Binding and Axiomatics: Deleuze and Guattari’s Transcendental Account of Capitalism

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The aim of this paper is to develop a consistent reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s account of capitalism by taking seriously their use of Kant’s philosophy in formulating it. In section 1, I will set out the two different roots of the term axiomatic in Deleuze and Guattari’s thought. The first of these is the axiomatic approach to formalising fields of mathematics, and the second the Kantian account of the indeterminate relationship between the transcendental unity of apperception and the transcendental object. In section 2, we will see how this transcendental aspect of Deleuze and Guattari’s account of axiomatics is expressed in the notion of binding, which Deleuze and Guattari take to be a process that forces us to understand a field of entities in a certain manner, namely as clearly delimited and deployed in a homogeneous space. I will argue that this process of binding operates as a transcendental condition for capitalism for Deleuze and Guattari. Section 3 addresses some of the details of the capitalist axiomatic itself, drawing out why a Kantian reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s account of the axiomatic provides a response to some of the criticisms of it. Section 4 then analyses Deleuze and Guattari’s account of the outside of capitalism, using the double signification of the noumenal to understand the complex relationship between what they call the war machine and its representation within the axiomatic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023

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