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Calculating Matter and Recombinant Subjects: The Infinitesimal and the Fractal Fold

De Freitas, E (2016) Calculating Matter and Recombinant Subjects: The Infinitesimal and the Fractal Fold. Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 16 (5). pp. 462-470. ISSN 1532-7086

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Abstract

Because different mathematical practices are aligned with different ontologies, it matters what kind of mathematics we bring to bear in social theory. This article explores the open and urgent question as to whether and how calculation becomes an inventive practice that doesn't simply serve the control society. In search of a non-axiomatic mathematical problematic, I examine the infinitesimal for its enigmatic role in calculation and show how Deleuze and Guattari use the infinitesimal to (a) rethink the relationship between matter and meaning, and (b) describe a recombinant fractal subject well suited to our digital times. The infinitesimal is a sort of changeling number with one foot in the virtual and one foot in the actual, and thus pivotal to considerations of vitalist new mixtures of number and matter.

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