File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 122

Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 15:45:48 +1000
Subject: Re: The Ethics of Truth

comments at **

> There is no such thing as Ethics in general, Badiou tells us at the
> start of this chapter in his book Ethics

> because there is no abstract subject. Instead, there is only a particular
animal in particular  situations.

> Circumstances arise in which one composes oneself as a
> subject in response to the passing of a truth along one's path.
> The question then arises - what are these circumstances of truth?
**Need example.

> Badiou argues that in order for the subject (or the Immortal) to emerge,
**Need definition of subect, and Immortal.

> something needs to have happened which cannot simply be reduced to what
> there is.
** Don't know what he means by these words.

> He names this supplement the event and distinguishes from
> mere multiple-being,
**What is "mere multiple-being?

> which is merely a matter of opinion.  For the event
> to occur, there must be the entrance of a truth which compels us to
> decide a new way of being.
**Need illustraion.

> This calls for a concept Badiou names fidelity. Fidelity is the move
> within the situation that the event has supplemented which thinks the
> situation according to the event.  And since the event was excluded by
> the laws of the situation - this compels the subject to invent a new way
> of being and acting in the situation.
**Need illustration.

> This truth must be seen as a kind of production, one that fidelity
produces within the situation as a  response to the event. It is also
constitutes this truth as an immanent
> break within the situation.
**What is an immanent break?

> It can therefore be said that the subject is composed through this act
> of fidelity. There is no way the subject can pre-exist the situation,
> rather the process of truth induces a subject
**Perhaps we did not exist until the thought of existence entered our mind.
Did truth cause the situation, the mind, the organism the mind inhabits, the
thought that entered the mind. It sounds like running the movie of one's
backwards, identifying the movie projector as the origin of thought, truth,
subject, fidelity, or, ultimately the event of Badiou composing the film.

> This leads Badiou to define what he means by an "ethics of truth." He
> writes that it is "that which lends consistency to the presence of
> some-one in the composition of the subject induced by the process of
> truth."
** In search of definitions I must have overlooked "some-one".

> This some-one becomes simultaneously a self and an excess of self,
> because the fidelity passes through it and inscribes, from within time,
> an instant of eternity.
**"self" and "excess of self" were created by the flow of  ":fidelity"?,
Fidelity "inscribes?  by B's writing the words?  by the Reader reading the
words?  Could such an event occur without B, without the Reader, without
words that lurk in

> Consistency is the "engagement of one's singularity in the continuation
> of a subject of truth."
** Whose "truth"? the Reader's truth, Badiou's truth, Lacan's truth?
> This is related to Lacan's maxim - "do not give
> up on your desire."
**Need Lacan's definition of  my, your, our "desire".

> In other words, do not give up on your own seizure
> by the truth process. Here fidelity merges with consistency.  The
> seizure by truth becomes the categorical imperative.
**A seizure perhaps as Paul on the road to Damascus, or Kant on the road to
the categorical imperative.

> Badiou thus distinguishes between the some-one, or what he calls the
> principle of self-interest from the consistency of fidelity, or what he
> the subjective principle. This means that ethical consistency is
> informed by disinterested interest.
**Disinterested interest is normally an oxymoron, an absolute contradiction.

>Interest remains, but no longer the  specific interest in this some-one,
this particular >animal.  There is an  excess beyond myself brought about by
the passing through it of >truth. The immanent break of the event means that
the some-one is suspended and
> becomes disinterested.
** It is very ingenious to conjure up truths, interests, disinterests,
some-ones, immanences, events, desires, "flows", "seizures" "events" and
"breaks" that presumably have definitions in the mind of the writer, but are
alien to would-be readers, whatever their language, their memories, their
experience, their

> Badiou also distinguishes this conception of ethics from mere opinion,
> or what is sometimes referred to as a communicative ethics.  The ethics
> of truth is the very opposite of this.  It is an ethic of the Real,
> again in the sense that Lacan uses this term.  Consistency can be
> summarized by the maxim - to keep going - going in the sense of
> following with fidelity this thread of the Real.
> This leads Badiou to raise the following question.  "The materials of
> our multiple-being are now organized by the subjective composition, by
> fidelity to a fidelity, and no longer by the simple pursuit of interest.
> Does this subversion amount to renunciation?"
> Badiou considers the answer to this question to be ultimately an
> undecideable, but the possibility exists that it may not imply this
> because it is the ethic of truth alone that gives consistency.  Interest
> has no other matters to unify than those that truth gives it.  Here
> again, Badiou refers back to Lacan.  "Desire, what is called desire,
> suffices to prove that it would make no sense for life to create
> cowards."
**Undecidable implies human brain/minds.
so does the "Real" which is as various as the beings, human or not-human,
who experience it.
"Interest" is not an entity, or force in itself.
Ditto - the "Real"
Ditto - "truth".
Ditto - "desire".
Ditto - "life"
Ditto - "fidelity"
Ditto - "seizures.

Let's assume Badiou has discovered something of philosophical value that
contribute to humanity's understanding the physical world it inhabits, its
(human) being and roles in the societies it lives in.  He needs to find a
of communicating the substance of whatever it is that he thinks we need to

In this day of bio-tech diseases and killer substances, I wonder if Badiou
may not be infected with what is perhaps a peculiarly French disease.

I became aware of this possibility when a young woman who had lived for
years in America was interviewed by Le Monde.  She had become impatient with
French persons who "take seven minutes to ask a question".

best regards.

> eric


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