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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becoming, Deleuze, event, image, internal resonance, Logic of Sense, metaphysical surface, paradoxes, Plato, sense, signal-sign system, simulacrum

Notes on Logic of Sense: Preface, Series 1 and 2, Appendix 1 on Simulacrum and Ancient Philosophy


Logic of Sense: Preface

Here Deleuze begins by highlighting Carroll and the Stoics for their theory of events; he says that there is a marriage of language and the unconscious at work.

Paradoxes imply that sense is a nonexisting entity (xiii). Deleuze claims that the Stoics formed a new image of thought [how can this be linked to Difference and Repetition wherein Deleuze claims that it’s imperative to move beyond a certain dogmatic image of thought? Ultimately, in the preface Deleuze claims that Logic of Sense will attempt to develop a logical and psychological novel (xiv).

Series 1: Paradoxes of Pure Becoming

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badiou, BwO, Debord, Deleuze, Logic of Sense, oedipus

Converging Debord, Badiou, Deleuze and Guattari

Three aspects of the spectacle—society itself/parts of society/means of unification. This is the place of false consciousness because it is where all consciousness converges–it is merely the official language of generalized separation [Badiou, language of the state of the situation, field of knowledge that is encyclopedic in its domination–a truth pierces the whole of knowledge by piercing a hole in knowledge, and, shall we say, causes an irruption to take place within the “official language,” thereby reconstituting a counter-officiality, a counter-fidelity for the revolutionary reorganization of the molar state of the situation via molecular flows of singular multiplicities that are always already subtracted from the count in an endless proliferation of simulacra–thus the schizophrenic scrambles the codes and disorganizes the hierarchy where beginning and end, cause and effect lose their mark and cease to create limits–or at least, limits that work–so the schizo breaks through the system, showing it to be what it tries to deceive us it isn’t–an open system–Oedipus is open to the social field! The openness of the system requires for a new logic of the distribution of singularities on the potential field of forces that animates desire’s social fluxion and function (a flunction?). This new logic would have to take into account the affirmative, disjunctive synthesis that forces [shall I risk it?] value and sense to be determined only through the traversal of the distances between and among singular points (thus constituting a non-totalizing Whole that becomes added to the set as a part itself–much like the notion of the power set–the power set as non-totalized Whole allows for the communication of noncommunicating vessels–in effect, what D+G are describing here in Anti-Oedipus is a network that is not considered as a One. This network is added onto the parts as an excessive part–it is this excess that escapes that count-as-one, and it is this excess that constiututes the singular points of intensity on the BwO. But back to the open set–the BwO as open set–affirms what Deleuze will say in the Logic of Sense: “circle qua circle is neither a particular circle, nor a concept represented in an equation the general terms of which must take on a particular value in each instance; it is rather a differential system to which an emission of singularities corresponds” (123). This logic would lead us to conclude that the fields of potential and thresholds of intensities that are all involved with becomings on the BwO are to be opposed to the particularity of the formations of a global person that psychoanalysis constantly refers to (in its ego-obsessed variants). The externality of desire–its external relation to the Real, constituting it as such–forces the symbolic structures of Oedipus and spectacle to succumb to an openness that threatens the closed transmission of triangulating forms. Whereas in the triangle, Oedipalized subject is confined to a vertex, a mere corner–in the circle qua circle, the schizophrenic process flings the subject from any fixed (or repressed) position and endlessly de-centers the subject through a succession of states along a circle that must be conceived in terms of differential relations and not in terms of a fixed radius with particular values! To stress this last point, we have to assert that the formation of a circle must be infinite in progress, and thus errant too; in effect, there can be no telos of the circle, for a teleology would posit an end goal and purpose for the BwO-circle qua circle-will to power breaks apart the limits, rips open the vertices of the triangle, creating the real circle-square (Oedipus is not contradicted or neutralized, but instead both intensities coexist as operative forces–molecular and molarizing) Or does it instead proliferate as an endless number of concentric circles that rudely coexist–constituting the socius as BwO?].

Aion, Chronos, Deleuze, dialectics, Logic of Sense, surface, virtual

Logic of Sense: Series 2 on the Paradox of Surface Effects: Dialectics as the Art of Conjugation

In series 2 on the paradox of surface effects, Deleuze happens to mention dialectics as “the art of conjugation” (8). Before diving into the implications of this statement, we should note that for Deleuze, the pure event can be conceived of as an infinitive independent of any temporal, modal, vocal or personal grammatical determinations—and so in essence, this type of pure event can be conceived of properly as a pre-individual singularity that escapes the logical ordering of worlds (214). This insistence on the link between the infinitive and the event can be traced throughout the book and culminates in series 30 on the phantasm; however, we can understand how and for what purpose Deleuze chooses to designate a role for dialectics (note, not the dialectic) in his philosophy. All that is required is a more concrete definition of dialectics as Deleuze gives it and an unpacking of what the art of conjugation entails for an understanding of the way in which events come to be expressed in propositions and the way that these events are themselves related in propositions (8).

I did not happen to bring up series 30 on accident, for what Deleuze makes explicit is that psychoanalysis and dialectics, fundamentally at least, share a strong affinity (notice Deleuze chiding Freud for taking a ‘Hegelian’ position on the contradictory nature of primitive words) (213). This is because psychoanalysis takes phantasms as the (im)material for its science of events. Similarly, Deleuze links the incorporeal effects or “dialectical attributes” to the events that populate the surface (5). In fact, Deleuze will even say “The Stoics discovered surface effects. Simulacra cease to be subterranean rebels and make the most of their effects (that is, what might be called ‘phantasms,’ independently of the Stoic terminology)” (8). It is here that Deleuze first equates the event with being beyond the passive/active opposition, being both and neither at once (8).

If dialectics is “the science of incorporeal events as they are expressed in propositions, and of the connections between events as they are expressed in relation between propositions,” then one might well question whether or not Deleuze fully bypasses this sort of static conception of events (8). In fact, I want to hypothesize that Deleuze brings up dialectics at the start as a one-sided approach to the phenomenon of language formation along a frontier. What will become important to Deleuze is not simply how the infinitive-event is conjugated in a world, but instead how infinitive-events can be said to be a-cosmic and singular. This singularity can be tricky if we choose to see events circulating in a univocal Event that is transcendent to the world and its logic. If we choose to see the ideality of the pure event as transcendent, we fall into the easy trap that Badiou is guilty of—namely, that of condemning the concept of the virtual as that which introduces transcendence into an otherwise untainted, univocal system of immanence.

But this does not answer the obvious question—what does the virtual mean and how does it correlate with Deleuze’s concept of dialectics? If we can roughly divide the terms actual/virtual with the two movements of time Chronos/Aion, then we may be able to make some progress (or make things more confusing). As I understand it, Chronos is the time of the pure, full present, the past and the future being subsumed and contracted or folded into one layer. But Aion works exactly opposite: instead, future and past are infinitely subdivided and the present is what is empty—in this sense, the present is not, or it can be considered a void point. If we can imagine that the world partakes of both times at once, we belie the fundamental point—events that are temporalized have actual consequences on the world of Chronos. Instead of being just past or just about to come—as Deleuze understands the time of Aion and the pure event—actualized events come to share in the consequences of world formation and logical development. But this leaves the obvious question of the virtuality of the event: what about an event that isn’t actualized? We can say that the event did not take place because of a lack of force or because of a sufficient intensity for a zone was not activated. In other words, events have potentials that must be tapped into and unleashed for a proportionate actualization. In some sense, the event requires certain conditions and the relative critical energy in order for the chaos of the virtual to be actualized in the production of reality. It is, then, the duty of dialectics to be able to formulate specific conditions that augment the conjugation of pure events from the virtuality of Aion to the actuality of Chronos.

Deleuze, fold, Logic of Sense, metaphysical surface, ontological proposition, transcendental field

Series 17: Static Logical Genesis: Metaphysical Surface

The most intriguing concept in this series seems to be what Deleuze calls the metaphysical surface or the transcendental field. I want to hypothesize that the “transcendental” in this concept signifies the possibility of language. This has something to do not only with Deleuze’s insistence on a frontier of language, but also resonates strongly with his focus on what he calls folding or enveloping. I will try to illuminate the complexity behind these concepts and show how they all interpenetrate one another in order to constitute the metaphysical surface that makes language possible.

The ontological proposition deals with individuals and persons, the former being infinite analytically and the latter being finite synthetically. These two ground one another and allow for denotation (the realm of the infinite analytic) and manifestation (related to the finite synthetic nature of the person) to enter into language. Signification is defined by possibility, and takes the place of the logical proposition. Deleuze is unable to say whether signification is primary at the start because “signification presupposes . . . an entire play of denotation and manifestation both in the power to affirm premises and in the power to state conclusions” (119). Thus, signification actually presupposes the formation of a good and common sense, linked to the individual and the person respectively. The tertiary structure of the proposition is “contingent upon sense” because it is formed by ontological and logical geneses (119). There is a secondary organization of sense (good and common) that allows for Deleuze to talk about the two x’s: on the one hand we have the object without a place, that which always exceeds its boundaries, and on the other hand we have the empty square, that which serves as the empty form of identity that common sense produces. Deleuze explains that there is, beyond the tertiary order of the proposition and the secondary organization of sense, “a terrible primary order wherein the entire language becomes enfolded” (120).

This folding is where we start to deal with the surface of language, and Deleuze asks a key question before introducing the transcendental field: “How can we maintain both that sense produces even the states of affairs in which it is embodied, and that it is itself produced by these states of affairs or the actions and passions of bodies?” (124). His answer is that it resides in the depths of the pulsation of mixed bodies, “by means of its power to organize surfaces and to envelop itself within the surface” (124). This is why Deleuze will say that “The surface is neither active nor passive, it is the product of the actions and passions of mixed bodies” (124). Making an analogy with physical surfaces, Deleuze argues that there is a surface energy which, without being of the surface is attributed to surface formations. Thus with a physics of surfaces there arises a metaphysics of surfaces as well: it is this metaphysical surface which will act as the name for “the frontier established, on one hand, between bodies taken together as a whole and inside the limits which envelop them, and on the other, propositions in general” (125). This surface, then, is linked to a “sonorous continuum” which insures that speech sticks to the extra-Being of bodies in such a way to envelop them in the interiority of language—allowing for a frontier of sound (proposition) and substance (bodies).

The last thing to emphasize is that this metaphysical surface which acts as a frontier is not one that separates—and so, this is not a limit in the Hegelian sense. It’s a limit which is not one, a porous limit, a membrane as such. This membrane is actually the articulation of sense as that which happens to bodies and insists in propositions (125). It is also not a separation in the way that sense is doubled up at the surface and deployed on both sides of the frontier. It is when this frontier is abolished that sense irrupts into nonsense and bodies fall back into their depths, unable to signify or have sense. As Deleuze argues at the end of the series, as long as the surface lasts, sense will bring about individuation in bodies and signification in propositions, allowing for the true event of language to unfold.

being and event, counter-actualization, Deleuze, disjunctive synthesis, extra-being, Logic of Sense, Monads, univocty

Logic of Sense: Series 25

Of course, with Series 25, one could, along with Badiou, single out the title as the concept that needs to be unpacked, especially since univocity has a particularly Deleuzian ring to it. But the term—and Deleuze starts using it around p. 150 in the text—that most interests me in this series is counter-actualization.

On the one hand, we can remember the play of the virtual/actual couple that Badiou finds so fun to dismantle. On the other, the most important thing is to signify how this term works in this particularly situated part of the text. So, giving Deleuze the benefit of the doubt, we should keep in mind that Deleuze doesn’t use the word virtual anywhere in this passage. Neither does he use the word compossible in this passage, but since he has introduced this term with reference to Leibniz, I think it’s important to stress a point that Deleuze makes at the beginning of the series: there is no such thing as incompatibility between events because such a term can only be used when referring to worlds, individuals, or persons (177). Since the disjunctive synthesis is the basis for the affirmation of the divergent, worlds that actualize events can become incompatible because of the divergent singularities that populate their series; strictly speaking though, “it seems that all events, even contraries, are compatible” (177).

So, simply put, Deleuze’s question is: how is the individual able to “transcend his form and his syntactical link with a world” in order to “attain the universal communication of events” (178). But this is not so simple. Here Deleuze seems to mean the following: if, as quoted above, all events are compatible, then how is any language of the event possible? Before following Deleuze’s argument more closely, we should bring Leibniz back to the center of discussion. Deleuze draws on and explicates Leibniz’s theory of monads through The Logic of Sense, and so it would not be inappropriate here to talk about his theory of monads: all monads “perceive” the world from a distinct perspective and also link up with other monads, causing permutations in the vicinity as they link up–Deleuze continues this discussion in Difference and Repetition in order to explain the ways in which the monads express a differential relation between themselves (47). So, in themselves, monads contain a grain of truth about the world which they inhabit. Each monad must be considered in itself, a part which has a reciprocal relationship with other parts, like a link in a signifying chain, and thus a world is constructed from this double action.

Yet, as Deleuze points out, with the event we cannot refer to a grammar of worlds. Syntactically, the event seems both to insist on its extra-being and also entail a pre-individuality that lacks any true communicability. That’s unless we can bring about counter-actualization. In the sense that I understand it, counter-actualization comes about when an individual considers herself as an event and that event as “another individual grafted onto her” (178). This double affirmation extends to treating other individuals as events and their events as individuals—it is this affirmation that brings events “to the power of the eternal return” (178). The power of the eternal return is what allows for an affirmation of the disjunctive synthesis; in other words, the divergence of two series (individuals with respect to the distance of other individuals/events) is not only affirmative but it necessarily alters the other series by resonating in it and vice versa. It is the conjunction of Leibnizian monads and counter-actualization that allows for Deleuze to talk of a unique Event. It is this unique Event that the univocity of Being is: “if Being is the unique event in which all events communicate with one another, univocity refers both to what occurs and to what is said” (180).