Dr. Noa Levin | Assoziierte Forscherin

Kritisches Denken im Plural. Begriffliche Wege der Sozialforschung
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
E-Mail: noa.levin  ( at )  cmb.hu-berlin.de Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Fachbereich : Philosophie |


Les recherches de Noa Levin portent sur les histoires critiques de la philosophie européenne et sur la philosophie du temps et de l'histoire, notamment dans les œuvres de Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze et G.W. Leibniz.

Elle a récemment soutenu sa thèse doctorale au Centre of Research in Modern European Philosophy de Kingston University, Londres, après avoir obtenu un MPhil en culture et littérature européennes en tant que boursière Gates à l'université de Cambridge, et une BA en philosophie et cinéma à l'université de Tel Aviv.

Ses intérêts de recherche plus larges comprennent la philosophie de la technologie, la philosophie de l’histoire, la philosophie politique et l’esthétique, dans les philosophies françaises et allemandes du XXe siècle, ainsi que leurs racines dans la philosophie du début de la période moderne au XVIIe siècle.

Lebenslauf als Datei
Titel der Dissertation

Living Mirrors of the Universe: Expression and Perspectivism in Benjamin and Deleuze after Leibniz


Zusammenfassung der Dissertation

This thesis argues for the significance of G.W Leibniz’s concepts of ‘expression’, ‘force’ and ‘perspective’ to the writings of Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze. By triangulating the philosophical projects of Benjamin, Deleuze and Leibniz, the thesis opens up new perspectives and provides new readings of all three. Designating a structure of relations in which every simple substance or monad serves as a ‘living mirror’ of the universe, Leibniz’s concept of ‘expression’ denotes virtual inclusion or immanence. His concept of ‘force’ denotes the self-incurred drive that motivates the monad to action, while his ‘perspectivism’ defines the monads individuality through their infinite points of view on the world. Deleuze and Benjamin, I suggest, appropriate Leibniz’s concepts as part of their respective critiques of epistemology, which target Kant’s conception of experience as a hierarchic relation of representation, allowing them  to redefine experience as non-hierarchal, de-centred and embodied. At the same time, for both, Leibniz’s philosophy serves to criticize historicist views of chronological time. Leibniz’s perspectivism is reformulated by Deleuze and Benjamin as part of their respective critical theories of the image, culminating in their later formulations of the ‘dialectical’ and ‘crystal’ image, respectively. The conclusion however, highlights the diverging paths formed by their returns to Leibniz. Benjamin develops a politically effective ‘historical perspectivism’ in which the discontinuity of history enables ‘true historical time’ to replace chronological time. Deleuze, on the other hand, opts for an a-historical pure form of temporality, his ‘mannerist perspectivism’ describing a continuous, perpetually repeated ‘becoming’.

Institution der Dissertation

Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) Kingston University, London


Prof. Peter Osborne

Organisation von Veranstaltungen

7/2019 ‘Übersetzungen von Gewalt’ workshop on Walter Benjamins ‘Zur Kritik der Gewalt’, supported by Centre Marc Bloch and ZfL, Berlin.

6/2017 ‘Benjamin and Leibniz: On Expression’ workshop, supported by Goldsmiths University of London, The London Graduate School, and CRMEP at Kingston University.

Nature, Community and Climate Justice: Benjamin and Arendt

This project suggests that Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt’s political theories, and specifically their reflections on the relations between nature, justice and community, can provide useful insights for the current debate on climate justice. The concept ‘climate justice’ has been adopted in the last two decades by theoreticians, policymakers, and activists to describe a theoretical framework that focuses on the inequitable effects of climate change on vulnerable groups. The question of which people or countries should bear the responsibility for the effects of climate change is a central one within this framework. Specifically, while the Rio Earth summit (1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997) defined these responsibilities as “common but deferential”, the tensions that arise from this formulation have not been addressed, as discussed by historian Dipesh Chakrabarti in his Tanner lectures. Arendt and Benjamin’s theories, which view justice in the present as inseparable from historical remembrance [Eingedenken], but also put forward concepts of action, community and commonality, may be useful, this project suggests, for intervening in the contemporary debate. Their critique of modern science and epistemology, moreover, may shed light on the way in which modernity itself is implicated in the violent exploitation of nature. Finally, the project will show how, with ecofeminist Vandana Shiva, their theories open up a possibility of climate justice achieved through “earth democracy”.


Noa Levin. Montage Mahagonny: Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht's Theatre of Interruptions. Material und Begriff. Arbeitsverfahren und theoretische Beziehungen Walter Benjamins, (Hamburg: Argument) 2019.

‘Specters of Eternal Return: Benjamin and Deleuze Read Leibniz’. Filozofski vestnik, Special Issue on “World”, 2021 (forthcoming).

Review of Thomas Nail, Theory of the Image. Philosophy of Photography, Volume 11 Numbers 1 & 2, 2020.