Aberrant Movements: The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze ("Deleuze, les mouvements aberrants"), by David Lapoujade
In this comprehensive examination of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical work, David Lapoujade constructs the argument that "aberrant movements" are the central element which the author of Logic of Sense (“Logique du sens”) spent his life addressing.
A specialist in pragmatism
Born in Paris in 1964, David Lapoujade specialises in philosophy and especially in the teachings of Gilles Deleuze. In 1996, he published his dissertation on the pragmatism of the American philosopher William James and helped edit the French versions of several of his books, including: Précis de psychologie (2003) and Philosophie de l'expérience: un univers pluraliste (2007).
David Lapoujade, an assistant professor at Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne University, also took an interest in the work of French philosopher Bergson in Powers of Time (“Puissances du temps”) and in Gilles Deleuze: he edited Deleuze’s Desert Island: Texts and Interviews 1953-1974 ("Île déserte: textes et entretiens 1953-1974”) (2002) and Two Regimes of Madness (“Deux régimes de fous”) (2003) posthumously, before dedicating a work of his own to the philosopher with Aberrant Movements (2014).
In 2017, David Lapoujade published The Lesser Existences (“Les Existences moindres”), on the work of Etienne Souriau and the question of the degree of existence of virtual beings, especially fictional characters.
The problem of Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze contributed to questioning the work of many thinkers, including Hume, Nietzsche and Kant, but also philosophy itself, literature (Proust and Signs (“Proust et les signes”)), 1964), capitalism (1000 Plateaus (“Mille plateaux”)), 1980, with Félix Guattari) and cinema (The Movement-Image (“L'Image-mouvement”)), 1983; The Time-Image (“L'Image-temps”), 1985).
According to David Lapoujade, Deleuze is a philosopher of concepts and logic, yet he studies “aberrant movements” that a priori escape all rationality: from Zola’s naturalism, which inevitably leads his characters to madness and death, to certain nomadic peoples, to the Francis Bacon’s distorted portraits. Gilles Deleuze always seeks to introduce a logic to these "aberrant movements" – an “irrational logic,” as David Lapoujade puts it.
The basis of a philosophy
David Lapoujade recognises that “aberrant movements” is a concept that may appear minor in Deleuze’s work, compared to his famous concepts of immanence and virtual. The expression is first used quite late by the philosopher: it appeared in his thinking on cinema in the 1980s.
Nevertheless, David Lapoujade believes that “aberrant movements” appear across the totality of the philosopher’s thinking, and constitute a true key to reading his work. They are like Melville’s or Dostoevsky’s characters: they pursue a logic that escapes reason. And it is the duty of the philosopher to establish this logic, despite its apparent irrationality.
An Anglo-Saxon orientation
The English translation of Aberrant Movements was published in 2017 in the United States, the birthplace of the pragmatic philosophy that inspired Deleuze. The philosopher helped, in the footsteps of Henri Bergson, with the mid-twentieth century rediscovery of this anti-dogmatic attitude based on the importance of empirical verification, embodied in particular by a certain William James –whom David Lapoujade studied for his dissertation.
While Deleuze’s “aberrant movements” are empirical manifestations, they are above all an expression of a “struggle against death,” to the point of becoming a political struggle “against capitalism, which turns us into the living dead”.
Deleuze, the Aberrant Movements (“Deleuze, les mouvements aberrants”) has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish with the support of the Institut français.
Through its translation support programmes, the Institut français participates in the dissemination of French language humanities worldwide.