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Deleuze and philosophy by Edited by Constantin V. Boundas

By Edited by Constantin V. Boundas

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Common notions are ‘general rather than abstract ideas’ (EPS: 278/SPE: 258) based on structural equivalencies, rather than abstract universals based on external resemblances which may disguise important inner, structural differences (SPP: 45). Real Essences without Essentialism 37 In Deleuze’s ontology, then, I discern essences of two kinds: singular or particular essences, the essence of a particular body; and ‘common notions’ that explicate structural similarities among the relations among the parts.

The point where someone breaks down in tears, for example, or boils over in anger is a singular point in someone’s psychic multiplicity, surrounded by a swarm of ordinary points. In physics, the point where water boils (or freezes) is a singularity 52 Deleuze and Philosophy within that physical system. The question: what is singular and what is ordinary? is one of the fundamental questions posed by Deleuze’s theory of multiplicities or Ideas.

Physical Nature is not just actual corporeal bodies, but also ‘incorporeal’ essences and virtualities, which are nonetheless really efficacious physical degrees of power,14 ‘bands of intensity, potentials, thresholds, and gradients’,15 ‘pure intensities’ (AO: 84), ‘intensity as difference’ (DR: 222–3) or ‘difference in itself’ (LS: 299/LS-F: 348). ‘It is one and the same world’ (CC: 151) that envelops essences and existing modes, the virtual and the actual, immanent forces and the bodies that incarnate them; one and the same Nature that is expressed in virtuality and actuality (Deleuze 1988b: 93–5).

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