Reading WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? (16): the introduction is not the beginning

We are reading Deleuze and Guattari’s WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? from the perspective of the helpful advice it might contain for living and thinking in the 21st Century, a century that Deleuze and Guattari did not live to see.

We have not yet finished with the « Introduction », but it may be that we are proceeding too rapidly, like the brash young philosophers presented on the first page as

« dominating [the question] in passing rather than being seized by it »

We should not forget to examine the introduction’s subtitle: « Ainsi donc la question… ». « Ainsi donc » indicates that we are starting in medias res, in the middle of things, and so the « introduction » is not the beginning, but rather the continuation of a line of thought. This expression can be translated variously as « and so », « therefore »,  « as a result », « thus », consequently ». It marks a new turn or a bifurcation in an already existing discussion or argument.

In the last post we extracted Deleuze and Guattari’s advice for reading philosophically:

Read noetically (in terms of creation of concepts, problematics, conceptual personae and landscapes, and their novelty, interest and importance).

This advice can be generalised to cover not just reading (and writing) but also thinking philosophically:

Philosophy is thinking by means of the creation of concepts, the creation of planes (multi-dimensional spaces), problematics, conceptual personae and landscapes, in terms of their novelty, interest and importance.

We are learning contextually about concepts, even before Deleuze and Guattari begin to define them. Concepts are to be distinguished from abstract ideas under the firm control of a dominating intellect. They are concrete powers that seize hold of us, and that tear us away from the stupidity of everyday life.

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