April 15, 1980 to May 20, 1980

5 seminars (11 hours): During academic year 1979-80, Deleuze undertakes a thirteen-session study of Apparatuses of State and War Machines (6 Nov 1979 – 25 March 1980). Then, at the start of the 26 February 1980 seminar, Deleuze explains, “some of you asked me to do something that would be a kind of presentation on a very great philosopher, one that is very difficult, named Leibniz. … So, it could be very useful again to take up certain notions that we have worked on over several years. So anything is possible; it’s up to you, but as of now, or in a coming meeting, I will do something on Leibniz… a special request.”

We should note that during the 1979-80 academic year, the topic for the third examination (épreuve) in the national agrégation degree was “History of Philosophy: Stoicism, Leibniz, Schopenhauer”, so Deleuze’s choice, as was the case for the four-session Kant seminar (winter-spring 1978), may have linked his students’ needs with his own interests in Leibniz. As we know, he will return to Leibniz again in his final seminar, in 1986-87, as a means to examine the specific concept of the fold.

Moreover, it is helpful to recall what texts Deleuze was developing at the time of the 1980 lectures: besides reworking the 1970 Spinoza. Textes choisis (Paris: PUF, 1970) as Spinoza. Philosophie pratique (Paris: Minuit, 1981), Deleuze most certainly had begun work on Francis Bacon. The Logic of Sensation, also published the following year (La Roche-sur-Yon: Éditions de la différence, 1981). Several notions important to Deleuze in this short work ostensibly on painting will emerge forcefully (notably, “the cry”) as he lays the groundwork for concepts from Leibniz to which he will return later in the decade.

Please note that the transcriptions and translations below are entirely new versions, differing significantly from those that have hitherto been available at the WebDeleuze site. They now correspond as faithfully as possible, without omissions, to the recordings available from the BNF and YouTube (linked here on each transcript page).

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Leibniz: Philosophy and the Creation of Concepts