Idealistic Studies

Volume 33, Issue 1, Spring 2003

Saul Newman
Pages 9-24

Empiricism, Pluralism, and Politics in Deleuze and Stirner

The aim of the paper is to examine the logic of empiricist pluralism in the work of Deleuze and Stirner. I suggest that there is a parallel between Max Stirner’s critique of Hegelian idealism and Feuerbachian humanism, and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of difference and empiricist pluralism. I will explore these similarities through a discussion of both thinkers’ approaches to the problem of idealist representation, and the denial of the corporeal difference that is a consequence of this: for Stirner, the representation of the individual in humanist discourse as Man, leads to a fundamental oppression; for Deleuze, the universalising structures of the dialectic implies the subordination of the different to the Same. I will then investigate the political consequences of this—through Stirner’s idea of individual insurrection and egoism, and Deleuze’s notion of “rhizomatic” thought in opposition to State-centered thought—developing from this a political ethics of singularity.

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