International Society for Philosophers

International Society for Philosophers

Wisdom begins with wonder

PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS                   ISSN 2043-0728


Issue number 149 21st January 2010


I. 'Unveiling the Heart/ Mind in Meng Zi: The Aletheia of XIN' by Tracy
   Ann Llanera

II. 'Area Studies, Planetary Thinking, and Philosophical Anthropology' by Alec

III. 'Deleuze's Difference with the Dialectic of Identity' by Martin Jenkins



The Chinese philosopher Meng Zi, more commonly known by the Latinized 'Mencius', formulated a philosophical psychology which by refusing to conceptually  segregate the aspects of reason and emotion, stands in stark contrast to the  tradition of Western philosophy going back to Plato's tripartite theory of the  soul. Tracy Ann Llanera, who is taking MA in Philosophy at the University of  Santo Tomas, Manila has contributed a valuable account of Meng Zi which casts  illuminating light on issues currently being debated in ethics and the  philosophy of mind.

Alec Gordon is a lecturer at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul  South Korea. His paper on Area Studies, originally delivered at the 22nd World  Congress of Philosophy, emphasizes the need for a philosophical anthropology  which recognizes the multi-dimensional nature of man's 'species being', echoing the thoughts of the early, humanistic Marx of the 1844 Philosophical Manuscripts.

Martin Jenkins' dissertation, 'Aristocratic Radicalism or Anarchy? An  Examination of Nietzsche's Doctrine of Will to Power' was recently accepted for the Fellowship of the International Society for Philosophers. In his  dissertation, he makes the case for a Deleuzian reading of Nietzsche's theory  of the Eternal Recurrence. Here, he elaborates on Deleuze's account of  political and social change gives prominence to the unpredictable reactive  behaviour of the individual -- that which breaks out and asserts its 'difference' from an existing pattern or system -- as the underlying motive  force of history.

Geoffrey Klempner



The discordance of what is thought and what is felt is a universal problem of  the human condition. This claim is a valid one, for if reality were otherwise,  there would be no necessity to philosophize on the quiddity of the human person. If the heart and the mind were truly harmonized, then each individual would  find no impetus to reflect, no hesitation to act, and no remorse or pleasure  for the consequences of his actions. He would simply actualize what he  categorically is. But this is not the case: each man struggles when he  recognizes a conflict of thought and interest within himself. He questions how  he can be tempted to pursue what he thinks is wrong, or resist what he firmly  understands as right. Hence, it is evident that the problem of the disparity  between knowing and feeling is well-entrenched in the life of human beings.

But we find in ancient Chinese thought the concept of xin which is the heart/  mind. Meng Zi's (Mencius) approach to this idea, and in Confucian philosophy in general, operates without the distinction between reason and emotion.[1] This is difficult to overtly comprehend given the discordant paradigm of the human  condition, as explicated broadly by the West which accepts that there is a  separation between the two, and that reason asserts itself on emotion as a  guide for proper action.

According to Wong[2], Meng Zi's overall thought supplies good reason for  omitting such a distinction. Confucian philosophy is aimed at practical and  action-oriented wisdom; thus, it makes sense to view man as a whole in the way  he thinks and acts. Emotion must have a cognitive dimension if it plays a part  in understanding human nature and cultivating human life. For example, having  an emotion such as compassion can involve the person's recognition of reasons  and the motivation to act in certain ways.

To consolidate the cognitive dimension of feeling, it is then necessary to view that having a 'rational and moral heart' is an inherent predisposition of man,  and if this is obfuscated as he grows, it can be arrived at or be rediscovered. This means that from the beginning, xin or heart/ mind is at harmony and that it is found in all men. There is a particular nature or mode of thinking and  behaving that is universal for all. But because man lives in a world in which  the xin can be influenced, clouded or redirected, he becomes caught up in  confusion as to how to think and what to do. It is then essential for man to go back to the thing itself, the true heart/ mind, in order to know how to act as  he has been formed by nature to do so.

Hence, human action must be subjected to an 'aletheia'[3] to unveil the  universal xin that is both rational and moral at the same time.

The framework for this discussion is divided into three parts, all supported by sayings relevant to the argument from the work of Meng Zi and commentaries on  the Ancient Chinese philosopher:

First, the predisposition of man, which can be termed as the 'seeds of goodness ' in the philosophy of Master Meng, serves as the foundation for understanding  the xin or heart/ mind. It is at this point that one concretizes that for  Mencius, man is naturally good.

Second, one delves into the encounter of man with external reality. The  redirection to the outside initiates the obfuscation of the xin.

Third, given that the problematic paradigm has been contextualized, the  uncovering of the genuine nature of the heart/ mind is forwarded. Such is given light by showing how the unveiling process takes place both in an instinctive or unexpected setting, and also in a deliberative situation. In either case, when  one culminates in the rationalization of the emotion, one can attest to the  rediscovery of the xin that is good in its very essence. By establishing that  the constitutive character of the heart/ mind that is both cognitive and  emotional at the same time is possible through aletheia, then one can truly  give full credit and understanding to the ethical aim and contribution of Meng  Zi.

For Meng Zi, there are four innate tendencies in man which are identified as  the fonts of the four major virtues. Recognized as the 'seeds of goodness',  they are used as proof to show that man is inherently good. The subject of each tendency is xin, which is heart/ mind that is central to each moral person. The  beginning of jen or benevolence is the xin that is sensitive to the sufferings  of others, the beginning of i or righteousness is the xin that feels shame and  dislike, the beginning of li or propriety is the xin that feels modesty and  courtesy, and the beginning of chih or wisdom is the xin that senses right and  wrong is.[4]

It is from also from the xin that all sorts of emotions are felt when engaged  with external reality, with their actualization differentiated by the kind of  contexts or situations a person is involved in. All human beings can feel  compassion, filial affection, respect, deference, shame, and so forth, merely  by virtue of being human. These emotions are 'hard-wired' into us: 'the heart'  in Meng Zi refers quite literally to the body part, and its capacities are  endowments of Nature, or Heaven.[5] The level of passion or strength of  feelings may vary, but they are nonetheless inherent capacities of every human  being. Hence, we see that for Meng Zi, man's xin or heart/ mind is predisposed  to the good; that emotions are sourced from the xin; and, that the variety of  emotions are products of the interaction of man with objects outside of himself.

But the xin, it seems, is not able keep up with this kind of description if one bases his claim on reality and even with the way Meng Zi dealt with it in his  conversations with others. In Book 2, Part 1: Kung-sun Ch'au of the Life and  Works of Mencius[6], one finds a discussion on the phenomenon of the separation of the mind and the heart, or as the translation regards them, the will and the  passion-nature:

     (10) Ch'au observed, 'Since you say, 'The will is chief,
     and the passion-nature is subordinate,' how do you also
     say , 'Maintain firm the will, and do no violence to the
     passion-nature?'' Mencius replied, 'When it is the will
     alone which is active, it moves the passion-nature. When it
     is the passion-nature alone which is active, it moves the
     will. For instance now, in the case of a man falling or
     running, that is from the passion-nature, and yet it moves
     the mind.'
At first glance, one may say that there is discordance between the passion  nature and the will. The passage seems to argue that one can predominate over  the other in accordance to the actor's disposition. But analyzing it further  actually shows the intrinsic connection of the two. Movement is only possible  in the course of their interaction; although one can impose over the other, it  is out of the question for man to act without either using the feeling or  thinking -- it is always the xin or the heart/ mind that is at work. This is  better understood in the succeeding discussion of Meng Zi, wherein he explains  that their interplay is proper only if it is in accordance to the nature of man. Only if the good is actualized can man be in a state of peace with himself:

     (14) This is the passion-nature: It is the mate and
     assistant of righteousness and reason. Without it, man is
     in a state of starvation. (15) It is produced by the
     accumulation of righteous deeds; it is not to be obtained
     by incidental acts of righteousness. If the mind does not
     feel complacency in the conduct, the nature becomes starved.
     I therefore said, 'Kao has never understood righteousness,
     because he makes it something external.
     In the last two statements, it resonates how the heart/ mind operates as  consistent to its nature. That which is extrinsic can only be appeased or  understood if the intrinsic is fulfilled according to its rightful inclination. However, this is not always the case. Righteousness is a natural tendency of man. But the xin of righteousness can be clouded over if it is redirected to  things outside of it. If one regards the quality of righteousness, benevolence, propriety or wisdom as something separate from him -- which means one has to do  good in order to be good and not that he is actually good in the first place -- then confusion reigns. After all, as Fung Yu-lan asserts:

     ... when a man is not good, it is not because he is lacking
     in the basic stuff or material whereby to be good, or that
     he lacks the four 'beginnings' described above. His badness
     results simply from the fact that he is either not developed,
     or has suppressed or destroyed these beginnings, but this
     is not the fault of his natural powers.[7]
Hence, obfuscation of the xin or the heart/ mind begins with man's  misinterpretation of himself and external reality.

Given the clouded xin or heart/ mind, there is then a task to purify it. A  concept or process akin to this objective is called aletheia. In the scheme of  Meng Zi, I argue that unveiling is directed toward the rediscovery of the good  mind/ heart. This is not only a cognitive process, but also one that is  emotionally experienced. Furthermore, the application of the aletheia of the  goodness of human nature can be found both by instinctive and by deliberative  encounter. In the former, the revelation of the good is realized immediately,  and in the latter, man's goodness is revealed after its rationalization -- in  either case, the mind/ heart is unveiled to be concordant. There is no  separation between reason and emotion for they constitute each other.

In a setting where a man's response is put to the test because of its  spontaneity, his reaction is always directed toward the good and can be  pronounced instantly. Examples of these are one's alarm at seeing an infant  about to fall into a well (2A: 6), one's response to the sight of the bodies of deceased parents being devoured by wild animals (3:A5), and one's indignation  upon being given food with abuse (6:A10). Since one is caught unprepared, the  reactions are not guided by ulterior motives but come directly from the heart/  mind.[8] The aletheia in both situations dawn after the reaction is performed:  it is revealed that the xin of man is intrinsically harmonious both in thought  and action. Cognitively, there is an immediate grasping of the essence of the  good of honoring the dignity of another man; and experientially, a force  compels one to do a benevolent, righteous, proper and moral act by saving a boy or preserving the dead body of the elders from destruction.

The next situation is one in which the xin is rationalized -- the way by which  the aletheia of human goodness takes place. In this case, the idea of one's  goodness is deliberated on after an act has been done, for one is not fully  convinced of the nature of it. Wong, in his article 'Is there a distinction  between reason and emotion in Mencius?' used the example of Meng Zi's  conversation with King Hsuan.[9] The king, who made his people suffer because  of his territorial conquests, spared the life of an ox. Moved by pity, he saw  the ox's context as similar to an innocent man condemned to death. Meng Zi  identified for the king the ox's suffering as both the cause and justifying  reason for his action, and suggests that the king is certainly capable for  bringing peace to his people if he can spare an animal.

For other scholars, Meng Zi was trying to change the king through logical  argument -- that he ought to feel compassion toward his people to be consistent with his feeling for the ox. Wong contests this by saying that the reasoning of  Meng Zi is not as simple as pointing logical consistency. What the philosopher  was trying to show is that the suffering itself is the reason for compassion,  but that the King was not able to see the suffering of his people for it was  overshadowed by war and ambitions. By pointing this external cause, Meng Zi  channeled an instinctual compassionate response already within the king. A  motivationally efficacious reason to explain the presence and absence of an  emotion like compassion was necessary for such realization.

What is remarkable in this deliberative encounter with Meng Zi was the way he  unveiled the truly good xin of the war-mongering king, who was confused of his  real nature. Unlike an unexpected event that calls for a sudden response, this  particular example recognizes the confounded situation of roles, desires, and  goals. Naturally, these elements redirect one to act differently to the extent  of committing evil acts, yet these influences do not negate man's nature; they  merely obfuscate it. This is why conscience comes into play and begs man to  rationalize the disparity of thought and emotion. By analyzing a context, as  done by Meng Zi above, it can be revealed that external reality, when coupled  with desire, can cause confusion but this will not cancel out the seeds of  goodness. Hence, the cognitive function of compassion was appealed to in order  for this comprehension to take place and for emotion to be shown as at par with reason.

In conclusion, the xin plays an integral part in supporting the Confucian  philosophy of practical wisdom and Meng Zi's unconditional belief in the  goodness of human nature. In action, the heart/ mind is both rational and moral and it is by aletheia that we come to understand, in both surprising and  rationalized situations, that thought and emotion more than complement the  other -- they actually are constitutive of each other.



Co, Alfredo P. The Blooming of a Hundred Flowers: The Philosophy of Ancient  China. Manila: UST Publishing House, 1992.

Confucius. The Analects. D.C. Lau (trans). London: Penguin Books, 1979.

Fung, Yu-Lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1952.

Heidegger, Martin. The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Albert Hofstadter (trans) Rep Sub. Indiana University Press, 1988.

Mencius, The Life and Works of Mencius. James Legge (trans). London: 1875.

Shun, Kwong-loi. Mencius and Early Chinese Thought. California: Stanford  University Press, 1997.


Im, Manyul. 'Emotional Control and Virtue in the 'Mencius.' Philosophy East and West 49.1 (1999): 1-27.

Liu, Shu-hsien. 'Some Reflections on Mencius' Views of Mind-Heart and Human  Nature.' Kwong-loi Shun (trans). Philosophy East and West 46.2 (1996): 143-164.

Wong, David B. 'Is There a Distinction between Reason and Emotion in Mencius?'  Philosophy East and West 41.1 (1991): 31-44.


Richey, Jeffrey. 'Mencius [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy].' 22 Jun 2009 http:---


1. As Liu explains: 'The Confucians, on the other hand, take the moral  mind-heart as the starting point; they see actual moral behavior as a  manifestation of the moral mind-heart, whose existence requires no theoretical  justification. And they do not see any opposition between the moral mind-heart  and the mind-heart of right and wrong, so that no gap opens up between the  intellectual and the moral.' Shu-hsien Liu, 'Some Reflections on Mencius' Views of Mind-Heart and Human Nature.' Kwong-loi Shun (trans). Philosophy East and  West 46.2 (1996): 143-164).

2. David B. Wong, 'Is There a Distinction between Reason and Emotion in Mencius? ' Philosophy East and West 41.1 (1991): 31-44.

3. The author liberally borrows the Greek word 'aletheia' to show that the  unveiling of the truth as a concept and as a process is not foreign to ancient  Chinese philosophy. Heidegger, in his existential phenomenology, explains it  this way: 'But the definition of being-true as unveiling, making manifest, is  not an arbitrary, private invention of mine; it only gives expression to the  understanding of the phenomenon of truth, as the Greeks already understood it  in pre-scientific as well as philosophical understanding, even if not in every  respect in an originally explicit way. Plato already says explicitly that the  function of logos, of assertion, is deloun, making plain, or Aristotle says  more exactly with regard to the Greek expression of truth: aletheuein.  Lanthanein means to be concealed; a- is the privative, so that a-letheuein is  equivalent to: to pluck something out of its concealment, to make manifest or  reveal. For the Greeks truth means: to take out of concealment, uncovering,  unveiling.' Martin Heidegger, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Albert  Hofstadter (trans) Rep Sub. Indiana University Press, 1988, p. 215. In this  paper, the author argues that Meng Zi uses the same process in revealing the  xin or heart/ mind -- this position stands as the point of departure and point  of return of man in terms of the proper ethical action. If this elucidation is  successful, we can then show that comparatively, it is possible to assert that  the Chinese and the Greek conception of truth are the same; it is just that  unveiling the truth has a directly practical, action-oriented impact for the  former.

4. Wong, p. 31.

5. Manyul Im, 'Emotional Control and Virtue in the 'Mencius', Philosophy East  and West 49.1 (1999): 1-27.

6. Mencius, The Life and Works of Mencius. James Legge (trans). London: 1875, p. 164-166.

7. Yu-Lan Fung, A History of Chinese Philosophy, New Jersey: Princeton  University Press, 1952, p. 122.

8. Kwong-loi Shun, Mencius and Early Chinese Thought, California: Stanford  University Press, 1997, p. 139. References to the passages are from Meng Tzu,  Yang Po-chun (trans), Beijing: Chung-hua shu-chu, 1984.

9. Lifted by David Wong from 1A:7 of the Meng Tzu.

(c) Tracy Ann Llanera 2010




XXII World Congress of Philosophy Seoul National University Section 44: Philosophy of Nature Paper ID: SE44PL1743 August 2008


The aim of this paper is to consider the vicissitudes of 'area studies' from  the Second World War to the present focusing eventually on the normative  imperative to develop a new paradigm of 'planetary thinking.' First an overview of the history of 'area studies' will be given from the start in the U.S. during the Second World War in response to the geostrategic imperative for America to  know its new geopolitical responsibilities in a world divided by war. This  security imperative morphed into the postwar requisite to develop a  counterhegemonic strategy against soviet communism in the hot spot parts of  Asia, Latin American, and later Africa. The latter military-oriented strategy  was added to with research into development and modernization in the  third-world through to the boundary displacement of areas studies at the end of the Cold War into the current era of globalization. At this very historical  moment of transition a new rationale for area studies emerged in the form of a  geoeconomic imperative -- both in the U.S. and, with a different gloss, in  South Korea in the late 1990s.

Second, on the basis of this historical apercu, the argument will be proposed  that, given the problem of global warming and the issue-area of global  inequality lurking behind the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, a  pressing contemporary task for philosophy is to make a critical contribution to developing a new planetary perspective for area studies informed by a  constitutive philosophical anthropology attendant to the species being of human beings.

     'The need to develop a better understanding of our world
     has never been greater. We are now entering one of the most
     plastic moments of world history. The decisions we make
     today could influence the course of the twenty-first
     Kishore Mahbubani, The New Asian Hemisphere (2008)
     'When our impacts on the planet become so extreme that
     they're visible... planetary thinking becomes not a
     quaint notion but a practical necessity.'
     Alex Steffen, 'Planetary Thinking' (August 31, 2007)
The aim of the 2008 World Congress of Philosophy is, quote, 'to think the  nature and roles, and responsibilities of philosophy and philosophers in the  age of globalization... paying heed to the problems, conflicts, inequalities,  and injustices connected with the development of a planetary civilization that  is at once multicultural and techno-scientific.' It is in response to this  grand invitation that here in this short paper I broach the challenging issue  of the contribution philosophical reflection can make in the form of a  philosophical anthropology attendant to the species being of human beings to  the development of planetary perspective relevant to the multidisciplinary  field of 'area studies.'

1. Area Studies: an overview

The history of area studies in the U.S. can be divided up as follows: (1) the  earliest phase during the Second World War (1941-45); (2) the first major  period proper during the Cold War (late 1940s to the early 1990s); the second  major period from the end of the World War in the early 1990s through to the  present that can be divided into two phases: (1) from the moment of the Social  Science Research Council (SSRC) reprioritization of the goals of area studies  vis-a-vis globalization in 1997 to the climacteric moment of 9/11; and (2) the  post-9/11 phase characterized by the worldwide concern about global warming,  the challenges of reducing poverty in the developing world (cf. the U.N.'s  millennium development goals), and the serious problem of international  terrorism.

Over the almost six decades of the history of area studies there have been  specific series of 'rationales' formed of a changing triangular relationship  between power (the state), money (the foundations), and knowledge (the  universities)[1] focused on the following chain of 'geo' interests:  geopolitical/ geostrategic (pre-Cold War through to end of the Cold War);  geoeconomic (post-Cold War); and geocultural (era of globalization). With the  end of the Cold War went the geostrategic raison d'etre for a geopolitically  engaged area studies project and the exogenous imperative of geoeconomic  competition took center stage.[2]

Although the challenge of globalization and the threat of international  terrorism led to the emergence of a contested 'clash of civilizations'  perspective in the international field, no integrated multidisciplinary 'geo'  perspective has emerged in the mosaic domain of area studies. Indeed, over the  intellectual history of area studies there has been no unified disciplinary  base developed. As Immanuel Wallerstein has continually argued, the field has  been divided between nomothetic and idiographic approaches in the context of  academic competition between the bounded social science disciplines and  regional specialization.[3]

Given the priority of a geopolitically-focused rationale, political science has been the main contributing social science to debates about the disciplinary  status of area studies vis-a-vis the vicissitudes of international studies  during and since the end of the Cold War into the current era of globalization. [4] It is notable that it has been since the moment of rethinking the scope and nature of area studies by the SSRC in the mid-to-late 1990s that emphasized an  issue/ theme approach to the challenges of globalization[5] that a number of  collections of papers on the identity of area studies have appeared.[6] The  literature in the field before that is mainly confined to reports.[7]

Since this moment of reprioritization of area studies in the U.S. the  ascendancy of the intellectual acid of postmodernism in the fields of the human and cultural sciences has placed a question mark against foundational thinking.  This amounts to a formidable obstacle to attempts at unifying theorizing in and for area studies considered as applied normative social science. But, despite  the diversity and lack of unity of the intellectual field, it will be argued  here that 'planetary thinking' offers an emergent perspective to give it  coherence. What are some of the extant intellectual components that can be  combined to create such a perspective?

2. Planetary thinking

Over the history of area studies the concept of 'area' has been determined by  the rationale of area studies be it predominantly geopolitical or geoeconomic.  The present phase of more or less ubiquitous globalization post 9/11 when  global warming, international terrorism, the fight against poverty worldwide,  and the 'Chindia' phenomenon are the most conspicuous global issue-areas has  projected the concept of 'area' onto the world scale beyond the nation state or politico-economic regions. The normative imperative of planetary awareness has  become stewardship of the global commons. Outside of the academy the threat of  global warming is leading to the awareness to build ecoliteracy around the  world. Intellectually speaking, this global ecocentricity manifests itself in  the development of environmental and ecological perspectives across the  sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

This geocentric focus raises the challenge of developing 'geo-thinking' beyond  disciplinary compartmentalization. Thus a tetragrammatic model of the 'geo'  forms of the disciplinary fields of politics, economics, sociology, and  anthropology could produce a new architectonic for planetary thinking. This  architectonic would not just be a question of adding the responses of the  separate social sciences to globalization. A configurational intellectual  synthesis would be achieved focused on the geocentric-planetary dimension.

The historical human long-term on planet earth can be reconstructed using a  plurality of civilizational perspectives up to the present situation of  conflict/ dialogue.[8] In particular attention should be given to the mixed  outcomes of modernization worldwide[9] with respect to, positively, the  development of planetary ecoliteracy and, negatively, the degradation of  environments and processes of decivilization that impede the emergence of the  possible signs of planetary awareness.[10]

What role can philosophy play in the process of intellectual conscientization  regarding planetary awareness? Specifically, and substantively, how can  philosophy aid the development of a framework of geo-thinking for area studies  understood as applied normatively-oriented social science? In response to these questions in the rest of this short paper I will advocate a facilitating role  for a philosophical anthropology attendant to the 'species being' of human  beings

3. The role of philosophy: philosophical anthropology

Deep philosophical reflection of a constitutive kind focused on the nature of  human being has to have as its foundational dimension a scientifically based  and historically and culturally informed philosophical anthropology.[11] Philosophical reflection as root categorical thinking in this domain can  contribute to the development of a planetary perspective for area studies by  helping to elucidate the foundational concepts of the 'species being' of human  beings. Philosophy, in its historical etymology, can help contribute to  reflective thinking on homo sapiens as literally 'man the wise' by conceiving  homo mundialis (humans as natural beings) as homo planetarius (a planetary  species). A holistic anthropology will theorize the species being of human  beings with respect to the four integrated dimensions of homo faber, homo  eroticus, homo asetheticus, and homo spiritualis/ religious This holistic  four-dimensional tetragam will be critical of reducing the species being of  humans to a restricted form of either homo economicus (humans as manufacturers  of commodities only, that is as equivalent to their alienated labor) or homo  technologicus (humans as besotted by the products of their own ingenious  technos).[12]

Philosophers qua homo academicus can certainly take the lead in aiding the  development of holistic eco-anthropology attendant to the complexities of the  species being of humans conceived in a grand planetary context that does not  avoid dealing with the psychopathological aspects of individual and social  being and their deleterious (decivilizing) effects as part of the mixed  outcomes of uneven modernization processes.[13]


The President of the FISP, Peter Kemp, ends his Welcome Message for the 2008  World Congress of Philosophy thus: 'Let us show... what human thinking at its  best can be when confronting the problems, conflicts, inequalities, and  injustices that are connected with the development of a transnational  civilization.' To be sure, area studies informed by a planetary paradigm that  includes a philosophical anthropology with the species being of human beings as its constitutive focus is a just such human and -- a fortiori -- humane thinking.


1. Cf. Bruce Cumings, 'Boundary Displacement: The State, the Foundations, and  International Area Studies During and After the Cold War,' Ch. 7 in Parallax:  Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations at the End of the Century (Durham and London: Duke University Press, Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society, 1999), pp. 173-204.

2. For a reconstruction of area studies in the U.S. using geo-thinking see my 'A Critical Comparison of the Rationales for Area Studies Education in the  United States and South Korea,' The Korean Society for the Study of the  Anthropology of Education, Vol. 3, No. 4, 2000, pp. 23-40.

3. See Immanuel Wallerstein, 'The Unintended Consequences of Cold War Area  Studies,' in Andre Schiffrin (ed.), The Cold War and the University (New York:  The New Press, 1997), pp. 195-231.

4. See in this regard the following relevant texts: Lucien W. Pye (ed.),  Political Science and Area Studies: Rivals of Partners? (Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1975), Gabriel A. Almond and James S. Coleman (eds), The Politics of the Developing Areas (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton  University Press, 1960), Robert H. Bates, 'Area Studies and Political Science:  Rupture and Possible Synthesis.' Africa Today, Vol. 44, No. 2, 1997, special  issue on the future of regional studies., 'Political Scientists Clash over the  Value of Area Studies,' Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 January 1997: A-13-4. See also 'Symposium: Controversy in the Discipline: Area Studies and Comparative Politics,' PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. XXX, No. 2, June, Robert H.  Bates, 'Area Studies and the Discipline: A Useful Controversy?.' pp. 166-70;  Chalmers Johnson, 'Preconception vs. Observation, or the Contributions of  Rational Choice Theory and Area Studies to Contemporary Political Science.' pp. 170-4; and Ian S. Lustick, 'The Disciplines of Political Science: Studying the  Culture of Rational Choice as a Case in Point,' pp. 176-9, 1997.

5. Cf. Robert H. Bates, 'Letter from the President: Area Studies and the  Disciplines,' APSA-CP: Newsletter of the APSA Organized Section on Comparative  Politics,' Vol. 7, No. 1 (1996): 1-2.

6. See in this connection Richard J. Samuels (ed.), The Political Culture of  Foreign Area and International Studies (1992), Robert H. Bates et al. (eds),  Africa and the Disciplines: The Contribution of Research in Africa to the  Social Sciences and Humanities (1993), Mark A. Tessler et al, (eds), Area  Studies and Social Science: Strategies for Understanding Middle East Politics (1999), Neil L. Waters (ed.), Beyond the Area Studies Wars: Towards a New  International Studies (2000), Masyo Miyoshi and Harry Hartoonian (eds),  Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies (2002), Ali Mirsepasi,  Localizing Knowledge in a Globalizing World: Recasting the Area Studies Debate  (2003), and David Szanton (ed.), The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and  the Disciplines (2004).

7. The appendix to my forthcoming Area Studies: An Introductory Reader lists 28 pages of sources for the study of the history of area studies in the U.S. and  most of there are reports.

8. For a meritorious effort on this intellectual front using environmental  categories see Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Civilizations (Toronto: Key Porter  Books, 2000).

9. I have done this for the Asia region in my 'The Disciplinary Identity of  Cultural Studies and Some Suggestions for Future Development,' in Seong-kon Kim and Alec Gordon (eds), Cultural Studies in Asia (Seoul: Seoul National  University Press, 2004), pp. 21-70.

10. On 'decivilization' see Stephen Mennell, 'Short-term interests and  long-term processes: the case of civilization and decivilization,' in J.  Goudsblom et al., Human History and Social Process, Exeter: Exeter University  Press, 1989, pp. 93-127, 'Decivilizing processes: theoretical significance and  some lines of research,' International Sociology, vol. 5, 1990, pp. 205-23, and 'Civilization and Decivilization, Civil Society and Violence,' Inaugural Lecture, Dublin: University College Dublin, 1995). And on the dangers of  decivilization right under our noses see Timothy Garton Ash, ''Decivilization'  Not as Far Away as We Think?', http:---

11. On philosophical anthropology see Joseph Agassi, Towards a Rational  Philosophical Anthropology. (The Hague, 1977), Stanislaw Kowalczyk, An Outline  of the Philosophical Anthropology (Frankfurt am Maine, 1991), Jacinto Choza and Gemma Vicente, 'Historia de la Antropologia filosofica,' Open Course Ware,  Universidad de Sevilla, 2007, and Joachim Fischer, Philosophische Anthropologie. Eine Denkrichtung des 20, Jahrhunderts (Freiburg, 2008).

12. See in this regard John B. O'Malley, Sociology of Meaning (London: Human  Context Books, 1972).

13. Two such examples are (1) on philosophy's self-reflective role in  contributing to the intellectual praxis of planetary thinking Norman Swazo's 'Philosophical Identity and the Quest for Planetary Thinking,' Comparative  Civilizations Review, No. 50, Spring 1974, pp. 47-81 and (2) on philosophy qua  philosophical anthropology's role in critically considering environmental  destruction E. Meinberg, 'Environmental Destruction: A  Philosophical-Anthropological Perspective,': 20th WCP Environmental Destruction A Philosophical-Anthropological Perspective.

(c) Alec Gordon 2010


Dr Alec Gordon Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Seoul, South Korea



The following paper is my overview of the thoughts of Gilles Deleuze (1931- 1995). His philosophy can be summed up as an anti-dialectical philosophy of  becoming. In other words, an explanation of how and why things change without  recourse to teleology that can be found in Hegelian Marxism.


Whilst for many Hegel provides the algebra of revolution, Spinoza, for Deleuze, provides the force of insurrection. For the metaphysician Spinoza, there cannot  be numerous substances constituting reality, there is only one: Deus Sive  Natura (God/ Nature).[1] This one and infinite substance has two aspects: the  creator Natura Naturans (Nature naturing) and the created Natura Naturata (Nature natured). So, what is created emanates from the Creator. There is no  requirement of an external cause to explain the creating of the created, it  comes from within. Hence there is no transcendent God only an immanent one: an  ontology of immanence.

Particular things or modes of the two infinite attributes of Mind/ Body, are  emanations of the single, infinite Substance. Whilst Spinoza's two categories  of Natura Naturans and Natura Naturata initiated the teleological quest for  their dialectical reconciliation and identity with the German Idealists of the  18th and 19th centuries; Deleuze discerns an alternative to the latter's  philosophy of Identity.[2]

Deleuze's Spinoza

Deleuze's reading of Spinoza continues the theme of one immanent status of  reality that is simultaneously many. The Infinite and generative power of God/  Nature becomes the single power/ force which is expressed, made determinate and Actualised in many expressions of power or force. The many are expressions of  the One and the One is an expression of the many. Or to put it in other words,  there is difference within the single productive force.

Identity and Difference

The plane of consistence/ single productive power is, to paraphrase Nietzsche,  a monster of energy, without beginning, without end and continuously  transforming itself.[3]

At the micro level, it is chaos or difference: a flux of matter. At the macro  level, it shows definite shapes or structures Deleuze terms assemblages or  demarcated Lines. Juxtaposed to the assemblages of the Actual, is the Virtual.  This can be understood as the potentiality of the chaos or, of difference. It  is juxtaposed to the Actual which is understood as the instantiation of the  Virtual. Both are real although by definition, the Virtual can never be Actual. The potentiality of the Virtual must not be thought in its Aristotelian sense as a 'blueprint' of a prior which must always come to be as it is thematised.  Virtual potentiality is unthematised because it is difference. The Virtual 'haunts' the Actual as difference to it.[4]

Difference is a term associated with post-modern or continental philosophy and  linked to thinkers such as Jacques Derrida.[5] Difference is the otherness  inherent to what is Actual preventing a complete, holistic, reflexive totality  that is identical with itself -- as demanded, by German Idealism and its  dialectic of identity. There is an ontological fissure in our understanding of  reality which is other to what is Actualised as beings, text, ethics or  language. This must not be thought as a negation to be negated into a higher  more progressive synthesis. Difference is a non-dialectical happening, event or possibility. It is Virtual as it disrupts the Actual preventing its closure to  what is new and different.

As Deleuze describes it in Nietzsche and Philosophy, difference is the material forces of multiplicity, chance and becoming.[6] They exist as active material  forces of Will to Power waiting to break out at every moment from the reactive  structures of what exists as Actualised by previous actions of Will to Power.  They are then, the Virtual within the Actual. Depending on the genetic and  differential make up of Will to Power, it can either overcome itself as active  force -- introducing the new and different, or it can succumb to what is  established. In not being strong enough to overcome itself, Will to Power  cannot be active but reactive -- merely reinforcing what is already in  existence.

In Bergsonism, the Actual present moment that is NOW is infinitely divisible  because of the Virtual presence of multiplicity/ difference in the past which  exists in the present.[7] Unlike the linear conception of time where one  present moment becomes past to be replaced by a new present side by side in an  endless chain, past and present co-exist inside immanent duration. The past is  not a subjective psychological phenomena, it is ontological: it informs the  present. Through action, memory, perception the different moments or multiple  intensities of the Virtual past are brought to bear on the Actual present. They can change the present. Hence the Virtual difference and multiplicities of the  past can irrupt into the present thereby changing the Actual. Think of how  today, intensive memories of the past have presented themselves before your  conscious present without you 'summoning them'.

Returning to Deleuze's Spinoza, in Expressionism in Philosophy:Spinoza.[8],  Substance is read as productive Force; Attributes are the Virtual and Modes are the Actual. Nicholas Thoburn writes:

     Thus 'Virtuality' is not in opposition to the 'real', it is
     rather the reality of creative matter as it exists in
     ever new configurations as the base of the real (it
     is in opposition only to the fixed determinations of
     relations). [9]
Whereas for Spinoza, modes are particular emanations of the attributes which in turn are emanations of God/ Nature; for Deleuze, the Actuality of modes are past expressions of the Virtual become Actual. This is the activity of the unlimited  expressive agency of productive Force: i. e. in what exists (Actuality) and  what can come to exist (Virtuality). As Robert Piercey writes:

     So like Spinoza, Deleuze sees expression as a double
     movement; the dual process of determination and
     Actualisation. The movement from Being (Force MJ) to the
     Virtual parallels that from substance to attribute, the
     movement from Virtual to Actual parallels that from
     attribute to mode. Deleuze's conception of expression is,
     at bottom, a slightly modified version of Spinoza's.[10]
Productive Force can either reinforce what already exists thereby maintaining  the Identity of the Actual with the Actual or; it can give rise to difference  that will be expressed as something new and different to the Actual. This  double movement Deleuze identifies in Spinoza and elsewhere, is firstly the  qualitative intensity of forces Virtually creating new ideas, actions which are then secondly, quantitatively Actualised in new modes. Without the qualitative  intensity of productive forces being greater than what is already Actualised,  the repetition of what already quantitatively exists will prevail. Difference  cannot then irrupt into Actualisation. Difference arises in the Virtuality of  new thoughts or physical movements prior to their Actualisation in acts. As the potentiality of Virtuality is difference, it is necessarily unthematised. So  when it is Actualised, it will be as difference to that which is already in  existence.

In his later works, the schema of the single productive power is maintained  although reference to Spinoza, attributes etc. is dropped.[11] Here, the single power is demarcated in Major (or Molar) and Minor configurations of the  becomings of force. In the realm of the Political, the dialectical  reconciliation of oppositional becoming into an Absolute, single Identity is  eschewed in preference for a non-dialectical becoming of difference Actualised  by the Virtual.

The Political: Lines, Major and Minor

What is Actual is segmented into Lines, the most significant being the Molar  and Minor. The Molar Lines are macro, hierarchical, and binary. They uphold the dominating binary structures of government-governed, male-female, adult-child,  black-white, normal-abnormal and so on.[12] They are supported and co-ordinated by the State which legitimises them by overcoding with  philosophical-social-political-medical sciences. The Actuality of Molar lines,  is reinforced by the State to maintain domination and hegemony. For example, in Liberal-democratic societies, the concept of rational subject legitimizes the  concept of citizen. The citizen obeys his/ her own judgements as Actualised by  the State following election times. Thereby, Liberal Democracy is preserved and perpetuated in its identical sameness. Along with Foucault, Deleuze believes  this analysis of power is too general and insensitive to the Actual operation  of power.[13]

Within the Molar, Lines are molecular lines or movements of power, of force.  These make multifarious connections and transgress existing lines. Contrary to  the vertical, hierarchical Molar Lines, the becomings of molecular movements  are unpredictable, as follows from the nature of power/ force. They are like a  creative 'law of unintended consequences'.[14] Speaking in 1977, Deleuze  remarks thus:

     ...imagine that between the East and West a certain
     segmentarity is introduced, opposed in a Binary machine,
     arranged in State apparatuses, overcoded by abstract
     machines as the sketch of a world order. It is then from
     North to South that the destabilisation takes place, as
     Giscard d'Estaing said gloomily, and a stream erodes a path,
     even if it is a shallow stream, which brings everything
     into play and diverts the plane of organisation. A Corsican
     here, elsewhere a Palestinian, a plane hijacker, a tribal
     upsurge, a feminist movement, a Green ecologist -- there
     will always be someone to rise up to the South. [15]
Molecular becomings can contest the territory established by Molar Lines to  reterritorialise them. So between the old Binary lines of Capitalist West and  Communist East, there were Actualised new movements from under and beneath  those Molar lines already established. Between the Binary Molar Lines of male  and female, there are new becomings of sexuality. Between the Molar Lines of  Government and the governed, there are new becomings of political forces.  Between the Binary lines of proletariat and capitalist have emerged new social  forces which no longer correspond to them. Such becomings or lines of flight  can challenge and reconfigure the existing Lines of how a society and its  component parts are assembled. Change arises through the becomings at the  micro-level. Micro-politics is preferred to macro, global politics.

To tie in with what has been said above, the lines of flight are the Actualised Virtuality of the productive force which ontologically constitutes reality. They are multiple and various. Life is lived through Lines. Dealing with Lines,  assemblages of Lines and their creative transgressing is political. In this  sense, at every level life is political.

     Politics is active experimentation, since we do not know in
     advance which way a line is going to turn. Draw the line
     says the accountant, but one can draw it anywhere.[16]
Such movements -- being beneath and outside of the established Lines -- Deleuze describes as Nomadic.[17] They challenge the established ways of being and  thinking enforced by the overcoding of the State. Movements of lines of flight  are 'war machines' that deterritorialise the sedentary operations of the Actual.


Building on Spinoza's model of the immanent movements of power, Deleuze offers  an alternative to dialectical reconciliation. Difference irrupts the category  of identity to continually create the new and different. There is no end to  history only its undermining by difference. As such, Deleuze continues the  theme emphasised by post-modernist thinkers such as Jean-Francois Lyotard and  Michel Foucault of valorising difference as a device that prevents finalistic  closure and identity in totalising social-political philosophies.[18] At the  same time, this holds open the possibility for the new and different to emerge.

Eschewing revolution on the macro-level, Deleuze prefers a micro-politics where becomings of difference deteritorialise the existing overcoded divisions of  society with new lines of flight. In other words, there are insurrections  against the conditions of existence as enforced by the State by new, particular and not general social forces as they arise.[19] In one sense, this could not  offer general social change but ironically, specific piecemeal change leaving  intact, a general repetition and reinforcement of the same. Perversely, the  micro level appears to need the macro level from which it deterritorialises.  Such splitting away, if continuous, offers a trajectory into infinity and  irrelevance. Unless the specific lines of flight join up in a temporary  alliance to escape the global.

On the other hand, it does avoid the scope for totalising tyranny which follows from Hegelian inspired total revolutions. On the other hand, can one have a  revolution without a revolution?


1. Baruch Spinoza Ethics: Spinoza. Complete Works. Ed Michael L. Morgan Hackett. 2002.

2. German Idealism. The Transcendental Idealism of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)  announced problematics which subsequent thinkers attempted to remedy. Johann  Gottleib Fichte (1762-1814) and FWS Schelling (1775-1854) attempted to  cumulatively synthesise incomplete Subjective consciousness with its other,  Objective consciousness into an identity of Absolute knowing. GWF Hegel (1770- 1831) modified this attempt by historicising the cumulative movement of  subjective and objective consciousness. The categories of Hegelian thought were 'turned the right side up' to produce Marxist Historical Materialism. Here the  dialectic of subject and object becomes the historicist dialectic of class  struggle leading to the cumulative identity of global communism and the end of  [pre]history.

Just as Max Stirner attacked the atheist Young Hegelians such as Feuerbach for  being pious God Men -- crypto Christian metaphysicians -- so a Deleuzian  post-modernist could attack Marxism for being a crypto- Christian metaphysics.

3. # 1067. Friedrich Nietzsche. The Will to Power. Vintage Books. 1968.

4. Chapter 2. Todd May. Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction. Cambridge University  Press. 2005.

Chapter 2 & 5. Gilles Deleuze & Clare Parnet Dialogues II. Continuum 2002.

5. See my paper Post-Modernism: What's the Difference? Philosophy Pathways  Electronic Journal # 137. August 2008. https:---

6. Gilles Deleuze. Nietzsche and Philosophy. Continuum. 2005.

7. Gilles Deleuze. Bergsonism. MIT Press. 1991.

8. Gilles Deleuze. Expressionism In Philosophy: Spinoza. Zone Books 1992.

9. Introduction. Nicholas Thoburn. Deleuze, Marx & Politics. Routledge 2003.  The author explores the connections between Deleuzian themes and core Marxian  problematics.

10. Robert Piercey. The Spinoza Intoxicated Man: Deleuze On Expressionism. Man  and World #29. 269-281. 1996.

11. CH2 Dialogues II op. cit.

12. Deleuze also terms such structures as Aborescent. These are tree-like in  their structure:

     ... trees are not a metaphor but an image of thought, a
     functioning, a whole apparatus that is planted in thought
     to make it go in a straight line and produce famous correct
     ideas. There are all kinds of characteristics in the tree:
     there is a point of origin, seed or centre, it is a binary
     machine or principle of dichotomy, which is perpetually
     divided and reproduced branchings, its points of
     aborescence. (Dialogues ibid.)
Aborescent thought is characterised by foundationalism, teleology, hierarchy,  the binary, predictability, reflexivity and operation at the macro-level.

13. Michel Foucault (1926-1984) analysed the operations of power at the  micro-level in the constructions of social identities. Global or molar  movements of power are are too distant to be the sole preserve of the myriad  becomings of power. Those 20th century events that have sought radical change  from the molar level have ignored the Actual operation of power and not been  sensitive to the cause of freedom.

14. Such molecular movements in thought and practice Deleuze terms Rhizomatic.  Saul Newman describes it thus as:

     ... a model of thought [and practice MJ] that defies the
     very idea of model, it is an endless haphazard multiplicity
     of connections not dominated by a single centre or place but
     rather, decentralised and plural. It is thought
     characterised by a radical openness to an outside. It
     embraces four characteristics: connection, heterogeneity,
     multiplicity and rupture. The purpose of the rhizome is to
     allow thought to shake off its model, make its grass grow -
     - even locally at the margins imperceptibly. It is a form
     of thought that rejects binary divisions and hierarchies,
     it does not privilege one thing over another, and is not
     governed by a single unfolding logic.
P. 105. Saul Newman. From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the  Dislocation of Power. Lexington 2007.

The author uses the works of Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault and Lacan to promulgate an non-essentialist, non-humanist Anarchism or post-anarchist Anarchism.
15. P. 98. Dialogues.

16. P. 103 ibid.

17. The war machine operates outside of the Molar power of the State. It is a  rhizomatic movement of multiple heterogeneous connections. It is open to change and becomings aiming not at synthesis but the new and different.

See Gilles Deleuze. Nomad Thought. The New Nietzsche. MIT 1977.

18. See #5 above.

19. For example, the counter-culture of beatniks, hippies in the 1960's, Punks  in the 1970's. Or New Age Traveller communities of the present; or of  hedonistic 'rave' culture of the 1990's. The internet also permitted a  rhizomatic movement against the molar power of media communications. A myriad  of websites, blogs spots appeared, making new micro connections. Philosophers  could set up their own communications outside of the molar power of established, sedentary academia.

The new connections of social forces in the 'Anti-Capitalist/ Globalisation'  movement Actualised since Seattle 1999, can be regarded as rhizomatic.

On social change without taking State power see:

John Holloway. Changing the World without taking Power: The Meaning of  Revolution. Pluto. 2002.

(c) Martin Jenkins 2010


© Geoffrey Klempner 2002–2020