Depth, Freedom & Two ruses – excerpts from Deleuze on Kant – by way of preparing the former’s own transcendental aesthetic

… determining judgement and reflective judgement are not like two species of the same genus. Reflective judgement manifests and liberates a depth which remained hidden in the other. But the other was also judgement only by virtue of this living depth. If this were not so it would be incomprehensible that the Critique of Judgement should have such a title, even though it deals only with reflective judgement. The point is that any determinate accord of the faculties under a determining and legislative faculty presupposes the existence and the possibility of a free indeterminate accord.

– Gilles Deleuze, Kant’s Critical Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1999, p. 60 [originally published as La Philosophie Critique de Kant, Universitaires de France, 1963]

The notion of free indeterminate accord opens the way for Deleuze, as he saw it, to rewrite the Critique of Pure Reason from the point of view of the Critique of Judgement. In the former’s Difference and Repetition the movement which rends apart both self and I is similarly reflexive: without recognition to guide the reason and a reflexively determined subject of apperception a crack appears, a depth, dividing the dissolved self from the fractured I. The individual spans this depth. That is, a sign-signal system constituting the individual receives on the one hand signals from the depths and on the other delivers its signs from the heights.

Judgement is always irreducible or original; this is why it can be called ‘a’ faculty (specific gift or art). It never consists in one faculty alone, but in their accord, whether an accord already determined by one of them playing a legislative role or, more profoundly, in a free indeterminate accord, which forms the final object of a ‘critique of judgement’ in general.

– Ibid., p. 61

Kant finds a higher power of judgement in the Critique – its object -, just as in his two earlier critiques he has found a higher power of reason and of morality.

We must therefore consider that reflective judgement in general makes possible the transition from the faculty of knowledge to the faculty of desire, from the speculative interest to the practical interest, and prepares the subordination of the former to the latter, just as finality makes possible the transition from nature to freedom or prepares the realization of freedom in nature.

– Ibid., p. 67

Here again there is a foreshadowing of Deleuze’s themes: the priority of the heart over the head; the higher dialectic of a transcendental empiricism.

It is […] a ruse of suprasensible Nature, that sensible nature does not suffice to realize what is nevertheless ‘its’ last end; for this is the suprasensible itself in so far as it must be accomplished (that is to say, have an effect in the sensible). … whatever appears to be contingent in the accord of sensible nature with man’s faculties is a supreme transcendental appearance, which hides a ruse of the suprasensible. … we must never think that sensible nature as phenomenon is subject to the law of freedom or reason. Such a concept of history would imply that events are determined by reason, and by reason as it exists individually in man as noumenon; events would then manifest an ‘individual rational purpose’ of men themselves. But history … shows us the complete opposite: pure relations of forces, conflicts of tendencies, which weave a madness like childish vanity. … It is by the mechanism of forces and the conflict of tendencies … that sensible nature, in man himself, presides over the establishment of a Society, the only milieu in which the last end can be historically realised. Thus what appears to be a nonsense from the standpoint of the designs of an a priori individual reason can be a ‘design of Nature’ in order to ensure empirically the development of reason within the framework of the human species. History must be judged from the perspective of the species, and not of individual reason. There is thus a second ruse of Nature that we must not confuse with the first (both of the them together constitute history). According to this second ruse, suprasensible Nature wanted the sensible to proceed according to its own laws, even in man, in order to be capable of receiving, finally, the effect of the suprasensible.

– Ibid., pp. 74-5

From the devastation wrought upon the passive self by the narcissistic ego in a contemplation which fails to synthesize, from what Deleuze calls this “aborted Cogito,” according to his ontogenesis and in light of Kant’s doctrine of faculties, comes a new faculty: the faculty of the supersensible.

Deleuze gives it many names. It appears in Difference and Repetition as the aleotory point, also as the aphasic, acephalic, blind, deaf and dumb ‘thinker of Ideas,’ and in The Logic of Sense, it will become nonsense incarnate.