Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event

Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event: together with The Vocabulary of Deleuze

François Zourabichvili
Translated by Kieran Aarons
Gregg Lambert
Daniel W. Smith
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event
    Book Description:

    A new translation of two essential works on Deleuze, written by one of his contemporariesThis edition makes a new translation of two of Zourabichvili's most important writings on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze available in a single volume. Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event (1994) is an exposition of Deleuze's philosophy as a whole, while the complementary Deleuze's Vocabulary (2003) approaches Deleuze's work through an analysis of key concepts in a dictionary form.From the publication of Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event to his untimely death in 2006, François Zourabichvili was regarded as one of the most important new voices of contemporary philosophy in France. His work continues to make an essential contribution to Deleuze scholarship today, and this new translation is set to become an event within Deleuze Studies for many years to come.>Distinguishes Deleuze’s notion of the event from the phenomenological, ontological and voluntarist conceptions that continue to lay claim to it todayWith an introduction by Gregg Lambert and Daniel W. Smith, two of the world's leading commentators on Deleuze, explaining the key themes and arguments of Zourabichvili's work

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4563-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. Translator’s Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. The Involuntarist Image of Thought
    (pp. 1-18)
    Kieran Aarons

    Over the past two decades the discourse treating Deleuze as an “ontologist” has become normalized, accepted wisdom. Against such a background, François Zourabichvili’s claim that “there is no ‘ontology of Deleuze’ ” will undoubtedly appear alien, as either uninformed or at best a scruple over words. It is therefore worth pointing out that this accusation of ontology is in many respects a consequence of a more pressing question, mainly whether philosophers after Deleuze have sufficiently weighed the stringency of his “involuntarism.”¹ The latter entails not only a critique of the subject who wants the truth, but a critique of a...

  6. François Zourabichvili and the Physics of Thought
    (pp. 19-32)
    Daniel W. Smith and Gregg Lambert

    This volume presents to the English-speaking world two books by the French philosopher François Zourabichvili (1965–2006): Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event and The Vocabulary of Deleuze. These two works were the bookends, as it were, of Zourabichvili’s short career, and they are both landmarks in the interpretation of Deleuze’s philosophy. A Philosophy of the Event was published in 1994, a year before Deleuze’s death, and while it was not the first book to be published on Deleuze, it was the first to provide a systematic analysis of Deleuze’s work as a whole, and it has remained a touchstone...

  7. Deleuze:: A Philosophy of the Event (1994/2004)
    • New Introduction: The Ontological and the Transcendental (2004)
      (pp. 35-41)

      This book, first published ten years ago, attests to a period in which it was not obvious that Deleuze ought to be considered a full-fledged thinker, a major figure in the philosophical twentieth century. I set out from the paradox of his contentious reputation: he’s not an original philosopher because he writes commentaries, nor is he an historian since he always writes pure “Deleuze.” Moreover, I refused to distinguish between Deleuze, Deleuze-and-Guattari, and Deleuze once more (just as there is a Beckett before Pim, during Pim, and after Pim—a quite muddled affair, as it should be).

      It is uncertain,...

    • Preface (1994)
      (pp. 42-43)
    • 1 Thought and Its Outside (Critique of the Dogmatic Image)
      (pp. 44-55)

      The most general problem of thought is perhaps that of its necessity: not the necessity of thinking, but how to arrive at a necessary thought. The first experience of thought is that we have no choice, that we do not want to have a choice, that we will not state what we want. The thinker is happy when he no longer has a choice.

      Philosophy has always understood and admitted this correlation of thought and necessity. Moreover, it has even recognized the relation of necessity with exteriority. Thought does not itself choose what is necessary—what it thinks absolutely must...

    • 2 Encounter, Sign, Affect
      (pp. 56-75)

      Philosophy fails in its search for a first concept because beginning does not depend on it. If there is no natural link between thought and truth, if thought is not originally related to the truth, then it does not depend on philosophy to commence the search for truth, and it would not even originally have the taste for it. The love of truth is not spontaneous.

      There is always the violence of a sign that forces us into the search, that robs us of peace . . . Truth is never the product of a predisposed good will but the...

    • 3 Immanence
      (pp. 76-93)

      Let us return to the question we left in suspense earlier, that of the false problem. To affirm an authentically exterior relation between thought and what it thinks (even in not thinking it), is to apply the test of truth to problems themselves: the sense of a thesis, or the content of its truth, appears when we relate it to the problematic act to which it responds. Necessity—or truth—depends on an act of thinking, on the effective capacity of thought to confront an outside and consequently to pose a new problem from which flows a new set of...

    • 4 Time and Implication
      (pp. 94-111)

      Forces and affects refer to a field of exteriority or pure heterogeneity, a field of absolute difference. Deleuze arrives at the conception of this field through a meditation on time. He shows that when difference is raised to the absolute it becomes an authentic relation, so that the motif of the exteriority of relations is achieved in the articulation of difference and repetition. The logic of forces thus turns into a meditation on time that devalues the relation of succession. Time works on bodies, and the heterogeneity operative within bodies (affect) and at the limit of bodies (sense) is in...

    • 5 Becoming
      (pp. 112-134)

      First, thought proved to be dependent upon an encounter, on the emergence of an exteriority: sense, implicated and explicated in the sign, put heterogeneous dimensions into contact. This was the transcendental hypothesis of a field of forces. But this field now merges with Time as internal difference or multiplicity, the complication of differences or irreducible intensive points of view. Not only must sense and time be related, but sense must be thought as time, or rather as a temporal relation. We have said that truth is inseparable from an hour, since it does not preexist the act of thinking, its...

    • 6 Conclusion
      (pp. 135-136)

      I have attempted to introduce a thought whose principal theme is the event, and to show the reasons for this theme as well as the overarching lines of its conceptual treatment.

      In the articulation of the outside (heterogeneity, exteriority of relations) and of implication (fold, envelopment-development, virtual complication), I believe to have found the abstract motor of Deleuzian thought. The majority of its concepts are elaborated at the intersection of these two themes.

      The general problem, the conditions of which are developed by the logic of the event, is that of immanence: the belief in this world, which is to...

  8. The Vocabulary of Deleuze (2003)
    • Literally . . .
      (pp. 139-142)

      1. Literally . . . what reader of Deleuze could forget this mania of language? And beneath its apparent insignificance, how can we not recall the tireless and nearly imperceptible memory of a gesture subtending the entire philosophy of “inclusive disjunction,” of “univocity” and “nomadic distribution”? For their part, the writings everywhere testify to the same insistent warning:¹ do not treat as metaphors concepts which, despite their appearance, are nothing of the sort; understand that the very word metaphor is a trap [leurre], a pseudo-concept, one that enthusiasts of philosophy no less than its detractors have availed themselves of, and...

    • Aion
      (pp. 142-145)

      “In accordance with Aion, only the past and the future inhere or subsist in time. Instead of a present which absorbs the past and future, a future and past divide the present at every instant and subdivide it ad infinitum into past and future, in both directions at once. Or rather, it is the instant without thickness and without extension, which subdivides each present into past and future, rather than vast and thick presents which comprehend both future and past in relation to one another” (LS 164).

      Deleuze rehabilitates the Stoic distinction between Aion and Chronos in order to think...

    • Assemblage
      (pp. 145-148)

      “On a first, horizontal, axis, an assemblage comprises two segments, one of content, the other of expression. On the one hand it is a machinic assemblage of bodies, of actions and passions, an intermingling of bodies reacting to one another; on the other hand it is a collective assemblage of enunciation, of acts and statements, of incorporeal transformations attributed to bodies. Then on a vertical axis, the assemblage has both territorial sides, or reterritorialized sides, which stabilize it, and cutting edges of deterritorialization, which carry it away” (ATP 88).⁵

      At first glance, this concept may appear to have a vast...

    • Becoming
      (pp. 148-150)

      “To become is never to imitate, nor to ‘do like’, nor to conform to a model, whether it is of justice or of truth. There is no terminus from which you set out, none which you arrive at or which you ought to arrive at. Nor are there two terms which are exchanged. The question ‘What are you becoming?’ is particularly stupid. For as someone becomes, what he is becoming changes as much as he does himself. Becomings are not phenomena of imitation or assimilation, but of a double-capture, of a non-parallel evolution, of nuptials between two reigns” (D 2)....

    • Body Without Organs (BwO)
      (pp. 150-152)

      “Beyond the organism, but also at the limit of the lived body, there lies what Artaud discovered and named: the body without organs. ‘The body is the body / it stands alone / it has no need of organs / the body is never an organism / organisms are the enemies of bodies.’ The body without organs is opposed less to organs than to that organization of organs we call the organism. It is an intense and intensive body. It is traversed by a wave that traces levels or thresholds in the body according to the variations of its amplitude....

    • Break-Flow (or Passive Synthesis, or Contemplation)
      (pp. 152-154)

      “Far from being the opposite of continuity, the break or interruption conditions this continuity: it presupposes or defines what it cuts into as an ideal continuity. This is because, as we have seen, every machine is a machine of a machine. The machine produces an interruption of the flow only insofar as it is connected to another machine that supposedly produces this flow. And doubtless this second machine in turn is really an interruption or break, too. But it is such only in relationship to a third machine that ideally—that is to say, relatively—produces a continuous, infinite flux”...

    • Complication
      (pp. 155-156)

      “Certain Neoplatonists used a profound word to designate the original state that proceeds any development, any deployment, any ‘explication’: complication, which envelops the many in the One and affirms the unity of the multiple. Eternity did not seem to them the absence of change, nor even the extension of a limitless existence, but the complicated state of time itself . . .” (PS 45).

      The concept of complication has two levels, which correspond to the two usages of the word. First, it expresses a state: that of differences (divergent series, points of view, intensities or singularities) enveloped or implicated in...

    • Crystal of Time (or of the Unconscious)
      (pp. 156-162)

      “The crystal-image may well have many distinct elements, but its irreducibility consists in the indivisible unity of an actual image and ‘its’ virtual image” (C2 78). “At the limit, the imaginary is a virtual image that is interfused with the real object, and vice versa, thereby constituting a crystal of the unconscious. It is not enough for the real object or the real landscape to evoke similar or related images; it must disengage its own virtual image at the same time that the latter, as an imaginary landscape, makes its entry into the real, following a circuit where each of...

    • Desiring Machines
      (pp. 163-165)

      “In desiring-machines everything functions at the same time, but amid hiatuses and ruptures, breakdowns and failures, stalling and short circuits, distances and fragmentations, within a sum that never succeeds in bringing its various parts together so as to form a whole” (AO 42). “Desiring machines constitute the non-Oedipal life of the unconscious” (BS 95).

      A desiring machine is defined first of all by a coupling or a “break-flow” system, where the terms determined by the coupling are “partial objects” (yet no longer in Melanie Klein’s sense of the term, since they no longer refer to the anterior integrity of a...

    • Deterritorialization (and Territory)
      (pp. 165-167)

      “The function of deterritorialization: D is the movement by which ‘one’ leaves the territory” (ATP 508). “The territory is not primary in relation to the qualitative mark; it is the mark that makes the territory. Functions in a territory are not primary; they presuppose a territory-producing expressiveness. In this sense, the territory, and the functions performed within it, are products of territorialization. Territorialization is an act of rhythm that has become expressive, or of milieu components that have become qualitative” (ATP 315).

      The term “deterritorialization,” a neologism first appearing in Anti-Oedipus, has since been widely utilized in the humanities. But...

    • Disjunctive Synthesis (or Inclusive Disjunction)
      (pp. 167-171)

      “The whole question is to know under what conditions the disjunction is a veritable synthesis, instead of being a procedure of analysis which is satisfied with the exclusion of predicates from one thing in virtue of the identity of its concept (the negative, limitative, or exclusive use of disjunction). The answer is given insofar as the divergence or the decentering determined by the disjunction become objects of affirmation as such” (LS 174). “The disjunction has become inclusive: everything divides, but into itself” (CC 153).

      1. By inclusive disjunction we typically understand a complex such that, two propositions being given, at...

    • Event
      (pp. 171-174)

      “We will not ask therefore what is the sense of the event: the event is sense itself. The event belongs essentially to language; it has an essential relationship to language. But language is what is said of things” (LS 22). “With every event, there is indeed the present moment of its actualization, the moment in which the event is embodied in a state of affairs, an individual, or a person, the moment we designate by saying ‘here, the moment has come.’ The future and the past of the event are evaluated only with respect to this definitive present, and from...

    • Line of Flight (and Minor/Major)
      (pp. 174-179)

      “The line of flight is a deterritorialization. The French do not understand this very well. Obviously, they flee like everyone else, but they think that fleeing means making an exit from the world, mysticism or art, or else that it is something rather sloppy because we avoid our commitments and responsibilities. But to flee is not to renounce action: nothing is more active than flight. It is the opposite of the imaginary. It is also to put to flight—not necessarily others, but to put something to flight, to put a system to flight as one bursts a tubetube ....

    • Multiplicities
      (pp. 179-182)

      “Multiplicity must not designate a combination of the many and the one, but rather an organization belonging to the many as such, which has no need whatsoever of unity in order to form a system” (DR 182).

      Having its origin in Bergson, this concept carries out a double displacement: on the one hand, the opposition of the one and the multiple loses its pertinence; on the other hand, the problem now becomes one of distinguishing between two kinds of multiplicity (one that is actual-extensive, divided into parts external to one another, such as matter or extension; and one that is...

    • Nomadic Distribution (or Smooth Space)
      (pp. 182-184)

      “It is an errant and even ‘delirious’ distribution, in which things are deployed across the entire extensity of a univocal and undivided Being. It is not a matter of being which is distributed [se partage] according to the requirements of representation, but of all things being divided up [se repartir] within being in the univocity of simple presence (the One – All)” (DR 36–7, translation modified).

      The difference between distributing [partager] a closed space and dividing things up in an open space, between distributing to people a space divided into parts and distributing people in an undivided space, has first...

    • Nonorganic Life (or Vitality)
      (pp. 184-188)

      “There is a profound relationship between signs, events, life, and vitalism: the power of nonorganic life that can be found in a line that is drawn, a line of writing, a line of music. It is organisms that die, not life. Any work of art points a way through for life, finds a way through the cracks. Everything I have written is vitalist, at least I hope it is, and amounts to a theory of signs and events” (N 143)

      It is rare for the word “vitalism” to be invoked with the rigor of a concept. Like everyone else, philosophers...

    • Plane of Immanence (and Chaos)
      (pp. 188-199)

      “We call this plane, which knows only longitudes and latitudes, speeds and haecceities, the plane of consistency or composition (as opposed to the plan(e) of organization or development). It is necessarily a plane of immanence and univocality. We therefore call it the plane of Nature, although nature has nothing to do with it, since on this plane there is no distinction between the natural and the artificial. However many dimensions it may have, it never has a supplementary dimension to that which transpires upon it. That alone makes it natural and immanent” (ATP 266) “The plane of immanence is not...

    • Pre-individual Singularities
      (pp. 199-201)

      “We cannot accept the alternative which thoroughly compromises psychology, cosmology, and theology: either singularities already comprised in individuals or persons, or the undifferenciated abyss. Only when the world, teaming with anonymous and nomadic, impersonal and pre-individual singularities, opens up, do we tread at last on the field of the transcendental” (LS 103).

      The elaboration of the concept of singularity proceeds from a radicalization of critical or transcendental interrogation: the individual is not first in the order of sense, it must be engendered in thought (the problematic of individuation); sense is the space of nomadic distribution, there exists no originary division...

    • Problem
      (pp. 201-204)

      “The failure to see that sense or the problem is extra-propositional, that it differs in kind from every proposition, leads us to miss the essential: the genesis of the act of thought, the operation of the faculties (DR 157). “All concepts are connected to problems without which they would have no meaning and which can themselves only be isolated or understood as their solution emerges” (WP 16). “We are led to believe that problems are given ready-made, and that they disappear in the responses or the solution. Already, under this double aspect, they can be no more than phantoms. We...

    • Refrain (Difference and Repetition)
      (pp. 205-206)

      “The refrain moves in the direction of the territorial assemblage and lodges itself there or leaves. In a general sense, we call a refrain any aggregate of matters of expression that draws a territory and develops into territorial motifs and landscapes (there are optical, gestural, motor, etc., refrains). In the narrow sense, we speak of a refrain when an assemblage is sonorous or ‘dominated’ by sound—but why do we assign this apparent privilege to sound?” (ATP 323). “The great refrain arises as we distance ourselves from the house, even if this is in order to return, since no one...

    • Rhizome
      (pp. 207-209)

      “Subtract the unique from the multiplicity to be constituted; write at n - 1 dimensions. A system of this kind could be called a rhizome” (ATP 6). “Unlike trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point, and its traits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature; it brings into play very different regimes of signs, and even nonsign states. The rhizome is reducible neither to the One nor the multiple . . . It is composed not of units but of dimensions, or rather directions in motion. It has neither beginning nor...

    • Transcendental Empiricism
      (pp. 209-212)

      “The transcendental form of a faculty is indistinguishable from its disjointed, superior or transcendent exercise. Transcendent in no way means that the faculty addresses itself to objects outside the world but, on the contrary, that it grasps that in the world which concerns it exclusively and brings it into the world. The transcendent exercise must not be traced from the empirical exercise precisely because it apprehends that which cannot be grasped from the point of view of common sense, that which measures the empirical operation of all the faculties according to that which pertains to each, given the form of...

    • Univocity of Being
      (pp. 212-214)

      “In effect, the essential in univocity is not that Being is said in a single and same sense, but that it is said, in a single and same sense, of all its individuating differences or intrinsic modalities” (DR 36). “The univocity of being does not mean that there is one and the same being; on the contrary, beings are multiple and different, they are always produced by a disjunctive synthesis, and they themselves are disjointed and divergent, membra disjuncta. The univocity of being signifies that being is Voice, that it is said, and that it is said in one and...

    • Virtual
      (pp. 214-216)

      “The virtual is opposed not to the real but to the actual. The virtual is fully real in so far as it is virtual . . . the virtual must be defined as strictly a part of the real object—as though the object had one part of itself in the virtual into which it plunged as though into an objective dimension” (DR 208–9).

      Why does Deleuze’s thought invoke the virtual? The virtual is the insistence of that which is not given. Only the actual is given, including the form of the possible, which is to say the alternative...

    • War Machine
      (pp. 217-221)

      “To the extent that each time a line of flight turns into a line of death, we do not invoke an internal impulse of the ‘death instinct’ type, we invoke another assemblage of desire which brings into play a machine which is objectively or extrinsically definable. It is therefore not metaphorically that each time someone destroys others and destroys himself he has invented on his line of flight his own war-machine” (D 142). “We define ‘war machines’ as linear arrangements constructed along lines of flight. Thus understood, the aim of war machines is not war at all but a very...

  9. Selected Bibliography of François Zourabichvili’s Work
    (pp. 222-224)
  10. Index
    (pp. 225-232)