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Gilles Deleuze

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Home > Library > Reference > Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Gilles Deleuze
(born Jan. 18, 1925, Paris, France — died Nov. 4, 1995, Paris) French antirationalist
philosopher and literary critic. He began his study of philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1944
and was appointed to the faculty there in 1957; he later taught at the University of Lyons
and the University of Paris VIII (Vincennes). His first major publications, David Hume
(1952) and Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962), were historical studies of thinkers who
emphasized the limited powers of human reason. In Difference and Repetition (1968), he
argued against the devaluation of "difference" in Western metaphysics and tried to show
that difference inheres in repetition itself. A central theme of his work during this period
was the "Eleatic-Platonic bias" of Western metaphysics — i.e., its preference for unity
over multiplicity ("the one" over "the many") and for sameness over difference.
According to Deleuze, this bias falsifies the nature of experience, which consists of
multiplicities rather than unities. In Anti-Oedipus (1972), the first volume of a two-
volume work (Capitalism and Schizophrenia), Deleuze and the radical psychoanalyst
Félix Guattari (1930 – 92) attacked traditional psychoanalysis for suppressing human
desire in the service of normalization and control. The second volume, A Thousand
Plateaus (1980), condemned all rationalist metaphysics as "state philosophy." Depressed
by chronic illness, Deleuze committed suicide.
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French Literature Companion

Home > Library > Arts > French Literature Companion

Gilles Deleuze
Deleuze, Gilles (1925-95). One of France's most versatile contemporary philosophers; his
interests are particularly wide-ranging. His early work (1953-67) is concerned primarily
with original studies of a number of major philosophers, including Nietzsche, Kant,
Bergson, and Spinoza. The middle period (1967-80) is the most controversial, as Deleuze
turned his attention to literature (Proust, Kafka, Tournier, and Zola, amongst others) and
psychoanalysis, allying himself with the radical anti-Freudian analyst Félix Guattari in a
two-volume study of capitalism and schizophrenia, L'Anti-Œdipe (1972) and Mille
plateaux (1980). Since 1980 his major publications have been concerned with the
aesthetics of contemporary painting and cinema, with a notable study of the work of
Francis Bacon (1984).

Like Derrida, Deleuze is a philosopher of difference. He describes himself as an

empiricist and a philosopher of multiplicity. He aims to view reality positively, in terms
of what it is, rather than what it is not—that is, as differentiated and multiple, marked by
specificity and individuality, rather than according to the abstractions generated by
philosophies (such as Hegel's or Sartre's) which give priority to human consciousness and
see the world in terms of negation, contradiction, opposition, and lack. In his
contributions to psychoanalysis and literary theory the underlying common preoccupation
is a critique of interpretation. Deleuze is resolutely anti-hermeneutic. Interpretation
presupposes what it claims to uncover: in psychoanalysis, the fantasm, the unconscious,
the Oedipus complex; in literature, a totalized, unified meaning. His study of Proust
(1964, revised 1970), for example, rejects the traditional view of his work as organic,
totalizing, and Platonizing, and argues that it is fragmented, heteroclite, and violent.
Deleuze's ‘schizoanalysis’ repudiates Freudianism as reductive and repressive; it believes
individual ‘complexes’ to originate in specific social structures, not in universal,
triangular family relations; it does not envisage desire as arising from lack but considers
it a positive means of breaking away from social and political restrictions. For Deleuze,
art is never neurotic; in his terms, it is psychotic and revolutionary: ‘schizoanalysis’ aims
to uncover the revolutionary power of the text, its explosive potential energy. Malcolm
Lowry, Deleuze claims, comes closest to his own conception of the literary text as a ‘sort
of machine’. His concern is with what it can do, not with what it may mean. He does not
interpret a text but rather asks what its uses may be, and argues that these are as varied
and multiple as the domains of human desire. Deleuze's own texts are difficult, eccentric,
and stimulating.
— Christina Howells
R. Bogue, Deleuze and Guattari (1989)

Philosophy Dictionary

Home > Library > Reference > Philosophy Dictionary

Gilles Deleuze
Deleuze, Gilles (1925-95) Sorbonne-educated and based in Paris for most of his career,
Deleuze started as a historian of philosophy, writing about Hume, Spinoza, and
Nietzsche. Later work, particularly in collaboration with Félix Guattari, has branched into
psychoanalysis, politics, film and literary theory. He stands for a general opposition to
‘essentialism’ in favour of a holistic and process orientated conception of the world. In
conjunction with this goes a view of the philosopher as someone who creates concepts
with which to approach this flux, rather than someone whose role is confined to
examining handed down forms of thought. His many books include Empirisme et
subjectivité (1953) trs. Empiricism and Subjectivity (1991), Nietzsche et la philosophie
(1962) trs. Nietzsche and Philosophy (1983), and with Guattari Capitalisme et
Schizophrénie 1. L'Anti-Oedipe (1972/3) trs. Anti-Oedipus—Capitalism and
Schizophrenia (1985), Qu'est-ce que la philosophie? (1991) trs. What Is Philosophy?


Home > Library > Reference > Wikipedia

Gilles Deleuze
Western Philosophy
20th-century philosophy
This image is a candidate for speedy deletion. It will be deleted
after seven days from the date of nomination.
Name Gilles Deleuze
January 18, 1925
November 4 1995 (aged 70)
School/tradition Continental Philosophy, Empiricism
Main interests History of Western philosophy
Metaphilosophy, Metaphysics
Affect, Assemblage
Body without organs
Notable ideas Deterritorialization, Line of flight
Plane of immanence, Rhizome
Influences Bergson, Nietzsche, Spinoza, Kant
Eric Alliez, Alexander Bard,
Manuel de Landa, Michael Hardt,
Influenced Pierre Klossowski, Slavoj Zizek, Jean-
Jacques Lecercle,
Brian Massumi, Antonio Negri
Gilles Deleuze (IPA: [ʒil dəløz]), (January 18, 1925 – November 4, 1995) was a French
philosopher of the late 20th century. From the early 1960s until his death, Deleuze wrote
many influential works on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular
books were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and
A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with Félix Guattari. His books Difference
and Repetition (1968) and The Logic of Sense (1969) led Michel Foucault to declare that
"one day, perhaps, this century will be called Deleuzian."[1] (Deleuze, for his part, said
Foucault's comment was "a joke meant to make people who like us laugh, and make
everyone else livid."[2])
Deleuze was born in Paris and lived there for most his life. His initial schooling was
undertaken during World War II, during which time he attended the Lycée Carnot. He
also spent a year in khâgne at the Lycée Henri IV. In 1944 Deleuze went to study at the
Sorbonne. His teachers there included several noted specialists in the history of
philosophy, such as Georges Canguilhem, Jean Hyppolite, Ferdinand Alquié, and
Maurice de Gandillac, and Deleuze's lifelong interest in the canonical figures of modern
philosophy owed much to these teachers. Nonetheless, Deleuze also found the work of
non-academic thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre strongly attractive.[3] He agrégated in
philosophy in 1948.
Deleuze taught at various lycées (Amiens, Orléans, Louis le Grand) until 1957, when he
took up a position at the Sorbonne. In 1953, he published his first monograph,
Empiricism and Subjectivity, on Hume. He married Denise Paul "Fanny" Grandjouan in
1956. From 1960 to 1964 he held a position at the Centre National de Recherche
Scientifique. During this time he published the seminal Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962)
and befriended Michel Foucault. From 1964 to 1969 he was a professor at the University
of Lyon. In 1968 he published his two dissertations, Difference and Repetition
(supervised by Gandillac) and Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza (supervised by
In 1969 he was appointed to the University of Paris VIII at Vincennes/St. Denis, an
experimental school organized to implement educational reform. This new university
drew a number of talented scholars, including Foucault (who suggested Deleuze's hiring),
and the psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. Deleuze taught at Vincennes until his retirement in
Deleuze, a heavy smoker, suffered from lung cancer.[4] Although he had a lung removed,
the disease had spread throughout his pulmonary system. Deleuze underwent a
tracheotomy, lost the power of speech[5] and considered himself 'chained like a dog' to
an oxygen machine.[6] By the last years of his life, simple tasks such as handwriting
required laborious effort. In 1995, he committed suicide, throwing himself from the
window of his apartment.
Upon Deleuze's death, his colleague Jean-François Lyotard sent a fax to Le Monde, in
which he wrote of his friend:
"He was too tough to experience disappointments and resentments — negative affections.
In this nihilist fin de siècle, he was affirmation. Right through to illness and death. Why
did I speak of him in the past? He laughed, he is laughing, he is here. It's your sadness,
idiot, he'd say."[7]
The novelist Michel Tournier, who knew Deleuze when both were students at the
Sorbonne, described him thus:
"The ideas we threw about like cottonwool or rubber balls he returned to us transformed
into hard and heavy iron or steel cannonballs. We quickly learnt to be in awe of his gift
for catching us red-handed in the act of cliché-mongering, talking rubbish, or loose
thinking. He had the knack of translating, transposing. As it passed through him, the
whole of worn-out academic philosophy re-emerged unrecognisable, totally refreshed, as
if it has not been properly digested before. It was all fiercely new, completely
disconcerting, and it acted as a goad to our feeble minds and our slothfulness."[8]
Deleuze himself almost entirely demurred from autobiography. When once asked to talk
about his life, he replied: "Academics' lives are seldom interesting."[9] When a critic
seized upon Deleuze's unusually long, uncut fingernails as a revealing eccentricity, he
drily noted a more obvious explanation: "I haven't got the normal protective whorls, so
that touching anything, especially fabric, causes such irritation that I need long nails to
protect them."[10] Deleuze concludes his reply to this critic thus:
"What do you know about me, given that I believe in secrecy? ... If I stick where I am, if I
don't travel around, like anyone else I make my inner journeys that I can only measure by
my emotions, and express very obliquely and circuitously in what I write. ... Arguments
from one's own privileged experience are bad and reactionary arguments."[11]
Deleuze's work falls into two groups: on one hand, monographs interpreting modern
philosophers (Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Bergson, Foucault) and artists
(Proust, Kafka, Francis Bacon); on the other, eclectic philosophical tomes organized by
concept (e.g., difference, sense, events, schizophrenia, cinema, philosophy). Regardless
of topic, however, Deleuze consistently develops variations on similar ideas.
Deleuze's main philosophical project in his early works (i.e., those prior to his
collaborations with Guattari) can be baldly summarized as a systematic inversion of the
traditional metaphysical relationship between identity and difference. Traditionally,
difference is seen as derivative from identity: e.g., to say that "X is different from Y"
assumes some X and Y with at least relatively stable identities. To the contrary, Deleuze
claims that all identities are effects of difference. Identities are not logically or
metaphysically prior to difference, Deleuze argues, "given that there exist differences of
nature between things of the same genus."[12] That is: to say that two things are "the
same" obscures the difference presupposed by there being two things in the first place.
Apparent identities such as "X" are composed of endless series of differences, where "X"
= "the difference between x and x'", and "x" = "the difference between...", and so forth.
Difference goes all the way down. To confront reality honestly, Deleuze claims, we must
grasp beings exactly as they are, and concepts of identity (forms, categories,
resemblances, unities of apperception, predicates, etc.) fail to attain difference in itself.
"If philosophy has a positive and direct relation to things, it is only insofar as philosophy
claims to grasp the thing itself, according to what it is, in its difference from everything it
is not, in other words, in its internal difference."[13]
Like Kant and Bergson, Deleuze considers traditional notions of space and time as
unifying categories imposed by the subject, that is, he considers them to be forms of
identity. Therefore he concludes that pure difference is non-spatio-temporal; it is an ideal,
what he calls "the virtual". (The coinage refers not to the "virtual reality" of the computer
age, but to Proust's definition of the past: "real without being actual, ideal without being
abstract."[14]) While Deleuze's virtual ideas superficially resemble Plato's forms and
Kant's ideas of pure reason, they are not originals or models, nor do they transcend
possible experience; instead they are the conditions of actual experience, the internal
difference in itself. "The concept they [the conditions] form is identical to its object."[15]
A Deleuzean idea or concept of difference is not a wraith-like abstraction of an
experienced thing, it is a real system of differential relations that creates actual spaces,
times, and sensations.[16]
Thus Deleuze, alluding to Kant and Schelling, at times refers to his philosophy as a
transcendental empiricism. In Kant's transcendental idealism, experience only makes
sense when organized by intellectual categories (such as space, time, and causality).
Taking such intellectual concepts out of the context of experience, according to Kant,
spawns seductive but senseless metaphysical beliefs. (For example, extending the concept
of causality beyond possible experience results in unverifiable speculation about a first
cause.) Deleuze inverts the Kantian arrangement: experience exceeds our concepts by
presenting novelty, and this raw experience of difference actualizes an idea, unfettered by
our prior categories, forcing us to invent new ways of thinking (see below,
Simultaneously, Deleuze claims that being is univocal, i.e., that all of its senses are
affirmed in one voice. Deleuze borrows the doctrine of ontological univocity from the
medieval philosopher John Duns Scotus. In medieval disputes over the nature of God,
many eminent theologians and philosophers (such as Thomas Aquinas) held that when
one says that "God is good", God's goodness is only analogous to human goodness.
Scotus argued to the contrary that when one says that "God is good", the goodness in
question is the exact same sort of goodness that is meant when one says "Jane is good".
That is, God only differs from us in degree, and properties such as goodness, power,
reason, and so forth are univocally applied, regardless of whether one is talking about
God, a man, or a flea.
Deleuze adapts the doctrine of univocity to claim that being is, univocally, difference.
"With univocity, however, it is not the differences which are and must be: it is being
which is Difference, in the sense that it is said of difference. Moreover, it is not we who
are univocal in a Being which is not; it is we and our individuality which remains
equivocal in and for a univocal Being."[17] Here Deleuze echoes Spinoza, who
maintained that everything that exists is a modification of the one substance, God or
Nature. For Deleuze, the one substance is an always-differentiating process, an origami
cosmos, always folding, unfolding, refolding. Deleuze summarizes this ontology in the
paradoxical formula "pluralism = monism".[18]
Difference and Repetition is Deleuze's most sustained and systematic attempt to work out
the details of such a metaphysics, but like ideas are expressed in his other works. In
Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962), for example, reality is a play of forces; in Anti-
Oedipus (1972), a "body without organs"; in What Is Philosophy? (1991), a "plane of
immanence" or "chaosmos".

See also: Plane of immanence

Deleuze's unusual metaphysics entails an equally atypical epistemology, or what he calls
a transformation of "the image of thought". According to Deleuze, the traditional image
of thought, found in philosophers such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Husserl, misconceives
of thinking as a mostly unproblematic business. Truth may be hard to discover—it may
require a life of pure theorizing, or rigorous computation, or systematic doubt—but
thinking is able, at least in principle, to correctly grasp facts, forms, ideas, etc. It may be
practically impossible to attain a God's-eye, neutral point of view, but that is the ideal to
approximate: a disinterested pursuit that results in a determinate, fixed truth; an orderly
extension of common sense. Deleuze rejects this view as papering over the metaphysical
flux, instead claiming that genuine thinking is a violent confrontation with reality, an
involuntary rupture of established categories. Truth changes what we think; it alters what
we think is possible. By setting aside the assumption that thinking has a natural ability to
recognize the truth, Deleuze says, we attain a "thought without image", a thought always
determined by problems rather than solving them. "All this, however, presupposes codes
or axioms which do not result by chance, but which do not have an intrinsic rationality
either. It's just like theology: everything about it is quite rational if you accept sin, the
immaculate conception, and the incarnation. Reason is always a region carved out of the
irrational—not sheltered from the irrational at all, but traversed by it and only defined by
a particular kind of relationship among irrational factors. Underneath all reason lies
delirium, and drift."[19]
Deleuze's peculiar readings of the history of philosophy stem from this unusual
epistemological perspective. To read a philosopher is no longer to aim at finding a single,
correct interpretation, but is instead to present a philosopher's attempt to grapple with the
problematic nature of reality. "Philosophers introduce new concepts, they explain them,
but they don't tell us, not completely anyway, the problems to which those concepts are a
response. [...] The history of philosophy, rather than repeating what a philosopher says,
has to say what he must have taken for granted, what he didn't say but is nonetheless
present in what he did say."[20] (See below, Deleuze's interpretations.)
Likewise, rather than seeing philosophy as a timeless pursuit of truth, reason, or
universals, Deleuze defines philosophy as the creation of concepts. For Deleuze, concepts
are not identity conditions or propositions, but metaphysical constructions that define a
range of thinking, such as Plato's ideas, Descartes's cogito, or Kant's doctrine of the
faculties. A philosophical concept "posits itself and its object at the same time as it is
created."[21] In Deleuze's view, then, philosophy more closely resembles practical or
artistic production than it does an adjunct to a definitive scientific description of a pre-
existing world (as in the tradition of Locke or Quine).
In his later work (from roughly 1981 onward), Deleuze sharply distinguishes art,
philosophy, and science as three distinct disciplines, each analyzing reality in different
ways. While philosophy creates concepts, the arts create new qualitative combinations of
sensation and feeling (what Deleuze calls "percepts" and "affects"), and the sciences
create quantitative theories based on fixed points of reference such as the speed of light
or absolute zero (which Deleuze calls "functives"). According to Deleuze, none of these
disciplines enjoy primacy over the others: they are different ways of organizing the
metaphysical flux, "separate melodic lines in constant interplay with one another."[22]
For example, Deleuze does not treat cinema as an art representing an external reality, but
as an ontological practice that creates different ways of organizing movement and time.
Philosophy, science, and art are equally, and essentially, creative and practical. Hence,
instead of asking traditional questions of identity such as "is it true?" or "what is it?",
Deleuze proposes that inquiries should be functional or practical: "what does it do?" or
"how does it work?"
In ethics and politics, Deleuze again echoes Spinoza, albeit in a sharply Nietzschean key.
In a classical liberal model of society, morality begins from individuals, who bear
abstract natural rights or duties set by themselves or a God. Following his rejection of any
metaphysics based on identity, Deleuze criticizes the notion of an individual as an
arresting or halting of differentiation (as the etymology of the word "individual"
suggests). Guided by the ethical naturalism of Spinoza and Nietzsche, Deleuze instead
seeks to understand individuals and their moralities as products of the organization of
pre-individual desires and powers. In the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia,
Deleuze and Guattari describe history as a congealing and regimentation of "desiring-
production" (a concept combining features of Freudian drives and Marxist labor) into the
modern individual (typically neurotic and repressed), the nation-state (a society of
continuous control), and capitalism (an anarchy domesticated into infantilizing
commodification). Deleuze, following Marx, welcomes capitalism's destruction of
traditional social hierarchies as liberating, but inveighs against its homogenization of all
values to the aims of the market.
But how does Deleuze square his pessimistic diagnoses with his ethical naturalism?
Deleuze claims that standards of value are internal or immanent: to live well is to fully
express one's power, to go to the limits of one's potential, rather than to judge what exists
by non-empirical, transcendent standards. Modern society still suppresses difference and
alienates persons from what they can do. To affirm reality, which is a flux of change and
difference, we must overturn established identities and so become all that we can become
—though we cannot know what that is in advance. The pinnacle of Deleuzean practice,
then, is creativity. "Herein, perhaps, lies the secret: to bring into existence and not to
judge. If it is so disgusting to judge, it is not because everything is of equal value, but on
the contrary because what has value can be made or distinguished only by defying
judgment. What expert judgment, in art, could ever bear on the work to come?" [23]
Deleuze's interpretations
Deleuze's studies of individual philosophers and artists are purposely heterodox. In
Nietzsche and Philosophy, for example, Deleuze claims that Nietzsche's On the
Genealogy of Morality is a systematic response to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, a
claim that would strike almost anyone who has read both works as curious at best, as
Nietzsche nowhere mentions the First Critique in the Genealogy, and the Genealogy's
moral topics are far removed from the epistemological focus of Kant's book. Likewise,
Deleuze claims that univocity is the organizing principle of Spinoza's philosophy, despite
the total absence of the term from any of Spinoza's works. Deleuze once famously
described his method of interpreting philosophers as "buggery (enculage)", as sneaking
behind an author and producing an offspring which is recognizably his, yet also
monstrous and different.[24] The various monographs are thus best understood not as
attempts to faithfully represent "what Nietzsche (or whoever) meant" but as articulations
of Deleuze's philosophical views. This practice—Deleuze's ventriloquizing through other
thinkers—is not willful misinterpretation so much as it is an example of the creativity that
Deleuze believes philosophy should enact. A parallel in painting might be Bacon's Study
after Velasquez—it is quite beside the point to say that Bacon "gets Velasquez wrong".
(Similar considerations may apply to Deleuze's uses of mathematical and scientific terms,
pace Alan Sokal.)
Deleuze's ideas have not spawned a school, as Lacan's did. But his major collaborations
with Guattari (Anti-Oedipus, A Thousand Plateaus, and What Is Philosophy?) were best-
sellers in France, and remain heavily cited in English-speaking academe. In 1994 and
1995, an eight-hour series of interviews between Deleuze and Claire Parnet aired on
France's Arte Channel (a still from the program appears in the infobox above).[25]
In the 1960s, Deleuze's portrayal of Nietzsche as a metaphysician of difference rather
than a reactionary mystic contributed greatly to the plausibility of "left-wing
Nietzscheanism" as an intellectual stance.[26] In the 1970s, the Anti-Oedipus, written in
a style by turns vulgar and esoteric,[27] offering a sweeping analysis of the family,
language, capitalism, and history via eclectic borrowings from Freud, Marx, Nietzsche,
and dozens of other writers, was received as a theoretical embodiment of the anarchic
spirit of May 1968.
Like his contemporaries Foucault, Derrida, and Lyotard, Deleuze's influence has been
most strongly felt in North American humanities departments, particularly in circles
associated with literary theory. There, Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus came to be
seen as major statements of post-structuralism and postmodernism[28] (though neither
Deleuze nor Guattari described their work in those terms). In the 1980s and 1990s, almost
all of Deleuze's books were translated into English, where they have become comfortably
ensconced in the canon of "continental philosophy".
Naturally, Deleuze has attracted many critics as well. The following list is not exhaustive,
and gives only the briefest of summaries.
In Modern French Philosophy (1979), Vincent Descombes argues that Deleuze's account
of a difference that is not derived from identity (in Nietzsche and Philosophy) is
incoherent, and that his analysis of history in Anti-Oedipus is 'utter idealism', criticizing
reality for falling short of a non-existent ideal of schizophrenic becoming.
In What Is Neostructuralism? (1984), Manfred Frank claims that Deleuze's theory of
individuation as a process of bottomless differentiation fails to explain the unity of
In "The Decline and Fall of French Nietzscheo-Structuralism" (1994), Pascal Engel
presents a global condemnation of Deleuze's thought. According to Engel, Deleuze's
metaphilosophical approach makes it impossible to reasonably disagree with a
philosophical system, and so destroys meaning, truth, and philosophy itself. Engel
summarizes Deleuze's metaphilosophy thus: "When faced with a beautiful philosophical
concept you should just sit back and admire it. You should not question it."[29]
In Deleuze: The Clamor of Being (1997), Alain Badiou claims that Deleuze's
metaphysics only apparently embraces plurality and diversity, remaining at bottom
relentlessly monist. Badiou further argues that, in practical matters, Deleuze's monism
entails an ascetic, aristocratic fatalism akin to ancient Stoicism.
In Reconsidering Difference (1997), Todd May argues that Deleuze's claim that
difference is ontologically primary ultimately contradicts his embrace of immanence, i.e.,
his monism. However, May believes that Deleuze can discard the primacy-of-difference
thesis, and accept a Wittgensteinian holism without significantly altering (what May
believes is) Deleuze's practical philosophy.
In Fashionable Nonsense (1997), Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont accuse Deleuze of
abusing mathematical and scientific terms, particularly by sliding between accepted
technical meanings and his own idiosyncratic use of those terms in his philosophical
system. Deleuze's writings on subjects such as calculus and quantum mechanics are,
according to Sokal and Bricmont, vague, meaningless, or unjustified. However, by Sokal
and Bricmont's own admission, they suspend judgment about Deleuze's philosophical
theories and terminology.
In Organs without Bodies (2003), Slavoj Žižek claims that Deleuze's ontology oscillates
between materialism and idealism,[30] and that the Deleuze of Anti-Oedipus ("arguably
Deleuze's worst book"),[31] the "political" Deleuze under the "'bad' influence" of
Guattari, ends up, despite protestations to the contrary, as "the ideologist of late
capitalism".[32] Žižek also calls Deleuze to task for allegedly reducing the subject to
"just another" substance and thereby failing to grasp the nothingness that, according to
Lacan and Žižek, defines subjectivity.[33] What remains worthwhile in Deleuze's oeuvre,
Žižek finds, are precisely those concepts closest to Žižek's own ideas.
In Out of this World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation (2006), Peter Hallward
argues that Deleuze's insistence that being is necessarily creative and always-
differentiating entails that his philosophy can offer no insight into, and is supremely
indifferent to, the material, actual conditions of existence. Thus Hallward claims that
Deleuze's thought is literally other-worldly, aiming only at a passive contemplation of the
dissolution of all identity into the theophanic self-creation of nature.
^ Foucault, "Theatrum Philosophicum", Critique 282, p. 885.
^ Negotiations, p. 4. However, in a later interview, Deleuze commented: "I don't know
what Foucault meant, I never asked him" (Negotiations, p. 88).
^ Dialogues, p. 12: "At the Liberation we were still strangely stuck in the history of
philosophy. We simply plunged into Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger; we threw ourselves
like puppies into a scholasticism worse than that of the Middle Ages. Fortunately there
was Sartre. Sartre was our Outside, he was really the breath of fresh air from the
^ Another source mentions lung tuberculosis: [1]
^ A.P. Colombat, "November 4, 1995: Deleuze's death as an event", Continental
Philosophy Review 29.3 (July 1996): 235-249.
^ Philip Goodchild, Deleuze and Guattari: An Introduction to the Politics of Desire
(Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996).
^ J.-F. Lyotard, Misère de la philosophie (Paris: Galilée, 2000), p. 194.
^ Mary Bryden (ed.), Deleuze and Religion (New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 201.
^ Negotiations, p. 137.
^ Ibid., p. 5.
^ Ibid., pp. 11-12.
^ "Bergson's Conception of Difference", in Desert Islands, p. 33.
^ Ibid., p. 32.
^ Proust, Le Temps Retrouvé, ch. III: see the fourth line from the bottom of this page, or,
in English translation, the thirteenth paragraph here.
^ Desert Islands, p. 36.
^ See "The Method of Dramatization" in Desert Islands, and "Actual and Virtual" in
^ Difference and Repetition, p. 39.
^ A Thousand Plateaus, p. 20.
^ Desert Islands, p. 262.
^ Negotiations, p. 136.
^ What Is Philosophy?, p. 22.
^ Negotiations, p. 125. Cf. Spinoza's claim that the mind and the body are different
modes expressing the same substance.
^ Essays Critical and Clinical, p. 135.
^ Negotiations, p. 6.
^ An English language summary can be found here: [2]
^ See, e.g., the approving reference to Deleuze's Nietzsche study in Jacques Derrida's
essay "Différance", or Pierre Klossowski's monograph Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle,
dedicated to Deleuze. More generally, see D. Allison (ed.), The New Nietzsche (MIT
Press, 1985), and L. Ferry and A. Renaut (eds.), Why We Are Not Nietzscheans
(University of Chicago Press, 1997).
^ Sometimes in the same sentence: "one is thus traversed, broken, fucked by the socius"
(Anti-Oedipus, p. 347).
^ See, e.g., Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, Postmodern Theory (Guilford Press, 1991),
which devotes a chapter to Deleuze and Guattari.
^ Barry Smith (ed.), European Philosophy and the American Academy, p. 34.
^ Slavoj Žižek, Organs without Bodies (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 19-32, esp. p.
21: "Is this opposition not, yet again, that of materialism versus idealism? In Deleuze, this
means The Logic of Sense versus Anti-Oedipus." See also p. 28 for "Deleuze's oscillation
between the two models" of becoming.
^ Ibid., p. 21
^ Ibid., pp. 32, 20, and 184.
^ Ibid., p. 68: "This brings us to the topic of the subject that, according to Lacan, emerges
in the interstice of the 'minimal difference,' in the minimal gap between two signifiers. In
this sense, the subject is 'a nothingness, a void, which exists.' ... This, then, is what
Deleuze seems to get wrong in his reduction of the subject to (just another) substance. Far
from belonging to the level of actualization, of distinct entities in the order of constituted
reality, the dimension of the 'subject' designates the reemergence of the virtual within the
order of actuality. 'Subject' names the unique space of the explosion of virtuality within
constituted reality."
(Near complete bibliography, including various translations) By Gilles Deleuze:
Empirisme et subjectivité (1953). Trans. Empiricism and Subjectivity (1991).
Nietzsche et la philosophie (1962). Trans. Nietzsche and Philosophy (1983).
La philosophie critique de Kant (1963). Trans. Kant's Critical Philosophy (1983).
Proust et les signes (1964, 2nd exp. ed. 1976). Trans. Proust and Signs (1973, 2nd exp.
ed. 2000).
Le Bergsonisme (1966). Trans. Bergsonism (1988).
Présentation de Sacher-Masoch (1967). Trans. Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty (1989).
Différence et répétition (1968). Trans. Difference and Repetition (1994).
Spinoza et le problème de l'expression (1968). Trans. Expressionism in Philosophy:
Spinoza (1990).
Logique du sens (1969). Trans. The Logic of Sense (1990).
Spinoza - Philosophie pratique (1970, 2nd ed. 1981). Trans. Spinoza: Practical
Philosophy (1988).
Dialogues (1977, 2nd exp. ed. 1996, with Claire Parnet). Trans. Dialogues (1987, 2nd
exp. ed. 2002).
Superpositions (1979).
Francis Bacon - Logique de la sensation (1981). Trans. Francis Bacon: Logic of
Sensation (2003).
Cinéma I: L'image-mouvement (1983). Trans. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (1986).
Cinéma II: L'image-temps (1985). Trans. Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1989).
Foucault (1986). Trans. Foucault (1988).
Le pli - Leibniz et le baroque (1988). Trans. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1993).
Périclès et Verdi: La philosophie de Francois Châtelet (1988).
Pourparlers (1990). Trans. Negotiations (1995).
Critique et clinique (1993). Trans. Essays Critical and Clinical (1997).
Pure Immanence (2001).
L'île déserte et autres textes (2002). Trans. Desert Islands and Other Texts 1953-1974
Deux régimes de fous et autres textes (2004). Trans. Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and
Interviews 1975-1995 (2006).
In collaboration with Félix Guattari:
Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 1. L'Anti-Œdipe. (1972). Trans. Anti-Oedipus (1977).
Kafka: Pour une Littérature Mineure. (1975). Trans. Kafka: Toward a Theory of Minor
Literature. (1986).
Rhizome. (1976).
Nomadology: The War Machine. (1986).
Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 2. Mille Plateaux. (1980). Trans. A Thousand Plateaus
Qu'est-ce que la philosophie? (1991). Trans. What Is Philosophy? (1996).
Most of Deleuze's courses are available, in several languages, here.
Select secondary sources:
Descombes, Vincent (1979). Le Même et L'Autre. Minuit. Trans. Modern French
Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Foucault, Michel (1970). "Theatrum Philosophicum", Critique 282, pp. 885-908. Trans.
in Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, and Practice, pp. 165-198. Cornell University
Frank, Manfred (1984). Was Ist Neostrukturalismus? Suhrkamp. Trans. What Is
Neostructuralism? University of Minnesota Press.
Hardt, Michael (1993). Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy. University of
Minnesota Press.
Lecercle, Jean-Jacques (1985). Philosophy through the Looking-Glass. Open Court.
May, Todd (2005). Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
Williams, James (2003). Gilles Deleuze's Difference and Repetition: A Critical
Introduction and Guide. Edinburgh University Press.
See also
Affect (philosophy)
Gilbert Simondon's theory of psychic and collective individuation
Plane of immanence
Problem of futures contingents
External links

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Entry on Deleuze from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
A/V the International E-Journal for Deleuze Studies, with a network/community,
streamed video lectures and a catalogue of links and online papers
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English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.
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A short summary of vital terms
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Joseph Weissman and Taylor Adkins (in English)
Lectures and notes on work by Deleuze and Guattari
Web resources from Wayne State University
The Deleuze and Guattari listserv
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(French)"Jean Ristat : entretien avec Gilles Deleuze (France-Culture, 2 juillet 1970)",
L'Humanité, February 28, 2006.
Interview wherein Deleuze criticizes the New Philosophers for being reactionaries.
The Journal of French Philosophy - the online home of the Bulletin de la Société
Américaine de Philosophie de Langue Française
Artifice and Society in Hume's Oeuvre
Schizo's Web by Harrison Mujica-Jenkins at
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