Environmental Ethics

Volume 19, Issue 2, Summer 1997

Patrick Hayden
Pages 185-204

Gilles Deleuze and Naturalism
A Convergence with Ecological Theory and Politics

Some philosophers in recent discussions concerned with current ecological crises have attempted to address and sometimes to utilize poststructuralist thought. Yet few of their studies have delineated the ecological orientation of a specific poststructuralist. In this paper, I provide a discussion of the naturalistic ontology embraced by the contemporary French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, one of the most significant voices in poststructuralism. I interpret Deleuze as holding an ecologically informed perspective that emphasizes the human place within nature while encouraging awareness of and respect for the differences of interconnected life on the planet. I also suggest that this view may be joined with Deleuze’s innovative ethical-political approach, which he refers to as micropolitics, to create new ways of thinking and feeling that support social and political transformation with respect to the flourishing of ecological diversity. Finally, I briefly show how Deleuze’s ecological orientation compares to several versions of ecological theory and politics.