File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 2

Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 14:40:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Why Badiou?

On Tue, 30 Oct 2001, Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:
> Badiou writes: "It is never really modest to declare an 'end', a
> completion, a radical impasse. The announcement of the 'End of Grand
> Narratives' is as immodest as the Grand Narrative itself, the certainty
> of the 'end of metaphysics' proceeds within the metaphysical element of
> certainty, the deconstruction of the concept of subject requires a
> central category - being, for example - the historical prescription of
> which is even more decisive etc."

Is this in any way on the mark with regard to Lyotard? I guess i wouldn't
have associated, for example, the "incredulity towards master
narratives" of TPMC with any "certainty of the end." As i've suggested
before, "incredulity" seems to play differently than that. (Pardon any and
all possible puns and linguistic short-circuits.) The possibility of
something like "negative universals" ("we don't know" or "there is
otherness") emerging as new master narratives is certainly a concern. Much
of what has come to be known in the US as "multiculturalism" is probably,
in the end, a kind of fundamentalism of "difference" (the metastatic
version of identity politics), but that seems very much at odds with what
i read in Lyotard, Derrida, Nancy, Irigaray - all the names commonly
invoked. Reading someone like Derrida, who seems to have taken this
problem very seriously, it's still sometimes hard to know how all this
concern "helps," except as a guard against fundamentalism or the reduction
of ethics to a technology. But that may be a pretty great help, assuming
we can stand the insecurity of facing, again in Derridean terms, the need
to "learn how to live" while we are nonetheless living. (Perhaps i should
say, for the associated echoes, "in the modst of life.") 

I haven't had time to put into Badiou, so perhaps the critique is more
profound, but i'm not seeing it yet. 


Shawn P. Wilbur  |  |         


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