Gilles Deleuze: Hume and Subjectivity

Southern Nights

As Deleuze breaks down the components of Hume’s philosophical system into its differing layers he exposes the specificity of subjectivity as an effect: “it is in fact an impression of reflection“(26).1 He qualifies this stating: “When Hume speaks of an act of the mind – of a disposition – he does not mean to say that the mind is active but that it is activated and that it has become subject” (26). Many terms have been used to describe what Hume means by dispositions: ‘power’ (Locke’s term), ‘dunamis’ (Aristotle’s term), ‘ability’, ‘potency’, ‘capability’, ‘tendency’, ‘potentiality’, ‘proclivity’, ‘capacity’, and so forth. This sense of power or disposition according to Deleuze is termed a tendency. As he tells us in another passage the effect of association in the mind appears in three ways: first, through resemblance an idea has the capacity or power to represent all the ideas it is associated with; second…

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