Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers)

Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers)

Language: English

Pages: 286

ISBN: 0826459072

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Slavoj Š ZiŠzek is not alone in thinking that Alain Badiou's recent work is "the event of contemporary philosophy." Think Again, the first publication of its kind, goes a long way towards justifying his assessment. Badiou is nothing if not polemical and the most suitable way to approach his philosophy is precisely through the controversies it creates. This book, which opens with an introduction aimed at readers new to Badiou's work, presents a range of essays which explore Badiou's most contentious claims in the fields of ontology, politics, ethics and aesthetics.

Alain Badiou has devised perhaps the only truly inventive philosophy of the subject since Sartre. Almost alone among his peers, Badiou's work promises a genuine renewal of philosophy, a subject he sees as conditioned by innovation in spheres ranging from radical politics to artistic experimentation to mathematical formalization. Slavoj Š ZiŠzek is not alone in thinking that Alain Badiou's recent work is "the event of contemporary philosophy." Think Again, the first publication of its kind, goes a long way towards justifying his assessment. Badiou is nothing if not polemical and the most suitable way to approach his philosophy is precisely through the controversies it creates. This book, which opens with an introduction aimed at readers new to Badiou's work, presents a range of essays which explore Badiou's most contentious claims in the fields of ontology, politics, ethics and aesthetics.

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context in favour of a dialectical understanding of Badiou’s recent thought. Badiou and Lazarus do suggest, however, that the dialectic as heterogeneous articulation can be found mainly in the field of the social sciences, among historians and political scientists. Their diagnosis thus leaves room for another dialectic, one capable of thinking through the material rupture produced by a political intervention, for instance, without having recourse to the form of the party nor to the idealist

current moment, while at the same time being extremely critical, even to the point of generating a set of misunderstandings of his own, whenever he enters in a more exegetical discussion of Badiou’s philosophy as a whole. But otherwise, for reasons that are at least in part due to the complexity of the major texts, this philosopher has been the subject mainly of studies of the explanatory kind. The difficult task that seems to me to lie ahead involves taking up the transformative and critical

exhaustion has not yet been given to us [. . .]. Philosophy is then caught between the exhaustion of its historical possibility and the non-conceptual arrival of a salutary overturning. Contemporary philosophy combines the deconstruction of its past with the empty expectation of its future. My entire goal is to break with this diagnosis [. . .] Philosophy must break with historicism from within itself (C 58). I see here the effect of a double misunderstanding. First of all, the exhaustion of

that which presents itself as ‘being’ [e´tant] and as happening to being or coming into being [advenant a` l’e´tant]. That it be sufficient simply expresses the intrinsic character whose necessity we have already established. What presents itself as minimal must then posit itself, in essence, as the basis for the maximal domain of all determinations locatable in the realm of beings. Consequently, the fundamental ‘ontological’ problem consists in providing a precise definition of this maximality,

rather as a discontinuous and event-bound subtraction.8 What happens to the idea of communism in this break, and in the series of works that draw out its considerable consequences for politics and ontology? The first thing to note is that this break is not an intra-philosophical one, but follows from the assumption of the end of a sequence of political militancy, from what Badiou calls the destruction of Marxism (in this regard, the question that guides this essay could also be formulated as: what

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