Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy

Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy

Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy

Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy

Excerpt

Continental poststructuralism has problematized the foundations of philosophical and political thought. Perhaps dazzled by the impact of this theoretical rupture, diverse American authors have embraced this movement as the inauguration of a postphilosophical culture where philosophical claims and political judgments admit no justification and rest on no foundation. This problematic, however, settles too easily into a new opposition that obscures the real possibilities afforded by contemporary Continental theory. At the hands of both its supporters and its detractors, poststructuralism has been incorporated into a series of Anglo-American debates-between modernists and postmodernists, between communitarians and liberals-in such a way as to misdirect and blunt its force. The importance of poststructuralism cannot be captured by posing a new series of oppositions, but only by recognizing the nuances and alternatives it proposes within modernity, within the philosophical tradition, within the contemporary field of social practices. If we look closely at the historical development of poststructuralist thought, at the complex social and theoretical pressures it encountered and the tools it constructed to face them, we can recapture some of its critical and constructive powers. Poststructuralism, we find, is not oriented simply toward the negation of theoretical foundations, but rather toward the exploration of new grounds for philosophical and political inquiry; it is involved not simply in the rejection of the tradition of political and philosophical discourse, but more importantly in the

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