Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Beardsworth, Sara

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to show that Deleuze develops a new conception of experience. I do so by showing the roots of this new conception in a transformation of Kant's transcendental philosophy. Kant is central to Deleuze's project because Deleuze finds in Kant the idea that the justification for truth is internal to the relation of subject and object. Since the internal relation is vital to Deleuze's notion of experience, his project is formed as the problem of transcendental conditioning, as was Kant's. However, Deleuze argues that Kant did not take the critique far enough since he was able to examine claims to truth but not the idea of truth itself. Deleuze's notion of experience is developed in and through his attempt to overcome this problem. I show that Deleuze transforms Kant by rethinking four key notions. First, Deleuze reconceives the notion of the system of experience. He argues that Kant's notion of the system of experience closes off experience so that nothing genuinely new could occur. For Deleuze, experience does not form a single system but, instead, there are multiple systems of experience and they arise from within experience. In addition, new systems of experience can occur for Deleuze. Second, he rethinks the notion of the transcendental conditions of experience such that they condition experience but arise from within experience. Experience can always be opened up in a new way. Moreover, since experience can occur in a genuinely new way, the subject must be able to be transformed as well. Third, then, he also rethinks the notion of the subject. For Deleuze, we cannot begin with a subject that is self-identical. He provides an account for the production of the subject. The transcendental conditions of experience belong to experience itself, not the subject. The subject and the object of knowledge are produced together when a system of experience opens up. As a result, the subject and object are necessarily in relation and, for this reason, the object can always in principle be known by the subject. Fourth, although Deleuze relies on Kant's conception of time to explain the subject's relation to itself, he transforms both the subject's self-relation and the conception of time. In Kant the subject simply cannot know itself as it is, but only as it is given to itself. Deleuze's subject, which also cannot know itself, can nonetheless genuinely be transformed and become different from itself. The transformation of the subject occurs at the moment that a new field of experience is opened up. In conclusion, Deleuze shows that new experience can always occur.

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