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Gilles Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism

From Tradition to Difference

Marc Rölli
Translated by Peter Hertz-Ohmes

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Reconstructs Deleuze's philosophy as transcendental empiricism: two philosophies previously seen as contradictory

Deleuze’s readings of Hume, Spinoza, Bergson and Nietzsche respond to philosophical critiques of classical and modern empiricism. However, Deleuze’s arguments against those critiques – by Kant, Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger – consolidate the philosophy of immanence that can be called ‘transcendental empiricism’.

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Translator’s Note

Author’s Foreword

Introduction: Can Empiricism have a Transcendental Aspect?

Part I: Empiricism / Transcendentalism

1. Hume’s Logic of External Relations

2. The Ambiguity of Kantian Thought

3. Kant’s Transcendental Critique of Classical Empiricism

Part II: From Phenomenon to Event

4. Husserl’s Concept of Passive Synthesis

5. Heidegger’s Metaphysics of Finitude

Part III: Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism

6. The Paradoxical Nature of Difference

7. Virtuality of Concepts

8. Subjectivity and Immanence

Conclusion: Where do we go from here? Lines of Flight


Short biographies of Author and Translator


About the Author

Prof. Dr. Marc Rölli is Full Professor for Philosophy at the Leipzig Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst HGB), Germany. Having studied philosophy, comparative religion and Indian philology in Marburg and Berlin, he received his Ph.D. from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in 2002. In the same year, he became Associate Professor of Philosophy at Technical University Darmstadt, where he obtained his Habilitation in philosophy in 2008 and worked as a Visiting Professor for theoretical philosophy between 2008 and 2011. Since 2011, he has been Full Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey. Since 2013 he was head of the research focus “Theory and Methods” at Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.


Marc Rölli offers not merely a foundational and original account of the work of Gilles Deleuze. With his reconstruction of Deleuze’s 'transcendental empiricism,' he continues – with and beyond Deleuze – one of the grandest adventures in recent philosophy: establishing the source, the power, and the radicality of thinking pure immanence.

- Joseph Vogl, Humboldt University of Berlin and Princeton University

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