There’s an interesting online psych project over here at Project Implicit…an interesting thing mentioned on Thought Capital’s blog post about the use of ’empirical data’ in ’evidenced-based meta-analyses’. I presume these EBMA’s are some sort of peculiar category of philosophical activity, perhaps connected to the idea of ’experimental philosophy’ which, whilst fascinating, seems to sometimes miss the point. Can evidence ever establish particular *principles* of thought? If not, then is it for a philosophy a question of giving up principles or of giving up evidence? Is there a dichotomy here that *cannot* (in principle or in fact) be resolved?

This difficulty, of what we might call the distinction between the *quid facti* and the *quid juris* is critical to any attempt to understand transcendental philosophy. There is an argument being made (James Williams, Dan Smith etc) that it is in fact principles that are crucial for Deleuze, that the *quid juris* has in some sense a priority derivable from an affinity of Deleuze’s method with that expressed by Leibniz ’Principle of Sufficient Reason’. Everything has to have a reason for existing, a *ratio existendi*, rather than simply a reason for being, *ratio essendi*. In fact, Smith argue, Leibniz in fact added other epistemological and metaphysical conditions in the PSR with the notions of *ratio cognoscendi* (a reason for how we can know the thing, the principle of indiscernibles) and a *ratio fiendi* (reason for becoming out of that which already is or law of continuity preventing arbitrary MacGuffin like inventions during the course of an account). The PSR aims to fulfill all that we would ask for in either of the *quid* moves, such that a question of fact or principle is capable of being responded to by understanding the sufficient reason for a thing.

The EBMA approach, of course, also seem to want to ask both *fact* and *juris* questions and could be understood, I would suggest, using the PSR approach that is supposedly developed by Deleuze. It contains, undoubtedly, a *priority* of the evidence and will be successful so long as it maintains a high awareness of the difficulty of evidence producing principles, a problem because a meta-analysis that doesn’t produce principles (*laws*) isn’t much of a meta-analysis. Assuming it does and that such a problem would be a kind of methodological training ground for the practicalities of an EBMA approach, the example of ’communication’ came to mind. Deleuze seems, at various points but particularly inside DR and LOS, to need something like a ’principle of communication’. Things need to flash between two series, a differential function needs to arise *between* differential functions, such that two flows (fa and fa’) produce a relation dx/dy. Of course, the flows or functions themselves are also at bottom relations of the differential kind too so that in effect we establish a nested series of differential relations and functions of differential relations forming a process of *doubling*, with first order and second order relations but never a *third order* since the flows are always both first order differentials for a second order function as well as second order functions of prior first order differentials. The move from one order to another is a constitutive move that seems dependent on the principle of communication. The difficulty, of course, is that such a principle brings with it all the problems of language.

Is there any way of deciding, for instance, whether the seeming importance of gesture within apes such as the chimp or bonobo reflects anything of importance about the arrival of language or communication within the human? Are we about to say we could translate the gestures of the bonobo? (Here I’m thinking of the whole Quinian background problems of translation and indeterminacy as having some interesting things to say perhaps.) That we can *understand* them isn’t enough it would seem for there to be *communication*. I can understand many things without anything being communicated. It might be that in fact we need to read the principle of communication simply as a principle of *connection* and I think this may well be how Williams thinks of it in his reading of Deleuze when he says that two central principles are to ’forget everything’ and ’connect with everything’ (Williams, 2003: 5). It is indeed true that something like the ’connect with everything’ principle surrounds the idea of the infinite speed of a conceptual connection. The diagram, for example, often appears as a kind of speed of connection that is at once also an undetermined connection and this may well be why people often refer to Deleuzian concepts as ’fluid’, though this might be either a term of approbation or offense depending on the readers stance. Connection, in this limitless sense, is peculiar and disturbing however and I never feel happy with it. It smacks of a kind of abstraction from the real in which connections are messy, determinate but over-determined and *slow*. There is in fact too much resistance in the world for me to be happy with anything smelling of infinity in any form. We should purge the infinite from our thoughts – and yet it is this infinite, perhaps, that allows the *connection *to be a *communication*.

This is more of a question, or a puzzlement, something I’d like to know what more informed people than myself think of……. It definitely pertains to the principle/fact discussion you bring up here, it seems to me.

Basically, I wonder how Deleuze relates to the work of mathematician and meta-mathematician Gregory Chaitlin. His ideas have been picked up, at least, by Ray Brassier, the Middlesex University philosopher (there’s an article by Chaitlin in the latest Collapse journal, and Brassier has written about him in the Think Again book about Badiou), and has struck me, from the moment I read about them, as extremely relevant to Deleuze. Um, to give just the buzzwords for Chaitlins discoveries, it seems what he has found is random mathematical facts. And that there are lots of them.

Initially, this seemed to me to support Deleuze’s ‘problematic’ approach to math, as distinguished from say Badious formal approach. But on the other hand, it seems to invalidate any principle of sufficient reason. A quote from Chaitlin expresses this succintly: “There are extreme cases where mathematical truth has no structure at all, where it’s maximally unknowable, where it’s completely accidental, where you have mathematical truths that are like coin tosses, they’re true by accident, they’re true for no reason. That’s why you can never prove whether individual bits of W are 0 or are 1, because there is no reason that individual bits are 0 or 1!”

I think you’re probably right to explore Chaitlins’ work in this regard, though at present I am not familiar enough with it to really say anything substantial about it. What seems important to me is the *idea* of mathematics that is at work in Chaitlin. It plainly isn’t the same as the logicians notion of mathematics, not simply a formal system – and in this regard I take Chaitlin to be in line with many modern mathematicians who wouldn’t accept the Principia as the be all and end all of the foundation of maths. Of course, some modern mathematicians do accept the Principia as *adequate enough*…see, for example, Timothy Gowers in his ‘Short Introduction’. Gowers argument is that, via the work of Frege, Russell and Whitehead, there are methods of proof within mathematics and that it is this “fact that *in principle* disputes can be resolved” (Gowers 2002; 40).

The notion of a method of resolution of any claim made as a mathematical claim would presumably not apply to a meta-mathematical claim. The meta-mathematical claim arising from the discovery of something like a ‘pure random’ (though this ‘pure’ is a little odd) would presumably be – or entail – something like the claim that mathematics itself is entirely contingent or conventional (ie; that its’ claim to reveal a certain necessity that is outside the mathematical system, a claim necessary for its practical application rather than theoretical exposition, is incorrect and there is no mathematical ‘necessity’ in the world).

You’re right too, to suggest that this problem is likely to have some relation or implication for the PSR…’reason’ as ‘sufficient’ brings with it a force of necessity that seems more than merely conventional but less than regulative. At the moment I’m trying to find a way of articulating the force of necessity more generally and am still in the midst of this, so these are very tenuous and untested thoughts as yet (though there’s nothing new there…)