Badiou: A Subject To Truth

Badiou: A Subject To Truth

Peter Hallward

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 0816634610

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Alain Badiou is one of the most inventive and compelling philosophers working in France todayOCoa thinker who, in these days of cynical resignation and academic specialization, is exceptional in every sense. Guided by disciplines ranging from mathematics to psychoanalysis, inspired as much by Plato and Cantor as by Mao and Mallarm(r), BadiouOCOs work renews, in the most varied and spectacular terms, a decidedly ancient understanding of philosophyOCophilosophy as a practice conditioned by truths, understood as militant processes of emancipation or transformation.
This book is the first comprehensive introduction to BadiouOCOs thought to appear in any language. Assuming no prior knowledge of his work, it provides a thorough and searching overview of all the main components of his philosophy, from its decisive political orientation through its startling equation of ontology with mathematics to its resolute engagement with its principal competition (from Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Deleuze, among others). The book draws on all of BadiouOCOs published work and a wide sampling of his unpublished work in progress, along with six years of correspondence with the author.a
Peter Hallward pays careful attention to the aspect of BadiouOCOs work most liable to intimidate readers in continental philosophy and critical theory: its crucial reliance on certain key developments in modern mathematics. Eschewing unnecessary technicalities, Hallward provides a highly readable discussion of each of the basic features of BadiouOCOs ontology, as well as his more recent account of appearance and OC being-there.OCO
Without evading the difficulties, Peter Hallward demonstrates in detail and in depth why BadiouOCOs ongoing philosophical project should be recognized as the most resourceful and inspiring of his generation.
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declaration, and the active consequences that follow from it" (AM, l l 8). The instances or modes of so exalted an understanding of politics are rare by definition. Badiou's friend Sylvain Lazarus has devoted much of his energy to their formulation and classification.13 Four stand out. First, the revolutionary or Jacobin mode, operative from 1 792-94 and conceived in particular by Saint-Just. The Jacobins understood the revolution in purely political terms, and not as a historical category or

20. EE, 471 . It is the radically axiomatic status of Badiou's conception of the that which has no meaning" (Jacques Lacan, "Le Seminaire XXI," 1 1 Dec. 1973, subject-as distinct from Descartes's still semi-intuitive cogito--that escapes, at in Bruce Fink, The Lamnian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance, 1 2 1 ) . least up to a point, Kant's famous objection to Descartes' direct deduction of being from thought (Immanuel Kant, Critique ofPure Reason, B422-23). 2 1 . Badiou, "Dix-neuf

their internally consis­ tent manipulation. Mathematical operations are performed upon a domain whose reality may never be exhausted by these operations. Orthodox mathe­ matical Platonists hold that a theorem is actually true or false, independent of the available means of proving it so. For instance, Kurt Godel, the most celebrated Platonist of recent times, defends the self-evident quality of the set theory axioms, grasped via an assumed faculty of mathematical intuition every bit as basic and

the traditional ontotheological conclu­ yond" any such presentation. At the limits of being there is only inconsisten­ sion that what is "revealed" in the pure presentation of presentation is only a cy, that is, nothing. In other words, there simply is no limit. And since there is no limit, it must be all being that is inconsistent. In the absence of any quasi-divine beyond-inconceivable plenitude, or creativity, the clearing or letting be of Being-which defies structured, systematic

concerned, nothing at all belongs (and that in­ cludes nothing other than an empty name and the indistinguishable inhabitants of the evental site). What a truth does, then, is proceed to flesh out the referential space to which it lays its initially mean­ ingless claim: element by element, investigation by investigation, it will add to � those elements of S that connect positively to the event's implications, and it will do so in such a way that these new 132 I Subject and Event groupings of

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