if i'm not mistaken, deleuze says you only know about "apple" because you know apple is not an orange, is not a tea, is not justice, is not rock,... so by differentiating "apple" from everything else, you understand its identity

i know what "3" is, if deleuze is right then i know what this number is because i have compared this number with "4", "5", "6","7",...
to me this is impossible because this requires infinite calculation and comparison

how would deleuze respond to this counter-argument? (if that is his argument) if that's not his argument then can you explain how can we know about "3"?

  • reminds me of apoha not read difference and repeitition.
    – andrós
    Commented May 18 at 20:05
  • i didn't see much on deleuze and dharmakirti, so i assume this is a misreading?
    – andrós
    Commented May 18 at 21:21
  • While I don't fully understand it myself, i feel like you're seeing difference as a naming convention. Deleuze sees pure difference as a sort of generative force. It is from pure difference that becoming itself happens
    – edelex
    Commented May 20 at 7:59
  • See this Sartre question. Its seemingly different but actually closely related. [And no, unlike the omniscients whove so far deigned to answer, I dont think Deleuze is an "idiot" talking "nonsense" though he is hard to read]
    – Rushi
    Commented Jun 20 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


If that is what Deleuze really claims, then Deleuze is an idiot. Suppose you lived in a world in which the only object you encountered was an apple; would you not know it because you could not compare it with, tea, justice, rocks etc?

  • Does a fish know that its wet?
    – Rushi
    Commented Jun 18 at 17:40
  • “What we mean by information – the elementary unit of information – is a difference which makes a difference.” Gregory Bateson Commented Jun 18 at 20:42

Truthfully it sounds like total nonsense because of course you know what things are without comparing them to anything else.

That said, you can answer the question of his rule being impossible because it requires infinite calculation and comparison by saying that that according to Deleuze that would indeed be correct. Your knowledge of any given item is indeed limited by the lack of other items it can be compared to.

Say you have an apple in front of you. Even a baby understands what it is at a superficial level. It's food to him. True understanding however would require a much more in depth understanding. Such understanding at the deepest level can only be reached by contrasting it to similar items with similar DNA and functions that are not apples to understand what makes this uniquely an apple over other items that share it's DNA and function . Otherwise we are similar to a baby who merely understands it as being food. That is not a true understanding (according to Deleuze) Being that most of us aren't botanists and do not understand all the distinctions between different types of fruit, most of us don't truly understand what apples are.

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