Deleuze and Hume’s Guillotine

GSSR announces Seminar #15 in our New Projects Seminar Series addressed to both early career and established researchers.

On February 23, 13:00 – 14:30 (zoom), Jędrzej Brzeziński, PhD student (Year 4, Philosophy) at GSSR presents on “Deleuze and Hume’s Guillotine.” Professors Gregg Lambert (Syracuse University, US) and Michał Herer (University of Warsaw, Poland) provide comments, while Filip Brzeźniak, GSSR doctoral candidate in Philosophy, moderates the discussion.

The Seminar Series brings together PhD students and faculty from GSSR and beyond who are working in the same field, to promote closer interaction and open collaboration opportunities. GSSR students present well-advanced research related to their dissertation, with experienced scholars from academic centers in Poland and abroad taking the role of commentators.

The seminars take place on Zoom and are open to all.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 822 0347 7916
Passcode: 305496

Seminar #15, Programme

Chair: Filip Brzeźniak, GSSR
13:00  Introduction: Prof. Szymon Wróbel, IFiS PAN
13:05  Seminar presentation: Jędrzej Brzeziński, GSSR: “Deleuze and Hume’s Guillotine
13:40  Comments from Prof. Gregg Lambert, Syracuse University
13:50  Comments from Prof. Michał Herer, University Warsaw
4:00  Discussion
14:15  Closing remarks


With its empiricism and vitalism, Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy carries a noticeable practical dimension. Nonetheless, decisive answers for the question of ethics – what is to be done? – are difficult if not impossible to infer from it. Ian Buchanan, in his article Desire and ethics observes this fact with a certain disappointment and makes an appeal for rereading of the crucial deleuzian notions („becoming, the body without organs, desiring machines”) in order to uncover their ethical imports. He also claims that most of the deleuzian scholars (Foucault and Braidotti most remarkably): 1) commit a „classic error of trying to argue ‘ought’ from ‘is’” and 2) try to predicate ethical judgments on the basis of the desire alone. Committing of this „classic”, (naturalistic) error – violation of the so called Hume’s law – provides Buchanan with enough reason to dismiss the aforementioned interpretations of Deleuze’s ethics. But, for Deleuze, is this really an error? What seems to be prevalent throughout his work is rather an attempt to do away with any autonomous domain of moral judgment and to formulate an immanent theory of ethics – an ethics which is continuous with evidence, experience and life. This path, diverging from postulatory or prescriptive approaches, shows Deleuze as a non-reductive naturalist in search for a non-abstract, pragmatic and flat model for ethics. Desire is but one of its supports – contemplation (like in Stoics), worldly encounters (experimentation) or habits (repetitions) are not less important here. It is not that bare ‘is’ implies ‘ought’ – the proper ethical question would be rather ‘how something is’. Still, can any ethical theory forgo all the imperative mode, abstain from discriminating and giving instructions which always entail a certain ‘ought’? I will try to review this question in a metaethical perspective. I will also suggest that Foucault (with the notion of non-facist life) and Braidotti (with the notion of sustainability) both provide worthwhile reservations for a potentially nebulous and all-affirmative deleuzian ethics.

The New Projects Seminar Series was established within the project “Humanities and Social Sciences for Society and Enterprise”, funded by Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju (POWR.03.02.00-IP.08-I019/17). The project is co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund under the Operational Program Knowledge Education Development 2014 – 2020.

The 15th seminar is organized in the frame of the Project financed by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) under the Welcome to Poland Programme (2020) (PPI/WTP/2020/1/00155/U/00001).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Log In

Create an account
Europejski Sondaż Społeczny | European Social SurveyEuropejski Sondaż Społeczny | European Social Survey