Patrick Craig
Duquesne University
Alain Badiou’s relationship to the work of Baruch Spinoza is a complex one. Though Badiou admires Spinoza’s courageous pursuit of the more geometrico, he is ardently critical of Spinoza on a number of fundamental ontological issues. Because of this, Spinoza often has had to bear the brunt of Badiou’s theoretical attacks. But how successful is Badiou’s attack on Spinoza? In this paper, I aim to show that this attack fails by examining the critique of Spinoza that Badiou provides in his “Spinoza’s Closed Ontology,” which can be found in his Theoretical Writings. Badiou’s essential claim is that the ontology of Spinoza’s Ethics employs structures or procedures that are heterogeneous to that ontology. I rely on Gilles Deleuze’s reading of Spinoza, as found in his Expressionism in Philosophy, to pinpoint precisely where Badiou’s reading of Spinoza goes wrong. I show not only that Badiou’s critique of Spinoza fails to recognize a central structural feature of Spinoza’s ontology, namely the two powers of God—the power to exist and act, and the power to think and know—but also that this misrecognition is the condition for the possibility of Badiou’s mistaken critique. The paper then discusses how it is that these issues relate, more broadly, to the relationship between Deleuze and Badiou
Keywords Ancient Philosophy  Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1085-1968
DOI 10.5840/epoche201318125
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