Deleuze, Lucretius, and the Simulacrum of Naturalism
Brooke Holmes’s paper, “Deleuze, Lucretius, and the Simulacrum of Naturalism” addresses the attraction exercised by what Gilles Deleuze spent his life critiquing as a particularly dangerous myth, the myth of Platonism. Given the seductive appeal of a philosophy of essences, Deleuze sees an urgent need to reiterate philosophical pluralism as a rival image of thought. One such reiteration is his early reading of the De Rerum Natura, at the heart of which lies the figure of the simulacrum. The Lucretian simulacrum gives rise to two ways of seeing, two ways of understanding “the infinite.” On the one hand, the simulacrum, by concealing the “shocks” and “motions” through which it is produced, causes us to believe in the stable image and, hence, immortal forms. On the other, the simulacrum is the basis of an inferential seeing that allows us to go past the surface to glimpse the events and microbodies of the atomic world. Recognizing that this glimpse into atomic reality takes place through philosophy itself, since there is no naked disclosure of that world, Deleuze addresses the need for naturalism to “produce a phantom at the limit of a lengthened or unfolded experience.”
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