Deleuze and Guattari are often quoted as condemning « debate » or « discussion » as incompatible with the creation of concepts.
This assertion by Deleuze and Guattari, and in other places by Deleuze in his own name, is a self-contradiction, they are debating debate, just as they critique critique.
I think it corresponds to a personal defect in Deleuze, who does not seem to have liked the confrontation with alternative viewpoints.
Of course, we all have memories of bad experiences of horrible debates that were sterile exercises in power relations between egos.However, debate is an intrinsic part of the art of creating and articulating concepts.
Deleuze reserves a way out of this impasse by definitional fiat. The « good » debates he calls « conversations » or « dialogues », and he sets out a description of how they operate.
In fact this description is also a prescription for the « good » way to discuss. As such, as a prescriptive method, it cannot be universally valid, but corresponds to only one type of experience of creativity, and perhaps does not adequately describe even it.
It also corresponds to a particular personality type, and even to a national stereotype, since Deleuze and Guattari ironise over Rorty’s and Habermas’s notion of an extended democratic conversation.
My own experience of blogging for ten years is that the world of Continental Philosophy in both English and French is unable to tolerate debate, discussion, critique, even when it is informed by a reading of the texts, by a deep consideration of the problematics, and is independent of personal career stakes.
Whatever it was meant to incite or to solve in Deleuze and Guattari’s use of it, this slogan has become the reverse. It has become an excuse for narcissistic self-obsession, mutual self-congratulatory dogmatism, and a barrier of exclusion of all those who do not think like the in-group who push their research programme, treating their ideas as sacred and inviolable.
From a Deleuzian point of view we cannot know in advance what is or is not, what will have been or not, part of the creative process. No one knows in advance how the creative process will proceed in order to stay creative.
Yes, debate can often sterilise creation, but it can also help it get out of its one-sidedness, blindness, or other impasses.
To eschew debate on principle is to shoot a hole in one of one’s creative feet, and to limp along proudly giving smug advice to others on how to become just as lame as oneself.