Expressionism Univocity, and Sense: Rethinking Deleuze's Spinoza


  • Jayson Jimenez University of Tasmania


Spinozism, Substance, Expressionism, Univocity, Sense


This paper rethinks Deleuze’s engagement with Spinoza in a new light. While it is true that what made Deleuze’s Spinoza speculatively different is his inverse presentation of the latter’s substance-oriented metaphysics, broadly conceived, the central argument of his unfaithful reading rests on two concepts entirely foreign to Spinoza: expressionism and univocity. The present essay then seeks to intervene by bringing forth a third concept hidden in Deleuze’s reading: the ontology of sense.  My claim here is that it is on this ontology that we get to reveal more of Deleuze’s distinct Spinozism. Through sense, Deleuze implicitly presents new meaning to the classical Spinozist theorem “God (or Nature)” – one that turns the unfaithful reading into a higher form of fidelity to Spinoza’s philosophy.


Bergen, Veronique, ‘Deleuze and the Question of Ontology’, in Constantin Boundas (ed.), Gilles Deleuze: The Intensive Reduction, London and New York, Continuum, 2009, pp. 7-22.

Bowden, Sean, ‘Deleuze's Neo-Leibnizianism, Events and The Logic of Sense's ‘Static Ontological Genesis’’, Deleuze Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 2010, pp. 301-28.

Buchanan, Ian, ‘Introduction’, The South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 96, no. 3, 1997, pp. 381-91.

Carlisle, Clare, ‘George Eliot's Spinoza: An Introduction’, in Clare Carlisle (ed.), Spinoza's Ethics, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 2020.

Colebrook, Claire, Understanding Deleuze, New South Wales, Allen & Unwin, 2002.

Deleuze, Gilles, ‘Spinoza: The Velocities of Thought, Seminar at the University of Paris, Vincennes-St. Denis, 1980-1981, Lecture 2’, The Deleuze Seminars, 1980.

Deleuze, Gilles, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley, San Francisco, City Lights Books, 1988.

Deleuze, Gilles, Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin, New York, Zone Books, 1990.

Deleuze, Gilles, ‘Review of Jean Hyppolite, Logique et Existence’, in Leonard and Amit Sen Lawlor (ed.), Jean Hyppolite's Logic and Existence, Albany, State University of New York, 1997.

Deleuze, Gilles, Essays Critical and Clinical, trans. Daniel Smith and Michael Greco, London and New York, Verso, 1998.

Deleuze, Gilles, Desert Islands: And Other Texts, 1953--1974, trans. Michael Taormina, Semiotext(e), 2004.

Deleuze, Gilles, The Fold, trans. Tom Conley, London and New York, Continuum, 2006a.

Deleuze, Gilles, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson, London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2006b.

Deleuze, Gilles, Two Regimes of Madness, California, Semiotexte, 2007.

Deleuze, Gilles, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2014.

Deleuze, Gilles, Logic of Sense, trans. Constantin Boundas, Mark Lester, and Charles J. Stivale, London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2015.

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi, London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2013.

Dosse, Francois, Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari: Intersecting Lives, trans. Deborah Glassman, New York, Columbia University Press, 2010.

Duffy, Simon, The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze, Hampshire and Burlington, Ashgate, 2006.

Duffy, Simon, ‘The Question of Deleuze's New-Leibnizianism’, in Rosi Braidotti and Patricia Pisters (eds.), Revisiting Normativity with Deleuze, London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2012.

Hardt, Michael, Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy, London, University College London, 1993.

Howie, Gillian, Deleuze and Spinoza: Aura of Expressionism, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Hughes, Joe, Philosophy After Deleuze: Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation II, London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2012.

Macherey, Pierre, ‘The Encounter with Spinoza’, in Paul Patton (ed.), Deleuze: A Critical Reader, Massachusetts and Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, 1996.

May, Todd, Reconsidering Difference, Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.

Nail, Thomas, ‘Expression, Immanence and Constructivism: 'Spinozism' and Gilles Deleuze’, Deleuze Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2008, pp. 201-19.

Roffe, Jon and Graham Jones (eds.), Deleuze's Philosophical Lineage, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Smith, Daniel W., Essays on Deleuze, Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

Somers-Hall, Henry, Jeffrey Bell and James Williams (eds.), 'A Thousand Plateaus' and Philosophy, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2018.

Spinoza, Baruch, Spinoza's Ethics, trans. George Eliot, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 2020.

Stark, Hannah, ‘Discord, Monstrosity and Violence’, Angelaki, vol. 20, no. 4, 2015, pp. 211-24.

Vardoulakis, Dimitris, ‘Spinoza's Empty Law: The Possibility of Political Theology’, in Beth Lord (ed.), Spinoza Beyond Philosophy, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

Voss, Daniela, ‘Intensity and the Missing Virtual: Deleuze's Reading of Spinoza’, Deleuze Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, pp. 156-73.

Widder, Nathan, Political Theory after Deleuze, London and New York, Continuum, 2012.

Widder, Nathan, ‘The Univocity of Substance and the Formal Distinction of Attributes: The Role of Duns Scotus in Deleuze's Reading of Spinoza’, Parrhesia, vol. 33, 2020, pp. 150-76.

Williams, Caroline, ‘'Subjectivity Without the Subject': Thinking Beyond the Subject with/through Spinoza’, in Beth Lord (ed.), Spinoza Beyond Philosophy, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2012, pp. 11-27.

Young, Eugene Brently, ‘The Determination of Sense via Deleuze and Blanchot: Paradoxes of the Habitual, the Immemorial, and the Eternal Return’, Deleuze Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2008, pp. 155-77.

Zourabichvili, Francois, Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event together with The Vocabulary of Deleuze, trans. Kieran Aarons, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2012.



23-08-2022 — Updated on 23-08-2022


How to Cite

Jimenez, J. (2022). Expressionism Univocity, and Sense: Rethinking Deleuze’s Spinoza. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 18(1), 331–354. Retrieved from