res&ecting all the constraints and conditions im&osed b#
the &roblem (Stengers 2002b, >;, passim)$ In this sense,
6hiteheadOs /od, li'e AristotleOs, is a construction,
necessar# for the coherence and ade,uac# of his
understanding of the *orld$
Aristotle &osited his rime Mover because he *as
Fenmeshed in the de1 tails of an erroneous &h#sics and an
erroneous cosmolog#G (6hitehead >92?:>9=;, >;A)$ Ce
Fre,uiredG an originar# source of motion, because he
*rongl# su&&osed that things *ould not continue to move
on their o*n$ To1 da#, *e 'no* from the &rinci&le of inertia
that things do not need a Mover in order to continue
moving$ But in the modern age of relativit# and ,uantum
mechanics, Fan analogous meta&h#sical &roblem arises
*hich can be solved onl# in an analogous fashion$ In the
&lace of AristotleOs /od as rime Mover, *e re,uire /od as
the rinci&le of !oncretionG (>;A)$
That is to sa#, *e need
/od in order to eE&lain Fthe &u99ling fact that there is an
actual course of
4. 2he &er- to require# has particularly strong implications for Whitehead* It
denotes a &ital, imperious necessity that is grounded neither in formal logic nor in actual
matter of fact* It is a ;ind of transcendental imperati&e, although in Kantian language it is a
hypothetical# and not a categorical# one* %tengers descri-es Whitehead0s sense of what
we require# as a de, mand, a cry of the * * * soul,# leading to an e+perience of
transformati&e disclosure*# Eor in, stance, we require,# not a proof that reductionism is
wrong, -ut rather the positi&e capacity
events *hich is itself a limited fact, in that meta&h#sicall#
s&ea'ing it might have been other*iseG (>;2)$ 6e need
/od in order to move from the &oten1 tial to the actualD
given that there is no &articular rationale for *h# one set
of &otentials should be actuali9ed, rather than another$ 6e
need /od, &erha&s, in order to ma'e the *ave function
colla&se, so that ,uantum indeterminac# can give *a# to a
determinate &h#sical outcome$
Leibni9 invo'ed /od in order to eE&lain *h# the
actual *orld *as the best of all &ossible *orldsK
6hitehead, to the contrar#, invo'es /od &re1 cisel# in
order to eE&lain *h# the actual *orld cannot be
conceived as an o&timal one$ +ar from being the
guarantor of rationalit# and order, F/od is the ultimate
limitation, and Cis eEistence is the ultimate
irrationalit#G (6hitehead >92?:>9=;, >;<)$ In short,
6hitehead devises his o*n notion of /od in order to
resolve the &roblem of ho*Din the absence of an# &rior
determining IustiPcationDa concrete and limited
Factualit#G can coherentl# eEist Fin essential relation to
an unfathomable &ossibilit#G (6hitehead >92?:>9=;,
>;A)$ All this is *or'ed out ,uite suddenl#, in the course of
Iust a fe* &ages, in the eleventh cha&ter of *cience and
the Modern World$
The situation in Process and Reality is
far more com&licated, as *e shall see$ But in that later
boo', 6hitehead still dePnes *hat he calls Fthe &rimordial
na1 ture of /odG in terms of Fthe &rinci&le of concretion
Dthe &rinci&le *hereb# there is initiated a dePnite
outcome from a situation other*ise rid1 dled *ith
ambiguit#G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, BA?)$
actually to thin; and act nonreducti&ely $%tengers '((>, 8'A8<)* Whitehead0s
requirement# is the demand to ful/ll a metaphysical o-ligation#. this is why it can only
-e met -y means of a construction,# in the mathematical sense of the term* Whitehead0s
=od is precisely such a construction*
5.According to !ewis Eord, Whitehead0s chapter 33, with its discussion of =od, is a late
addition to the manuscript of Science and the )odern World $Eord 3458, 4?A3'>)*
@resuma-ly Whitehead had not speculated a-out =od, or e&en postulated his e+istence as
a hypothesis, prior to his /nal re&isions of this manuscript in 34'>* In what follows, I am
concerned with the role that Whitehead0s notion of =od plays in his o&erall theoretic
system# $34'4:3465, <8<), rather than with the genesis and de&elopment of this notion*
ut Eord pro&ides essen, tial -ac;ground ;nowledge for any understanding of Whitehead0s
>0= >0;
6hitehead needs to &osit his notion of /od in order
to ensure the overall coherence of his meta&h#sical
s#stem$ Coherence is the crucial issue here$ The notion
of coherence is so im&ortant to 6hitehead that he dePnes
it on the Prst &age of Process and Reality7 F X!oherence,O
as here em&lo#ed, means that the fundamental ideas, in
terms of *hich the scheme is devel1 o&ed, &resu&&ose
each other so that in isolation the# are meaningless$ This
re,uirement does not mean that the# are dePnable in
terms of each otherK it means that *hat is indePnable in
one such notion cannot be abstracted from its relevance
to the other notionsG (>929:>9;<, B)$ That is to sa#,
coherent terms cannot be reduced to one another, or to
an#thing more basicK but the# also cannot be se&arated
from one another$ !oherence, then, is more than Iust a
logical entailment$ It it something ,uite diJerent from,
and greater than, mere F XlogicalO consistenc#, or lac' of
contradictionGDthough this lat1 ter is also, of course,
re,uired in meta&h#sical s&eculation (B)$ +or coherence
im&lies, not Iust noncontradiction in &rinci&le, but also a
'ind of conteEtual solidarit#$ The &rinci&le of coherence
sti&ulates that Fno entit# can be con1 ceived in com&lete
abstraction from the s#stem of the universeG (B)$ In order
to eEist, a given entit# &resu&&oses, and re,uires, the
eEistence of certain other entities, even though (or
rather, &recisel# because) it cannot be logi1 call# derived
from those other entities, or other*ise eE&lained in their
terms$ !oherence means, Pnall#, that Fall actual entities
are in the solidarit# of one *orldG (=;)$
In other *ords, coherence is not logical, but
ecological$ It is eEem&li1 Ped b# the *a# that a living
organism re,uires an environment or milieuD *hich is
itself com&osed, in large &art, of other living organisms
similarl# re,uiring their o*n environments or milieus$ In
this *a#, and des&ite the diJerence in vocabular#,
6hiteheadOs coherence is close to *hat 5eleu9e and
/uattari call consistency$ +or Fconsistenc# concretel#
ties together hetero1 geneous, dis&arate elements as
suchG (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<;, ?0;)7 it means that
things are irrevocabl# connected to one another, des&ite
not hav1 ing an# sort of underl#ing element in common$ In
5eleu9e and /uattariOs fa1 mous eEam&le, the orchid and
the *as& are cou&led, the Mo*er feeding the insect, and
the insect fertili9ing the Mo*er$ In themselves, these t*o
beings Fhave absolutel# nothing to do *ith each otherG
(>0), and #et neither can survive *ithout the other$
6hiteheadOs notion of coherence and 5eleu9e and
/uattariOs notion of consistenc# are both &rinci&les #o'ing
together elements
that nonetheless remain singular and disIunct from one
another$ Both no1 tions &osit a *orld in *hich
ever#thing is connected to ever#thing else$ Co*ever,
these connections are not &rinci&les of internal dePnition
or deter1 mination$ 0ather, the# remain *hat Manuel 5e
Landa calls Frelations of eE1 teriorit#G (200=, >0J )$ Such
relations are Fcontinently obliatory,G rather than
Flogicall# necessar#GK the# arise in the course of a
histor# that could have been other*ise (>>)$
Hn the highest level of generalit#, then, 6hiteheadian
FcoherenceG has to do *ith the *a# that thingsDor, more
&recisel#, eventsDare entirel# inter1 de&endent, #et also
mutuall# inde&endent$ The *orld is both a disIunctive
multi&licit# of discrete entities, and a continuous *eb of
interconnections$ %either of these dimensions can be
ignoredK Fthe individualit# of entities is Iust as im&ortant
as their communit#G (6hitehead >92=:>99=, <<)$ Ever#
6.De !anda follows Deleuze in insisting that, although an entity is always in&ol&ed in rela,
tions with other entities, a relation may change without the terms changing# $De !anda
'((?, 33, citing Deleuze and @arnet '((', >>)* An entity is ne&er fully de/ned -y its rela,
tions. for it is always possi-le to detach an entity from one particular set of relations, and
insert it instead in a different set of relations, with different other entities* "&ery entity has
certain properties# that are not de/ned -y the set of relations it /nds itself in at a gi&en
mo, ment. the entity can ta;e these properties with it when it mo&es from one conte+t $or
one set of relations) to another* At the same time, an entity is ne&er de&oid of $some sort
of ) relations: the world is a plenum, indeed it is o&erfull, and solipsism or atomistic
isolation is impossi-le*
@ut differently, no entity can -e entirely isolated, -ecause it is always in&ol&ed in
mul, tiple relations of one sort or another, and these relations affect the entity, cause it to
change* ut this is not to say that the entity is determined -y these relations* Eor the entity
has an e+is, tence apart from these particular relations, and apart from the other terms# of
the relation, precisely insofar as it is something that is a-le to affect, and to -e affected -y,
other entities* 2he entity is a function not 1ust of its present relations, -ut of a whole
history of relations in which it has affected other entities and -een affected -y them*
De !anda thus distinguishes -etween the properties of an entity $which are what it
ta;es with it to another conte+t) and the capacities of that same entity $its potential to
affect, and to -e affected -y, other entities)* 2hese capacities do depend on a component0s
properties -ut cannot -e reduced to them since they in&ol&e reference to the properties of
other interacting
>0< >09
entit# is related, &ositivel# or negativel#, to all the other
entities in its universe$ And #et, *ithin this net*or' of
relations, Fthe ultimate meta&h#sical truth is atomismG
(>929:>9;<, B?)$ 6hiteheadOs &hiloso&h# is Fan atomic
theor# of actualit#G (2;)$ In the actual *orld, Feach
ultimate unit of fact is a cell1 com&leE, not anal#sable
into com&onents *ith e,uivalent com&leteness of
actualit#G (2>9)$ +rom the ,uantum level on u&, each
Factual occasion,G or &rocess of becoming, both embodies
interconnection, and asserts its o*n in1 de&endence from
all the &ast occasions from *hich it is derived and to *hich
it is connected$ It both inherits ever#thing that comes
before it and brea's a*a# from ever#thing that it
inherits$ Each Fnovel entit# is at once the to1 getherness
of the Xman#O *hich it Pnds, and also it is one among the
disIunc1 tive Xman#O *hich it leavesK it is a novel entit#,
disIunctivel# among the man# entities *hich it
s#nthesi9es$ The man# become one, and are increased b#
one$ In their natures, entities are disIunctivel# Xman#O in
&rocess of &assage into conIunctive unit#G (2>)$
!onIunction and disIunction, uniPcation and diver1
siPcation, must al*a#s go together, in the F&rocess of
&assageG *hich is Fthe ultimate meta&h#sical truth$G
This means that each of 6hiteheadOs Factual
occasionsG mar's the &oint of a synthesis, ta'ing this *ord
in the strict 8antian sense7 Fb# synthesis, in the most
general sense of the term, I mean the act of &utting
various &resentations
entities# $'((?, 33)* An entity0s capacities are as real as its properties. -ut we cannot deduce
the capacities from the properties. nor can we ;now $entirely) what these capacities are,
aside from how they come into play in particular interactions with other particular entities*
Whitehead0s notion of coherence is largely consistent with De !anda0s account of re,
lations of e+teriority* 2he difference is that De !anda has no account of process, or of how
the shift from one set of relations to another actually occurs* Bis ontology is e+cessi&ely,
and needlessly, static* Whitehead a&oids this pro-lem -ecause he identi/es entities with
processes, which all at once -ecome and there-y perish* De !anda0s entities correspond,
not to White, head0s actual entities,# -ut rather to what Whitehead calls societies*
%ocieties are aggregations of actual entities. these aggregations possess spatial e+tent and
temporal duration, which is what allows them to affect and -e affected -y other societies*
What De !anda calls the innate properties# of an entity $as distinct from its capacities)
would -e de/ned -y Whitehead rather as the aggregate of the free $not predetermined)
decisions# made -y all the actual entities that constitute the society in question*
*ith one another and of com&rising their manifoldness in
one cognitionG (8ant >99=, >B0)$ 6hitehead, of course,
reIects 8antOs overall subIectivist and cog1 nitivist
orientation$ But the crucial &oint here is that, for 8ant, the
cognitive facult# does not itself &roduce the s#nthesis$
F0ather, s#nthesis of a mani1 fold $ $ $ is *hat Prst gives
rise to a cognition$ $ $ $ Cence, if *e *ant to ma'e a
Iudgment about the Prst origin of our cognition, then *e
must Prst direct our attention to s#nthesisG (>B0)$ That is
to sa#, s#nthesis &recedes cognition, and it alone renders
cognitive Iudgment &ossible$ In itself, the act of s#nthesis
is &rimordial, &relogical, and &recognitive$ S#nthesis is an
action F&roduced b# the imagination, *hich is a blind but
indis&ensable function of the soul *ith1 out *hich *e
*ould have no cognition *hatsoever, but of *hich *e are
con1 scious onl# ver# rarel#G (>B0)$ 8antOs *hole
&hiloso&h# is organi9ed around the ,uestion of s#nthetic
IudgmentK but here, the constructive act of s#nthesis is
se&arated from, and &laced before, an# Iudgment
*hatsoever$ 8antOs notion of s#nthesis is thus one of the
*a#s that, as 6hitehead sa#s, he FPrst, full# and eE&licitl#,
introduced into &hiloso&h# the conce&tion of an act of
eE&erience as a constructive functioningG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, >?=)$
It is ver# much in this 8antian and 6hiteheadian
s&irit that 5eleu9e, Prst in $he +oic of *ense (>990, >;A)
and then more eE&ansivel# (*ith /uat1 tari) in Anti'
9edipus (>9<B, passim), &ro&oses three basic s#ntheses of
eE&eri1 ence7 the connective, the disIunctive, and the
conIunctive$ These s#ntheses are all modes of &roductionK
and *hat the# &roduce is the 0eal itself$ Hr, better, these
s#ntheses do not &roduce realit#, so much as the# are,
themselves, the ul1 timate, FmolecularG com&onents of
realit#$ FEver#thing is &roduction7 produc' tion of
productions, of actions and &assions Uconnective
s#nthesisVK productions of recordin processes, of
distributions and of co1ordinates that serve as &oints of
reference UdisIunctive s#nthesisVK productions of
consumptions, of sensual &leasures, of anEieties, and of
&ain UconIunctive s#nthesisVG (5eleu9e and /uat1 tari >9<B,
A)$ A &roductive s#nthesis corres&onds to *hat 6hitehead
calls a concrescence7 the F&roduction of novel
togethernessG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2>), or the coming1
together of multi&le &rehensions into Fone determinate
integral satisfactionG (2=)$ The s#ntheses are &rocesses
that aggregate other &rocesses, or &ers&ectives on things
that are themselves also &ers&ectives (since Fthere are no
&oints of vie* on things, but $ $ $ things, beings, are
themselves &oints of vie*GD5eleu9e >990, >;B)$ The# are
&roductions *hose Fra* ma1 terialsG are other &roductions,
and *hose F&roductsG are themselves ta'en u&
as materials in further &rocesses of &roduction$
s#nthesis ends in *hat 6hitehead *ould call its
Fsatisfaction,G *hich leads in turn to the FobIective
immortalit#G of having com&leted the &rocess, and thereb#
having become an obIect, or a &roduct$ This is ho* the
*orld is al*a#s being FgivenG to us (and not onl# to us), as
something alread# there, alread# accom&lished$ But this
ac1 com&lishment is never Pnal$ +or immediatel#, Fthe &ure
XthisnessO of the obIect &roduced is carried over into a ne*
act of &roducing$ $ $ $ The rule of continu1 all# &roducing
&roduction, of grafting &roduction onto the &roduct, is a
charac1 teristic of desiring1machines or of &rimar#
&roductionG (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<B, ;)$
6hen the# evo'e this Prst, connective s#nthesis of
&rimar# &roduction, 5eleu9e and /uattari seduce us *ith
an enticing &icture$ Co* nice it *ould be, the# tell us, if
*e could live in a *holl# immanent, ha&&il# &luralistic
*orld$ Such a *orld *ould be a F&lane of immanenceG of
&ure &rocess and
7. A synthesis is therefore not quite the same thing as a %pinozian conatus, or
stri&ing to persist in -eing* Deleuze and =uattari warn us that a synthesis, or a process of
production, must not -e &iewed as a goal or an end in itself. nor must it -e confused with
an in/nite perpetuation of itself # $345<, >)* It is oriented toward -ecoming, rather than
More generally, there is a su-tle, and ne&er fully e+plored, tension in Deleuze0s wor;
$-oth with and without =uattari) -etween two different waysGclosely related -ut nonethe,
less distinctGof concei&ing the process of auto,creation* In the one hand, there is
%pinoza0s conatus, -est de/ned as a tendency to maintain and ma+imize the a-ility to
-e affected# $Deleuze 3455, 44, citing %pinoza0s Ethics IS, <5)* Conatus is quite close to
Sarela0s concept of autopoiesis, the process -y which a relational system maintains itself
through dynamic inter, action with its en&ironment, re,creating the &ery processes that
produce it* In the other hand, there is =il-ert %imondon0s notion of indi&iduation, the
process -y which an entity continually reconstitutes itself -y actualizing potentials that
pree+ist in a metasta-le en&ironment* Indi&id, uation has strong af/nities with Whitehead0s
concrescence, the way that an entity constitutes itself as something radically new, -y
selecting among, and recom-ining, aspects of already e+isting entities* All four of these
terms $conatus, autopoiesis, indi&iduation, concrescence) imply a certain sort of auto,
creation, in which &irtualities are actualized* ut in conatus and autopoiesis, the emphasis
is on a continuity that is created and preser&ed in and through contin, ual change and
interaction with the en&ironment, whereas in indi&iduation and concresence, the emphasis
is on the production of no&elty, the entity0s continual rede/nition, or -ecoming, other than
what it was*
&ure desire$ There *ould be nothing but Mo*s, nothing but
rhi9omes, noth1 ing but connections and cuts$ Ever#thing
*ould Mo*, and ever# Mo* *ould intersect *ith man#
other Mo*s$ Ever#thing *ould be connected to ever#1
thing elseK Fan# &oint of a rhi9ome can be connected to
an#thing other, and must beG (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<;,
;)$ In such a *orld, desire *ould not 'no* deferral, and
&roduction *ould be indistinguishable from &la#$ F5esire
constantl# cou&les continuous Mo*s and &artial obIects
that are b# nature fragmentar# and fragmented$ 5esire
causes the current to Mo*, itself Mo*s in turn, and brea's
the Mo*s$ $ $ $ Amniotic Muid s&illing out of the sac and
'idne# stonesK Mo*ing hairK a Mo* of s&ittle, a Mo* of
s&erm, shit, or urineG (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<B, ?)$ In
such a *orld, ever#thing *ould &roliferate and
transmogrif#, continuall# rene*ing itself in the &rocess7 Fat
the limit1&oint of all the transverse or transPnite
connections, the &artial obIect and the contin1 uous MuE,
the interru&tion and the connection, fuse into one7
ever#*here there are brea's1Mo*s out of *hich desire
*ells u&G (B=@B;)$ 5eleu9e and /uattari thus de&ict a
*orld of gratiPed desire7 a *orld in *hich ever#thing is
&rocess, and nothing is ever static or self1contained$ Life
is then a continual *onder of strange encounters and *ild
But 5eleu9e and /uattari also *arn us that things are
never reall# that sim&le$ The rhi9omatic, connected *orld
of &ure desire is not the *orld *e live in$ Things donOt
actuall# ha&&en in so direct and unmediated a *a#$ Indeed,
if the *orld reall# *ere this *a#Dthat is, if it *ere al*a#s
and onl# this *a#D then nothing *ould ever happen at all$
If the *orld *ere entirel# com&osed of Mo*s and cuts,
connections and intersections, then ever#thing *ould
remain in a state of mere &otential$ %othing could ever be
accom&lished or actuali9ed, and nothing could be
distinguished from an#thing else$ If the *orld *ere en1
tirel# com&osed of singularities, then there *ould be no
Fseries of ordinar# &ointsG over *hich those singularities
could be eEtended or eE&ressed (5eleu9e >990, >09J$)$ In
such a *orld, there *ould be no continuities and no conse1
,uences$ Ever#thing *ould contain an immense F&otential
for ever# becom1 ingG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 22), but
nothing *ould ever actuall# become$
8.It is precisely on these grounds that "rnst loch $345?, '(3) criticizes ergson, the com,
mon predecessor of Whitehead and Deleuze* loch warns us that relentless no&elty can
>>2 >>B
In other *ords, once F*e conceive actualit# as in
essential relation to an unfathomable &ossibilit#,G then
some sort of Frinci&le of !oncretionG is needed, in order
for an#thing to be actuali9ed at all (6hitehead >92?:>9=;,
>;A)$ The connective s#nthesis is not in itself enough to
dePne the actual be1 coming of a *orld$ This is *h#,
alongside the connective s#nthesis of Mo*s and cuts,
there must also be a dis(unctive synthesis of routes and
&ermutations$ The econom# of &roduction (5eleu9e and
/uattari >9<B, ?@=) is su&&le1 mented b# an econom# of
circulation and distribution (>2)$ This su&&lemen1 tal
econom# corres&onds to a torsion in the Peld of desiring
&roduction$ The connective s#nthesis is still more or less
straightfor*ard, in the sense that its logic remains linear,
or at most FmultilinearG (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<;,
29?J$)$ But the disIunctive s#nthesis of recording is far
more convoluted and indirect$ Its t*ists and turns are
those of %iet9scheOs Fab#ssal thoughtG of the Eternal
0eturn (5eleu9e >990, 2=A), or of the Fmost terrible
lab#rinth of *hich Borges s&o'eG (>;=)$ +or the
disIunctive s#nthesis does not Iust s&lit and connect terms
in series$ 0ather, it Fendlessl# ramifUiesVG (?9) the entire
se1 ries of terms$ It &resents a Fs#stem of &ossible
&ermutations bet*een diJer1 ences that al*a#s amount to
the same as the# shift and slide aboutG (5eleu9e and
/uattari >9<B, >2)$ The disIunctive s#nthesis establishes a
&ositive rela1 tion among a multi&licit# of radicall#
incom&atible alternatives$ It afPrms all these alternatives
together, indiscriminatel#, and dePnes itself in terms of the
distances that se&arate them from one another$ It is Fan
o&eration accord1 ing to *hich t*o things or t*o
determinations are afPrmed throuh their dif1 ference,G on
the basis of Fa &ositive distance of diJerent elementsG
(5eleu9e >990, >;2)$
The disIunctive s#nthesis is dee&er and more basic
than logical contra1 diction, *hich it at once &recedes,
generates, and eEceeds$ It is not the case
-ecome wearyingly repetitious and static* Incessant inno&ation, without real consequence,
sim, ply results in -oredom: the continual passage of senselessly changing fashions,# the
rigidity of a surprise that is always the same*# A constantly required change of direction,
required for its own sa;e,# ends up ta;ing us nowhere in particular, -ut only through the
endless zig,zag# of a random wal;* 2he trou-le with a process metaphysics, loch says, is
that the process re, mains empty and repeatedly produces nothing -ut process*# It ne&er
arri&es at any /nished product. and therefore it ne&er arri&es at the Jo&um, the genuinely
that t*o items are afPrmed disIunctivel#, because the#
logicall# contradict one another$ It is rather that the# can
onl# contradict one another logicall#, as a re1 sult of their
having Prst been &ut into contact b# the *or'ings of the
disIunc1 tive s#nthesis$ T*o items can onl# be in
contradiction if the# have alread# activel# clashed *ith
one another &ragmaticall#$ As 5eleu9e &uts it, Fcontra1
diction results al*a#s from a &rocess of a diJerent nature$
Events are not li'e conce&tsK it is their alleged
contradiction (manifest in the conce&t) *hich results
from their incom&atibilit#, and not the converseG
(5eleu9e >990, >;0)$ 6hitehead ma'es a similar &oint,
enunciating *hat he calls the F&rin1 ci&le of com&atibilit#
and contrariet#G (6hitehead >929:>9;<, >A<)$ T*o items
are Fcontraries to each otherG *hen the# Fcannot coeEist
in the con1 stitution of one actual entit#$G The# have
&roven themselves to be incom1 &atible, at least in this
&articular concrescence$ But such an incom&atibilit# is
not a matter of logic$ +or F XfeelingsO are the entities
*hich are &rimaril# Xcom&atibleO or Xincom&atible$O All
other usages of these terms are derivativeG (>A<)$
Another concrescence, &roductive of another actual
entit#, might *ell eEhibit vastl# diJerent feelingsK the
FsubIective formG *ith *hich it &re1 hended its data *ould
be diJerent$ It might then be able to &ositivel# &rehend
both items, thereb# rendering them com&atible$ It *ould
thus Fconvert its eEclusions into contrastsG (22B)$
6hiteheadOs conversion of eEclusions into contrasts, li'e
5eleu9eOs disIunctive s#nthesis, cannot be dePned in
terms of negativit# and contradiction$
In ma'ing these arguments, 6hitehead and 5eleu9e
both dra* on Leib1 ni9Os notions of compossibility and
incompossibility$ These notions, 5eleu9e sa#s, Fmust be
dePned in an original mannerGK the# do not &resu&&ose
Fthe identical and the contradictor#,G but are themselves
the &rimordial grounds
9.2his is why Deleuze $e+plicitly) and Whitehead $implicitly) -oth re1ect the Begelian no,
tion of contradiction as the motor of change, or of history* Deleuze is always concerned to
de/ne philosophical thought as a power of af/rmation, rather than one of negation* ut he
is always quic; to add that the negati&e still has its place, as long as we see negations as
poers of af*rming,# instead of in&o;ing negati&ity as a motor, a power, and a quality# in
its own right $Deleuze 345<, 364)* "&ery new necessarily pro&ides its own negations. -ut
negati&ity is not in any sense the inner principle of the new*
>>A >>?
for our Iudgments of identit# and contradiction (5eleu9e
>990, >;B)$ Events, *hich in themselves are &ure
singularities, and hence fundamentall# neutral and
im&assive, enter into relations of com&ossibilit# and
incom&ossibilit# *ith one another before ,uestions of logic
can even arise$ It is onl# *hen t*o events turn out to be
&ragmaticall# incom&atibleDthat is to sa#, *hen the#
cannot occur in the same timeline or occu&# &laces in
the same F&ossible *orld,G because the actuali9ation of
one *ould bloc' the actuali9ation of the otherDthat *e
can then sa#, derivativel#, that the states of aJairs
corres&on1 ding to these t*o events are logicall#
contradictor#$ The disIunctive Fcommu1 nication of eventsG
(>=9@>;=) eEceeds an# logic of identit# and contradiction,
even as it alone &rovides the necessar# conditions for
Iudgment according to such a logic$
The disIunctive s#nthesis ta'es the grammatical form
of an indePnitel# eEtended Feither $ $ $ or $ $ $ or $ $ $G (5eleu9e
and /uattari >9<B, >2)$
Things ma# ha&&en this
*a#, or the# ma# ha&&en that *a#, or the# ma# ha&&en
#et another *a#, *ithout an# dePnitive &reference$ This is
a Leibni9ian situation, a movement among
incom&ossiblesK but for 5eleu9e and /uattari, as for
6hitehead, there is no Leibni9ian /od to choose, among
the incom&ossible series of events, the one that is most
&erfect or most full# real$ Instead, all the series are
afPrmed in turn, as each gives *a# to another, over and
over again$ As 5eleu9e summari9es the diJerence7 F+or
Leibni9 $ $ $ bifurcations and divergences of series are
genuine borders bet*een incom&ossible *orlds$ $ $ $ +or
6hitehead (and for man# modern &hiloso&hers), on
the contrar#,
10. In The +ogic of Sense, Deleuze e+presses the dis1uncti&e synthesis with the phrase
ou #ien , , , ou #ien, translated as either * * * or# $344(, 368)* In &nti--edipus, Deleuze
and =uattari e+, press it rather with the phrase soit , , , soit, translated as either * * * or * * *
or*# 2his soit is then e+plicitly opposed to the ou #ien $translated either:or#): soit
e+presses an acti&e, af/rmati&e $inclusi&e and nonrestricti&e) use of the dis1uncti&e
synthesis, whereas ou #ien, implying as it does decisi&e choices -etween immuta-le terms
$the alternati&e: either this or that),# e+presses its limitati&e and reacti&e $e+clusi&e and
restricti&e) use $Deleuze and =uattari 345<, 3'. cf* 6>ff*)* 2he distinction -etween ou #ien
and soit is hard to con&ey in "nglish* ut the question of the difference -etween af/rmati&e
and limitati&e uses of the dis1uncti&e synthesis is an im, portant one, to which I return
bifurcations, divergences, incom&ossibilities, and discord
belong to the same motle# *orldG (>99B, <>)$ Such a
*orld, *ith its &rocess of disIunctivel# af1 Prming
incom&ossibles, is eEem&liPed in late modernist Pctions
li'e Bec'ettOs Malone (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<B, >2),
BorgesOs F/arden of +or'ing athsG (5eleu9e >990, >>AK
5eleu9e >9<9, A9), and /ombro*ic9Os Cosmos (5eleu9e
>99B, >?A, n$ >?) and Pornoraphia (5eleu9e >990, 2<9@
290)$ It is also eEem1 &liPed in the cinema of the Ftime1
imageG (5eleu9e >9<9), in *hich time re1 &eatedl# for's
(A9), and incom&atible images and sounds are lin'ed
through the disIunctions of Firrational cutsG (><>, 2A<, and
passim)$ In all these *or's, Fincom&ossible *orlds,
des&ite their incom&ossibilit#, have something in
common,G for the# Fa&&ear as instances of solution for one
and the same &rob1 lemG (5eleu9e >990, >>A)$
5eleu9eOs allusion here to &roblems and solutions
recalls the *a# that, in Di-erence and Repetition, he
e,uates &roblems *ith 8antian transcenden1 tal or
regulative Ideas, seeing them as Ffocal &oints or hori9onsG
that FembraceG multi&le, incom&atible solutions (5eleu9e
>99A, >=<@>=9)$ Toda# *e might sa#, in the language of
com&leEit# theor#, that these incom&ossible *orlds
corres&ond to alternative &aths through the same &hase
s&ace$ Hr *e might thin' of ho* the Fman# *orldsG
inter&retation of ,uantum mechanics has Pgured in recent
science Pction novels and comics$ In 6arren EllisOs ,iht on
:arth (200B), for instance, the su&erheroes of the
lanetar# grou& are Frotated through the multiverseG from
one actuali9ation of /otham !it# to another$ As a result,
the# meet multi&le iterations of Batman, from Bob 8aneOs
avenger to Adam 6estOs cam&# &ut1on to +ran' MillerOs
borderline &s#cho&ath$ Hnl# one Batman can be
encountered at a time, as his various iterations are incom1
&atible *ith one another and belong to incom&ossible
*orlds$ But the disIunc1 tive s#nthesis consists &recisel# in
the restless movement from one /otham !it# and
Batman to another$ %o /otham !it# and Batman can be
&rivileged above the restDnot even Bob 8aneOs ForiginalG
conce&tion, *hich is Iust as much a &articular,
circumstantial actuali9ation as are all the others$ 0ather,
the F&ositive distanceG bet*een the various iterations is
*hat generates all of them, or Fdistributes the divergent
series $ $ $ and causes them to resonate through their
distance and in their distanceG (5eleu9e >990, >;A)$ Each
Batman is a &articular Fsolution for one and the same
&roblem,G *hich is to sa# a &articu1 lar actuali9ation of the
same constellation of &otentialities, the same virtual
The logic of the disIunctive s#nthesis is also the logic
of the simulacrum$ According to 5eleu9eOs reading, lato is
al*a#s concerned Fto select lineages7 to distinguish
&retendersK to distinguish the &ure from the im&ure, the
au1 thentic from the inauthenticG (5eleu9e >990, 2?A)$
The crucial latonic distinction is neither bet*een the
original and the co&#, nor bet*een the Ideas of the
rational *orld and their images in the sensible *orld$ It is
rather a dis1 tinction *ithin the sensible *orld itself,
Fbet*een t*o sorts of images$ Copies are secondar#
&ossessors$ The# are *ell1founded &retenders, guaranteed
b# re1 semblanceK simulacra are li'e false &retenders, built
u&on a dissimilarit#, im1 &l#ing an essential &erversion or
a deviationG (2?=)$ !o&ies refer bac' to an original (the
Idea), and can be Iudged hierarchicall# on the basis of
their P1 delit# to this original$ Hn the other hand, Fthe
simulacrum is built u&on a dis&arit# or u&on a diJerence$
It internali9es a dissimilarit#$ This is *h# *e can no longer
dePne it in relation to a model im&osed on the co&ies, a
model of the Same from *hich the co&iesO resemblance
derivesG (2?<)$ The simu1 lacrum cannot be referred bac'
to the originar# Idea at allK it can onl# be un1 derstood as
&art of a Fsignal1sign s#stem,G one that is Fconstituted b#
&lacing dis&arate elements or heterogeneous series in
communicationG (2=>)$
In this sense, Batman is a simulacrum$ There is no
latonic Idea of Bat1 man, no model that all the iterations
of Batman *ould conform to more or less, and in relation
to *hich the# could all be hierarchicall# ran'ed according
to the degree of their resemblance$ There is also no best
of all &ossible Bat1 mans, no iteration that can be Iudged
more &erfect than all the rest$ 0ather, the dis&arit#
bet*een the diJerent iterations of Batman, their distance
from one another, is itself the onl# common measure
bet*een them$ Each Batman arises inde&endentl#, as a
uni,ue FsolutionG to a common dis&arit# or &rob1 lem (let
us sa#, to the #oung Bruce 6a#neOs &rimordial trauma of
*itnessing the murder of his &arents)$ And bet*een these
solutions, Fthere is no longer an# &ossible selectionG
(5eleu9e >990, 2=2)$ In the absence of an# latonic
criterion, or an# Leibni9ian /od, there is onl# the
disIunctive s#nthesis that afPrms each iteration, one at a
time, in its divergence from all the rest$ This means that
an# &articular iteration of Batman is entirel# contingent,
although the s#nthesis itself, *ith its afPrmation of all
these muti&le iterations, re1 s&onds to a necessit#$
In 6hiteheadOs terms, the multi&le iterations of the
disIunctive s#n1 thesis corres&ond to the ungrounded
FdecisionsG that each actual entit# must
ma'e, in the course of becoming itself$ Ever# entit#Os
decision is Finternall# determined and $ $ $ eEternall# freeG
(>929:>9;<, 2;)$ This is because there is no &reeEisting
norm or standard to guide it, and no antecedent &rinci&le
of selection$ In ever# occasion, F*hatever is
determinable is determinedGK but be#ond all
determinabilit#, there remains a FPnal modiPcation of
emotion, a&&reciation, and &ur&oseG made b# the entit# as
a *hole, and thereb# reMeE1 ivel# determining it as a
*hole (2;@2<)$ The disIunctive s#nthesis is thus an
eE&ression of radical contingenc#7 FIt is true that an# MuE
must eEhibit the character of internal determination$ So
much follo*s from the ontological &rinci&le$ But ever#
instance of internal determination assumes that MuE u&
to that &oint$ There is no reason *h# there could be no
alternative MuE eEhibiting that &rinci&le of internal
determinationG (A=@A;)$ The FlogicG of this histor#, the
reason things ha&&ened the *a# the# did, can onl#
emerge retros&ectivel#$
5eleu9e derives his account of the disIunctive
s#nthesis from an anal#1 sis of the FdisIunctive s#llogismG
b# means of *hich 8ant &resents the Idea of /od
(5eleu9e >990, 29A@29;)$ As I have alread# mentioned,
8antOs criti,ue of s&eculative theolog#, in the section of
the +irst !riti,ue on FThe Ideal of ure 0easonG (8ant
>99=, ?=0@=>=), dePnes /od, not as the origin or cre1
ator of the *orld (its Prst cause), but rather as the
&rinci&le of the Fthor1 oughgoing determinationG of
realit# (?=B, ?=;)$ This means that ever#thing that eEists
must be derived from /od b# a &rocess of selection and
limita1 tion$ The Fthoroughgoing determination of an#
thing rests on the limitation of this total of realit#,G 8ant
sa#s, Finasmuch as some of this realit# is attrib1 uted to
the thing but the rest is eEcludedG (?=;@?=<)$ /od
encom&asses all &ossible &redicatesK but an# Pnite
individual thing includes onl# some of these &redicates$
Hr as 5eleu9e &uts it7 F/od is dePned b# the sum total of
all &ossibilit#, insofar as this sum constitutes an
Xoriginar#O material or the *hole of realit#$ The realit# of
each thing Xis derivedO from it7 it rests in eJect on the
limitation of this totalit#$ $ $ $ UTVhe sum total of the
&ossible is an originar# material from *hich the
eEclusive and com&lete determination of the conce&t of
each thing is derived through disIunctionG (5eleu9e
>990, 29?@29=)$ An# individual thing must be either this
or thatK /odOs role is to be the community, the being1
together, of all these alternatives$ Through *hat
5eleu9e describes as 8antOs Firon#,G /od is Fde&rived of
his traditional claimsDto have created subIects or made
a *orldG and &resented instead,
much more humbl#, as merel# Fthe &rinci&le or master
of the disIunctive s#llogismG (29A@29?)$
This means that 8antOs /od, li'e Leibni9Os /od, is
basicall# a &rinci&le of selection7 *hich is to sa#, of
eEclusion and limitation$ FIn 8ant, therefore, *e see that
/od is revealed as the master of the disIunctive s#llogism
onl# inasmuch as the disIunction is tied to eEclusions in
the realit# *hich is derived from it, and thus to a neative
and limitative useG (5eleu9e >990, 29=)$ 5eleu9e o&1
&oses to this an afPrmative and inclusive use of the
disIunctive s#llogism, *hich he Pnds in 8losso*s'iOs Pgure
of the Ba&homet (the Antichrist or anti1 /od)$ 4nder /od,
Fa certain number of &redicates are eEcluded from a thing
in virtue of the identit# of the corres&onding conce&t$G
6ith the Ba&homet, to the contrar#, Feach thing is o&ened
u& to the inPnit# of &redicates through *hich it &assesG
(29=)$ Hn the one side, each entit# is loc'ed into a PEed
iden1 tit#, because it is restricted to s&eciPc &redicatesK on
the other side, each entit# loses its identit#, as it is
o&ened u& to the multi&licit# of &ossible &redicates
11. As Deleuze more fully e+plains, Kant poses Ma lin;N -etween Ideas and
syllogisms* * * * 2his e+traordinary theory of the syllogism * * * consists in disco&ering the
ontological impli, cations of the latter# $344(, '48A'4>)* 2he three Ideas of 7eason that
Kant analyzes in the 2ranscendental Dialectic are %elf, World, and =od* "ach of these
is aligned with one of Kant0s three categories of relation, and with one of the three ;inds
of syllogism* 2he Idea of the %elf is correlated with the category of su-stance and the
categorical syllogism, since this Idea relates a phenomenon determined as a predicate to a
su-1ect determined as su-stance# $'4>)* 2he idea of the World is correlated with the
category of causality and the hypothetical syllogism, for this is how one entity is lin;ed to
another through the chains of cause and ef, fect* 2hese lin;s determine the genesis and
-ecoming of the world as a whole* Einally, the idea of =od is correlated with the category
of community and the dis1uncti&e syllogism* 2hat is to say, it is through =odGde/ned as
the -eing whose tas; is to enact dis1unctions, or at least to found them# $'4>)Gthat all
the entities of the world can -e said to reciprocally deter- mine one another, so that they
cohere together as a system $cf* Kant 344?, 3<?: community is the causality of a su-stance
reciprocally determining Mand -eing determined -yN another su-, stance#)* Deleuze and
=uattari0s re&ision or correction of Kant in &nti--edipus consists in re, ferring each of
these clusters of Idea, category, and relation -ac; to a corresponding synthesis. 2he Idea of
%elf is correlated with the con1uncti&e synthesis. the Idea of the World with the connecti&e
synthesis. and the Idea of =od with the dis1uncti&e synthesis*
through *hich it &asses$ The limitative order of the *orld,
as guaranteed b# /od, is o&&osed to the afPrmative order
of the Ba&homet, Fa Xchaosmos,O and no longer a *orldG
(>;=), *hich is characteri9ed b# Fsingularit#, or even mul1
ti&le singularitiesG rather than b# PEed identities (29;)$
The entities of the Ba&hometOs chaosmos do not have
identit#, because the# are caught u& in con1 tinual
metamor&hoses$ But the# can be described, nevertheless,
as sinulari' ties, becauseDeven as the# &ass through all
&ossible &redicatesDthe# do not have these &redicates all
at once$ Batman has no PEed identit#, but each itera1 tion
of Batman is a singular one$
Co*ever, it ma# *ell be that 5eleu9e dra*s too hast#
a distinction be1 t*een negative and afPrmative uses of
the disIunctive s#nthesis$ In Anti' 9edipus, 5eleu9e and
/uattari state that Ffor the eEclusive and restrictive use of
the disIunctive s#nthesis, Uthe schi9o&hrenicV substitutes an
afPrmative use$ $ $ $ That is *h# the schi9o&hrenic /od
has so little to do *ith the /od of religion, even though
the# are related to the same s#llogismG (>9<B, ;=@;;)$ As
an# de1 constructionist *ill gleefull# &oint out, this
amounts to ma'ing an eEclusive use of the disIunctive
s#nthesis, in the ver# act of defending its afPrmative,
12. 2he fact that the dis1uncti&e syllogism, or synthesis, passes through its multiple
predicates one at a time, discarding each one as it af/rms another, is what separates it from
the mo&ement of the Begelian dialectic* Begel famously writes that the arising and
passing away# of Ap, pearance is the one thing that does not itself arise and pass away,#
and that the 2rue is thus the acchanalian re&el in which no mem-er is not drun;# $Begel
3466, '6)* 2his formulation does not thus far contradict the aphomet0s af/rmati&e use of
the dis1uncti&e syllogism* ut Begel adds that the re&el is 1ust as much transparent and
simple repose,# and that in the hole of the mo&ement, seen as a state of repose, what
distinguishes itself therein, and gi&es it, self particular e+istence, is something that
recollects itself Mdas sich erinnertN, whose e+istence is self,;nowledge, and whose self,
;nowledge is 1ust as immediately e+istence# $'6A'5)* In Klos, sows;i0s and Deleuze0s
accounts of the dis1uncti&e syllogism, to the contrary, there can -e no such repose*
7ecollection $Erinnerung) is impossi-le* 2here is no gathering,together of the dispersed
lim-s of Dionysus* 2he mo&ement of the dis1uncti&e syllogism is not one of recol, lection,
-ut rather one of continual forgettingGas Klossows;i especially emphasizes in his dis,
cussion of Jietzsche0s eternal return $3445), upon which Deleuze quite hea&ily draws*
Dis1uncti&e syntheses therefore cannot -e equated with Begelian syntheses of
contradictory elements# $Deleuze and =uattari 345<, 6?)*
>20 >2>
inclusive use$ But 5eleu9e himself is full# a*are of this
criticism, and does not seem &articularl# bothered b# it$ As
he notes, F*e have seen, ho*ever, ho* of1 ten negative or
eEclusive disIunctions still subsist in 8losso*s'iOs *or',G
es&e1 ciall# Fbet*een /odOs order and the order of the
Antichrist$ But it is &recisel# inside /odOs order, and onl#
there, that disIunctions have the negative value of
eEclusion$ And it is on the other hand, inside the order of
the Antichrist, that the disIunction (diJerence, divergence,
decentering) becomes as such an afPr1 mative and
afPrmed &o*erG (5eleu9e >990, 29=@29;)$ This suggests a
%iet91 schean reversal of &ers&ectives (cf$ >;B), a
continual movment bac' and forth bet*een the order of
/od on the one hand, and the order of the Antichrist on
the other$ In one direction, the disIunctive s#nthesis tends
to*ard eEclusionK in the other direction, to*ard multi&licit#
and afPrmation$ But neither of these movements is ever
com&leted$ %o identit# is ever so Prml# in &lace as to resist
all modiPcationK and afPrmative metamor&hosis, b# its
ver# nature, is al*a#s incom&lete and &artial$ This is *h#
5eleu9e and /uattari can &roclaim, incor1 &orating both
*a#s of using the s#nthesis7 FTo an#one *ho as's7 X5o #ou
be1 lieve in /odNO *e should re&l# in strictl# 8antian or
Schreberian terms7 XHf course, but onl# as the master of
the disIunctive s#llogism, or as its a &riori &rin1 ci&le (/od
dePned as the 9mnitudo realitatis, from *hich all
secondar# realities are derived b# a &rocess of division)O G
(>9<B, >B)$
Indeed, 8ant himself moves be#ond a merel#
limitative use of the dis1 Iunctive s#llogism$ +or he insists
that Fthe derivation of all other &ossibilit#G from the
original nature of /od Fcannot, strictl# s&ea'ing, be
regarded as a limitation of this beingOs su&reme realit#
and, as it *ere, a division of this real1 it#$ $ $ $ 0ather, the
su&reme realit# *ould underlie the &ossibilit# of all things
as a basis U.rund V, and not as a sum$ And the
manifoldness of those things *ould rest not on the
limitation of the original being itself, but on that of its
com&lete conse,uenceG (>99=, ?=9)$ This means that
FlimitationG is Iust a de1 fective manner of s&ea'ingDeven
if, given our lac' of access to an# transcen1 dent realit#, it
turns out to be an unavoidable one$ /od, as the master of
the disIunctive s#llogism, must activel# distribute the
disIunctions that constitute realit#, deriving them as
&ositive conse,uences of his o*n beingDrather than
acting as a &rinci&le of limitation$ In this *a#, 8antOs /od
is not o&&osed to 8losso*s'iOs Ba&homet, so much as the
t*o are ineEtricabl# conIoined$ 6e might even sa# that
8ant &asses over to the side of the Ba&homet, to the eE1
tent that he *arns us against the Fnatural illusionG of
tr#ing to Fh#&ostasi9e
this idea of the sum of all realit#G (?;>)$ Em&iricall#, all *e
can understand is Fthe passae of each thing through all
of its &ossible &redicatesG (5eleu9e >990, 29=)K *e can
reach the Fdeterminabilit#G of all things in this *a#, but *e
cannot ever 'no* the &resumed &rinci&le of their com&lete
In all this, 8ant afPrms the Fa &riori &rinci&leG of
disIunctionDeven at the eE&ense of the Pgure of /od
himself$ In his discussion of the FTranscen1 dental IdealG
of the Fthoroughgoing determinationG of realit#, 8ant
&oints out that the mere &resentation of such an ideal
Fdoes not &resu&&ose the eEis1 tence of such a being as
conforms to this idealG (8ant >99=, ?=<)$ 8antOs
argument treats /od onl# as a personi5cation of the
disIunctive s#llogism (cf$ ?;2, note <B)$ This is a ver#
diJerent matter from attributing the &o*er of o&erating
the disIunction to a /od *hose eEistence *ould alread#
have been established on other grounds$ Indeed, it is
&recisel# 8antOs characteri9a1 tion of /od in terms of the
disIunctive s#llogism that allo*s him to refute the
traditional arguments for /odOs eEistence$ 6hen /od is
dePned as the &rinci1 &le of the disIunctive s#llogism and
thereb# invested *ith all &ossible &redi1 cates, the ironic
result is to divest him of the so1called &redicate of
eEistence$ +or Fno matter through *hich and through ho*
man# &redicates I thin' a thing $ $ $ not the least is added
to this thing b# m# going on to sa# that this thing isG
(?<A)$ Even all the &ossible &redicates in the universe
gathered to1 gether cannot add u& to an# necessar#
eEistence$ The idea of /od as master of disIunctions allo*s
us to re&resent the *orld disIunctivel#, as a Fdistributive
unit#GK but such a unit# is a limited one, and it Fdoes not
allo* us to conclude that his Idea re&resents a collective or
singular unit# of a being in itself *hich *ould be
re&resented b# the IdeaG (5eleu9e >990, 29=, referring
to 8ant >99=, ?;>@?;2)$ In other *ords, to sa# that
eEistence is not a &redicate is to sa# that the
&hiloso&hical idea of /odDas the &rinici&le of the
disIunctive s#nthesis, or of the Fthoroughgoing
determinationG of realit#Dis not a con1 stitutive idea, but
onl# a regulative (or &roblematic) one$ And this is *h# 8ant
insists that /odOs eEistence cannot be &roven cognitivel#,
but onl# afPrmed &racticall# (as ha&&ens in the Second
In Anti'9edipus, 5eleu9e and /uattari re&lace 8antOs
/od *ith *hat the# call the bod# *ithout organs (B*H)$
+ollo*ing the o&&osition bet*een /od and the Antichrist
alread# established in $he +oic of *ense, the# sa# that
Fthe bod# *ithout organs is not /od, ,uite the contrar#G
(>9<B, >B)$ IOve been tr#ing to suggest, ho*ever, that
this o&&osition is a bit too eas# and
abru&t$ The conditions as 5eleu9e and /uattari actuall#
describe them are much more tangled$ The bod# *ithout
organs, Iust li'e 8antOs /od, oscillates bet*een the t*o
&oles of the disIunctive s#nthesis$ At times, it is eEclusive
and restrictive, li'e Leibni9Os /od *ith its eEclusion of
incom&ossiblesK at other times, it is inclusive and
nonrestrictive, in the manner of SchreberOs /od or
8losso*s'iOs Ba&homet$ This follo*s from the *a# that the
bod# *ithout or1 gans is introduced as Fa third termG (;),
interru&ting the binar# logic of the connective s#nthesis of
Mo*s and cuts$ The bod# *ithout organs is a record1 ing
surface, a site of inscri&tion for this disIunctive
s#nthesis$ FEver#thing sto&s dead for a moment,
ever#thing free9es in &laceDand then the *hole &rocess
*ill begin all over againG (;)$ The bod# *ithout organs is
not itself a d#namic &rocess$ It is rather Fan enormous
undiJerentiated obIect $ $ $ the un&roductive, the sterile,
the unengendered, the unconsumableG (<)$ It does not
itself Mo*, does not connect and cutK but ever# Mo*
&asses over it, and ever# cut is recorded u&on it$ +or
ever# F&rocess of &roductionG re,uires Fan element of
anti&roductionG (<), a &oint *here the &rocess sto&s
altogether7 in short, a dose of mortalit#$ F+rom a certain
&oint of vie* it *ould be better if nothing *or'ed, if
nothing functionedG (;)$ 5eleu9e and /uattari go so far as
to identif# the bod# *ithout organs *ith the +reudian and
Lacanian death drive7 Ffor desire desires death also,
because the full bod# of death is its motor, Iust as it
desires life, because the organs of life are the "or3in
machineG (<)$ And this death, this anti&roduction, is
&recisel# a Pgure of /od$
13. Angela Larter wor;s through a similar dynamic in her no&el The %nfernal 'esire
)achines of 'octor .offman $345?)* We are told that the no&el0s eponymous mad scientist
$perhaps named after the disco&erer of !%D) was waging a massi&e campaign against
human reason itself # -y using his desire machines# to Dood the city with wa&es of
actualized desire*# In Doctor Boffman0s profusion of surrealistic mirages# made Desh,
life itself had -ecome nothing -ut a comple+ la-yrinth and e&erything that could possi-ly
e+ist, did so*# With all possi-ilities, desires, and fantasies equally present, nothing * * *
was identical with itself any more*# 2he result is a comple+ity so rich it can hardly -e
e+pressed in language*# Bowe&er, the narrator, who ironically calls himself Desiderio, is
-ored# -y the wonders and comple+ities that Doc, tor Boffman generates with his desire
machines* Be wearies of relentless no&elty, and de&el, ops, instead, an admiration for
stasis# $3')* I myself had only the one desire,# he says* And that was, for e&erything to
stop# $33)*
The notion of the bod# *ithout organs is, of course,
ta'en from the late *ritings of Antonin Artaud$ 5eleu9e
Prst introduces the bod# *ithout organs in $he +oic of
*ense, *here it is associated *ith a Funiversal de&th,G
resulting from a catastro&hic Fcolla&se of the surfaceG
(5eleu9e >990, <;)$ In Anti' 9edipus, ho*ever, 5eleu9e
and /uattari associate the bod# *ithout organs *ith a
diJerent conce&t develo&ed in $he +oic of *ense7 the
conce&t of &uasi' causality$ 5eleu9e and /uattari &osit
an Fa&&arent conMictG (>9<B, 9)Da 8antian Antinom#D
bet*een the active material causalit# of desiring &roduc1
tion, and the ,uasi1causal Fanti&roductionG of the bod#
*ithout organs$ Qust as ,uasi1causalit#, in $he +oic of
*ense, ,ualiPes and alleviates the F&oisonous miEturesG
and Fabominable necromanciesG of material causalit#
(5eleu9e >990, >B>), so in Anti'9edipus the bod# *ithout
organs re&els the Flarvae and loathsome *ormsG of
desiring &roduction (5eleu9e and /uattari >9<B, 9)$ And
Iust as the Stoic doctrine of events, in $he +oic of *ense,
involves an eE1 &loration and elaboration of the surface,
and the se&aration of this surface from the schi9o&hrenic
de&ths, so in Anti'9edipus the bod# *ithout organs
F&la#s the role of a recording surface $ $ $ an enchanted
recording or inscribing surface that arrogates to itself all
the &roductive forces and all the organs of &roductionG
that *ere &reviousl# rumbling in the de&ths (>9<B, >>@
14. "&en the /gure of Iedipus plays an analogous role in -oth te+ts, despite the later
-oo;0s attac;s on the logic of Iedipalization that was articulated in the earlier one* In The
+ogic of Sense, Iedipus is the pacifying hero# who dispelled the infernal power of
depths and the celestial power of heights, and now claims only a third empire, the surface,
nothing -ut the surface# $Deleuze 344(, '(3)* In &nti--edipus, this function is condemned
rather than cele, -rated. -ut it remains the case that Iedipus is a requirement or a
consequence of social re, production, insofar as this latter aims at domesticating a
genealogical form and content that are in e&ery way intracta-le# $Deleuze and =uattari
345<, 3<)* In -oth te+ts, Iedipal quasi, causality tames $-ut cannot altogether master) the
schizophrenic intensities produced in the depths of materiality and of -odies*
&nti--edipus is usually read as repudiating the depthAsurface opposition that
structured The +ogic of Sense* ut the actual relation -etween the two -oo;s is more
complicated than such a formulation would indicate* In The +ogic of Sense, quasi,causality
is descri-ed as an effect of the surface. to the contrary, Artaud0s ody without Irgans is
presented as a pure e+perience of the depths $Deleuze 344(, 5'A4<, passim)* In &nti-
-edipus, howe&er, the imageless /gures
>2A >2?
5eleu9e and /uattari see' to avoid both the ideali9ed
notion of a &lenum *ith total continuit#, in *hich nothing
could ha&&en because nothing *ould be missing, and the
Cegelian logic of negativit# and lac', in *hich absence
and contradiction *ould be the motors of change$ The bod#
*ithout organs is the solution to this Antinom#$ +or it is
neither an integral *hole nor an em&ti1 ness$ 0ather, as an
Famor&hous, undiJerentiated MuidG (>9<B, 9), it is utterl#
ambiguous, &arta'ing of both fullness and em&tiness, but
not reducible to ei1 ther$ FThe bod# *ithout organs is not
the &roof of an original nothingness, nor is it *hat remains
of a lost totalit#G (<)$ It is best thought of as Being 5e1
gree Tero7 that *hich stubbornl# remains, resisting all
negation, even *hen ever# &ositive ,ualit# has been
ta'en a*a#$ The bod# *ithout organs in itself &roduces
nothingK but it must be F&er&etuall# reinserted into the
&rocess of &roductionG (<)$ 6ithin the &rocess, it ma3es
thins happen b# im&osing its &auses and bloc'ages,
disIunctions and alternatives$ 5esiring &roduction al*a#s
also involves anti&roduction$ Ever# cause is accom&anied
b# its shado*7 a ,uasi1cause that is e&hemeral,
Fanon#mous,G and FnondiJerentiatedG (9), but altogether
real for all that$
This is the &oint at *hich 5eleu9e and /uattari
encounter MarE$ There are t*o *a#s in *hich the logic of
the bod# *ithout organs can be identiPed *ith the logic of
ca&ital that MarE describes$ In the Prst &lace, *hen the
bod# *ithout organs interru&ts and deadens &roduction, it
also ca&tures the fruits of &roduction (the &roducts),
attributes these &roducts to itself, and distrib1 utes them
all across its surfaces$ This is *hat MarE calls eE&loitation,
or the eEtraction of sur&lus value$ And in the second
&lace, Iust as, for MarE, the sur&lus value eEtracted in the
&rocess of &roduction cannot be reali9ed *ith1 out a
concomitant movement of circulation, so, for 5eleu9e and
/uattari, the
of quasi,causality on the surface, and of the ody without Irgans in the depths, are equated
with one another* 2his is why the ody without Irgans is descri-ed as -oth a recording
sur, face# and a full -ody*# 2he nondifferentiated# -lan;ness of antiproduction is -oth a
surface effect and a deep counterDow of amorphous, undifferentiated Duid# $Deleuze and
=uattari 345<, 4)* 2hus &nti--edipus retains -oth the distinction -etween surface and
depth, and the distinction -etween material causality $production) and quasi,causality
$antiproduction). only it redistri-utes these two distinctions, instead of aligning them with
one another*
&roductions of the connective s#nthesis cannot be
actuali9ed *ithout the con1 comitant circulations and
inscri&tions of the disIunctive s#nthesis, as recorded on the
surface of the bod# *ithout organs$ This is ho* the bod#
*ithout or1 gans is a FmachineG of both re&ulsion and
attraction$ It ta'es the form both of a Frecording surface,G
and of *hat 5eleu9e and /uattari call the socius7 Fa full
bod#G of social &roduction (>9<B, >0)$ 4nder the ca&italist
mode of &roduc1 tion, this socius is the bod# of ca&ital
itself, Fthe bod# that MarE is referring to *hen he sa#s
that it is not the &roduct of labor, but rather a&&ears as
its natural or divine &resu&&ositionG (>0)$ Cuman labor is
the actual, material cause of social re&roduction toda#K
but ca&ital is the ,uasi1cause, sterile and seemingl#
unengendered or self1engendered, u&on *hose surfaces
this re&ro1 duction is recorded, through *hose mediations
it is organi9ed, and to *hose de&ths *e cannot avoid
attributing it$
MarE describes ho* ca&ital arrogates the &roducts of
living labor to itself, so that it appears as if the sur&lus
value eEtracted from that labor *ere a Fnatu1 ralG result of
ca&italOs o*n autonomous &rocess of Fself1valori9ation$G
But this Fa&&ears as ifG is not a mere falsiPcationK &art of
MarEOs &oint is that the self1 valori9ation of ca&ital is, in its
o*n right, a sort of ob(ective illusion, or *hat 5eleu9e and
/uattari call an Fa&&arent obIective movementG (>9<B,
>0@>>)$ In ca&italismOs image of itself, labor is &laced
alongside ra* materials, machin1 er#, rent, and so on as a
mere in&ut of &roductionK &roPt is calculated as a func1
tion, and indeed a &roduct, of the total ca&ital advanced$
The creative role of living labor is thereb# occluded$ But
this image is not (ust a m#stiPcation (though it is also
that)$ +or it is less a false re&resentation of the ca&italist
s#stem than it is an actual as&ect of ca&italOs self1
re&resentation$ And this Fide1 ologicalG self1re&resentation
is itself necessar# to !a&italOs o*n internal func1 tioning$
Entre&reneurs and enter&rises must themselves ado&t this
image, this
15. Buman la-or# must here -e ta;en to include the producti&ity of what Sirno $'((8)
and Bardt and Jegri $'((3) call immaterial la-or,# affecti&e la-or,# and general
intellect*# 2hough certain theorists $e*g*, !azzarato '((8) seem to thin; that such
phenomena in&alidate Mar+0s insights a-out the e+ploitation of li&ing la-or,# they actually
conform all too fully to the ways in which producti&e causal processes are appropriated
-y, and assimilated to, the quasi,causality of capital*
>2= >2;
method of calculation, in order for the ca&italist mode of
&roduction to *or' at all$ This is *hat it means to sa# that
ca&ital per se is the ,uasi1cause of social &roductionDin
contrast to living labor as its material cause$ MarE sa#s
that Fthe movement of ca&ital is $ $ $ limitless,G because
Fthe circulation of mone# as ca&ital is an end in itself
$ $ $ the valori9ation of value ta'es &lace onl# *ithin this
constantl# rene*ed movementG (MarE >992, 2?B)$ In
5eleu9e and /uat1 tariOs terms, ca&ital as the bod# *ithout
organs incessantl# Ffalls bac' on Use ra' bat surV all
&roduction, constituting a surface over *hich the forces
and agents of &roduction are distributed, thereb#
a&&ro&riating for itself all sur&lus &ro1 duction and
arrogating to itself both the *hole and the &arts of the
&rocess, *hich no* seem to emanate from it as a ,uasi
cause $ $ $ the socius as a full bod# forms a surface
*here all &roduction is recorded, *hereu&on the entire
&rocess a&&ears to emanate from this recording surfaceG
(>9<B, >0)$
Evidentl#, 6hitehead sa#s nothing about the d#namics
of ca&italism in Process and Reality$ %onetheless,
6hiteheadOs /od, Iust li'e the bod# *ithout organs, is best
understoodDin the *a# Prst adumbrated b# 8antDas the
o&1 erator of the disIunctive s#nthesis, in both its
limitative and inclusive uses$ F6e conceive actualit# as in
essential relation to an unfathomable &ossibilit#,G
6hitehead sa#s (>92?:>9=;, >;A)$ /od, li'e the bod#
*ithout organs, Pgures and embodies this Fessential
relation$G Ce facilitates the &assageDin both
16. Lapital is not the material cause of what it produces. -ut, as that which
organizes and conceptualizes the system of production, it emerges retrospecti&ely as the
quasi,cause* 2his is perhaps why we should -e suspicious of the current mania for self-
organi/ation and emergence* 2here is nothing inherently li-erating a-out such concepts*
Eor e&ery Deleuzian account of self,organization, li;e the -rilliant one wor;ed out -y
rian Massumi $'(('), there is also an account, -y the li;es of Eriedrich Baye; $3443) or
Ke&in Kelly $3448), of the capitalist mar, ;et as a wondrously self,organizing system* 2he
theology of mar;et self,organization is the postmodern &ersion of Adam %mith0s
capitalist:Lal&inist notion of the in&isi-le hand. li;e its predecessor, this theology simply
ignores all questions of e+ploitation* Eor Deleuze and =uat, tari, the pro-lem is how to
imagine a form of self,organization that is not e+ploitati&e, and that does not 1ust
reproduce and e+pand itself, pushing itself to its limit and then recompos, ing itself anew at
e&ery limit* 2his is also the pro-lem of how genuine no&elty, as imagined -y Whitehead
and -y Deleuze, might -e something other than incessant capitalist inno&ation,
capitalistic fashion,no&elty*#
directionsDbet*een limitless &otentialit# on the one hand,
and the concrete eEistence, or FgivennessG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, AB), of actual occasions, on the other$ Much
li'e the bod# *ithout organs, /od is onl# a ,uasi1cause$ Ce
does not actuall# create the universe7 for 6hitehead,
creation ha&&ens in the concrescent decisions of all actual
occasions, Iust as, for 5eleu9e and /uattari, creation is the
&roductive activit# of all the desiring machines$ But /od
can be regarded as a sort of adIoining cocreator$ In
*cience and the Modern World, 6hitehead suggests that
/od &rovides the Fantecedent limitation among val1 uesG
that is the condition of &ossibilit# for all creation
(>92?:>9=;, >;<)$ And in Process and Reality, 6hitehead
sa#s that /od both stimulates each occa1 sionOs
concrescent decisions (the F&rimordial nature of /odG),
and registers them (the Fconse,uent nature of /odG)$ In
this *a#, 6hiteheadOs /od can *ell be regarded, li'e the
bod# *ithout organs, as a Pgure of induction, circu' lation,
and communication$
M# aim here is not to identif# 6hiteheadOs /od *ith
the bod# *ithout organs, but onl# to suggest that the t*o
conce&ts are structurall# &arallel$ The# both res&ond to
the same necessit#7 that of conceiving a nontotali9ing
17. I will touch only -rieDy here on the &e+ed question of the relation -etween what
White, head calls the primordial# and consequent# natures of =od* 2he primordial
nature of =od is purely conceptual, as it in&ol&es potentiality or &irtuality: &iewed as
primordial, he is the unlimited conceptual realization of the a-solute wealth of potentiality*
In this aspect, he is not #efore all creation, -ut ith all creation# $Whitehead 34'4:3465,
<8<)* 2his is =od as the principle of concretionGthe principle where-y there is initated
a de/nite outcome from a situation riddled with am-iguity# $<8>)* 2he consequent nature
of =od, on the other hand, is physical and actual* It is deri&ed from the o-1ecti/cation of
the world in =od * * * the con, crescent creature is o-1ecti/ed in =od as a no&el element in
=od0s o-1ecti/cation of that actual world# $<8>)* 2hat is to say, the consequent nature of
=od in&ol&es something li;e the inscription, or recording, of e&erything that has happened
on all actual occasions* 2he pri, mordial nature of =od is an opening toward futurity, the
condition of possi-ility for e&ery -ecoming* 2he consequent nature of =od is li;e
ergsonian memory, or pure recollection#: the -eing in itself of the past# $Deleuze 3443,
?(), or its preser&ation as past* Sery roughly spea;ing, the primordial nature of =od
corresponds to the -ody without organs as &irtual full -ody,# whereas the consequent
nature of =od corresponds to the -ody without organs as recording surface*#
>2< >29
o&en F*holeG in *hich all &otentialit# ma# be eE&ressed$
A meta&h#sics of &rocess and becoming cannot do *ithout
some &rinci&le of uniPcation, lest it drift oJ into atomi9ed
incoherence$ But it also cannot allo* such a &rinci&le to PE
it into an# sort of Pnalit# or closure$
5eleu9e and /uattari
therefore &ro1 claim that the# Fbelieve onl# in totalities
that are &eri&heral$ And if *e discover such a totalit#
alongside various se&arate &arts, it is a *hole of these
&articular &arts but does not totali9e themK it is a unit# of
all of these &articular &arts but does not unif# themK
rather, it is added to them as a ne* &art fabricated se&a1
ratel#G (>9<B, A2)$ The bod# *ithout organs is a F*holeG or
Funit#G that does not subsume, but subsists alongside, the
Mo*s and cuts *hose &ermutations it records and
attributes to itself$ 6hiteheadOs /od is also such a
&eri&heral F*holeG or Funit#$G Indeed, Feach tem&oral
occasion embodies /od, and is em1 bodied in /odG
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, BA<)$ But this /od onl# sits
alongside the *orld, rather than actuall# containing and
determining it$
This is evident es&eciall# in the *a# that 6hitehead
revises 8ant$ 6hite1 headOs /od, li'e 8antOs, is concerned
*ith Fpossibility in its entiretyG (8ant >99=, ?=A)$ But
*here 8antOs /od encom&asses, or grounds, all &ossible
&redi1 cates, 6hiteheadOs /od merel# FenvisagesG
eternal obIects (cf$ 6hitehead >929:>9;<, AA)$ Eternal
obIects are not ,uite the same thing as &redicatesK
18. 2his is what differentiates process thought from any form of the dialectic* Eor
ergson, Whitehead, and Deleuze, and contrary to Begel $3466, 8(6), the wounds of the
%pirit# can ne&er -e made whole. and they always do lea&e scars -ehind* 2he past persists
as past, in its en, tirety: an o-1ecti&e immortality# that cannot -e su-sumed or su-lated*
ut this persistence is itself the condition for a radically open future, one that cannot -e
pre/gured or contained -y any sort of dialectical mo&ement*
19. Whitehead de/nes a predicate# as a comple+ eternal o-1ect# that is assigned to
some logical su-1ect,# which may -e an actual entity or a society of such entities
$34'4:3465, '8)* 2his means that predicates are elements of propositions,# or of limited
hypotheses concerning matters of fact* 2he predicates de/ne a potentiality of relatedness
for the su-1ects# of a propo, sition $355)* 2he point is that predicates are only a su-set of
eternal o-1ects* "&ery actual entity aside from =od entertains,# or admits into feeling,
particular predicates* ut =od en&isages all eternal o-1ects, indiscriminately* @redication in
propositional thought is a ;ind of limitati&e use of the dis1uncti&e synthesis. -ut =od0s
en&isagement of eternal o-1ects is not thus limited*
Also, it is only with the acceptance of the su-stance,quality# concept as e+pressing
the ultimate ontological principle# that potentialities are limited to the status of predicates
and envisagement is a far more modest activit# than
Fthoroughgoing determi1 nation$G If /od FenvisagesG
&otentialities, this carries the suggestion that he is merel#
a&&roaching them from the outside$ And indeed,
6hiteheadOs /od dis1 &la#s a basic appetition7 Fan urge
to*ards the future based u&on an a&&etite in the &resentG
(B2)$ /odOs desire consists in F#earning after concrete factD
no &ar1 ticular facts, but after some actualit#G (BB)$ This
*ould be su&erMuous, and indeed ridiculous, in the case
of a Being *ho *as alread# the &rinci&le of a
Fthoroughgoing determinationG of realit#$ But for 6hitehead,
it is onl# &ossible to conceive of /od at all if *e conceive
of him as an em&irical &henomenon, Fan actual entit#
immanent in the actual *orldG (9B)$ /od is F&rimordial,G in
the sense that his Faversions and adversionsG encom&ass
Fthe com&lete conce&1 tual valuation of all eternal
obIectsGDin contrast to all other entities, *hich Iust
&rehend a limited selection of them$ But this F&rimordial
natureG must itself be recogni9ed, not as an overarching
transcendence, but sim&l# as Fan actual efP1 cient factG
In other *ords, 6hitehead acce&ts the challenge that
8ant thro*s do*n to s&eculative theolog#7 Fif the
em&iricall# valid la* of causalit# is to lead to the original
being, then this being *ould li'e*ise have to belong to
the chain of obIects of eE&erienceK but in that case this
being *ould itself, li'e all a&&ear1 ances, be conditioned in
turnG (8ant >99=, =>B)$ 6hiteheadOs /od is a s&ecial sort of
entit#, but one that is still conditioned, still &art of Fthe
chain of obIects of eE&erience$G Ce is transcendent, but
onl# in the *a# that other entities also are7 Fthe
transcendence of /od is not &eculiar to him$ Ever# actual
entit#, in virtue of its novelt#, transcends its universe,
/od includedG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 9B@9A)$ /od is
himself subIect to *hat 6hitehead calls the on1 tological
&rinci&le7 Fthat actual entities are the onl# reasonsK so
that to search for a reason is to search for one or more
actual entitiesG (2A)$ 6hiteheadOs
Ince we free oursel&es of the su-stance,quality# concept, we can concei&e of eternal o-,
1ects as more than predicates* Whitehead ultimately de/nes eternal o-1ects as @ure
@otentials for the %peci/c Determination of Eact#. it is than;s to the ingression# of these
pure poten, tials into actual entities that it -elongs to the nature of a 9-eing0 that it is a
potential for e&ery -ecoming# $'')* 2his principle of relati&ity# corresponds to an
inclusi&e and nonrestricti&e use of the dis1uncti&e syllogism*
>B0 >B>
/od, through his desires, &rovides a FreasonG for all other
actual entitiesK but these entities, in turn, also &rovide
reasons for him$ An# account of FsufPcient reasonG must
include /odK but such an account can never be limited
Iust to /od$
6here 8antOs /od directl# corres&onds to the
overarching relational cat1 egor# of Fcommunit#G (the
reci&rocal determination of all entities), 6hite1 headOs
/od is onl# another member of this communit#$ FThe
actual *orld must al*a#s mean the communit# of all
actual entities, including the &rimor1 dial actual entit#
called X/odO and the tem&oral actual entitiesG (>929:>9;<,
=?)$ /od does not determine the relation of communit#,
but is caught u& *ithin this relation as one of its terms$
Hr, to &ut it in another *a#, /od can1 not himself be the
&rinci&le of the reci&rocal determination of entities in the
*orld, because /od and the 6orld alread# reci&rocall#
determine one another, in the larger movement of *hat
6hitehead calls Fcreativit#$G This is *h# 6hitehead can
&osit a series of strange and stri'ing Antinomies in the
rela1 tionshi& bet*een /od and 6orld$ These t*o terms
Fstand over against each other,G mutuall#
inter&enetrating but never coinciding$ +or F/od and the
6orld are the contrasted o&&osites in terms of *hich
!reativit# achieves its su&reme tas' of transforming
disIoined multi&licit#, *ith its diversities in o&1 &osition,
into concrescent unit#, *ith its diversities in contrastG
6hen 6hitehead Prst introduces the notion of /od, in
*cience and the Modern World, he stresses the
limitative use of the disIunctive s#nthesis$ /odOs role is
to im&ose Fan antecedent limitation com&osed of
conditions, &articulari9ations, and standards of value$ $ $ $
Some &articular ho" is neces1 sar#, and some
&articulari9ation in the "hat of matter of fact is
necessar#G (>92?:>9=;, >;<)$ This em&hasis on
limitation is modiPed and com&li1 cated, but not
altogether dro&&ed, in Process and Reality$ In that teEt,
6hite1 head reafPrms that F/od is the &rinci&le of
concretionK namel#, he is that actual entit# from *hich
each tem&oral concrescence receives that initial aim from
*hich its self1causation startsG (>929:>9;<, 2AA)$ Ever#
entit# ma'es its o*n Ftranscendent decisionGK but
Ftranscendent decision includes /odOs decisionG (>=A) as
one of its initial conditions$ In this *a#, /od stands for
the constrictions of Fstubborn fact *hich cannot be
evadedG (AB)$ Ce im1 &oses Fthe limitation *hereb# there
is a &ers&ective relegation of eternal ob1 Iects to the
bac'ground$ $ $ $ Ce is the actual entit# in virtue of *hich
the entire multi&licit# of eternal obIects obtains its graded
relevance to each stage
of the concrescenceG (>=A)$ /od contem&lates all
&otentialities *ithout eE1 ce&tion$ But he also governs the
&assage from FgeneralG or FabsoluteG &oten1 tialit#, *hich
he alone is able to envisage, to F XrealO &otentialit#,
*hich is conditioned b# the data &rovided b# the actual
*orld,G and *hich is Frelative to some actual entit#, ta'en
as a stand&oint *hereb# the actual *orld is de1 PnedG
(=?)$ /od ma'es the eternal obIects (&otentialities)
available to each actual entit#K but he organi9es these
eternal obIects according to their Fgraded relevanceG to
that &articular entit#$
In other *ords, /od stands for the fatalit# *hereb# a
single dePnitive route has been chosen through the
lab#rinthine branchings of BorgesOs /ar1 den of +or'ing
aths, and the ste&s can no longer be retraced$ This
limitative use of the disIunctive s#nthesis is a
conse,uence of the irreversibilit# of time$ Hnce the
selection has been made, it cannot be reverted to, or
altered$ The Finevitable ordering of things, conce&tuall#
reali9ed in the nature of /od,G is *ithout a&&eal, and
*ithout IustiPcation7 Fthis function of /od is analogous to
the remorseless *or'ing of things in /ree' and in Buddhist
thought$ The initial aim is the best for that impasse$ But if
the best be bad, then the ruth1 lessness of /od can be
&ersoniPed as At;, the goddess of mischief$ The chaJ is
burntG (2AA)$ The Finital aim,G once it has been chosen,
cannot be reversed or reverted bac' to$ This is at the root
of 6hiteheadOs obIection to Leibni9$ It all comes do*n to
the *a# that Leibni9 see's to Iustif# this fatalit#, to insist
that /od ma'es a rational selection among &ossible
*orlds, and that this selection is ultimatel# for the best$ To
the contrar#, 6hitehead insists that if F/od is the
ultimate limitation,G then FCis eEistence is the ultimate
irrationalit#$ +or no reason can be given for Iust that
limitation *hich it stands in Cis nature to im&oseG
(>92?:>9=;, >;<)$ /od is not Iust ineEorableK he is also
But if /od enforces the irre&arabilit# of the &ast, he
also guarantees the o&enness of the future$ And in this
role, he stands for an inclusive and nonre1 strictive use of
the disIunctive s#nthesis$ /od FembodUiesV a basic
20. 2his is yet another way in which Whitehead remains an heir to Kant0s critical
re&olution, rather than re&erting to precritical thought* Deleuze lists as one of Kant0s great
poetic for, mulas# the way that Kant re&erses the relationship of the law and the =ood*#
Where tradi, tional metaphysics, from @lato onward, deri&es all moral laws from the the
ideal of the =ood,
>B2 >BB
of a&&etitionG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, B>=)7 that is to sa#,
his Furge to*ards the future,G or F#earning after fact,G
embraces all &otentials (all eternal ob1 Iects) absolutel#
indiscriminatel#$ /odOs F&rimordial natureG involves Fthe
un1 conditioned conce&tual valuation of the entire
multi&licit# of eternal obIectsG (B>)$ This means that
6hiteheadOs /od, no less than SchreberOs or 8losso*s'iOs,
envisages a &assage through all &ossible combinations of
&redicates (or better, of ,ualities and aJects) *ithout
regard for their incom&atibilities *ith one an1 other$ In this
sense, /od encom&asses Fthe general &otentialit# of the
uni1 verseG (A=), unconstrained b# the limits of
&articular actuali9ations$ If he governs the movement
from general to real &otentialit#, he also holds out the
&ros&ect of the inverse movement, from the constraints of
limited, real &oten1 tialit# to a sur&lus of general, absolute
&otentialit#$ And this sur&lus is never eEhaustedK it
Fretains its &roEimate relevance to actual entities for *hich
it is unreali9edG (A=)$ That is to sa#, Fthe vector
&rehensions of /odOs a&&etitionG
(B>=) enter into the eE&erience of ever# actual occasion$
/odOs envisagement of all eternal obIectsDincluding the
ones that a given occasion *ould not other*ise
encounter in its environmentDis itself an obIective datum
for ever# ne* concrescence$
The &resence of /odOs Fconce&tual feelingsG as FdataG
for all actual occa1 sions (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2A;) is
the reason *h# there is never Iust mere re&etition$ In
ever# concrescence, F&h#sical inheritance is essentiall#
accom&a1 nied b# a conce&tual reaction &artl# conformed
to it, and &artl# introductor# of a relevant novel contrast,
but al*a#s introducing em&hasis, valuation, and &ur&oseG
(>0<)$ /od is the source of such a Fconce&tual reactionG
involving FcontrastGK he &rovides the alternatives that
allo* the entit# to ma'e its o*n
for Kant it is the =ood which depends on the !aw, and not &ice &ersa* * * * 2he !aw as
empty form in the Critique of !ractical "eason corresponds to time as pure form in the
Critique of !ure "eason# $Deleuze 3458, +)* Whitehead replaces Kant0s empty form# of
the Late, gorical Imperati&e with =od0s merely empirical ar-itrariness. -ut he remains
Kantian in his refusal to su-1ect this ar-itrary decision# to any pree+isting standard of
rationality or =ood, ness, or to any higher form of 1usti/cation* What is metaphysically
indeterminate has ne&, ertheless to -e categorically determinate* We ha&e come to the limits
of rationality# $Whitehead 34'>:34?6, 365)*
Fdecision$G This is *h# 6hitehead &roclaims, again and
again, that Fa&art from /od, there could be no relevant
novelt#G (>=A)K that F/od is the organ of novelt#, aiming
at intensiPcationG (=;)K that, Fa&art from such orderingsG
of eternal obIects as occur in the &rimordial nature of /od,
Fnovelt# *ould be meaningless, and inconceivableG (A0)K
and that Fa&art from the intervention of /od, there could
be nothing ne* in the *orldG (2A;)$
/od is a force for novelt#, &recisel# because he does
not determine the actual course of events$ To the contrar#,
he ensures the indeterminac# of this course, its o&enness
to diJerence in the future$ /odOs o*n FdecisionG oJers
the ra* material, as it *ere, for the decisions made b#
all other entities$ 6hiteheadOs /od is therefore an
antientro&ic forceK *ithout him, Fthe course of creation
*ould be a dead level of ineJectiveness, *ith all
balance and intensit# &rogressivel# eEcluded b# the
cross currents of incom&atibilit#G (6hitehead >929:>9;<,
2A;)$ /od renovates the universe b# ma'ing incom1
&ossibles com&atible$ In case of contradiction or eEclusion,
he Fconverts the o&&osition into a contrastG (BA<), so
that formerl# irreconcilable terms be1 come thin'able and
reali9able together$ 6hiteheadOs /od ma# not ,uite em1
bod# the categor# of communit# (reci&rocal
determination) in the *a# that 8antOs doesK but at least he
*idens the sco&e of such communit#$ /od is the rea1 son
*h# mere linear causalit# (the Fcausal efPcac#G of
F&h#sical inheritanceG) cannot com&letel# determine
(although, of course, it strongl# constrains) the course of
events$ Even more, /od is a stimulus for change7 in
6hiteheadOs most stri'ing &hrase, he is Fthe goad to*ards
novelt#G (<<)$ /od &rovides the Flure for feelingG (><9,
BAA) that seduces an entit# into its &rocess of becoming,
or that dra*s it into diJerence$
6hiteheadOs /od is the rinci&le of !oncretion,
then, in a double sense$ Through the limitative use of
the disIunctive s#nthesis, /od enforces the narro*ing1
do*n of &otentials that is a necessar# &art of an#
movement of concrete actuali9ation$ Ce embodies the
re,uirement that each actual entit# must ma'e a
Fdecision,G in order to eEhibit a Fdeterminate attitude
to*ards ever# element in the universeG (>929:>9;<, A?)$
5eleu9e *ould have to sa# that, for such a /od,
FdisIunctions have the negative value of eEclusionG
(5eleu9e >990, 29;)$ But at the same time, through the
inclusive use of the disIunctive s#nthesis, 6hiteheadOs /od
also distributes multi&le (and even in1 com&atible)
&otentials, *idening the sco&e of the actual entit#Os
Fdecision,G and allo*ing it, or forcing it, to enact Fthe
modiPcation of its initial subIective
aimG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2A?)$ This is the /od
that, according to 5eleu9eOs reading of 6hitehead,
Fbecomes rocess, a &rocess that at once afPrms
incom&ossibilities and &asses through themG (5eleu9e
>99B, <>)$ In 6hiteheadOs o*n terms, through /odOs
intervention Fthe actual includes *hat (in one sense) is
Xnot1beingO as a &ositive factor in its o*n achievement,G so
that Ffact is confronted *ith alternativesG (6hitehead
>929:>9;<, ><9, re&eating >92?:>9=;, >;=)$ The entit# is
no* able to de&art from mere Fconformation to &attern,G
and instead eE&ress Fnovel conce&tual feeling,G b#
claiming and &roclaiming Fits o*n Mash of autonomous
individual eE&erienceG (>929:>9;<, 2A?)$ All in all, Fthe
creative &rocess is a &rocess of eEclusion to the same
eEtent as it is a &rocess of inclusionG (>92=:>99=, >>B)$
Ever# entit#Os creative Fdeci1 sionG is an act both of
narro*ing do*n (as multi&le &otentials are congealed into
a single actualit#) and of o&ening u& (as alternative
&ossibilities are Fenter1 tainedG)K and /od is the &romoter,
or the catal#st, of both of these facets of the &rocess$
Hn the technical level of 6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics,
this account of /od is needed in order to resolve the
difPculties raised b# the !ategor# of !on1 ce&tual
0eversion$ 6hitehead initiall# formulates this !ategor# as
21. 2im Llar; $'(('), in his lucid and powerful discussion of Deleuze0s encounter
with Whitehead, argues against Deleuze0s reading of Whitehead0s =od as a /gure of
af/rmation and metamorphosis* Eor Llar;, Whitehead0s =od ne&er performs the
dis1uncti&e synthesis in a fully af/rmati&e or Deleuzian manner* 7ather, since for
Whitehead restriction and limitation are the conditions of &alue,# Whitehead0s =od is
still required to enact, or at least to found, dis1unctions that are not yet positi&ely synthetic
or wholly af/rmati&e# $345)* Whitehead ne&er quite reaches the condition of a Deleuzian
chaosmos,# -ecause within Whitehead0s system the uni&erse remains, in principle, only
semi,open and therefore partially predicta-le# $'(')* Deleuze is misreading, therefore,
when he attri-utes his own total af/rmation# of dif, ference to Whitehead, who ne&er
fully escapes the weight of ontotheological tradition -ear, ing down upon him# $'(>)*
I ha&e learned a lot from Llar;0s discussion. in particular, I am inde-ted to him for
reading Whitehead0s notion of =od in the light of Deleuze0s discussion of the Kantian $and
Klossows;ian) dis1uncti&e syllogism* And Llar; is entirely right to see elements of
limitation and e+clusion at wor; in Whitehead0s account of =od* I differ from Llar; in
that I see a mo&ement -etween the e+clusi&e and inclusi&e uses of the dis1uncti&e
synthesis at wor; in
FThere is secondar# origination of conce&tual feelings
*ith data *hich are &artiall# identical *ith, and &artiall#
diverse from, the eternal obIects forming the data in the
Prst &hase of the mental &ole$ The diversit# is a relevant
diver1 sit# determined b# the subIective aimG (>929:>9;<,
2=)$ That is to sa#, an ac1 tual occasion is not limited to
&rehending onl# those eternal obIects that are reali9ed in
the em&irical data in front of it$ Even if ever#thing that it
sees is blue, it is also able to imagine red$ It is ca&able of
forming feelings, and #earn1 ing after &otentialities, that
are Fdiverse fromG those &rovided b# Fthe data in the Prst
&haseG of eE&erience$
This is a categorical re,uirement of 6hiteheadOs
s#stem, or *hat 8ant *ould call a necessar#
Ftranscendental &resu&&ositionG7 for other*ise novelt#
*ould be im&ossible$ 6ithout some notion of Fconce&tual
reversion,G an ac1 tual entit# that &rehended onl# blue1
colored data *ould never be able to &osit redness$ But it
is hard to see ho* the !ategor# of !once&tual 0eversion
is consistent, or coherent, *ith 6hiteheadOs basic
ontological &rinci&le, *hich states that Fever# condition
to *hich the &rocess of becoming conforms in an#
&articular instance has its reason either in the character of
some actual en1 tit# in the actual *orld of that
concrescence, or in the character of the subIect *hich is in
&rocess of concrescenceG (2A)$ 6here, then, does the
imagination of redness come fromN Since, b# dePnition,
the datum of a novel conce&tual &rehension is not &resent
in an# Factual entit# in the actual *orld of that con1
crescence,G it must arise out of Fthe character of the
subIect *hich is in &ro1 cess of concrescence,G *hich is to
sa#, out of the entit#Os FsubIective aim$G
But ho* does such a &reviousl# Funfelt eternal obIectG
(2A9) ingress into, and alter, an entit#Os subIective aim in
the Prst &laceN 6hat enables Fthe &osi1 tive conce&tual
&rehension of relevant alternativesG (2A9)N Traditional
idealist meta&h#sics resolves this &roblem b# a&&ealing to
some latonic &rinci&le of
-oth Whitehead0s account of =od and Deleuze0s account of the -ody without organsGand,
indeed, already in Kant0s account of =od* 2hough Deleuze tends to descri-e the opposition
-etween the two uses of the synthesis polemically and a-solutely, in practice he slides -ac;
and forth -etween themG-ecause e&ery actualization of the &irtual una&oida-ly in&ol&es
some sort of limitation, and -ecause the analysis of forms of coding and capture, on the
one hand, and of the mo-ilization of lines of Dight# on the other, necessarily ma;es
reference to the tension -etween these two uses*
>B= >B;
recollection7 the Idea of red eEists in itself, inde&endentl#
of m# thin'ing itK and for that ver# reason it is accessible
to m# thought$ Toda#Os cognitive sci1 ence, follo*ing 8ant,
retains this argument b# subIectivi9ing it7 the Idea of red
ma# not eEist in and of itself, but it is a necessar# &roduct
of innate structures of the human mind$ But 6hitehead is
loath to acce&t this line of reasoningD even though he
com&ares *hat he calls Feternal obIectsG to the latonic
forms (AA)$ +or an# a&&eal to alread# given forms *ould
mean limiting the sco&e of novelt# b# reducing it to mere
structural &ermutations or variations of a theme$
At Prst, 6hitehead entertains the idea that eternal
obIects might have the &o*er *ithin themselves to refer
to other, related eternal obIects7 Fthe de1 terminate
dePniteness of each actualit# is an eE&ression of a
selection from these forms$ It grades them in a diversit#
of relevance$ This ordering of rele1 vance starts from those
forms *hich are, in the fullest sense, eEem&liPed, and
&asses through grades of relevance do*n to those forms
*hich in some faint sense are &roEimatel# relevant b#
reason of contrast *ith actual factG (AB@AA)$ But ultimatel#
6hitehead reIects this argument, because Fthe ,uestion,
ho*, and in *hat sense, one unreali9ed eternal obIect can
be more, or less, &roEi1 mate to an eternal obIect in
reali9ed ingressionDthat is to sa#, in com&arison *ith an#
other unfelt eternal obIectDis left unans*ered b# this
!ategor# of 0eversionG (2A9@2?0)$ The Fgrades of
relevanceG and &roEimit# among eter1 nal obIects can onl#
be determined to the eEtent that these obIects can be or1
dered in a closed and *ell1dePned set$ But this is belied
b# the fact that Fnature is never com&lete,G that Fit is
al*a#s &assing be#ond itself G (2<9)$ 6hitehead states
that Fthere are no novel eternal obIectsG (22)K but he also
re1 ,uires us to conceive the F*holeG of eternal obIects as
something other than a closed set$ (The notion of a *hole
that is not a closed set is formulated b# 5eleu9e in
relation to Bergson7 5eleu9e >9<=, >0@>>$) These
considerations lead 6hitehead to insist that the ,uestion
of the ingression of &reviousl# un1 reali9ed eternal obIects
Fcan be ans*ered onl# b# reference to some actual en1
tit#$G In accordance *ith the ontological &rinci&le, there
must be some em&irical source for the FmissingG eternal
obIects$ The Fconce&tual &rehen1 sionG of alternative
&otentialities must have its roots in a &rior F&h#sical &re1
hension$G /od is the actual entit# *ho fulPlls this
conditionDor, *hose eEistence 6hitehead infers from
the re,uirement to fulPll this condition$ /od &rehends all
eternal obIects indiscriminatel#, and thereb# ma'es them
available to an# Ftem&oral entit#G *hatsoever$ Through
this a&&eal to /od,
Fthe !ategor# of U!once&tualV 0eversion is then abolished,
and CumeOs &rin1 ci&le of the derivation of conce&tual
eE&erience from &h#sical eE&erience re1 mains *ithout
an# eEce&tionG (2?0)$
To summari9e, 6hitehead &osits, discovers, or
constructs the Pgure of /od for reasons that lie dee& in
his meta&h#sics$ Li'e Aristotle, 6hitehead is forced to
move in this direction because Fthe general character of
things re,uires that there be such an entit#G (>92?:>9=;,
>;B@>;A)$ And in con1 trast to Leibni9, 6hitehead see's
to &osit the Pgure of /od in such a *a# that it does not
come oJ as merel# Fan audacious fudgeG (>929:>9;<,
A;) used to resolve meta&h#sical discomforts$ 6hen
6hitehead Pgures /od as a &rocess, and as an em&irical
being rather than a transcendent one, this means that
/od cannot be cited as an eEcuse, or invo'ed as an
ultimate fallbac' eE&lanation$ +or the &oint is &recisel#
that /od accounts for nothing, and eEcuses nothing$ F%o
reason can be given for the nature of /odK because that
nature is the ground of rationalit#G (>92?:>9=;, >;<)$ That
is to sa#, the FgroundG is itself groundless and
nonrationalK it is even Fthe ultimate irra1 tionalit#G (>;<)$
6here Leibni9 (and Cegel too, for that matter) invo'es /od
in order to conPrm the rationalit# of the real, 6hitehead
invo'es /od &re1 cisel# in order to ac'no*ledge the all1
too1evident absence of an# such higher rationalit#$
6hiteheadOs /od hel&s to ma'e things ha&&en (in his
F&rimordialG nature)K and he contem&lates and &reserves
ever#thing that has ha&&ened (in his Fconse,uentG
nature)$ But /od cannot be used in order to e#plain or
(ustify an#thing$
In all this, 6hitehead reveals himself, once again, to
be 8antOs inheritor, to a far greater eEtent than has
generall# been recogni9ed$ In his ,uest to sec1 ulari9e the
notion of /od, 6hitehead, li'e 8ant, moves from a
s&eculative stance to a F&racticalG one$ 6hitehead ma'es
this &oint eE&licitl# *hen he sa#s
22. Whitehead0s struggle with this pro-lem, and his initial assertion, and su-sequent
re1ec, tion, of the Lategory of Lonceptual 7e&ersion, is traced in detail -y !ewis %* Eord
$3458, '33A'83, passim)* 2he crucial point is that Whitehead0s recourse to =od is in fact,
odd as this might seem, a way of re1ecting transcendent solutions and em-racing instead an
immanent one* =od is the correlate of Whitehead0s transcendental empiricism,# 1ust as the
-ody without organs is of Deleuze0s*
>B< >B9
that his o*n Fline of thoughtG in regard to /od FeEtends
8antOs argument$ U8antV sa* the necessit# for /od in the
moral order$ But *ith his meta&h#sics he reIected the
argument from the cosmos$ The meta&h#sical doctrine,
here eE&ounded, Pnds the foundations of the *orld in
the aesthetic eE&erience, rather thanDas *ith 8antDin
the cognitive and conce&tive eE&erienceG (6hitehead
>92=:>99=, >0A@>0?)$ 8ant, of course, tells us that Fit is
morall# necessar# to assume the eEistence of /odG (8ant
2002, >?9)$ 6e cannot ever &rove, or cognitivel# establish,
that /od eEistsK but our moral dut# im&els us to assume
that he does, and to act as if he does$
6hitehead &osits /od on the basis of Faesthetic
eE&erience,G rather than moralit#$ To the eEtent that *e
ma'e FdecisionsGDand, for 6hitehead, decision
Fconstitutes the ver# meaning of actualit#G (>929:>9;<,
AB)D*e are engaged in a &rocess of selection$ 6e FfeelG
(or &ositivel# &rehend) cer1 tain data, and Feliminate from
feelingG (or negativel# &rehend) certain others (2B)$ But
this &rocess of selection is an aesthetic one$ It is felt,
rather than thought (or felt before it is thought)K and it is
freel# chosen, rather than being obligator#$ The &rocess of
selection rests u&on aesthetic critera, rather than either
cognitive or moral ones$ These criteria are *hat
6hitehead calls the !ategorial Hbligations of FSubIective
Carmon#G and FSubIective Intensit#G (2;)$ The FsubIective
aimG of ever# actual occasion is Prst, to harmoni9e all its
data, b# ma'ing them Fcom&atible for integrationG into
Fone com&leE full# determinate feelingG (22)K and second,
to maEimi9e the intensit# of this feel1 ing$ The goal of
ever# decision is therefore Beaut#, dePned b# 6hitehead
as Fthe mutual ada&tation of the several factors in an
occasion of eE&erienceG
23. Kant is careful to point out that this moral necessity is su#jective, i*e* a need, and
not o#- jective, i*e* itself a duty. for there can -e no duty whate&er to assume the e+istence
of a thing $-ecause doing so concerns only the theoretical use of reason)# $'((', 3>4)* It is
not e&en our duty to -elie&e in =od. it is only the case that we are pragmatically forced to
-elie&e in =odG i*e*, that we are una-le not to -elie&e in =odGto the e+tent that we
follow the commands of moral o-ligation* =od cannot e&en -e in&o;ed as the -asis of
moral o-ligation. rather, moral o-ligation itself pro&ides the sole -asis for any -elief in
=od* Whitehead follows Kant in the way that he posits =od0s e+istence ad1uncti&ely,
rather than foundationally* ut for White, head, it is aesthetics, rather than morality, that
forces us to assume the e+istence of =od*
(>9BB:>9=;, 2?2)$ As for the intensit# *ith *hich this
Fada&tationG is felt, 6hitehead sim&l# notes that Fan
intense eE&erience is an aesthetic factG (>929: >9;<, 2;;)$
These aesthetic decisions are singular in ever# caseK
the# cannot be de1 termined in advance, or made
according to an# rule$ /od is not the source of aesthetic
selection for 6hitehead, Iust as he is not the source of
moral ob1 ligation for 8ant$ But the fact of aesthetic
decision im&els 6hitehead to &osit /od, much as the
fact of moral obligation forces 8ant to assume that /od
eEists$ /od is not the origin of creativit#, thenK but he
emerges as a fac1 tor F*hich has to be ta'en account of
in ever# creative &haseG (>92=:>99=, 9A)$ 6hiteheadOs
/od ma# be regarded as a sort of baseline$ Ce embodies
the maEimum of both harmon# and intensit#K and he
&rovides a degree 9ero, in relation to *hich all
&articular harmonies and intensities can be measured$
Cis Fbasic com&leteness of a&&etitionG (>929:>9;<, B>=)
enters as a contrast into the &articular a&&etitions
(desires) of all actual occasions$ /od is the one being
*ho never ma'es an aesthetic selectionK for he &osi1
tivel# &rehends, or aestheticall# a&&reciates, ever#thing
Drather than sin1 gling out certain things in &reference
to others$ But such an act of universal a&&reciation must
itself be a singular occurrence7 F4nfettered conce&tual
valuation, XinPniteO in S&ino9aOs sense of that term, is onl#
&ossible once in the universeK since that creative act is
obIectivel# immortal as an inesca&able condition
characteri9ing creative actionG (2A;)$ 6hiteheadOs /od
is not omni&otent, but he is Finesca&ableG7 no actual
occasion can avoid encoun1 tering him as a datum$
All this ma'es 6hiteheadOs /od into a sort of ultimate
aesthete7 FThe &rimordial a&&etitions *hich Iointl#
constitute /odOs &ur&ose are see'ing in1 tensit#, and not
&reservation$ $ $ $ Ce, in his &rimordial nature, is unmoved
b# love for this &articular, or that &articular$ $ $ $ In the
foundations of his being, /od is indiJerent ali'e to
&reservation and to novelt#$ Ce cares not *hether an
immediate occasion be old or ne*, so far as concerns
derivation from its ances1 tr#$ Cis aim for it is de&th of
satisfaction as an intermediate ste& to*ards the fulPllment
of his o*n being$ $ $ $ Thus /odOs &ur&ose in the creative
advance is the evocation of intensitiesG (>929:>9;<,
>0?)$ There is something ,uite cold here7 something a'in
to 8antian aesthetic disinterest$ 6here S&ino9aOs /od
contem&lates the *orld sub specie aeternitatis,
understanding all &henomena in terms of their ultimate
causes, 6hiteheadOs /od loo's rather to eJects and
conse,uences, unfolding *ithin time, insofar as these
contribute to his o*n self1enIo#ment$
Such is the
diJerence bet*een an Ethics and an Aesthetics$
I canOt sa# that I &articularl# li'e 6hiteheadOs /odK but
then, I donOt su&1 &ose that 6hitehead *ants us to$ +or
even as a Pgure of unlimited afPrmation, /od remains a
singular being, rather than a totali9ing or all1embracing
one$ 6hitehead reminds us that Fever# actual entit#,
including /od, is something individual for its o*n sa'eG
(>929:>9;<, <<)$ This means that /od too is acting for his
o*n sa'eDrather than (as most religions and most
&hiloso&hers have tended to su&&ose) for ours$ In an# case,
the ,uestion of m# o*n li'e or disli'e of /od is irrelevant$
6hat matters is the indis&ensable function that /od &er1
forms in 6hiteheadOs universe$ In &ractice, /od is the
Fgoad to*ard novelt#,G even though novelt# per se leaves
him indiJerent$ And he stimulates and culti1 vates
intensities, even *hen such intensities are inimical to our
&ersistence or survival$
In his ver# restlessness and
relentlessness, /od Pgures the *a# that diJerence can
emerge in an ostensibl# deterministic cosmos, and that
ne*ness can arise out of the recombination of alread#
eEisting elements$ These ,uestions of emergent order, and
of innovation through a&&ro&riation and citation, are ones
that centrall# engage us toda#$ 6hiteheadOs most
abstruse and abstract meta&h#sical formulations remain
stri'ingl# relevant, not Iust (as 6hitehead himself sa#s) to
the Finsistent craving $ $ $ of our immediate actionsG (BA<),
but also to the social, &olitical, and ecological concerns of
our &ostmodern *orld$
24. %elf,en1oyment# is a word, or concept, that Whitehead uses sparingly, -ut
tellingly* In !rocess and "eality, he states that an actual entity considered in reference to
the pri&acy of things is a 9su-1ect0: namely, it is a moment of the genesis of self,en1oyment*#
2his is contrasted with the way in which e&ery actual entity must also -e considered in
reference to the pu-licity of things MaNs a 9super1ect0 #. in this latter respect, the entity is
o-1ecti&ely immortal#Gwhich is to say it is a dead datum $34'4:3465, '54)* !ater, in
)odes of Thought, Whitehead writes more cat, egorically that the notion of life implies a
certain a-soluteness of self,en1oyment* * * * !ife im, plies the a-solute, indi&idual self,
en1oyment arising out of MaN process of appropriation# $34<5:34?5, 3>3)* All entities, =od
included, must -e de/ned in terms of this self,en1oyment*
25. As Whitehead dryly says, =od0s purpose in the creati&e ad&ance is the e&ocation
of in, tensities* 2he e&ocation of societies is purely su-sidiary to this a-solute end#
$34'4:3465, 3(>)* 2his aphorism -ecomes rather chilling when we realize that the
e&ocation of societies# means precisely the self,perpetuation of li&ing organisms such as
6hiteheadOs Ffree and savage creation of conce&tsG
(Stengers 2002b) goes *ell be#ond an#thing that I have
discussed in this boo'$ I have scarcel# consid1 ered, for
instance, 6hiteheadOs im&ortant theor# of &ro&ositions
(cf$ es&e1 ciall# 6hitehead >929:>9;<, ><A@20;) and the
*a#s these serve as Flures for feelingG (2?, <?J$, ><AJ$),
lin'ing the &otential to the actual$ %or have I gone into his
eEtensive reMections on Fh#brid &rehensions,G those
&erce&tions and feelings that have both F&h#sicalG
(material, causal) and Fconce&tualG (men1 tal, &otential, or
h#&othetical) as&ects, and that are crucial, in turn, to his
ac1 counts of Fs#mbolic referenceG (>=<@><B), language,
and the emergence of consciousness$ Moreover, I have
not said nearl# enough about the crucial dis1 tinction
bet*een Factual entitiesG or Factual occasions,G the
ultimate atomistic com&onents of the universe in
6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics, and the aggregations of these
entities that 6hitehead calls Fsocieties,G *hich include
ourselves, and all the things that *e come u&on in the
course of ever#da# eE&erience$ I have also not considered
6hiteheadOs mathematics, or the ,uestion of ho* his
thought relates to modern &h#sics (relativit# and
,uantum mechanics)$ All of these are matters for further
research and elucidation$
M# aim in Without Criteria has been a limited and
s&eciPc one$ I began this boo' counterfactuall#, *ith the
F&hiloso&hical fantas#G of a situation in *hich 6hitehead,
rather than Ceidegger, Fhad set the agenda for &ostmodern
thought$G I have therefore focused on those as&ects of
6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics that might es&eciall# ma3e a
di-erence in ho* *e understand the *orld toda#$ To this
end, I have considered 6hiteheadOs formulations regarding
aesthetics and beaut#, events and becoming, aJect,
causalit#, innovation and creativit#, the nature of life and
the conditions of biological science, and our Fenvisage1
mentG of the ultimate$ I have also traced the
Enlightenment roots of 6hite1 headOs thought7 most
notabl#, its engagement *ith 8antOs critical &roIect, and
its &artici&ation in the modernist endeavor to secularize the
elements of eE&eri1 ence and thought$ And I have lin'ed
crucial as&ects of 6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics to related
movements in the &hiloso&h# of /illes 5eleu9e$ But in doing
all this, I have barel# o&ened the discussion that might
ensue from ta'ing 6hiteheadOs ideas seriousl#$
Indeed, there can be no end to such discussions$ +or
6hiteheadOs thought is ca&acious, o&en, and continuall#
inventiveK it does not reach (and, in &rin1 ci&le, it can
never reach) an# sort of com&letion or self1reMeEive
closure$ 6hitehead continuall# reminds us that no
meta&h#sical formulation is dePn1 itive$ FIn its turn ever#
&hiloso&h# *ill suJer a de&osition,G he sa#s, including his
o*n (>929:>9;<, ;)$ It is a common&lace to sa# that
F&hiloso&h# begins in *onderGK but 6hitehead less
commonl# insists that, Fat the end, *hen &hiloso&hic
thought has done its best, the *onder remainsG
(>9B<:>9=<, >=<)$ 6onder is not dissi&ated b#
&hiloso&hical s&eculation, because eE&lain1 ing things
ade&uately, as 6hiteheadOs &hiloso&h# strives to do,
means giving all &henomena and all eE&eriences their due,
and never eE&laining an# of them a*a#$ Fhiloso&h#
destro#s its usefulness *hen it indulges in brilliant feats of
eE&laining a*a#G (>929:>9;<, >;)$ Against all
reductionism, 6hitehead in1 sists that F*e ma# not &ic'
and choose$ +or us the red glo* of the sunset should be as
much &art of nature as are the molecules and electrical
*aves b# *hich
1.Whitehead0s technical use of the term adequacy is far remo&ed from the common philo,
sophical meaning of this term as a representational correspondence -etween ideas and
things* 7ather, Whitehead de/nes the adequacy# of a philosophic scheme# as meaning
that the te+ture of o-ser&ed e+perience, as illustrating the philosophic scheme, is such that
all related e+perience must e+hi-it the same te+ture# $34'4:3465, 8)* As Didier De-aise
glosses this pas, sage, the scheme must -e 9adequate0 not to o-ser&ed e+perience, which
would return us to the idea of correspondence to a state of things or to an e&ent, -ut rather
to related experiences* 2he relationship is trans&ersal: adequacy -ecomes a relation among
portions of experiences# $De, -aise '((?, '4A<(. translation mine)* 2here are continual
relays, or resonances, -etween the e+perience of constructing the philosophic scheme,#
and other, concurrent e+periences. the aim of philosophy is to e+tend these relays and
resonances as far as possi-le, so that e&erything e+perienced may -e comprehended
within them* Adequacy# has to do with e+tension, rather than with correspondence* It
is ne&er gi&en in ad&ance, or once and for all. rather, it continually needs to -e
constructed, in the ongoing process of philosophical speculation*
men of science *ould eE&lain the &henomenonG
(>920:200A, 29)$ The &he1 nomenologist onl# considers
the red glo* of the sunsetK the &h#sicist onl# considers
the mechanics of electromagnetic radiation$ But
6hitehead insists on a meta&h#sics that embraces both$
+or F&hiloso&h# can eEclude nothingG (>9B<:>9=<, 2)$
This is not Iust a matter of &hiloso&hical method$
hiloso&hical s&ecu1 lation has no Pnalit#, because the
*orld *ithin *hich (as *ell as about *hich) the
&hiloso&her s&eculates has no Pnalit#$ 6hiteheadOs
thought has im&or1 tant conse&uences, but it does not
oJer us an# Prm conclusions$ Ever#thing *ithin it is
subIect to revision$ A thought that aims at ade,uac#
cannot be ahistorical, and it cannot remain static$ +or Fno
actualit# is a static fact$ The historic character of the
universe belongs to its essenceG (6hitehead >9B<: >9=<,
90)$ Indeed, ade,uac# is a goal that *e *ill never full#
reach$ The best *e can do is to ma'e Fan as#m&totic
a&&roachG to it (>929:>9;<, A), in the form of an
Fa&&roEimationG (>B)$ Even at the end of his ver# last
lecture, FImmortalit#,G 6hitehead is still *arning us
against Fthe absurd trust in the ade,uac# of our
'no*ledge$G +or Fthe eEactnessG that rational discourse
la#s claim to Fis a fa'eG (>9?>b, =99@;00)$ There *ill
al*a#s be ne* data to con1 sider, and ne* conteEts to
ta'e into account$ F6hen an#thing is &laced in another
situation, it changes$ $ $ $ In fact, there is not a sentence,
or a *ord, *ith a meaning *hich is inde&endent of the
circumstances under *hich it is utteredG (=99)$
This might seem to be Iust a common&lace of
t*entieth1centur# (and no* t*ent#1Prst1centur#) thought$
Surel# the battle against essentialism, and against
conteEt1inde&endent theories of meaning, *as *on long
ago$ 6hite1 headOs diagnosis of the fallacies of Fmis&laced
concretenessG (>929:>9;<, ;) and Fsim&le locationG
(>B;), his reIection of FsubIect1&redicate forms of
thoughtG (;), and his insistence on the limitations of
&erce&tion in the mode of F&resentational immediac#G
(=>J$ and passim) run &arallel to the criti,ues &roJered in
various *a#s b# Ceidegger and b# 6ittgenstein, and
more re1 centl# b# 5errida and b# 0ort#Dnot to mention
alread# in the nineteenth centur# b# %iet9sche, *ho
moc'ed traditional &hiloso&hersO Fhatred of the ver# idea
of becoming,G and *orried that F*e are not getting rid of
/od be1 cause *e still believe in grammarG (%iet9sche
>9=<, >=, >9)$ All these thin'ers reIect essentialism,
substantialism, &ositivism, and the notion of sim&le &res1
ence$ The# greatl# diJer, ho*ever, in terms of style and
manner7 *hich is to
sa#, in their language, in the logical forms the# use, and in
the *a#s that the# ma'e their arguments$ This means that
the# diJer, above all, in terms of the conse&uences that
can be dra*n from their criti,ues$ The arguments of these
thin'ers ma# run &arallel in terms of logic, but
pramatically the# are ,uite distinct$
+or 6hitehead, the insistence on ever1changing
FcircumstancesG and conteEts does not mean that
&hiloso&hical discussion must end u& in a ho&eless a&oria,
as the deconstructionists maintain$ %or does it im&l# that
&hiloso&h# is nothing more than a &olite but ultimatel#
inconse,uential Fconversation,G and that the onl# F&oint
of edif#ing &hiloso&h# is to 'ee& the conversation going,G
as 0ichard 0ort# suggests (>9<>, B;;)$ Hf course ever#
meta&h#sical discourse is subIect to *hat *e no* call
deconstructionK for as 6hitehead cat1 egoricall# states, Fif
*e consider an# scheme of &hiloso&hic categories as one
com&leE assertion, and a&&l# to it the logicianOs
alternative, true or false, the ans*er must be that the
scheme is falseG (>929:>9;<, <)$ This is unavoidable, since
Fmeta&h#sical categories are not dogmatic statements of
the obvious$G 0ather, at best, Fthe# are tentative
formulations of the ultimate generalitiesG (<)$ But the
inevitable failure of these Ftentative formulationsG to &ass
logical muster tells us more about the limited &ertinence
of merel# logical criteria than it does about the *ea'ness
of meta&h#sical s&eculation &er se$ 6hitehead started his
career as a logicianK it is from his dee& 'no*ledge of the
subIect that he is able to Fdismiss deductive logic as a
maIor instrument for meta&h#s1 ical discussionG and assert
that Flogic &resu&&oses meta&h#sics,G rather than the
reverse (6hitehead >9B<:>9=<, >0;)$
6hitehead insists that thought is stimulated, rather
than &aral#9ed, *hen it is &ushed to its limit, and *hen
its Ftentative formulationsG brea' do*n under the
&ressure of changed circumstances, or sim&l# in the face
of additional evidence$ Such is the &oint at *hich ne*
conce&ts, and ne* cate1 gories, need to be invented$
hiloso&hical s&eculation then becomes an ur1 gent
necessit#, and not Iust a source of edif#ing conversation$
6e live in a
2.In her article eyond Lon&ersation# $'(('a), Isa-elle %tengers considers Whitehead0s
efforts toward the fa-rication of peace,ma;ing propositions# $'8>) through which
oppositions can -e transformed into contrasts* %he insists that this pro1ect necessarily
in&ol&es the challenge
*orld, as 6hitehead sa#s, in *hich Fthe ver# meaning of
life is in doubtG (>9B<:>9=<, >A<)$ If this *as alread# true
in 6hiteheadOs o*n time, it is even more urgentl# the
case toda#, as *e stand on the threshold of radicall# ne*
technologies for mani&ulating life at the biochemical
level$ The meaning of life is radicall# in doubt, more than
ever beforeK &hiloso&h# has the crucial tas' of
constructing this meaningDor better, man# such
6hitehead &resents us *ith a highl# s#stemati9ed
&hiloso&h#, and he see's after Fthe most general
s#stemati9ation of civili9ed thoughtG (>929:>9;<, >;)$ But
he also insists that, before an# *or' of s#stemati9ation
can even be1 gin, the F&rimar# stageG of &hiloso&h# is a
&rocess of FassemblaeG (>9B<:>9=<, 2)$ hiloso&hical
s&eculation collects the most heterogeneous materials
and &uts them together in the most uneE&ected
conPgurations$ It is something li'e the &ractice of collage
in modernist &aintingK or betterDto use an analog# not
from 6hiteheadOs time, but from our o*nDit is li'e a 5QOs
&ractice of sam&ling and remiEing$ B# eEtracting
F&atterned contrastsG (>929:>9;<, >>?) from its
assemblages, &hiloso&h# *or's to*ard Fthe
entertainment of no1 tions of large, ade,uate generalit#G
(>9B<:>9=<, B)$ +or in the broadest sense, Fmeta&h#sics is
nothing but the descri&tion of the generalities *hich a&&l#
to all the details of &racticeG (>929:>9;<, >B)$
of not accepting the facile charms of academic con&ersation# $'85)* 7ather, what is at sta;e
is a philosophical construction or fa-rication, an ecological production of actual
togetherness, where 9ecological0 means that the aim is not toward a unity -eyond
differences, which would reduce those differences through a goodwill reference to a-stract
principles of togetherness, -ut toward a creation of concrete, interloc;ed, asymmetrical,
and always partial graspings# $'85A'84)* 7orty0s edifying con&ersation# is premised
upon the notion that nothing, -e, yond such a goodwill reference to a-stract principles
of togetherness,# is really at sta;e in philosophical discussions* Eor Whitehead, howe&er,
philosophical disputes are intrinsically important, -ecause they focus our attention on the
often unnoticed -ac;ground conte+ts and assumptions that frame our e+istence in the
world* 2hese conte+ts and assumptions need e+, plicit consideration, -ecause there are no
-rute, self,contained matters of fact, capa-le of -e, ing understood apart from
interpretation as an element in a system# $Whitehead 34'4:3465, 38)* 2his is why it is so
crucial that, in the course of systematizing and generalizing, we must incorporate
antagonistic perspecti&es without e+plaining any of them away, and also without
reconciling them in a spurious su-lation or higher unity*
>A= >A;
These generalities are not given to us in advanceK
the# need to be fabri1 cated or discovered in the course
of &hiloso&hical s&eculation$ That is *h# assemblage is so
im&ortant$ Hr, as 6hitehead describes the &rocess *ith a
dif1 ferent meta&hor, Fthe true method of discover# is li'e
the Might of an aero1 &lane$ It starts from the ground of
&articular observationK it ma'es a Might in the thin air of
imaginative generali9ationK and it again lands for rene*ed
ob1 servation rendered acute b# rational inter&retationG
(>929:>9;<, ?)$ These re1 &eated Mights and landings
allo* for the addition of ne* elements into the
assemblage, and for the continual eE&ansion of meanings
and conteEts$ hilo1 so&hical assemblage is itself a
&articular sort of &ractice7 one that is of limited duration,
and that is al*a#s &artial and incom&lete$ Its value lies in
the *a# that it hel&s us to rene* other &ractices, those of
the seemingl# more &recise Fs&ecial sciences,G b#
allo*ing us to Fchallenge the half1truths constituting the
scientiPc Prst &rinci&lesG (>0), and to &ut them into broader
&ers&ective$ 5eleu9e and /uattari, no less than
6hitehead, &ractice the art of &hiloso&hical
And 6hiteheadOs sense of &hiloso&h# as
F&roviding generic notions *hich add lucidit# to our
a&&rehension of the facts of eE&eri1 enceG (>929:>9;<,
>0) is not far from 5eleu9e and /uattariOs dePnition of
&hiloso&h# as Fthe art of forming, inventing, and
fabricating conce&tsG (>99A, 2)$ In both cases, the aim is
not a totali9ation, a dePnitive tracing of limits, or a Pnal
theor# of ever#thing$ It is rather an eE&ansion of
&ossibilities, an invention of ne* methods and ne*
&ers&ectives, an active FentertainmentG of things,
feelings, ideas, and &ro&ositions that *ere &reviousl#
3. &ssem#lage is the usual "nglish translation of Deleuze and =uattari0s term
agencement $3456, >(<ff* and passim)* An agencement is de/ned as a con1unction of
-odies, of actions and pas, sions, an intermingling of -odies reacting to one another,# and
also of acts and statements, of incorporeal transformations attri-uted to -odies# $55)*
Manuel De !anda generalizes these formulations into what he calls assem#lage theory,
emphasizing multiple, heterogeneous, and changea-le relations of e+teriority# $De !anda
'((?, 3(ff* and passim)* Whitehead0s use of the term assem#lage is far less systematic.
indeed, he uses it precisely for that stage in philo, sophical speculation that precedes
systematization* Jonetheless, my association of White, head0s assem#lage with Deleuze
and =uattari0s agencement0assem#lage is 1usti/ed in that -oth in&ol&e the construction of
relations among heterogeneous terms that remain heterogeneous to one another e&en
within these relations*
to us$ The &oint of ma'ing generali9ations, or of inventing
conce&ts, is not to &rove a thesis, but to eE&and and
stimulate thought$ Both 6hitehead and 5eleu9e and
/uattari see' to discover ne* facets of eE&erience7 to
*or' out the notions and trace the relations that allo* us
to encounter as&ects of the *orld, and things *ithin the
*orld, to *hich *e have never &aid attention beforeDor
even *hich have never come into eEistence before$ As
6hitehead sa#s, &hiloso&h# Fma'eUsV it easier to conceive
the inPnite variet# of s&eciPc instances *hich rest
unreali9ed in the *omb of natureG (>929:>9;<, >;)$
0egarded in this *a#, &hiloso&h# is turned to*ard the
&otential (or *hat 5eleu9e calls the virtual) and is
concerned *ith the &rocess of actuali9ing this &otential$ As
6hitehead sa#s, Fa ne* idea introduces a ne* alternativeG
(>>)$ It oJers us a ne* *a# of a&&roaching and
understanding eE&erience$ In doing this, it is itself a ne*
eE&erienceK and it also ma'es additional ne* eE&eriences
&ossible$ hiloso&h# is, then, *hat 6hitehead calls an
FeE&erimental adven1 tureG (9), or an Fadventure of ideasG
(>9BB:>9=;)$ And even, or es&eciall#, in the grimmest of
times, there is good reason to &ursue this adventure$
If &hiloso&h# is an adventure, involving the creation
of ne* conce&ts, this is because ever# as&ect of life and
thought alread# is (and al*a#s must be) creative$
6hitehead insists that creation is not a rarit#K nor is it
something that ha&&ened onl# once, at the beginning of
time$ 0ather, the &rocess of cre1 ation is essential to the
*orld as a *holeK it is a generic feature of eEistence as
such$ Hf course, there are al*a#s diJerent degrees of
creativit#K a living organ1 ism is more creative, and
generates considerabl# more novelt#, than a stone$ But
even a stone is not a stolid, motionless entit#$ It is rather Fa
societ# of se&1 arate molecules in violent agitationG
(>929:>9;<, ;<)$ And these molecules, or the atoms and
subatomic &articles com&osing them, are themselves
event1 ful, *hich is to sa# creative$ +or 6hitehead, F
Xcreativit#O is the universal of universals characteri9ing
ultimate matter of factG (2>)K it a&&lies to ever# ac1 tual
occasion, *ithout eEce&tion$ Indeed, each actual occasion
is creative in its ver# nature$ +or each ne* occasion is Fa
novel entit# diverse from an# entit# in the Xman#O *hich it
uniPes,G and out of *hich it emerges (2>)$ The Fcre1 ative
advance into novelt#G is thereb# Fthe ultimate
meta&h#sical groundG of ever#thing (BA9)$
It is *orth reMecting on ho* strange and untimel#
6hiteheadOs attitude is$ In the course of the &ast centur#,
*e have learned to distrust an# sort of foundationalism,
and hence an# tal' of universals, ultimates, or grounds$ 6e
Pnd nothing more disre&utable than unfettered
meta&h#sical s&eculation$ ositivist and anti&ositivist
thin'ers ali'e &roclaim the end of 6estern
There *ould seem to be onl# three
alternatives o&en to us to1 da#$ Either *e acce&t scientiPc
reductionism, *ith its claim to derive ever#1 thing from
the hard facts of ,uantum &h#sics and evolutionar#
biolog#K or *e Fannul 3no"lede in order to ma'e room
for faithG (8ant >99=, B>), em1 bracing some variet# of
religious fundamentalism, ne* age s&iritualit#, or
business1management self1hel& ideolog# that gives
meaning to our other*ise rudderless livesK or *e su&&ose
that nothing can reall# be 'no*n, that ever# claim to
'no*ledge is a delusion, and that Frealit#G is Iust an
arbitrar# lin1 guistic construction$ In this latter case, it
scarcel# matters *hether *e cele1 brate the vertiginous
freedom of &ostmodern indetermination, as some of
5erridaOs e&igones do, or *hether, to the contrar#, *e
de&lore the FeEtermi1 nation of the realG (Baudrillard) and
the Fdecline of s#mbolic efPcac#G (Vive')$ All these
a&&roaches share the same basic assum&tion7 that in
our highl# technologi9ed, thoroughl# disenchanted *orld,
meta&h#sical s&eculation is no longer &ossible$ It is
re&laced either b# &ositivist reductionism, b# blind faith,
or b# inPnite relativism$ In all three cases, meta&h#sics is
overDeven if *e are ironicall# condemned, as 5errida
suggests, to live out the indePnite &ost&onement of this
closure, and never to be done *ith *hat is nonetheless
alread# Pnished$
6hitehead remains cheerfull# indiJerent to all these
alternatives$ In1 stead, he fran'l# and full# embraces the
&roIect of Fs&eculative &hiloso&h#G (>929:>9;<, B@>;)$
6hatOs more, his s&eculations issue in a meta&h#sics that
reIects the reductionism of &h#sical science, and #et
remains thoroughl# and robustl# realist$ Co* can this
beN ItOs not that 6hitehead is naive, sheltered, or
detachedK he is full# involved in the great convulsions of
earl#1 t*entieth1centur# life, and he recogni9es the same
uncertainties and instabili1
4. 2he o&ercoming of metaphysics is the one pro1ect that is shared -y modernist
thin;ers as an, tagonistic to one another as Larnap and Beidegger* 2he greatest continuity
in Wittgenstein0s career is that, in -oth his early and his late thought, he see;s to pro&ide a
therapy to cure us of metaphysics, which he concei&es as a sort of disease* And the re1ection
of metaphysics is still the ma1or concern of postmodern thin;ers as otherwise different as
Derrida and 7orty*
ties as do his contem&oraries$ In &articular, he is acutel#
a*are of the dilem1 mas that led to the Flinguistic turnG of
so much t*entieth1centur# &hiloso&h#$ Ce 'no*s that
FdePciencies of language stand in the *a# ineEorabl#G of
an# attem&t to get at Fmeta&h#sical Prst &rinci&lesG (A)$
Language Fbrea's do*n &recisel# at the tas' of eE&ressing
in eE&licit form the larger generalitiesDthe ver#
generalities *hich meta&h#sics see's to eE&ress$G In
conse,uence, no lin1 guistic &ro&osition can ever Frefer to
the universe in all its detail$G But Fa &ro&osition can
embod# &artial truth,G and to that eEtent it can still be
useful (>>)$ This is *h# 6hitehead reIects 6ittgensteinOs
famous claim that Fthe limits of my lanuae mean the
limits of m# *orldG (6ittgenstein 200>, ?$=, ?=)$
Language, as a limited tool, is an em&irical &art of the
*orld to *hich it refers, rather than a transcendental
condition of that *orld$ And there are other *a#s,
besides the linguistic one, of &rehending the *orld, or
more &re1 cisel# entities in the *orld$
6hitehead therefore sees the &erilous situation of
his times as an o&1 &ortunit#, rather than a crisis$ 6here
others feel shoc' and &aral#sis *hen the# encounter the
modern *orld, 6hitehead Pnds o&enness and &oten1
tialit#$ And *here others fear that the# are staring into
the ab#ss, he sim&l# sees creativit# at *or'$ 6hitehead
does not den# the radical contingenc# that is inherent
to language, and that has become a hallmar' of all
as&ects of modern life$ But he suggests that this
contingenc#, this condition of groundlessness, is not a
reason to des&air$ 0ather, it should itself be ta'en as a
sort of meta&h#sical ground$ Evanescence, becoming,
incessant novelt#, and F&er&etual &erishingG do not
ma'e reference and grounding im&ossi1 ble$ 0ather,
these eE&eriences are themselves our fundamental
&oints of reference$
In this *a#, 6hitehead fulPlls Brian !ant*ell SmithOs
demand for a meta&h#sics Fthat is grounded, sim&liciter,
*ithout being grounded in , for an# G (Smith >99=,
B;0K cf$ <B)$ !reativit# is an Fultimate &rinci&leG and a
universal ground, onl# becauseDand &recisel# becauseD
it is feature1 less and neutral, entirel# F*ithout a
character of its o*nG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2>, B>)$
Being grounded in creativit# ma# be o&&osed both to
being entirel# ungrounded, and to being grounded in
an#thing in &articu1 lar$ As an Fultimate notion of the
highest generalit#G (B>), creativit# is the one thing that
can ade,uatel# res&ond to the absolute singularit#Dthe
con1 tingenc#, novelt#, and irre&laceabilit#Dof ever#
actual occasion of eE&erience$
The atomistic com&onents of the *orld are each entirel#
uni,ue, *hich is *h# the# can onl# be characteri9ed b#
means of a conce&t that, for its &art, is altogether bland
and generic$ And there can be no intermediate instances
bet*een these eEtremes$ To &osit a mediation bet*een the
FultimateG and its Faccidental embodimentsG (;) *ould be
in fact to establish some sort of &riv1 ileged , a
substance or a categor# u&on *hich things *ould be
grounded, and in relation to *hich the# could be
diJerentiall# ran'ed$
In the absence of a mediating term, no such overall
ran'ing is &ossi1 ble$ There is no criterion that can serve
as the stable and obIective basis for a s#stem of
Iudgments$ This is *h# the onl# form of valuation, or
Fgraded envisagementG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, ><9,
citing >92?:>9=;, >;=), that 6hitehead acce&ts is an
aesthetic one$ +or aesthetic Iudgments are singular,
unre&eatable, and ungenerali9able$ The# ma# be
e#emplary, as 8ant sug1 gestsK but the# cannot &rovide
an actual rule to be follo*ed (8ant >9<;, >;?, ><=@
><;)$ Hr as 6hitehead &uts it, Fthere is not Iust one ideal
XorderO *hich all actual entities should attain and fail to
attain$ In each case there is an ideal &eculiar to each
&articular actual entit#$ $ $ $ The notion of one ideal
arises from the disastrous overmorali9ation of thought
under the in1 Muence of fanaticism, or &edantr#G
(>929:>9;<, <A)$ 6hitehead al*a#s o&&oses the actual
to the idealK but Iust as actualities are all diJerent, so
must the ideals be as *ell$ This is *h# the onl# ideals are
aesthetic ones$ As *e have seen, in 6hiteheadOs
meta&h#sics ever# actual occasion evaluates the *orld
aestheticall#, according to the im&eratives of
FSubIective Car1 mon#G and FSubIective Intensit#G (2;)$
Even /od onl# ma'es singular, aes1 thetic evaluations,
rather than categorical or legislative Iudgments$ Cis sole
goals are the aesthetic ones of intensit# (>0?) and
Fconce&tual harmoni9a1 tionG (BA=)$ +or 6hitehead, the
aim of the *orldD*hich is to sa#, the FsubIective aimG
of ever# entit# *ithin the *orld, /od includedDis Beaut#,
rather than /oodness or Truth (and also rather than
%iet9schean *ill1to1 &o*er, or 5ar*inian self1re&lication)$
FAn# s#stem of things *hich in an# *ide sense is
beautiful is to that eEtent IustiPed in its eEistenceG
(6hitehead >9BB:>9=;, 2=?)$ 6hitehead thus &ro&oses
an aesthetics of eEistence, rather than an ethicsK even
more, he &ro&oses an aesthetics of the Beautiful, rather
than one of the Sublime$
5oubtless this is the as&ect of 6hiteheadOs
&hiloso&h# that *e Pnd hardest to acce&t toda#$ 6e tend
to be sus&icious of aesthetic ideals, and *e
feel called rather to heed the demands of ethics$ 6hatOs
more, 6hiteheadOs o*n aesthetics of beaut# and harmon#,
*ith its em&hasis on FsubIective forms $ $ $ severall# and
Iointl# inter*oven in &atterned contrastsG (>9BB:>9=;,
2?2), has an oddl# retrograde, 2ictorian cast to it, and
seems out of touch *ith the strenuous art of his modernist
contem&oraries and their successors$
6ho to1 da# *ould
dare to assert that Fthe teleolog# of the 4niverse is
dedicated to the &roduction of Beaut#G (2=?)N In shar&
contrast *ith 6hitehead, most aes1 thetic theorists and
innovative artists of the t*entieth centur# tend to dis&ar1
age the ver# idea of beaut#$ Modernism sho*s a mar'ed
&reference, instead, for the sublime$ There are good
reasons for this$ The sublime is about im1 mensit#,
eEcess, and dis&ro&ortion, *hereas the beautiful is about
harmon# and &ro&ortion$ The sublime is concerned *ith
,uestioning the limits of re&resentation and form,
*hereas the beautiful is entirel# contained *ithin, and
satisPed *ith, those limits$ The sublime is disru&tive,
transformative, and &otentiall# redem&tive, *hereas the
beautiful is staid, conservative, and recu1 &erative$ As 8ant
himself &uts it, Fin &resenting the sublime in nature the
mind feels aitated, *hile in an aesthetic Iudgment about
the beautiful in nature it is in restful contem&lationG
(>9<;, >>?)$ All this ma'es the sublime seem
5.Whitehead himself seems to &alue mostly nineteenth,century art* Be de&otes an entire
chapter of Science and the )odern World to the 7omantic reaction# against mechanism
and positi&ism $34'>:34?6, 6>A48)* Be especially cherishes, and identi/es with, @ercy
ysshe %helley, who com-ines a deep a-sorption * * * in scienti/c ideas# with a
re1ection of the a-stract materialism of science# in the eighteenth and ninetheenth
centuries $58A5?)* ut Whitehead offers no compara-le discussion of aesthetic
modernism in relation to the new physics with which it was contemporaneous* Despite
his close contact with =ertrude %tein, he has nothing to say a-out her wor;, or that
of any other of his own artistic contemporaries*
2his is pro-a-ly why Lharles Ilson, the twentieth,century poet with the deepest
af/nities to Whitehead, disparages Whitehead0s aesthetics, e&en while enthusiastically
adopt, ing his metaphysics: he0s 1ust the greatest, if you read only his philosophy* If you
read him on anything else, especially culture andor MsicN -eauty, you realize that old saw, a
man can0t do e&erythingC# $Ilson 3446, <(')* My than;s go to arrett Watten for
pointing me to this citation, and more generally to the su-1ect of Ilson0s interest in
>?2 >?B
&rofoundl# modern$
The beautiful, on the other hand,
seems com&lacent, conventional, and old1fashioned$
I cannot sa# that the situation is made an# better b# a
certain recent re1 cu&eration of the ideal of beaut#
(Bec'le# and Sha&iro >99<K Brand 2000)$ The conteEt of
this FreturnG to beaut# is an eEceedingl# disagreeable one$
Hn the one hand, beaut# toda# has become a mere
adIunct of advertising and &roduct designDIust as
FinnovationG has become a managerial bu99*ord, and
creativit# has become Fa value in itself G for the cor&orate
sector (Thrift 200?, >BB)$ ThereOs scarcel# a commodit#
out there that doesnOt &roclaim its beaut# as a selling
&oint, together *ith its novelt# and the degree of creativit#
that ostensibl# *ent into develo&ing it$ +ree1mar'et
economists li'e 2irginia ostrel (200A) celebrate this state
of aJairs as the a&ogee of consumer choiceK in the
mar'et&lace, she sa#s, *e freel# eE&ress our individal
&references b# &a#ing for Faesthetics,G or Floo' and feel$G
Hn the other hand, and at the same time, beaut# is
eEalted as an eter1 nal value, an essential attribute of
great art, something that miraculousl# transcends, and
nulliPes, all social and &olitical (let alone merel#
commercial) considerations$ %eoconservative art critics
li'e Cilton 8ramer (>9<?) and 0oger 8imball (200A) see'
to rehabilitate beaut# as &art of their cam&aign to &urge
American culture of diversit#, &rogressivism, and dissent$
Beaut# in this sense is &roclaimed to be absolutel#
o&&osed to the mar'et&laceDthough it gets mar'eted
nonetheless, in the form of the high &rices commanded b#
art Fmaster&ieces,G as *ell as in the *a# it serves as a
mar'er of discernment and taste, *hich is to sa# of the
diJerentiations of social class (Bourdieu 200;)$
In such circumstances, it is hard to disagree *ith
+redric Qameson *hen he sa#s that Fall beaut# toda# is
meretricious and the a&&eal to it b#
6.Ir e&en postmodern, at least under certain understandings of postmodernism: most no,
ta-ly, the one proposed -y Fean,EranTois !yotard $3443, 344<)* I discuss the modernist
prefer, ence for the su-lime o&er the -eautiful, and propose a Jietzschean re&ersal of
perspecti&e# that would instead pri&ilege -eauty o&er su-limity, in my article eauty
!ies in the "ye# $%ha&iro '((')*
7. A reDection on this situation is the starting,point for my ne+t -oo;, currently in
prepara, tion: The &ge of &esthetics*
contem&orar# &seudo1aestheticism is an ideological
manoeuvre and not a cre1 ative resourceG (>99<, >B?)$ +or
Qameson, the modernist sublime encom&assed FartOs
vocation to reach the AbsoluteG (<A), its endeavor to &ut
forth Ftruth claimsG *hich are not those of the dominant
order (<=), and its ,uest for *hat 0oland Barthes calls bliss,
or (ouissance (Barthes >9;?)$ These ambitions are ab1
Iured, Qameson sa#s, b# a &ost1 or antimodernist
contem&orar# art &ractice that is concerned *ith beaut#D
in the form of decoration and designDinstead of truth,
that see's F&leasure and gratiPcationG instead of (ouissance
(Qameson >99<, <=), and that has been entirel#
Fassimilated into commodit# &roductionG (>BA)$ Beaut#
ma# have had a Fsubversive roleG in the late nineteenth
centur#, *hen it *as Fde&lo#ed $ $ $ as a &olitical *ea&onG
against the Fcom&lacent materialistG &retensions of Fa
societ# marred b# nascent commodiPcationG (>BA)$ But this
can no longer be the case toda#, *hen Fthe image is the
commodit#,G *ithout a&&eal or remainder (>B?)$
If I am to insist u&on 6hiteheadOs aestheticism, then I
must do so in a manner that ta'es these develo&ments
into accountDrather than ignoring them or eE&laining
them a*a#$ 6hiteheadOs interest in the beautiful, to the
eEclusion of the sublime, and his claim that FBeaut# is a
*ider, and more fun1 damental, notion than TruthG
(>9BB:>9=;, 2=?) must be maintained, not in s&ite of the
current ca&italist recu&eration of the idea of beaut#, but
&recisel# on account of itDor at least in recognition of it$
%o*, &hiloso&hical conce&ts li'e Fbeaut#G and
Fcreativit#G are for 6hitehead entirel# generic notions$
That is to sa#, the# a&&l# univocall# and indiJerentl# to all
entities and to all forms of eEistence$ The# do not have
an# &rivileged relation to, or an# s&ecial role to &la#
*ithin, the ca&italist mode of &roduction$ The# are e,uall#
valid and im&ortant for feudal societ#, or tribal hunter1
gatherer societ#K or for that matter, for a Fsociet#G of
bees, or of bacteria, or even one of stones or of neu1
trinos$ %o &articular &olitical and economic arrangementD
indeed, no Fsoci1 et#G in 6hiteheadOs eE&ansive use of this
termDcan claim &rivileged access to something that is a
characteristic of being in general, in all its instances$
6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics cannot be &artisan or &oliticall#
one1sided, because it is not even es&eciall# human1
centered in the Prst &lace$ F%o entit# can be divorced
from the notion of creativit#$ An entit# is at least a
&articular form ca&able of infusing its o*n &articularit#
into creativit#$ An actual entit#, or a &hase of an actual
entit#, is more than thatK but, at least, it is thatG
(6hitehead >929:>9;<, 2>B)$
This means that 6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics cannot be
applied to &articu1 lar social and &olitical circumstances$ It
does not command us, and it does not ma'e ethical
demands u&on us$ It does not ma'e Iudgments of
legitimac#$ It certainl# does not give us *arrant to
congratulate ourselves over the crucial role that creativit#
&la#s in &ostmodern mar'eting, much less to celebrate
ca&ital1 ism for unleashing its continual *aves of Fcreative
destructionG (Schum&eter >9=2, <>J$)$ But also, and b#
the same logic, 6hiteheadOs meta&h#sics does not give us
an# grounds to condemn ca&italismDas I *ould *ant to do
Dfor &urve#ing a denatured beaut#, or for &romoting an
inauthentic and sadl# lim1 ited version of creativit#$ I can
onl# ma'e such a condemnation on m# o*n ac1 count, and
from m# o*n &ers&ective$ +or it is onl# in the singular
FdecisionG of a &articular actual entit# that Ffact is
confronted *ith alternativesG (6hitehead >929:>9;<, ><9,
citing >92?:>9=;, >;=), or that realit# is critici9ed on the
basis of Fideal &ossibilitiesG (>9BB:>9=;, 2>0)$ And it is onl#
rarel#, in vanish1 ingl# fe* instances of such decision, that
Fthe eE&licitness of negation, *hich is the &eculiar
characteristic of consciousness,G comes to the
foreground (>929:>9;<, 2;B@2;A)$
The criti,ue in *hich I *ould li'e to engage is
therefore a matter of appetition, rather than one of
meta&h#sical authori9ation, or of an ethical im&erative$
There is no a&&eal be#ond the Faversions and adversionsG
(>929: >9;<, B2) that are felt in ever# immediate instance
of eE&erience$ 6hitehead dePnes Fa&&etitionG as the
condition of Fimmediate matter of fact including in itself a
&rinci&le of unrest, involving reali9ation of *hat is not and
ma# beG (B2)$ That is to sa#, a&&etition is rooted in
Fstubborn fact,G even as it see's to alter or transform that
fact$ A&&etition is al*a#s circumstantial and eEce&1
tional, for it is onl# the striving, or the &roIection, of one
&articular entit#$
Each actual occasion is an endeavor to
change the *orld, in the ver# &rocess of constituting itself$
And each actual occasion does in fact change the *orld,
8. 2his is e&en the case when the particular entity in question is =od* =od0s
primordial ap, petition,# Whitehead says, is the -asis of all order# $34'4:3465, <86),
-ecause it in&ol&es the complete conceptual &aluation of all eternal o-1ects# $<')* 2his
means that =od0s appe, tition is a desire, or a cra&ing, toward the actualization of all
potentialities, e&en incompossi-le ones* ut this cra&ing can only -e e+pressed and
satis/ed in the immediacy of /nite actual oc, casions* Fust one potentiality is made actual
at a time* =od is completed -y the indi&idual,
at least to the eEtent of adding itself to the *orld, as
something ne*$ This is *h# a&&etition must be conceived
in terms of an aesthetic of eEistence, rather than
subIected to an ethics of obligation and lac'$ A&&etition is
dedicated to creating the Fa&&earanceG that Fresults from
the fusion of the ideal *ith the actual7DThe light that
never *as, on sea or landG (>9BB:>9=;, 2>>)$
In contrast to these aesthetic &rocesses of
com&arison, ideali9ation, and transformation, 6hiteheadOs
Fgeneralities,G or generic notions, are not subIect to
negation or eEce&tion$ The# cannot serve as ideals, or as
normative criteria$ 6hat the# can do is &rovide us *ith a
conce&tual bac'ground, or *ith a Fs#s1 tem of general
ideas in terms of *hich ever# element of our eE&erience
can be inter&retedG (>929:>9;<, B)$ That is to sa#,
6hiteheadOs generic notions can assist us to discern,
more full# and more &recisel#, the sha&e of the actualit#
*ithin *hich *e Pnd ourselves$ And this actualit# also
includes the virtualit#D the &otential for change and
diJerenceDthat lur's *ithin it, or that haunts it$ +or ever#
actual entit# Freall# eE&eriences a future *hich must be
actual, al1 though the com&leted actualities of that future
are undeterminedG (2>?)$ In this *a#, *e can go on to
evaluate our actual situation, to &raise it or condemn it, to
negativel# &rehend it and see' to change it7 not on general
meta&h#sical grounds, but in vie* of this obIective
indetermination, and on the more ur1 gent and more
immediate grounds &rovided b# our &rehensions, our
feelings, and our a&&etitions$
I can &ut this in more s&eciPc terms$ 6hitehead
himself does not oJer us an# conce&ts of directl# &olitical
im&ort$ Ce has nothing in &articular to sa# about
ca&italismK his &olitics, though moderatel# left of center,
*ere cer1 tainl# not MarEist$
Ce does not contribute in an#
*a# to a &olitico1aesthetic
Duent satisfactions of /nite fact# $<86), in the immediacy of the concrescent su-1ect * * *
constituted -y its li&ing aim at its own self,constitution# $'88)* 2he consequent nature of
=od# is the sum of all these actualizations, as they are preser&ed in their o-1ecti&e
immortal, ity#. -ut for this &ery reason, =od is ne&er /nished, ne&er total or complete*
9. In some -rief Auto-iographical Jotes,# written late in his life, Whitehead says: My
po, litical opinions were, and are, on the !i-eral side, as against the Lonser&ati&es* I am
now writ, ing in terms of "nglish party di&isions* 2he !i-eral @arty has now M3483N
practically &anished. and in "ngland my &ote would -e gi&en for the moderate side of the
!a-our @arty# $White, head 34>3a)*
>?= >?;
Iudgment such as the one Qameson ma'es about the role
of the a&&eal to beaut# in late ca&italism$ But 6hitehead
does &rovide a Fcategoreal schemeG
(><) *ithin *hich such a Iudgment can usefull# be framed
and articulated$ Hf course, Qameson himself does not
actuall# invo'e this scheme$ But it is never1 theless
note*orth# that QamesonOs criti,ue turns on the ,uestion of
*hether the contem&orar# invocation of beaut# can be
mobili9ed as a Fcreative resource$G !reativit# remains a
central concern for Qameson, in s&ite of the *a# that
business and mar'eting have hiIac'ed the term$
More generall#, 6hiteheadOs generic formulations and
aesthetic insights might lead us to ,uestion the lin'
bet*een creativit# and the Pgure of the entre&reneurDa
lin' so ubi,uitous, and so seemingl# self1evident, in our so1
ciet# toda# that even artists (as And# 6arhol foresa*) are
no* best 'no*n as the &romoters of their o*n Fbrands$G
These formulations and insights might also hel& us to ta'e
a ne* loo' at the *a# that beaut# is commodiPed and
&ac'aged in the &ostmodern *orld$ The creative &rocess
is entirel# generic and common, and #et the fruits of this
&rocess are a&&ro&riated, &rivati9ed, and sold under
artiPciall# &roduced conditions of scarcit#$ At the same
time, all the singular actual occasions of creativit# are
homogeni9ed, through their reduction to the ,uantitative
measure of mone# as a universal e,uivalent$ These
o&erations are abusive, &recisel# because the# see' to
rarif#, mono&o1 li9e, and ca&itali9e on the generic
conditions of all eEistence$
The mar'eted and branded cultural &roduct that *e
are so familiar *ith toda# is a &articular sort of obIect$ It
is a Fsociet#G that results from s&eciPc &ositive and
negative &rehensions, bound together b# a s&eciPc sort of
Fsub1 Iective aim$G 6e can anal#9e the &roduct of
commodit# culture in terms of *hat it ta'es u& and
ada&ts to its o*n ends, and also in terms of *hat it re1
fuses and eEcludes$ 6hiteheadOs aesthetics ma# seem at
odds *ith much of t*entieth1centur# modernism$ But
such an aesthetics is stri'ingl# relevant to the culture of
the &resent da#, *hich locates creativit# almost entirel# in
&rac1 tices of sam&ling, a&&ro&riation, and recombination$
After all, 6hiteheadOs great to&ic is &recisel# the manner
in *hich something radicall# ne* can emerge out of the
&rehension of alread# eEisting elements$ Innovation is all a
matter of F XsubIective form,O *hich is ho" Ua &articularV
subIect &rehends UitsV datumG (>929:>9;<, 2B)$
6hiteheadOs aesthetics, *ith its intensive focus on this
ho", ta'es on a s&ecial urgenc# in a culture, such as ours,
that is &oised on the ra9orOs edge bet*een the cor&orate
o*nershi&, and interminable rec#cling,
of Fintellectual &ro&ert#,G on the one hand, and the
&irating, re*or'ing, and transformation of such alleged
F&ro&ert#,G often in violation of co&#right la*s, on the
6hitehead *arns us that Fthe chief error in
&hiloso&h# is overstate1 ment$ The aim at generali9ation
is sound, but the estimate of success is eEag1 geratedG
(>929:>9;<, ;)$ So I do not *ish to eEaggerate m# o*n
claims here$ The instances that I have cited do not add u&
to a focused criti,ue of ca&ital1 ism, even in the cultural
s&hereK and I do not mean to suggest that 6hitehead ever
oJers us an# such thing$
Cis concerns are as distant
from AdornoOs as the# are from CeideggerOs$ But at the
ver# least, 6hiteheadOs aestheticism is radical enough
that it nudges and caIoles us a*a# from the com&lacencies
and satisfactions of commodit# culture$ +or F&rogress is
founded u&on the eE&eri1 ence of discordant feelings$ The
social value of libert# lies in its &roduction of discordsG
(>9BB:>9=;, 2?;)$ 6hitehead values the eE&erience of
Faesthetic destructionG (2?=) as a corrective to insi&id
harmonies and &erfections$
10. Aside from Anne @omeroy0s -oo; )arx and Whitehead $'((8), little wor; has -een
done on putting the two thin;ers, and their traditions, into contact* $A short -i-liography on
@ro, cess 2hought and Mar+ism# is a&aila-le at
http:::www*ctr8process*org:pu-lications:i-lio: 2hematic:Mar+ism*html)* I myself am
wary of -ringing Whitehead and Mar+ together, ei, ther in terms of how they concei&e
process and change, or in terms of how they &iew the relation of philosophical
speculation to practice* 2he di&ergences in method, in focus of attention, and in the
aims they see; to accomplish, are 1ust too great* Bowe&er, one way of seeing these
di&ergences in terms of patterned contrast# rather than opposition might -e to loo; at
particular con1unctions and resonances, rather than -roader comparisons* Eor instance,
Whitehead0s generic sense of creati&ity might usefully -e 1u+taposed with recent post,
Mar+ist reconceptualizations of class and la-or* 2hese would include Michael Bardt and
Antonio Je, gri0s recent speculations on affecti&e la-or and on the common, and their
claim that the cre, ati&ity that dri&es the economy today is u-iquitous, and comes from
e&erywhere and e&eryone $Bardt and Jegri '((3). @aolo Sirno0s closely related
speculations on the multitude and general intellect $Sirno '((8). and e&en, much further
a/eld, Alain adiou0s insistence on the parado+ically generic identity of the wor;ing
class# $adiou '((?)*
11. Whitehead0s praise of aesthetic destruction# might usefully -e compared with
Morse @ec;ham0s insistence on cultural &andalism# as an important prelude to emergent
inno&a, tion# and cultural transcendence# $@ec;ham 3464, '68ff*)*
>?< >?9
in &articular is im&ortant, 6hitehead sa#s, because of the
*a# that it oJers us an Fintensit#G that is Fdivorced fromG
the Fdire necessit#G or Fcom&ulsion *hich *as its originG
(2;2)$ In vie* of this dis&lacement, FArt can be de1
scribed as a &s#cho&athic res&onse of the race to the
stresses of its eEistenceG (2;2)$ And this F&s#cho&athic
function of ArtG is a necessar# one, for it sha'es us out
of the Ffeeling of slo* rela&se into general anaesthesia, or
into tameness *hich is its &reludeG (2=B@2=A)$ But even
in ma'ing declarations of this sort, 6hitehead never
moves from the terrain of the beautiful into that of the
sublime$ +or he continues to dePne the goal of artDand
even of the art of discordsDto be not the ru&ture of
a&&earances and the emergence of a traumatic F0eal,G
but rather the F&ur&oseful ada&tation of A&&earance to
0ealit#G (2=;)$
Man# of the great thin'ers of 6estern modernit#
dePne their goal as a thera&eutic one$ S&ino9a,
%iet9sche, +reud, and 6ittgenstein all &resent
themselves as diagnosticians and clinicians$ The# eEamine
s#m&toms, discern the conditions of our meta&h#sical
malaise, and &ro&ose remedies to free us from our
enslavement to F&assive emotionsG (S&ino9a), to
ressentiment (%iet91 sche), to traumatic recollections
(+reud), or to the Fbe*itchment of our intel1 ligence b#
means of languageG (6ittgenstein)$ Thera&# in this sense
is the modern, seculari9ed and dem#stiPed, form of ethics$
To m# mind, one of the stri'ing things about 6hitehead is
that he does not ma'e an# such thera&eu1 tic or ethical
claims$ Ce does not sa# that his meta&h#sics *ill cure me,
or that it *ill ma'e me a better &erson$ At best,
&hiloso&h# and art ma# a*a'en me from m# tor&or, and
allo* me to subsume the &ainful eE&erience of a Fclash in
aJective tonesG (2=0) *ithin a *ider sense of &ur&ose$
Such broadening Fincreases the dimensions of the
eE&erient subIect, adds to its ambitG (2==)$ But this is still
a rather modest and limited result$ At best, &hiloso&h#
and &oetr# Fsee' to eE&ress that ultimate good sense
*hich *e term civili9ationG (>9B<:>9=<, >;A)$ /ranted,
6hitehead dis&la#s none of %iet9scheOs or +reudOs IustiPed
sus&icion regarding the value of Fgood sense,G or of
*hat *e call Fcivili9ation$G But even from the
&ers&ective of 6hiteheadOs entirel# lauda1 tor# use of
these terms, he is still onl# ma'ing a deliberatel# muted
and mi1 nor claim$ 6e are far from an# FeEaggeratedG
&romises of a /reat Cealth, of self1transcendence, or of
cathartic transformation$
Even in his h#&erbolic evocation of F/od and the
6orld,G in the Pfth and Pnal art of Process and Reality,
6hitehead does not oJer us an# &ros&ect
to match the Fintellectual love of /odG eEalted b#
S&ino9a in the Pfth and Pnal &art of the :thics$
6hiteheadOs /od, in shar& contrast *ith S&ino9aOs, does
not 'no* the *orld sub specie aeternitatis$ 0ather,
6hiteheadOs /od is Fthe &oet of the *orld$G This means
that he 'no*s the *orld, not in terms of its Prst causes,
but onl# through its eJects, and onl# in retros&ect$ /od
FsavesG the *orld &recisel# to the eEtent, but onl# to the
eEtent, that he aesthetici9es and memoriali9es it$ Ce
remembers the *orld in each and ever# detail, incor1
&orating all these memories into an overarching
Fconce&tual harmoni9ationG (>929:>9;<, BA=)$ But if /od
remembers ever# eE&erience of ever# last entit#, he does
not &roduce and &rovide these eE&eriences and memories
themselves$ That is something that is left for us to do,
contingentl# and un&redictabl#$ 6here S&ino9aOs boo'
ends *ith the Fs&iritual contentmentG that arises from the
com&rehension of Feternal necessit#,G 6hiteheadOs boo'
rather ends b# Iustif#ing, and thro*ing us bac' u&on, our
Finsistent cravingG for novelt# and adventure (B?>)$ That is
*hat it means to *rite an aesthetics, rather than an
I can end this boo' onl# b# attesting to the aesthetic
&o*er and s&len1 dor of 6hiteheadOs *ords, b# bearing
*itness to ho* the# have aJected me$ 6hiteheadOs
language is to a great eEtent F*ithout ,ualities$G The
o&ening sentence of Process and Reality characteri9es the
boo' as a Fcourse of lecturesG (>929:>9;<, B)K and
6hitehead largel# conforms to the &rosaic, or even &edan1
tic, im&lications of this descri&tion$ Ce descends from an
eEtreme dr#ness and abstraction onl# in order to anal#9e
such humdrum &hrases as FSocrates is mortalG (>>@>2K
2=A@2=?) and F4nited +ruit !om&an#G (>9BB:>9=;, ><2@
><B)$ Cis vocabular# is Plled *ith Ftechnical terms,G *hich
he uses de1 s&ite the FdangerG that these terms ma#
either suggest irrelevant associations derived from their
common meanings, or else (if the# are neologisms) a&&ear
insi&id, because the# are Fentirel# neutral, devoid of all
suggestivenessG (>929: >9;<, B2@BB)$ This manner of
*riting is a strategic necessit# for 6hiteheadK it is the
onl# *a# that he can ma'e statements that are &recisel#
formulated and #et as *idel# a&&licable and broadl#
generic as &ossible$ The result is that I read 6hitehead
slo*l# and cautiousl#, attem&ting to &arse out the details of
his argument$ But in doing so, I continuall# read over, or
fail to notice, the a&ho1 ristic com&ressions and other
Fremar'able &ointsG that &e&&er 6hiteheadOs dis1 course,
and that brea' out, again and again, from the
continuities of his reasoning$ It is onl# *hen I loo' at the
teEt *ith a certain inattentiveness, or
*hen somebod# else &oints out a &hrase to me, that I am
sto&&ed shortDas I Pnall# notice and recogni9e the
brilliance of something that I had alread# read through a
good number of times$ It is in this *a# that 6hiteheadOs
o*n teEt remains &er&etuall# creative, as it rene*s the
F9est for eEistenceG (B?>) that so much in our lives tends
to annul$
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Actual entit# or actual occasion,
><@>9, A>@AB, >>0, >AB
Ade,uac#, >AAn
Aesthetic destruction, >?9@>=0
Aesthetic disinterest, ?@;
Aesthetic Iudgment, 2@B, >B@>A,
>A>, >?2
AJective tone, ?, ?;
A&&etition, 9>@92, 9A, >B>, >?=
Aristotle, >0?@>0=, >B9
Assemblage, >A;, >A<n
Auto&oiesis, 92, 9B, >>2n
Bacon, +rancis, =
Ba&homet, >20@>2>,
>2A Bataille,
/eorges, ;n Bateson,
/regor#, ;?n
Batman, >>;@>><,
Baudrillard, Qean >?0
Beaut#, >@2, A, >A0, >?2@>??
Bec'ett, Samuel, >>;
Becoming, >9@20
Bergson, Cenri, =>, ;2, ;=, ;9n,
>>B@>>An, >B0n
Bloch, Ernst, 2<n, >>B@>>An
Bod# *ithout organs (B*H),
>2B@>B0 Borges, Qorge Luis, >>A,
Brassier, 0a#, ;<n
!arna&, 0udolf, >?0n
!arter, Angela, >2An
im&erative, <
!ategories, B>@B2, ?>
!ausal efPcac#, B>
!lar', Tim, 2=@2;n, >B=@>B;n
!leo&atraOs %eedle, >;@><, 20@
22, 29
!ognition, 9A
!oherence, >0<@>09
!ommunication, =
!onatus, 20n, >>2n
!once&tual reversion,
!oncrescence, 20, <<, >>>, >BB@>B?,
!onnective s#nthesis, >>>@>>B
!onsistenc#, >0<@>09
!onstructive functioning, >>, A<@?0, >>>
!ontem&lation, >B
!ontradiction, >>?
!reativit#, ;>@;2, >A9, >?>
5ar*in, !harles, 9?n
5ebaise, 5idier, >AAn
5ecision, BB, <9, 9>, 9A, >><@>>9, >B?
5e Landa, Manuel, 2;@2<, B?,
>09, >09@>>0n, >A<n
5eleu9e, /illes, =n, >9n, B>@B;,
?An, =>n, >0>
on aesthetics, =;@=<
on 8ant, BB@B;, ;=@;;, <0@<>
+oic of *ense, B?@B=, <?@<=, >>>,
>2?, >2?@>2=n
$he /old, >;, 2=
5eleu9e, /illes, and /uattari,
+eliE, 2@B, <n, A<n, >A<@>A9
Anti'9edipus, >>>@>>B, >>=n,
5errida, Qac,ues, >0n, >A?, >?0
5esire, ;@<, >>>@>>B
5etermination, A2@AB, 90@9>n,
>>9, >2B
5eterministic chaos, 90
5isIunctive s#llogism, >>9@>2B
5isIunctive s#nthesis, >>A@>>?,
EJects, B=@B;, <=
EfPcient cause, <=@<;, 9;
Ellis, 6arren, >>;
Enduring obIects, B0
Eternal obIects, B;@AB, >B0@>BB,
Event, >;@2>
Event e&ochalism,
20n EEcess of
subIectivit#, ?0
+allac# of mis&laced
concreteness, >A? +allac# of
sim&le location, =0, >A?
+eeling, A;, ?;@=B, ==
+inal cause, <<@<9, 9>, 9;
+lat ontolog#, 2;@
2< +ord, Le*is,
>0;n, >B9n
+oucault, Michel, A?
+reud, Sigmund, >=0
/eneralit#, >?;
/od, 2B@2=, =9@;0, 90n, 99@>A2,
>?=@>?;n, >=>
seculari9ation of, >0?
/ombro*ic9, 6itold, >>;
Cardt, Michael, and %egri,
Antonio, >2;n Carman, /raham,
Ca#e', +riedrich,
>2<n Ca#les,
8atherine, A0n
Cegel, /$ 6$ +$, 2=, A9n, =?n,
>>?n, >2>n, >B0n, >B9 In
Ceidegger, Martin, 2A, >0A, >AB,
>A?, >?0n
Cor'heimer, MaE,
and Adorno,
Theodor, 2A
Cume, 5avid, B>, B=, ?2@?B, ;B, >02n
C#lomor&hism, ?B
Ideas, 9, BB, AB, >>;
Individuation, <>, >>2n
Qames, 6illiam, 2>, A0@A>, ?<@?9, =;
Qameson, +redric,
>?A@>??, >?<
Qudgment, B@An
8ant, Immanuel, AA@A?, A<@?0, ;2@;B,
>>2, >BB@>BAn, >?0
!o&ernican revolution, ;2@;<
Criti&ue of )udment, >@>=, =;,
Criti&ue of
Reason, ;9@<2, <B@<A, >A0
Criti&ue of Pure
Reason, ;2@;B
doctrine of faculties, 9
doctrine of time, ;=@;9
Transcendental Aesthetic, ?2, ??@?=,
Transcendental 5eduction, BB@B?
Transcendental 5ialectic, >0>@>02,
>>9@>2B, >B>
8aratani, 8oIin,
?2n 8auJman,
Stuart, 9B 8ell#,
8evin, >2<n
8losso*s'i, ierre, >20@>2B
Latour, Bruno, A<n
Leibni9, /ottfried 6ilhelm, 2A@
2=, ;Bn, <;, >00@>0>, >0A,
>>?, >>=,
>BB, >B9
Life, 9>@9B
Loc'e, Qohn, >2, 2A
Loveloc', Qames, 9B
Luhmann, %i'las, <?
Lure for feelings, 2, ?, >?,
>AB L#otard, Qean1+rancois,
Margulis, L#nn, 9B
MarE, 8arl, 9=, >2=@>2<,
Massumi, Brian, A;n, ?B,
=2n, >2<n MeillassouE,
3uentin, ;<n Metastabilit#,
%egative &rehension, A2
%eEus, ><
%iet9sche, +riedrich, ;2, ;=n,
9?@9=n, >00n, >0A, >>A,
>2>n, >22,
>A?, >=0
%ovelt#, 20, ?=, ;>@;2, >B?,
HbIective immortalit#, <;
Hlson, !harles, >?Bn
Hntological &rinci&le, 2B@
2A, ;?
H#ama, Susan, 9B
assion, =@9
ec'ham, Morse, 9?,
>?9n er&etual
&erishing, >2, 9;@9<
lato, >><
redicate, >B0
reestablished harmon#, 2?
rehension, 2<@B0, >AB
resentational immedicac#,
ro&osition, 2, >AB
roust, Marcel, <9@90n,
9< 3uasi1causalit#, B;,
<?@<=, >29
0adical em&iricism, A0
0ational idea, 9
0eformed subIectivist
&rinci&le, ;< 0elations, A0
0hi9ome, >>B
0ort#, 0ichard, >A?, >A=, >A;n
Satisfaction, =9, >>>@>>2
Selection, ;A
Self1organi9ation, <A@<?
Simondon, /ilbert, 2>n, B?,
<>, >>2n
Simulacrum, >><
ngularit#, >9, <9@9>n,
>>B Smith, Adam,
Smith, Brian !ant*ell,
>?> Societ#, ><, >AB
S&ecious &resent, AA
S&ino9a, Baruch, 20n, 22@2B, 9;,
>0B@>0A, >A2, >=0
Stengers, Isabelle, 2A, A<n, >0=,
Stevens, 6allace, >B
SubIect and su&erIect, >2, 2>, 9;
SubIective aim, ;A, <9, >B;, >A0
SubIective form, ??@?;, =<, <;@<<
SubIect@&redicate thought, 22@2B,
Sublime, >?B@>?A
SufPcient reason, 2A@
2? S#nthesis, >>0@
>>2$ *ee also
!onIunctive s#nthesisK
5isIunctive s#nthesis
Things in themselves,
A9 Toscano, Alberto,
<2n Transcendental,
BB, <0
Transcendental em&iricism, BB@B;
4nivocit#, 2>@22, 2;, >0>
2aluation, <<, 9A, >?2
2arela, +rancesco, 92, 9B, >>2n
2ector, =2
2irtual, BB@B;
2italism, 9<
6arhol, And#, ;n, >?<
6hitehead, Alfred %orth,
passim criti,ue of
e&istemolog#, B0@B>
criti,ue of 8ant, >0@>>, 2>, B2@BB,
?0@?A, =A, ;A@;?, ;;, 9;, >B>@>B2
*cience and the Modern World,
>0?@>0;, >29, >B2, >?Bn
$he Concept of ,ature, >;@
>< 6ilson, Ed*ard H$, <?
6ittgenstein, Lud*ig, >A?,
>?>, >=0
i^9e', SlavoI, >?0