Doctor of Philosophy
Mary Beth Mader
Daniel J Smith
This dissertation draws on the work of Gilles Deleuze in order to address two major questions: (1) what is “structure,” and (2) what is the nature of its reality? Focusing on Deleuze’s early work in Difference and Repetition and Logic of Sense, I argue that Deleuze’s theory of structure provides a compelling alternative to structural ontologism, the position that structures are best thought of as reducible to individual objects, and structural platonism, the view that structures are eternal entities that are outside of space and time. In response to the first position, drawing on Deleuze’s critical account of Aristotle’s metaphysics, I contend that one of the main problems with ontologism is that it is unable to provide an adequate explanation of difference. I provide an explication of Deleuze’s argument that difference is ontologically prior to identity, showing the implications this argument has for developing a realist theory of structure. In response to the second position, I argue that the problem with platonism is that it theorizes structures as transcendent, and that, because of this, platonism is unable to account for the distinctive temporality and spatiality of structure. While Deleuze rejects many aspects of platonism, I provide an account of how Deleuze draws from Plato in order to develop a new theoretical account of structure by inverting the platonist position. Finally, focusing on the concepts that Deleuze develops in his work Logic of Sense, I present an account of his ontology of structure as it relates to paradox. I argue that, for Deleuze, rather than thinking of structures as coherent unified wholes, we should understand structures as inherently paradoxical.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest
Fee, Matthew Emmanuel, "The Ontology of Structure: Deleuze and Differential Realism" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3130.