Deleuze Out of this World (Peter Hallward)


Just finished reading Peter Hallward’s Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation. I’ve never seen God mentioned so often in a book about Deleuze. Hallward ultimately comes out against Deleuze the metaphysician, Deleuze the mystical panentheist, but not before showing us how to go about reading Deleuze as such.

The argument about Deleuze is very much like Badiou’s. The God point is a singular univocal point of differentiation traversing the structures of sensation and thought in Deleuze’s conceptual universe. In the spirit of Spinoza, this is the force of absolute creativity as such, natura naturans (pp.157-8).  Big claims are made about Deuluze regarding God, namely that Deleuze, the atheist, gives up the world for God (p10).

I’m not sure what I think about these ways of reading Deleuze, because they seem to assert about him a logical priority according to which actual beings and actual states of becoming are subordinate to that which comes logically first, namely the “univocity of being,” or virtuality (as one of the names of Being, as Badiou reads it in Deleuze), or absolute difference versus empirical difference.

I’m pretty sure it’s more the case that these things, the virtual and the actual, the force of creation and created beings and becoming are all bundled up into each other. As Hallward notes, Deleuze presents Being in terms of difference, alteration, and animation. It might be one thing that unites religio-spiritually-mystically inclined readers of Deleuze with materialist critics of Deleuze. There’s something attractive about this, but in the end, I have to think that bringing God into the discussion is only confusing.

Not always, but in general I thin it makes more sense not to mention God except where and when God gets explicitly named.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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