Two Paths to the Ontological Turn

Radical Philosophy Review 14 (1):49-66 (2011)
Abstract
Discourses on the “event” today mark a profound opportunity for philosophic thought to change direction in its focus, particularly for those interested in the prospect of rehabilitating the communist hypothesis. Of the thinkers that have come to write on this topic Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek have emerged as leading the way. Their joint proposal aims to subvert the need for epistemological reflection by (re)turning to a totally new sense of ontology, one that results in a new account of revolutionary, or “evental,” political action. Yet while animated by a joint aim, both thinkers propose utterly distinct paths to their conclusion: Žižek proposes a "finite" account of evental change, Badiou an "infinite" account. The aim of the present essay is thus to evaluate these competing claims, and it is argued that while Žižek's work is laudable in many respects, it nevertheless fails to grasp the full scope of Badiou's critique of finitude. Žižek's proposed revival of Post-Kantian Idealism, then, is exposed as highly problematic, so that the only reasonable path for philosophic thought is to follow Badiou's turn to infinite thought in some way
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