Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Affirming divergence : Deleuze's reading of Leibniz
Author: Tissandier, Alex
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 2891
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis argues that key aspects of Deleuze's philosophy can be explained by looking closely at his relationship to Leibniz. By confining itself to the particular context and set of terminology which Leibniz's philosophy provides, it hopes to avoid many of the dangers of a more general, and necessarily abstract, interpretation or reconstruction of Deleuze's philosophy. I identify, across Deleuze's career, three distinct, important engagements with Leibniz. In each of these, I argue, Deleuze presents Leibniz as an ambiguous figure, caught somewhere between two opposing tendencies. On the one hand, Deleuze characterises Leibniz's philosophy as the last attempt by theology to ground an ordered world, demonstrated by his preoccupation with questions of harmony and sufficient reason, as well as his insistence that to each kind of problem there must respond a rational principle (the principle of non-contradiction, the principle of the identity of indiscernibles, and so on). But on the other hand, beneath this conservative, theological sentiment, Deleuze also discerns the obscured outlines of a philosophy shot through with dynamism, whose 'dizzying creation' of principles and Baroque complexity reveal an alternative, radicalised image of Leibniz. I argue that from this second, radical Leibniz, Deleuze takes two ideas, returning to them again and again in order to express key aspects of his own philosophy. First, Deleuze believes he has found in Leibniz's theory of 'incompossibility' a concept of difference which is not reducible to a form of opposition between two identities. This theory becomes a crucial component of Deleuze's account of a subrepresentational transcendental field. Second, Deleuze draws on Leibniz's theory that individual monads clearly express a certain region of the world in order to explain how the singular points or events which populate this transcendental field are expressed or actualised by individuals. Explaining how Deleuze appropriates and uses these two ideas provides a narrow point of access into one of the most important areas of his philosophy. At the same time, however, I show that eventually there is always a point where Leibniz's conservative, theological commitments force Deleuze to leave him behind. I thus argue that it is precisely Leibniz's ambiguous status for Deleuze which makes an investigation into their relationship so fruitful: by not only explaining Leibniz's positive influence on Deleuze, but also pinpointing the precise grounds for their eventual divergence, we can better articulate Deleuze's own philosophical priorities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)