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What Is Philosophy? Paperback – April 15, 1996

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231079891 ISBN-10: 0231079893

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Philosophy, according to the authors, is the only study that is concerned with the creation of concepts, which distinguishes it from science, logic, and art. To support this thesis, the authors discuss the nature of these disciplines and the thought of a wide spectrum of philosophers, from Plato to Foucault. Unfortunately, singular insights are buried in a text so dense with metaphor and figurative language (e.g., "the plane of immanence," "conceptual personae") that it is impossible to decide whether they have argued their case successfully or even whether they have made their thesis fully intelligible. For academic libraries collecting these authors and continental philosophy.
Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Mgt. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Packed with insights into historical periods, art, and philosophy. . . . a particular strength of the book is the depth of its exploration of philosophical concepts--both what they are and what they presuppose. A pleasure to read, this is a rigorous structural reflection of the philosophical concept and a genuine contribution to philosophy. Highly recommended. -- R. E. Palmer

This examines the relationship between philosophy, science and the arts, considering the independent pursuits of each study and their ultimate connections. This history of social and cultural development and philosophical arguments provides a fine synthesis of Western cultural observation and philosophical argument. -- Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Series: European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231079893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231079891
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By a reader on October 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
First of all, this book is not an introduction to philosophy and should not be read by beginners who has not read any philosophical text before. Rather, as the writers say, this should be read by people who are engaged with philosophy for sometime either as a student or as an enthusiastic reader and who reached the point of asking the question ''What the hell I' m doing?'' This book gives the answer and lets the philosophy student recognise his/her task and continue work being much more conscious about the topic. The book carefully analyses the differences between scientific, philosophic and artistic knowledge and also succeeds in giving their relations in a clear way. Defining philosophy as ''creation of concepts'' may, at first, seem like an old and unoriginal definition but as you continue reading the book you will easily see that that definition gives way to a really original and successful conceptualization of philosophy and science. As a result I recommend this book to all students of philosophy except the freshmen whether coming from the analytic or continental tradition.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By David J Frost on September 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
For a grad class "Recent French Philosophy" I am reading Deleuze and Guattari's "What is Philosophy?". I certainly don't have a review ready for it. Nor can I claim to have concrete and clear thoughts about it yet. But I do have questions and rough ideas which I will endeavor to set down simply for the practice of articulating these thoughts.
Regarding style: Many have and will complain that Deleuze obfuscates what he ought to want to make clear. The meaning of a sentence or paragraph, I will admit, is not always clear if only because Deleuze refers often to ideas outside philosophy without providing clear meaning. He alludes or make explicit reference to art works, history, his previous work, film, and political concerns without pausing to describe more completely each of these.
Deleuze however is completely serious in his task; I would deny anyone who wished to claim Deleuze was trying to evoke a mind-fudge which would somehow disrupt the knowledge-seeking mind the same way knowledge-seeking has been disrupted by poststructuralist insights. He may do this in Mille Plateau but so far in "What is Philosophy?" he is not being artful with his style. His style is dictated not by a desire to have commensurability between "gist" and mode of expression. His style is dense and difficult because he has a lot to say, is at the end of a career with much ground work done; and feels he must talk to his schoolmates (to use a phrase of Spivak's concerning Derrida). The issues dealt with in "What is Philosophy?" exist at a high level of abstraction which Deleuze has arrived at the end of his career. Let his earlier work, a familiarity with art and culture, and a close dedicated slow reading fill in the gaps in his style.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian C. on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only read the first section of this book so far (the section on philosophy) so my review will be limited to that section. I will be reading the rest of the book soon (hopefully) and will be adding to my review after I do. Before I get into the discussion of what D&G understand by philosophy I should say a few general words that I think will help in understanding the aim of this book.

Deleuze's ontology is based on a distinction between the virtual and the actual. In the simplest terms possible the virtual is a tendency and the actual are the various actualizations of that tendency. So to take an everyday example, love is a tendency, and its various actualizations include marriage, friendship, etc.. Deleuze's philosophical method is based on tracing tendencies back to the virtual rather than trying to define them in terms of their actualizations. So rather than trying to take all the particular forms of love that exist and trying to "abstract" something common about them all and using that to define the concept of love, Deleuze attempts to get a hold of the tendency which is expressed in all the different actualizations of a tendency which will exceed those actualizations.

It is necessary to understand that general ontology if you want to understand what D&G are up to in this book. They are attempting to determine what philosophy, science, and art are. What is the tendency that they express? Which also means, what can they become? Something like philosophy is not defined purely in terms of its past and present actualizations. Philosophy is creative. But D&G's decision to divide philosophy, science, and art from each other is based on their belief that they all express different tendencies (they can overlap with each other but they are essentially distinct).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Philbin on September 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nicely reasoned work on the role of philosophy, science, and art in the human approach to organizing meaning in the material world. Deleuze is of course a key thinker in terms of understanding the current state of how we come to terms with origins and potentialities. It can be difficult at times because of translation and the unique terminology necessary to explore certain innovative concepts; but if you're not familiar with Deleuze, and want a fresh look at the subject, this is a good start.
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