File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 149

Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 17:09:12 +0000
Subject: Re: ethics: Badiou

Eric, Glen etc...

A number of other points are worth emphasizing. (A Journal called 
Umbr(a) had excerpts from "Being and Event" some years back...)

Badiou is extremely critical of theories of difference. However I 
suspect that this is an engaged but over-harsh reading because he does 
not adequately address the primary radical theorists which I would argue 
remain Lyotard - with the work on the differend and libidinal economy 
and Irigrary on Sexual Difference - whose case he not very convincingly 
rejects. (He works hard and produces a very convincing rejection of 
Levinas and the 'other' but nothing really satisfactorily against 
Irigaray, this is probably because of an implicity sexism...) The 
rejection of difference seems a schematic and extremely conservative 
reading... I look forward to some discussion on that... (Glen? Eric?)

The other issue relates to the nature of the proposed 'situational' 
ethics - his selection of 'events' is extraordinarily un-problematic - 
and yet the definition of an event, which is related to the conflictual, 
struggle based understanding of 'truth', is inevitably problematic. 
Given that a truth is supposed to derive from an event, a situation it's 
not clear how the truth is derived. I read this as being truth derived 
from an 'engaged' position. But this is not surprising since his 
relationship to philosophy as with everything else is based on a 
specific, I hesitate ot say post-maoist perspective. ...

The 'attack' on Lyotard and others was entertaining but not very serious...



Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:

>Glen, Steve, all:
>Not much has been translated into English yet, but it appears more stuff
>is on the way.  Badiou's moment may be coming. My BIG book might be
>translated as "Being and the Event."  Let's hope it comes out soon. 
>Here's is what is currently available in English:
>1. The Manifesto of Philosophy which is very critical of Lyotard, the
>end of philosophy and the end of metanarratives.  Badiou sees the
>structure of philosophy in a very specific way (which is both hard to
>describe and hard to comprehend).  Suffice it to say, according to
>Badiou, truth exists, the one does not but only the multiple, set theory
>= ontology.
>What is more direct and perhaps easier to discuss is Badiou's notion of
>philosophy as contained in four quadrants - the matheme, the poetic, the
>political and love.  With regard to the latter, he positions Lacan as
>the great philosopher of love after Plato!
>At first glance, this seems somewhat arbitrary as a grouping, but Badiou
>certainly has interesting things to say about each topic.
>2.  The Clamor of Being - this is Badiou's book on Deleuze.  It is a
>very metaphysical reading (which like Manifesto also makes a very
>interesting analysis of Heidegger).  The central point seems to be a
>critique of Deleuze's univocity of being concept and the virtual dynamic
>that derives from it. It is also interesting because it gives as much
>information about Badiou's philosophy as it does about Deleuze's.  
>3. The Ethics - still unread
>I think Badiou is clearly marking out a radical place for philosophy
>that differentiates itself from the standard so-called
>post-structuralist philosophies.  With his background in math and logic,
>Badiou would appear to be closer to analytic philosophy except for the
>fact that he moves logic and set theory into places it never dared to go
>with the analytics.  He is certainly far more radical politically and
>not afraid to talk boldly upon metaphysics and ontology.  Imagine a
>weird cross-polonization between Quine and Heidegger! 
>What I am interested in is evaluating Badiou in toto. I want to
>understand his Ethics in relation to the rest of his philosophy.  
>For a thinker who insists upon the systematic nature of philosophy, this
>seems like the least that can be done. (As a sidenote, his discussion of
>the Void and the Multiple seems very Epicurean/Lucretian to me!)
>Anyway, so much for starters on this.


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