---- by Jonattan Roffe
  As early as his first book, Empiricism and Subjectivity, Deleuze rejects the idea of total unities, and works to analyse how things which are practically speaking unified - like human beings, societies and ideas of God and the world - come to be so.
  Deleuze's procedure for coming to grips with the thought of unity throughout his philosophy is threefold. First of all, he maintains that there are no pre-existent wholes. Not only does nature itself not make a whole, but things themselves exist only one by one. They do not fit into an overarching structure and cannot be 'added up' to make a total picture of existence because everything is unique.We simply do not have any grounds for taking the unique things which make up existence as members of a species which could ground a unifying perspective. This point is closely connected to Deleuze's concept of 'multiplicity' that describes unique things in terms of their own complex constitutive relations. The most substantial treatment of the concept of the 'whole' in this sense is given in the discussion of Stoic philosophy in The Logic of Sense.
  Second, it is important to note we seem, in fact, to be surrounded by unities of many kinds: human subjectivity, a unified and coherent basis for thinking, the unity of natural languages, and so on. For Deleuze, these kinds of transcendent totalities are fundamentally illusory. They are the product of certain habitual ways of thinking common to western culture and the metaphysical tradition Deleuze calls 'dogmatic image of thought'. The most significant discussion of the illusory nature of such totalities is undertaken in Difference and Repetition.
  Finally, Deleuze goes on to argue that there are, in fact, unities but that these are produced by and in very particular social contexts. The unity of human experience, for example, or the idea of the world as a whole, is the very real and concrete result of the kinds of social experience that we have. As such, produced wholes are subject to the variations in the social context that is theirs. Their wholeness cannot be guaranteed, since it has no transcendental principle of unity but only the support of the social forces of its genesis and the maintenance of its consistency. Taken together, these three points describe the constructivist methodology of Deleuze concerning all unities. A totality is at once non-existent (in the transcendent, absolute sense), illusory (with regard to thinking), and concretely produced in a certain way by our social context.
  At certain points, Deleuze himself seems to be advocating a kind of primary oneness to existence, particularly concerning his thesis of ontological univocity, or the univocity of being. In short, this is the position that claims all existing things are within a single world - everything that exists is 'said' in the same way ('uni-vocalised'). Univocity disqualifies in advance any thought of a transcendent ordering realm that is higher or more pure than the world of events. Ontological univocity is closely related to the thesis of monism that claims there is a single substance from which individual things are formed. Whilst this emphasis in Deleuze's work involves a certain thought of unity, we cannot consider him to be a 'holist' in any direct sense. Univocity must be understood rather as the emphasis on the common world of relations for everything that exists - a certain thought of general interconnectedness and proximity that would allow us to consider Deleuze's ontology as a kind of ecology of being. As he states in Empiricism and Subjectivity, nature is unique - but this does not mean that it is unified.
   § multiplicity
   § singularity

The Deleuze Dictionary. Revised Edition. . 2015.


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