“Existing Not as a Subject But as a Work of Art”: The Task of Ethics or Aesthetics?

Kenneth Surin

in Deleuze and Ethics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641178
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671731 | DOI:
“Existing Not as a Subject But as a Work of Art”: The Task of Ethics or Aesthetics?

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This chapter shows how Foucault's delineation of an ‘aesthetics of existence’ or a ‘stylistics of being’ is fundamentally in accord with the Deleuzian point of view, and draws some conclusions from this for understanding Deleuze (and Guattari). Along the way it deals with the Kantian diremption between aesthetics and ethics, expressed by Kant in terms of his baroque theory of the faculties — a theory which happens to be dispensable in its entirety when viewed from a Deleuzian point of view. The chapter also discusses the plausibility or otherwise of Foucault's characterization of an ‘aesthetics of existence’ or ‘stylistics of being’, and, by extension, the compatibility or otherwise of this ‘aesthetics’ or ‘stylistics’ with those propositions of Deleuze which deal with the passions, their enabling conditions, and the assemblages within which they are positioned.

Keywords: Foucault; aesthetics of existence; stylistics of being; Deleuze; Kant; ethics; passions

Chapter.  5665 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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