Deleuze and Ethics

Deleuze and Ethics

Deleuze and Ethics

Deleuze and Ethics


Since he never devoted a book to the study of ethics, many scholars have assumed that Gilles Deleuze did not write about the subject. Yet the opposite is true. Concepts such as ethics, values, and normativity play a crucial, if subtle and easily overlooked, role in Deleuze's philosophical project. These essays unearth and explore the ethical dimensions of Deleuzian philosophy across a number of trajectories, ultimately reclaiming his thought as a moral philosophical triumph.


Nathan Jun

It is customary to introduce a book of this sort by offering a brief overview of its essays and articles. I hope the reader will forgive me for straying from this convention – conventions being, after all, somewhat beside the point in a book about Deleuze. (A quick glance at each chapter’s opening will prove sufficient to glean its gist and will hopefully serve to pique your interest as well.) Instead, I want to provide an introduction which is, one might say, apologetic rather than synoptic. Specifically, I want to stumble in the general direction of explaining why I think this volume is relevant, timely, and at least marginally important. Why Deleuze? Why ethics? Why now, and why ought we to care?

Ten years into the Deleuzian century, and fifteen since la mort de la même, few would disagree that the world as we know it is sinking into an economic, political, social, and ethical abyss of previously unimaginable depths. Back in the halcyon days when that world was still in its infancy, Deleuze was widely heralded as a visionary who would help us demystify the web of global technological and financial networks which was, at that time, just starting to be spun. Since then, the prophecies have largely come to pass; everyone from Žižek to Badiou is fond of saying that the conceptual and methodological tools with which we make sense of this age are Deleuzian tools. But make sense in what sense? Even a cursory glance at the literature reveals that Deleuze has long been and continues to be viewed chiefly as a metaphysician and a historian of philosophy – that is, as an analyst, rather than a critic, of the systems by and through which we organize and are organized in turn. For many, therefore, the Deleuzian tool is a lens, not a hammer.

That lens is sharp, to be sure, and no one doubts that Deleuze (and Guattari) have made profound contributions as analysts. But some would argue that this is all they have done, or that this is all they ever aspired to do, or that this is all they were ever capable of doing – in . . .

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