How quickly I break my word. After a couple good conversations over the weekend on this topic, I’m going to break my promise to write something about either Brandom or Badiou, and I’m going to make a few points about Deleuze. I’ve been making several of these points for a while, but do not officially work on Deleuze anymore, so this is a good excuse to write down something I otherwise wouldn’t.
The first point to make is that a lot of people get confused by what Deleuze means when he espouses the univocity of Being. He is not himself always clear about it, and as I hope to show in brief, some of the more important and salient features of it are not explicit at all. Indeed, I think if we get over confusions about precisely what the principle of univocity is, we can see how it is not just an aspect of Deleuze’s ontology, but rather the core aspect which motivates many of the other decisions he takes in building his system.
Confusion No. 1: The principle of univocity is the same in Duns Scotus, Spinoza, and Deleuze.
It might seem that this is at least Deleuze’s opinion from the sections on univocity in Difference and Repetition (D&R). Here he heaps much praise on both Duns Scotus and Spinoza. Although he does criticise them, for keeping Being neutral and not ‘making substance turn around the modes’, respectively, neither of these criticisms seems to have direct relevance to the principle of univocity itself.