Chapter

Introduction

Edited by Jeffrey A. Bell and Claire Colebrook

in Deleuze and History

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748636082
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671748 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748636082.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter argues that it was Gilles Deleuze's argument in favour of intensive quantities — against Henri Bergson's rejection of this notion in Time and Free Will — that provided the way for Deleuze and Félix Guattari to situate a human history beyond humanity. Deleuze and Guattari also present a direct criticism of the ‘despotism of the signifier’. Their distinction between capitalism as a virtual tendency or created whole existing alongside effected parts and capitalism as an actual body is the key to their universal history. Their commitment to a passive, materialist and virtualist vitalism supports their historical claims and results in distinct methodological imperatives. Additionally, they produced a history that elaborates the genesis of individuals and their social relations, and that regards forces not as relations among quantities, but as the production of quantities through relations. The ideas determining the radical historicism of Deleuze and Guattari are then explained.

Keywords: Gilles Deleuze; Henri Bergson; Félix Guattari; human history; capitalism; vitalism; social relations; radical historicism

Chapter.  14600 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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