CAP (Centre for Art and Philosophy) is an interdisciplinary research platform based at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Most of its members have been or are still working at the department as lecturers, researchers or affiliates.

Deleuze and the Passions



To Have Done with the Judgement of ‘Reason’: Deleuze’s Aesthetic Ontology

Samantha Bankston

The errors of reason, as expressed by Friedrich Nietzsche in "'Reason' in Philosophy" from Twilight of the Idols identifies the erroneous presuppositions endemic to a philosophy of judgement in the history of philosophy.  This critique of "Reason" is picked up by Deleuze in his rejection of the dogmatic "image of thought": analogy, resemblance, identity, and opposition.  Rather than accept the death of metaphysics, Deleuze constructs a metaphysical system that is more Nietzschean than Nietzsche, accepting not Being as its ontological structure, but Becoming as its ontological process.  As the footholds of Being fall away at the force of becoming, so do the representational errors of Reason; unity, identity, cause, and all effects of reified time are replaced by multiplicity, haecceity, counter-cause and virtual processes that undermine the static structures of specious thought intrinsic to “Reason”.  The result is an aesthetic ontology that pushes Nietzschean becoming to the limit point, where thought is unhinged from the moralism of Being.  Deleuze's aesthetic ontology deploys temporal logic that eliminates all decadent structures; the eternal return of difference destroys the conditions for sad passions, repeating only the production of the radically new. In this essay, I will demonstrate how Deleuze not only configured a metaphysical system based on Nietzsche’s aesthetic philosophy, but I will discuss the complex concept of becoming he invented in order to do so.  As the temporal logic of becoming in Deleuze splits to accommodate the becoming of pure events versus the becoming of sensation, we see a philosophy of affects correct the errors which arose from a philosophy of judgement.  

Noncommunication, Debt, and the Negativity of Affect

Daniel Colucciello Barber

The association of affect with the affirmation of potentiality and productivity encounters a problem: the contemporary conjuncture of communicative capitalism—what Deleuze indicated by the term “societies of control”— seems to call for precisely such fluid (re)production. Responding to this problem, and drawing on Deleuze’s notion of difference in-itself, affect’s negativity is conceived as an intensive force that creates “vacuoles of non-communication” and that cracks the capitalist narrative of indebtedness and liberation. Debt names the means through which capitalism captures affective potentiality; it also names the site at which it becomes necessary to insist upon, and to enact the intensive force of, affect’s negativity.

Noology Critique: Stupidity and Shame in Deleuze's politics 

Benoît Dillet

In this paper, I argue that by conceptualising stupidity and shame as significant affects in

politics, Deleuze began a project of renewing Ideologiekritik in what we can call ‘noology

critique’. I demonstrate that Deleuze cannot be said to have left the critique of ideology but to

have transformed it, at least for two reasons. First, it is precisely because the immanent ideology

critique does not take into account the configuration of desires and affects that Deleuze and

Guattari introduced noology, defined as ‘the study of images of thought and their

historicity’ (Deleuze and Guattari, ATP, 376). Second, Deleuze adopts Foucault’s displacement

of traditional Marxist categories, from repression and ideology to normalisation and disciplines,

not only to move away from Marxist debates but in order to refine them: noology critique

begins in affirming that capitalism has absorbed Marx’s project to critique the denial of the

material production of ideas first set out in The German Ideology. The project of noology critique

proposes to analyse historically the specific regimes of affects that supplement the material

relations of production.

“Everywhere There Are Sad Passions”: Gilles Deleuze and the Unhappy Consciousness

Moritz Gansen

In his critique of the Hegelian dialectic in Nietzsche and Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze adopts Jean Wahl’s interpretation of the unhappy consciousness, identifying it as “the subject of the whole dialectic”. “Everywhere,” he asserts, “there are sad passions”, and such sad passions are, according to Deleuze’s Spinozist formulation, “the passage to a lesser perfection or the diminution of the power of acting”. Accordingly, for Deleuze, the actualisation of the absolute across the movement of the dialectic is but a form of metaphysical melancholia; Hegelian history appears as a history of incapacitation. Insofar as Hegel is hence understood as interpreting “existence from the standpoint of the unhappy consciousness,” and “the unhappy consciousness is only the Hegelian version of the bad conscience”, Deleuze clearly rejects a particular French Hegelian existentialism which formed the context of his own philosophical education as just another manifestation of “reactive forces”.

Contempt and bliss in post-Fordist subjectivity.

Claudia Landolfi

In post-Fordist society the search for acclamation shows layers of internalized oppression and contempt. The despised is ready to become the headsmen first of all to himself and brings with him the inevitable grotesque isolation and contempt. Deleuze (Sade, Masoch, Rousseau) is central to the understanding of the mechanisms of contempt in its relation with the judgment, and for the overthrowing of its meaning. In the wake of the concept of bliss in Spinoza, the affectus contrasts the advance of contempt against an alleged defect that instead it is the power of nature which is not subject to the judgment. The feelings are neither good nor bad but are bodily strategies that correspond to the strength of our desire. The lack of acceptance of the moments of emotional disempowerment creates the monstrous spiral of contempt in the capitalist headsmen.

Death of Deleuze, Birth of Passion

David Liu

The self-defenestration of Gilles Deleuze on November 4, 1995:  Did he take his own life, or should we say, in French, “il s’est donné la mort”?  Spinoza’s use of the Stoic tradition on suicide may well shed some light on the passional import of this “transferent” event.  But another way to consider the matter is this: Was this fenestral act a deframing or a reframing of passions?  If we take this query through the category of “production,” passional and capitalist, we may be pushed toward a refusal of the dichotomy between happy and sad passions, one which was already in the birthing in Spinoza’s time in the delineations of musical modes and affects, and one fully deserving of critique.

Debt and sad affects in the “control” society

Iwona Mlozniak

The question of indebtedness is according to Deleuze situated on the line of philosophical investigations of Spinoza, Nietzsche and Foucault. As such it deals with the problems of forces, sad passions, corporeality and subjugation in the society. According to interpretation by Lazzarato the philosophical concept of debt envelops the sad affects constituting contemporary capitalism and capture individual’s forces to act not only at the level of political and market institutions (where the state as apparatus of capture is one of the main dispositifs), but also as a force of subjectification. It seems that debt related with the power of control operates also on the level of singularities (haecceitas) being the vehicle of individualization and socialization. The  presentation will concern the connections between debt as an arrangement of sad passions and the notion of society of control.

What is a pathological affect? On the early definition of biopolitics 

Matteo Pasquinelli

Over the past number of years, a specific region of contemporary (Continental) philosophy have being oscillating between an emphasis on cognition or on affection, on a knowledge-based economy or on a desire-based economy, on immaterial labour or affective labour. In my effort to put a stop to this constant oscillation, I will attempt to reconstruct the genealogy of the notion of biopolitics and advocate a paradigm where the opposition between body and mind, between bios and noos, between life and knowledge will eventually vanish (like it has always managed to disappear in authors like Spinoza, Merleau-Ponty, Canguilhem, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari). In order to debunk these kinds of binaries and their crystallised vocabularies I want to show how the roots of Foucault’s concept of biopolitics, interestingly enough, are linked to the research on neurology by the German-Jewish neurologist Kurt Goldstein.

The Affective Economy: Producing and Consuming Affects in Deleuze and Guattari

Jason Read

The thought of Gilles Deleuze (and Félix Guattari) bears on ambiguous relation with respect to the “affective turn” in critical thought that it supposedly helped initiate. This ambiguity touches on the very role and meaning of affects. From Deleuze’s writings on Nietzsche and Spinoza through the collaborations of Capitalism and Schizophrenia Deleuze and Guattari insist on the central role of the affects, joy, sadness, fear, and hope, as structuring individual and collective life. In that sense, Deleuze and Guattari are rightfully hailed as central figures in a turn towards affect. However, if, as some argue, the “affective turn” is a turn towards the lived over the structural and the intimate over the public and objective, then Deleuze and Guattari’s thought has a much more complex relation to affects. The broader polemical target of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, beyond the specific polemics with psychoanalysis, is any explanatory theory that would reduce social relations to intimate and individual relations. Deleuze and Guattari’s claim that there is only “the desire and the social, and nothing else” is oriented against such individualistic accounts of subjectivity. Moreover, Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of capitalism as defined by axioms rather than codes is that of a social relation that reproduces itself in and through the encounter of abstract quantities of money and labor power, a social relation that is indifferent to the beliefs and meaning that we attach to it. Thus, if affect is central to Deleuze and Guattari’s thought it is necessary to add the caveats that affect must be thought of as anti-individualistic, as social rather than intimate, as in some sense impersonal. It is then the strength of Deleuze and Guattari's thought that it posits affect as not only rigorously transindividual, but also economic and political rather than psychic.  

Deleuze and the passion for the Other? Considering Deleuzes` concept of alterity

Carla Schriever

Deleuzes perspective on the Other is rarely portrayed in the discourse around his work copra.

Even though Deleuze describes the thinker as necessarily solitary and solipstic, he does not fully

deny the existence of the other, this leads to question the Deleuzian ontology about the possibility of an implementation of social ethics. Deleuze takes two different stances on the importance the other has for his work. In the first quote he claims that „The Other-structure ensures individuation within the perceptual world“, and secondly that the other „expresses a possible world“. The idea that the other, is able to express terror. The others terrified expression relates to the possibility of a terrifying world. We are able to claim that the others expression is wrong, but we can still recognize it as a specific form of warning. But insofar that the other clearly expresses another possible world, they are neither subject nor object, but rather outsiders, without actual relation to the subjects. For Deleuze this means, the Other is simply another self. The Other represents possibilities the self could have never imagined nor perceived otherwise. It is only through our encounter with the Others clear expressions of the ongoing, that the self is able to change his attitude of living and evaluating the world its forced to exist in. This encounter with the Other challenges the subject in taking actions, which are taken in learning. Here learning occurs not by consciously imitating the actions of another, but by the way the others world is represented, as they express it virtually, we areforced to change our own. Questioning Deleuzes approach to the Other, we need to consider the aspects of imitation, comparison and virtual elements. How important is the Other for Deleuze, which are his major functions within the existence of the self and is the Other dispensable?

Deleuze, Passion, Cinema and the Old Materialism

Louis-Georges Schwartz

Since the Time-Image lost its salience at the end of the 21st century, it has been replaced by Cinema Hostis, an image that subordinates both movement and time to the hostile passion and makes each character the enemy of each and the camera the enemy of all. In Cinema Hostis, Gilles Deleuze’s affection image returns, but outside of the sensory-motor schema, frozen as one passion that replaces the socious and expresses the asocial effects of the complete subsumption of life into economic activity. In order to establish the new image-type and account for it’s becoming, my paper shows that Deleuze’s Movement-Image and Time-Image emerge dialectically from the economic situations of the times during which they were most salient and cites Capitalism And Schizophrenia to argue that Deleuze’s account of the genesis of cinematic images can be understood as a historical materialist linkage of the “soul of cinema” to changes in the labor capital relation before and after World War II.

Cinematic hostis develops the expressive forces that emerged the Movement-Image and the Time-Image, described thirty years ago by Deleuze in his study of cinema. Deleuze argues that from 1895, when the Lumière brothers screened the first projected moving images of their workers leaving the factory, through 1940, the creative, developing sector of cinema consisted of images that subordinated time to the movement it measures. Such images lost salience during World War II, and cinema’s apical meristem mutated to films that composed bits of time in their pure state, with multiple, incompossible movements subordinated to concrete durations. In both of these periods, the cinema expresses the predicament of consciousness in a world that must either change or suffer. Cinema Hostis expresses the becoming passion of consciousness in a world it can neither change nor escape.

Erasmus University Rotterdam, 16 May 2014 - Annual National Deleuze Scholarship Conference #3

Please register here:

In recent years the humanities, neuroscience and the social sciences have witnessed an ‘affective turn’, especially in discourses around post-Fordist labour, the economic and ecological crisis, populism and political sentiments, cultural identity, mental health, citizenship, agency and political struggle, contemporary artistic practice, and new configurations of bodies and technologies. While no one quite agrees what affect is, this new awareness of affect would be unthinkable without the pioneering work of Gilles Deleuze, who defined affects as pre- and transindividual becomings, i.e. processes or passages that augment or diminish our capacity to act and engage with others and that are therefore primordial to, albeit inseparable from, sensations, emotions, feelings, tastes, perceptions, meanings and all other, ‘higher’ forms of cognition. Working along the naturalist axis of Lucretius-Spinoza-Nietzsche, Deleuze famously replaced judgment with affect as the very material movement of thought. Besides entirely active affects, the highest practice of thought, there is no thought without passive affects or passions. According to his magnum opus Difference and Repetition, thought finds its own necessity in ‘isolated and passionate cries’ that deny what everybody knows and what nobody can deny : ‘every true thought is an aggression’. More concretely speaking, whether we are dealing with emotions in psychology and sociology, sensation in art, passion in theology, or the struggle with opinion in philosophy, the aim of thought is always to denounce the sad passions, their causes, and those who derive their power from them. Sad passions are affects that join desire to the illusions of consciousness and separate us from our power to act. While joyful passions increase our power, sad passions enslave us. The essential problem of politics, according to Deleuze, is the ‘tyrants’ and ‘priests’ who inspire sad passions in us. His work can thus be read as a critical and clinical encyclopedia of the sad passions that constitute the affective infrastructure of contemporary capitalism: illness, shame, spitefulness, guilt, bad conscience, stupidity, neurosis, mistrust, weariness, fatigue, fatalism, cynicism, ignorance, hope, anguish, disgust, contempt, cowardice,  hatred, laziness, avidity, regret, despair, mockery, malversation, and self-abasement.


Friday 16 May 2014

Location: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Woudestein Campus, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam,

9h00 - 12h45 room T3-21 
13h00 - 19h00 room CB-4

09h15 Coffee

09h45 Opening

10h00    Panel 1 (chaired by Henk Oosterling)

                Samantha Bankston – To Have Done with the Judgement of ‘Reason’: Deleuze’s Aesthetic       Ontology

                Moritz Gansen Beyond the unhappy consciousness

                Carla Schriever Deleuze and the passion for the other?

 12h00    Lunch

13h00    Panel 2 (chaired by Andrej Radman)

                Daniel Barber – Noncommunication, Debt, and the Negativity of Affect

                Iwona Mlozniak – Debt and sad affects in the society of control

                Louis-Georges Schwartz – Deleuze, Passion, Cinema and the Old Materialism

 14h30    Coffee Break

15h00    Panel 3 (chaired by Piotrek Swiatkovski)
Claudia Landolfi – Contempt and bliss in the desiring strategies of subjects

                Benoît Dillet - Noology Critique: Stupidity and Shame in Deleuze's politics

                David Liu – Death of Deleuze, Birth of Passion

16h30    Coffee Break

 16h45  Keynote lecture (chaired by Sjoerd van Tuinen)

                Jason ReadThe Affective Economy: Producing and Consuming Affects in Deleuze and Guattari         

                Respondent: Claire Colebrook

18h15 Reception

Scientific committee: Rosi Braidotti, Rick Dolphijn, Andrej Radman, Sjoerd van Tuinen 

This symposium is organized by Sjoerd van Tuinen ( and the Centre for Art and Philosophy (CAP, with the financial support of the Netherlands Scientific Research Organisation (NWO) and the Trust Fund foundation.