Deleuze, A Stoic

Ryan J. Johnson

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Shows how Deleuze’s engagement with Stoicism produced many of his most singular and powerful ideas
  • Reveals a lasting influence on Gilles Deleuze by mapping his provocative reading of ancient Stoicism
  • Unearths new possibilities for bridging contemporary philosophy and classics by engaging a vital yet recently rising area of scholarship: continental philosophy’s relationship to ancient philosophy
  • Introduces the untranslated Stoic scholarship published by pre- and post-Deleuzian French philosophers of antiquity to the English-reading world

Deleuze dramatises the story of ancient philosophy as a rivalry of four types of thinkers: the subverting pre-Socratics, the ascending Plato, the interiorising Aristotle and the perverting Stoics. Deleuze assigns the Stoics a privileged place because they introduced a new orientation for thinking and living that turns the whole story of philosophy inside out.

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INTRODUCTION

What Comes before the Study of Deleuze

Stoic Perversion

The Three Parts of Philosophy

The Sage and the Egg

The Yolk, The Shell, and The Albumen

French Stoicism

PART I: PHYSICS

The Yolk A: Stoic Metaphysics

Introduction

Something

The Giants

Subsistence

The System and the Surface

Intensive and Extensive Faces

Integration and Difference

Conclusion

The Yolk B: Incorporeals

Introduction

Corporeal Causes and Incorporeal Effects

Clement of Alexandria and the Quasi-Cause

Static Genesis

Double Causality

Twisting the Table of Judgments

Transcendental Logic

Formal Logic of Bodies

Transcendental Logic of Incorporeals

Conclusion

The Yolk C: Space

Introduction: The Canonical Incorporeals

A Heterodox Reading: Three Reasons and Three Advantages

The Whole, the All, and Infinite Divisibility

Place

Atomic Void

Stoic Void

Something Unnamed

Space: The First Frontier

Intensive and Extensive Space

Counter-Actualisation

Conclusion: The Structure of the Three Incorporeals

PART II: LOGIC

The Shell A: Λεκτα

Introduction: Cracking Open the Shell

Origin of Λεκτα

The Voice

Three stages of the Genesis of Language

Dynamic and Static Geneses

Phases of Dynamic and Static Geneses

Epicurean and Stoic Philosophies of Language

The Two Faces of Λεκτα

The Shell B: The Paradoxes

Introduction

A Forgotten Logic

Perverting Good and Common Sense

A New Logic in Antiquity

Why Propositional Logic?

Genesis of the Contradictory

Three Dimensions of Absurdity

Structure and Purpose of Paradoxes

The Paradoxes

1. The Heap

2. The Liar

3. The Master

4. The Nobody

Structure of Ambiguity

The Aleatory Point

Ergo and Igitur

Standing on the Shore

The Shell C: Living Logic

Introduction

Handbooks For Thinking

Constructing Concepts for Living

Preparing our Handbook

Handbook of Paradoxes

1. Infinite Act

2. Singular Act

3. Disjunctive Act

4. Problematic Act

Conclusion: A Profound Link

PART III: ETHICS

The Albumen A: Time

Introduction: Goldschmidt and the Idea of Time

Three Ancient Theories of Time

The Adventures of the Present

The Present of Aion

The Present of Chronos

The Now and the Instant

A Twisted Genealogy

Chronos and Aion in Stoicism

The Greatness of Stoic Thought

Intensive Aion and Extensive Chronos

The Third Incorporeal

Conclusion: The Instant of the Act

The Albumen B: The Act

Introduction: ‘The Event of Death’

Divination

Cosmological Perspective

Use of Representations

Singular Perspective

Stoic Sage

The Act

Counter-Actualization

How to Make Yourself a Stoic

Conclusion: Amor Fati

The Albumen C: Eternal Return

Introduction

Friedrich Nietzsche, Author of the Eternal Recurrence

Death and the Compass

Paradox of Action

Providence without Teleology

Fitzgerald’s Crack-Up

Conclusion: A Laughing Stoicism

CONCLUSION

Four Forms of Philosophical Comedy

Pre-Socratic Slapstick

Socratic Irony

Cynic Sarcasm

Aristotelian Wit

Stoic Humor

 

Johnson has produced a profound and erudite study of the stoic roots of Deleuze’s philosophy. This work is of vital importance for those interested in Deleuze, the continuing relevance of the stoic tradition, and, more fundamentally, the ethics of materialism.
Dr. Henry Somers-Hall, Royal Holloway, University of London
Ryan J. Johnson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Elon University in North Carolina. He is the author of Deleuze, A Stoic (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) and The Deleuze-Lucretius Encounter (EUP, 2017). He is co-editor of Nietzsche and Epicurus (Bloomsbury, 2020), Contemporary Encounters with Ancient Metaphysics (EUP, 2017) and The Movement of Nothingness (Davies Group Publishers, 2012).

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