In WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? Deleuze and Guattari desire to « speak concretely ». As we have argued, a book of philosophy can be read by means of the hypothesis that it is proposing criteria by which to judge not only its interlocutors, but also its own conceptual creation.
We may take the concept of « speaking concretely » both as one of the tasks of the book and as one of its criteria, and ask to what extent does the book satisfy this criterion.
The book begins with a composite concept (late, old age, the hour to speak concretely) serving to specify more concretely the circumstances for posing the question « What is philosophy? »
The rest of the lengthy first paragraph further specifies and dramatises the title-question, proposing two different scenarios for posing it, or two prototypical cases, exhibiting both the high degree of satisfying the concept and the low degree, its opposing prototype. As we have seen concepts are concrete universals – they are dramatised prototypes rather than structural archetypes. A useful rule of thumb, part of the implicit methodology of the book, is wherever possible one should pass from abstract universals to dramatised prototypes.
The high degree is exemplified by the scenario of one asking the question concretely and directly, at the height of old age, « seized » by it, « soberly », with a « sovereign freedom » and a « pure necessity ». In contrast, the low degree is illustrated by the younger, more abstract approach to asking the question, whose element is « domination » rather than freedom.
This coincidence of opposites (seizure and sobriety, freedom and necessity) does not lead to a neutral state but rather to a state of high intensity, signalled also by the markers of a high degree (« sovereign », « pure ») of the sub-concepts deployed.
The existence of these sub-concepts is enough to show that the slogan « philosophy is the creation of concepts » is incomplete and potentially misleading. For Deleuze and Guattari philosophy is also conceptual analysis (and synthesis).