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What Is Philosophy?

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,373 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Called by many France's foremost philosopher, Gilles Deleuze is one of the leading thinkers in the Western World. His acclaimed works and celebrated collaborations with Félix Guattari have established him as a seminal figure in the fields of literary criticism and philosophy. The long-awaited publication of What Is Philosophy? in English marks the culmination of Deleuze's ...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published May 23rd 1996 by Columbia University Press (first published 1991)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,373 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Alex Lee
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, philosophy
I read this book three times over 10 years, before I really began to appreciate it. In a way, A Thousand Plateau's success kind of blinded people to what Deleuze and Guattari were doing. So this next book, feels more like a snap back. It's not the poetry approach, it's not the postmodernism. Here's an analytic account of concepts. What makes a concept? How does it work?

What is Philosophy comes close to approximating the relationship between domains and logic. But there is still a tendency here t
180114: later addition: another text i tried to read cold, 3 years ago. not easy. i have read much philosophy since, some Bergson is useful as deleuze refers to him, but i cannot yet say i
i understood it all this time. i did enjoy reading it, and must simply say i am 'confused on a higher plane...', and planes are what they are about here, 'planes of immanence', 'planes of transcendence', various sort of 'thought planes', populated by 'concepts'. i was able, this time, to think of these 'planes'
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Intricate and extremely rich, maybe a wee bit complicated for a rookie philosopher (= me), this book allows to grasp the beauty of Deleuze's complex writing, developing some of the authors' favored themes (the "concept", the "plan d'immanence", and interrelationships between philosophy, science and art).
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An absolutely incredible text. These two thinkers have been stellar. It is tragic that D&G are resented and despised in the academy. Yes, they are obscure. They have developed new concepts and created a new dimension of thought and discovery. This might sound overly dramatic, but there is deep truth in this work. Reading Deleuze’s other works [on modern philosophy] have helped quite a bit (Spinoza, Leibniz, Bergson, et al). It is easy to dismiss, but when one takes their time, the beauty unf ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Woah. When its clear, its brilliant. The concept, the plane of immanence, conceptual personae, all original and incredibly provocative ideas. I can't help but admire anyone who can create a philosophical system that is so totally its own thing. I don't really have the grounding to understand most of the math and science stuff, and it can get REALLY opaque at times. The stuff on literature and visual art though is really fantastic. For some reason this one line in the conclusion hit me like a bri ...more
Cary Aurand
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: passionate philosophers
this is one of the most profound and passionate works of philosophy i have ever read. D&G's last collaboration, it deals with everything from philosophy to psychology to advertising to 18th century french literature (and a strange fascination with Moby Dick). This book will wreck your world and make your head hurt, but it's irresistibly passionate. It's a revitalizing account of what philosophy (and life) should (and cold) be.
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Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, excellent and captivating...!
Em Laurent
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Deleuze, pace Spinoza, has usurped the great Heraclite for me at this time. My prince of philosophy.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: deleuze
This review functions partially as review and partially as personal annotation.

This book is a phenomenal read. One of the best that I have read in a while. The final work between Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. This book is dense – not near as dense as either of the volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia – but dense none the less. When one reads Deleuze and Guattari, it may be best to read them backwards, traveling from What is Philosophy? towards A Thousand Plateaus before moving on to Ant
Jan 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Philosophy Fans
Shelves: philosophy
The question of what philosophy even is recurs often. Few thinkers can leave it alone for long, least of all the French. In a complete rethinking of the problem, Deleuze and Gauttari turn to the world of experience: our sensations, which build into percepts that build out our concepts that build out our propositions. So located, the authors identify philosophy as the creation of the concept. They further identify and describe two other fields of human endeavor, science and art.

Two parts make up
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the two major endeavors of the book: 1) a definition of philosophy as the creation of concepts through the use of conceptual personae and 2) the subsequent comparison of philosophy with art and science when it comes to dealing with chaos. Much of the rest, despite Deleuze's incredible knowledge and insight, felt tangential and even uninteresting. During his (not-so) brief forays into geophilosophy, Godel's theorem, artistic perception, & logical deduction, I often felt the need to ...more
Mona Kareem
Philosophy is not 'to invent concepts' but 'to create' them!
Hossein Taghinejad
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Foucault: perhaps one day this century will be known as Deleuzian.
David M
Obscene graffiti in the margins of Kant.
JJ Weber
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think I get Deleuze now. Wish I had read this before reading Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
Ali Jones
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“What is philosophy?” by Deleuze and Guattari is a modern work, but still resembles the possibility of making a complete system of thought – not only in according to philosophy, but also art and science. The explanation of the way the three different disciplines confront chaos is, of course, explained in a philosophical way, although I often saw scientific terms in the book, since it is the way in which these authors write.

Philosophy is about creating concepts which can only be understood and p
Michael G
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Messy and eye-crossingly confusing, but fun. Like the best of D&G it's exhilarating in small bursts, overwhelming if taken word by word, and best taken in broad strokes. Also they give you the answer pretty early which is cool - Philosophy is the creation of concepts on a plane of immanence. As a bonus D&G also tell you why Philosophy is not Art, Logic, or Science and what Art, Logic, and Science are instead.

It feels kind of like a late in life philosophy work, D&G play fast and loo
Gracchus Babeuf
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-be-reread
I will certainly be rereading this book at some point, but it is marred by a rather uninteresting and unimpressive philosophy of science in the second half. The aesthetic theory is somewhat better but they really do not spend enough time on what is essential here: The Plane of Immanence.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Western thought isn't usually my jam, but it works a when it's concise: "Every sensation is a question, even if the only answer is silence."
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Philosophy is the discipline of creating, fabricating, forming, and inventing concepts, and it's more closely related to both art and science than you might think...
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Mostly nonsense, this one.
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's at least a double kind of misdirection involved in the seemingly innocent title of Deleuze and Guattari's last and powerfully written book: What Is Philosophy? (WIP). To start, this isn't at all a book for beginners, those wandering into philosophy for the first time, looking to get a handle on what exactly all the fuss is about. Written at the twilight of their careers (Guattari would die a year after its publication, Deleuze three years later), WIP is a condensation of two lifetimes of ...more
Ayanna Dozier
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Simply put, this is by far the best philosophical book I have read thus far in my academic career. Deleuze and Guattari clearly articulate the problems with philosophical thought and provide alternatives for thinking, existing, and navigating the concept of being in society. I am particularly fond of how they re-examine philosophy and take into consideration the role of the body which "traditional" philosophy constantly tries to do away with. This is crucial becomes it helps (in terms of literat ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Deleuze and Guattari’s final collaboration attempts to set philosophy apart from other creative disciplines by claiming that philosophy and philosophy alone (not science, and not art) is the creation of concepts. Science, they say, creates functions, and art creates blocks of sensation. By differentiating between the logical process of philosophy, which they say deals with the constitution of events, and that of science, which they say deals with the properties of constituted things, I believe D ...more
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Two philosophical types from France write about one of their favorite realms of human endeavor. The question has a short answer (the creation of concepts) but their longer answer gives one insight into why someone should even care to ask.

I have to admit, there were parts of this book that had me reeling; hopelessly confused, the best I could do was stumble on and hope that eventually the fog would recede. Because I used to be a terrible drunk this wasn't too difficult to do (or particularly worr
Ah, Deleuze and Guattari's last collaboration. The things I love about Deleuze are here, but so are my reservations. Namely the general opacity and the suspicious use of mathematical metaphor. Or not-metaphor, or whatever. But, as always, their observations on art are amazing, and their larger scale philosophical system remains so brilliant. The value of this book lies in their defense of philosophy and the need for such a system. A sort of Deleuze-on-Deleuze.
Gregor Kamnikar
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
It is a pinnacle of collaboration between these two fine thinkers. Amazing zipping of information in such small package :-) One of rare books that made me jump out of bed screaming "yessssss". Such a clever articulation of facts of life.

I was given this book to review though I am not a reviewer or prolific philosophy reader.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A little obtuse. It was Deleuze and Guattari's last collaboration, so it's quite interesting in light of their other work, though it lacks the same level of productivity as, say, 'A Thousand Plateaus.' Maybe I just enjoyed the concrete nature of ATP (not to mention the brilliant construction) and so the obtuseness of WIP threw me off.
Jun 04, 2007 rated it really liked it

If you want to get a close look at the beating heart of Deleuze and Guatarri's thoughts this is the book. This provides a very dense statement of the way they see everything. If you want to understand any and all other of their books, read this one first.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Probably the most straightforward of the D & G books... but it still sounds like the ramblings of a madman half the time. (a genius madman)
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Deleuze is a key figure in postmodern French philosophy. Considering himself an empiricist and a vitalist, his body of work, which rests upon concepts such as multiplicity, constructivism, difference and desire, stands at a substantial remove from the main traditions of 20th century Continental thought. His thought locates him as an influential figure in present-day considerations of society, crea ...more
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