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Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry

Volume 5, Issue 11, Winter 2010

James Williams
Pages 25-34

Against Oblivion and Simple Empiricism
Gilles Deleuze's 'Immanence: a life. . .'

This article discusses Gilles Deleuze’s article ‘Immanence: a life. . .’ in relation to two problems. The first is the problem of empirical oblivion, or the way any record of an event involves a forgetting of aspects of that event which may later turn out to be of great significance. The second is the problem of latent significance, that is, of how events missed in the past remain latent and can be - perhaps ought to be–returned to in the future. The article argues that these problems are in fact linked. They explain in part the importance of Deleuze’s transcendental philosophy in ‘Immanence: a life. . . .’ The article concludes with a critical reading of Giorgio Agamben’s interpretation of Deleuze’s essay, in order to defend the position that Deleuze’s philosophy answers the joint problems of oblivion and latency by connecting actual and virtual events in novel acts that attempt to be worthy of that which must necessarily pass by creating new signs that reignite the past by transforming it.

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