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Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry

Volume 6, Issue 15, Spring 2011

Daniel W. Smith
Pages 18-32

On the Nature of Concepts

In What is Philosophy?, Deleuze and Guattari define philosophy, famously, as an activity that consists in forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts.” But this definition of philosophy implies a somewhat singular “analytic of the concept,” to borrow Kant’s phrase. One of the problems it poses is the fact that concepts, from a Deleuzian perspective, have no identity but only a becoming. This paper examines the nature of this problem, arguing that the aim of Deleuze analytic is to introduce the form of time into concepts in terms of what he calls “continuous variation” or “pure variability.” The aim is not to rediscover the eternal or the universal, but to find the conditions under which something new is produced (creativeness).