File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 89

Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 15:55:41 +1000
Subject: Re: The Ethics of Truth


At first glance, (5 minutes) this appears to be an unusually clear example
of how
"worlds" are conceived.  Worlds  consist of  "abstractions".  Abstractiions
consist of "situations", "events", "subjects", "ethics" etc.  To inhabit
this such a world a person  requires detailed instructions from its inventor
to understand how it would  t "fits".

Bon voyage!




> 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?
> Badiou argues that in order for the subject (or the Immortal) to emerge,
> something needs to have happened which cannot simply be reduced to what
> there is.  He names this supplement the event and distinguishes from
> 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.
> 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. 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.
> 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.
> 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."
> 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.
> Consistency is the "engagement of one's singularity in the continuation
> of a subject of truth."  This is related to Lacan's maxim - "do not give
> up on your 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.
> 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. 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.
> 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."
> eric


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