affirmation, Deleuze, depth, difference, Difference and Repetition, extensity, heterogeneity, illusion, quality, representation, sensibility, unground, volume

Intensive Depths: Notes on Difference and Repetition

In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze proposes what we may be permitted to term a differential phenomenology capable at last of setting mathematics and logic themselves upon a proper “ground” — that of difference, and multiplicity… Not only is it possible to overturn representation, but we can begin right away — if we immediately cease to encode relationships between singularities as identities, oppositions, analogies, and so on — but instead in terms of constitutive inequalities.

Deleuze’s project, as always, is pure affirmation without negativity or contradiction. Here he challenges all of us to affirm a Difference capable of constructing the very system which then cancels it — precisely by explicating it! — so that, strictly speaking, difference ought to be (and always will have been) inexplicable. What does this mean? How does this affirmation work?

Difference resists inclusion within the symbolic network which it produces as its destination and even “discovers” as its origin. Qualities, especially when taken as signs, present us with these same two faces. For on the one hand, they indicate “an implicated order of constitutive differences”; but on the other hand, the quality “tends to cancel out those differences in the extended order in which they are explicated.” (Difference and Repetition 228) It is also in this sense that signification is at once an origin and a destination (or directing agency, an “ordering” machine.) But the two functions are uneasily fused together: the destination denies the origin. Difference cancels itself by extending itself, covering itself with a quality. What happened? What is this uncanny “empirical” effect of qualitative distortion?

For Deleuze, “[t]he peculiarity of ‘effects,’ in the causal sense, is to have a perceptual ‘effect’ and to be able to be called by a proper name (Seebeck effect, Kelvin effect…), because they emerge in a properly differential field of individuation which the name symbolises. The vanishing of difference is precisely inseparable from an ‘effect’ of which we are victims.” (D&R 228) The unblinking (or “indifferent”) victims of a vanished Difference which nonetheless lives on, in itself, even as it is being evacuated, cancelled, and mutilated by its own explication. Deleuze returns again and again to the the two distinct “faces” of pragmatics, characterized by the fixation upon a particular “extensity” guaranteed by an illusory functionalization of difference (for example, the empirical or sensible as opposed to the transcendental.)

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Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, differenciation, Eros, French Translation, habit, memory, ontology, Psyche, syntheses of the unconscious, Thanatos, unconscious, Untranslated Theory, virtual

Translation from Gilles Deleuze’s Ontology: Véronique Bergen on the Syntheses of the Unconscious in Difference and Repetition


The following is an excerpt on the syntheses of the unconscious in Difference and Repetition from Véronique Bergen’s L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001. 325-327. Original translation by Taylor Adkins on 11/05/07.

The three syntheses of the unconscious in the times developed in Difference and Repetition, the three “beyonds of the pleasure principle”[1] organizing bio-psychic life

“correspond to figures of repetition, which appear in the work of a great novelist: the binding, the ever renewed fine cord; the every displaced stain on the wall; the ever erased eraser. The repetition-binding, the repetition-stain, the repetition-eraser: the three beyonds of the pleasure principle. The first synthesis expresses the foundation of time upon the basis of a living present, a foundation which endows pleasure with its value as a general empirical principle to which is subject the content of the psychic life in the Id. The second synthesis expresses the manner in which time is grounded in a pure past, a ground which conditions the application of the pleasure principle to the contents of the Ego. The third synthesis, however, refers to the absence of ground into which we are precipitated by the ground itself: Thanatos appears in third place as this groundlessness, beyond the ground of Eros and the foundation of Habit” (Difference and Repetition, tr. Paul Patton, p. 114).

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A Thousand Plateaus, abstract machine, concept, Deleuze, diagram, Difference and Repetition, French Translation, Logic of Sense, ontology, Véronique Bergen

Translation: Véronique Bergen’s Diagram of the Evolution of Deleuzian Concepts

The following is a translation of a section containing a table of the evolutions of the names of the transcendental field and the operators of differenciating liaisons from L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze, Véronique Bergen. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001. 545-549.
Original translation by Taylor Adkins 11/05/07.

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A Thousand Plateaus, definitions, Deleuze, difference, Difference and Repetition, French Translation, intensity, Logic of Sense, nomadic distribution, ontology, pre-individual, singularities, Theory / Philosophy, transcendental field, univocity, Untranslated Theory, Zourabichvili

Translation: Two Entries from Francois Zourabichvili’s book on Deleuze’s Vocabulary: Univocity and Pre-Individual Singularities


The following are two entries from Francois Zourabichvili’s book La vocabulaire de Deleuze. Paris: Ellipses, 2003. Original Translation by Taylor Adkins 11/03/07.

Pre-individual Singularities

* We cannot accept the alternative which thoroughly compromises psychology, cosmology, and theology: either singularities already comprised in individuals and persons, or the undifferentiated abyss. Only when the world, teeming with anonymous and nomadic, impersonal and pre-individual singularities, opens up, do we tread at last on the field of the transcendental (LS 103).

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Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, Disparation, individuation, information, philosophy of science, potentiality, pre-individual milieu, Ruyer, Simondon, singularities, Transduction

Paper Proposal: Information, Disparation, Transformation: Simondon, Ruyer, Deleuze and the Affective Pre-Individual Field of Singularities


Paper Proposal : Philosophy of Science

Information, Disparation and Affectivity: the Pre-Individual Field of Singularities in Simondon, Ruyer and Deleuze

On the importance of disparate series and their internal resonance in the constitution of systems, see Gilbert Simondon, L’individu et sa genese physico-biologique, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1964, p. 20. (However, Simondon maintains as a condition the requirement of resemblance between series, or the smallness of the differences in play: pp. 254-7). [Gilles Deleuze. Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia, 1994. fn. 25, p. 318.]

On depth, stereoscopic images and the ‘solution of the antinomies,’ see Raymond Ruyer, ‘Le relief axiologique et le sentiment de la profondeur,’ Revue de metaphysique et de morale, July 1956. On the primacy of ‘disparateness’ in relation to opposition, see Gilbert Simondon’s critique of Lewin’s ‘hodological space’ in L’individu et sa genese physico-biologique, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1964, pp. 232-4. [Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia, 1994. fn. 12, p. 330.]

Raymond Ruyer, La genese des formes vivantes, Paris: Flammarion, 1958. pp. 91 ff.: “The mystery of differenciation cannot be elucidated by making it the effect of differences in situation produced by equal divisions…”. Ruyer, no less than Bergson, profoundly analysed the notions of the virtual and actualisation. His entire biological philosophy rests upon them along with the idea of the ‘thematic.’ See Elements de psycho-biologie, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1946, ch. 4. [Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia, 1994. fn. 28, p. 328.]

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axiomatics, Brunschvicg, Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, foundations of mathematics, French Translation, Hilbert, Lautman, mathematics, metamathematics, Poirier, problematics, Russell, Uncategorized, Untranslated Theory, Whitehead

Translation: Albert Lautman’s Essay on the Notions of Structure and Existence in Mathematics


We should speak of a dialectics of the calculus rather than a metaphysics. By “dialectic” we do not mean any kind of circulation of opposing representations which would make them coincide in the identity of a concept, but the problem element in so far as this may be distinguished from the properly mathematical element of solutions. Following Lautman’s general thesis, a problem has three aspects: its difference in kind from solutions; its transcendence in relation to the solutions that it engenders on the basis of its own determinant conditions; and its immanence in the solutions which cover it, the problem being the better resolved the more it is determined. Thus the ideal connections constitutive of the problematic (dialectical) Idea are incarnated in the real relations which are constituted by mathematical theories and carried over into problems in the form of solutions (Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia, 1994. p. 178.).

Following Lautman and Vuillemin’s work on mathematics, ‘structuralism’ seems to us the only means by which a genetic method can achieve its ambitions. It is sufficient to understand that the genesis takes place in time not between one actual term, however small, and another actual term, but between the virtual and its actualisation–in other words, it goes from the structure to the incarnation, from the conditions of a problem to the cases of solution, from the differential elements and their ideal connections to actual terms and diverse real relations which constitute at each moment the actuality of time. This is a genesis without dynamism, evolving necessarily in the element of a supra-historicity, a static genesis which may be understood as the correlate of the notion of passive synthesis, and which in turn illuminates that notion. Was not the mistake of the modern interpretation of calculus to condemn its genetic ambitions under the pretext of having discovered a ‘structure’ which dissociated calculus from any phoronomic or dynamic considerations? There are Ideas which correspond to mathematical relations and realities, others which correspond to physical laws and facts. There are others which, according to their order, correspond to organisms, psychic structures, languages, and societies; their correspondences without resemblance are of a structural-genetic nature. Just as structure is independent of any principle of identity, so genesis is independent of a rule of resemblance. However, an Idea with all its adventures emerges in so far as it already satisfies certain structural and genetic conditions, and not others. The application of these criteria must therefore be sought in very different domains, by means of examples chosen almost at random (Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia, 1994. p. 183-84.).

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