« I believe a book, if it deserves to exist, can be presented in three quick aspects: you do not write a ‘worthy’ book unless: 1) you think that the books on the same subject or on a neighboring subject fall into a type of overall error (polemical function of the book); 2) you think that something essential has been forgotten in relation to the subject (inventive function); 3) you believe yourself capable of creating a new concept (creative function). Of course, it is the quantitative minimum: an error, an oversight, a concept. It doesn’t matter if the book is on someone or something. And I am not talking only about philosophy, it also applies to the other ‘genres’ with other words »
(Gilles Deleuze, Letters and Other Texts, 86-87).
Note: My thanks to Marc Anton who drew my attention to this passage.
These heuristic maxims apply not only to philosophy books, but to any thoughtful writing. For example blogging.
In sum, one needs to ask:
1) What errors am I fighting?
2) what oversights am I correcting?
3) what new concepts am I creating?
Let us take the case of my critiques of Jan Rehmann insofar as his productions bear on my own research program. My twelve year philosophical project, pursued principally on this blog, is to explicate and to analyse the meta-research program of recent and contemporary French pluralist philosophy, and I have gone deeply into the explication and critical analysis of that program.
Jan Rehmann’s presentations of that meta-research program, notably in his book « DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERN NIETZSCHEANISM Deleuze and Foucault », are a total distortion, as I have shown in my recent analyses of the book’s framing premises concerning Deleuze and Foucault.
For a synoptic view of my arguments on this point see my eight posts on Deconstructing Jan Rehmann’s NEO-LOSURDIST MARXO-ANTI-NIETZSCHEANISM:
Basing myself on that analysis of Rehmann’s general premises I have elaborated a thorough rebuttal of their application to the thought of Deleuze on Nietzsche in a recent video-interview. See my posts, IS RED NIETZSCHE MADE OUT OF BROWN CHEESE Parts 1 and 2:
One should note that thiese conceptual investigations of Rehmann’s premises, insofar as they bear on the explicitation, interpretation and evaluation of the meta-research program of French pluralism (as the book’s subtitle « Deleuze and Foucault » indicates), were preceded by a similar investigation of Domenico Losurdo’s general premises as instantiated in his « masterpiece » NIETZSCHE, THE ARISTOCRATIC REBEL. See my six posts:
All three of these sequences are parts of an ongoing overarching blog series, but it would be a childish mistake to think that my discussion is centred around Nietzsche. The general object of my investigation is, as stated above, the contemporary French meta-research-programme of pluralism.
From that point of view Losurdo’s and Rehmann’s recently translated books are minuscule examples of a mixture of basic hermeneutical errors and cynical travesties of that pluralist meta-program propped up by shoddy scholarship and partisan para-academic networks.
Worthless in themselves these books take on relative salience only as the most recent examples brought to visibility within the confines of a pushy hostile microcosm, and deserve to be left there. They have no originality in their general party line, but only in some of the detailed working out.
I first came across similar arguments 45 years ago in my Philosophy Department, put forward by the Althusserian Marxists, who were hegemonic at the time, and I have encountered warmed up avatars of them regularly ever since.
People can be intimidated by the academic credentials of the author and the scholarly style of his book. The aim of the video-interview is to rely on the aura of trustworthiness given by the credentials and the bibliography to take us in and create a sliding slope of misplaced confidence.
To sum up my argument in these three series of blog posts using the three criteria proposed by Deleuze, to justify my writing this critique as a tiny footnote to the more general research project of this blog.
Argument of Agent Swarm: Heuristics of the meta-research program of recent French philosophy
1) Errors identified: in Losurdo’s and Rehmann’s approach: the French meta-research program of pluralism is defigured as « philosophy of difference ». Concepts are treated as allegories.
2) Oversights corrected: Losurdo and Rehmann overlook the concepts of multiplicities and noesis.
3) Concepts created: the creative contribution of this blog lies in the elaboration of the concept of the meta-research program of recent French philosophy, and the concept of a non-relativist realism.
For details on this concept of pluralist realism in recent French philosophy see:
From this point of view, we can see the example of the Losurdo-Rehmann alliance as a failed attempt to embody these three maxims. The principlal failure stems from their situating their argument on the level of hermeneutics (interpretation of the old) rather than heuristics (creation of the new).
Argument of Losurdo-Rehmann: Hermeneutics of Postmodernist Nietzscheanism
1) Errors falsely identified: (a) Deleuze and Foucault’s « philosophy of difference ». No such philosophy exists. « Difference » in Deleuze’s early phase was a mask for multiplicity, and in 1969 that mask was abandonned. (b) Deleuze and Foucault’s « hermeneutics of innocence ». No such hermeneutics exists, as both Deleuze and Foucault actively exclude « allegorical » approaches in favour of extracting concepts that function heuristically in relation to an outside
2) Oversight falsely corrected: Rehmann claims that Deleuze « overlooks » that his « allegorical » approach leads to the neoliberal war of the rich against the poor and to the legitimation of genocide. The basis for this claim is that Nietzsche’s, and Deleuze’s, use of Spinozian language is an allegorical veil that has no transformative conceptual role, but misdirects us from the valorisation of brute force.
3) Concept falsely created: Rehmann’s book title is « DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERNIST NIETZSCHEANISM Deleuze and Foucault ». This expresses a false concept grouping together Derrida (« deconstructing ») and Lyotard (« postmodernist ») along with the explicitly mentioned Deleuze and Foucault under the empty umbrella-term of « philosophies of difference ».
To conclude on a more positive note:
to anyone interested in updating their thinking on the contemporary French meta-research-program I would advise them not to occupy themselves with such trifles as Losurdo’s and Rehmann’s retro-theatrics, but to read Alain Badiou’s THE IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS.
This book, which was published in French in 2018 has only recently been translated into English and there is little secondary work available to help you get through it. However, this is not necessarily a disadvantage. Read it now, before the Marxologists and the Mathists try to appropriate it. It represents a decisive contribution to the pluralist meta-research-program.