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Title: A defence of Deleuze's philosophy of multiplicity
Author: Mayell, Charles Victor
ISNI:       0000 0001 3622 0126
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
Gilles Deleuze's Difference and Repetition culminates in the following claim: 'A single and same voice for the whole thousand-voiced multiple, a single and same Ocean for all the drops, a single clamour of Being for all beings'.1 The claim combines a notion of the multiple and various, with a notion of the single and the same. Alain Badiou's provocative stance is that 'Deleuze's fundamental problem is most certainly not to liberate the multiple but t6 submit thinking to a renewed concept of the One.'2 My thesis is that Deleuze is a philosopher of multiplicity. I offer a uniquely close and systematic reading of Difference an(1 Repetition (D&R) through the lens of Deleuze's concept of multiplicity. I argue that Deleuze's own explicit avowal of the philosophy of the multiple can be equated to the privilege that he grants to 'difference': 'Difference is behind everything, but behind difference there is nothing' (57). The thesis charts the same path as D&R through an alternative history of the philosophy of difference but illuminates Deleuze's text by reference to philosophical resources outside the frame of Deleuzian discourse. For Deleuze, multiplicity is to be interpreted in the special sense derived from the philosophy of Henri Bergson. Bergson distinguishes between a 'discrete multiplicity', which is spatially organised and conforms to our conventional view of 'the many', and a 'continuous multiplicity' which is analogous to the unbroken but ever-changing series of a temporal flow. The thesis offers more critical analysis than that of other recent commentators into how Deleuze's earlier work on Bergson informs the overall structure of the argument of D&R. The second component of the claim with which I began (Le. that of the single and the same) is associated with Deleuze's explicit advocacy of the univocity of Being: the doctrine that everything that exists, exists in the same way. This doctrine is championed by Deleuze in a revivification of the philo~'ophy of Spinoza. Todd May remarks that: 'in considering the puzzle of how a thinker of difference can at the same time be a thinker of the One and of the uni vocity of Being, we need to bear in mind that, in Deleuze's view, there is no contradiction between the twO,.3 The solution to this puzzle lies in unravelling the status of the philosophy of Spinoza in Deleuze's own system. My solution is that Spinoza provides Deleuze with a kind of 'logic' of the multiple. I argue that Badiou's stance, in fact, becomes most pertinent in its attack on Deleuze's philosophy of 'the Two': the critical but vulnerable distinction between the virtual and the actual. I offer original arguments to refute Badiou's claims that the distinction between the virtual and the actual is incoherent and that Deleuze is 'an involuntary Platonist,.4 In the clinching argument of D&R, Deleuze refers to 'the only realised Ontology' (303). I argue that the Bergsonian ontology and the Spinozan logic of the multiple are realised (Le. shown to be actually instantiated) via Deleuze's radical reworking of Kant's first Critique. The ontology of Ideas which crowns the argument of D&R is multiple: 'Ideas are multiplicities: every idea is a multiplicity or a variety...Everything is a multiplicity in so far as it incarnates an Idea (182).'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: University of Liverpool, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.490639  DOI: Not available
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