Nevertheless, precautions must be taken. We must make an an effort, for example, to use only scientific results that have withstood the test of time, not the empirical findings of cutting edge science. It would be unwise to speculate about the problem of existence using what we know today about esoteric entities like dark matter or cosmic strings. But who could seriously doubt the existence of hydrogen or oxygen atoms? Although all scientific results are supposed to be falsifiable, this only implies that no result should be established apriori, not that all facts are equally likely to be false. To falsify the assertion that hydrogen or oxygen atoms exist, for instance, we would have to simultaneously falsify hundreds of other statements, like the statement that a water molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. But can any realist philosopher seriously consider such a wholesale falsification possible? It is crucial not to let metaphysical speculation be constrained by particular theories of science, especially theories taking as their object of study the reified generality “Science”. In a neomaterialist metaphysics there is no such thing as “science in general”, only a population of individual scientific fields, a population that is not converging on a final truth but rather growing and diverging as it tracks a reality that is itself divergent. (DeLanda 2010:93)
Having replaced Aristotelian species, species like “Horse” and “Human” defined by a set of necessary and timeless characteristics, the next move is to identify the structure of possibility spaces that replaces the genus “Animal”. Unfortunately, unlike the fields of evolutionary biology and ecology that provide relatively solid results ripe for metaphysical speculation, the biological disciplines on which we must rely for this task are at the cutting edge of research. Their results are, therefore, much more likely to change in the near future. As one embryologist suggests, the relevant results are today closer to the ontological status of dark matter than that of hydrogen or oxygen. [Nota de rodadpé 19: Sean B. Carroll. Endless Forms Most Beautiful. The New Science of Evo Devo. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), p. 113.] This means that we have to break the rule of using only results that have endured the test of time. (DeLanda 2010:96)
Having extracted the significant metaphysical problems, genetic problems, from the geometrical spaces related to extensive maps, let’s do the same for intensive maps. What need to be mapped in this case are not the borders of entities possessing a spatial organization, like the boundaries of an ocean, a lake, or another body of water, but thresholds of intensity causing spontaneous transformations in the spatial organization of those bodies. These transformations are called “phase transitions”. Imagine a frozen body of water, a solid piece of ice, linked to an outside supply of energy that we can control. As we increase the amount of energy flowing into the system its temperature reaches a critical point at which, suddenly, the ice begins to melt. At that intensive threshold a solid spontaneously changes into a liquid as its spatial organization, its manner of occupying space, mutates. If we continue to increase the amount of energy we reach another critical threshold, the boiling point of water, and the liquid turns into a gas, with accompanying changes in extensive properties: the amount of space the water molecules occupy, their volume, greatly expands. Finally, as the temperature reaches yet another threshold, first the molecules of water dissociate into their component atoms, then even the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen lose their own identity, the entire population becoming an electrified cloud of charged particles: a plasma. (DeLanda 2010:121)
DELANDA, Manuel. 2010. Deleuze: History and Science. New York: Atropos Press.