Deleuze and cosmopolitanism

Deleuze and cosmopolitanism

John sellars

The status of the political within the work of Gilles Deleuze has recently become a topic of contention. [1] Two recent books argue the case for two extremes among a range of possible interpretations. At one end of the spectrum, Peter Hallward has argued that Deleuzeʼs personal ethic of deterritorialization and self-destruction is so disengaged with the actuality of social relations that it is unable to offer any serious political philosophy. [2] At the other end of the spectrum, Manuel De Landa outlines in his most recent book an entire social and political theory modelled upon Deleuze and Guattariʼs ontology of machinic assemblages. [3] In what follows I offer a contribution to this literature on Deleuzeʼs political philosophy. [4] To be more precise I should say Deleuze and Guattariʼs political philosophy, for Deleuzeʼs most explicit comments on politics appear in the co-authored AntiOedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. If Anti-Oedipus is the critical and destructive polemic, then A Thousand Plateaus is the creative and constructive manifesto, and so my focus shall be on the latter. In particular I shall focus upon the ʻplateauʼ entitled ʻ1227: Treatise on Nomadology – The War Machineʼ, but I shall also draw upon material from Deleuzeʼs solo work Difference and Repetition that prefigures the central theme of that section. I shall argue that the political philosophy developed by Deleuze and Guattari shares much in common with, and should be seen as part of, the cosmopolitan tradition within political thinking. This broad tradition holds that all human beings belong to a single global community and that this universal community is more fundamental than the local political states into which individuals are born. As we shall see, this tradition has its origins with the ancient Cynics and Stoics.

The claim that Deleuze stands within a cosmopolitan tradition stretching back to the Stoics is a striking one, especially when one bears in mind Deleuzeʼs explicit interest in Stoicism in The Logic of Sense, where he engages with it on a number of fronts. Drawing upon the Stoic theory of incorporeals, Deleuze outlines an ontological surface populated by bodies on one side and incorporeal effects or events on the other. He also draws upon what he calls the Stoic theory of aiôn and chronos, a dual reading of time each part of which corresponds to one of the two sides of his ontological surface (the extended present of chronos is the time of bodies, while the durationless limit of aiôn separating past and future is the time of the incorporeal transformation or event). As it happens, none of this bears much relation to what we know about the ancient Stoicsʼ ontology and theory of time, and in the latter case Deleuzeʼs confusion reflects that of his source. [5] His briefer remarks about Stoic ethics come closer to what we find in ancient Stoicism – especially the later Stoics – and the very positive tone suggests that he felt a real affinity with the ancient Stoa. [6] It is in the light of his claim that Stoic ethics offers us the only meaningful form of ethics left, namely ʻnot to be unworthy of what happens to usʼ, [7] that I argue here that Deleuze also proposes a Stoic politics, even if he never explicitly conceived it as such.

Before turning to Deleuze and Guattari directly, I shall begin by introducing ancient cosmopolitanism. I shall then focus in on one particularly important ancient text relating to the Republic of Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, analysing it alongside an equally important passage from Difference and Repetition. Then I shall turn to A Thousand Plateaus, and suggest the ways in which Deleuze and Guattariʼs political philosophy may be read as a contemporary version of ancient Stoic cosmopolitanism.

Ancient cosmopolitanism

The origins of ancient cosmopolitanism are traditionally attributed to Diogenes the Cynic. Asked where he came from, Diogenes is reported to have replied ʻI am a citizen of the cosmos.ʼ [8] This is the earliest attributed use of the word cosmopolitês, ʻcitizen of the cosmosʼ, although it is interesting to note that a number of other Socratic philosophers roughly contemporary with Diogenes are recorded as having expressed a similar thought, and that this thought is also attributed to Socrates himself. [9]

What did Diogenes mean by this claim? His Cynicism has often been presented as a primarily nihilistic philosophy, and so one might assume that he simply meant to reject any tie to a traditional state and to reject the responsibilities of being a citizen. Yet elsewhere Diogenes is reported to have used the word apolis when wanting to assert that he was without a city in the conventional sense. [10] So Diogenesʼ use of cosmopolitês suggests something more than mere indifference to existing political institutions, namely a positive allegiance to the cosmos. [11] Unfortunately the evidence for Diogenes is thin and his Republic – which presumably outlined his political thoughts – is lost. [12] Nevertheless, his modest contribution would bear significant fruit.

Cynicism continued after the death of Diogenes under the stewardship of his pupil Crates, accompanied by his Cynic wife Hipparchia. According to tradition, when Zeno of Citium first arrived in Athens he became a student of Crates, and so it is reasonable to assume that Zeno was familiar with the Cynic idea of being a citizen of the cosmos. Zeno too wrote a Republic and it is reported that it was written when he was still a pupil of Crates. [13] Thus ancient sources joke that it was written ʻon the tail of the dogʼ. [14] The surviving evidence for Zenoʼs Republic is greater than that for Diogenesʼ Republic, but it is still thin enough to make reconstruction of its doctrines difficult. Among the many attempts at reconstruction, two broad approaches stand out; I shall call these the ʻPlatonicʼ and the ʻCynicʼ interpretations.

The Platonic interpretation of Zenoʼs Republic places particular weight on the claim that it was written as a response to Platoʼs Republic, and takes Zenoʼs choice of title as a deliberate reference to Platoʼs work of the same name. [15] It also notes a number of fragments of Zenoʼs Republic that appear to echo material in Platoʼs Republic, such as the rejection of traditional education. It also draws attention to an extended fragment in which Zeno is mentioned alongside Plato as fellow admirers of the Spartan king Lycurgus. [16] Thus the Platonic interpretation suggests that in his Republic Zeno outlined an ideal state – an isolated political community modelled on Sparta – which differed from Platoʼs ideal state by only admitting the wise as citizens, [17] thereby avoiding the problem of how to ensure harmony between the social classes. Zenoʼs ideal state, this interpretation suggests, is an egalitarian community of sages, uninterested in the outside world. [18]

The Cynic interpretation offers a quite different reconstruction. It notes that Zeno is reported to have written his Republic under the influence of Crates and so it suggests that Cratesʼ influence would have left its mark. It argues – contra the Platonic interpretation – that the choice of title might just as well refer to Diogenesʼ Republic as it might to Platoʼs, and so the title alone is not enough to warrant the claim of a Platonic influence. It also argues that the fragment connecting Zeno, Plato and Lycurgus does not say what the Platonic interpretation supposes. It notes that many of the other fragments report ideas that might just as well suggest a Cynic ancestry as they might an echo of Platoʼs utopia, such as the rejection of traditional education, temples, law courts and currency, and the advocacy of open sexual relationships. [19] More importantly, the Cynic interpretation draws attention to an extended fragment that appears to call into question the claim that Zeno proposed an isolated community limited to just the wise:

The much admired Republic of Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, is aimed at this one main point, that our household arrangements should not be based on cities or parishes, each one marked out by its own legal system, but we should regard all human beings as our fellow citizens and local residents, and there should be one way of life and order, like that of a herd grazing together and nurtured by a common nomos. Zeno wrote this, picturing as it were a dream or image of a philosopherʼs well-regulated society. [20]

The word nomos has been left untranslated and we shall return to this in the next section. In the meantime we can note that this passage implies that all human beings (pantas anthrôpous) will be citizens in Zenoʼs ideal community, not just the wise. In the light of the claim that Zeno wrote his Republic under the influence of Crates, the Cynic interpretation suggests that this image of all humankind sharing one way of life is an expression of the cosmopolitanism first articulated by Diogenes. Zenoʼs ideal, this interpretation argues, is one in which all human beings are citizens of the cosmos, sharing a common way of life, indifferent to the geographical divisions embodied by traditional states. This may be reconciled with the claim that only the wise will be citizens by placing this universal community in a utopian future in which everyone has become a sage, and it is reported that the Stoic sage will follow the Cynic (and thus cosmopolitan) way of life. [21] It is to this interpretation that Kropotkin ascribed when he proclaimed Zeno the finest ancient exponent of anarchism. [22] Although the evidence is thin and both interpretations involve a considerable amount of conjecture, the Cynic interpretation seems the more plausible of the two. It gains further weight when one places Zenoʼs Republic alongside the works of subsequent Stoics, such as the following passage from Seneca:

Let us grasp the idea that there are two commonwealths (duas res publicas) – the one, a vast and truly common State (vere publicam), embracing gods and men, in which we look neither to this corner nor to that, but measure the boundaries of our citizenship by the path of the sun; the other, the one to which we have been assigned by the accident of birth. [23]

Senecaʼs unbounded common state – measured by the path of the sun – embraces the entire cosmos and is clearly no isolated community. Like Diogenes and Zeno, his ideal is in contrast to traditional political states. Epictetus takes up the same theme:

What other course remains for men than that which Socrates took when asked to what country he belonged, never saying ʻI am an Athenianʼ, or ʻI am a Corinthianʼ, but ʻI am of the cosmosʼ? For why do you say that you are an Athenian, instead of mentioning merely that corner into which your paltry body was cast at birth? [24]

The same thought reappears throughout the Meditations of the emperor-turned-philosopher Marcus Aurelius, from which the following is just one example:

The cosmos is as it were a State (polis) – for of what other single polity can the whole race of humankind be said to be fellow members? [25]

This broad Cynic–Stoic tradition of cosmopolitanism is not without its tensions, however. It is one thing for Diogenes to proclaim that he is a citizen of the cosmos; it is quite another for Marcus to declare that the cosmos is a state of which everyone is a citizen. What these thoughts do have in common is a rejection of oneʼs membership of the traditional state. Diogenes of Babylon (head of the Stoa in the second century BC) provocatively claimed while on a trip to Rome that, given that a city should be defined as a group of virtuous people living together under a common law, Rome itself was not a true city. [26] Only the cosmos – running according to its own immanent cosmic law – should be called a city, for it alone fulfils the requirements of this definition. Moreover, only the wise can claim citizenship of that city, for ʻamong the foolish (aphronôn) there exists no city nor any lawʼ. [27] Here we are back to Zenoʼs claim that only the wise will be citizens in his utopia, suggesting a limited community.

In order to overcome these tensions it may be helpful to think of cosmopolitanism as a political model with three distinct phases. [28] The first phase would be the lone individual who claims to be a citizen of the cosmos. This first phase is in itself Diogenesʼ apparent political ideal. However, in a world with more than one cosmopolitan sage, such individuals would acknowledge one another as equals and fellow-citizens of the cosmos, following a shared way of life. Thus they would constitute a community of sages, regardless of their individual geographical locations. This community of sages – whether dispersed or gathered together in one place – would form a second phase. The third phase would be a hypothetical future in which everyone has attained the wisdom of a sage and thus everyone has become a fellow-citizen of the cosmos. In such an ideal situation all existing traditional states and laws would become irrelevant and there would be what might best be described as an anarchist utopia. In this third phase, all humankind would share one way of life, ʻlike that of a herd grazing together and nurtured by a common nomosʼ.


Plutarchʼs account of Zenoʼs Republic in On the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander is arguably the most important fragment that survives. It is worth citing again in full:

The much admired Republic of Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, is aimed at this one main point, that our household arrangements should not be based on cities or parishes, each one marked out by its own legal system, but we should regard all human beings as our fellow citizens and local residents, and there should be one way of life and order, like that of a herd grazing together and nurtured by a common nomos. Zeno wrote this, picturing as it were a dream or image of a philosopherʼs well-regulated society. [29]

As before, the word nomos has been left untranslated.

We are perhaps most familiar with the Greek word nomos from discussions associated with the political theory of the ancient Sophists. In that context, nomos is usually understood to refer to custom or convention, and, later on, law. Thus some readers of Plutarch take Zeno to be saying that all human beings should follow one common law, rather than different legal systems in different states. However, nomos has a much wider range of meanings than just custom or law, and altogether a total of thirteen distinct senses of nomos have been isolated. [30] Before nomos took on the meaning of custom or law it was also used to refer to the pasture, the unregulated space outside the confines of the city-state (polis). [31] Thus other readers of Plutarch take Zeno to be saying that all human beings should live like a herd grazing together on a common pasture, namely an undivided Earth. Greek as it is written today includes a system of accents, and the difference between nomos as custom or law on the one hand and nomos as pasture on the other is indicated by the presence of an accent on either the first or the second omicron: nómos = custom, law; nomós = pasture. [32] Some textual scholars have disagreed about the location of the accent, but for Zeno, writing before the introduction of accents, the word would have been inherently ambiguous. The general sense of the text as a whole, however, is clear enough: rather than live according to the local customs and conventions of different city-states, people should instead aspire to living according to one common law, like a herd grazing on a common pasture.

The word nomos also features in the philosophy of Deleuze. In particular it appears in Difference and Repetition during a discussion of Duns Scotusʼ univocal ontology (see DR 53–4/36). Deleuze is concerned with outlining a concept of distribution appropriate to a univocal or immanent conception of being. In order to do so he draws a contrast between two types of distribution: distribution according to logos and distribution according to nomos. A distribution according to logos is a distribution in which that which is distributed is divided up; the distribution of parcels of land to different sedentary farmers, for instance. Such a distribution requires a logos in the form of a judgement or a principle; it is a proportional determination. A distribution according to nomos, in contrast, is a distribution in which this relationship is reversed. Rather than individuals dividing up a territory and distributing it to themselves, instead individuals distribute themselves across an open and undivided territory; nomadic shepherds scattered across an undivided plain, for instance. This is a distribution according to nomos, a nomadic distribution:

We must first of all distinguish a type of distribution which implies a dividing up of that which is distributed.… A distribution of this type proceeds by fixed and proportional determinations.… Then there is a completely other distribution which must be called nomadic, a nomad nomos, without property, enclosure or measure. Here, there is no longer a division of that which is distributed but rather a division among those who distribute themselves in an open space – a space which is unlimited, or at least without precise limits.… To fill a space, to be distributed within it, is very different from distributing the space. (DR 53–4/36) Drawing upon the work of Emmanuel Laroche, [33] Deleuze uses nomos in its earlier sense of pasture and stresses the meaning of its root nemô, to distribute. [34] A nomadic distribution is one in which, for instance, shepherds distribute themselves and their livestock over an undivided and unregulated territory, namely the pasture (nomos) beyond the borders of the citystate (polis). For Deleuze a nomad is simply one who operates according to this model of distribution, just as in Greek a nomad (nomados) is simply someone who lives on the pasture (nomos). [35] It is worth stressing that his references to nomads – both here and elsewhere – should not be taken either too literally or as mere metaphors. Deleuze presents us with a functional definition of what it means to be nomadic, namely to relate to a space in a specific way. This functional definition should in theory apply to traditional nomads, such as those who wander the steppe of central Asia, but it is by no means limited to them. Nor is it merely metaphorical, for it contains within it a precise meaning against which particular cases may be assessed. [36]

Returning to Zeno, let us note two key points in Plutarchʼs important testimony. The first is the thought that human beings should share ʻone way of life and orderʼ, following a single common nomos, understood as custom or law. The second is that this common way of life should transcend the traditional boundaries that demarcate cities or parishes, like that of ʻa herd grazing together and nurtured by a common nomosʼ, understood as pasture. Zenoʼs ideal, according to this testimony at least, is a way of life in which individuals do not divide up territory into distinct states (distributing the territory to themselves) but rather live together in one undivided territory (distributing themselves across the territory). It is of course impossible to attribute to Zeno a theory of different models of distribution along the lines that Deleuze provides, and there is no evidence to suggest that Deleuze was familiar with this fragment from Zenoʼs Republic, [37] but nevertheless the resonance is striking.


Deleuzeʼs concept of a nomadic distribution forms the foundation for what is arguably the nearest thing to a political philosophy within his oeuvre, namely his analysis with Guattari of the ʻstate apparatusʼ and ʻnomad war machineʼ in A Thousand Plateaus. In Difference and Repetition we have seen that Deleuze draws a distinction between distributions according to logos and those according to nomos. Yet nomos was also presented as that which is beyond the boundaries or control of the polis – it is the occupied space without precise limits, the expanse around the town. [38] The polis is by contrast the place in which everything is ordered according to a logos. There is thus a natural shift from a contrast between logos and nomos (in DR) to one between polis and nomos (in MP). Deleuze and Guattari flesh out this abstract distinction between polis and nomos by casting it as a distinction between the ʻstate apparatusʼ and the ʻnomad war machineʼ. These are not merely two alternative modes of political operation; they are diametrically opposed to one another: ʻnomos against polisʼ (MP 437/353).

Building upon Deleuzeʼs analysis in Difference and Repetition, the state apparatus is a principle of organization that distributes territory to individuals, marking out borders, erecting boundaries, and creating spaces of interiority. It is a principle of sovereignty and control. In contrast, the nomad war machine is a principle of movement and becoming, a principle of exteriority indifferent to the boundaries laid down by the state apparatus. From the perspective of the state, the war machine is violent and destructive, but on its own terms it is simply in a process of continual movement. It is nomadic because its natural habitat is on nomos, operating according to a nomadic distribution. The nomads distribute themselves across the open undivided steppe while the state allocates portions of land to individuals.

An important source for Deleuze and Guattari here is the work of Jean-Pierre Vernant, who has dealt with the close relationship between these varying modes of spatial distribution and the rise of the polis. [39] In his analysis, the reforms of the Athenian Cleisthenes overturned the previous tribal political organization that was qualitative and mobile, replacing it with a homogeneous and geometrical allocation of plots; the social organization of the clan was replaced by one of the soil. [40] Vernant emphasizes that this was primarily a shift in categories of thinking about space and suggests that Plato, in his use of a similar mode of spatial distribution, can be seen to express this form of allocation raised to the status of an ideal model. For Vernant, Plato is the archetypal theorist of distribution according to logos. [41] In contrast to this geometrical allocation of land undertaken by the polis, nomos refers to the unallocated common land outside the boundaries of the polis. A nomad is simply one who traverses this open space without dividing it.

This contrast between nomos and polis is, however, a formal one. In concrete situations both traits may be found together in varying measures; smooth spaces may be found in the centre of the polis while striations can divide the smoothest of spaces (shipping lanes across the open sea, for instance). But rather than conceive these as two antithetical types of place, it may be more accurate to present them as two distinct political modes of operation, based upon differing models of distribution. Deleuzeʼs nomadic distribution forms the foundation for a nomadic ethic, a certain way of relating to any particular space or situation. What we are offered is a political ethic in which individuals distribute themselves across a territory rather than distribute territory to themselves. It is, fundamentally, a cosmopolitan ethic, a rejection of political ties to particular locations, and a reorientation of the way in which one relates to social and political space: ʻit is possible to live striated on the deserts, steppes, or seas; it is possible to live smooth even in the cities, to be an urban nomadʼ (MP 601/482).

This antithesis between polis and nomos – state apparatus and nomad war machine – is developed further. The former uses the ʻroyalʼ or ʻmajorʼ science of geometry to distribute territory and demarcate an interiority that forms its zone of control. The latter uses the ʻnomadʼ or ʻminorʼ science of the numbering number, allocating ordinals to individuals, in order to assist their movement across an open space (MP 484–5/389). This distinction between major and minor science is presented in terms of Lucretius contra Plato; becoming and heterogeneity opposed to ʻthe stable, the eternal, the identical, the constantʼ (MP 447/361). Deleuze and Guattari outline four differentiating characteristics – hydraulic versus solid, vortical versus linear, becoming versus eternal, problematic versus theorematic – all of which have ancient origins. [42] In fact, the distinction itself comes from two ancient sources: Proclus and Plato. Deleuze and Guattari draw upon Proclusʼ account of the theorematic-problematic argument between Speusippus and Menaechmus. [43] Speusippus (Platoʼs nephew and his successor as the head of the Academy) is reported to have made the clearly Platonic claim that ʻthere is no coming to be among eternalsʼ. [44] Consequently nothing needs to be created or solved; instead there is only contemplative understanding of the already perfect Forms and abstract theoretical speculation. Menaechmus (a pupil of the mathematician Eudoxus), on the other hand, begins with the empiricist proposition that ʻthe discovery of theorems does not occur without recourse to matterʼ. [45] For him, science is the art of solving concrete problems that originate in specific situations; it is always a question of engineering and pragmatics. Deleuze and Guattari also cite Plato as a source for this distinction. In the Timaeus Plato proposes becoming as a counter-model that could rival identity, only to reject it as a serious possibility. [46] Both of these sources make it clear that major science is simply another phrase for Platonism. Consequently minor science refers to everything that escapes from the Platonic model. Platonic major science is, in the words of Michel Serres, ʻa science of dead thingsʼ, [47] whereas minor science is a science of becoming. For Deleuze and Guattari the difference between these two scientific models also reflects the difference between an ontology of transcendence and an ontology of immanence – in other words, the difference between Platonism and Stoicism.

This distinction between two modes of distribution and two models for science is also reflected in a distinction between two types of space: the smooth and the striated. The undivided nomos is a smooth space; the divided and bounded territory of the polis is a striated space. The former is two-dimensional vectorial space that can be explored ʻonly by legworkʼ (MP 460/371). The latter is a three-dimensional metric grid in which locations can be determined in an absolute space. We might characterize these as Leibnizian and Newtonian conceptions of space respectively, the merits of which were famously debated in the correspondence between Leibniz and Clarke, and the challenge to reconcile them was later taken up by Kant. Nomads occupy a smooth vectorial space, following a trajectory without a predetermined endpoint. They distribute themselves in smooth space and this is more important than physical movement; indeed, nomads need not move at all (MP 472/381). Migrants by contrast travel from A to B, from one fixed point to another within a predetermined grid (MP 471/380). The latter requires an additional dimension in order to make a representation of the grid as a whole.

Deleuze and Guattariʼs conceptions of the state apparatus as primarily a principle of order and organization and the nomad war machine as a principle of movement and becoming looks at first glance as if it is simply an expression of the wider ontology developed in A Thousand Plateaus, Difference and Repetition, and elsewhere. In Deleuzeʼs process philosophy of Nietzschean forces, movements of becoming or deterritorialization have an ontological priority over moments of stability, sedimentation or reterritorialization. Or, to be more precise, such stability is only ever apparent: in reality everything is in a continual state of flux at various levels of speed and slowness. This might lead us to assume that for Deleuze and Guattari the apparent order and stability of the state apparatus is merely a slowing down of the processes that constitute the nomad war machine, but in fact they insist that in this case there is an irreducible opposition: ʻin every respect, the war machine is of another species, another nature, another origin than the state apparatusʼ (MP 436/352). They are thus not two aspects of their ontology but rather two modes of distribution that imply two quite different modes of existence. The distinction is not a correlate of Deleuzeʼs ontology; it is a part of his ethics.

Deleuze’s cosmopolitanism

Deleuzeʼs conception of a nomadic distribution across an undivided nomos has much in common with Stoic expressions of cosmopolitanism in which the wise conceive themselves as citizens distributed across an undivided cosmos. The intriguing connection between these two models of spatial distribution is Zenoʼs utopian image of all humankind living on a common nomos. There are some important terminological differences, however, reflecting differences in ontology. For the Stoics, the cosmos is conceived as a polis, the only true polis, for the cosmos is the only entity governed by a common rational law (logos). The Stoics contrast this rationally ordered cosmic polis with actual cities that fail to meet their standards of rationality. In Deleuze and Guattariʼs nomos–polis dichotomy, the undivided nomos functions as the Stoicsʼ ideal cosmic polis, while the striated polis fulfils the role of the actual cities criticized by the Stoics. Both the Stoics and Deleuze and Guattari aspire to the undivided territory of a cosmic polis and nomos respectively, but Deleuze and Guattariʼs rejection of the concept of a rationally ordered cosmos and its replacement by their concept of a ʻchaosmosʼ means they would never attempt to conceive their cosmic nomos as an idealized polis. [48]

Notwithstanding the inevitable ontological differences between the ancient Stoics and Deleuze and Guattari, their shared concern with how individuals relate to spaces is striking. In the light of this I would suggest that Deleuze and Guattari stand within a tradition of cosmopolitan political thought that begins with the ancient Cynics and Stoics, a tradition in which indifference to traditional political boundaries is combined with a positive allegiance to an undivided space in which everyone can move without restriction. This affirmation of a broadly Stoic politics stands alongside Deleuzeʼs explicit affirmation in The Logic of Sense of a Stoic ethics.

Thus, Deleuzeʼs politics is ultimately utopian. [49] It does not offer a model for collective political action but rather outlines a personal ethical project of selftransformation in which each individual alters their own relation to space and to traditional political states. The preferred relation is ultimately one of indifference to traditional politics and to traditional conceptions of political revolution. [50] The political transformation that the cosmopolitan tradition envisages can only be brought about one person at a time. This is both its strength and its weakness.


1. ^ Note the following abbreviations: DR = Différence et repetition, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1968; Difference and Repetition, trans. P. Patton, Athlone, London, 1994; LS = Logique du sens, Minuit, Paris, 1969; The Logic of Sense, trans. M. Lester, Columbia University Press, New York, 1990; MP = Mille plateaux, with F. Guattari, Minuit, Paris, 1980; A Thousand Plateaus, trans. B. Massumi, Athlone, London, 1988. Abbreviations are followed by French, then English, pagination.

For ancient authors I have made use of the Loeb Classical Library editions published by Harvard University Press.

2. ^ See P. Hallward, Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation, Verso, London, 2006.

3. ^ See M. De Landa, A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity, Continuum,

London, 2006.

4. ^ Previous studies include: T. May, The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism, Pennsylvania State University Press, Pennsylvania, 1994; P. Patton, Deleuze and the Political, Routledge, London, 2000; N. Thoburn, Deleuze, Marx, and Politics, Routledge,

London, 2003.

5. ^ The Stoics in fact posit four types of incorporeal, of which linguistic meaning or sense (lekton, that which is said, often translated as ʻsayableʼ) is just one (the other three are time, place, and void). Deleuzeʼs supposedly Stoic ʻincorporeal effectsʼ are merely examples of these incorporeal linguistic predicates. There is no Stoic concept of an ʻincorporeal eventʼ along the lines that Deleuze suggests. Nor is there any conception of parallel series of bodies–causes and incorporeal–effects inhabiting two sides of a single surface. Deleuzeʼs account of aiôn and chronos does not correspond to what we know about Stoic thoughts about time either, and is the fabrication of Victor Goldschmidt, on whom Deleuze draws (see J. Sellars, ʻAn Ethics of the Event: Deleuzeʼs Stoicismʼ, Angelaki, vol. 11, no. 3, 2006, pp. 157–71, at p. 169 n35).

6. ^ On Deleuze and Stoic ethics, see ibid.

7. ^ See LS 174/149.

8. ^ Diogenes Laertius 6.63.

9. ^ See e.g. Epictetus, Dissertationes 1.9.1 (quoted below).

For a general survey of the idea in antiquity, see H.C.

Baldry, The Unity of Mankind in Greek Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1965.

10. ^ See Diogenes Laertius 6.38.

11. ^ For the positive content of Cynic cosmopolitanism, see J.L. Moles, ʻCynic Cosmopolitanismʼ, in The Cynics, ed. R.B. Branham and M.-O. Goulet-Cazé, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996, pp. 105–20.

12. ^ The surviving evidence is discussed in D. Dawson, Cities of the Gods: Communist Utopias in Greek Thought, Oxford University Press, New York, 1992, ch.

3. ^

13. ^ The most significant study is probably M. Schofield, The Stoic Idea of the City, Cambridge University Press,

Cambridge, 1991. The fragments are collected and translated in J. Sellars, ʻStoic Cosmopolitanism and Zenoʼs Republicʼ, History of Political Thought, forthcoming.

14. ^ Diogenes Laertius 7.4.

15. ^ For examples of the Platonic interpretation, see A.-H.

Chroust, ʻThe Ideal Polity of the Early Stoicsʼ, Review of Politics 27, 1965, pp. 173–83; Schofield, The Stoic Idea of the City; and C. Rowe, ʻThe Politeiai of Zeno and Platoʼ, in Zeno of Citium and His Legacy, ed. T. Scaltsas and A.S. Mason, Municipality of Larnaca, Larnaca, 2002, pp. 293–308. For the claim that Zenoʼs title alone must imply a close relationship with Platoʼs Republic see Rowe, ʻThe Politeiai of Zeno and Platoʼ, p. 295.

16. ^ See Plutarch, Vita Lycurgi 31.1–2.

17. ^ See Diogenes Laertius 7.33.

18. ^ Chroust, ʻThe Ideal Polity of the Early Stoicsʼ, pp. 179–80, argues that all foreign travel would be banned in Zenoʼs ideal state and so this small community of sages would be totally isolated from the outside world.

19. ^ See Diogenes Laertius 7.32–3; 7.131.

20. ^ Plutarch, De Alexandri Magni Fortuna aut Virtute 329a–b.

21. ^ See e.g. Diogenes Laertius 7.121.

22. ^ In his 1910 article for the Encyclopaedia Britannica Peter Kropotkin described Zeno as ʻthe best exponent of Anarchist philosophy in ancient Greeceʼ (repr. in P.

Kropotkin, Anarchism and Anarchist Communism, Freedom Press, London, 1987, p. 10). For a cursory account of Cynicism and Stoicism within the anarchist tradition see P. Marshall, Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, HarperCollins, London, 1992, pp. 68–71.

23. ^ Seneca, De Otio 4.1.

24. ^ Epictetus, Dissertationes 1.9.1–2.

25. ^ Marcus Aurelius 4.4; see also 2.16, 3.11, 4.3, 10.15.

26. ^ See Cicero, Academica 2.137, where it is reported that, according to Diogenes, Rome was not a real ʻcityʼ (nec haec urbs nec in ea civitas) at all.

27. ^ See D. Obbink and P. A. Vander Waerdt, ʻDiogenes of Babylon: The Stoic Sage in the City of Foolsʼ, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 32, 1991, pp. 355–96, at p. 376.

28. ^ Here I follow the analysis of Diogenesʼ cosmopolitanism in J.L. Moles, ʻThe Cynics and Politicsʼ, in Justice and Generosity, ed. A. Laks and M. Schofield, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, pp. 129–58, at pp. 141–2. It seems equally applicable to later Stoic cosmopolitanism.

29. ^ Plutarch, De Alexandri Magni Fortuna aut Virtute 329a–b.

30. ^ See M. Ostwald, Nomos and the Beginnings of the Athenian Democracy, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1969, p. 54.

31. ^ See E. Laroche, Histoire de la racine nemen grec ancien, Klincksieck, Paris, 1949, pp. 115–29.

32. ^ See H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, rev. H.S. Jones, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1940, p. 1180.

33. ^ See Laroche, Histoire de la racine nemen grec ancien, cited in both DR and MP.

34. ^ Both senses of nomos discussed here share this root; see Liddell and Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, p. 1180, and Laroche, Histoire de la racine nemen grec ancien, pp. 24–5.

35. ^ See Liddell and Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, pp. 1178–9.

36. ^ Deleuze has been accused of relying on metaphors by a number of commentators, notably A. Badiou, Deleuze: La clameur de lʼÊtre, Hachette, Paris, 1997, p. 8. For a defence of Deleuze against such charges, see M. De Landa, ʻImmanence and Transcendence in the Genesis of Formʼ, in A Deleuzian Century?, ed. I. Buchanan,

Duke University Press, Durham NC, 1999, pp. 119–34, at p. 121.

37. ^ Deleuzeʼs principal source, Laroche, Histoire de la racine nemen grec ancien, refers to an enormous number of ancient textual examples, including many in Plutarchʼs Moralia, but I have not found a reference to this particular passage.

38. ^ See DR 54/309.

39. ^ See J.-P. Vernant, Myth and Thought among the Greeks, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1983.

40. ^ See ibid., pp. 212–34; note also Vernantʼs The Origins of Greek Thought, Methuen, London, 1982, p. 99: ʻThe city was thus no longer organized according to … blood ties. Tribes and demes were established on a purely geographical basis; they brought together dwellers on the same soil rather than blood relativesʼ.

41. ^ See ibid., pp. 230–31, where he writes that Plato ʻspecifies how to organize the space of the city-state to conform with his lawsʼ, and Plato himself offers the following example: ʻtwelve regions … [divided] into five thousand and forty allotments … [then] bisectedʼ (Laws 745e). Vernant goes on to suggest that this model of ʻpolitical space treated geometricallyʼ (ibid., p. 233) finds its most complete expression with Plato despite his other divergences from the model of the classical city.

42. ^ The hydraulic/solid and vortical/linear characteristics originate with Lucretius and Archimedes, and Deleuze and Guattari draw upon the discussion of them both in M. Serres, La naissance de la physique dans le texte de Lucrèce, Minuit, Paris, 1977; the becoming/eternal opposition comes from Platoʼs Timaeus 28–9; the problematic/theorematic distinction comes from Proclus, in Primum Euclidis Elementorum Librum (translated in G.

R. Morrow, Proclus, A Commentary on the First Book of Euclidʼs Elements, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1970). See MP 446–64/361–74.

43. ^ See Proclus, in Primum Euclidis Elementorum Librum Prol. 8; Morrow, Proclus, pp. 62–7. For Deleuze and Guattari see MP 447–8/362 with 448 n16/554 n21.

Deleuze also draws upon this text by Proclus in DR 211/163 and LS 69/54.

44. ^ Proclus, ibid.; Morrow, Proclus, p. 64.

45. ^ Ibid.

46. ^ See Plato, Timaeus 28–9 and MP 457–8/369 with 457 n29/555 n34. Deleuze also discusses this in DR 167/128 where he describes this ʻterrifyingʼ counter-model as ʻthe anti-Platonism at the heart of Platonismʼ.

47. ^ Serres, La naissance de la physique dans le texte de Lucrèce, p. 136.

48. ^ In MP Deleuze and Guattari have no problem with the word Cosmos (see e.g. MP 402–3/326–7) but they supplement it with ʻchaosmosʼ in order to stress that their cosmos is not rationally ordered in the way that the Greeks understood kosmos.

49. ^ Of course, following the example of De Landa, one might be able to develop a quite different social and political philosophy using other parts of Deleuzeʼs philosophy, but this will not necessarily be consistent with Deleuzeʼs explicit comments on politics discussed here.

50. ^ Although I do not subscribe to all of the details of Peter Hallwardʼs complex and sophisticated interpretation of Deleuzeʼs ontology, I would agree with him that Deleuzeʼs political attitude is utopian and ultimately indifferent to traditional politics (Out of this World, p. 162).

Westminster English Colloquium #10GENDER, SEX & SUBJECTIVITY(After Judith Butler)Saturday 24 March, 10 am–5 pm

Portland Hall,

University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield St,


David alderson

author of Mansex Fine

Kathleen lennon

co-author of The World, the Flesh and the Subject

Stella sandford

author of The Metaphysics of Love

Lynne segal

author of Slow Motionwith: David Cunningham, Harriet Evans, Kaye Mitchell, Alex Warwick

Contact: Dr Kaye Mitchell, University of Westminster,