Alain badiou france culture platonic relationship

Slavoj Zizek-Bibliography/Alain Badiou/Lacan Dot Com

alain badiou france culture platonic relationship

Translator's Foreword. 1 The Enigmatic Relationship between Philosophy and Politics This is because Alain Badiou's entire oeuvre can be said to lead to social, cultural or religious position of the one who speaks or thinks. It accepts .. Nineteenth-Century France, introduced by Donald Reid (London: Verso, ). Badiou's relationship with Gilles Deleuze, for instance, is quite famous. Rather than the Platonic history of the decay of political paradigms from . by the mid- s the influence in France of the “generation of '68” had been and Is not everyone a cultural critic now, revolted at the culture industry and its. Badiou is clearly and radically opposed to the postmodern anti-Platonic thrust class struggle be discerned in the entire social edifice, up to the highest cultural products. Is the circular relationship between Event and subject (i.e., the subject.

I wrote a preface for one of his books, I invited him to my seminar, I was his editor at Fayard. One could have thought that all of that would create fidelity. It was the case for me, but not for him. Once again, all can see for themselves that the mix of treason, megalomania and laziness never brings more than a meager broth. I have no other commentary to make on this banal story of mental corruption.

Belhaj Kacem charges Badiou with a number of misbehaviors and seems to be telling the truth. Badiou himself has written an essay called Philosophy as Biography. The stakes are not small: For MBK, the project is no less than to free a generation from a set of pernicious ideas, summed up in a single man.

He is concerned with an ontology that can account for the fact that things and situations change. For him, an Event is the name of a true change, and Truth is the un-assured work of a human subject who maintains fidelity to that Event.

Pure being qua being has holes; any instance of beings being is also an instance of a void. These theories were received in the English-speaking world with pomp and frisson, enjoying the approval of an academy employing French theory as replacement Marxish critique.

Who cared that the work was neither particularly historical nor particularly materialist? A new, better French master had arrived on the scene. The Event cannot be summoned or prefigured, only awaited. That is unless of course one might be like Albert Lautmann and believe that mathematics continued to dialectically evolve.

He believes that Plato was right in spirit, but that as maths unfolds it can show us new tools for thinking about how the world might be structured.

But most importantly Badiou believes that there should be no division between the mathematical, ontological and political — just as Plato did. The very idea of someone like Badiou trying to use Zermelo-Frankel set theory to talk about Being qua Being may indeed seem very strange. Since mathematics is ontology, he argues, we can conclude that the world consists in multiplicity and the void.

However, this has changed a little in recent times. We should not forget that from Descartes to Hobbes, Spinoza and Leibniz early modern philosophy was closely bound to mathematics — especially the nature of infinity. In fact their obsession with multiplicity to avoid the One, is on both counts deeply linked to a need to be free of anything like God.

But to Badiou because mathematics universalises it is the best way to ground universalism. It just needs an escape hatch, a Void of multiplicity that can never be wholly gathered up. A big influence on Badiou seems to be post-structural psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Lacan is often regarded by people outside of continental philosophical circles as one of the biggest quacks of the twentieth century, and his weird system of post-structuralist symbols is no exception.

This appears to be a spatial metaphor? Basically, revolutions have to be forced through wherever a historical gap in social order might appear.

alain badiou france culture platonic relationship

To deal with all this Badiou constructs strange graphs of belief, courage, and loyalty to outline the processes his revolutionary subject goes through. This symbol is apparently always true, is always impossible until it is possible, and breaks the Zermelo-Frankel set theory imperative that no set can contain itself.

Theory of the Subject, p. It is so idiosyncratic that it verges on the Gnosticism of only Badiou and those who at least accept most of his premises being able to judge the system. I have certainly been party to what a book like Theory of the Subject can do to online philosophy groups. Everyone else is basically along for the ride. A strong dose of both seems the only logical answer.

The Millenarian Platonism of Alain Badiou (Part I) - VoegelinView

Nonetheless, it took a very long time for Badiou to reach the English-speaking world compared with his post-structural contemporaries and he seems to be at his peak of influence at present. Is not everyone a cultural critic now, revolted at the culture industry and its attempts at moralism and irony, even if they nonetheless remain eager consumers?

This was increasingly secularised throughout the nineteenth century into the pursuit of equality in matters such as race, as Jonathan Kirsch shows so well in his A History of the End of the World. One of the odder aspects of this is a recurrent belief that everyone is the real libertarian individual with the real elect community and anyone who opposes you is the Man.

Voegelin in the s saw that there was a certain kind of cynicism inherent in the very nature of American liberal democracy and its mass communication systems — both tend to fragment, exaggerate and breed disappointment.

To not critique threatens a loss of the self, of falling back down into a mass of just so many others shouting that they exist. But a curious progressive optimism, sometimes more than a little creepy and mendacious to the cynic, also seems to shine through. One cannot have the constant dawning of the techno-millennium without the social-millennium too. Nonetheless, thinkers of all stripes especially the Gnostic are very often prone to saturnine and melancholy humours — it comes with the territory.

The past was Hell on Earth until ten minutes ago, but now we are so terribly good. If anything, this may well be the best thing ever invented for keeping the academic communists down. The liberal reaction is proclaimed. Sooner or later, these distortions would lead to the policing of thought and the capitulation already anticipated, in the s, by the little gurus of desire. For Badiou by contrast, as for Sartre, man only attains genuine humanity, albeit an ephemeral one, through the event of his revolt.

Whence the still unresolved difficulty of holding together event and history, act and process, instant and duration. As a result, by way of a novel, ironic ruse of history, the politics of historically indetermined singular situations becomes akin to the very postmodern fragmentation it sought to resist: Henceforth, it is the event that interrupts historical development.

Yet the claim to found a politics on the pure imperative of fidelity, one that challenges every project inscribed within the continuity of historical perspective, seems perilous. It is entirely concentrated in the present of its declaration: These maxims, which have the dogmatic form of religious commandments, provide principles of orientation that counter the unprincipled accommodations of Realpolitik or naked opportunism.

Nevertheless, the realities of relations of force, from which it is not so easy to escape into the pristine realm of theological prescription, catch up with this conception of politics as pure will. The public domain and the general interest? Is there not a faint whiff of sophistry here? Yet this sudden reversal is not so surprising. Holy purification is never more than a short step away from voluptuous sin.

Daniel Bensaid: Alain Badiou and the Miracle of the Event ()

This sudden conversion to realism is the profane converse of the heroic thirst for purity. As we hinted earlier, all these contradictions and aporias can be traced back to the refusal of history and to the unsettled score with Stalinism. For Badiou, the bankruptcy of the Marxist-Leninist paradigm goes back to Is it because of the turning point in the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the crushing of the Shanghai commune?

But the price of this great historical silence is exorbitant. Fidelity to the revolutionary event is indeed continuously threatened by Thermidor and by the Thermidorians of yesterday and today. The same holds for Thermidorians in love, which is to say those who have fallen out of love, as for Thermidorians in politics. There are so many occasions for giving up! But how, on what timescale, does one measure the responsibility of a politics?

He remains content to state — the very least he could do — that Marxism as a singular term does not exist, even though its crisis conceals far more than any anti-Marxist could ever imagine. But despite the vague invocation of a dogmatic Marxism, there is an extent to which he legitimates the accusation of positivism: Are they both talking about the same kind of science?

alain badiou france culture platonic relationship

How does Marx think? Badiou, who is generally a meticulous and penetrating reader, suddenly gives the impression of not quite knowing what to do with a Marx who cannot be shoehorned into the straightforward dichotomy between philosopher and sophist, between science and non-science: With Badiou, this reinforced negation has the character of a compliment.

Neither philosopher nor sophist?


Can one be a philosopher incidentally, slightly, extremely, passionately; in other words, can one have an incidental and occasional relationship to truth? What is this disconcerting mode of thinking and acting whereby Marx circumvents the binary alternative between sophist and philosopher?

Instead of confronting these questions, which follow logically from his own assessment, Badiou evades them by pulling out his trump card: And this is all we are told.

The latter strives to think in a manner worthy of its object, which is to say, in a manner worthy of capital. Yet something new takes shape here, in the way in which thought, without submitting to the vicissitudes of politics, bears a relation of conflictual indivisibility to politics while continuously interrogating its practice. What then of Marx? Is he everything other than a sophist? Or everything, including a sophist?

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For like Freudian Witz, critique is mocking and ironic. It opposes its great burst of irreverent red laughter to the yellow laughter of the priest. In Badiou, fidelity to an event without a history and a politics without content has a tendency to turn into an axiomatics of resistance. For the axiom is more absolute than any definition. Beyond every proof or refutation, the axiom, in sovereign fashion, engenders its own objects as pure effects.

Alain Badiou and the Miracle of the Event

Emerging out of nothing, the sovereign subject, like evental truth, provides its own norm. It is represented only by itself. Whence the worrying refusal of relations and alliances, of confrontations and contradictions. Badiou invariably prefers an absolute configuration over one that is relative:

Alain Badiou. A History of Finitude and Infinity: Classicism. 2011