File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 124

Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 22:10:54 -0500
Subject: Re: ethics: Badiou


Thanks for writing this about Badiou.  It is very helpful.  Looks like
I'll have to break down and buy his Ethics, sit down and actually read

Your comment that 'Ethics concerns, in Greek, the search for a 'good way
of being', for a wise course of action. .... (ethics) ... organises
practical existence around the good....' seems very true and that is
what I have been arguing for as well.  

This statement also describes the Ethics of both Aristotle and Epicurus
very well and, with certain adjustments, I believe it is possible to
revive their Ethics today.  Epicurus especially seems promising because
he also rejects the idea of God and operates from a materialist base. 
It is in the context of Epicurus' ethics that I believe the question of
happiness can be raised as an adjunct to the question of resistance.

Regarding your comments on Levinas, to rehearse the old argument, in my
reading of him the Other is what provides "the immanent break" in the
narcissistic circle of self. God need not enter into the process at all.
Even Levinas calls him only a trace.  

In Badiou's short essay "Definition of Philosophy" he writes: "The
ethics of philosophy, staving off diaster, can be summarized in its
constant reserve regarding its sophistic double, a reserve thanks to
which philosophy is substracted from the temptation of splitting itself
into two (according to the void/substance double) in order to deal with
the first duplicity founding it (sophist/philosopher)."

Here it sounds like Badiou keeps the Other in some form, not as the
tourist, but as an devoted enemy, in something like Nietzsche's sense.

I like what Badiou says about multitudes and the absence of the One, but
I am not so sure how Deleuzian he is.   After all, in "The Clamour of
Being"  he seems to criticize Deleuze's univocity of being.

In the "Manifesto for Philosophy" Baldiou says: "we must conclude that a
subject exists only in the strict order of one of the four types of
genericity. Every subject is artistic, scientific, political or amorous.
Something that, besides, everyone knows from experience, for out of
these registers, there is only existence, or individuality, but no

This sounds to my ears closer to happiness that merely resistence. "As a
fiction of knowledge, philosophy imitates the matheme.  As a fiction of
art, it imitates the poem.  As the intensity of an act, it is like a
love without an object."

Does he deny these registers in his Ethics?



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