Descartes’ I Gilles Deleuze, Pierre-Félix Guattari


( … ) Descartes’ I: a concept of self. This concept has three components—doubting, thinking, and being (although this does not mean that every concept must be in triple form). The complete statement of the concept qua multiplicity is “I think ‘therefore’ I am” or, more completely, “Myself who doubts, I think, I am, I am a thinking thing.” According to Descartes the cogito is the always-renewed event of thought. The concept condenses at the point I, which passes through all the components and in which I’ (doubting), I’’ (thinking), and I’’’ (being) coincide. As intensive ordinates the compo­nents are arranged in zones of neighborhood or indiscernibility that produce passages from one to the other and constitute their inseparability. The first zone is between doubting and thinking (myself who doubts, I cannot doubt that I think), and the second is between thinking and being (in order to think it is necessary to be). The components are presented here as verbs, but this is not a rule. It is sufficient that there are variations. In fact, doubt includes moments that are not the species of a genus but the phases of a variation: percep­tual, scientific, obsessional doubt (every concept therefore has a phase space, although not in the same way as in sci­ence). The same goes for modes of thought—feeling, imagin­ing, having ideas—and also for types of being, thing, or substance—infinite being.1


1 / Gilles Deleuze, Pierre-Félix Guattari, What Is Philosophy? Columbia University Press, New York 1994, p. 24–25.