Priority of Events: Deleuze's Logic of Sense

Priority of Events: Deleuze's Logic of Sense

Priority of Events: Deleuze's Logic of Sense

Priority of Events: Deleuze's Logic of Sense


An incisive analysis of Deleuze's philosophy of events.

Sean Bowden shows how the Deleuzian event should be understood in terms ofthe broader metaphysical thesis that substances are ontologically secondarywith respect to events. He achieves this through a reconstruction of Deleuze's relation to the history of thought from the Stoics through to Simondon, taking account of Leibniz, Lautman, structuralism andpsychoanalysis along the way.

This exciting new reading of Deleuze focuses firmly on his approach toevents. Bowden also examines and clarifies a number of Deleuze's mostdifficult philosophical concepts, including sense, problematic Ideas andintensive individuation, and engages with material by Lautman and Simondonthat has not yet been translated into English.


The aim of this present study is above all to examine and clarify the complex way in which Deleuze asserts the ontological priority of events over substances in his 1969 work, The Logic of Sense. in particular, the book will analyze the way in which Deleuze grounds this assertion by establishing a relation, the precise nature of which will be seen below, between the works representative of several philosophers and intellectual movements, namely, the Stoics, Leibniz, Albert Lautman, Gilbert Simondon, structuralism and psychoanalysis. in short, it will be shown how Deleuze constructs a concept of the ontologically primitive event by extracting from the work of these thinkers and schools a number of event-related problems and a hybrid family of concepts which, with certain important qualifications, can be said to resolve these problems.

The question naturally arises as to why I have elected to focus on these particular figures and not others. Arguably, The Logic of Sense could profitably be explored in a number of different ways: through Deleuze’s readings of Nietzsche and Husserl, for example, or through Lewis Carroll and Antonin Artaud. Indeed, several commentators have noted and analyzed the importance of these latter figures in The Logic of Sense. the fact that they have already done so, of course, is reason enough for not duplicating their efforts. But it is also my belief that Deleuze’s philosophy of events is most fruitfully examined in relation to the thinkers chosen for this present study. There are several reasons for holding this belief. First of all, Deleuze maintains in his 1988 work, The Fold, that the Stoics and Leibniz implemented, respectively, the first and second ‘great logics’ of the event. These philosophers will thus be indispensable for any understanding of Deleuze’s approach to events in 1969. Secondly, as will be seen in Chapters 3 and 4, Deleuze effectively reads the Stoics and Leibniz through several conceptual innovations developed by Lautman, Simondon and various structuralists. Finally, Deleuze’s . . .

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