Foucault: Lecture 24, 20 May 1986

Listed in Datasets publication by group The Deleuze Seminars

By Gilles Deleuze

Lecture given by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze at the University of Paris 8, 20 May 1986. This is lecture 24 of a 25-lecture seminar Deleuze taught between October 1985 and May 1986.

Version 1.0 - published on 01 May 2018 doi:10.4231/R7902201 - cite this Archived on 01 Jun 2018

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The Deleuze Seminars is a collection of audio recordings, transcriptions, and English translations of, and supplemental materials from, the lectures French philosopher Gilles Deleuze gave during his career at the University of Paris 8.

"Foucault" was a 25-lecture seminar given from October 1985 to May 1986. In these lectures, Deleuze offers his interpretation and analysis of French philosopher Michel Foucault's work. Examining the theoretical foundations and major themes of Foucault's philosophy, Deleuze dedicates several lectures to each of what he calls the "three axes" of Foucault's thought. This seminar coincides with the publication of Deleuze's book Foucault (1986).

The early portion of the 20 May 1986 lecture features Eric Alliez discussing social struggles in Italy and Italian Marxism. Topics of discussion from Deleuze's lecture include: the three historical ontologies according to Foucault: knowledge (le savoir), power and the self; Nicholas of Cusa, his treatise De Possest, being-force (l'être-puissance) and being-power (l'être-pouvoir); Foucault as a historian of conditions, knowledge, power and subjectivities; revisiting what "to think" (penser) means in Foucault; singularities, thought, chance and the relation of forces; play (le jeu); the relations of frequencies (AZERT); Nietzsche and Mallarmé; Heraclitus; Leibniz; that to think is to fold, and the thought of being-self (l'etre-soi) as constitutive; the inside (le dedans) of the outside (le dehors); the topology of thought; making a diagram of Foucault's thought; the “to see-to speak” (le voir-le parler) disjunction; strata, and the search for the non-stratified; life in the archive; non-stratified elements (e.g., the aerial, the oceanic, the zone of partial deaths or the zone of relations of forces as a relation between singular points, the zone of being-power); the line of the outside and singularities; Melville's novel  Moby-Dick, and the velocity (vitesse) of the lines of the outside; Belgian-born French artist and writer Henri Michaux, his experience with mescaline as captured in his novel Miserable Miracle, and his book Les Grandes Épreuves de l'esprit; the accelerated linear, the line of high velocity, molecular velocity, and the line of thought; velocity ​​and thought; that to think is to confront (affronter) the velocity of thought, and how to survive this; Spinoza's Ethics, Books IV and V; subjectivation; French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty's book The Visible and the Invisible, the "to see" and subjectivation, and painters; possible treatments of the lines of the outside; the stakes (mise en jeu) of linear systems; how to co-live (co-vivre) with, rather than survive until, death; the fold and the topology of subjectivity; Foucault, linguistics and literature, and the privilege of the statement; and time, Foucault’s The Order of Things, and the affection of thought by itself.

This dataset includes: four mp3 recordings of the lecture (total time, 2:45:49), an aggregate version of the audio recordings into a single mp3, and the complete French transcription of the recorded lecture in both pdf (24 pp) and plain text.

Note: Eric Alliez’s commentary runs from (approx.) the 2:50-35:57 marks of both the part 1 and the complete audio files. The volume for this portion of the recordings is very low, and at times Alliez is effectively inaudible. Alliez’s commentary has not been transcribed here.


Les Séminaires de Deleuze sont une collection d'enregistrements audio, de transcriptions et de traductions en anglais et de documents complémentaires des conférences que le philosophe français Gilles Deleuze a donné lors de sa carrière à l'Université de Paris 8.

«Foucault» était un séminaire de 25 conférences donné d'octobre 1985 à mai 1986. Dans ces conférences, Deleuze offre son interprétation et son analyse de l’œuvre du philosophe français Michel Foucault. En examinant les fondements théoriques et les thèmes majeurs de la philosophie de Foucault, Deleuze consacre plusieurs conférences à chacun de ce qu'il appelle les «trois axes» de la pensée de Foucault. Ce séminaire coïncide avec la publication du livre de Deleuze Foucault (1986).

La première partie de la conférence du 20 mai 1986 Eric Alliez discute des luttes sociales en Italie et du marxisme italien. Les sujets de discussion de la conférence de Deleuze comprennent: les trois ontologies historiques selon Foucault (la savoir, le pouvoir et le soi); Nicolas de Cues, son traité De Possest, l'être-puissance et l'être-pouvoir; Foucault comme historien des conditions, du savoir, du pouvoir et des subjectivités; un récapitulation de quoi «penser» signifie dans Foucault; les singularités, la pensée, le hasard et la rapport des forces; le jeu; les rapports de fréquences (AZERT); Nietzsche et Mallarmé; Héraclite; Leibniz; penser, c'est plier, et la pensée de l'être-soi comme constitutif; le dedans du dehors; la topologie de la pensée; faire un diagramme de la pensée de Foucault; la disjonction voir-parler; les strates, et la recherche de la non stratifiée; la vie dans les archives; les éléments non stratifiés (l'aérien, l'océanique, la zone des morts partielles ou la zone des rapports de forces comme un rapport entre les points singuliers, la zone de l'être-pouvoir); la ligne du dehors et les singularités; le roman de Melville Moby-Dick et la vitesse des lignes des lignes du dehors; l'artiste et écrivain français d'origine belge Henri Michaux, son expérience de la mescaline telle que capturée dans son roman Misérable Miracle, et son livre Les Grandes Épreuves de l'esprit; l’accéléré linéaire, la ligne de haute vitesse, la vitesse moléculaire et la ligne de la pensée; la vitesse et la pensée; penser, c'est affronter la vitesse de la pensée, et comment y survivre; L'Éthique de Spinoza, livres IV et V; subjectivation; le philosophe français Maurice Merleau-Ponty, son Le visible et l'invisible, le voir et la subjectivation, et les peintres; traitements possibles des lignes du dehors; le mise en jeu des systèmes linéaires; comment co-vivre avec, plutôt que survivre jusqu'à, la mort; le pli et la topologie de la subjectivité; Foucault, la linguistique et la littérature, et le privilège de l'énoncé; et le temps, Les mots et les choses de Foucault, et l'affection de la pensée par soi.

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This research has been generously supported through a grant from the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University.

The translations of Deleuze’s “Foucault” seminars have been made possible by a Scholarly Editions and Translations grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This research has also been generously supported through a grant from the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University.

The description of this dataset is based on the meticulous work of Frédéric Astier, whose Les cours enregistrés de Gilles Deleuze, 1979-1987 has catalogued Deleuze’s seminars for those years.

Special thanks to the family of Gilles Deleuze and the University of Paris 8 for permission to reproduce the material published here.

The Deleuze Seminars

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