Badiou: A Subject To Truth
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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 The book draws on all of BadiouOCOs published work and a wide sampling of his unpublished work in progress, along with six years of correspondence with the author.a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.
definitive consummation of Art in the avant-garde (with Breton or Debord). Destruction and definition are linked together as the disjunctive elements of a "fundamental couple" (LS, 3 1 ) . Badiou is the first to admit that his early work was "led astray" by the apparent necessity of "an essential link between destruction and novelty" (EE, 446: LS, 45). In all of his subsequent work he has sought to weaken this link, beginning with the realization that destruction is a merely objective category.28
actually infinite creative substance "undecidable" status, "a localized subject effect" (CT, 9 1 }-an effect quite at provides an ontological solution to every conceivable problem. As Badiou odds with its divinely ordained causation. writes, "Spinoza is the most radical ontological effort ever made to identify In order to restrict this exceptional infinite mode to a properly finite di structure and metastructure . . . , to indistinguish belonging and inclusion" mension, Spinoza has to
matter how much further information we acquire, A is still not forced.B3 As a result, although we can not say, given any condition P and any statement A about the newly added subsets all' that P must either force A or the negation of A, we can at least as sume that for every P and A there must be a further condition Q extending P that forces either A or the negation of A. This will mean that, in our extended model M(G), each and every statement A about the newly added sets can in deed be
philosophy's pretensions to systematic clarity. It is no ac cident that they generally compose fragmentary interventions rather than systematic books-Paul's letters, Lenin's pamphlets, Nietzsche's aphorisms, Wittgenstein's lectures, Lacan's seminars, and so on. An equally character istic antiphilosophical symptom is the subjective guarantee of meaning by the declared sincerity or inspiration of the author. Whereas "philosophy has never been possible without accepting the possibility of an
functions, that is, an infinitesimal approaching or connection in one extensionless point. What is more, true mathematical invention begins only where such intuitive analogies end: he goes on to note the completely counterintuitive demon stration (again in the wake of non-Euclidean geometries) of continuous functions that elude any such tangential touch. Indeed, it turns out that these paradoxical or metaintuitive functions are in fact the mathematical norm, thereby confirming a kind of "general