Deleuze’s Nietzsche: On Becoming What One IsSean Bowden (Deakin University)
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In Nietzsche and Philosophy Deleuze treats Nietzsche’s published and unpublished works as parts of a coherent and systematic philosophy that hinges on the central ontological claim that thought and reality are the product of moving relations between pre-individual and pre-subjective forces. Despite the comprehensive and systematic ambitions of Nietzscheand Philosophy, however, there are a number of notions in Nietzsche’s oeuvre that Deleuze does not explicitly touch upon, and whose compatibility with an underlying ontology of forces is not at all obvious. In particular, it is difficult at first glance to reconcile the Nietzschean task of “becoming what one is” – along with attendant notions such as self-creation and agency – with this ontology. This is because an ontology of pre-subjective forces appears to entail that the thought of the one becoming whom they are is merely epiphenomenal. The aim of this paper is to resist this move by reconstructing and clarifying a Deleuzo-Nietzschean conception of becoming what one is. I will proceed as follows. First, I will discuss the concepts and claims from which the Nietzschean notion of becoming what one is is inseparable. Second, I will outline the main claims constitutive of Deleuze’s reading of Nietzsche in Nietzsche and Philosophy. Finally, I will offer an account of the notion of becoming what one is in terms of the ontology of forces advanced by Deleuze’s Nietzsche.
Sean Bowden is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University, Australia. He is the author of The Priority of Events: Deleuze’s Logic of Sense (EUP 2011), and the co-editor of Deleuze and Pragmatism(Routledge 2015 – with Simone Bignall and Paul Patton) and Badiou and Philosophy (EUP 2012 – with Simon Duffy). His work has appeared in theEuropean Journal of Philosophy, Angelaki, Critical Horizons, Journal of Speculative Philosophy and elsewhere. He is currently working on a monograph on action and agency in Deleuze.
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