Towards a schizogenealogy of heretical materialism : between Bruno and Spinoza, Nietzsche, Deleuze and other philosophical recluses

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Albert, Eliot
  • Subject: B1

The central problematic of this thesis is the formation of a philosophy of creative\ud matter, a philosophical materialism, deriving from the work of Gilles Deleuze Fdlix and Guattari, and based substantially upon an examination of the consequences\ud of their engagement with the philosophical tradition. I have supplemented the\ud writers used by Deleuze and Guattari with the resources of Giordano Bruno's\ud philosophy, as well as numerous examples and arguments from the natural\ud sciences. Bruno is particularly important here, in that in his work and life,\ud materialism is most tightly bound up with monism. Philosophical materialist\ud monism can be crystallised as a sustained meditation upon one problem: that of\ud the overcoming of dualism; and in this sense to speak of materialism is to speak of\ud the problem of hylomorphism. The hylomorphic model, formalised by Aristotle, and\ud operative in both philosophy and science, implies both a transcendent form that\ud organises matter, and a dead matter, passively moulded by the imposition of that\ud form. These ontological and epistemological assumptions have clear political and\ud theological ramifications, contributing to an abstract diagram of State power. The\ud critique of this model calls for a philosophy of active, self-organising matter- a\ud necessarily heretical, materialist thought, constitutionally opposed to all\ud transcendent powers.\ud I In this chapter I produce a performative diagram of DeleuzeGuattari's\ud understanding of the heterogenetic nature of the concept by examining those of\ud drive, assemblage, multiplicity. The case used here is the linked complex of\ud problems associated with death and entropy. These issues are posed throughout as\ud means of indicating Deleuze and Guattari's challenge to dominant modes of\ud philosophising.\ud II Here I offer an elaboration of Deleuze and Guattari's relationship with\ud cybernetics, through an outline of the work of Gilbert Simondon. The principal\ud concepts developed here, are individuation and becoming. This is followed by\ud extensive critiques of hylomorphism and autopoiesis. The categories of minor or\ud nomad, and major or State, sciences, are introduced along with the related concepts\ud of following and reproducing.\ud III This chapter explores the oppositions between consistency and\ud organisation; immanence and transcendence. Here I read two of Deleuze and\ud Guattari's key concepts- intensity and incorporeal transformation- in terms of\ud Spinoza and Schelling respectively. Symbiosis and morphogenesis are examined as\ud examples of the minor sciences introduced in the previous chapter. The minor then\ud poses the questions of invention and pragmatics in philosophy.\ud IV This chapter is devoted to a critique of Manuel De Landa's reading of\ud Deleuze and Guattari that aims to demonstrate, against his claims, the centrality\ud of Marx to their philosophy. The chapter also elaborates upon the concepts of\ud Geophilosophy, the machinic phylum, and machinic surplus value.\ud V This chapter offers a set of elaborations upon the nature of the materialism\ud produced by bringing the thought of Giordano Bruno into contact with that of\ud Deleuze, thereby transforming both. Inverted vitalism is posed as a key marker of\ud Deleuze's genealogy. I show the identity of metaphysics and politics, and its role in\ud an account of materialist heresy.\ud VI The final chapter consists of a critique of Kant's claim to being `Copernican',\ud and Copernicus' claim to being revolutionary. It demonstrates the extent of Bruno's\ud cosmological revolution. I use Nietzsche's `perfect nihilist' to further the ideas of\ud invention and heresy advanced earlier, to end with a demonstration of philosophy's\ud ever present becomings hybrid, as opposed to dominant ideas of its being in a\ud permanent state of mourning.
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