Monday, August 11, 2008

Forms and Forces

In the philosophical tradition, there is a hidden but important debate between the advocates of a static metaphysics -- forms are more real than forces -- and a dynamic metaphysics -- forces are more real than forms. It's been said -- correctly, I think -- that one of Plato's accomplishments was to create the appearance/reality distinction in order to resolve the debate between Heraclitus and Parmenides. In those terms, it might said that Nietzsche's move is to reverse this priority. So there are "ousiological" metaphysicians and "metabological" metaphysicians -- metaphysicians of substance and metaphysicians of change.

Lately I've been trying to articulate why I've retreated from my enthusiasm for Nietzsche and for Deleuze, and I now think I'd want to put it this way: forms and forces are phenomenologically equiprimordial. And my quarrel with Nietzsche, but especially with Deleuze, is that they are no more sensitive to this experiential truth than are the philosophers in the tradition from Parmenides to Hegel which they reject.