The Pure and Empty Form of Time: Deleuze’s Theory of Temporality

In Robert W. Luzecky & Daniel W. Smith (eds.), Deleuze and Time. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 45-72 (2023)
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Deleuze argued that a fundamental mutation in the concept of time occurred in Kant. In antiquity, the concept of time was subordinated to the concept of movement: time was a ‘measure’ of movement. In Kant, this relation is inverted: time is no longer subordinated to movement but assumes an autonomy of its own: time becomes "the pure and empty form" of everything that moves and changes. What is essential in the theory of time is not the distinction between objective ‘clock time’ (or physical time) and the subjective experience of ‘time consciousness,’ since both of them measure movements, whether the movement of extensive objects or intensive states. What is fundamental is rather the relation between time and movement, since time can only assume its own concept when it ceases to be subordinate to movement, whether that movement is objective or subjective. This article examines how Kant inverted the relation between time and movement, and how Deleuze’s own theory of time builds on Kant’s revolution and extends it further.

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Daniel W. Smith
Purdue University


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