Semiotica 2019 (230):1-34 (2019)

In this study, we analyse the notion of “differential heterogenesis” proposed by Deleuze and Guattari on a morphogenetic perspective. We propose a mathematical framework to envisage the emergence of singular forms from the assemblages of heterogeneous operators. In opposition to the kind of differential calculus that is usually adopted in mathematical-physical modelling, which tends to assume a homogeneous differential equation applied to an entire homogeneous region, heterogenesis allows differential constraints of qualitatively different kinds in different points of space and time. These constraints can then change in time, opening the possibility for new kinds of differential dynamics and the emergence of distinct entities and forms. Formally, we show that operators with different phase spaces can be assembled on the basis of a result of Rothschild & Stein. Furthermore, operators with different dynamics can be assembled by means of a partition of the unit. After stating the concept of differential heterogenesis in terms of contemporary mathematics, we show that this construction sheds light on the constitution of the semiotic function. In fact, both the Merleau-Pontian and the Deleuzian approaches share a common conceptualisation of the semiotic function and its emergence in terms of a morphodynamics of heterogeneous assemblages with a divergent actualisation. This divergent actualisation allows the co-constitution of various expression and content planes. Finally, we show that the divergent actualisation can be interpreted as the directions of principal eigenvectors of the actualized flow.
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DOI 10.1515/sem-2018-0109
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