Gilles Deleuze (18 January 1925 –4 November 1995) was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with Félix Guattari.
From this point of view, the early works of Gilles Deleuze are exemplary of the entire generation of poststructuralist thinkers. In his early investigations into the history of philosophy we can see an intense concentration of the generalized anti-Hegelianism of the time.
Here we discern a new quality in Deleuze and Guattari's quest: they use binary oppositions during a period that reveled in them - language and speech, signifier and signified, socius and unconscious, paradigmatic and syntagmatic, metaphor and metonymy. However, their goal was to move the binary toward multiplicity, dissemination, and generalized fragmentation.
Like Derrida and Foucault, Deleuze was detested. Accused like Socrates of wishing to corrupt youth with his teaching, he was also blamed for an immoderate love of drugs and alcohol. For having written 'Anti-Oedipus' he was even compared to some kind of degenerate who had proffered "the defence [sic] of the rotten on the dungheap of decadence."
He was simply a professor of philosophy, in the lycees of Amiens and Orleans, then in Paris at the Lycee Louis-le-Grand and at the Sorbonne, then in Lyon, and finally, after May 1968, at the University of Paris VIII, at that time located in Vincennes, where he "invented" day by day, before his astonished students and in contact with Felix Guattari, his most iconoclastic book: Anti-Oedipus.
If all you were able to draw from a first reading of 'Difference and Repetition' was that it was a 'critique of representation' you would have already understood everything, provided that you knew two things: what the word 'representation' meant and what the word 'critique' meant. This the the hard part. Deleuze is a philosopher who never uses a word without transforming and often reinventing its sense.
Spurning the conventional French focus on German thought in these years, Deleuze developed instead an idiosyncratic expertise in Anglo-American literature and philosophy. His first book, 'Empiricism and Subjectivity', was about David Hume, whose skeptical critique of the reality of the self and unity of consciousness became one premise of Deleuze's thought.
Born in 1925, Deleuze studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, passing his agregation in philosophy in 1948. Like Foucault, he developed a youthful passion for Artaud, and a lifelong aversion to the Sartre of "Existentialism is a Humanism." Unlike Foucault (and most other students of his generation), he never joined the Communist Party; and he exhibited only a passing interest in Heidegger
Deleuze tirelessly denounced family ties and the stultifying world of the bourgeoisie. Born on January 18, 1925, in the seventeenth arrondissement of Paris, he found the mere mention of his childhood unbearable.
For Deleuze, the project of philosophy is one of creating, arranging, and rearranging perspectives; it is, as he puts it, "the discipline that consists in creating concepts." To engage in philosophy is to develop a perspective, by means of concepts, within which or by means of which a world begins to appear to us.
The philosophy of Deleuze questions some of our most deeply entrenched and widely shared beliefs about thought, experience and reality. One can say about Deleuze's philosophy what is often said about French surrealism, namely, that it aims to produce a revolution in the mind, a fundamental change in how we think.