Gilles Deleuze and the Genesis of Real Experience

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This thesis investigates Deleuze’s genetic account of real experience in Difference and Repetition (hereafter DR) as a systematic form of metaphysics. While there is broad agreement on the aims of DR as a thesis in metaphysics, there is significant disparity in accounts of how this is accomplished. The overall goal of this thesis is to examine and clarify the processes involved in Deleuze’s metaphysical account of genesis in DR (the three syntheses of time and space, differentiation, individuation, differenciation, and dramatisation), how these processes involve a metaphysics of difference (intensive quantity), how they form a system (the relationship between the virtual, the actual, and the intensive), and how this has been understood in the secondary scholarship. Chapter 1 examines Deleuze’s reading of Kantian critique for two reasons. Firstly, it outlines Kant’s account of the conditioning of possible experience in order to provide a framework from which to understand how Deleuze radically transforms transcendental philosophy. Secondly, it critically examines Deleuze’s reading of Kant’s genetic account of real experience in order to outline its philosophical limitations. Chapter 2 explores Deleuze’s reconstructive reading of Nietzsche’s metaphysics of becoming as a rewrite of Kantian critique in order to show, on the one hand, that a metaphysical account of transcendental genesis necessitates a theory of time that attempts to grasp the perpetual emergence of the absolutely new, and on the other, that it provides a preliminary sketch of Deleuze’s own metaphysical system in DR. Chapter 3 aims to illuminate the three syntheses of time in Chapter 2 of DR by examining both how they form an interdependent unity and how they have been interpreted in the secondary scholarship. Chapter 4 analyses the secondary scholarship on DR and puts forward a novel interpretation of Deleuze’s metaphysics by arguing, on the one hand, that individuation signifies a process of intensive quantity split between differentiation (the virtual) and differenciation (the actual), such that, intensities comprise both the virtual and the actual, and on the other, that this entails a metaphysical (or panpsychist) conception of thought that involves a parallelism between Ideas and sensibility.
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Harper, Mitchell
Patton, Paul
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PhD Doctorate
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