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Deleuze, Gilles (1925–95)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DE007-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2017
Retrieved July 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

Although grounded in the history of philosophy, Gilles Deleuze’s work does not begin with first principles but grasps the philosophical terrain in the middle. This method overthrows subject–object relations in order to initiate a philosophy of difference and chance that is not derived from static conceptions of being. It is a philosophy of the event, a state where sense arises independently of lived experience or scientific fact. The event is a sign without a signifier-signified relationship; a form of content that consists of a complex of forces that are not separable from their form of expression; an assemblage or body without organs, not the organized ego; time, intensity and duration instead of space; in short, a world in constant motion consisting of becomings and encounters that common sense concepts do not grasp.

This radical philosophical project is rendered most clearly in Deleuze (and his collaborator Guattari’s concept of the ‘rhizome’). The rhizome is a multiplicity of connections without the unity that could pinpoint or identify a subject or an object. Any point of the rhizome can and must be connected to any other, though in no fixed order and without homogeneity. It can break or rupture at any point, yet old connections will start up again or new connections will be made; the rhizome’s connections thus have the character of a map, not a structural or generative formation. The rhizome, then, is not a model, but consists of lines of escape from from rooted, tree-like structures that open up the route for encounters and makes philosophy into cartography, that is, the mapping of concepts.

Citing this article:
Olkowski, Dorothea E.. Deleuze, Gilles (1925–95), 2017, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DE007-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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