Against the Virtual: Kleinherenbrink’s Externality Thesis and Deleuze’s Machine Ontology

Cosmos and History 16 (1):492-599 (2020)
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Abstract
Drawing from Arjen Kleinherenbrink's recent book, Against Continuity: Gilles Deleuze's Speculative Realism (2019), this paper undertakes a detailed review of Kleinherenbrink's fourfold "externality thesis" vis-à-vis Deleuze's machine ontology. Reading Deleuze as a philosopher of the actual, this paper renders Deleuzean syntheses as passive contemplations, pulling other (passive) entities into an (active) experience and designating relations as expressed through contraction. In addition to reviewing Kleinherenbrink's book (which argues that the machine ontology is a guiding current that emerges in Deleuze's work after Difference and Repetition) alongside much of Deleuze's oeuvre, we relate and juxtapose Deleuze's machine ontology to positions concerning externality held by a host of speculative realists. Arguing that the machine ontology has its own account of interaction, change, and novelty, we ultimately set to prove that positing an ontological "cut" on behalf of the virtual realm is unwarranted because, unlike the realm of actualities, it is extraneous to the structure of becoming-that is, because it cannot be homogenous, any theory of change vis-à-vis the virtual makes it impossible to explain how and why qualitatively different actualities are produced.
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Archival date: 2020-05-07
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