Same and Other

  • Joseph Libertson
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 87)


The only positivity or unicity of entities within a dimension of differential free-play is their intrication with each other and with the element of their separation. The differential dimension is a field of general or absolute heteronomy: a heteronomy which does not describe the “dependence” of unicity upon an exterior autonomy. The closure of the differential entity is its communication with, and constitution by, the entire economy with which it is involved. But this overall or “general” economy, and the manifold differences or effects of difference which organize it, have no positivity beyond their indefinite and irreducible communications. In other words, this economy does not have the ontological positivity requisite for a determination of the differential entity. It is an economy which cannot produce totalization, and an economy which cannot itself be coherently postulated as a totality. It produces generality, but it is not a totality of this generality. Thus, its differences are not subordinated to distinction and the “negative” constitution which, in a system such as that posited by Saussure and structural linguistics, produces an operational or systematic positivity of the minimal or elementary differential “term”. Without a negativity which would guarantee the totalization of the system, and a complementary negativity which would ground the positivity of a term in its “non-coincidence” with other terms, the system becomes a general economy, and the differential entity becomes an irreducible alteration. Every “term” within the economy is a heteronomous secondarity whose closure is its alteration by exteriority. The lack of distinction, self-coincidence or operational autonomy which characterizes the movements of this economy does not signify undifferentiation, but rather a differentiation without negativity and without totalization.


Differential Field Eternal Return Latent Birth Western Metaphysic Passive Synthesis 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1982

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  • Joseph Libertson

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