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Deleuze and Philosophy: Empiricism and Naturalism (PH9F3-20/30)

Gilles Deleuze (1925-95) is now widely recognized to be one of the most important philosophers of the post Second World War period with innovative studies of Hume (1953), Nietzsche (1962), Bergson (1966), and Spinoza (1968), as well as challenging texts such as Difference and Repetition (1968) and What is Philosophy? (1994).

Programme content

The aim of this course is to examine Deleuze’s attachment to empiricism and naturalism, focusing in particular on his readings of Hume, Spinoza, and Bergson. The course examines the following topics:

  • What do empiricism and naturalism amount to for Deleuze?
  • What innovations and challenges are to be found in his readings in Hume, Spinoza, and Bergson, and how do they advance scholarship in the appreciation of these thinkers?
  • What are the ethical concerns of Deleuze’s empiricism and naturalism? In particular, what is a ‘superior human nature’?
  • Are there tensions in Deleuze’s dual commitmen to empiricism and naturalism?
  • How do Deleuze’s later writings develop his commitments to empiricism and naturalism?
Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2014/15 academic year; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Hume, Empiricism, and Subjectivity
  • Bergson and Deleuze on Lucretius and Naturalism
  • Bergson and Superior Empiricism
  • Nietzsche and Philosophy: Genealogy, Critique, and Forces
  • Deleuze on Spinoza, Nietzsche, and Ethics
  • Deleuze on Spinoza and the Empirical Education
Timing and CATS

This module is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.