A System of Heterogenesis: Deleuze on Plurality

In van der Heiden (ed.), Phenomenological Perspectives on Plurality. Brill. pp. 175-194 (2014)
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Abstract

In almost all of his early works Gilles Deleuze is concerned with one and the same problem: the problem of genesis. In response to this problem, Deleuze argues for a system of heterogenesis. In this article, I argue that Deleuze’s system of heterogenesis operates on three levels: (1) the differential multiplicity of virtual Ideas; (2) the implied multiplicity of intensive dramas; (3) the extensive and qualitative diversity of actual concepts. As I hope to show, the relation between these three levels can be explained in terms of the logic of expression that Deleuze develops in 'Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza.' In this way, I hope to gain clarity without losing nuance. The rather technical and abstract language of expression will become more concrete and understandable when it is understood in terms of intensive dramas, virtual Ideas and actual concepts. At the same time, the three levels of expression make it possible to show how these notions are interlinked. Accordingly, this article is divided in four parts. In the first part, I will explain how Deleuze takes up Kant’s discovery of the principle of difference as a reaction against the model of representation. The second part focuses on the two multiplicities (virtual Ideas and intensive dramas) that produce diversity (actual concepts). In the third part, these two multiplicities are linked to each other with the help of the logic of expression that Deleuze derives from Spinoza. The fourth, concluding part will connect the logic of expression to the complex dynamic of difference and repetition.

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Martijn Boven
Leiden University

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