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The Priority of Events: Deleuze's Logic of Sense (Plateaus - New Directions in Deleuze Studies) Paperback – 16 Aug 2011


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This is a wide-ranging and penetrating study of one of Deleuze's most important works. A superb book. --Daniel W. Smith, Purdue University

This book will readily take its place as one of the most important volumes in all of Deleuze Studies. --Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University

About the Author

Sean Bowden lectures in philosophy at Deakin University and is a Research Fellow in the Philosophy Program at La Trobe University.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Event precedes Essence 12 Oct 2014
By Wayne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having already defined his understanding of metaphysics as a function of repetition (series) and difference in Difference and Repetition, Deleuze continues explicating his metaphysics in Logic of Sense through the concepts of series, paradox, and difference all the way down.

Sean Bowden's relentless conceptualization of Logic of Sense in "The Priority of Events" is as conceptually intense as Deleuze is philosophically extensive. His conceptualization of Logic of Sense follows.

Deleuze deletes substance from his metaphysics in favor of the concept of difference and thus relies on the ontologically primitive event upon which to found being, thus resulting in "The Priority of Events."

In Logic of Sense, Deleuze first analyzes the expressions of verbs of becoming which denote propositions expressing "ideal events," ontologically prior to states of affairs. The events are ideal in that they are not objectively present like things and states of affairs, but are necessary conditions for new states of affairs.

If events are ontologically primary, then knowledge of states of affairs depends on how events are ordered and related in language. However for Deleuze, language itself is an event. He compares events with Stoic incorporeal `sayables' (lekta) which are both the effects of causal relations between bodies (substance) and the sense (meaning) of propositions.

Deleuze analyzes propositional knowledge from the three elements of Denotation (the relation of the proposition to an external state of affairs), Manifestation (the relation of the proposition to the person who speaks), and Signification (the relation of the word to universal or general concepts), and shows that each dimension is grounded on the other resulting in circularity and an inability to ground sense.

Deleuze introduces here the unconditioned "fourth dimension" of the proposition as grounding the other three. For example, he describes the person/individual as an event and "that he also grasp the event actualized within him." (LS, 178) In fact the "fourth dimension" becomes through the processes of convergence and divergence and their syntheses, the ideal play of sense-events, all the way down.

Deleuze states we "can speak of events only as singularities deployed in a problematic field, in the vicinity of which the solutions are organized." (LS, 56) For philosophical propositions to address the objective nature of the problem, they must reciprocally make sense of and be made sense of by the problem. Deleuze also applies differential calculus to elaborate a theory of the `problematic Idea' constituted by purely differential elements. He uses Simondon's concept of "intensive individuation" to account for "things" in diverse scientific domains regarding individuals, persons and concepts. Intensive individuation presupposes a "pre-individual field" similar to the problematic Idea in that the individual, person (divided subject) or even concept is fully differentiated (and differenciated) all the way down, and entirely dissolved in (biological, psycho-social, etc.) intensive processes.

In order to show that the structure of sense is not an already given as with the Kantian transcendental, but an event immanent to itself, Deleuze describes how sense develops at the metaphysical surface, or at the level of Lacan's "symbolic order." He traces how the dynamic genesis of sense or the event, brings into communication the actions and passions of the developing child with events on the metaphysical surface, "from depth to the production of surfaces" (LS, 186) via the event of the language and the event of the divided subject.

From Kleinian pre-Oedipal depths (below the metaphysical surface) the child organizes its bodily experiences into the form of the "good object" (imago of the maternal breast), in turn signified by a Voice or familial hum (not yet symbolic) enveloping the child. The child extracts phonemic differences from the Voice and learns to speak and acquire the symbolic dimension of language and culture which is the inter-subjective, metaphysical surface (or "fourth dimension" of sense) where desire and language interface. Speech now becomes connected with propositions constitutive the satisfaction of desire. This is the event of language: traversing from disorganized noise, to the Voice of familial hum, to Speech, and then to the Metaphysical Surface where sense becomes manifest, immanent to itself, an Event.

Events in relation to events make things what they are. We speak of events using verbs. We seek to combine and order events looking for predictability and law-like relations, but that process itself is an ongoing event (like self-identity, etc.), a fluid and creative process. Human subjects as well as language are equally event-driven and event-determined.

Speech events (spoken or written about other individuals, persons or propositions) by subjects are reciprocal determinants in that they both make sense of and are made sense of by all other subjects. Events are determined by reciprocal, complete and progressive determinations of us as the physical, social, verbal and knowing entities that we are.

Sean Bowden has thus provided us an invaluable addition to the scholarship and understanding of Deleuze via his masterful elucidation of "The Priority of Events."
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