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The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

ABSTRACT: In academic philosophy the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari are still treated as curiosities and their importance for philosophical discussions is not recognized. In order to remedy this, I demonstrate how the very concept of philosophy expounded by the two contributes to philosophical thinking at the end of the twentieth century while also providing a possible line of thought for the next millenium. To do this, I first emphasize the influence of Deleuze's thinking, while also indicating the impact Guattari had on him. This account will therefore show Deleuze's attempts before Guattari to concieve of a non-dialectic philosophy of becoming. I will turn to rethink this approach given the influence of Guattari and his anti-psychoanalytic analysis of territorial processes. The result is a conception of philosophical activity as an act of 'becoming minor'.(1)

1. Introduction

In the following I would like to talk about a topic that has been treated very little in academic philosophy. The works of GILLES DELEUZE - and not to forget his co-author, FÉLIX GUATTARI - are still treated as 'curiosities' and their importance for philosophical discussions is not recognized. (2) In opposition to this, I will show what the very concept of philosophy means to these two thinkers.

In doing this I will start with the more theoretical backround. As many others have already I will stress the decisive influence of DELEUZE'S thinking, but I will also try to indicate the impact GUATTARI had on him. This account will therefore show DELEUZE'S attempts - before GUATTARI - to concieve of a non-dialectic philosophy of becoming. After that I will turn to the rethinking of such an approach given the influence of GUATTARI and his anti-psychoanalytic analysis of territorial processes. The outcome will be the resulting conception of the philosophical activity as an act of 'becoming-minor'.

2. GILLES DELEUZE Philosophy of Difference - Against Dialectics

GILLES DELEUZE'S early philosophy is dominated by the project of attaining a kind of philosophy that can be characterized best by naming its very enemy: dialectics. Whether as a 'school' of philosophy (including the leading figures in France, KOJÈVE and SARTRE) or as an ontological approach to the world itself, which implies - no matter if in the Hegelian or Platonic version - a fundamental dualism. (In PLATO the difference between the sensual and intellectual world, in HEGEL'S dialectics the 'sublation' [Aufhebung] of real differences in the world through the synthesizing faculty of the mind qua negation).
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