Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Morgan Elbot



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Michael Monahan

Committee Member

Mary Beth Mader

Committee Member

Daniel Smith

Committee Member

Lewis Gordon


This portfolio style dissertation examines the relationship between philosophy and method from distinct traditions in continental philosophy. The first chapter presents an exegetical analysis of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s metaphilosophical account of concept creation and Deleuze’s critique of method in the context of the dogmatic image of thought. The analysis explores the various facets and theoretical influences of his critique in order to elucidate the parameters of his rejection of method as part of the creative activity that defines philosophical practice. Through identifying exceptions that qualify the extent of his critique, the chapter concludes by calling for a new image of method—akin to the new image of thought Deleuze found in Nietzsche—that is neither constrained by the Cartesianism Deleuze associates with method nor modeled on the sciences; a philosophical conception of method that accords with the specific nature of philosophical inquiry. The subsequent chapters can be understood as responding to this challenge, endeavoring to reconceive method and philosophy’s relation to it. The second chapter approaches this task from the broadest scope, addressing the question—"what is method?”—by distinguishing between two conceptions of method: procedural and relational. In comparing the circularities of each conception’s meta-methodological analysis, I argue that the reflexivity of the relational conception of method makes it a better suited framework for philosophical inquiry. The latter portion of the chapter develops this argument by demonstrating how the methodological openness of the relational conception of method can be cultivated through a practice of philosophical questioning that is immanent, incomplete and reflexive. The final chapter presents a phenomenological account of method that is grounded in its spatial and temporal dimensions, highlighting the significance of such contextual features in examining philosophy’s methodological orientation to its objects of study. The chapter is structured around the phenomenological analyses of Sara Ahmed and Alia Al-Saji, developing a phenomenology of method through a comparative analysis with their accounts of orientation and racializing vision. In synthesizing the insights that emerge in the course of identifying the spatial and temporal dimensions of method, I conclude by positing a praxis of hesitant-disorientation that seeks to foreground the contextual features and histories of methods in an effort to reimagine philosophy’s relation to its own methodological orientations.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access