The Ethical View of Spinoza’s theory of relations

In Barbara Bolt (ed.), Sensorium: aesthetics, art, life. Newcastle, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Press (2007)
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Gilles Deleuze maintains that an individual’s power to act is open to “metaphysical” or ontological changes. An individual for Deleuze is limited by the passive affections that it experiences in its interactions with other more composite bodies, which, at any given moment, have the potential to limit its further integration, and, therefore, the further development of its power to act, and by consequence, its actual existence. This limit determines the margin of variation of the expression of the given individual’s power to act, which varies from a minimum, below which it would cease to exist (intensity = 0), to a maximum, which would only be limited by the extent to which its power to act is further integrated at any given moment in more composite relations, expressing the affective life of the individual. The paper will examine the implications of this interpretations of Spinoza, with a view to characterising the role that Spinoza plays in Deleuze’s broader project of constructing a philosophy of difference.



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Simon B. Duffy
Monash University

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