ONTO-CARTOGRAPHY: review of a review of a review

Bryan Bannon reviews Levi Bryant’s ONTO-CARTOGRAPHY here. Levi Bryant reviews that review here. I am now reviewing Bryant’s review. So it goes.

Bryant seems to think Bannon’s review is “generally positive”. It is in fact quite damning in its content but diplomatic in its tone. The central idea of Bannon’s review is that there is a contradiction throughout Bryant’s ontology between his substantialism (fidelity to OOO) and his relationism (nostalgia for Deleuze).

Bryant does not reply to Bannon’s many arguments, but only to one point where Bannon says:

“The Deleuzian position on this subject is more sensible: the virtual is wholly indeterminate and is made actual in the specific relations a machine enters into. In many ways, Bryant develops his view out of what I take to be a misunderstanding of Deleuze and Guattari’s position on relationality (46-8): their point is less that there are necessary relations and more that nothing exists apart from its constitution via relations with other things, and virtual powers are made determinate through those relations”.

Bryant replies:

“Here it’s worth quoting Deleuze, “…far from being undetermined, the virtual is completely determined” (Difference and Repetition, 209).  This is a central point of chapter 4 of Difference and Repetition where the concept of virtuality is most thoroughly developed”.

This reply involves an unanalysed and unexplained quote from Difference and Repetition, ripped from its context. Further down on the same page we have:

What the complete determination lacks is the whole set of relations belonging to actual existence. An object may be
ens, or rather (non)-ens omni modo determinatum, without being entirely determined or actually existing.
There is thus another part of the object which is determined by

The object is “completely” determined (i.e. not undetermined) in its virtual part, but it is still indeterminate as to its actual relations with other actual objects. The virtual powers of an object are, as Bannon says, made determinate through its relations with other objects. Hence Bannon is right to accuse Bryant of misunderstanding Deleuze and Guattari on this point, and Bryant’s reply only perpetuates this misunderstanding;

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4 Responses to ONTO-CARTOGRAPHY: review of a review of a review

  1. landzek says:

    I tend to want of Bryants machines; maybe ill have to actually read ‘Onto-‘ but shit – $30 to maybe find out that it doesnt hold the potential i want it to?? That almost verifies its crdibility regardless if it has any actual merit. Lol.


  2. landzek says:

    …from the review i read on Harmans site and this one. I might wait until i can get it for $10 used.


  3. landzek says:

    .. And you know. I wonder if Bryant was influencedby Terrence Mckennas. Self trandforming machine elves ??

    Liked by 1 person

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