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Gilles Deleuze's Non-Ontological Philosophy

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Title: Gilles Deleuze's Non-Ontological Philosophy
Author: Novak, Kyle
Department: Department of Philosophy
Program: Philosophy
Advisor: Dedrick, DonaldCalcagno, Antonio
Abstract: The aim of this dissertation is to develop an account of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical project as a departure from ontology and ontological thinking. Ontology can be broadly understood as the study of being or the study of the meaning of being. Traditional ontology examines the nature of being while more contemporary philosophy often understands being itself as becoming or a process. In this respect, Deleuze has often been interpreted as a process or differential ontologist. This project departs from that interpretation by arguing for a non-ontological Deleuze. The dissertation is broken into three papers where each presents a different account of what I call the non-ontological Deleuze through his work on the major pre-Kantian modern philosophers: David Hume, Benedict Spinoza, and Gottfried Leibniz. Each paper then uses the non-ontological Deleuze to engage with a related movement in post-Deleuzian Continental Philosophy. The first paper focuses on Deleuze’s early work on Hume to argue for a re-reading of the history of modern philosophy with a basis in transcendental empiricism rather than Kantian transcendental idealism. This paper uses Deleuze’s reading of Hume to respond to and critique the Speculative Realist movement’s charge that post-Kantian philosophy suffers from what they call correlationism. The second paper uses Deleuze’s work on Spinoza to argue for what the former calls ethology as a replacement for ontology. The claim here is that we should think of things in terms of what they do rather than what they are: in terms of their motion and affects rather than their being. There I contrast my reading of Deleuze’s Spinoza with those thinkers who have recently used that work to develop what is often referred to as New Materialism. The final paper argues that understanding things in terms of what they can do requires a nomadology, which is Deleuze’s play on Leibniz’s monadology. This paper uses Deleuze’s nomadology to create a dialogue with the emerging literature on Critical Posthumanism and subjectivity that has been influenced by Deleuze to suggest that posthumanist subjectivity should be understood in non-ontological terms.
Date: 2021-05
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Related Publications: Kyle Novak (2020). Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism Against Speculative Realism. The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. 34(3). 297-308. https://10.5325/jspecphil.34.2.0297
Embargoed Until: 2021-09-01

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