The categorical imperative and not being unworthy of the event: Ethics in deleuze’s difference and repetition

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This essay starts from a consideration of Deleuze’s theory of time. It begins with the empty form of time. But the essay’s aim is to understand Deleuze’s reversal of Platonism in his 1968 Difference and Repetition. There is no question that the stakes of the reversal of Platonism are ontological. But I argue that what is really at stake is a movement of demoralisation. The essay proceeds in three steps. First, we determine what sufficient reason or grounding is, for Deleuze. Sufficient reason is struck with an irreducible ambiguity. It is this ambiguity in sufficient reason that allows it to be taken advantage of, to be used by representation and good sense for a moral purpose. The second part of the essay will therefore concern ‘the moralisation of sufficient reason’. Its focus will be good sense. But then, third, we must understand Deleuze’s ‘demoralisation of sufficient reason’, which necessarily passes through others. Like sufficient reason, others are ambiguous, at once lending themselves to what cancels differences, and opening the way towards difference and intensity. The third step focuses on what Deleuze calls ‘the ethics of intensive quantities’. In the Conclusion, I examine Deleuze’s famous, almost cliché, definition of ethics as not being unworthy of the event and, through the empty form of time, I connect it to Kant’s formalistic ethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-135
Number of pages27
JournalDeleuze and Guattari Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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