On of our most frequent requests for coverage on the podcast is Deleuze, a name I don’t even recall hearing in my grad school days. PEL proper will cover him in 2013, but our listeners were impatient and formed a Not School study group to get a jump on the effort. More concrete and flavorful than either Derrida or Heidegger, yet with all the fun (or painful effort, if you like) of figuring out a language puzzle that those two better known figures present, Deleuze is one of the main figures in the post-structuralist, Lacanian crowd, and though, like them, talking about literature or human psychology is a great starting point, in chapters 1-3 of A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the topic of a recent podcast-like discussion that you can go sign up and hear right now, we get a large-scale picture of cosmology in something like the style of Hegel.
The discussion was the culmination of group activity stretching back to October, and involved me, Daniel McKay, Dom Romani, Paul Harris, and Rian Mitch. We hashed through a set of difficult concepts: Deleuze describes cultural products (and other things) as “rhizomatic,” i.e. organized with all sorts of ad hoc connections growing every which way (as opposed to a strict hierarchy), and something like the book itself as an “assemblage” instead of an organized, planned, unified product. But there’s more: The “body without organs,” “planes of consistency,” “abstract machines,” “strata,” “double articulation,” and it goes on and on, touching on everything from physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, sociology, politics, and especially linguistics. Though wading through such a mass of strange terminology left all of us often thinking we only half understand (and we squarely blame Deleuze and his co-author Guattari), it’s a pretty fun effort. Go hear the discussion.
Just so you know, this group be jumping to a different book come February: What Is Philosophy? This will be the work that PEL will cover, so you should join that group if you’re interested. I should also say that Jacques Lacan is good prep for understanding Deleuze, and Wes has just now started a Not School group on the Lacan reading that we’ll be covering on PEL soon. You’re definitely not too late to join up and check it out to see what all the hype about Lacan is about.