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Monday, 18 June 2012

Tension and flat ontology

DeLanda describes the realm of Humean sensory qualities (that ground his neutral monism) as the space of intensities. It is indeed a Deleuzian idea that much is made of differences of intensity. What is intense contrasts with what is extense - for example, the extensive continuum, comparable with the plan d´égalité that Tristan Garcia talks about in his Forme et Objet. The plane is equivalent to the n´importe quoi that he ascribes to anything. The extensive continuum, as the Deleuzian plan d´immanence, the crossoroad of existences in Souriau or, in some sense, Kit Fine´s über-reality (see post below in http://anarchai.blogspot.com.br/2012/05/extensive-continuum-and-space-of.html) are elements for what DeLanda labels flat ontology. Garcia emphasizes the idea of importance saying that valoriser une chose c´est transformer le charactère strictement extensif de toute chose en une intensité (p. 40). We are indeed close to Whitehead: a world of things of all kinds, and a space for equality between all things that is not prior to them but is composed by them. In fact, the extensive depends on the intensive and there is nothing beyond things (or beyond actual entities).

It is interesting to consider this contrast between intension and extension. Tense is a spatio-temporal term, as "to tend" is. Extension has to do with where something stands and the extensive plane is isotropic. Intension introduces an element of anisotropism: there is a direction in the plane, an orientation, an intensity. Modality is intensional, but it is located in an extensive plane. It emerges from the extensional; Hume again: the extensive plane is flat. Tension is the link between two modes of existence that have to be tied together: that of the extensive continuum and that of the actual entity; that of the n´importe quoi and that of the chose; that of a mode of existence and that of the surexistence. Hpwever, to think in terms of tension is to spatialize not only time but everything else. Maybe there is more to flat ontologies than the drive to dispose all in a flat surface.

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