Deleuze's problem, or, how to arrive at a necessary thought.

Authors: Tom Roberts*, UNSW Canberra
Topics: Cultural Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: Deleuze, problem, nonhuman, subjectivity, art
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bonaparte, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In a short essay entitled "Michel Tournier and the world without others", Gilles Deleuze offers his readers an image of a world in which “the category of the necessary has completely replaced that of the possible” (Deleuze, 2004, p. 359). Stranded on a desert island, Tournier’s Robinson undergoes a fantastical re-composition of subjectivity: his desires are no longer limited to the possible worlds made manifest through the perceptual structure of the Other, but are now free to explicate the elementary forces of the island itself. Inspired by Robinson’s strange transformation, this presentation will examine the role of the necessary in Deleuze’s thought as it plays out in relation to problematization. My argument, then, is that an affirmation of necessity remains central to Deleuze’s conceptualization of problems, which, unlike solutions, cannot be defined according to their (im)possibility. Moreover, it is through this strange allure of the necessary that we might better grasp Deleuze’s concern for the nonhuman, not simply in terms of our relations with ‘more-than-human’ others, but rather as the problem of thought’s own necessity, whatever the domain. These conceptual arguments raise difficult questions when it comes to our capacity to make sense of the necessary through empirical experience. I engage these concerns through my own experimental ‘Robinsonade’: an encounter with Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles (1952), a work of art whose necessity demands to be thought through the viscerality of sensation.


Deleuze, G. (2004). The Logic of Sense. London: Continuum.

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