Over at Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews John Protevi has published an excellent review of Nathan Jun’s and Daniel W. Smith’s Deleuze and Ethics with Edinburgh University Press. Here’s a snippet chosen absolutely at random for no particular reason whatsoever:
nstead of organizing this review by sequentially treating each essay, I will highlight three themes that recur across the essays. The first two are familiar to even casual readers of Deleuze: the productive ontological and the experiential; the third, which we can call the “static ontological,” is less well-known but receives welcome attention in two of the essays.
First, let us examine the productive ontological theme by which (subjective and institutional, but also physical and biological) identities are produced as the resolution of a differential or “problematic” field. This differential production licenses the critique of a “tracing” relation that posits transcendental identities as grounds of empirical ones. Among the essays to consider under this rubric are the ones by Bell, Bryant, Gilson, Jun, Daniel W. Smith, and Žukauskaitė. Let us consider the Bryant and Jun essays as exemplifying this theme.
Bryant focuses on the distinction between pre-set “dilemmas” with a closed set of pre-given answers and true open-ended “problems,” those resting on a differential field of social forces in tension with one another, such that any intervention into the situation (or “assemblage” to use the technical term) will change the conditions for future interventions. Problems thus arise and persist in response to the introduction of novel elements in an assemblage; Bryant exemplifies this with a case study of the introduction of Texas legislation concerning vaccination against HPV (human papillomavirus). Bryant’s treatment resonates with Latour’s notions of actants and with Badiou’s notion of the unforeseen, what isn’t countable as part of the assemblage. In addition to these continental references, a confrontation with the mainstream use of Trolley Problems (which would precisely not be “problems” in the Deleuzean sense) would have been useful here, but I do recognize word count constraints and don’t hold this missed opportunity as a fault of Bryant’s essay.
Read the rest here. If Protevi’s review doesn’t convince you to check this volume out I don’t know what will!