whose main purpose (again from the standpoint of English readers of French philosophy) is to become poststructuralism. Let’s imagine that there are two major French philosophers in the second half of the twentieth century who are not easily assimilated into these categorical schemas: Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou. although it immediately bifurcates into deconstruction. which is also posed in terms of language. let’s consider that there are two main problems of philosophy toward the end of the twentieth century: First. Poststructuralism has integrity as a (French) philosophical movement. which attaches to the proper name of Jacques Derrida. Finally. analytic as well as Continental—this turn eclipses both the traditional philosophical concerns with ontology as well as Heidegger’s renewal of the question of being.Copyrighted Material ONE INTRODUCTION What is philosophy? Let’s imagine that a certain kind of philosophical thinking. and postmodernism. the problem that haunts twentieth-century philosophy. which is invented by Jean-François Lyotard but is useful as a catchall to encompass most forms of poststructuralism. with an assist from Bergson and Sartre. Second. philosophy switches territories and gears and becomes structuralism.” passes from Germany to France after World War II. the general problem posed by the linguistic turn that affects all forms of philosophy in the twentieth century. . After Husserl and Heidegger. one that in English-speaking contexts goes by the name “Continental.

“pronounces what is expressible of being qua being. “there is little doubt that the century has been ontological. and in a continual state of becoming. although Badiou is more invested in formalizing this ontology in mathematical terms. remains obsessed with questions of language. whereas Deleuze is more interested in problematizing philosophy. language becomes the fundamental problem of philosophy during the twentieth century. Heidegger raises the ontological question. and that this destiny is far more essential than the ‘linguistic turn’ with which it has been credited. is the problem of totality. also influenced by Saussure’s linguistics. opting instead for a mathematical ontology. Post-Heideggerian French philosophy. whereas Deleuze’s philosophy is more unsettled. Badiou’s philosophy and his mathematics are axiomatic. Both Wittgenstein and Heidegger take up the question of language and its relation to reality in different ways.”4 Badiou opposes the linguistic turn in philosophy that characterizes philosophy of much of the century. 2 However.”3 According to Badiou. 4 SETTING UP THE ENCOUNTER . seeing how philosophy asks questions and poses problems. Badiou declares that Heidegger is “the last universally recognizable philosopher. Jürgen Habermas claims that we can see a “paradigm shift from philosophy of consciousness to philosophy of language” around the turn of the twentieth century. not poetry. and how it affects the discourses of phenomenology and hermeneutics. and he never viewed language as a fundamental problem.Copyrighted Material especially after World War II.1 At the beginning of Being and Event. Badiou follows Deleuze in evading the consequences of the linguistic turn. Whether the linguistic turn is associated with Frege or Nietzsche or Saussure.” primarily because he renews the question of being. that is. Mathematics. and it was not shaped by the linguistic turn. and calls for a renewed formalization in and of philosophy. which distinguishes a postwar and post-Holocaust (as well as anti-Hegelian) philosophical attitude. Deleuze avoided these dominant discourses of hermeneutics and phenomenology. Badiou rejects Heidegger’s poetic discourse as the primary model for philosophy. Deleuze’s philosophy was always already ontological. but then he links ontology with language.

Deleuze is able to affirm multiplicity by opposing Platonism. claims that Deleuze cannot escape the shadow of the One. however. and this set theory provides Badiou an ontology that frames an event. Here the immediate enemy is Hegel’s encyclopedic system of dialectics. lies the problem of the One. A genuine Platonic multiplicity can be achieved mathematically. however. Deleuze opposes Platonism and the One by liberating simulacra from their enslavement to models. while Badiou rehabilitates Plato but rejects the One. Both Badiou and Deleuze valorize the multiple. Badiou. because it is seen as swallowing all forms of thought and life. which has been shown to be a caricature by the important work of Slavoj Žižek. difference.Copyrighted Material The problem of totality is partly the theoretical response of European philosophy to the shocking forms of totalitarianism that emerged in the twentieth century. whereas for Badiou an affirmation of Plato is possible that does not necessitate an embrace of the One. forms. and Deleuze was one of the main philosophers who wanted nothing to do with Hegelian dialectics. Catherine Malabou. or copies. Hegel was viewed oppositionally.5 In order to avoid or oppose totality. most famously under the names of fascism (Nazism) and communism (Stalinism). and ends up grounding multiplicity in a renewed vision of the One. by means of set theory.7 Behind the problem of totality. however. and he sees the death of God as the dismantling of the foundational One. At the turn of the twentyfirst century.6 after the crimes of Stalinism became apparent Hegel’s thought became suspected of being complicit with the logic of totalitarianism. as will become clear in this study. and hidden in the shadow of Hegel looms Plato. Continental philosophers attempt to think and to thematize that which resists thought and escapes thematization. Even though the event 5 INTRODUCTION . perspectivalism. philosophers have sought ways of affirming pluralism. For most of the late twentieth century. and multiplicity. primarily by way of Alexandre Kojève’s incredible synthesis. and others. Kierkegaard’s existential protest against Hegel is valorized as an authentic opposition to a totalizing and dehumanizing system. but in different ways. Although in the early twentieth century a Marxist Hegelianism was extremely influential in French thought. Hegelianism has been rehabilitated beyond the poststructuralist critique.

Deleuze is austere. Badiou claims that. I will exposit Badiou’s critique and show how he interprets Deleuze in his influential book. Finally. and he says that he saw this as “one last. I claim that it is not possible to really understand Deleuze’s thought without engaging and comprehending Difference and Repetition. develops a transcendental logic that explains how events irrupt out of being.9 Badiou expresses his critique in strong terms. In order to open up a space for his own claim as a great philosopher. Deleuze told Badiou that he did not want his letters published. although at the same time this is 6 SETTING UP THE ENCOUNTER .Copyrighted Material cannot be prescribed from mathematical being as irreducible multiplicity. shortly after Deleuze’s death in 1995. Badiou was asked to write an essay on Deleuze.’ not up to the occasion. aristocratic. This reading of Badiou’s book will provide a foil against which to develop my reading of Deleuze. I will provide my own reading of Deleuze’s masterwork. an understanding of being allows one to understand how it is that events can happen. in addition to being a philosopher of the One and deceiving most of his readers about it. published in French in 1997. as I will show in this book. which occurs in chapters 3–5. posthumous letter” written to a friend with whom he had a relationship that was conflicted. declaring them too “‘abstract. and politically quietist in his work. the follow-up to Being and Event. Badiou is forced to criticize and ultimately distort Deleuze’s philosophy.”8 After Deleuze died. In chapter 2. and as concerning a philosophical encounter that never quite took place. Badiou claims. although he seems ambivalent about attacking the person he considers his only serious contemporary rival after the publication in 1988 of Being and Event. and translated into English in 2000. In chapter 3. despite Deleuze’s language celebrating multiplicity. he reads Deleuze selectively and ignores what does not fit the image of Deleuze that he constructs. Logics of Worlds. Badiou was inspired by a series of written letters between himself and Deleuze between 1992 and 1994 that eventually came to an end and an impasse. However. This book offers a counterreading of Deleuze over against and beyond Badiou’s powerful critique in his influential work Deleuze: The Clamor of Being. Difference and Repetition. that Deleuze is ultimately a philosopher of the One.

“Deleuze’s Logic of Double Articulation. For this reason I will not directly engage with the many important and influential works Deleuze wrote about other figures.” I focus on Deleuze’s logic. In chapter 4. This duality is not grounded in a unity. Bergson. In this book. Deleuze posits two series. Kant. and in many ways Deleuze worked out his philosophy by means of a profound engagement with other thinkers as well as artists. Sacher-Masoch. although Badiou cannot read it any other way. a series of bodies and a series of sense. Chapter 5. including Hume. Nietzsche and Philosophy. drawing from Stoicism as well as his reading of Lewis Carroll. Furthermore. I will explain how Deleuze’s logic in The Logic of Sense develops into his logic of double articulation in A Thousand Plateaus. as Fold. for example. although there is a profound tension in reading Hegelian dialectics together with Deleuzian difference. Spinoza. Nietzsche. Although Malabou privileges Hegel. this logic of double articulation can be read as a motor schema. Kafka. Deleuze helped create the so-called French Nietzsche who became so prominent and influential in the 1960s and 1970s. In The Logic of Sense. and the Cinema books. and Bacon. These are all valuable and important studies. The Fold. it takes a great deal of time and effort to extract Deleuze from this composite. In this book I am explicitly developing a coherent interpretation of Deleuze’s philosophy over the course of his extraordinary career. At the same time. written with Guattari. and as Image. but the danger of reading Deleuze on another figure is that the result is a composite. and if readers of 7 INTRODUCTION . and he radicalizes it in profound and unexpected ways. The Logic of Sense. is the expression of a kind of Deleuze-Nietzsche. specifically Anti-Oedipus. and literary material. Heidegger. Proust. from his follow-up to Difference and Repetition.Copyrighted Material extremely difficult to do because Deleuze synthesizes so much philosophical.” takes the notion of event that Deleuze expresses in The Logic of Sense and shows the shape it takes in his later work. “Producing the Event as Machine. scientific. to use Catherine Malabou’s phrase from her book Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing. and Derrida in her work. I argue that her understanding of plasticity is informed by Deleuze and is in some respects compatible with his philosophy.

In addition to explicating Badiou’s mathematical ontology.”10 From this extreme position. however. Chapter 6. but Deleuze acknowledged Kant’s influence more explicitly and repressed Hegel’s. Romanticism. in order 8 SETTING UP THE ENCOUNTER . whereas Badiou acknowledges his similarity to Hegel but repudiates Kant. Deleuze is a philosopher of the event. he returns to an earlier work. but his understanding of an event is crucial for appreciating the importance this term takes on in poststructuralism and eventually for Badiou. I am in no way dismissive of his work and its significance. In chapters 6 and 7. it becomes almost impossible to adequately understand Deleuze’s overall thought. that Badiou’s mathematical ontology almost exactly reproduces Kant’s argument concerning the mathematical sublime. Of course. Chapter 7. even if Badiou expresses it in terms of set theory.” shows how Badiou’s Logics of Worlds remedies a lack of consideration of the subject in Being and Event. Although I favor Deleuze and criticize Badiou in this book. although I will draw a connection with his early work. The Concept of Model. Both Badiou and Deleuze were hostile to Kant and Kantianism. subjectivity is downplayed in Being and Event. In many respects. Badiou even criticizes the residual Cartesianism in Lacan. At the end of Being and Event. so in this sense it is a limited (and limiting) reading. I will show. “Being a Subject in a Transcendental World. I will critically engage it from the standpoint of Kant and the Kantian sublime. which Badiou adopts in order to avoid the subjectivity of pathos. he is not the only philosopher who thematizes the idea of the event. and a subject comes into being out of fidelity to an event rather than by being inscribed in being. suggesting that we need to get away from “the idea that there were always some subjects. Theory of the Subject. Badiou axiomatizes being in order to allow for an event. but it will be a contrasting reading to the one I valorize of Deleuze. “Being a Sublime Event. I will turn directly to Badiou’s philosophy in his major works. I will engage with Badiou explicitly and seriously. According to my interpretation.” will focus mainly on Being and Event. and language.Copyrighted Material Deleuze in English exclusively focus on these texts as opposed to the foundational philosophical works like Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense.

Logics of Worlds does not constitute a break with Being and Event. first in 9 INTRODUCTION . as Badiou charges in Deleuze: The Clamor of Being. Badiou’s axiomatization of mathematics in set theory still contrasts with Deleuze’s concern with the immanent becoming of mathematics and physics. with its apparatuses of capture. I argue that the creation of a time-image is a directly political and revolutionary event for Deleuze. even though Badiou describes himself as becoming more Hegelian. I will show how the subject becomes compatible with the object in this sequel. which Deleuze himself mostly neglected to specify. and he provides a philosophical framework that better accounts for these phenomena than the strictures of Badiou’s thought. solipsistic solitude toward the end of his life. but he realizes that deterritorialization will always be reterritorialized by the state. Deleuze engaged more obviously with mathematics and biology than with physics. Deleuze turns to aesthetics. I argue that Badiou’s logic in Logics of Worlds is more compatible with Deleuze than his logic in Being and Event. At the same time. against the charge that Deleuze detached himself from politics and political concerns at the end of his life and retreated into aesthetics. but he was writing at the same time that chaos theory and complexity theory were being elaborated. In chapter 9. I suggest that this reading is incorrect. and how both converge on the thinking of a body. Chapter 8 sketches a provocative “Energetics of Being” that is inspired by Deleuze.Copyrighted Material to integrate the subject more deeply into being in Logics of Worlds. In a more speculative chapter. and suggest that this emphasis on physics is not a return to the Pre-Socratics. but draws out more explicitly some of the connections of his work with theoretical physics. Along with Guattari. Badiou argues that Deleuze retreats into a kind of austere. In order to escape this inevitable reterritorialization. I assert the significance of theoretical physics over against theoretical mathematics. but is a qualification and complexification of the dualism that pervades Being and Event. because it ignores the revolutionary political significance of the time-image that Deleuze constructs in Cinema 2. in A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze with his analysis of nomadology and the war machine presses a political analysis of territory as far as it will go.

This last chapter is less explicitly focused on Deleuze. In a final chapter on “Vodou Economics. only appropriate it. Politics thought as territory conforms to what Deleuze calls the movementimage. The state cannot think. but it develops a quasi-Deleuzian reading of and application for our contemporary political and economic situation. whereas his goal in Cinema 2 is to construct a time-image. which is why the state cannot create a time-image. 10 SETTING UP THE ENCOUNTER . and shows why Deleuze remains an important theoretical resource. a brain for the people who do not yet exist but can be brought into existence. I will suggest that it is no less important and in some respects it is potentially more revolutionary. Although Deleuze’s political event is different from Badiou’s.” I will examine Haiti as a sort of case study of what Deleuze calls “the people who are missing” in contemporary neoliberalism.Copyrighted Material his book on Francis Bacon. and suggest that understanding Vodou spirits or lwa in terms of a time-image provides striking resources for conceiving a radical politics in a postsecularist context. and then his books on Cinema.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful