Immanence and Differentiation in Spinoza

Oli Stephano

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This paper argues that ontological immanence involves but is not reducible to substance monism. Attending to immanence in Spinoza’s ontology, I provide a creative exegesis of the defining features of Spinoza’s immanent ontology, arguing that it recasts the concept of substance itself, from a term of transcendence and totalization to one of immanence and differentiation. In critical conversation with Deleuze’s influential reading, I identify five interconnected features which, taken together, elaborate Spinoza’s ontology of immanence: substance monism, univocity of attributes, immanent causality, the identification between G-d and Nature, and the status of finite modes as explications of substance rather than its extrinsic effects. I argue that, taken together, these features refashion the concept of substance, such that substance becomes not a term of totalization but rather one of ongoing production of diversity. Attending to the role of finite modes in this ontology, I emphasize the ways in which immanence can lend force to vital reconfigurations of ethical and political life: by defining beings and systems in terms of their capacities, which are augmented, diminished, or maintained depending on how they converge in relation.

Stephano O. Immanence and Differentiation in Spinoza. Síntesis, Rev filos.. 2021;4(2): 34-59. Disponible en: doi:10.15691/0718-5448Vol4Iss2a358 [Accessed 19 May. 2024].
Stephano, O. (2021). Immanence and Differentiation in Spinoza. Síntesis. Revista de Filosofía, 4(2), 34-59. doi:


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