I’ve already pimped his thesis in the past, but now that I’ve had the time to sit down and read it I would highly recommend Nick’s thesis on Deleuze for anyone interested in Deleuze’s ontology and complexity theory. Nick articulates Deleuze’s ontology with exceptional clarity, reading it in terms dear to my own heart– with respect to the problem of individuation –and articulates its relevance to social and political theory. One question that emerges for me is that of what theory must look like once we take seriously Deleuze’s thesis that only individuals exist (where the concept of an individual is to be conceived at different levels of scale, such that, for example, cities, nations, and various social systems are also individuals). That is, once we adopt this premise we can no longer advocate universal laws and generalities. N.Pepperell once told me that she does not believe assemblage theory is a theory. I got irritated at the time as is my custom when I’m enthusiastic about something, but in this I think she’s right insofar as the concept of assemblage is not yet a theory or an explanation of a particular field of individuation, of a particular individuation or phenomenon, but rather an ontological concept that precedes a theory. For example, Marx’s historical materialism stipulates that there are no essences of the human or society. This is a general ontological claim, not yet a theory. We have not yet proposed a theory until we engage in the arduous work of accounting for the specific regularities governing a particular socio-historical moment. Marx becomes a theory when he explains why the historical moment takes the particular form it does (i.e., when he articulates all the processes and contingencies by which particular subjects were formed, particular social relations came into being, and particular tensions or antagonisms developed) and when he envisions the immanent processes by which these historical moments are undergoing transformation. In short, what is required is not logos but immanent logoi, immanent patterns of (re)production internal to a phenomena, absolute specific to situations and their organization.
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