The question of Deleuze’s Neo-Leibnizianism

In Patricia Pisters & Rosi Braidotti (eds.), Down by Law: Revisiting Normativity with Deleuze. Bloomsbury Academic (2012)

Authors
Simon B. Duffy
Yale-NUS College
Abstract
Much has been made of Deleuze’s Neo-Leibnizianism,3 however not very much detailed work has been done on the specific nature of Deleuze’s critique of Leibniz that positions his work within the broader framework of Deleuze’s own philo- sophical project. The present chapter undertakes to redress this oversight by providing an account of the reconstruction of Leibniz’s metaphysics that Deleuze undertakes in The Fold. Deleuze provides a systematic account of the structure of Leibniz’s metaphys- ics in terms of its mathematical underpinnings. However, in doing so, Deleuze draws upon not only the mathematics developed by Leibniz – including the law of continuity as reflected in the calculus of infinite series and the infinitesimal calculus – but also the developments in mathematics made by a number of Leibniz’s contemporaries – including Newton’s method of fluxions – and a number of subsequent developments in mathematics, the rudiments of which can be more or less located in Leibniz’s own work – including the theory of functions and singularities, the theory of continuity and Poincaré’s theory of automorphic functions. Deleuze then retrospectively maps these developments back onto the structure of Leibniz’s metaphysics. While the theory of continuity serves to clarify Leibniz’s work, Poincaré’s theory of automorphic functions offers a solution to overcome and extend the limits that Deleuze identifies in Leibniz’s metaphysics. Deleuze brings this elaborate conjunction of material together in order to set up a mathematical idealization of the system that he considers to be implicit in Leibniz’s work. The result is a thoroughly mathematical explication of the structure of Leibniz’s metaphysics. What is provided in this chapter is an exposition of the very mathematical underpinnings of this Deleuzian account of the structure of Leibniz’s metaphysics, which, I maintain, subtends the entire text of The Fold.
Keywords Deleuze  Leibniz
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