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Constantin V. Boundas

Encounters, Creativity and Spiritual Automata

The representational and recognitive, dogmatic image of thought has at its core the subsumption of the new under the old and renders, as a result, genuine creativity impossible. On the other hand, the jolt administered to our faculties whenever singular cases are encountered—cases that resist the process of subsumption—has been welcomed by Deleuze as the necessary condition for every new creation. In the euphoria of a climate of experimentation that this notion of the encounter generates, what is often overlooked is that Deleuze puts encounters to work side by side with the notion, “spiritual automaton.” Without the coordination of the two concepts, I argue, the old problem created by the alleged incommensurability of the logic of discovery and the logic of demonstration is bound to strike again, in the harshest possible pre-hermeneutic terms. My presentation will first explore the shortcomings and the pitfalls of a theory of creativity from which a rigorous logic of demonstration is lacking. The exploration will undertake three diagnostic excavations: in the domain of jurisprudence (Laurent de Sutter, Alexandre Lefebvre); in the domain of the philosophy of science (Karl Popper, Paul Feuerabend, Georges Canguilem, Isabelle Stengers); and in the domain of the creation of concepts (Daniel Smith, Paul Patton). In the sequence, the notion of the “spiritual automaton” will be introduced and discussed, in order for my presentation to conclude that, in Deleuze’s work, the spiritual automaton prevents the disjunction of the logic of discovery and the logic of demonstration, without abandoning the thinker to the threatening decisionism of the dictum, “pas des idées justes, juste des idées.”

About the keynote speaker

Constantin V. Boundas is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Professor at the Center of Theory, Culture and Politics, and Adjunct Professor of Cultural Studies at Trent University. He is the editor of The Deleuze Reader (Columbia University Press, 1993); of The Theater of Philosophy: Critical Essays on Gilles Deleuze (Routledge, 1994) with Dorothea Olkowski; and of Deleuze and Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2006). He has organized several conferences on the works of Gilles Deleuze (1996, 1999, 2004) including the first international Deleuze Studies conference at Trent University in 1992. He translated Gilles Deleuze's The Logic of Sense (Columbia University Press, 1990), Gilles Deleuze's Empiricism and Subjectivity: An Essay in Human Nature (Columbia University Press, 1991), and, with Susan Dyrkton, Jean-Clet Martin’s The Philosophy of Deleuze: Variations (Edinburgh Umiversity Press, forthcoming). He has published essays on Nietzsche, Gadamer, Deleuze and Guattari and he is on the editorial board of Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy, of Angelaki: A Journal of Theoretical Humanities, and of The Deleuze Studies. He is currently working on a major project on New Issues in Post-Continental European Philosophy.