An obscured genesis : Deleuze from the dialectic to the problematic

Weizman, Daniel (2020) An obscured genesis : Deleuze from the dialectic to the problematic. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis suggests that Deleuze’s early philosophy, culminating in Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense, unfolds as a polemic between two structural positions – the problematic and the dialectic. This polemic sheds light on “political” aspects in Deleuze’s work as a student of authors such as Jean Hyppolite, Jean Wahl, Martial Guéroult and Ferdinand Alquié, in a period in which he places critical weight on the attempt to escape the constraining influence of their positions. Reading Bergson, Nietzsche, Hume, Kant and Hegel through his teachers, Deleuze seeks to expunge from his thought every trace of their mediation, so as to be able to pose new problems for philosophy. To this end Deleuze puts forward the notion of philosophy as being essentially problematic, irreducible to empiricist, transcendentalist or dialectic dispositions and delineated by unique problems. This notion is established as a calculated move marked by an anti-Hegelian rhetoric, Hegel being the epitome of “old” metaphysical problems that must be overcome. The introduction of Deleuze’s critique of his teachers, who could be considered somewhat marginalised authors from the more recent history of French philosophy, and the establishment of the problematic-dialectic dyad as fundamental to Deleuze’s development as a philosopher, hopes to bring out critical aspects of his work that remain strategically buried in the text. Chapter one introduces Deleuze’s triangulation of Hyppolite-Guéroult-Alquié starting from his confrontation with Hyppolite’s Logic and Existence and continuing to his early efforts to put forward a satisfying “middle ground” with respect to these authors’ disparate positions, from which emerges a unique preoccupation with problems that will persist in Deleuze’s work throughout the 1950s and 60s. Chapter two examines the extent to which Nietzsche and Philosophy is a critical response to Hyppolite’s renowned interpretation of Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit, Genesis and Structure, a response which amounts to Deleuze’s interpretation of eternal recurrence as an anti- Hegelian mode of problematization, and which would later be transformed into the Deleuzian project of the overturning of Platonism. Chapter three is a reading of Empiricism and Subjectivity as an anti-Hegelian polemic profoundly inspired by Wahl’s vision of empiricism as a problematic and problematizing theory that responds to Hegel’s critique of “self-certainty” and of empiricism in general. Chapter four considers Deleuze’s Kantianism a strategic endeavour to shift the tectonics of philosophical rigor from a preoccupation with the Absolute as the ultimate ground for knowledge, to a revival of the problematic Idea as that which incites experimentation with the “thickness” of sensibility demolished in the first moment of the Hegelian dialectic, a shift whose successfulness is placed in question.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page