Gilles Deleuze and Michel Henry: Critical Contrasts in the Deduction of Life as Transcendental

James Williams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    To address the theological turn in phenomenology, this paper sets out critical arguments opposing the theist phenomenology of Michel Henry and Gilles Deleuze's philosophy of the event. Henry's phenomenology has been overlooked in recent commentaries compared with, for example, Jean-Luc Marion's work. It will be shown here that Henry's philosophy presents a detailed novel turn in phenomenology structured according to critical moves against positions developed from Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. This demonstration is done through a strong contrast with Deleuze and a short engagement with Quentin Meillassoux. The paper presents an argument against the theological turn on the grounds that it misunderstands the form of affectivity when compared to Deleuze's work on affect and event. It will be argued that Henry's search for a free-standing affect deduced as a condition for any appearance underplays the way any affect is included in many causal and transcendentally determined series such that any notion of the pure affect independent of other processes is a fiction. The loss of this pure affect entails the questioning of the theological turn in Henry.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)265-279
    Number of pages15
    Issue number3
    Early online date21 Aug 2008
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


    • Affect
    • Auto-affection
    • Event
    • Deleuze, Gilles, 1925-1995
    • Henry, Michel
    • Transcendental
    • Suffering
    • Phenomenology


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