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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal


P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   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 

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 

     (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

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


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 

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.

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

E-mail: tracy.llanera@gmail.com



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

     '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 

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 

 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 

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://www.AlbertMohler.com

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

E-mail: ag5@hufs.ac.kr

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 

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 

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.

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 

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.

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 

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

E-mail: martinllowarch.jenkins@virgin.net

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