• On affirmation and becoming : a Deleuzian reading of Nietzsche's critique of nihilism

      Bolaños, Paolo A.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      The main thrust of this thesis is the re-exploration of Friedrich Nietzsche's "critique of nihilism" through the lenses of Gilles Deleuze. A Deleuzian reading of Nietzsche is motivated by a post-deconstrnctive style of interpretation, inasmuch as Deleuze goes beyond, or in between, henneneutics and deconstrnction. Deleuze's post-deconstrnctive reading of Nietzsche is, however, only secondary to the main aim of this thesis. The primary thrust of this study is the critique of a way of thinking characterized by Nietzsche as nihilistic. Therefore, it should be noted that this study is not about Deleuze's reading per se; rather, it is an appraisal of Nietzsche's "critique of nihilism" using Deleuze's experimental reading. We will accrue Nietzsche's critique and Deleuze's post-deconstrnctive reading in order to appraise Nietzsche's critique itself. Insofar as we have underscored Deleuze's purported experimentation of Nietzschean themes, this study is also an experiment in itself. Through this experimentation, we will find out whether it is possible to partly gloss Nietzsche's critique of nihilism through Deleuzian phraseology. Far from presenting a mere exposition of Nietzsche's text, we are, rather, re-reading, that is, re-evaluating Nietzsche's critique of nihilism through Deleuze's experimentation. This is our way of thinking with Nietzsche. Nihilism is the central problem upon which Nietzsche's philosophical musings are directed; he deems nihilism as a cultural experience and, as such, a phenomenon to be reckoned with. In our reconstruction of Nietzsche's critique of nihilism, we locate two related elements which constitute the structure of the prescription of a cure, Le., the ethics of affirmation and the ontology of becoming. Appraising Nietzsche's ethics and ontology amounts to clarifying what Deleuze thinks as the movement from the "dogmatic image of thought" to the "new image of thought." Through this new image of thought, Deleuze makes sense of a Nietzschean counterculture which is a perspective that resists traditional or representational metaphysics. Deleuze takes the reversal of Platonism or the transmutation of values to be the point of departure. We have to, according to Deleuze, abandon our old image of the world in order to free ourselves from the obscurantism of foundationalist or essentialist thinking. It is only through the transmutation of values that we can make sense of Nietzsche's ethics of affirmation and ontology of becoming. We have to think of Nietzsche's ethics as an "ethics" and not a moral philosophy, and we have to think of his ontology as 1/ ontology" and not as metaphysics. Through Deleuze, we are able to avoid reading Nietzsche as a moral philosopher and metaphysician. Rather, we are able to read Nietzsche as one espousing an ethical imperative through the thought of the eternal return and one advocating a theory of existence based on an immanent, as opposed to transcendent, image of the world.