There is no overarching blanket concept in Deleuze’s philosophy. In several of my posts I am merely using the concept of multiplicity strategically in order to contest the false unity that is often projected onto Deleuze’s work in progress by seeing it as simply reducible to a philosophy of difference.

This is also one way to defend Deleuze from Laruelle’s critiques, which are based on this monistic reduction of Deleuze’s pluralism to a philosophy of difference. I would add that I also refuse the reductive overcoding by means of the “fold”, reading it retrospectively as the major concept of Deleuze’s philosophy.

On the question of Deleuze’s third synthesis of time, I accept its futurality but I reject its characterisation as “return”. The attempt to mitigate its incoherence by the denomination “intensive” return is a cop out. Deleuze in his later works keeps the futurality (e.g. in his evocation of a “people to come”) but drops the “return” and de-emphasises “difference”, and this is an improvement.

On the question of the treatment of the “eternal return” in RHIZOME: in the introduction to A THOUSAND PLATEAUS, Deleuze and Guattari make a distinction between the figure of the a-centric non-unitary rhizome and figures that apparently renounce unity but that re-constitute it at a higher level. This is the heart of  their analysis of the “fascicular” system as opposed to the rhizome.

In this book Deleuze and Guattari analyse the “eternal return” as belonging to the the fascicular mode rather than to the rhizome. Similarly, they consider Burroughs’ “cut-up” as being fascicular, involving a “supplementary dimension” of folding where a spiritual unity persists. In DIALOGUES Deleuze contrasts Burroughs’ cut-up technique with his own “pick-up” method, which involves consistences arising out of contingent encounters.

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  1. Carl Looper says:

    There is a monism of sorts in Deleuze but its not your typical monism. Very early in Deleuze work he distinguishes between quantitative difference ( d = a – b ) and qualitative difference (chalk and cheese). In the former is required that the items belong to the same set ( and this will be Badious set theory) wherea in the later is to be understood an open set that allows incompatible items to be related (as different) by virtue of lacking a common attribute with which to otherwise measure the difference between items of such a set. It is this later kind of difference that Deleuze will assign a “unity” insofar as it is the only one capable of describing the difference between the two kinds of difference. The first relates already homogenised items while the later relates heterogenous items ( which must include the set of homogenous items as well insofar as they must inevitably differ from that which they they would otherwise exclude ). Deleuze maintains this position in The Cinema Books so its by no means a position he has dropped in his late work. And for good reason since it is a powerful concept.


    • terenceblake says:

      You are right to say that Deleuze did not drop the concept of difference. It underwent a displacement where he ceased to give it the centrality that he had previously assigned to it. My hypothesis is that its centrality was one of the “masks” that he donned when differentialism was rampant, but that ultimately his problematic was wider than the form it took in this particular intervention.


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