On Alain Badiou’s ‘critique of religion’

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 79 (1-2):36-59 (2018)
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Abstract

This paper examines Alain Badiou’s critical engagement with religion. It is argued that there are two central points at which religion enters the scene of Badiou’s philosophy. First, in his critique, the ‘motif of finitude’ Badiou repeatedly refers to religion, claiming that ‘the obsession with finitude is a remnant of the tyranny of the sacred’. Second, Badiou stages his attempt to regenerate philosophy against the proclamation of its end as a confrontation with the religion, through philosophy’s detachment from the poetization of philosophy and its reattachment to mathematics. By examining these two points, the paper aims to encircle Badiou’s notion of religion and thus clarify the role it plays in his philosophical system. This paper suggests that his notion of religion is a by-product of his polemics and therefore needs to be ‘extracted’ from his writings. Hence, the ‘critique of religion’ present in Badiou’s work is not straightforward and explicit critique. Another central aspect of Badiou’s critique of religion is related to his effort to separate the concept of truth from the category of meaning, which he understands as the emblem of religion. The paper sheds light on this matter and its setting in Jacques Lacan’s considerations on religion.

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Mads Peter Karlsen
Copenhagen Business School

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References found in this work

Civilization and its discontents.Sigmund Freud - 1966 - In John Martin Rich (ed.), Readings in the philosophy of education. Belmont, Calif.,: Wadsworth Pub. Co..
The Future of an Illusion.Sigmund Freud - 1927 - Broadview Press.
Écrits.Jacques Lacan - 1967 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 22 (1):96-97.
Saint Paul. The Foundation of Universalism.Alain Badiou & Ray Brassier - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (1):193-195.

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