Deleuze's Philosophical Lineage

Deleuze's Philosophical Lineage

Graham Jones
Jon Roffe
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 426
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze's Philosophical Lineage
    Book Description:

    The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze is increasingly gaining the prestige that its astonishing inventiveness calls for in the Anglo-American theoretical context. His wide-ranging works on the history of philosophy, cinema, painting, literature and politics are being taken up and put to work across disciplinary divides and in interesting and surprising ways. However, the backbone of Deleuze's philosophy - the many and varied sources from which he draws the material for his conceptual innovation - has until now remained relatively obscure and unexplored. _x000B_This book takes as its goal the examination of this rich theoretical background. Presenting essays by a range of the world's foremost Deleuze scholars, and a number of up and coming theorists of his work, the book is composed of in-depth analyses of the key figures in Deleuze's lineage whose significance - as a result of either their obscurity or the complexity of their place in the Deleuzean text - has not previously been well understood. _x000B_This work will prove indispensable to students and scholars seeking to understand the context from which Deleuze's ideas emerge._x000B_Included are essays on Deleuze's relationship to figures as varied as Marx, Simondon, Wronski, Hegel, Hume, Maimon, Ruyer, Kant, Heidegger, Husserl, Reimann, Leibniz, Bergson and Freud.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3195-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-v)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Introduction: Into the Labyrinth
    (pp. 1-7)
    Graham Jones and Jon Roffe

    Those coming to Deleuze’s work for the first time (and even those returning to it anew) find themselves confronted by the dilemma of where to begin, of how to engage with it. Two difficulties present themselves. The first and more immediate one is that, conceptually, Deleuze’s work is so richly detailed and complex. Thus on opening one of his books the reader is confronted by a plethora of concepts that already seem to presuppose on the reader’s part an intimate familiarity with numerous other related concepts, theories, or thinkers. It is akin, perhaps, to a labyrinth in which one can...

  6. 1 Plato
    (pp. 8-26)
    Gregory Flaxman

    The guiding principle behind Gilles Deleuze’s commentaries on other philosophers could be summed up with one phrase: ‘keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer’. While Deleuze often treats his philosophical friends in an unexpected and occasionally mischievous manner, as if they were actually strangers (‘a philosophically clean shaven-Marx . . .’), he treats his enemies with an equally unexpected hospitality, proffering a kind of intimacy, immediacy, and even immanence that will make of them familiars and fellow-thinkers (DR xxi). The experience of dipping into Deleuze’s commentaries always provokes a moment of astonishment, as if a queer kind of...

  7. 2 John Duns Scotus
    (pp. 27-43)
    Nathan Widder

    Of all Deleuze’s concepts, that of univocity or univocal being remains perhaps the most elusive and liable to confuse contemporary interpreters.¹ Given its literal meaning as a single sense or voice, and despite Deleuze’s own formulation of the univocity of being as a univocity of difference, it is easily assumed that the term is meant to suggest an ultimate unity that tempers Deleuze’s philosophy of multiplicity. Indeed, this view underpins readings that subsume the univocity of being under a Platonist conception of the One and then accuse Deleuze of closet Platonism.² If for no other reason than this, it is...

  8. 3 G. W. F. Leibniz
    (pp. 44-66)
    Daniel W. Smith

    Gilles Deleuze once characterised himself as a ‘classical’ philosopher, a statement that was no doubt meant to refer to his indebtedness to (and affinities with) the great philosophers of the classic period, notably Spinoza and Leibniz.² Spinoza provided Deleuze with a model for a purely immanent ontology, while Leibniz offered him a way of thinking through the problems of individuation and the theory of Ideas.³ In both cases, however, Deleuze would take up and modify Spinoza’s and Leibniz’s thought in his own manner, such that it is impossible to say that Deleuze is a ‘Spinozist’ or a ‘Leibnizian’ without carefully...

  9. 4 David Hume
    (pp. 67-86)
    Jon Roffe

    Gilles Deleuze’s first book, devoted to David Hume, is often neglected when surveying his work. This is a peculiar state of affairs for any major philosopher, since the early works of important thinkers are frequently rich in meaning in relation to the later oeuvre. While none are significant as mitigating factors, there are a number of apparent reasons for the neglect. In the first instance, we cannot help but note the lack of any significant explicit presence of Hume’s thought in Deleuze’s philosophy. With the exception of a discussion of the Humean account of habit in Difference and Repetition (DR...

  10. 5 Immanuel Kant
    (pp. 87-103)
    Melissa McMahon

    In his popular work, Modern French Philosophy, Vincent Descombes opens the section on Gilles Deleuze with the statement: ‘Gilles Deleuze is above all a post-Kantian.’¹ In justifying this claim he identifies three main areas of contention shared between Deleuze and ‘the great Chinaman of Königsberg’,² which will also form the main threads of the examination of the relationship presented here. The first is their rejection of the idea that thought requires a transcendent entity (the soul, the world, God) to serve as its foundation: ‘No experience can justify us in affirming a single substantial self, a totality of things and...

  11. 6 Solomon Maimon
    (pp. 104-129)
    Graham Jones

    Shlomo ben joshua (1753–1800) was a Polish-Russian rabbi from a humble, poverty-stricken background. Never having been to university he learnt philosophy through the Talmudic tradition and his own eclectic reading, and took the name Maimon in homage to the Spanish, Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides whom he greatly admired. Exiled from his Polish community because of his heretical views, Maimon travelled throughout Europe before finally settling in Germany where, socially inept, uncouth and evil-tempered, it is said he would recount, in the taverns where he wrote most of his works, his disgrace for the price of a drink. There, filled...

  12. 7 G. W. F. Hegel
    (pp. 130-146)
    Bruce Baugh

    In a perceptive review of Gilles Deleuze’s influential Nietzsche and Philosophy (1983), Jean Wahl remarks that Deleuze’s resentment¹ and “ill feeling” (mauvaise humeur) towards Hegel² sometimes impair Deleuze’s otherwise brilliant critique of Hegel. Of all the major philosophers discussed by Deleuze (including Plato, Lucretius, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche and Bergson), Hegel receives by far the least sympathetic treatment; whereas in all the other cases, Deleuze is able to retrieve something useful for his own philosophy, his critique of Hegel is almost unrelentingly negative. In a philosophy that celebrates the affirmation of difference, such negativity may come as a surprise, and...

  13. 8 Karl Marx
    (pp. 147-166)
    Eugene Holland

    The first page of Deleuze’s most important philosophical work, Difference and Repetition, lays the groundwork for his analysis of capitalism. There are, he insists, two enemies of the difference he champions. They are representation and exchange, ‘the qualitative order of resemblances and the quantitative order of equivalences’ (DR 1). Capitalism plays one against the other: the cash nexus of the market decodes representation and thence frees desire from its repression by codes; ‘all that is solid melts into air’, as Marx put it.¹ But capital also recaptures desire and subjects it to the demands of private accumulation through commodity production...

  14. 9 Hoëne Wronski and Francis Warrain
    (pp. 167-189)
    Christian Kerslake

    At least up until the publication of Difference and Repetition in 1968, Deleuze could with accuracy be described as a proponent of ‘the philosophy of difference’. In the notoriously dense fourth chapter of Difference and Repetition, ‘The Ideal Synthesis of Difference’, Deleuze develops at length the thought that differential calculus can serve as the universal formal instrument for the theory and practice of ‘differentiation’. Deleuze argues that differential calculus offers a formal clue to a possible ‘dialectic of problems’ which can replace the Hegelian dialectic of the Concept. ‘Just as we oppose difference in itself to negativity, so we oppose...

  15. 10 Bernhard Riemann
    (pp. 190-208)
    Arkady Plotnitsky

    Mathematics played a major role in Gilles Deleuze’s thought, beginning with his engagement with calculus and Gottfried Leibniz, who was also a major philosophical influence on Deleuze. Bernhard Riemann may, however, be the most significant mathematical influence on Deleuze, especially in his later works, such as the Cinema books, and in his collaborations with Félix Guattari. The conjunction of Riemann’s mathematics and Deleuze’s philosophy is a remarkable event in the history of twentieth-century philosophy, and it has major implications for our understanding of the relationships between mathematics and Deleuze’s thought, and between mathematics and philosophy in general. Riemann’s thought, however,...

  16. 11 Gabriel Tarde
    (pp. 209-218)
    Éric Alliez

    In a coincidence too happy to be properly counted as one, Gabriel Tarde has been republished in recent years under the imprint Empêcheurs de penser en rond¹ – which is, let’s admit, an easier thing to say than to be. In effect, the empêcheurs will be sufficiently eccentric with respect to their time, improper for them from the point of view of History (they will found no ‘school’), in order to become actively untimely in our own . . . It is, then as now, an affair of tendencies and relations. Let’s pose a general rule, whereby it is necessary...

  17. 12 Sigmund Freud
    (pp. 219-236)
    Ronald Bogue

    In the 1960s, French interest in Freud increased dramatically, in large part due to the teachings of Jacques Lacan, whose seminars on Freud and psychoanalysis had been drawing a growing body of adherents since their inception in 1953. With the publication of Lacan’s Ecrits in 1966 that interest redoubled, and by the end of the decade a veritable ‘psychoanalytic culture’ had begun to take shape in France.¹ Like many of his contemporaries, Deleuze was intrigued with the possibilities offered by Freud for the creative reconfiguration of philosophical issues, and in Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty (1967), Difference and Repetition (1968), and...

  18. 13 Henri Bergson
    (pp. 237-260)
    Paul Atkinson

    Henri Bergson (1859–1941) was perhaps the most popular Western philosopher in the first decade of the twentieth century, with his works being translated shortly after the appearance of the French editions and his lecture tours extending as far as the United States.¹ The esteem in which his work was held could be attributed to both the artfulness of his prose – he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1927 – and the timeliness of his ideas. His most celebrated argument that time must endure was a response to the evolutionary theories of Herbert Spencer but, more importantly, presented...

  19. 14 Edmund Husserl
    (pp. 261-281)
    Alain Beaulieu

    Deleuze attributes three very distinct functions to the various philosophers he quotes, studies and uses. First and foremost, there are the subjects of his monographs which, with the exception of Kant, he transforms into true and untimely heroes of thought (Hume, Spinoza, Leibniz, Nietzsche, Bergson, Foucault). Then come the genuine enemies against whom he fights philosophical battles (Hegel, Freud starting in the 1970s, Kant to some extent, and more implicitly Wittgenstein). Phenomenologists (namely, Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty) hold a place of honour in Deleuzian dramaturgy. They fulfil a third function that is neither heroic nor strictly antagonistic. Deleuze does not...

  20. 15 A. N. Whitehead
    (pp. 282-299)
    James Williams

    There is no ‘Deleuze’s Whitehead’ in the same way as there is ‘Deleuze’s Hume’ or ‘Deleuze’s Nietzsche’.. He neither wrote a major book on Whitehead, as he did for Spinoza or for Leibniz, nor did he refer to Whitehead regularly to allow a critical or sympathetic position to emerge. This does not mean there is no value or basis in reflecting on the Deleuze and Whitehead connection. On the contrary, I will give four reasons for returning to this link in terms of Deleuze’s and Whitehead’s philosophies and in terms of wider philosophical problems. The first reason is biographical and...

  21. 16 Raymond Ruyer
    (pp. 300-320)
    Ronald Bogue

    To the casual observer Raymond Ruyer might seem a minor contributor to Deleuze’s enterprise. Deleuze first mentions Ruyer in Difference and Repetition (1969), quoting him briefly and listing him in the annotated bibliography as a source for information about ‘biological differenciation’ (DR 342). Deleuze and Guattari make reference to Ruyer in Anti-Oedipus (1972), A Thousand Plateaus (1980) and What Is Philosophy? (1991), but without discussing his thought in any detail. Deleuze’s most extended treatment of Ruyer appears in The Fold (1981), and though remarkably dense and concise, it nevertheless occupies only two or three pages of the book. Yet, despite...

  22. 17 Martin Heidegger
    (pp. 321-338)
    Constantin V. Boundas

    In Deleuze’s writings one finds frequent acknowledgements of the importance of Heidegger’s rejection of the old image of thought and the significance of his new beginning. ‘The Heidegger question’, he wrote, ‘did not seem to me to be “Is he a bit of a Nazi?” (obviously, obviously) but “What was his role in this new injection of history of philosophy?”’ (D 12). Although there is more wholehearted acknowledgement in his early works and more nuances and qualifications later on, their generosity cannot be disputed. Deleuze’s references to Heidegger reveal interesting points of proximity but also significant lines of divergence between...

  23. 18 Pierre Klossowski
    (pp. 339-355)
    Ian James

    At the end of original French edition of Difference and Repetition Deleuze’s bibliography divides itself into three columns indicating the name of the author, the work cited and, in the final column, ‘the sense in which the work is cited’ (DR 334). Of the hundred and twenty-three authors listed, thirty-five are cited explicitly in relation to the motif of repetition. These include major thinkers for whom repetition plays a key role in their philosophy, for example Bergson, Derrida, Foucault, Freud, Kierkegaard, Lacan, Marx and Nietzsche. Three well-known names are cited, along with a number of other figures, as thinkers of...

  24. 19 Albert Lautman
    (pp. 356-379)
    Simon Duffy

    Albert Lautman (1908–44) was a philosopher of mathematics working in the decades between the two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century. He postulated a conception of mathematics that is both formalist and structuralist in the Hilbertian sense. The reference to the axiomatic structuralism of Hilbert is foundational for Lautman, and it is because of this that his views on mathematical reality and on the philosophy of mathematics parted with the dominant tendencies of mathematical epistemology of his time. Lautman considered the role of philosophy, and of the philosopher, in relation to mathematics to be quite...

  25. 20 Gilbert Simondon
    (pp. 380-398)
    Alberto Toscano

    While the metaphysical troika of Spinoza, Nietzsche and Bergson¹ which oversaw Deleuze’s tumultuous ‘philosophical apprenticeship’² presents us with the potent, if controversial, image of a sort of philosophical counter-tradition – in which a Bergsonised Spinoza accompanies a Spinozistic Nietzsche and a Nietzschean Bergson – estimating Deleuze’s relationship to the galaxy of often ‘obscure’ writers that populate his books (and lectures) is a difficult, and probably inconclusive, task. To begin with, Deleuze’s practice of reference or citation poses some intriguing philological problems. At a remove from the ideological and procedural requirements of ordinary academic production, his references are not offeredas tokens...

  26. Bibliography
    (pp. 399-416)
  27. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 417-420)
  28. Index
    (pp. 421-426)