Real Essences without Essentialism

Bruce Baugh

in Deleuze and Philosophy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624799
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652396 | DOI:
Real Essences without Essentialism

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This chapter analyses the role of essences in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. It suggests that if essentialism is belief in Platonic essences, then Deleuze's theory of particular essences is in no way essentialist. It explains that Deleuze's essences are not ideal, invariant or universal, and they seem the opposite of what Platonism or essentialism decrees essences should be. It explains Deleuze's two kinds of essences and argues that neither his singular essences nor his common notions would belong to some Platonic, ideal and transcendent realm, as every essence is conditioned by every other, and by the productive power of Nature as a whole. It shows that Deleuze's singular essences respond to fully empirical questions of the real powers and capacities of things in relation to the real powers of the universe that produce them.

Keywords: essences; Gilles Deleuze; essentialism; Platonism; common notions; real powers

Chapter.  5631 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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