Essays on Deleuze

Essays on Deleuze

Daniel W. Smith
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    Essays on Deleuze
    Book Description:

    Gathers 20 of Smith’s new and classic essays into one volume for the first timeCombining his most important pieces over the last 15 years along with two completely new essays, ‘On the Becoming of Concepts’ and ‘The Idea of the Open’, this volume is Smith’s definitive treatise on Deleuze. The four sections cover Deleuze’s use of the history of philosophy, his philosophical system, several Deleuzian concepts and his position within contemporary philosophy.Smith’s essays are frequent references for students and scholars working on Deleuze. Several of the articles have already become touchstones in the field, notably those on Alain Badiou and Jacques Derrida. For anyone interested in Deleuze’s philosophy, this book is not to be missed.Key features: The first book written by Daniel W. Smith, one of the world's leading commentators on DeleuzeFocuses exclusively on the philosophical themes of Deleuze's work, setting it apart from other works on Deleuze and making it an essential collection for philosophers working on Deleuze

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4334-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  6. I. Deleuze and the History of Philosophy

    • ESSAY 1 Platonism The Concept of the Simulacrum: Deleuze and the Overturning of Platonism
      (pp. 3-26)

      The concept of the simulacrum, along with its variants (simulation, similitude, simultaneity, dissimulation), has a complex history within twentieth-century French thought. The notion was developed primarily in the work of three thinkers—Pierre Klossowski, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean Baudrillard—although each of them conceived of the notion in different yet original ways, which must be carefully distinguished from each other. Klossowski, who first formulated the concept in his extraordinary series of theologico-erotic writings, retrieved the term from the criticisms of the Church fathers against the debauched representations of the gods on the Roman stage (simulacrumis the Latin term for...

    • ESSAY 2 Univocity The Doctrine of Univocity: Deleuze’s Ontology of Immanence
      (pp. 27-42)

      “If God does not exist, everything is permissible.” Deleuze likes to invert this Dostoyevskian formula fromThe Brothers Karamazovbecause, he says, the opposite is in fact the case: it iswithGod that everything is permissible. This is obviously true morally, since the worst atrocities have always managed to find a divine justification, and belief in God has never been a guarantor of morality. But it is also true aesthetically and philosophically. Medieval art, for example, is filled with images of God, and it would be tempting to see this merely as an inevitable constraint of the era, imposed...

    • ESSAY 3 Leibniz Deleuze on Leibniz: Difference, Continuity, and the Calculus
      (pp. 43-58)

      Deleuze once characterized himself as a “classical” philosopher, a statement that was no doubt meant to signal his indebtedness to (and affinities with) the great philosophers of the classic period, notably Spinoza and Leibniz.¹ 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.² 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 delineating the...

    • ESSAY 4 Hegel Deleuze, Hegel, and the Post-Kantian Tradition
      (pp. 59-71)

      Deleuze has often been characterized as an “anti-dialectical” and hence “anti-Hegelian” thinker. Evidence for these characterizations is not difficult to amass. In his well-known “Letter to Michel Cressole” (reprinted inNegotiationsas “Letter to a Harsh Critic”), Deleuze, while discussing his post-war student days in the 1940s and 1950s, says explicitly that, at the time, “what I detested most was Hegelianism and the dialectic” (N 6).Nietzsche and Philosophy, which Deleuze published in 1962, is an avowedly anti-Hegelian tract; its final chapter bears the ominous title, “Against the Dialectic” (NP 147–94). Even as late as 1968, Deleuze writes that...

    • ESSAY 5 Pre- and Post-Kantianism Logic and Existence: Deleuze on the Conditions of the Real
      (pp. 72-86)

      Here is a philosophical problem that lies at the core of Deleuze’s interest in the rationalists, and particularly Leibniz.¹ By itself, thought has no means of distinguishing between the possible and the real. I can have a concept of 100 dollars in my mind, and while it may be important to me practically whether or not I actually have 100 dollars in my pocket, the existence of 100 dollars in reality changes nothing from the point of view of the concept: that is, from the viewpoint of pure thought. The position of the real isoutside the concept; the existing...

  7. II. Deleuze’s Philosophical System

    • ESSAY 6 Aesthetics Deleuze’s Theory of Sensation: Overcoming the Kantian Duality
      (pp. 89-105)

      Aesthetics since Kant has been haunted by a seemingly intractable dualism. On the one hand, aesthetics designates the theory of sensibility as the form of possible experience; on the other hand, it designates the theory of art as a reflection on real experience. The first is the objective element of sensation, which is conditioned by thea prioriforms of space and time (the “Transcendental Aesthetic” of theCritique of Pure Reason); the second is the subjective element of sensation, which is expressed in the feeling of pleasure and pain (the “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment” in theCritique of Judgment)....

    • ESSAY 7 Dialectics Deleuze, Kant, and the Theory of Immanent Ideas
      (pp. 106-121)

      One of Deleuze’s primary aims inDifference and Repetitionis to present a new theory of Ideas (dialectics) in which Ideas are conceived of as both immanent and differential. What I would like to examine in this essay is the relation between Deleuze’s theory of Ideas and the theme of immanence, particularly with regard to the theory of Ideas found in Kant’s three critiques.¹ In using the term “Idea,” Deleuze is not referring to the common-sense use of the term, or the use to which empiricists like Hume or Locke put it, for whom the word “idea” refers primarily to...

    • ESSAY 8 Analytics On the Becoming of Concepts
      (pp. 122-145)

      What is Deleuze’s concept of a concept?¹ InWhat is Philosophy?, Deleuze and Guattari famously define philosophy as an activity that consists in “forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts.”² Deleuze seems to have held to this conception of philosophy as the creation of concepts from the very start of his career.³ “The power of a philosophy,” he wrote in one of his early books, “is measured by the concepts it creates, or whose meaning it rejuvenates—concepts that impose a new set of divisions on things and actions.”⁴ Even in high school, he recounts, when he was first introduced to philosophy,...

    • ESSAY 9 Ethics The Place of Ethics in Deleuze’s Philosophy: Three Questions of Immanence
      (pp. 146-159)

      Michel Foucault, in his preface to the first volume ofCapitalism and Schizophrenia(and revealingly, with apologies to its authors), wrote that “Anti-Oedipusis a book of ethics, the first book of ethics to be written in France in quite a long time” (AO xiii). Foucault’s comment was clearly meant to be provocative. It is true that France does not have a strong tradition of “moral philosophy”; the concerns of the discipline, it has been suggested, were largely taken up in France by the various human sciences such as psychology and sociology.¹ YetAnti-Oedipuswas itself a work known primarily...

    • ESSAY 10 Politics Flow, Code, and Stock: A Note on Deleuze’s Political Philosophy
      (pp. 160-172)

      InAnti-Oedipus, the first volume of theirCapitalism and Schizophreniaproject, Deleuze and Guattari write that “the general theory of society is a generalized theory of flows” (AO 262).¹ The basic thesis of the book is that it is the business of every society to code these flows, and the “terrifying nightmare,” of any society would be a flow that eludes its codes, that is, adecodedoruncodedflow (AO 139–40). While this terminology has become familiar to readers of Deleuze and Guattari, it is hardly a straightforward claim. To my knowledge, no other thinker has insisted that...

  8. III. Five Deleuzian Concepts

    • ESSAY 11 Desire Deleuze and the Question of Desire: Toward an Immanent Theory of Ethics
      (pp. 175-188)

      My title raises two questions—What is an immanent ethics? and What is the philosophical question of desire?—and my ultimate focus concerns the link between these two issues: What relation does an immanent ethics have to the question of desire?¹ Historically, the first question is primarily associated with the names of Spinoza and Nietzsche (and behind them, Leibniz), since it was they who posed the question of an immanent ethics in its most rigorous form. The second question is linked to names like Freud and Lacan (and behind them, Kant), since it was they who formulated the modern conceptualization...

    • ESSAY 12 Life “A Life of Pure Immanence”: Deleuze’s “Critique et Clinique” Project
      (pp. 189-221)

      Although EssaysCritical and Clinicalis the only book written by Deleuze that is devoted primarily to literature, literary references are present everywhere in his work, running almost parallel to the philosophical references. Deleuze first linked together the “critical” and the “clinical” in the study of Sacher-Masoch that he published in 1967.¹ The 1969Logic of Senseis in part a reading of Lewis Carroll’s work and includes supplementary material and chapters on Klossowski, Tournier, Zola, Fitzgerald, Lowry, and Artaud. Literary references occupy considerable portions of the two-volumeCapitalism and Schizophrenia, which Deleuze wrote in the 1970s with Félix Guattari....

    • ESSAY 13 Sensation Deleuze on Bacon: Three Conceptual Trajectories in “The Logic of Sensation”
      (pp. 222-234)

      Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensationis the record of Deleuze’s confrontation with the work of the Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon (1909–92).¹ The book originally appeared in 1981, when Bacon and Deleuze were both at the height of their powers. Although already well known at the time, Bacon was hardly a canonical painter and was even suspect in certain circles for his figural leanings. When Deleuze’s book appeared, it received a number of favorable reviews, but then was largely passed over in silence.² Today, however,The Logic of Sensationhas come to be recognized as one of Deleuze’s...

    • ESSAY 14 The New The Conditions of the New
      (pp. 235-255)

      What is the status of thenewas a philosophical problem?¹ Deleuze frequently said that the question of the conditions for the production ofnovelty(Bergson) orcreativity(Whitehead) was one of the fundamental questions of contemporary thought, entailing a profound shift in philosophy away from the eternal to the new, from the universal to the singular.² Most generally, Deleuze’s response to this question was that the conditions of the new can be found only in a principle ofdifference, or more strongly, in ametaphysicsof difference. The reason: if identity were the primary principle—that is, if identities...

    • ESSAY 15 The Open The Idea of the Open: Bergson’s Theses on Movement
      (pp. 256-268)

      Bergson put forward the thesis that “the open is the whole,” and in this essay I would like to explore Bergson’s idea of the open, as well as the manner in which Deleuze appropriated and made use of it in his own work.¹ The concept of the open, to be sure, is not unique to Bergson. Heidegger proposed his own concept of the open; there are poems by Rilke and Hölderlin on the open, which Heidegger picked up on and discussed; and Giorgio Agamben has recently written a book on the topic.² While I will not discuss these other writers,...

  9. IV. Deleuze and Contemporary Philosophy

    • ESSAY 16 Jacques Derrida Deleuze and Derrida, Immanence and Transcendence: Two Directions in Recent French Thought
      (pp. 271-286)

      Giorgio Agamben, in a recent essay,¹ has identified two different trajectories in contemporary French philosophy, both of which pass through Heidegger: a trajectory oftranscendence, which includes Levinas and Derrida, and goes back through Husserl to Kant; and a trajectory ofimmanence, which includes Foucault and Deleuze, and goes back through Nietzsche to Spinoza.² Deleuze and Levinas are no doubt the most obvious representatives of these two trajectories; Deleuze explicitly describes himself as a philosopher of immanence, while Levinas explicitly claims the mantle of transcendence (the “Other” being the paradigmatic concept of transcendence). But Derrida clearly belongs to the trajectory...

    • ESSAY 17 Alain Badiou Mathematics and the Theory of Multiplicities: Deleuze and Badiou Revisited
      (pp. 287-311)

      Deleuze once wrote that “encounters between independent thinkers always occur in a blind zone,” and this is certainly true of the encounter between Badiou and Deleuze.¹ In 1988, Badiou published his bookBeing and Event, which attempted to develop an “ontology of the multiple” derived from the mathematical model of axiomatic set theory.² Soon afterward, he tells us, he realized—no doubt correctly—that his primary philosophical rival in this regard was Deleuze, who similarly held that “philosophy is a theory of multiplicities,”³ but whose own concept of multiplicities was derived from different mathematical sources and entailed a different conception...

    • ESSAY 18 Jacques Lacan The Inverse Side of the Structure: Žižek on Deleuze on Lacan
      (pp. 312-324)

      In an interview in 1995, shortly before his death, Deleuze was asked by his interviewer, Didier Éribon, about his relationship with Jacques Lacan. In response, Deleuze told the following story:

      Lacan noticed me when he devoted a session of his seminar to my book on Sacher-Masoch [1967]. I was told—although I never knew anything more than this—that he had devoted more than an hour to my book. And then he came to a conference at Lyon, where I was then teaching. He gave an absolutely unbelievable lecture . . . It was there that he uttered his famous...

    • ESSAY 19 Pierre Klossowski Klossowski’s Reading of Nietzsche: Impulses, Phantasms, Simulacra, Stereotypes
      (pp. 325-338)

      In his writings on Nietzsche, Pierre Klossowski makes use of various concepts—such as intensities, phantasms, simulacra and stereotypes, resemblance and dissemblance, gregariousness and singularity—that have no place in Nietzsche’s ownœuvre.¹ These concepts are Klossowski’s own creations, his own contributions to thought. Although Klossowski consistently refused to characterize himself as a philosopher (“Je suis une ‘maniaque,’” he once said. “Un point, c’est tout!”),² his work in its entirety was marked by an extraordinary conceptual creation. From this point of view,Nietzsche and the Vicious Circlecan be read as a work in philosophy—at least in the idiosyncratic...

    • ESSAY 20 Paul Patton Deleuze and the Liberal Tradition: Normativity, Freedom, and Judgment
      (pp. 339-360)

      Paul Patton’sDeleuze and the Politicalis without doubt one of the most significant books yet written on the work of Gilles Deleuze.¹ It is a short book, but its brevity belies its complexity. It approaches Deleuze’s thought from a specific perspective—the question of the “political” (the book is part of Routledge’s “Thinking the Political” series)—yet at the same time it provides a succinct and subtle assessment of Deleuze’s philosophy as a whole.² The book contains concise overviews of such “idiosyncratic” (DP 1) Deleuzian concepts as “virtual multiplicities,” “machinic assemblages,” “becomings,” and “deterritorializations,” which will be invaluable to...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 361-427)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 428-442)
  12. Index
    (pp. 443-466)