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Affect and Attention After Deleuze and WhiteheadEcological Attunement$
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Russell J. Duvernoy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474466912

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474466912.001.0001

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Feeling as Creation: Affect and Tertiary Qualities

Feeling as Creation: Affect and Tertiary Qualities

(p.74) Chapter 3 Feeling as Creation: Affect and Tertiary Qualities
Affect and Attention After Deleuze and Whitehead

Russell J. Duvernoy

Edinburgh University Press

The chapter focuses on the early modern distinction between primary, secondary, and tertiary qualities. The chapter first discusses Quentin Meillassoux’s efforts to rehabilitate the primary-secondary distinction in his critique of “correlationism”. Despite Meillassoux’s claim that correlationism applies to all modern philosophy since Kant, the chapter argues that Whitehead’s reworking of the primary-secondary-tertiary distinction, based in his unusual reading of Locke, avoids the correlationist charge while opening a different kind of realism. This reworking amounts to an ontological inversion of the three qualities, such that tertiary quality becomes ontologically primary. A key consequence is that “feeling,” for Whitehead, names a metaphysical process constitutive of the real. This is neither a humanist nor psychological claim, but rather a metaphysical one. The chapter closes by situating Deleuze and Guattari’s use of affect along similar lines. However, where Whitehead is largely content with a technical metaphysical result, Deleuze and Guattari explore ensuing existential possibilities in their concept of “becoming-imperceptible”.

Keywords:   Affect, “becoming-imperceptible”, Deleuze and Guattari, Meillassoux, Primary and secondary qualities, Tertiary qualities, Whitehead

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