Gilles Deleuze: biography of this French philosopher

Gilles Deleuze was a French philosopher, considered one of the most influential in the French country during the second half of the twentieth century.

From the 1950s until his death, he wrote numerous works on the history of philosophy, politics and also tackled literature, cinema and painting. Let’s look at his life through this biography of Gilles Deleuze, In which we will see his intellectual journey in a few words.

    Biography of Gilles Deleuze

    The life of Gilles Deleuze is that of a great thinker, connoisseur of the work of great philosophers and artists both of his time and of his past, and the end, traumatic and surprising, was the end of one most relevant for France during the last century.

    Early years and training

    Gilles Deleuze was born in Paris, France, on January 18, 1925, into a bourgeois family.. His parents, Louis Deleuze, engineer, and his mother, Oddet Camaüer, housewife, were attached to the Croix de Feu organization, a right-wing paramilitary political league, predecessor of the French Social Party. From an early age, Gilles had respiratory problems, which made him vulnerable to any flu, colds and allergies he might have.

    In 1940, started World War II and while his family was on vacation in Deauville Gilles Deleuze discovered French literature thanks to his master Pierre Halbwachs. There he would read Baudelaire, Gide and France.

    Still at war, he attended the Lycée Carnot and, during the Nazi occupation, attended the arrest of his brother George, who participated in the French resistance and died in a concentration camp.

    Despite this, Gilles attended the Sorbonne between 1944 and 1948, studying philosophy. There he knew great thinkers of his time, such as Georges Canguilhem, Ferdinand Alquié, Maurice de Gandillac and Jean Hyppolite.

    Teacher and writer

    After completing his studies, Deleuze taught in various schools until 1957, then returned to his alma mater and taught at the Sorbonne. In 1956, he married Denise Paul Grandjouan.

    Several years earlier, in 1953, he had published his “Empiricism and Subjectivity,” which is an essay on Hume’s famous “Treatise on Human Nature”.

    Between 1960 and 1964, he worked at the National Center for Scientific Research (“National Center for Scientific Research”, CNRS), during which period he published Nietzsche et la Philosophie (“Nietzsche et la Philosophie”) in 1962. It was also at this time that he met the great Michel Foucault, a person with whom he shared an important friendship..

    After finishing his period at the CNRS, he taught for five years at the University of Lyon, during which time he published in 1968 Difference and Repetition and Spinoza and the problema of expression (“Spinoza and the problem of expression” ).

      University of Paris VIII

      In 1969 he went to work at his last university, Paris VIII, where he was a professor until his retirement in 1987.

      There he worked with Foucault and, too, would be where he would know him in Felix Guattari, heterodox psychoanalyst with whom he would begin a beautiful collaboration.

      This collaboration proved to be very fruitful and gave birth, in 1972, to Capitalism and Schizophrenia 1. Anti-Oedipus (“Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus”) and the second volume, Capitalism and Schizophrenia 2 A Thousand Plates (1980).

      It is in these works that Gilles Deleuze affirms that “what defines a political system is the path by which its society has traveled”.

        last years

        Deleuze’s ideology is confined to anarchist philosophy, or as a Marxist in the more libertarian sector.. Although Gilles Deleuze was quite critical of the Marxist movement, he saw himself as such.

        He considered that it was impossible to do political philosophy without focusing on an analysis of capitalism. A demonstration of his Marxist interests was his unfinished work “The Greatness of Marx” (“The Greatness of Marx”).

        What ended his life were not the many respiratory problems he suffered from, although these were the ones that motivated him to kill himself. Towards the end of his life, he was diagnosed with severe respiratory failure and on November 4, 1995, he decided to put an end to it by throwing himself out of the window of his apartment on Avenue Niel.

        Deleuze’s philosophy

        Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy can be divided into two parts. The first corresponds to the one who came after the end of his studies in 1948, who devoted himself to producing monographs on several important philosophers for Western thought, such as David Hume, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Nietzsche, Baruch Spinoza, in addition to various artists. such as Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch …

        In these works of great thinkers, he consolidates his own intellectual thought, which he has just put in place by publishing Difference and Repetition in 1968 and Logic of Meaning a year later.

        On the other hand, and here we enter its second part, he wrote books on more eclectic philosophical concepts. The subject was quite varied, without however leaving aside the way of explaining the concept in question from a philosophical point of view, such as schizophrenia, cinema, meaning … These ideas gave them their own character, the sa own intellectual variation.


        In a more traditional philosophy, we have the idea that the difference stems from the identity. For example, to say that something is different from something else assumes a certain minimum identity between the two elements.

        However, Deleuze argued rather the opposite, that all identity is the result of difference. The categories we use to differentiate people (French and German, Communists and Liberals, women and men, academics and non-academics …) stem from differences, and not from a common identity to which we have given particular aspects.

        About the company

        Ancient societies used simple machines, while disciplinary societies were equipped with energy machines.. This sentence, so abstract at the start, was Gilles Deleuze’s vision of the functioning of societies, whether by applying principles of control or disciplinary principles.

        In controlling societies, it works on machines of the third type, such as computers. It controls the information, the data that people receive from the comfort of their homes. If Deleuze died long before the advent of modern smart phones, this idea of ​​the controlling society which, through the latest news, “hashtags” and message chains, shapes the emotions and the thinking of the population, c is really a description of our reality.

        In a society where the technological revolution has taken place, in particular with the improvement of information and communication technologies (ICT), capitalism is no longer based on production, a production that was introduced in third world countries. It is a capitalism of overproduction and overconsumption. Developed countries no longer buy raw materials and sell finished products, but buy finished products or assemble their parts. What you want to sell are services and what you want to buy are stocks.

        In the old sovereign societies, it worked with simple machines: levers, pulleys, clocks … On the other hand, the later disciplinary societies were equipped with energy machines and, the current control societies, they work with machines of the third type, mainly computers and other media. The technological revolution is a profound mutation of capitalism.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Abbate, F. Páez, P. (2001) Gilles Deleuze for beginners, tank top, Buenos Aires.
        • Abraham, T., (2011) The Deleuze Machine, South American, Buenos Aires 2011.
        • Alliez, I. (1996) Gilles Deleuze. A Philosophical Life, Gilles Deleuze International Meetings, Rio de Janeiro – São Paulo.

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