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Journal of the Theoretical Humanities

ISSN: 0969-725X (Print) 1469-2899 (Online) Journal homepage:

Discord, Monstrosity and Violence
Hannah Stark
To cite this article: Hannah Stark (2015) Discord, Monstrosity and Violence, Angelaki, 20:4,
211-224, DOI: 10.1080/0969725X.2015.1096648
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Published online: 27 Oct 2015.

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Date: 16 April 2016, At: 17:05

Locating violence. vulnerability. which is attentive to the place of violence in his metaphysics. Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 T the “new harmony” of discord Deleuze’s engagement with Leibniz is evident throughout his work. It examines what Elizabeth Grosz describes as the “ineliminable” (Time 55) nature of violence – that is. violence at the level of ontology. I contend that his ontology of difference and repetition is founded on an originary space of differential relations in which divergence gives rise to novelty. also evident in The Logic of Sense and Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza. This paper examines the discord at the heart of Deleuze’s revision of Leibniz. the monstrous difference that is produced through differential relations.doi. Deleuze’s reading of Leibniz shifts in ISSN 0969-725X print/ISSN 1469-2899 online/15/040211-13 © 2015 Taylor & Francis http://dx. before turning to ethical questions.1096648 211 . This reading of Leibniz is consistent with Deleuze’s general interest in his philosophy in the 1960s. which ends with a chapter on the concept of expression in both Spinoza’s and Leibniz’s work. is coming to the fore in our theoretical vocabulary. Deleuze’s world is not one in which conventional harmony can exist between differences. terror and security. While there is a high degree of playfulness in this differential ontology. In the case of Leibniz he feels that.2015. Although there is undoubtedly significant political value to a worldview in which being is difference.1 Deleuze is critical of both of these models of difference. I am interested in the aspects of it that privilege something darker. Although Deleuze is commonly associated with a philosophical position of affirmation.1080/0969725X. and the violence inherent in thought.ANGELAKI journal of the theoretical humanities volume 20 number 4 december 2015 he present time in intellectual history is one in which “violence. Both Leibniz and Hegel are important historical figures to Difference and Repetition because Deleuze polarizes their notions of difference: he positions Hegel’s difference as infinitely large and Leibniz’s as infinitely small. MONSTROSITY AND VIOLENCE deleuze’s differential ontology and its consequences for ethics to inform his own ontology. his model of infinitely small differences sacrifices the virtual to the possible. In Difference and due to its proximity to the principle of identity. he finds in Leibniz’s work a principle of divergence that comes hannah stark DISCORD. published twenty years before The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. dissonance and monstrosity at the very foundation of Deleuze’s ontology has consequences for a Deleuzian ethics.” along with an associated set of theoretical concepts including war. This paper offers a reading of Deleuze’s work.

The world contained in the monad is largely undifferentiated but the monad is able to express a part of this whole clearly as an accord. as an enclosed structure. which can be envisaged as part of his differential reading of the history of philosophy. Leibniz in no way reintroduces a duality that would turn our relative world into the reflection of a more profound. For Leibniz. monstrosity and violence The Fold in which he finds in his work a more flexible system capable of accommodating the proliferation of difference. the monad exposes its harmony through mirroring the best possible world (ibid. The monad. Leibniz describes the harmony that the monad expresses in mathematical terms as “the inverse. Caesar crosses the Rubicon because the alternative outcome would belong to another possible world and is therefore incompossible with the actual world. who suggests that Deleuze re-works the concept of expression that interested him in the 1960s in relation to the figure of the fold (Difference 208) and also Keith Robinson who indicates a shift from Deleuze’s emphasis in the 1960s readings of Leibniz where he finds a “tendency to identity. contains the whole world in an obscure fashion but expresses only part of this as a unique perspective on the whole. and a Sextus who does and does not rape Lucretia (60). Deleuze’s revision of Leibniz. Deleuze explains this through mobilizing Leibniz’s examples of a Caesar who does and does not cross the Rubicon. That is.” Leibniz’s world is harmonious because it is founded on compossibility. and they express this through the manifestation of endlessly transforming accords that move in the direction of harmonic resolution (Fold 132). they are in harmony with the actual world. This shift has been noted by James Williams. containing within them the entire world. which he will radically refigure in order to posit a “new harmony. constantly attempting to connect everything by multiplying principles from within itself” (155–56). is imperative to the conceptual realization of his own philosophy of difference. Deleuze finds in Leibniz a notion of harmony. remarking that “there are things which are possible in themselves. similarity and exclusion” to his celebration of the potential for difference in The Fold through the “system’s tendency to differ and unfold itself across zones and boundaries. reciprocal number” and also “the inverted image of God. While Robinson suggests that the discrepancy between the earlier and latter engagement with Leibniz is evident only as a “tiny. However. he turns the relative world into our only existing world. In a Leibnizian sense this is a pre-established harmony that is folded into the monad and can be unfolded in an unlimited way. In a lecture on Leibniz Deleuze elaborates on the nature of compossibility. pag. Leibniz’s notion of harmony is illustrated in the figure of the monad. but are not compossible with another” (“Leibniz 29/04/1980” n. unrepresentable fold” (155) it impacts on the way that Deleuze utilizes Leibniz in the service of his own concept of difference. He arrives at this idea through an understanding that it has achieved the condition of compossibility through a series of convergences.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 discord.). these alternative worlds have no reality because they are incompossible with the actual world. then there are points of divergence at which other worlds might have been possible. absolute world: to the contrary. Leibniz is working with the notion that the existent world is the best of all possible worlds. Deleuze emphasizes that the relationship between monads and harmony needs to be traced from harmony to the monad rather than the reverse. which is a self-contained unit or metaphysical point. if something is harmonic it is a monad. Deleuze summarizes this as follows: By thus positing an infinity of possible worlds. Monads are expressions of harmony because. an Adam who does and does not sin. If the manifestation of the best possible world is imagined as a sequence. the inverse number of infinity” (129).). Through this. a world that rejects all other possible worlds 212 . He does this through a formulation of sufficient reason which determines that because his God chose the actual world to manifest as reality it must be the most perfect of all the worlds that were possible. Leibniz arrives at a theological position that enables him to deduce the existence of God.

and chooses the best. 213 In The Logic of Sense. Leibniz is able to exclude divergent worlds and prioritise convergence. because he maintained the dominance of the old principle. God chooses between an infinity of possible worlds.stark Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 because it is relatively “the best”. and partly as Aiôn (time as the “infinite subdivision” of past and future) (77) – that Deleuze is working with in this . (Ibid. a difference that cannot heal and does not want to” (115). which is the differential space of diverging series in which incompossibles can communicate (174). the one that God chose. (Difference 51) Incompossibles. For Leibniz. only compossibility exists in actuality. The most significant difference between the position of Leibniz and that of Deleuze on this matter is that for the latter it is divergence that is affirmed. Because. and allows possible worlds to proliferate.). largely. only solvable problems – such is the best of all possible worlds” (115). This means that a series should not be thought of as a linear or chronological sequence but rather needs to be envisaged in relation to the twin concepts of time – Chronos (time as the mixture of bodies and present states of affairs. without seeing that divergence itself was an object of affirmation. is differentiated because it exists and not because of another evaluative criterion. In order to arrive at the “new harmony” which will accommodate discord. the best and the existent are one and the same. that of the eternal return. He is aided in this by his concept of the virtual. is a “disagreement that cuts to the bottomless bottom of ontology itself. in which past and future are both aspects of the present) (162). According to Aden Evens. because he is working with a theological system in which there is a God making choices. the actual world is one of many virtual versions that subsist within it. incompossible with each other. Deleuze also addresses Leibniz in such a way that it reveals the temporal nature of the model of difference that he is proposing. therefore. Alternatively. In Difference and Repetition he brings his own concept of difference into relief through this divergence.” he writes: was to have linked difference to the negative of limitation. or the one that has the most possible reality. or alternative possible worlds. this means that “God and the universe include only recognisable difference. writing after the death of God. in what will be the first of a series of steps away from the philosopher. In this way. Deleuze departs from Leibniz. merely diverge from each other rather than being mutually exclusive.) We need to remember that the best possible world. Deleuze offers a “chaosmos” in which infinite series diverge and converge (176). this theological perspective is “no longer justified” and as such there is no longer a divine being choosing between possible worlds (Logic 171–72). The resonance between these incompossibles offers us a version of communication that goes beyond the human and demonstrates that the potential for connection between things can occur because of difference rather than commonality. For Deleuze. or that the incompossibles belonged to the same world and were affirmed as the greatest crime and the greatest virtue of the one and only world. This means that divergence can be reclaimed as something that gives rise to possibility (Difference 123). Deleuze removes the centre. Deleuze is affirming that divergence within a sequence can be reclaimed as part of the series itself (56). Deleuze posits a fundamental coexistence of compossibility and incompossibility. He is able to do this. according to Evens. but that it designates an opening to an “infinity of predicates” which undermines the stability of identity (ibid. his world is necessarily harmonious. Instead of Leibniz’s best possible world chosen by God. therefore. This does not mean that disjunction is transformed into conjunction. for Leibniz. Working from the idea that compossible and incompossible are notions that rely on convergence and divergence rather than identity and contradiction. What remains. because he linked the series to a principle of convergence. For Deleuze. or organizing principle. “Leibniz’s only error.

astraddle over several worlds. (Ibid. but because the world is what the soul expresses (virtuality). it is one that is itself based on discord.2 So although Deleuze does refer to a new harmony. Leibniz is working with a vision of a world that Simon Duffy describes as “nothing other than the pre-established harmony amongst monads” (“Deleuze” 144). Deleuze’s ontology invites us to rethink the notion of harmony so that it can accommodate this dissonance. Deleuze’s “new harmony” is capable of accommodating dissonance. While the “universal harmony” of Leibniz emphasized the resolution of dissonance through the consonance that results when stable chords incline towards “resolution or a modulation” (Fold 132). this monad is open to a “spiral of expansion” (ibid. The conventional notion of difference that subsists in philosophy is a false notion of it. Difference and Repetition. but [ … ] a chaotic universe in which divergent series trace endlessly bifurcating paths. the decentring of circles. monstrosity and violence text. brought together by the dissonance they find in the series each expresses. it makes sense that when they come to express distinctly a part of this whole they mirror this pre-established harmony.” Deleuze writes. is his attempt to articulate the difference that exists prior to its mediation through “identity. harmony needs to encompass divergence and the monad needs to be opened up. is kept half open as if by a pair of pliers” (137). Leibniz” 63. “then the other condition [closure] is what disappears: it could be said that the monad. soul or monad to be for the world rather than in it (Fold 26). “is the divergence of series. Counter to Leibnizian harmony. or “instable combinations” (131). And it is what gives to expression its fundamental character: the soul is the expression of the world (actuality). This double notion of time facilitates an understanding that both series and event can be non-linear. which ultimately masks “a swarm of differences. “[W]hat matters. which both expresses and is an expression of its world. monstrous difference Deleuze is not interested in a tame or conventional notion of difference. Instead. ‘monstrosity’” (Difference 69).” It gives the world the possibility of beginning over and again in each monad. Deleuze writes: Closure is the condition of being for the world. The world must be placed in the subject in order that the subject can be for the world. in its entirety.” he writes. His monad. It is in The Fold that Deleuze takes his revision of Leibnizian harmony the furthest. “[W]hen the monad is in tune with divergent series that belong to incompossible monads.) and no longer produces accords to express this harmony. Smith concludes that the difference between Leibniz and Deleuze is that for Deleuze the “World is no longer a continuous curve defined by its preestablished harmony. analogy and resemblance” (Difference 29). a 214 . emphasis in original). The condition of closure holds for the infinite opening of the finite: it “finitely represents infinity. Deleuzian monads are rendered as interrelated and inseparable. giving rise to violent discords” (“G.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 discord. This is the torsion that constitutes the fold of the world and of the soul. Deleuze offers a “new harmony” of open monads. The consequence of cleaving open the monad is that it can no longer contain the entire world as a definitive version of pre-established harmony.F. In effect he is enlarging the notion of harmony so that arrangements of sounds extend beyond the diatonic scale and new combinations become possible. Because his monads are closed and contain the whole world obscurely. For Deleuze. divergence and dissonance. this closure enables the subject.W. Daniel W. opposition. For Deleuze. has limited capacity for interaction with either the world or with others. He does this through radically altering Leibniz’s monad.) At the end of The Fold Deleuze will substantially revise the closed structure of the monad and the notion of harmony on which it is based. Leibniz emphasizes the closure of the monads by describing them as windowless and preventing anything from passing in or out of their structure.

In bringing these terms together Deleuze emphasizes the generative nature of the differential relation. Deleuze articulates a clear rejection of the logic of the Hegelian dialectic. In Difference and Repetition. Quoting from Science of Logic. The differential relation reveals a value which Deleuze calls z.). he is not suggesting that the world is mathematically definable or knowable. From this. which preserves differentials. Examining Deleuze’s interpretation of differential calculus is centrally important to understanding his ontology of difference and repetition because it exposes the foundation of the disagreement between his metaphysics and Hegel’s.). Deleuze argues that Hegel conceived of difference as infinitely large by figuring it dialectically as contradiction. He writes: “[j]ust as we oppose difference in itself to negativity. Evens continues.). they have a significant impact on their alternative versions of ontology. Both Hegel and Leibniz utilize mathematical ideas to explain their respective versions of ontology. and the dialectic process on which it rests. Deleuze perceives the differential as itself generative and “places the differential at the origin of numbers. it might appear that their understandings of the manifestation of difference are similar. pag. Evens suggests. This is demonstrated by the differential relation because it is a model in which differences relate to each other. like Hegel. These relational differences need to be understood. utilizes differential calculus to consider ontological questions. is that while it is usual to produce the differential from a line of numbers. reminding us that engagement occurs through difference rather than similitude. which positions it at its absolute maximum (44). then substance is individual and numerical series are infinite. Deleuze insists that “dy over dx does not cancel out” (“Spinoza” n. even though Deleuze utilizes and challenges their mathematical models. instead.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 stark pluralism of free. Deleuze utilizes Leibniz’s seventeenthcentury model of calculus. Even though. Infinitesimals can be thought of not as a way of approaching a whole number but.6 Deleuze argues that it is what is “inessential” in scale between things that is significant because it refers not to “that which lacks importance but. the symbol of difference [ … ] to that of contradiction” (Difference 170). Deleuze insists. if difference always exists (even infinitesimally) between finite entities. According to Evens. on the contrary. If we look at Deleuze’s work on this concept we can see that the basis of Deleuze’s divergence from Hegel is explained mathematically. Deleuze develops Leibniz’s “mathesis universalis” (190) as an explanatory model of the conditions for the process by which this monstrous and untamed difference manifests itself. While the difference between two units might be numerically equal to zero. then. Because these differences are tiny in and of themselves we can only perceive them through a structure of relation. It is through this divergence from Hegel that his own notion of difference. Significantly. so we oppose dx to not-A. Both Deleuze and Hegel. however. to the most profound.5 Differentials are the progressively shrinking units that exist between any two whole numbers and as such they are miniscule in scale. However. wild or untamed differences. they are dealing with things that are miniscule in scale. The significance of this.4 Deleuze. modern calculus 215 (until the 1960s) had considered these infinitesimals to be so “arbitrarily small” that they were not worth factoring in (108). as “a movement of 0 away from itself” (111). offer a system in which difference emerges through a relational structure. can be illuminated. and problems in mathematics” (Fold 52). and which is the determinable and finite quantity of the relation of dy/dx. a properly differential and original space and time” (50). on which his .3 The inclusive affirmation of incompossible worlds and interpenetrating series shows that difference makes communication possible rather than acting as an inhibitor. as the power of difference that deviates from itself to generate the entire number line and eventually the points that populate it” (ibid. as “types of events. It can thus be expressed as dy/dx = z (ibid. in using these mathematical models. to the universal matter or continuum from which the essences are finally made” (Difference 47).

like Hegel. which he called “fluxions. Somers-Hall has suggested that Hegel turns to Newton and Deleuze to Leibniz. Deleuze’s ontology is differential because it is productive of difference. because although each of the differentials dx and dy is undetermined. “is made of differential relations and of contiguous singularities” (Logic 110–11). Deleuze. Deleuze is critical of what he describes as Leibniz’s “abyss” of infinitely small differences (Difference 170). but one that is about the generation of difference through the process of different/ciation rather than being premised on opposition. It is similar with his rejection of Hegel whom Deleuze departs from in refusing to treat the differential as a ratio and instead keeping them separate. emphasis Deleuze’s). “dx appears as simultaneously undetermined. what they generate through their relation is determinate. This understanding of infinitesimals is evident in Hegel’s work because he too expresses the differential relation as a ratio.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 discord. the terms of the ratio are inseparable. he writes: “[d]ifference as such is already implicitly contradiction [ … ] receiving in contradiction the negativity which is the indwelling pulsation of self-movement and spontaneous activity” (Hegel. What arises from this process is not a form of difference with which we are familiar but differences that are unrecognizable. The significance of this is that Leibniz was interested in the infinitely small diminishing quantities. the differential is premised on a difference that cannot be quantified or represented. Instead of the Hegelian logic of opposition. Deleuze rejects Newton. This has ontological consequences for Deleuze because the “expressed world. and determination” (Deleuze. Deleuze arrives at his own philosophy of difference.” do not integrate infinitesimals but rather vanish (Somers-Hall 570). Deleuze’s interpretation of calculus is quite different from that of Hegel. negation. Newton’s calculus utilizes the mathematical figure of the ratio whose values become determinable only if the differentials. determinable. Deleuze suggest that difference manifests through a reciprocal synthesis by which the differences internal to each component are expressed. and the infinitely large extrapolation of difference to contradiction. the way that they understand difference could not be more divergent. Because dx is undetermined in relation to x. so important to Hegel’s understanding of the differential relation. Difference 44. Diversity emerges from the matrix of difference. This occurs not through the harmonious relation between consonant things but in a space-time of continual dissonance and disharmony. The question of whether these disparate interpretations of differential calculus produce divergent mathematical models is less significant. G. for the purposes of this paper. than their relative ontological implications. the violence of thought The encounter with the continual proliferation of these differences is important for the way in 216 .W 442 qtd in Deleuze. Again we see that through revising Leibniz. which relates always and only to other forms of difference in the generation of the new. Somers-Hall writes. which he regards as another word for difference. “both the ratio itself as well as the terms can only be understood as a totality” (563). which Newton thought too small to be significant. As a result.” he writes. This means that things acquire their meaning in an oppositional structure of determinate values. Although both Deleuze and Hegel extrapolate from calculus an explanation of metaphysics. Difference 171). This is a notion of difference that is beyond our existing systems of meaning: monstrous difference. monstrosity and violence criticism of Hegel in Difference and Repetition is principally based. In this model. Because their meaning is acquired through this structural relation. he argues. Wherever Deleuze turns he finds difference. It is important to remember that he also distinguishes his interpretation of the differential from Leibniz. which manifests itself through the relation of differences to one other. One of the ways in which the differences between Hegel and Deleuze can be explained is through the philosophers who influence their work. This is essentially the difference between their dialectics. also uses differential calculus in the service of a dialectic. because he removes infinitesimals and therefore renders the differential as zero.

For Deleuze. which functions as the principle of identity for concepts in general” (265). philosophy and creativity. This is because we are working with a model of thought that is impoverished: a “dogmatic. he takes thought out of the subject and enables it to go beyond the human. Charles Stivale suggests that the (Proustian) notion of creation generated through confrontation with the unknown is one of Deleuze’s “most cherished topics” (19). the enemy. Deleuze sees all philosophy (and in fact all thought) as dependent on what Kant called the “dark precursor. This notion of difference resonates with Deleuze’s larger interest in cruelty (which can be seen particularly in his work on Sacher-Masoch in Coldness and Cruelty). and their proposal of a plane of immanence of thought in What is Philosophy? In Difference and Repetition. “Thought. This means that thought is not separated from being. He writes: “thought is covered over by an ‘image’ made up of postulates which distort both its operation and its genesis [and] culminate in 217 the position of an identical thinking subject. In order to think.”9 This is an originary and generative violence that underlies all thought and which brings incompossibles into communication.11 For Deleuze. “For the new – in other words. “there is no other creation” (Difference 147). difference –. The dogmatic Image of thought not only determines the pathway along which thinking moves from problem to solution but also presupposes that . “To think is to create –. according to Arnaud Villani. In doing so. which is immanent to the world.” he writes. In Difference and Repetition. What has happened here. but the powers of a completely other model.” he writes.7 This notion of thought is evident in Deleuze’s collaborative work with Guattari. which he calls “thought without image” (276). Deleuze locates violence at the root of philosophy. Deleuze insists that “the dark precursor is not a friend” (145). thought emerges through encounters with difference. but instead it is a form of participation in the unfolding of a world of diversity through difference. thought is ontological because it is involved in bringing things into being. we need to destroy this Image of thought and erect a new one. Deleuze proposes his own open model of thought without postulates. However thinking is not a particularly safe activity.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 stark which Deleuze theorizes his anti-humanist model of thought and. What both the manifestation of substance and the generation of thought have in common is that they are founded on the convergence of things which are fundamentally dissonant and which gives rise to continual divergence. emphasis in original). following from this. This is why Grosz has suggested that Deleuze “is the great theorist of difference. today or tomorrow. Deleuze endeavours to eliminate the eight presuppositions on which thought is founded. Deleuze professes that thought has come to be conceptualized in such a way that it actually hinders thinking. This needs to be contextualized with Deleuze’s notion that difference manifests itself out of an undifferentiated and chaotic ground. For Deleuze. orthodox. the encounter with difference that thought requires is violent. Deleuze suggests.” Deleuze writes. and nothing presupposes philosophy: everything begins with misosophy” (139). is that we have “confuse[d] thought with the decorum of thought” (231). which can only diminish philosophy. We can see this in their critique of psychoanalysis in Anti-Oedipus. “calls forth forces in thought which are not the forces of recognition. from an unrecognized and unrecognizable terra incognita” (136). thought arises when dissonant things come into communication and generate “problems” (Difference 140). It is ontological in that it is productive of both bodies and the world. of thought as difference” (Space 129).10 Deleuze also calls it the “disparate” (Difference 120. This is thought necessarily beyond either the classification of epistemology or of recognition. Throughout his work. or moral image” (Difference 131). Deleuze works on a concept of thought which is at odds with how it is conventionally conceived. While etymologically philo-sophia means the love of wisdom.8 In critiquing the Image of thought. “is primarily trespass and violence. He renders thought as an involuntary action. their use of the rhizome in A Thousand Plateaus.

By actualizing his Ideas as “a realized possible” (213). which it drives. Differences generated in the differential relation are determined by the relation itself. they facilitate the proliferation of difference and.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 discord. but from problem to Idea. as cases of solutions for the problems of Ideas” (182). singularities. the generation of difference. Collectively they engender a response through the differenciation of actual things. which compose a multiplicity.12 Deleuze’s dialectic is modelled on the generative power of problems and questions. Moving from faculty to faculty without the coherence of common sense. it does not assume the primacy of the subject to whom a problem might be posed. problems are solved by means of legitimate use of the faculties as dictated by common sense. Deleuze insists that thought moves not from problem to solution. instead. Rather than the “identity. but arises instead from the flux of problems and the consequent unfolding of the new. but. Within this structure. and not by external factors. Deleuze regards the Ideas as both problematic and problematizing and because of this he understands them as the differentials of thought (Difference 169). It is important to note that Deleuze does not reject the dialectic as such. The Idea is thus “a system of multiple. differentiation is the reciprocally determining differential relations of Ideas. Differenciation is the divergent movement by which the virtual Idea becomes actual. which is a way to describe the relationship between the virtual and the actual. This is because Deleuze considers an Idea to be a set of differential relations and singularities (turning points in a system). non-localisable connections between differential elements which is incarnated in real relations and actual terms” (183). “the differential elements in thought. It is connected to “the art of multiplicities” because it is “the art of grasping the Ideas and the problems they incarnate in things. Both this relation and also the relation of perplication between Ideas are of reciprocal determination (173). then. which he describes as a “perversion” of it (164). or even sentient behaviour. difference exists in those reciprocal relations that constitute it. the questions are the dice themselves. and that they will disappear with the realization of a solution (158). Deleuze proposes a “discordant harmony” amongst the faculties (193). the imperative is to throw. as Deleuze theorizes it. and of grasping things as incarnations. From the synthesis of differential calculus and Ideas-as-problems. The virtual is further evidence of Deleuze’s divergence from Leibniz who he feels almost reaches the “Dionysian” aspect of difference but does not succeed because he hesitates between the possible and the virtual (Difference 214). the genetic elements in the true” (162). through the virtual/actual complex.14 In the Deleuzian logic of different/ciation. of the whole sky as open space and of throwing as the only rule. Using a Nietzschean analogy Deleuze writes of the Idea as a question of a throw of the dice. and the problems posed which differentiate each other. This also makes the necessity of the virtual clear. Although Deleuze’s interpretation of the 218 . monstrosity and violence problems are “ready-made” before the thinker encounters them. The singular points are on the die. but only Hegel’s dialectic. Ideas are the problematic combinations which result from throws. becomes apparent. for Deleuze this is inadequate because it imprisons problems within the limiting structure of the possible and the real (161). the becoming of the world. Problems are present in all interactions and therefore posing problems is not a uniquely human. (198) The world manifests itself through the process of different/ciation. They do not generate resemblance. Deleuze’s own dialectic is not premised on negation. rational. Because thought is self-generating. as it is conventionally figured. Ideas are “multiplicities with differential glimmers” (194). Problems are.13 While for Kant. convergence and collaboration” that accompany common sense. Deleuze feels that Leibniz subordinates them to identity. This is because “[p]roblems do not exist only in our heads but occur here and there in the production of an actual historical world” (Difference 190).

the world that God chooses is the world with the maximum of continuity. reason. This means that it is not a world in which traditional harmony or coherence is possible. a Deleuzian ethics must follow from ontology. but to an infinite disparity. describes ethics as a “debt” to ontology (“Interview” n.” Deleuze writes.). whereas for Deleuze. It assumes that the calculations of the astronomers are not other than those of the gods. resonating series” (152). Dorothea Olkowski utilizes Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. who is interested in the ethical capacity of ontology itself. “But this assumes many things. forms the condition of the world” (Difference 222). pag. emphasis in original). made up of differential relations” (Difference 246). on the edges. and this inexactitude or injustice in the result. emphasis in original). “the best of all actual worlds is the one with the greatest virtuality” (Robinson 155. is coherent. According to Deleuze. “that God makes the world by calculating.” Olkowski writes: It assumes that the state of affairs external to the calculations. “every phenomenon refers. Grosz. Leibniz does not encounter the virtual in which disjunctive synthesis occurs in what Robinson describes as “a bringing together or synthesis of all the incompossibles as a compatible. it assumes that reflection is real. and that the pre-individual field is a virtual–ideal field. this irreducible inequality. She allegorizes the reverse of this situation. In this way Deleuze opposes his Ideas to the common and good sense of Cartesian reason. For Leibniz. which not only gives ontology primacy but also suggests that ethics can be . This space is what enables the individuation of finite things. Deleuze actually contends: “all Ideas coexist. to which the calculations refer. in order to explore the implication of theorizing a world based on an inherent disharmony. but his calculations never work out exactly [ juste]. Unlike Levinas for whom ethics is first philosophy. that nature’s reason is amenable to human calculation. with its dark precursor.” Olkowski asks. is one founded on the “inexact and unjust” (20) calculations that contain infinite disparity. that the monstrous offspring of the city are not themselves the inevitable progeny of harmony.” Deleuze writes. Alberto Toscano finds commonality between Deleuze’s reading of Leibniz and his notion of the communication of disparates. and justice. In The Universal (in the Realm of the Sensible). not to an ordered set of calculations whose outcomes are knowable in advance. “What if.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 stark relation of ideas might appear to be Leibnizian (because he insists on the coexistence of perplicated ideas that are differentially lit). My concern is with what ethics might be in relation to this ontology. not only “communication between initially incompossible series” but also “the invention of a common that is not given in advance and which emerges on an ontological background of inequality” (393). “It is therefore true. Deleuze’s world. The builders of this city 219 had assumed that their perfect calculations would lead to harmony. The Deleuzian virtual is the space of the violent discords of differential relations. From Simondon’s notion of individuation. It enables. which is built on perfect calculations. a work of fiction that imagines many different cities. “In all these respects. Toscano will present this synthesis of Simondon and Leibniz as a politics. he writes. Deleuze borrows a way of theorizing the communication of the disparate and consequent emergence of the actual.15 violence and ethics The centrality of ontology to Deleuze’s work cannot be underestimated. To accept the dark precursor is to acknowledge that thought emerges out of an originary violence. (18) Contrary to this imagined city of perfect calculations. and under glimmerings which never have the uniformity of natural light” (186–87). referring to one of Calvino’s cities. but they do so at points. the sufficient reason of all phenomena” (20–21. Because Deleuze’s world emerges out of the chaotic indetermination (the violence and cruelty that subsists in its structures) it can only manifest in unpredictable ways. “we believe that individuation is essentially intensive.

220 . and human histories. In the Spinozan sense. vital for humans to account for these acts of violence. The inequality in Deleuze’s ontology. monstrosity and violence in Deleuze’s work. This locates ethics in what could be profoundly troubling territory. against animals. Does this mean that a Deleuzian ethics necessarily affirms the inequalities and oppression of individuals and groups and offers a way to justify this as natural and inevitable? Does it suggest that conflict and war are the inevitable consequence of a deeper disharmony? If Deleuze is proposing a world in which violence is necessary for the production of new affects and sensations. “adequate” implies equality.16 If ethics is to follow from ontology then I am interested in the consequences for ethics of the “infinite disparity” and the emphasis on discord. It is what produces new thought and new ways of living. of course. is evident in dissonant “harmonies” and can be seen when things that are different are brought into productive relations. In The Logic of Sense. evinced in Deleuze studies by recent work on Deleuze and ethics. against the environment. This is particularly relevant at a time in which ethical concerns are at the forefront of academic discourse in the humanities. what is useful and significant is the priority that he affords to an infinite difference that is always and necessarily beyond what we can know. including nonhuman others? I do not have sufficient answers to these questions. and as such Deleuze thinks that we should live in a way that is equal to the violent unfolding of the world as incessant difference and change.” what speculative ethics might be brought forth? Extrapolating ethics from Deleuze’s ontology means that this cannot be an ethics of harmony or equality. what does this mean for our relation to others. While it is. currently dominate the way in which violence is theorized. we can consider what Deleuze’s ontology offers to ethical thought.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 discord. in trying to draw an ethics from Deleuze’s work. I contend that a Deleuzian ethics is evident through how this difference is encountered and facilitated. What is most exciting about the violence in Deleuze’s work is that it invites us to consider violence outside of human mastery. If being is based on originary violence and the world is a place in which disharmony becomes the “new harmony. Deleuze makes this statement in the context of a discussion of the event. Deleuze’s notion of difference means that his work cannot be co-opted for identity politics and it needs to be located outside discussions of the subject. It is integral to thinking which for Deleuze is enlarged so that it becomes a morethan-human prerogative and has a worldmaking capacity. Deleuze writes. for Deleuze. This is a timely offering as understandings of human existence. then. However. following Ronald Bogue’s insistence that “there is a sense in which the ethical permeates all [Deleuze’s] work” (Deleuze’s 3). is precisely what engenders the production of the new. new relations. it is an ethics that requires us to go beyond the human. this anthropomorphism obscures the kinds of violence that humans neither engender nor control. What is particularly interesting about considering a Deleuzian ethics is that while he could be described as the great thinker of difference (a philosophical idea which must be central to ethical concerns) he cannot be positioned as a philosopher who has had much to say directly about ethics. This is evident in the outpouring of work on humans as perpetrators of violence: against each other. However. the disparity which exists at its very core and which gives rise to continual divergence. His concept of violence. monstrosity and violence conceived as a way of negotiating being. the inequality that creates divisions in groups of individuals and by which structures of oppression emerge because it is a notion of limitless difference. new ways of thinking. Violence. The inequality that underpins Deleuze’s work is not. This is what produces new connections. To be worthy of (or to will) the event is to become adequate to it. This means that violence can be disarticulated not only from the human agency but also from sentience. “[e]ither ethics makes no sense at all. new bodies and new worlds. In Deleuze’s work violence is evacuated from individual pathology and rendered as force. or this is what it means and has nothing else to say: not to be unworthy of what happens to us” (149).

does this invite us to consider? disclosure statement No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author. a shared situation. Deleuze’s imperative is to develop a philosophical model rather than either a “metaphysics of calculus” or a “philosophy of mathematics” (“Condition” 9). To experiment with new manifestations of difference in new combinations and alignments. notes I am grateful to Jessica Murrell for her careful reading of this manuscript and also to Ken Ruthven and Mandy Treagus for reading sections of this article in another form. I would also like to thank the participants of the 2011 Australian Society for Continental Philosophy conference for their comments on this paper. and to consider forces that we are not the masters of? What new forms of ethics and politics. In proposing an ethics drawn from an ontology that is profoundly anti-humanist. Deleuze points out that reality is not engendered by differential calculus. A Deleuzian ethics requires that we open ourselves to discord. or a mutual interest. 2 This does not mean that dissonance is not present in Leibniz.). For although “Leibniz relies enormously on differential calculus” he treats it as “only a symbolic system” and “a way of treating reality” (“Leibniz 22/04/1980” n. it may seem that human liberty would not be possible. I suggest that ethics enables the very possibility of freedom. Deleuze argues that Hegel conceived of difference as infinitely large by figuring it dialectically as contradiction. For further discussion of this point see Mogens Laerke. This is the freedom to live beyond the recognized and the recognizable. Deleuze’s nonhuman violence invites us to be attentive to the possibility of a nonhuman ethics. but instead to acknowledge that there is a particular way that harmony achieves resolution in his work. It involves our both encountering and also facilitating difference. What might it mean for ethics to think 221 about violence at an ontological level. 1 Deleuze’s analysis of Hegel in the first chapter of Difference and Repetition can be seen as the realization of his work on the history of philosophy. pag. ethical conduct is founded on the fact that others are fundamentally different to me. our treatment of nonhuman others.Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 stark therefore. what new ways of living in the world. specifically the freedom to exist in difference and to allow others to do the same. 3 In one of his lectures on Leibniz. The current shift away from the privileged territory of the human. particularly James Williams who asked me about liberty. and that values forces which undermine the possibility of a stable and coherent subject. and the way in which we make use of the earth’s resources. Instead. monstrosity and violence and the forms of newness that these forces make manifest. In a sense this is true: but only if liberty is correlated with our conventional and limited notion of human agency. which systematically demonstrates that there is another philosophy of difference whose legacy operates counter to the Hegelian dialectic. If a Deleuzian ethics is the facilitation of difference both in ourselves and in others. which posits it at its absolute maximum (Difference 44). It is for this reason that the ethical imperative in Deleuze’s work cannot be based on structures of commonality: a common humanity. to a consideration of new materialities and the possibility that the nonhuman too has agency (itself part of a long-standing critique of liberal humanism). 4 Smith points out that although the mathematics of calculus provides Deleuze with a model for the concept of difference to which he appeals in Difference and Repetition. opens fertile spaces for new ways of conceiving of ethics. Ethical theory has historically been concerned with human responsibility for our relation to each other. acknowledges its productive (as well as its destructive) capacity. then this enables not only our own freedom to diverge from how we were but also suggests a notion of liberty that extends beyond the human to the world. Enacting a Deleuzian ethics involves opening ourselves to the processes by which we are made and unmade through the relation to difference. However. .

11 In The Logic of Sense Deleuze refers to disjunctive synthesis to evoke the communication of differences (174). which it alone can make actual. when it. 2004. Calvino. Ian Buchanan. the power to problematize” (108). Print. NC: Duke UP. Hegel and Deleuze were all working on differential calculus at different moments in its historical development. in the work of Karl Weierstrass. the seeker. when Abraham Robinson reintroduced infinitesimals (“Schizo-Math” 203). Ronald. In Remembrance of Things Past Proust writes in relation to thought (and in particular memory): What an abyss of uncertainty. Paul Patton. Deleuze’s Way: Essays in Transverse Ethics and Aesthetics. Olkowski refers directly to Deleuze’s statement that “[d]isparity – in other words. In the translation of Deleuze’s 12 We can take Manuel DeLanda’s example of the change to the sedimentation of rock. Print. Print. VT: Ashgate. Gilles. which creates a continuity between infinitesimal calculus and modern differential calculus (“Schizo-Math” 199). 10 In The Logic of Sense. Gilles. 6 According to Duffy. 9 Deleuze insists that although the dark precursor has an identity. monstrosity and violence 5 It should be noted. London and Durham.” which is the convergence point for a divergent series. Duffy’s argument rests on the place of the infinitesimal in the historical development of calculus. Invisible Cities. difference or intensity (difference of intensity) – is the sufficient reason of all phenomena” (Difference 222). as an illustration of how the posing of problems works in nature. 1994. Duffy suggests that this renewed interest in infinitesimals prompted Deleuze to develop his Leibniz-inspired alternative history of mathematics (“Schizo-Math” 212). the echo of Marcel Proust is also evident. Deleuze. it is “indeterminate” (Difference 119) and cannot be “presupposed” (120). 14 It is important to note that although an Idea can be differentiated.” Deleuze also describes an organism as “nothing if not the solution to a problem.” A Deleuzian Century? Ed. “Immanence and Transcendence in the Genesis of Form. For Deleuze the problematic is “the ensemble of the problem and its conditions” (Difference 177). This became the dominant model of calculus until the 1960s. the external change is the “problem” and the result is the way that the rock “responds. 2007. presentation of his thesis to the Reunion of the French Society of Philosophy in 1967 (which was published in English as “The Method of Dramatization”) the dark precursor is rendered as the “obscure precursor” (Deleuze. Print. Italo. Desert Islands and Other Texts 1953–1974. Difference 187). New York and London: Harcourt. as are each of its differenciated organs. 16 For a very recent example see Jun and Smith. Difference and Repetition. Desert 97. it can never be differenciated (Deleuze. 119–34. 222 . which manifests from an external influence. These factors make it very difficult to define. It is face to face with something which does not yet exist. Trans. (62) 8 The complete list can be found in Difference and Repetition (167). who in the late nineteenth century removed every reference to infinitesimals from his work on calculus. Deleuze developed an alternative history of mathematics as well as of philosophy. For a discussion of how their philosophical systems were affected by this history see Duffy. of course. such as the eye which solves the light ‘problem’” (Difference 211).Downloaded by [Matheus Felipe Mattos Brandão da Costa] at 17:05 16 April 2016 discord. The infinitesimal had been present in seventeenth-century theories of calculus such as Leibniz’s. In this figuration. New York: Columbia UP. Trans. To seek? More than that: to create. He also describes it as “invisible and imperceptible” (119). Deleuze. 1999. MA and London: MIT P. 1978. emphasis in original). that Leibniz. whenever the mind feels overtaken by itself.” and Somers-Hall. 15 Here. Cambridge. DeLanda. San Diego. Manuel. Aldershot and Burlington. which it alone can bring into the light of day. Mike Taormina. but had subsequently been devalued. is at the same time the dark region through which it must go seeking and where all its equipment will avail it nothing. 7 Although Deleuze makes this statement in relation to Antonin Artaud. 13 Evens refers to Deleuze’s differential as “a problematic power. bibliography Bogue. Duffy locates this matter historically. the concept that is commensurate with the dark precursor is the “quasi-cause. Print. Logic and “Mathematics.

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