Michel Foucault’s notion of “biopower” has been a highly fertile concept in recent theory, influencing thinkers worldwide across a variety of disciplines and concerns. In The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Foucault famously employed the term to describe “a power bent on generating forces, making them grow, and ordering them, rather than one dedicated to impeding them, making them submit, or destroying them.” With this volume, Vernon W. Cisney and Nicolae Morar bring together leading contemporary scholars to explore the many (...) theoretical possibilities that the concept of biopower has enabled while at the same time pinpointing their most important shared resonances. Situating biopower as a radical alternative to traditional conceptions of power—what Foucault called “sovereign power”—the contributors examine a host of matters centered on life, the body, and the subject as a living citizen. Altogether, they pay testament to the lasting relevance of biopower in some of our most important contemporary debates on issues ranging from health care rights to immigration laws, HIV prevention discourse, genomics medicine, and many other topics. (shrink)
In this essay, we read Derrida’s Theory and Practice seminar against the backdrop of the theme of the “death of philosophy,” prominent in 1960s French philosophy. This theme takes two forms—one Nietzschean-Heideggerian and the other Hegelian-Marxian. We summarize both before turning to Derrida’s treatment of Althusser’s views on the Hegelian-Marxian form of this death. Althusser posits a distinction between theory in the general sense and Theory as a designation for Marxist dialectical materialism. Derrida gives two specific criticisms of Althusser that (...) we discuss: (1) Althusser commits himself to a tautology, by arguing that Theory only makes explicit what is implicit already in Marxist practice; (2) Althusser ultimately establishes the priority of practice over theory. We refute both of these charges before concluding that, prior to the distinction between theory and practice, is the world itself; and presenting itself to us as unthinkable, the world places the demands upon us that it be engaged with, in theory and in practice. (shrink)
In this paper I explore two distinct but related emphases in Deleuze's later philosophy, both on his own and in collaboration with Félix Guattari, having to do with literature. The first is the emphasis on the work of literature as an assemblage whereby the author constructs lines of flight in the pursuit of self-experimentation and self-transformation. The second is the rejection of metaphor across Deleuze's work. I use Difference and Repetition to chart the origins of these emphases, by unpacking the (...) metaphysics of language contained in Difference and Repetition. I first recount the basic structure of Deleuze's intensive ontology, before going on to discuss the way in which the ‘fundamental encounter’ forces thought to formulate Ideas, which, as they are transmitted through the subject, alter her nature. This self-transformation is tantamount to a kind of ‘death’, whereby one is continually explicated, but this explication implies the transcendental Other-structure at the end of Difference and Repetition, wherein the Other, through language, gives birth to ‘possible worlds’. I end with the development of an unexplored concept in Difference and Repetition, the loquendum, which is what must be spoken precisely because it is inexpressible, the purely intensive. Language comes closest to this intensive use in its aesthetic, poetic, literary modes whereby authors distort their own languages. (shrink)
In this paper I employ the notion of the ‘thought of the outside’ as developed by Michel Foucault, in order to defend the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze against the criticisms of ‘elitism,’ ‘aristocratism,’ and ‘political indifference’—famously leveled by Alain Badiou and Peter Hallward. First, I argue that their charges of a theophanic conception of Being, which ground the broader political claims, derive from a misunderstanding of Deleuze’s notion of univocity, as well as a failure to recognize the significance of the (...) concept of multiplicity in Deleuze’s thinking. From here, I go on to discuss Deleuze’s articulation of the ‘dogmatic image of thought,’ which, insofar as it takes ‘recognition’ as its model, can only ever think what is already solidified and sedimented as true, in light of existing structures and institutions of power. Then, I examine Deleuze’s reading of Foucault and the notion of the ‘thought of the outside,’ showing the ‘outside’ as the unthought that lies at the heart of thinking itself, as both its condition and its impossibility. Insofar as it is essential to thinking itself, finally, I argue that the passage of thought to the outside is not an absolute flight out of this world, as Hallward claims, but rather, a return of the different that constitutes the Self for Deleuze. Thinking is an ongoing movement of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, or as Foucault says, death and life. Thinking, as Deleuze understands it, is essentially creative; it reconfigures the virtual, thereby literally changing the world. Thinking is therefore, according to Deleuze, thoroughly political. (shrink)
Benedict de Spinoza, C.S. Peirce, and Gilles Deleuze delineate a trajectory through the history of ideas in the dialogue about the potentials and limitations of panpsychism, the view that world is fundamentally made up of mind. As a parallel trajectory to the panpsychism debate in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive psychology, this approach can inform and enrich the discussion of the role and scope of mind in the natural world. The philosophies of mind developed by Deleuze and Peirce are (...) Spinozistic in their natural monism but move beyond Spinoza to explain mind as a part of the natural world in semiotic terms. (shrink)
This essay is an exploration of the relationship between Agamben's 1995 text, Homo Sacer, and Derrida's 1992 “Force of Law” essay. Agamben attempts to show that the camp, as the topological space of the state of exception, has become the biopolitical paradigm for modernity. He draws this conclusion on the basis of a distinction, which he finds in an essay by Walter Benjamin, between categories of life, with the “pro‐tagonist” of the work being what he calls homo sacer, or bare (...) life—life that is stripped of its humanity and value. Five years earlier, in 1990, Derrida had given a lecture at UCLA (later published in its entirety as “The Force of Law”) in which he had analyzed the very same essay by Benjamin and had highlighted the distinction between “base life” and “just life.” The implications of his analysis show a discomforting prox‐imity between Benjaminian messianism and the Nazi “final solution,” a conclusion that Agamben dismisses entirely. In this paper, however, I demonstrate that the structures of the two works are quite similar in many important ways. I argue that, though the broad scope of Agamben's work is original in many respects, and I would not wish to reduce Agamben's work to Derridean repetitions, he nevertheless utilizes much more of Derrida's analysis, specifically with respect to the categori‐zation of life, than he would like the reader to believe. (shrink)
Explores the biographical, historical and philosophical connections between Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault Derrida and Foucault are unquestionably two of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. Both share a similar motivation to challenge our fundamental structures of meaning - in texts, political structures, and epistemic and discursive practices - in order to inspire new ways of thinking. Between Foucault and Derridaexplores the notorious Cogito debate and includes: the central articles, an important piece by Jean-Marie Beyssade, along with a (...) letter Foucault wrote to Beyssade in response - both these pieces available for the first time in English translation. In the second part of the book, 10 essays written by some of the most well-known scholars working in contemporary continental philosophy address the various philosophical intersections and divergences of these two profoundly important thinkers. The first collection of the central essays involved in the Cogitodebate between Foucault and Derrida Includes the first English translations of Jean-Marie Beyssade's important 1973 article on the debate and Foucault's letter in response to it Some of the best-known scholars working in continental philosophy today examine where Foucault and Derrida converge and diverge, and how they ultimately shaped each other's projects Contributors Amy Allen * Ellen Armour * Yubraj Aryal * Jean-Marie Beyssade * Vernon W. Cisney * Jacques Derrida * Fred Evans * Michele Foucault * Peter Gratton * Leonard Lawlor * Edward McGushin * Nicolae Morar * Jeff Nealon * Christopher Penfield * Arkady Plotnitsk * Paul Rekret * Alan Schrift. (shrink)
The study of anarchism as a philosophical, political, and social movement has burgeoned both in the academy and in the global activist community in recent years. Taking advantage of this boom in anarchist scholarship, Nathan J. Jun and Shane Wahl have compiled twenty-six cutting-edge essays on this timely topic in New Perspectives on Anarchism.
Published in 1967, Voice and Phenomenon marked a crucial turning point in Derrida's thinking: the culmination of a 15-year-long engagement with the phenomenological tradition. It also introduced the concepts and themes that would become deconstruction. Voice and Phenomenon is a short book, but it can be an overwhelming text, particularly for inexperienced readers of Derrida's work. This is the first guide to clearly explain the structure of his argument, step by step.
Explores the biographical, historical and philosophical connections between Jacques Derrida and Michel FoucaultBetween Foucault and Derrida explores the notorious Cogito debate and includes: the central articles, an important piece by Jean-Marie Beyssade, along with a letter Foucault wrote to Beyssade in response both these pieces available for the first time in English translation. In the second part of the book, 10 essays written by some of the most well-known scholars working in contemporary continental philosophy address the various philosophical intersections and (...) divergences of these two profoundly important thinkers.Key FeaturesThe first collection of the central essays involved in the Cogito debate between Foucault and DerridaIncludes the first English translations of Jean-Marie Beyssades important 1973 article on the debate and Foucault's letter in responseSome of the best-known scholars working in continental philosophy today examine where Foucault and Derrida converge and diverge, and how they ultimately shaped each others projectsContributorsAmy Allen, Penn State University, Pennsylvania, USA.Ellen Armour, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Tennessee, USA. Yubraj Aryal, University of Montreal, Canada and New York University, USA. Jean-Marie Beyssade, University of Paris IV, France.Vernon W. Cisney, Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, USA.Fred Evans, Duquesne University, Pennsylvania, USA.Peter Gratton, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.Leonard Lawlor, Penn State University, Pennsylvania, USA.Edward McGushin, Stonehill College, Massachusetts, USA.Nicolae Morar, University of Oregon, Oregon, USA. Jeff Nealon, Penn State University, Pennsylvania, USA.Christopher Penfield, Purdue University, Indiana, USA.Arkady Plotnitsky, Purdue University, Indiana, USA. Paul Rekret, Richmond, The American International University in London, UK. Alan Schrift, Grinnell College, Iowa, USA. (shrink)
The questions that my paper shall pursue are: 1) What path leads from Deleuze’s early writings to his latter-day conception of a life, and 2) What can such a conception of life mean? Our path will trace a reversal and a return, respectively, through phenomenology to Bergson. For Deleuze, a genuine concept of a life is thinkable, only when the phenomenological subject, which Deleuze considers an illusion, has been jettisoned, reabsorbed into the flux of immanence. This implies a return to (...) a century-old philosophical renewal, namely, the reformulation of the experience of time. (shrink)
Philosophy’s richness comes in part from the wide range of conceptual frameworks from which meaning can be made of aspects of the world. Philosophy can be done from feminist, Marxist, positivist, or Freudian standpoints. The difference in the sorts of analyses produced by these different approaches can be tricky to explain to undergraduates. Contained here are short explanations of the nature of a collection of these frameworks and a fun example of each, an analysis of the chicken crossing the road (...) joke to be used to give undergraduates a sense of the breadth of philosophical methodology. (shrink)
In this paper, I trace the concept of ‘becomings’, most thoroughly articulated in the tenth plateau of A Thousand Plateaus, as it relates to the notion of the writer as sorcerer. More precisely, my aim is to articulate how it is that Deleuze and Guattari conceptualise the writer as really effecting what they understand as ‘becomings’. My thesis is that if the writer is a sorcerer, capable of enabling real becomings, it is because language itself, for Deleuze and Guattari, is (...) bodily and material, and the author, particularly the literary author, has the ability to disrupt language's representational domain of sense, causing language to hum with the intensive vitality that puts it in closest proximity to the body, from whence language emerges in the first place. We shall first look to Bergson and Spinoza, from whom Deleuze and Guattari abstract their intensive conception of the body in A Thousand Plateaus. From here we will outline the apparent progression of becomings in the tenth plateau. Finally, we will look to the Kafka book as outlining the material and affective capacities of literature. (shrink)