Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Biswas Mellamphy, Nandita


This thesis is a commentary and exegesis on François Laruelle’s 1977 text Nietzsche contre Heidegger with a focus on the concept of the ‘Nietzschean problematic.’ It explores Laruelle’s use of Nietzsche by comparing his reading with that of Gilles Deleuze. This relation is explored in Deleuze and Laruelle’s reading of the Nietzschean problematic through the distinction between complementarity and supplementarity to enable a reading of Laruelle’s text as an extension of Deleuze’s project. This extension is one that simultaneously overturns what it extends. Laruelle’s aim is presented as a ‘machinic materialism’ infused with Derridean différance. Over the course of the thesis many of Laruelle’s concepts from Nietzsche contre Heidegger—machinic and political materialism, politico-libidinal cut, chiasm, quadripartite—are explored to provide a more concise picture of the Nietzschean problematic and what this problematic can do.

Summary for Lay Audience

This thesis provides a commentary on François Laruelle’s 1977 text Nietzsche contre Heidegger by exploring Laruelle’s concept of the ‘Nietzschean problematic.’ To do this, I compare Laruelle’s presentation of Nietzsche with Gilles Deleuze’s reading of Nietzsche in a number of texts including Nietzsche and Philosophy, Difference and Repetition and Anti-Oedipus. Deleuze’s interpretation was influential in 20th century France and more recently in English speaking continental philosophy. To provide a rupture in this influence, the thesis explores how Laruelle expands on Deleuze’s work while simultaneously subverting it. In doing so, the thesis also provides an introduction to the early period in Laruelle’s work—titled Philosophy 1—that has remained untranslated, and largely without commentary, despite Laruelle’s recent popularity by way of what is called non-philosophy or non-standard philosophy.

The overall focus is on a concept called the ‘Nietzschean problematic,’ which I read as the central concept of the text. This concept is notable for its development of a new method of political production. Commenting on this concept, I explore both its various attributes (as machinic, materialistic, intensive, chiasm, quadripartite, etc.) and the historical lineage that precedes it (through the work of Louis Althusser and Gilles Deleuze). The first two chapters work to gather and discuss these attributes, while the third chapter explores how they function in the Nietzschean problematic through the dissemination of what Laruelle terms the three syntheses of political production. Overall, this work aims at an understanding of how any totalizing theory can be overcome by way of problems that are inherent to it.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.