• BAKER, Langton G.

- La bête philosophe : French Nietzsche reception.

Résumé de Thèse par l'étudiant

This text establishes retrospectively a tradition of contemporary French Nietzsche scholarship and influence, represented in the works of Paul Valery, Georges Bataille, Pierre Klossowski, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, each studied in a separate chapter. The text affirms an implicit thesis to be found in Nietzsche's text derived from this philosophical critique of materialism. The latter critique questions the constitutive function of the position of the subject, adopting a skeptical stance with respect to science without reifying a hierarchized or progressivist grammar of history. The notion of the "crisis" of knowledge which many thinkers have taken to constitute the modern episteme (see for example Negri, Bachelard, Foucault, Habermas) is here conceived with respect to its limits as a version of a materialist account of ethics and politics. This confrontation is apparent in Nietzsche's self professed affinity for the philosophy of Spinoza in opposition to Descartes, Pascal, Kant and Hegel. The thesis is compared in terms of two broad sections. In Section I, Philosophy and Transvaluation, I assess three versions of the critique of modernity which in turn manifest three distinct attempts to bypass dilemmas in the reduction of critical skepticism to modes of what Nietzsche called the "Will to Nothing"--the most full blown denial of the conditions of life. All of these thinkers re-write Nietzsche into certain rhetorics of power. Valery reasserts the implicit ground of the gesture, while Klossowski asserts the link between the configuration of force itself (Will to Power) and an apocalyptic grounding of the identity of force and gesture. Section II, Power as Paradigm of Subjectivity: Politics and A-Politics, poses the general question of the conditions of the possibility of a politics of nihilism as an issue that separates the readings, and to some degree, the reading strategies of the works of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida. Their readings are distinguished on the basis of their different assessments of Nietzsche's notion of the eternal return. The thesis thus hopes to contribute to a continuing tradition of readership and debate within the Anglo-American reception of continental, and in particular French, philosophy.