The Difference of Univocity

by Beth Metcalf


Unique to Deleuze’s philosophy is his concept of ‘difference’.  Many Deleuzeans seem to think that his ‘difference’ is merely that which maintains or produces identity.  But, if that is what Deleuze means by the term, then what would be different about his ‘difference’?  Wouldn’t this “difference” be just the same as any traditional use of the term?  How is such a use of the term any different from the principle of identity that is determined by our conceptual Image of what is possible?  How does that “difference” do anything other than mediate identity?  Isn’t that just what Deleuze tells us he is against?  It is not simple to escape our habit of Representational Thought.  In this paper I will use Anti-Oedipus by Deleuze and Guattari to illustrate the ‘difference’ of univocity.  Deleuze presents his univocity as the means of reaching real difference.  I contend that Deleuze’s univocity escapes what has always seemed inescapable.  The difference of univocity escapes the principle that maintains and produces identity.

Deleuze & Guattari’s Univocity

If we are to understand Anti-Oedipus, we must understand that D&G together still lay out a plane consistent with what Deleuze always saw as Spinoza’s univocity.  Deleuze and Guattari write that organs-partial objects and body without organs are one and the same thing.  (AO 326-7) “Partial objects are the direct powers of the body without organs, and the body without organs, the raw material of the partial objects.”  The body without organs is Spinoza’s Substance that fills space to degrees of intensity.  Partial objects are these intensive degrees (Spinoza’s attributes of real distinction) that cannot exclude or oppose each other.  That is, molecular desiring-production and molar social production are Spinoza’s attributes.  They qualify the body without organs, Spinoza’s Substance. 

Therefore, Deleuze does not change his mind about univocity when he writes with Guattari.  Deleuze tells us (Logic of Sense 21-2) that sense (that which is expressed) does not exist outside the proposition (the expression).  And isn’t this just what Deleuze and Guattari mean when they tell us (AO 302) “….desiring-machines are in social-machines and nowhere else.”  Desiring-machines (sense expressed) are in social-machines (collective expression) and nowhere else.  But sense does not merge with the propositional expression.  Sense is not the attribute of the proposition.  Rather, sense is said of states of affairs, or things.  That is, sense is attributed to things, not the proposition.  But, ‘things’ are not to be confused with already formed substances.  Substance is qualified by the attributes that fill space to really distinct degrees of intensity.  Modal ‘things’ come from a Substance that has been qualified by the attributes.  That is, Substance must be differentiated before modal ‘things’ are differenciated.   

Deleuze does not change his mind about univocity when he writes with Guattari.  When D&G tell us (AO 340-1) that desiring-production and social-production are identical in nature but different in regime, we must not fall into the common misconception that identity in nature means conceptual identity.  Their difference in regime is the real distinction of attributes/partial-objects.  Their identity in nature is the ontological singularity of the qualified Substance/body without organs that fills space to degrees of intensity.  The problem for schizoanalysis is how to keep the body without organs from closing into a totalizing structure that maintains or produces conceptual identity.  Schizoanalysis attempts to reach the difference of the Real. 

Molecular and Molar Poles

There are two poles: molecular desiring-production and molar social-production.  These poles are different in regime.  Yet they are identical in nature.  But we must not fall into the common misunderstanding that these are poles of an oppositional structure that produce or maintain identity.  Instead, we must understand that Deleuze and Guattari are thinking in terms of univocity.  Difference in regime cannot mean that there is a constant relation of variability where difference would mediate identity.  Difference in regime is two types of multiplicities.  There are really distinct partial objects, like Spinoza’s attributes that cannot exclude or oppose each other.  They cannot be in a constant relation of variability (even an infinite variability) that would maintain or produce identity.  Yet the different regimes are identical in nature, which means they are said as the same ontologically.  The regimes include the real distinction of multiplicites, but they are always ontologically singular Substance filling space to degrees of intensity.    

There are two poles: molecular desiring-production and molar social-production.  Their difference in regime is the difference in scale of two types of multiplicities -- molecular and molar.  But how do we reach that desiring-production of the unconscious?  Can we reach it if we think of it as a process that maintains or produces identity?  D&G say (322-3), “The desiring-machines in fact are only reached starting from a certain threshold of dispersion that no longer permits either their imaginary identity or their structural unity to subsist.”  Partial objects are in a state of dispersion so that part of one machine refers to a part of a different machine, like the wasp and the orchid.  Partial objects cannot maintain or produce identity.  They are not parts of even a fragmented whole.  Desiring-machines are really distinct.  Nothing in one machine depends on anything in another.  And the body without organs is produced as a whole alongside the partial objects --- added as another really distinct part.  (326) “The body without organs and the organs-partial objects are opposed conjointly to the organism.”  That is, desiring production is opposed to the concept of ‘organism’ which could only maintain or produce identity.

Therefore, as we have seen, the poles of molecular desiring-production and molar social-production are different in regime.  And furthermore, the two poles are identical in nature.  Their identity in nature means they are ontologically single.  (340) Every molecular formation is itself a direct investment in a molar formation.  Their relation is inseparable, each time.  (341) The two poles, molecular and molar, are in the open relation of included disjunction in two directions of subordination.  (280) When the molecular forces are subordinate to the molar, there are subjugated groups.  When large molar aggregates are subordinate to molecular phenomena, there are subject groups.  Each subject group reaches intensive singularity that, with division, changes the nature of the identity of both poles.  Both poles are identical in nature each time.  With subject groups, the identical nature of the poles changes each time there is a new really distinct singularity.  (287-8) Both senses of subordination are the same machine, even though they are not the same regime or scale of magnitude.

Deleuze and Guattari say (30), “….desiring-production is one and the same thing as social-production.”  (285) No machine is a single thing.  It is a society.  Social-production and desiring-production are identical in nature and different in regime.  That is, desiring-production is not personal-mental form in opposition to social-production as collective-material substance.  Such opposition would be closed into already formed substances of one totalizing structure that maintains or produces conceptual identity.  Rather, we are told that there is never a difference in nature between desiring-machines and social-machines.  There is only a difference in regime.  So, the ‘nature’ that is identical in desiring and social production is always collective and material in both regimes, even as the regimes are distinct in their relations of size and their relation of subordination.  Deleuze & Guattari call ‘subjugated groups’ those in which the molar dominates the molecular.  ‘Subject groups’ are those in which the molecular forces dominate the molar.  This difference in regime and identity in nature is two intersecting types of multiplicities.  And this means that production is immediately distribution and consumption.  There is no mediation among the syntheses (connection, disjunction, and conjunction) that could maintain or produce identity.

Partial Objects and Uses of the Syntheses

D&G say (25) “From the moment that we place desire on the side of acquisition, we make desire an idealistic….conception, which causes us to look upon it as primarily a lack: a lack of an object, a lack of the real object”.  However, (26-7) “Desire does not lack anything….Desire and its object are one and the same thing….The real is not impossible; on the contrary, within the real everything becomes possible.”  Therefore, whereas (295) Oedipus is built on the ideology of lack, the molecular unconscious knows nothing of castration-lack.  (60) Partial objects lack nothing.  (324) “In short, partial objects are the molecular functioning of the unconscious.”  (323) Partial objects as parts of desiring-machines are mutually independent.  Nothing in one depends on anything in the other.  They have real distinction, but no numerical distinction.  They are not castrating distributions of lack.  They are not exclusive disjunctions of totalizing identity, original or produced.  They are not in variable relations that produce or maintain identity.  They are dispersions of partial objects of different machines, like the wasp and the orchid.  Partial objects are disparate intensities. 

Therefore, ‘partial objects’ as defined by D&G must not be confused with the structuralist definition of Melanie Klein.  D&G say (AO 324-5), “….we cannot even go along with the image of the partial objects that their inventor, Melanie Klein, proposes.  This is because, whether organs or fragments of organs, the partial objects do not refer in the least to an organism that would function phatasmatically as a lost unity or a totality to come.  Their dispersion has nothing to do with a lack, and constitutes their mode of presence in the multiplicity they form without unification or totalization.  With every structure dislodged, every memory abolished, every organism set aside, every link undone, they function as raw partial objects, dispersed working parts of a machine that is itself dispersed.”  D&G explain that to reach desiring machines is to reach the partial objects of real distinction.  No imaginary identity or structural unity can persist.

Deleuze had described the three syntheses of univocity prior to his writing with Guattari.  But together they use a new language of machines, flows, partial objects, and body without organs.  (324-6) The first synthesis is the binary connection of partial objects where (5-6) “Every “object” presupposes the continuity of a flow; every flow, the fragmentation of the object.”  The second synthesis is the overlapping of partial objects in the indiscernibility of their inclusive disjunction. The third synthesis is the conjunction of partial objects in all permutations.  (325-6) These syntheses are the body without organs in immediacy with the organs-partial objects.  The oscillations of attraction and repulsion of partial objects on the body without organs means that anything may flow and anything may be blocked.  There is no castrating lack.  There is no totalizing organism that maintains or produces identity.

There are two uses of the syntheses (78-9).  D&G contrast legitimate immanent uses of the syntheses with illegitimate transcendent uses (110-11).  The legitimate anoedipal use of the connective synthesis is partial and nonspecific in contrast to the Oedipal illegitimate use that is global and specific.  The legitimate use of the disjunctive synthesis is inclusive and non-restrictive in contrast to the illegitimate use that is exclusive and restrictive.  The legitimate use of the conjunctive synthesis is nomadic and polyvocal in contrast to the illegitimate use that is segregative and biunivocal.  With the legitimate uses, the three syntheses are immediately connection, disjunction, and conjunction.  But the illegitimate uses lead to the three errors (lack, law, and signifier) that close everything into a theological structure that reproduces identity.      

The Sub-representative Reverse Side of Structure

(78-9) Oedipus gives us a choice.  Either we must accept the Symbolic differentiations of its castrating structure, or we will fall into undifferentiated black night of the Imaginary.  But D&G say (82-3) that the true difference in nature is not between the Symbolic and the Imaginary, but between real machinic production, on the one hand; and the structural whole of the Imaginary and the Symbolic, on the other.  Real anoedipal use is the reverse side of Oedipal structure (Imaginary and Symbolic) with its exclusive use.  It is the structural operation itself that (306-7) “distributes lack in the molar aggregate” as furrowed by the line of castration.  (357) It is the castrating apparatus that distributes lack into desire, drying up flows, breaking from Real desiring-production.  D&G say (300) that desiring-production of machines is the “subrepresentative” domain of legitimate uses of the syntheses where “everything is possible”.  And this subrepresentative field will work in spite of Oedipus.  (309-10) The subrepresentative is the reverse side of structure.  The reverse side is the “real inorganization” of molecular elements in the legitimate uses of the syntheses.  It is the organs-partial objects of real distinction and the body without organs that fills space to intensive degrees.  It is univocity. 

How do we reach the sub-representative reverse side of structure?  How do we escape from the illegitimate syntheses of Representation that maintain and produce identity?  We must reach the molecular partial objects of desiring-machines and their functioning.  (183) “One then reaches the regions of a productive, molecular, micrological, or microphysical unconscious that no longer represents anything.”  (288) There is no molar functionalism.  Only at the submicroscopic (sub-representative) level does function exist.  Only what is produced as it functions escapes closed representational meaning.  It is only at the submicroscopic level of singular intensity that function (in legitimate use) exists. 

Schizoanalysis attempts to reach these sub-representative forces of the unconscious.  But these elements are not independent of molar aggregates of social formations that they constitute statistically.  (29) “There is only desire and the social, and nothing else.  Desiring-machines function inside social-machines they form statistically.  Beneath the conscious economic investments there are unconscious libidinal investments.  Schizoanalysis attempts to reach those sub-representative active forces --- the intensive forces --- of univocity.

(249) D&G tell us that the becoming-concrete in the differential relation has no indirect relation between qualified or coded flows.  Rather, there is a direct relation between decoded flows that have no qualities prior to the reciprocal relation itself.  The quality of decoded flows is the result of direct reciprocal relation.  Prior to this reciprocal relation, the quality of flows is virtual, not actual-concrete.  So, we must not think of ‘substance’ as already formed matter (an inverse reciprocal relation of form and matter) that closes everything into a castrating structure that maintains or produces identity.  That would be what Deleuze has always criticized as ‘identity in the concept’.  That is not what D&G mean by ‘reciprocal relation’.  (240-2) A substance is formed when deterritorialized flows (content and expression) are in a direct reciprocal relation.  There are series of breaks and flows of asignifying signs.  “The deterritorialized flows of content and expression are in a state of conjunction or reciprocal precondition that constitutes figures….[that] do not derive from a signifier….they are nonsigns….flows-breaks or schizzes that form images through their coming together in a whole, but that do not maintain any identity when they pass from one whole to another [emphasis added].”  D&G see the conjunction of Hjelmslev’s deterritorialized flows in contrast to structuralism’s transcendence of the Signifier.  Hjelmslev replaces the signified/signifier relation with the reciprocal preconditions of content and expression.

D&G (59) describe castrating Oedipal forces that distribute lack.  Castration is the transcendent Phallus of Oedipal Lack in the illegitimate, transcendent uses of syntheses.  Structuralism corresponds to large molar aggregates that close into the illegitimate uses of the syntheses.  However, there is a reverse side of this structure.  (308-9) Structure has a “reverse side” that is the real production of desire -- the “real inorganization” that is the sub-representative field where there is no castrating lack.  (328) It is the reverse side of structure, codes, and territories.  Once we reach this reverse side, the molecular chain is still signifying, but the signs are asignifying.  The sub-representative, reverse side of structure is inclusive disjunction where “everything is possible."  (87) Reality is no longer thought to be a principle of abstract quantity divided into qualitative forms.  Now, the real envelops indivisible intensive quantities that do not divide without changing nature, opening the forms. 

The formation and functioning of the desiring-machines are independent of interpretation.  They do not signify or represent.  They reach that sub-representative reverse side of structure.  The chain in desiring-machines brings together, without unifying, the body without organs and the partial objects.  The chain is the network of included disjunction on the body without organs that resects the connection of the flows.  This molecular chain determines flows. The chain is still signifying, but the signs composing it are asignifying at the level of inclusive disjunctions where everything is possible.  This is the reverse side of structure that must be reached with schizoanalysis.  Schizoanalysis must reach the legitimate uses of the syntheses and intensive singular forces that, with each division, change the nature of the chains and the flows.

The Socius

If we are to understand Deleuze and Guattari, we must understand that they are laying out a plane consistent with what Deleuze always saw as Nietzsche’s univocity.  Deleuze says (Nietzsche & Philosophy p.3), “We will never find the sense of something….if we do not know the force which appropriates the thing….”  Isn’t this just what D&G mean when they say (AO 10-11) desiring-production and social-production both involve an unengendered non-productive element that is a full body as a socius. The full body of a socius appropriates the productive forces and attributes them to itself as if it were their cause.  We will never know the sense of something if we do not know the forces that appropriate it.  The socius is a recording surface of production.  It may be the body of earth, tyrant, or capital.  The socius falls back on the economic forces of production and appropriates them as if it were their cause.  It attributes them to extraeconomic conditions.  Partial objects cling to the full body of a socius as points of disjunction on a recording surface. 

Just as Spinoza’s attributes qualify Substance, (343) the forms of selection are the determinate conditions that qualify a socius.  The qualified form of a socius is produced as unengendered precondition of production.  It appropriates the forces of production.  “It is indeed in this sense that social production is desiring-production itself under determinate conditions.  These determinate conditions are thus the forms of gregariousness as a socius or full body, under whose effect the molecular formations constitute molar aggregates.”  But the full body of a socius is distinct from the naked body without organs.  The problem for schizoanalysis is how to keep these forms of selection from closing into the fixed form of a socius – how to keep the productive forces flowing. 

With the territorial socius (AO 148), “A kinship system only appears closed to the extent that it is severed from the political and economic references that keep it open, and that make alliance something other than an arrangement of matrimonial classes and filiative lineages.”  Alliance is never derived from or produced by filiation.  That is, alliance is never derived according to a filiative relation of variability that produces or maintains identity.  The territorial socius becomes a fixed code when the recording surface of inscription falls back on productive connections and attributes them to itself as though it were their cause.  That is, whenever the productive connections are thought to be caused by a structure of filiation, (342) statistical accumulation of molecular into molar aggregates organizes lack and records it on the socius, welding desire to lack.  There is code of the territorial socius when (247-8) a full body of antiproduction falls back on economic forces it appropriates and attributes them to extraeconomic filiative conditions.  But the despotic socius deterritorializes as it overcodes.  Structuralism is still in this despotic regime overcoded by the Signifier.  (247) Codes are indirect, qualitative, and limited.  Code is not economic.  Rather, when there is code, economic forces and productive connections (alliances) are attributed to an extraeconomic (filiative) instance as though they were caused by it. 

It is the full body of the socius that falls back on productive forces and appropriates them as if it were the cause of their selections and accumulations.  Social-production is desiring-production under determinate conditions of forms of statistical gregariousness.  The full bodies of a socius (earth, despot, or capital) are these conditions under which the molecular constitutes the molar.    


So far we have examined the territorial socius of codes and the despotic socius of deterritorialized overcoding.  However, capitalism is directly economic.  Capitalism is opposed to codes.  Its socius falls back on production without intervention of extraeconomic factors of code.  (139) Capitalism decodes flows of desire by substituting an axiomatic of abstract quantity (money) that deterritorializes the socius.  But (247) capitalism never reaches absolute deterritorialization.  Its deterritorialization is merely relative.  It deterritorializes and decodes, but is reterritorialized by an axiomatic of abstract quantity.  (249) The full body of capital is directly economic.  It falls back on production without intervention of extra-economic factors that would interpose code.  (250) Capitalism reaches an immanent deterritorialized field.  However, it is still determined by forces of an oppressive axiomatic.

(229-30) The capitalist axiomatic is caught in a dualism between exchange money and credit money.  It measures both labor and finance by the same abstract unit.  However, (228) “….it is not the same money”.  D&G tell us that (237) the definition of ‘surplus value’ must be modified.  It must be defined by the incommensurability between these disparate aspects of money.  (228-9) The money of the wage earner is the potential break-deduction in a flow of consumption.  Finance money is a break-detachment in chains of capital.  At the level of decoded flows, these deductions and detachments can be seen to re-articulate connections of flows and disjunctions of chains.  We must overcome the assumption of commensurability that maintains and produces identity if we are to overthrow the capitalist axiomatic. 

The deterritorialization of capitalism is merely relative.  It is reterritorialized by its axiomatic.  Therefore, (248-9) the axiomatic of money is an abstract quantity that ignores the real difference in nature of the flows and chains.  The capitalist socius of abstract money could not appropriate production without “becoming-concrete” in a differential relation.  However, this differential relation cannot be an indirect relation between coded flows that would still maintain or produce identity.  Rather, we must reach a region where there can be a reciprocal relation between decoded flows whose qualities do not exist prior to the direct conjunction of their relation.  Dx and dy are nothing independent of their relation, which determines the one as a pure quality of the flow of labor and the other as a pure quality of the flow of capital.  The progression is therefore the opposite of that of a code; it expresses the capitalist transformation of the surplus value of code into a surplus value of flux.”  Capitalism’s oppressive axiomatic reproduces identity as it reterritorializes.  The limit of capitalism is schizophrenia.


The psychoanalytic structure of castrating lack maintains and produces identity.  D&G introduce schizoanalysis as their answer to such structure. (281) Whereas the history of social investments are made on the recording surface of the full body of the socius (earth, despot, or capital), schizoanalysis sees the two poles operating on the body without organs in its pure state.  The paranoid molar pole organizes the molecular through statistical laws of mass phenomena.  But the schizoid-molecular pole does not obey statistical laws.  It is the submicroscopic (sub-representative) pole of intensities that, with division, changes nature.  The naked body without organs is the limit of the clothed body of the socius --- its line of escape and absolute deterritorialization.  This allows schizoanalysis to escape the molar statistical structure that maintains or produces identity.

Alliance is never derived from filiation.  But in order for alliance to escape filiative origins, it must reach the reverse side of structure --- desiring production.  It is only the really distinct reciprocal relations of deterritorialized series that are ontologically singular – and that fill space to really different degrees of intensity.  In order to reach alliance that does not derive from filiation, we must reach that sub-representative, submicroscopic reverse side of structure.  We must reach a direct reciprocal relation of deterritorialized flows that are really distinct, but ontologically singular.  There is a pole of molecular flows in subject groups that dominate molar forces.  There is a pole of molar chains in subjugated groups that dominate the molecular in a determinate condition of statistical gregariousness.  The two poles are two types of multiplicities that interpenetrate.  Schizoanalysis must reach a region of two poles of univocality open to real change in nature.      

Structuralist ‘repetition’ is merely the movement of reproduction of the same – maintaining and producing identity.  Structuralism is still only at the level of closed subjugated groups with their illegitimate uses of the syntheses.  But D&G tell us there are two poles of delirium with oscillations between them.  (277-80) There is a paranoiac pole of segregative molar aggregates and statistical formations of subjugated groups.  And, there is a pole of schizorevolutionary lines of escape that penetrates into singularities --- the subject groups that no longer obey statistical laws.  When we reach this region of two poles of oscillating and interpenetrating multiplicities, both poles are independent of Oedipal-familial origins.  Then, alliance is not derived from filiation.  Both poles bear on the social field.  But both poles must be included if we are to be independent of filiative origins.  When we have only subjugated groups (leaving out the pole of subject groups) there is only closed filiation of the statistical molar aggregates.  Then, there can only be the illegitimate uses of the syntheses -- a triumph of reactive forces.  And then, all production will have only filiative origin that can never escape identity.  However, schizoanalysis reaches a domain of univocality open to real change in nature.

With closed subjugated groups (342-3), molar formations of gregariousness seem to totalize the molecular through statistical accumulations of chance.  Selection seems to presuppose gregariousness.  However, if we include both poles as deterritorialized flows – including subject groups of the reverse side of structure --- statistical accumulations of gregariousness are not the cause of selection.  Rather, with subject groups included, gregariousness presupposes selection.  “The order is not: gregariousness selection, but on the contrary, molecular multiplicity forms of selection performing the selection molar or gregarious aggregates that result from this selection.”  So, schizoanalysis includes both poles of delirium.  It includes the subject groups that are molecular multiplicities of partial objects.  They reach singular intensity that does not obey statistical laws.  They are singular forms of selection that qualifies the body without organs (i.e., Spinoza’s attributes that qualify Substance).  The molar aggregates result from these intensive forms of selection.  Statistical molar aggregates are the result of selective pressure at the sub-representative level.  Gregariousness presupposes selection. 

(283-8) The two types of multiplicities integrate both structure and genesis.  They reach indiscernibility between form and function.  The classical problems of opposition cannot be solved by an extrinsic relation between mechanism (structural unity) and vitalism (personal or specific unity).  Mechanism explains the functioning of an organism within its structural unity, but not the genesis of its formations.  Vitalism finds an individual and specific unity of organic continuance that is assumed to extend its formation to a unifying outside structure.  Vitalism invokes individual and specific unity of living being.  Its machines presuppose organic continuance.  But mechanism of the machine and vitalism of desire remain in an extrinsic relation to each other.  The former gives us organic structure.  The latter is merely a formal genesis that still derives alliance from filiation.  At the level of this molar opposition between mechanism and vitalism, there is only structure and genesis in an extrinsic relation of variability that maintains or produces identity in a presupposed unifying and totalizing structure.  Both mechanism and vitalism merely reproduce identity in a totalizing system of statistical molar gregariousness. There can be no genesis of real difference.  However, we must reach a sub-representative level of machinic production where structure and genesis, function and form, are not in opposition.

Every structure of opposition/limitation is locked into the illegitimate uses of the syntheses.  Their opposition closes into one structure where alliance is derived from filiation.  This merely maintains and produces identity of the same structure without any real difference.  But we must reach the productive forces of desiring machines where everything is possible.  We must reach that region of direct alliance not derived from filiation.  Schizoanalysis reaches an open body without organs.  It rejects a closed full body of filiation that appropriates productive forces and attributes them to itself as if were their cause – attempting to derive alliance from filiation.  Schizoanalysis reaches real difference that does not maintain or produce identity. Real difference is on the reverse side of structure where function is indistinguishable from formation.  The two poles of desiring production and molar social production are interpenetrating multiplicities. 

(287) When machines become unified molar structure, when living molecular machines become structured in statistical unities, and when a machine appears as a single object and living organism appears as a single subject, then these molar forms are statistical determinations of its own desiring machines.  Then both poles (molar social production and molecular desiring production) are the same machine --- there is no difference in nature.  The social machines of mass phenomena subordinate molecular forces (subjugated groups).  The desiring machines that reach a submicroscopic singularity dominate mass phenomena (subject groups).  Desiring machines are an investment in large molar machines according to its own determinate condition of real difference, each time.  Each time, a molecular desiring machine is a direct investment in a large molar machine that it forms by statistical laws.  Each time, the molecular desiring machines and the molar social machines are the same machine under its own determinate conditions --- under statistical forms of selective pressure that determines its own molar gregariousness.  The molecular and the molar are the same machinic nature with real singular difference each time. But there is no totalizing structure that maintains or produce identity. Only at the submicroscopic level of desiring machines is formation and function the same.  Only what is produced in the same way it functions escapes representational meaning. 

D&G tell us (377) “….it is not enough to construct a new socius as full body; one must also pass to the other side of this social full body, where the molecular formations of desire that must master the new molar aggregate operate and are inscribed.  Only by making this passage do we reach the revolutionary break and investment of the libido.  This cannot be achieved except at the cost of, and by means of a rupture with, causality……In the subjugated groups, desire is still defined by an order of causes and aims, and itself weaves a whole system of macroscopic relations that determine the large aggregates under a formation of sovereignty.  Subject groups on the other hand have as their sole cause a rupture with causality, a revolutionary line of escape….”


The history of philosophy consists of perennial problems between opposing ‘–isms’.  For example, objectivism in the form of realism or absolutism is opposed to problems of subjectivism in the form of idealism or relativism.  Or, there are problems of rationalism versus empiricism – universalism versus nominalism – monism versus pluralism – individualism versus collectivism – mechanism versus vitalism – causal determinism versus freedom of purpose – internal relations of logically dependent parts versus external relations of logically independent parts.  But Deleuze tells us that these problems arise due to a presupposed structure of opposition/limitation where matter is assumed to already have a conceptual form.  This form may evolve historically and take on many cultural perspectives, but there is always the assumption of a totalizing structure of what is possible in order to maintain the principle of identity.  However, Deleuze questions the assumptions from which these problems arise.  Why do we assume that the many and the one are related as parts to whole?  How do we know that intelligible judgements relate qualities with substances?  How do we know that we recognize substances through resemblances in perception?  What is the connection between relations and qualities?  Why do we assume that intelligible analogies in judgement correspond to continuity of resemblances into a unifying whole?  These are just a few of the assumptions Deleuze questions with his univocity.        

Deleuze says (Difference & Repetition 34-5) that generic and specific differences are complicit in representational thought.  But genus and species are not of the same nature.  There is identity of genus in relation to species.  But Being cannot form the same kind of relation to genera.  Being is not a genus.  Specific differences prevent generic differences from relating to Being as if it were a common genus.  Univocity of species in a common genus refers back to equivocity of Being in different genera.  But representational thought cannot avoid complicity between generic and specific differences.  And this complicity causes many problems for classical thought.  Method assumes continuity in resemblances of perception in the species.  System assumes distributions in genera according to analogy of judgement.  But this classical ‘difference’ is a reflexive concept that is supposed to allow passage from similar species to identical genera.  That is, classical classifications of genus and species go by the assumption that generic identities must be cut from the continuous flux of perceptible resemblance.  Likewise, it is assumed that respectively identical genera must allow passage to analogous relations in intelligible judgments.  In any case, ‘difference’ is merely an image that mediates identity in the concept, opposition in predicates, analogy in judgement, and resemblance in perception.  And even when ‘difference’ becomes catastrophic (breaking with a reflexive concept) by either breaking the continuity of resemblances or the impassable fissure of analogical structure; it still assumes a ground of equilibrium.  Deleuze introduces univocity as the way to escape that seemingly irreducible ground that maintains or produces identity. 

Deleuze says we need to reach a domain that comes up through the middle of molar structures.  All molar oppositions of a totalizing structure are overcome when we reach this sub-representative domain of univocality.  In order to address these classical problems, Deleuze’s univocity must escape what has always seemed inescapable.  The real difference of univocity must escape the principle of conceptual identity.  Deleuze (with and without Guattari) tells us of a sub-representative domain that allows us to escape any ground of equilibrium.  We must reach a sub-representative domain beneath those “partial objects” that are still merely statistical aggregates of molar elements.  We must reach new ‘partial objects’ – the real difference of intensive singularity.  We must reach connections of flows that break the continuity of resemblances.  We must reach chains of disjunction that break the fissures of analogical structure.  But this can’t happen at the level of molar structure of subjugated groups that derive alliance from filiation.  Univocity includes the molecular pole of subject groups that reach the pre-individual singularity that can break the conceptual equilibrium of representational structure.  The real difference of univocity, with its intersection of two types of multiplicites, escapes the principle that maintains and produces identity.    

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