The errant name: Badiou and Deleuze on individuation, causality and infinite modes in Spinoza [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Continental Philosophy Review 40 (4):389-406 (2007)
Although Alain Badiou dedicates a number of texts to the philosophy of Benedict de Spinoza throughout his work—after all, the author of a systematic philosophy of being more geometrico must be a point of reference for the philosopher who claims that “mathematics = ontology”—the reading offered in Meditation Ten of his key work Being and Event presents the most significant moment of this engagement. Here, Badiou proposes a reading of Spinoza’s ontology that foregrounds a concept that is as central to, and celebrated in, his philosophy as it is strictly excluded by Spinoza: the void. In nuce, Badiou contends that for all of Spinoza’s efforts to offer an ontology of total plenitude, the void returns in his philosophy under the (at first sight) unlikely name of infinite mode. The presence of this errant name in Spinoza’s philosophy bears witness to the failure of his most profound intellectual endeavour. However striking Badiou’s reading of Spinoza, this paper argues that it fails to adequately grasp Spinoza’s metaphysics, particularly with respect to the central concept of modal essence, a concept which does not appear at all in the Badiouian text. By introducing a consideration of this concept, it becomes able to resolve the status of infinite modes, and to account for the move across the notorious finite–infinite divide. Thus the argument turns to the reading of Spinoza offered by Gilles Deleuze for a more thorough-going and nuanced approach, much superior to Badiou’s procrustean critique.
|Keywords||Badiou Being and event Spinoza Infinite modes Essence Deleuze Expressionism in philosophy|
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References found in this work BETA
Gilles Deleuze (1994). Difference and Repetition. Athlone Press.
Alain Badiou (2005/2007). Being and Event. Continuum.
Gilles Deleuze (1990). Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza. Distributed by MIT Press.
Alain Badiou (1999). Deleuze: The Clamor of Being. Univ of Minnesota Press.
Edwin Curley, Baruch Spinoza, Samuel Shirley & Seymour Feldman (1987). The Collected Works of Spinoza. Philosophical Review 96 (2):306-311.
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