We begin with the characterization of a person.
Lynne Huffer. Mad for Foucault: Rethinking the Foundations of Queer Theory
For Foucault, as for Deleuze, subjectivation includes more than social or linguistic construction. Indeed, it includes more than the subject itself:
Subjectivation as a process is a personal or collective individuation. … There are subject-type individuations (“that’s you …,” “that’s me … “), but there are also event-type individuations where there’s no subject: a wind, an atmosphere, a time of the day, a battle. … One cannot assume that a life, or a work of art, is individuated as a subject; quite the reverse. Take Foucault himself: you weren’t aware of him as a person exactly. Even in trivial situations, say when he came into a room, it was more like a changed atmosphere, a sort of event, an electric or magnetic field. *
*Deleuze, Negotiations, p. 115
Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations 1972-1990 translated Martin Joghlin (New York:
Columbian University Press, 1995)
I note that Huffer presents two categories (force and person). I have in the past tried to read them as a generative series (and failed). See my reading, of the typologies as play in reading Doležel’s Heterocosmica: Fiction and Possible Worlds.
This failure may be an error in seeking an origin story in the relations of forces to persons. Where I read off an implicit schema (trying to bend a typology to a narrativisation) — I numbered them as one, two, three:
- States are introduced.
- Forces are considered.
- Persons are augmented.
I would now (having read Strawson’s “Persons” chapter in Individuals) not list them as a numbered sequence. I would follow Strawson and for narratological purposes consider persons as primitives. Strawson: “The concept of person is logically prior to that of an individual consciousness.” And return to Doležel: “If uttered felicitously, the literary performative changes a possible entity into a fictional fact. In other words, fictional fact is a possible entity authenticated by a felicitous literary speech act. (Heterocosmica 146)”
On the one side are speech acts (introduce, consider, augment) and on the other entities.
Given that persons are primitive, the narration can begin with any entity and proceed with any of the speech acts. And as Ovid has shown in the First Book of the Metamorphoses creation stories can be multiple and that multiplicity encompassed within the space of one recounting.
So is Foucault a person in the story recounted by Deleuze? If a person, like a state or a force, can be a “set of intensities” …
Foucault says “an art of oneself that’s the exact opposite of oneself…” If there’s a subject, it’s a subject without any identity. Subjectification as a process is personal or collective individuation, individuation one by one or group by group. Now, there are many types of individuation. There are subject-type individuations ( “that’s you…,” “that’s me…”) , but there are also event-type individuations where there’s no subject: a wind, an atmosphere, a time of day, a battle… One can’t assume that a life, or a work of art, is individuated as a subject; quite the reverse. Take Foucault himself: you weren’t aware of him as a person exactly. Even in trivial situations, say when he came into a room, it was more like a changed atmosphere, a sort of event, an electric or magnetic field or something. That didn’t in the least rule out warmth or make you feel uncomfortable, but it wasn’t like a person. It was a set of intensities.
It’s very difficult to express, to convey-a new distinction between affective states. Here we come up against the unfinished character of Foucault’s work. He might perhaps have given this distinction a philosophical range as wide as life. It should teach us, at least, to be very careful about what he calls a “mode of subjectifcation.” For such modes involve subjectless individuations. That may be their main feature. And perhaps passion, the state of passion, is actually what folding the line outside, making it endurable, knowing how to breathe, is about. All those who are so saddened by Foucault’s death may perhaps rejoice in the way that such a monumental body of work breaks off with an appeal to passion.
Gilles Deleuze, “A Portrait of Foucault,” Negotiations, 115-116.
Which leads us to return to Strawson
P. F. Strawson
[first section of] Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics
Another distinction, worth mentioning now, to which I shall later refer is that between, e.g. events and processes which, as named and conceived of by us, necessarily are of, or performed or undergone by, material bodies or things possessing material bodies, and events and processes not of this kind. Thus a death is necessarily the death of some creature. But that a flash or a bang occurred does not entail that anything flashed or banged. ‘Let there be light’ does not mean ‘Let something shine’.
p.53 [reminds one of Ovid]
So we enormously extend the range of our possible identifying references to states, processes etc. by allowing them to be mediated by reference to places, persons and material beings.
And so for day 2559