Conference Agenda

D&G and Neo/materialism III
Tuesday, 06/July/2021:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Iwona Janicka
Session Topics:
D&G and neo/materialism

11:00am - 11:30am

"What Happened?": The Fate of Deleuze’s Politics

Laurence Kent

King's College London, United Kingdom

Deleuze is content to do metaphysics and politics as if they are the same thing. Taking this claim to its logical conclusion reveals a fatalism set deep within Deleuze’s metaphysical system that leads to the evacuation of political possibility. My paper will explore this as indexed in the incoherence inherent in the dual perspective of the eternal return as both an ethical and an ontological principle. Ethically affirming the eternal return through respecting difference and valorising the new has no causal traction on the metaphysical reality of difference. This constant of becoming leaves no room for agency or selfhood, and Deleuze’s ethics is thus not a championing of the possibility of human-directed change but an affirmation that change is the basis of reality, its only foundation.

Although Deleuze’s philosophy clearly jettisons existing conditions as necessarily good or inevitable, by introducing a metaphysical principle of difference as a new definition of what is we can see that it is the affirmation of difference as a primary ethical value that is metaphysically inescapable. This is thus not a fatalism about that which goes on in the world as it stands but in realising that reality is itself merely the propagation of difference that we must affirm. Because of this, the future is inevitably different such that it becomes difficult to navigate; it becomes a runaway process with no opportunity for political traction. Thus, instead of enabling a political platform, Deleuze’s metaphysics only allows us to ask, “what happened?”

11:30am - 12:00pm

The Flesh of God and the New Earth: Deterritorializing Theology

Seyedmohammadjavad Seyedi

Allameh University of Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of

Jewish theology is based on a relation of exchange: the Jews receive a land of their own, which God bestows onto them, and in exchange they must protect its “virginity” from the invaders. God also obliges his people to confer him sacrifices, animals which should be killed in honor of God. It’s a theology which sets a complicated relationship between earth, blood and body, aimed at securing the eminence of God and redemption through protecting the virginity of the holy land.

Christianity takes these three concepts (earth, blood, body) and builds an immanent materialism based on a radial deconstruction of them. It’s a new, radical theology based on God’s corporeality, releasing the earth, creating a common body for a multitude made of God’s flesh and re-interpreting theology on the basis of this new materialism.

If transcendence can lead to a capitalist conception of land ownership, Christianity moves in the direction of a collective, immanent force of production: a new body for the multitude based on the flesh of God, and a new earth and source of energy collectively owned by everyone. The incarnation of God can lead us to a new people, a new earth, and a new radical theology and it can move towards constituting a liberating collective potentia which can take back the immanent energy of the earth in a non-stop process of deterritorialization by the multitude.

12:00pm - 12:30pm

Geo-philosophical politics? A Deleuzian-Guattarian approach towards ecology

Ralf Gisinger

University of Vienna, Austria

For Deleuze & Guattari the genesis of philosophy is related to its milieu, its pre-philosophical and non-philosophical conditions, without presupposing an outside, which also seems to imply a political meaning. Linking the political to its locus (territory, earth), where it takes place, also refers to the non-place, the a-topos still to be realized, utopia, which, however, sets no transcendence apart from itself, but realizes itself out of and in immanence. In relation to utopia, D&G speak of the "conjunction of philosophy, or of the concept, with the present milieu - political philosophy" (WiP, 100).

Is there an intrinsic connection between ecology, environmentalism or relational ontologies and political philosophy? In Deleuze’s & Guattari's geophilosophy lies precisely the concern not to operate historically, but to operate geographically, setting the process of becoming in motion (WiP, 110; 128). To approach ecology and the philosophical as well as political implications means thus to look at the material conditions of existence (technical, economic, social, political) of humans and their "milieus" and to question their central positioning (anthropocentrism) through its embeddedness and interweavedness in its environmental and material relationships. Philosophy according to Deleuze & Guattari also means not to understand thinking as a (human) outside, from which "nature" is understood or reflected upon, but to create assemblages of enunciation and expression and to enable an affection of thought - thought itself must become nature. And yet to determine the status as well as the future of a philosophy that radically aligns itself to its outside, non-philosophy (which is always in its midst - milieu).

Deleuze, Gilles/ Guattari, Félix (1994): What Is Philosophy?, New York [Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?, 1991], WiP.