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Reviewed by:
  • Deleuze, philosophe des multiplicités dir. by Franck Jedrzejewski et Jean-Clet Martin
  • Ian James
Deleuze, philosophe des multiplicités. Sous la direction de Franck Jedrzejewski et Jean-Clet Martin. (Ouverture philosophique.) Paris: L'Harmattan, 2017. 202 pp.

This volume brings together papers given at a conference held at the Collège de philosophie to mark the twentieth anniversary of Gilles Deleuze's death in November 2015. Deleuze, the editors remark in their Introduction, saw himself in certain regards as a very classical philosopher. The question of multiplicity, or of the one and the many, could not be more classical and nor could it be a more central preoccupation of his thinking, just as it is, of course, at the Platonic origin of Western philosophy itself in texts such as the Parmenides. Twenty years after his death, and having been so hugely successful and influential within both French and anglophone ('continental') philosophy, Deleuze's writing, this volume claims as its opening premise, remains 'une œuvre qui, aujourd'hui encore, réclame d'être relancée' (p. 10). Deleuze, then, is still today a thinker of multiplicity who remains to be read. Yet as a thinker of multiplicity, one might add, his legacy by definition cannot and should not congeal into uniform or monotone academic orthodoxies (all-too-familiar and repeated affirmations of creativity, process, rhizomes, nomadism, minoritation forms, and so on). If Deleuze's work does demand to be 'relancée' this will be on the condition that it can still yield a genuine multiplicity of thought. The essays collected in this volume succeed in doing just this and are a welcome opening within, and renewal of, engagements with Deleuzian philosophy. So, for example, René Schérer's article discusses its most fundamental orientation in a fine analysis and recasting of transcendental empiricism. Other chapters revisit and shed new light on some of Deleuze's most important engagements with classical philosophy. Jean-Clet Martin on Deleuze's radical Spinozism and Franck Jedrzejewski on monads, folds, and the legacy of [End Page 478] Leibniz stand out in this regard. Others pose questions of philosophical style and technique and interrogate Deleuze's writing on, and relation to, literature, cinema, and art. Perhaps the most original essays in this volume are to be found in re-engagements with mathematical or mathematically related questions. Before Alain Badiou embraced set theory and unequivocally proclaimed mathematics to be ontology, Deleuze was of course reading mathematical philosophy (for instance, the work of Albert Lautman in Différence et répétition (1968)). Tatiana Roque's piece on algebra and diagrams and Mohamed Ben Mustapha's chapter, 'Deleuze, ou la formule', demonstrate the power of mathematical presentation to think multiplicity as such, that is, outside of any relation to totality or the one. At the same time, they highlight the way in which Deleuze's contribution here opens up highly original perspectives within the philosophy of mathematics itself, something that is arguably entirely absent in Badiou. Taken together these essays show that, if 'creativity', the 'new', and the 'multiple' are more often spoken about in writing on Deleuze rather than actually presented or encountered as such, there nevertheless still remains plenty of scope for genuinely original philosophical engagement in relation to this most influential body of thought.

Ian James
Downing College, Cambridge


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pp. 478-479
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