Volume 20, Issue 2, Fall 2016
The Ground Become Autonomous in Schelling and Deleuze
The activity of thinking has been traditionally set against the risk of error and its concomitants: inconsistency, incoherence, the false. Philosophy pursues and protects the truth; such is its mission statement. But this is, for Deleuze, an inadequate conception that gives us the image of a thought so weak, so thin and impoverished, that everything happens as if from the outside. What, asks Deleuze, of stupidity? How are we to account for it transcendentally? In his attempt at an answer, Deleuze draws directly from Schelling’s Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom, though without clearly articulating either the form of Schelling’s concepts or presenting how exactly they are supposed to account transcendentally for stupidity. Further still, Deleuze seems implicitly to recapitulate—to the serious detriment of his conceptual schematic, as Derrida famously claimed in The Beast & the Sovereign—Schelling’s belief in a freedom that is solely human, and therefore the refusal of a capacity for stupidity to the animal as well. The present article intervenes here, reconstructing the Schellingian concepts necessary to an understanding of Deleuze’s theory, and sketching in conclusion the possibility of a revised account that need not stratify itself so straightforwardly along the human/animal divide.