Deleuze and Ethics

Deleuze and Ethics

Nathan Jun
Daniel W. Smith
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 232
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Ethics
    Book Description:

    Gilles Deleuze is perhaps best known for his influential works in philosophical interpretation, (Nietzsche and Philosophy, Expression in Philosophy: Spinoza); epistemology (The Logic of Sense); metaphysics (Difference and Repetition); and political economy (Capitalism and Schizophrenia). Because he never devoted an individual work to the subject of ethics, some scholars have assumed that Deleuze did not write about it, which explains in part why so few have directly addressed the ethical dimension of Deleuze's philosophy. Concepts such as ethics, values, and normativity however play a crucial - if subtle and easily overlooked - role in Deleuze's overall philosophical project. The essays in this collection explore, uncover, and trace the ethical dimension of Deleuzian philosophy along diverse trajectories and, in so doing, endeavour to reclaim that philosophy as moral philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4629-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)
    Nathan Jun

    It is customary to introduce a book of this sort by offering a brief overview of its essays and articles. I hope the reader will forgive me for straying from this convention – conventions being, after all, somewhat beside the point in a book about Deleuze. (A quick glance at each chapter’s opening will prove sufficient to glean its gist and will hopefully serve to pique your interest as well.) Instead, I want to provide an introduction which is, one might say, apologetic rather than synoptic. Specifically, I want to stumble in the general direction of explaining why I think this...

  5. Chapter 1 Whistle While You Work: Deleuze and the Spirit of Capitalism
    (pp. 5-20)
    Jeffrey Bell

    In his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 Marx pointedly argues that within the capitalist system “the worker is related to the product of his labor as to an alien object” (Marx 1984: 71). As Marx contends, and as is well known, it is precisely the power of labor that has become “congealed in an object,” that is, in a commodity (or service) that exists independently and “becomes a power on its own confronting him.” In short, the life which the power of labor has conferred on “the object confronts him as something hostile and alien” (Marx 1984: 72). Our...

  6. Chapter 2 The Ethics of the Event: Deleuze and Ethics without Aρχή
    (pp. 21-43)
    Levi R. Bryant

    In 2007 Governor Rick Perry of Texas issued an executive order (it was not the result of the legislative process) requiring all girls in the sixth grade (between the ages of 11 and 12) to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). The rationale behind this executive order was that Gardisal and Cervarix, the vaccines produced by the pharmaceutical companies Merck and Glaxo respectively, significantly reduce the chances of HPV developing into a variety of different cancers, most prominent among them being cervical cancer, as well as genital warts. Given the high likelihood of women contracting some form of HPV...

  7. Chapter 3 While Remaining on the Shore: Ethics in Deleuze’s Encounter with Antonin Artaud
    (pp. 44-62)
    Laura Cull

    This chapter seeks to address the question of ethics in Deleuze and Guattari’s thought by way of an analysis of their engagement with Antonin Artaud.¹ Deleuze and Guattari “use” Artaud in a variety of different ways: as an exemplary artist credited with discovering the “body without organs” (BwO); as both pioneer and model of a “thought without image”; and as a figure operating on the plane of immanence who refuses the transcendent judgment of God over the earth. But above all, perhaps, Deleuze and Guattari employ Artaud’s writing in order to argue that “schizophrenia is not only a human fact...

  8. Chapter 4 Responsive Becoming: Ethics between Deleuze and Feminism
    (pp. 63-88)
    Erinn Cunniff Gilson

    This chapter explores the possibility of an alliance between Deleuze’s philosophy and feminist philosophy with respect to ethics. I begin by specifying some of the general points of convergence between Deleuzian ethics and feminist ethics. In the second section, I turn away from feminist ethics in particular to consider feminist engagement with Deleuze’s (and Deleuze and Guattari’s) work; in this section, I describe the central criticisms of Deleuze offered by feminist philosophers and point out the aspects of his thought that have been valuable for feminist theorizing. In order to respond to what I take to be the overarching concern...

  9. Chapter 5 Deleuze, Values, and Normativity
    (pp. 89-107)
    Nathan Jun

    This chapter is concerned with two distinct but related questions: (a) does Deleuzian philosophy offer an account of moral norms (i.e., a theory of normativity)? (b) does Deleuzian philosophy offer an account of moral values (i.e., a theory of the good)? These are important questions for at least two reasons. First, the moral- and value-theoretical aspects of Deleuzian philosophy have tended to be ignored, dismissed, overlooked, or otherwise overshadowed in the literature by the ontological, historical, and political aspects. Second, Deleuze – along with other alleged “postmodernists” such as Foucault and Derrida – has occasionally been accused of moral relativism, skepticism, and...

  10. Chapter 6 Ethics and the World without Others
    (pp. 108-122)
    Eleanor Kaufman

    There are numerous ways in which the thought of Gilles Deleuze might be aligned with a generally recognizable form of ethics: from Deleuze’s beautiful Nietzschean meditations in Spinoza: Practical Philosophy on the ethics of good and bad forces as opposed to the morality of Good and Evil (Deleuze 1988: 17–29), to Foucault’s famous designation of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus as a “book of ethics, the first book of ethics to be written in France in quite a long time” (Deleuze and Guattari 1983: xv), to the late profoundly ethical reflections on conceptual personae, philosophical friendship, and even an ethics...

  11. Chapter 7 Deleuze and the Question of Desire: Towards an Immanent Theory of Ethics
    (pp. 123-141)
    Daniel W. Smith

    My title raises two questions, each of which I would like to address in turn. What is an immanent ethics (as opposed to an ethics that appeals to transcendence, or to universals). And what is the philosophical question of desire? My ultimate question concerns the link between these two issues: What relation does an immanent ethics have to the problem of desire? Historically, the first question is primarily linked with the names of Spinoza and Nietzsche (as well as, as we shall see, Leibniz), since it was Spinoza and Nietzsche who posed the question of an immanent ethics in its...

  12. Chapter 8 “Existing Not as a Subject But as a Work of Art”: The Task of Ethics or Aesthetics?
    (pp. 142-153)
    Kenneth Surin

    Deleuze endorsed repeatedly the well-known conviction of Michel Foucault and of Nietzsche that life had to be lived as a work of art. This raises the question whether the terms under which a life is led properly belong to ethics (this of course being the traditional or consensual position taken when it comes to answering the question “how should I lead my life?”). But to suggest that life be led as a work of art implies, palpably, that it is aesthetics, and not ethics, which superintends the question “how should I lead my life?” At one level the answer to...

  13. Chapter 9 Deleuze, Ethics, Ethology, and Art
    (pp. 154-170)
    Anthony Uhlmann

    Ethics is that aspect of philosophy concerned with how to live. The Greek understanding of the word “ethikos,” involves “the state of being,” that which is manifest in the soul or mind. “Ethics” is etymologically linked to “ethology” through the Greek word root, “ethos.” The original meaning of “ethos” is “accustomed place,” or “habitat,” and by analogy it was quickly associated with “custom, habit.” It evolved however to be understood as the “character,” “disposition,” or core values of individuals or groups. Ethology, then, links ethos and “logos” (which might mean reason or expression); that is, it links disposition and understanding,...

  14. Chapter 10 Never Too Late? On the Implications of Deleuze’s Work on Death for a Deleuzian Moral Philosophy
    (pp. 171-187)
    James Williams

    So you lie on the rushed mattress of torn branches; terrified as you feel the same wet mass suck at your dampening clothes. And you reach out. The human beast claws at your hand, nails scraping down the inner flesh of your forearm, leaving minute traces of living matter, its rigid fingers a premonition of the tar pit skeleton they are to become. Then it’s gone. An individual life, with all its singular values and loving relations, connected to yours for a desperate and too brief time, incomparable and never to return, putrefying in the airless swamp.

    What could have...

  15. Chapter 11 Ethics between Particularity and Universality
    (pp. 188-206)
    Audronė Žukauskaitė

    Deleuze and Badiou are exceptional figures in the field of contemporary philosophy. They both created influential patterns of thinking which encompass not only philosophy, but also art, science, politics, and ethics. Both Deleuze and Badiou struggle with such concepts as singularity, the multiple/multiplicity, the Real, and the event. But the meanings they assign to these concepts are absolutely different: for Badiou even the idea of the multiple is grounded in the metaphysics of the One; Deleuze, by contrast, replaces the very idea of the One with the idea of multiplicity. The same antagonism between Deleuze and Badiou can be discerned...

  16. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 207-209)
  17. Index
    (pp. 210-224)