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The concept in postmodern philosophy

There are several conceptions of the status of existence of the concept. This status is central to all philosophy, not only in the field of knowledge (how concepts are formed?, does the concept indicate an essence?, etc.), but also in the field of morality (can we prove laws of morality based on concepts?, what is the origin of the concept of good?, etc.) According to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, philosophy is defined as the creation of concepts, and not as passive contemplation of things or mere reflection.

The concept also refers to any idea, most often commercial, more or less innovative. There is, according to Gilles Deleuze, a confusion between the philosophical use and the marketing use of the term. He writes that:

“From trial to trial, philosophy would face rivals more and more insolent, more and more calamitous, that Plato himself would not have imagined in his most comical moments. Finally, the bottom of the shame was reached when the computer, the advertising, the marketing, the design seized the word concept itself, and said it is our business, it is us the creatives, we are the designers. We are the friends of the concept, we put it in our computers.”

Michel Foucault analyzes the relationship between concept and life:

“To form concepts is a way of living and not killing life; it is a way of living in a relative mobility and not an attempt to immobilize life; it is to manifest, among these billions of living beings who inform their environment and inform themselves from it, an innovation that will be judged as one chooses, tiny or considerable: a very particular type of information. […] at the most fundamental level of life, the games of code and decoding give way to a hazard which, before being sick, deficit or monstrosity, is something like a disturbance in the information system, whatever something like a “mistake”. Ultimately, life – hence its radical character – is what is capable of error. […] And if we admit that concept of art is the answer that life itself gave to this hazard, we must admit that error is the root of what makes human thought and its history. The opposition of the true and the false, the values ​​that we lend to one and the other, the effects of power that the different societies and the different institutions bind to this sharing, all this is perhaps only the latest answer to this possibility of intrinsic error to life.”

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz adds:

“[…]of  such moments, of a single word spoken in a timely manner, sometimes depends a lifetime, but people do not know anything and they crash each other – sometimes in the name of ideals – into the marsh distorted reality, distorted by a net of false concepts thrown on it. Reality lets out its quintessence under the influence of concepts. But it is the quality of these that depends on whether it will be a poison or the most nutritious vitamins.”

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