The essays in this book present a complex theme at the heart of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, what in his last writing he called simply "a life." They capture a problem that runs throughout his work--his long search for a new and superior empiricism. Announced in his first book, on David Hume, then taking off with his early studies of Nietzsche and Bergson, the problem of an "empiricist conversion" became central to Deleuze's work, in particular to his aesthetics and his conception of the art of cinema. In the new regime of communication and information-machines with which he thought we are confronted today, he came to believe that such a conversion, such an empiricism, such a new art and will-to-art, was what we need most. The last, seemingly minor question of "a life" is thus inseparable from Deleuze's striking image of philosophy not as a wisdom we already possess, but as a pure immanence of what is yet to come. Perhaps the full exploitation of that image, from one of the most original trajectories in contemporary philosophy, is also yet to come.
Deleuze (1925-95) worked through his career as a philosopher by exploring what he identified as a connection, rather than a disconnection, between phenomenology and analytical philosophy. Brought together in this small volume are three essays "Immanence: A Life," "Hume," and "Nietzsche" that illustrate his work well. Boyman's translation gives English readers the opportunity to understand how Deleuze demonstrated the validity of the connection both ably and engagingly. The first essay serves as a kind of coda against which any of Deleuze's other work can be read: here he limns the empirical differences between a life and this (one's) life. The following two essays are his reports on the relevance of how earlier philosophers conceptualized this kind of logic, allowing us to understand both their philosophies and our contemporary world. In "Hume," he concentrates on the idea of identity, while in "Nietzsche" he concerns himself and his reader with the move from identity to evaluation. Scholars and graduate students will welcome this volume, while some informed lay readers will find these tastes of the philosopher tantalizing. Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA
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