What Is Philosophy According to Deleuze?

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A frequently asked question in the realm of philosophical discourse is: What is philosophy according to Gilles Deleuze? Deleuze, a 20th-century French philosopher, offered a unique and influential perspective on philosophy. This article aims to unpack his views and elucidate the essence of Deleuze’s philosophy.

Deleuze’s Conception of Philosophy

The Nature of Philosophy

Philosophy as the Creation of Concepts

For Deleuze, philosophy is not about discovering pre-existing truths but about the creation of concepts. He believed that philosophical work involves crafting innovative, abstract concepts that do not simply categorize or describe the world but actively intervene in it.

Contrasting with Science and Art

Distinctive Role

Deleuze distinguishes philosophy from science and art. While science is about functions and propositions and art is about sensations and affects, philosophy, in his view, is the discipline of creating concepts.

Key Elements of Deleuzian Philosophy

Emphasis on Difference and Repetition

Difference in Itself

In his work “Difference and Repetition,” Deleuze argues against the traditional privileging of identity over difference. For him, difference is not derivative but primary – a concept he refers to as ‘difference in itself’.

Rhizomatic Thinking

Against Hierarchical Structures

Deleuze introduces the concept of the ‘rhizome’ – an image borrowed from botany. Unlike trees with linear and hierarchical structures, rhizomes work horizontally, interconnecting points without a start or end. This symbolizes his vision of knowledge as non-hierarchical and interconnected.

Deleuze’s Philosophical Method


Deleuze’s approach is marked by a rejection of representational thinking. He argues against the idea of philosophy as a reflection of a pre-existing reality, promoting instead the notion that philosophy should create reality through concepts.

Affirmation of Life

Deleuze’s philosophy is life-affirming. He emphasizes becoming over being, potentiality over actuality, and celebrates the dynamic and ever-changing nature of life.


In conclusion, Gilles Deleuze redefined philosophy as a creative endeavor, focused on the production of new concepts. His ideas challenge traditional boundaries and hierarchies, advocating for a fluid, interconnected understanding of the world. Deleuze’s philosophy is not just about understanding the world but about changing it through the power of innovative thinking.


How Does Deleuze’s View Differ From Traditional Philosophy?

Deleuze diverges from traditional philosophy by emphasizing the creation of concepts over the discovery of truths and focusing on difference and non-hierarchical structures.

What is the Significance of ‘Rhizomatic’ Thinking in Deleuze’s Philosophy?

Rhizomatic thinking represents a non-linear, non-hierarchical approach to knowledge and understanding, reflecting Deleuze’s emphasis on interconnectedness and fluidity in thought.

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