§ introduction to the Deleuzian registers and their epistemological correlates: actuality –infinite comprehension, potentiality –finite comprehension, and virtuality –indefinite comprehension
(‘Let us pose a question quid juris [which law applies]:…)
Deleuze inaugurates this portion of the Introduction by explicitly relating his earlier consideration of a 2nd contrast (from the perspective of law) between generality and repetition to now that of a 3rd contrast (from the perspective of the concept or representation). Deleuze poses ‘a question quid juris’ (which law applies). That is, a question arises as to how the 2nd contrast (a concept or theory of value) ‘applies’ a given understanding of the topic of the 3rd contrast (a theory of concepts, or representation). By proposing to ‘pose a question quid juris’, Deleuze is clarifying that our answer to the question of value already implicates a certain presumption about the being of reality –or in other words, it already begs the question of ontology.
We are then incorrectly wording the issue if we say that a materialist theory of value requires an ontology, since it’s the case that any given materialist analysis already is an ontology. To forward an assertion about the coming-into-or-out-of-being of value is to already forward an assertion about what being “is”, i.e. its ontological properties, of how they come and go, of what are being’s registers, etc. In order to get our answers to such questions about value right, we are required to get our ontology right; and in order to get our ontology right, we need to get our questions right.
This assignment drives Deleuze’s thinking on the 3rd contrast –a difference in kind between the orders of generality and repetition, now from the perspective of concepts, or representation. This 3rd contrast of their difference in kind convokes Deleuze’s understanding that there are three registers of reality: actuality, potentiality, and virtuality.
However, our reader will quickly realize that at this portion of DR (pgs. 11-15) Deleuze is merely drawing on the phenomenological consequences that there are three registers of reality, and in doing so proceeds to indirectly unpack some of their basic ontological, epistemological, and logical properties (or “correlates”, as he calls them). Let our reader then be clear that Deleuze’s main objective at this point is not to formally elaborate the registers, as such, but to continue to articulate the difference in kind between the domains of generality and repetition –now from the perspective of concepts, or representation –and only backs his way into a passing consideration of the registers incidental to that purpose. However, our own reader’s full clarity over this part of the Introduction turns on her appreciation that a concept encounters a variety of blockages contingent to the register through which it passes. And because value is our concept of concern herein, without such clarity, she will be unable to follow Deleuze’s opening rumination on the material properties of the synthetic, and in turn the proper materiality of synthetic finance. For this reason, we must briefly overview the three registers.
The three registers of reality and their correlates are as follows:
actuality –a register of extension = 1; is marked by infinite comprehension; herein the concept encounters artificial blockages/logical principles to its representation
potentiality (possibility) –a register of extension = ∞; is marked by finite comprehension (its discrete entities are subject to probability distributions); herein the concept encounters natural blockages to its representation
virtuality –a register of inextension; is marked by indefinite comprehension; herein the concept also encounters natural blockages to its representation, but which are different in kind from the blockages afflicting potentiality
We must briefly consider each, and its significance for our understanding of finance.