A translation of one of the single most important works of recent French philosophy, Badiou's magnum opus, and a must-have for his growing following and anyone interested in contemporary Continental thought.
Against "political philosophy" -- Politics as thought -- Althusser -- Politics unbound -- A speculative disquisition on the concept of democracy -- Truths and justice -- Rancière and the community of equals -- Rancière and apolitics -- What is a thermidorean? -- Politics as truth procedure.
In the uprisings of the Arab world, Alain Badiou discerns echoes of the European revolutions of 1848. In both cases, the object was to overthrow despotic regimes maintained by the great powers -- regimes designed to impose the will of financial oligarchies. Both events occurred after what was commonly thought to be the end of a revolutionary epoch: in 1815, the final defeat of Napoleon; and in 1989, the fall of the Soviet Union. But the revolutions of 1848 proclaimed for (...) a century and a half the return of revolutionary thought and action. Likewise, the uprisings underway today herald worldwide resurgence in the liberating force of the masses -- despite the attempts of the 'international community' to neutralize its power. (shrink)
The subtractive : preface by Francois Wahl -- Philosophy itself -- The (re)turn of philosophy itself -- Definition of philosophy -- What is a philosophical institution? -- Philosophy and poetry -- The philosophical recourse to the poem -- Mallarm's method : subtraction and isolation -- Rimbaud's method : interruption -- Philosophy and mathematics -- Conference on subtraction -- Truth : forcing and unnameable -- Philosophy and politics -- Philosophy and love -- What is love? -- Philosophy and psychoanalysis -- Subject (...) and infinite -- Antiphilosophy : Lacan and Plato -- Writing of the generic -- Writing of the generic : Samuel beckett. (shrink)
Everywhere, the twentieth century has been judged and condemned: the century of totalitarian terror, of utopian and criminal ideologies, of empty illusions, of genocides, of false avant-gardes, of democratic realism everywhere replaced by abstraction. It is not Badiou's wish to plead for an accused that is perfectly capable of defending itself without the authors aid. Nor does he seek to proclaim, like Frantz, the hero of Sartre's Prisoners of Altona, 'I have taken the century on my shoulders and I have (...) said: I will answer for it!' The Century simply aims to examine what this accursed century, from within its own unfolding, said that it was. Badiou's proposal is to reopen the dossier on the century - not from the angle of those wise and sated judges we too often claim to be, but from the standpoint of the century itself. (shrink)
The place of the subjective -- Everything that is of a whole constitutes an obstacle to it insofar as it is included in it -- Action, manor of the subject -- The real is the impasse of formalization : formalization is the locus of the passing-into-force of the real -- Hegel : "the activity of force is essentially activity reacting against itself" -- Subjective and objective -- The subject under the signifiers of the exception -- Of force as disappearance, whose (...) effect is the whole from which it has disappeared -- Deduction of the splitting -- A la nue accablante tu? -- Any subject is a forced exception, which comes in second place -- Jewelry for the sacred of any subtraction of existence -- Lack and destruction -- The new one forbids the new one and presupposes it -- On the side of the true -- There are no class relations -- Every subject crosses a lack of being and a destruction -- The subjects antecedence to itself -- Torsion -- Theory of the subject according to Sophocles, theory of the subject according to Eeschylus -- Of the strands of the knot, knowing only the color -- A materialist reversal of materialism -- The Black sheep of materialism -- The indissoluble salt of truth -- Answering to the sphinx demands from the subject not to have to answer or the sphinx -- Algebra and topology -- Neigborhoods -- Consistency, second name of the real after the cause -- So little ontology -- Subjectivization and subjective process -- The topological opposite of the knot is not the cut-dispersion but the destruction-recomposition -- Subjectivizing anticipation, retroaction of the subjective process -- Hurry! hurry! word of the living! -- The inexistent -- Logic of the excess -- Topics of ethics -- Where? -- The subjective twist : and -- Diagonals of the imaginary -- Schema -- Ethics as the dissipation of the paradoxes of partisanship -- Classical detour -- Love what you will never believe twice. (shrink)
Didacticism, romanticism, and classicism are the possible schemata for the knotting of art and philosophy, the third term in this knot being the education of subjects, youth in particular. What characterizes the century that has just come to a close is that, while it underwent the saturation of these three schemata, it failed to introduce a new one. Today, this predicament tends to produce a kind of unknotting of terms, a desperate dis-relation between art and philosophy, together with the pure (...) and simple collapse of what circulated between them: the theme of education. Whence the thesis of which this book is nothing but a series of variations: faced with such a situation of saturation and closure, we must attempt to propose a new schema, a fourth type of knot between philosophy and art. Among these “inaesthetic” variations, the reader will encounter a sustained debate with contemporary philosophical uses of the poem, bold articulations of the specificity and prospects of theater, cinema, and dance, along with subtle and provocative readings of Fernando Pessoa, Ste;phane Mallarme;, and Samuel Beckett. (shrink)
Twenty years ago, Alain Badiou's first Manifesto for Philosophy rose up against the all-pervasive proclamation of the "end" of philosophy. In lieu of this problematic of the end, he put forward the watchword: "one more step". The situation has considerably changed since then. Philosophy was threatened with obliteration at the time, whereas today it finds itself under threat for the diametrically opposed reason: it is endowed with an excessive, artificial existence. "Philosophy" is everywhere. It serves as a trademark for various (...) media pundits. It livens up cafés and health clubs. It has its magazines and its gurus. It is universally called upon, by everything from banks to major state commissions, to pronounce on ethics, law and duty. In essence, "philosophy" has now come to stand for nothing other than its most ancient enemy: conservative ethics. Badiou's second manifesto therefore seeks to demoralize philosophy and to separate it from all those "philosophies" that are as servile as they are ubiquitous. It demonstrates the power of certain eternal truths to illuminate action and, as such, to transport philosophy far beyond the figure of "the human" and its "rights". There, well beyond all moralism, in the clear expanse of the idea, life becomes something radically other than survival. (shrink)
Badiou explores the exponentially rich and varied world of French philosophy in a number of groundbreaking essays, published her for the first time in English or in a revised translation. Included are the often-quoted review of Louis Althussers's canonical works For Marks and Reading Capital and the scathing critique of 'potato fascism' in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guttari's A Thousand Plateus. There are also talks on Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Nancy, and reviews of the work of Jean-François Lyotard and Barbara (...) Cassin, notable points of interest on an expansive tour of modern French thought.Guided by a small set of fundamental questions concerning the nature of being, the event, the subject, and truth, Badiou pushes to an extreme the polemical force of his thinking. Against the formless continuum of life, he posits the need for radical discontinuity; against the false modesty of finitude, he pleads for the mathematical infinity of everyday situations; against the various returns to Kant, the argues for the persistence of Hegelian dialectic; and against the lure of ultraleftism, his texts from the 1970s vindicate the role of Maoism as a driving force behind the communist Idea. (shrink)
PT. 1. PHILOSOPHY AND CIRCUMSTANCES: Introduction -- Philosophy and the question of war today: 1. On September 11 2001: philosophy and the 'War against terrorism' -- 2. Fragments of a public journal on the American war against Iraq -- 3. On the war against Serbia: who strikes whom in the world today? -- The 'democratic' fetish and racism: 4. On parliamentary 'democracy': the French presidential elections of 2002 -- 5. The law on the Islamic headscarf -- 6. Daily humiliation -- (...) Openings/Affirmations: 7. The power of the open: A discourse on the necessity of fusing Germany and France -- 8. Third sketch of a manifesto of affirmationist art -- Notes to part one -- PT. 2. USES OF THE WORD 'JEW': Introduction -- 1. Israel: the country in the world where there are the fewest Jews? -- 2. The destruction of the European Jews and the question of evil (fragments from Ethics: an essay on the understanding of evil, translated by Peter Hallward) -- 3. A dialogue between a Jew from Darzia and an Arab from Epirus -- 4. Saint Paul and the Jews (excerpt from Saint Paul: the foundation of universalism, translated by Ray Brassier) -- 5. Against negationism -- 6. Local angel -- 7. Intervew at the Daily Haaretz -- 8. The master-signifier of the New Aryans (by Cécile Winter) -- 9. The word 'Jew' and the sycophant -- Notes to part two -- PT. 3. HISTORICITY OF POLITICS: LESSONS OF TWO REVOLUTIONS. 1. The Paris commune: a political declaration on politics -- 2. The cultural revolution: the last revolution? -- A brief chronology of the cultural revolution (translated by Bruno Bosteels) -- Notes to part three. (shrink)
This concise and accessible book is the perfect introduction to Badiou’s thought. Responding to Tarby’s questions, Badiou takes us on a journey that interrogates and explores the four conditions of philosophy: politics, love, art and science. In all these domains, events occur that bring to light possibilities that were invisible or even unthinkable; they propose something to us. Everything then depends on how the possibility opened up by the event is grasped, elaborated and embedded in the world – this is (...) what Badiou calls a ‘truth procedure’. The event creates a possibility but there then has to be an effort – a group effort in the case of politics, an individual effort in the case of love or art – for this possibility to become real and inscribed in the world. As he explains his thinking on politics, love, art and science, Badiou takes stock of his major works, reflects on their central themes and arguments and looks forward to the questions he plans to address in his future writings. The book concludes with a short introduction to Badiou’s philosophy by Fabien Tarby. For anyone wishing to understand the work of one of the most widely read and influential philosophers writing today, this small book will be an indispensable guide. (shrink)
The notion of ‘the end’ has long occupied philosophical thought. In light of the horrors of the twentieth century, some writers have gone so far as to declare the end of philosophy itself, emphasizing the impossibility of thinking after Auschwitz. In this book the distinguished philosopher Alain Badiou, in dialogue with Giovanbattista Tusa, argues that we must renounce ‘the pathos of completion’ and continue to think philosophically. To accept the atrocities of the twentieth century as marking the end of philosophy (...) is intolerable precisely because it buys into the totalizing doctrines of the perpetrators. Badiou contends that philosophical thinking is needed now more than ever to counter the totalizing effects of globalized capitalism, which prescribes no objective for human life other than integration into its system, giving rise to a widespread sense of hopelessness and nihilism. (shrink)
DOMINIC WILLSDON. — Nous accueillons Alain Badiou, un des philosophes importants en France depuis plusieurs décennies, de plus en plus connu maintenant que ses œuvres sont traduites en anglais, et que la littérature secondaire sur sa philosophie se développe aussi en anglais. Parmi ses livres traduits ces dernières années, on trouve Deleuze. La..
In _Can Politics Be Thought?_—published in French in 1985 and appearing here in English for the first time—Alain Badiou offers his most forceful and systematic analysis of the crisis of Marxism. Distinguishing politics as an active mode of thinking from the political as a domain of the State, Badiou argues for the continuation of Marxist politics. In so doing, he shows why we need to recapture the emancipatory hypothesis of Marx's original gesture in order to actualize its radical potential. This (...) volume also includes Badiou's “Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of the State,” in which he rebuts claims of Communism's death after the fall of the Soviet Union. (shrink)
"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?" -/- In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown (...) discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it. -/- Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate. (shrink)
While Logics of Worlds already emphasized that one’s participation in a process of truth is signalized by an affect and already pointed out some of the affects connected with these processes (enthusiasm, joy, pleasure, beatitude), the further elaboration of this topics remains the task of the third part of the Being and Event, which has yet to be written and is entitled The Immanence of Truths. The first part of the lecture discusses the very reasons for this work, its necessity, (...) and its place in my opus thus far. The task of The Immanence of Truths is to elaborate the question of how somebody is incorporated into a truth-process, how this relates to the question of the subject and the very role of philosophy itself. The latter is not the process of truth in a similar manner as its four conditions, it does presuppose them, but not the other way around. A short sketch of the inner structure of The Immanence of Truths follows and the argument in favour of the transformation of the formal category of negation. The role of the paraconsistent logics in The Immanence of Truths is to conceptualize the process of truth. The aleatory, the contingent character of any event namely means that we have to insist that there is a cut and that the truth is in the position of an exception, but which, however, is not something untransmittable. Concerning the question of the transmission and the ineffable, I distance myself in relation to Plato’s as well as to Bergson’s treatment of this question. For me, the category of an exception is a dialectical category. It has to be thought on one hand as a negation, which is not a miracle of some sort, and on the other as something inner, immanent (perhaps that was aimed at by Lacan with the term ‘extimacy’). The negation is namely an operator which simultaneously divides and includes, it is also part of the dialectical thought which includes the contingent and is therefore not deterministic. Everything that has been said so far has consequences for the functions of philosophy and concerns the question of the relationship between philosophy and life. Philosophy for me as a discipline departs from the conviction that there are truths. It is triple, being at the same time the diagnostics of an age, the construction of the concept of truth, and the existential experience of true life i.e. the immanent experiment of what is a true life, “what is it to live”. This is signalled by the affect of true life and by the formula “to live as an immortal”, which does not entail any kind of sacrifice or recompense. (shrink)
Philosophy and history (with Jean Hyppolite) -- Philosophy and science (with Georges Canguilhem) -- Philosophy and sociology (with Raymond Aron) -- Philosophy and psychology (with Michel Foucault) -- Philosophy and language (with Paul Ricœur) -- Philosophy and truth (with Jean Hyppolite, Georges Canguilhem, Raymond Aron, Michel Foucault, Paul Ricœur, Alain Badiou and Dina Dreyfus) -- Philosophy and ethics (with Michel Henry) -- Model and structure (with Michel Serres) -- Teaching philosophy through television (with excerpts from Jean Hyppolite, Georges Canguilhem, Raymond (...) Aron, Michel Foucault and Paul Ricœur. Alain Badiou by telephone and Dina Dreyfus in the studio). (shrink)
In order to address to the relation between philosophy and mathematics it is first necessary to distinguish the grand style and the little style. The little style painstakingly constructs mathematics as the object for philosophical scrutiny. It is called the little style for a precise reason, because it assigns mathematics to the subservient role of that which supports the definition and perpetuation of a philosophical specialisation. This specialisation is called the ‘philosophy of mathematics’, where the ‘of’ is objective. The philosophy (...) of mathematics can in turn be inscribed under the area of specialisation that supports the name ‘epistemology and history of science’, an area to which corresponds a specialised bureaucracy in the academic authorities and committees whose role it is to manage the personnel of researchers and teachers. But in philosophy, specialisation is invariably the means by which the little style insinuates itself. In Lacan terms, this occurs through the collapse of the discourse of the Master, which is rooted in the signifier of the same name, the S1 that gives rise to a signifying chain, onto the discourse of the University, that perpetual commentary which adequately represents the second moment of all speech, that is, the S2 which only exists by making the Master disappear under the commentary which exhausts it. The little style of the philosophy of mathematics, and of its epistemology, strives for such a disappearance of the ontological sovereignty of mathematics, its instituting aristocratism, its unrivalled mastery, by confining its dramatic and almost incomprehensible existence to a generally dusty compartment of academic specialisation. (shrink)
This translation is taken from Alain Badiou, emConditions/em, Paris: Eacute;ditions du Seuil, 1992, pp.83-90. Except for some final improvements, this is the text was first presented, in 1989, as a colloquium intervention at the emCollegrave;ge international de philosophie/em. br /.
The following text is the transcription of Alain Badiou's remarks on Simon Critchley's book, Infinitely Demanding.2 The occasion was the invitation from the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia for a debate between Badiou and Critchley that took place on November 15th, 2007. Badiou organized his remarks around six passages from Critchley's text and then raised a series of critical questions. The event began with Critchley explaining the ethical and political argument of Infinitely Demanding. A DVD version of the entire event was (...) released as "Democracy and Disappointment: On the Politics of Resistance".3 Thanks are due to Jean-Michel Rabaté and especially Aaron Levy, Senior Curator at the Slought Foundation. (shrink)