File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 30

Subject: RE: Does the Other Exist?
Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 08:32:20 -0600

>What I find provocative is that Badiou helps to illuminate this
>tradition in some provocative ways, even when he is muleheaded and
>wrong. Sometimes when a man carries a candle in broad daylight he helps
>reveal things that might otherwise stay hidden.

I loved this. Thanks, eric, for your explanations. I appreciate them.
And...i will read the book. I personally have a lot of problems with
some of Levinas's work, but I get exhausted by the seemingly endless
attempts to dismiss it without first really hearing it. 

I'll get the book. Thnx!

Best, ddd

  D. Diane Davis
  Division of Rhetoric and Composition
  Department of English
  University of Texas at Austin
  PARLIN 227  (512-471-8765)
  Austin TX 78712-1122

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:owner-
>] On Behalf Of Mary Murphy&Salstrand
> Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 10:52 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Does the Other Exist?
> Diane:
> I can appreciate your struggle with Badiou. Please understand that I
> writing out these summaries to understand Badiou's argument more
> (and I hope that by stimulating discussion here this will also achieve
> similar effect.) That certainly doesn't mean I believe in everything
> Badiou is saying. I am not a Badiou fundamentalist.
> You mention the Deleuze book... (maybe after the ethics, we can
> this some more) My position is ambivalent, somewhere between what you
> call "outrageous--incredibly arrogant and self-serving" and what Steve
> calls simply a misreading.
> My own view is that Deleuze emerges from this book as a much stranger
> figure, but Badiou does clarify some of the issues regarding Deleuze,
> Heidegger and himself. Badiou regards Deleuze seriously and
> and his criticisms point toward a greater philosophical understanding
> what Deleuze's achievement really is.
> (As you can see, my reading of this book is more positive.  Here again
> though I certainly don't completely agree with the way Badiou
> Deleuze or himself for that matter. With the exception of "The Fold"
> Badiou concentrates on the early Deleuze and pretty much ignores
> Anti-Oedipus and 1,000 Plateaus)
> Regarding Levinas, I think my comments were close to the overall
> argument Badiou is making. (Keep in mind, this is a short book and
> polemical.) I would agree Badiou makes Levinas into something of a
> man, but I also think it is possible to make the charge that there is
> something anti-philosophical about Levinas, if only for the way that
> attempts to have ethics trump over ontology and the Other over the
> Same.
> (I think this is the basis for some of Lyotard's critique of Levinas
> well in the essay "Levinas' Logic" and in the chapter on ethics in
> Differend.")
> This really demands a huge discussion.  I know we started it this past
> summer and never really did it full justice.
> I agree with you that Badiou also doesn't really do justice either to
> the complexity of Levinas' philosophy and the link he makes between
> Levinas and other philosophers of difference with regard to piety
> just a little too facile.
> I confess I did enjoy reading Badiou's Ethics, but also feel somehow
> though I was reading Badiou aslant. Certainly the arguments against
> difference did not make the impression on me that they clearly did
> Steve.
> I was much more taken with the positive statement on ethics that
> makes - the figure of the Immortal. (Even though here as well, there
> much that is problematic.  What makes Heidegger's reading of Nazism a
> simulcra and Badiou's reading of the Chinese Cultural Revolution an
> event? I wish I knew the criterion of truth Badiou uses!)
> It would take too long to go into my own philosophical project
> but basically I see it as attempting to develop a postmodern
> reconstruction of Epicurean philosophy.
> The classic figures in ethics that seem most relevant for me with
> to ethics are Aristotle (with his ethics centered on eudaemonia and
> distinctions made between differing pleasures which prefigures
> Epicurus), Spinoza (who I see as combining both Epicurean and Stoic
> elements in his philosophy) and Kant (who I read more in terms of the
> autonomous and sublime components of his ethics rather than the
> normative and universal. For me, the third critique is ethical in many
> ways.) Then there is Lyotard, of course.
> What I find provocative is that Badiou helps to illuminate this
> tradition in some provocative ways, even when he is muleheaded and
> wrong. Sometimes when a man carries a candle in broad daylight he
> reveal things that might otherwise stay hidden.
> Hope this helps to show you where I am coming from a little bit more.
> eric


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