Deleuze and Naturalism

Paul Patton

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Against the tendency to regard Deleuze as a materialist and a naturalistic
thinker, I argue that his core philosophical writings involve commitments
that are incompatible with contemporary scientific naturalism. He defends
different versions of a distinction between philosophy and natural science that
is inconsistent with methodological naturalism and with the scientific image of
the world as a single causally interconnected system. He defends the existence
of a virtual realm of entities that is irreconcilable with ontological naturalism.
The difficulty of reconciling Deleuze’s philosophy with ontological naturalism is
especially apparent in his recurrent conception of pure events that are irreducible
to their incarnation in bodies and states of affairs. In the last section of this essay,
I canvass some of the ways in which Deleuze’s thought might be reconciled with
a more liberal, pluralist and ethical naturalism that he identified in an early essay
on Lucretius.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348–364
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Deleuze
  • ethical naturalism
  • events
  • methodological naturalism
  • ontological naturalism
  • Transcendental Empiricism


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