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Twentieth Century French Philosophy: Deleuze


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Philosophy of Mind, or Concepts of Selfhood.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.


In A Thousand Plateaus, co-authored with Félix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze introduces the paradoxical formula: PLURALISM = MONISM. In this course we will unpack this formula through an analysis of Deleuze’s earlier works, focusing on his engagement with Nietzsche (whose pluralism is linked to a monism) and Spinoza (whose monism is linked to a pluralism). From this double perspective we will zoom in on Deleuze’s Différence et répétition (Difference and Repetition). On the one hand, we will focus on Deleuze’s practice of reading (his creative rephrasing of the philosophy of Nietzsche and Spinoza). On the other, we will see how this creative reading engenders a new philosophy of différence, which differs substantially from that of other French philosophers like Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide the students with a clear view of:

  • Deleuze’s creative reading practice;

  • the new type of philosophy that is engendered through this practice;

  • the rationale behind this conception of philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • Deleuze’s philosophy of difference;

  • the way in which Deleuze incorporates Nietzschean en Spinozists elements in his philosophy and links them to each other.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • interpretate the texts of Deleuze and relate critically to them;

  • engage with Deleuze’s way of doing philosophy.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Midterm essay (2,000 words)

  • Final essay (2,500 words)

Non-graded practical exercises

  • Each student has to hand in a proposal for the final essay and discuss it in smaller groups.

  • In the last seminar, each student will have to present a draft version of the paper.

These two exercises will not be graded, but are required for getting admission to the exam (final paper).


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the graded subtests:

  • Midterm essay (30%)

  • Final essay (70%)


The resit consists of one examination for all parts at once (100%), consisting of an essay of 4,500 words. The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests. No separate resits will be offered for subtests.

Class participation is required for taking the resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Selections from Deleuze’s Nietzsche et la philosophie (Nietzsche and Philosophy).

  • Selections from Deleuze’s Pure Immanence

  • Selections from Deleuze’s* Différence et répétition* (Difference and Repetition).

  • Selections from Deleuze’s Spinoza et le problème de l'expression (Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza).

  • Selections from Deleuze’s Spinoza (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy)

  • Selected secondary material.

Students are advised to purchase the French, English (or Dutch) version of Différence et repetition (the English translation will be used in the course). Other texts will be distributed or can be found online through the library.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. M. Boven


Not applicable.