Reading Alain Badiou's 'Being and Event'

Posted by Edward Willatt on Monday, September 14, 2009 Under: Badiou

Being and Event is comprehensive and systematic in its engagement with the history of philosophy.  Badiou seeks the void in the work of great philosophers and shows how it is both developed and suppressed in their works - Christopher Norris calls this a 'diagnostic' method for reading philosophical texts in his guide to Being and Event.  In part 1 Plato and Aristotle are the two poles of the debate over fullness and the void.  In part 2 Spinoza appears and is shown to locate the threat of the void in the dualism of the infinite (substance) and the finite (modes).  Badiou argue that his solution, his way of preserving fullness and continuity, is to keep the two apart via the notion of an 'infinite mode'.  In this way the finite and the infinite both have their own conitinuity but are related by infinite modes.  However, Badiou argues that we only have fragmentary and occasional definitions of the infinite mode in Spinoza's work.  They lack a full account in his system and are thus groundless.  They are in fact the proper name of the void in the midst of the apparent fullness of Spinoza's system.  He has failed to remove the threat of the void. 

This attempt to sum up and diagnose Spinoza's system is ambitious and takes up only one Meditation in the second part of Being and Event (compare this to Deleuze's two volumes on Spinoza).  However, this audacity if refreshing and represents the confidence of systematic philosophy and of architectonics that has long been neglected in philosophy.  It's arche is the unpresentable void and the relation between consistent multiplicity and inconsistent multiplicity developed on the basis of this void.  Part 2 also engages with Marx in the context of the distinction between the situation and the state of the situation or the structure secured by count-as-one and its doubling by the metastructure.  The power set axiom secures this distinction between belonging and inclusion.  Marxism is seen to have neglected this basic ontological apparatus.  It seeks the future disappearance of the state as if it can simply be dispensed with.  For Badiou the set theoretical apparatus is necessary to any social and political program. 

In : Badiou 



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Reading Alain Badiou's 'Being and Event'

Posted by Edward Willatt on Monday, September 14, 2009 Under: Badiou

Being and Event is comprehensive and systematic in its engagement with the history of philosophy.  Badiou seeks the void in the work of great philosophers and shows how it is both developed and suppressed in their works - Christopher Norris calls this a 'diagnostic' method for reading philosophical texts in his guide to Being and Event.  In part 1 Plato and Aristotle are the two poles of the debate over fullness and the void.  In part 2 Spinoza appears and is shown to locate the threat of the void in the dualism of the infinite (substance) and the finite (modes).  Badiou argue that his solution, his way of preserving fullness and continuity, is to keep the two apart via the notion of an 'infinite mode'.  In this way the finite and the infinite both have their own conitinuity but are related by infinite modes.  However, Badiou argues that we only have fragmentary and occasional definitions of the infinite mode in Spinoza's work.  They lack a full account in his system and are thus groundless.  They are in fact the proper name of the void in the midst of the apparent fullness of Spinoza's system.  He has failed to remove the threat of the void. 

This attempt to sum up and diagnose Spinoza's system is ambitious and takes up only one Meditation in the second part of Being and Event (compare this to Deleuze's two volumes on Spinoza).  However, this audacity if refreshing and represents the confidence of systematic philosophy and of architectonics that has long been neglected in philosophy.  It's arche is the unpresentable void and the relation between consistent multiplicity and inconsistent multiplicity developed on the basis of this void.  Part 2 also engages with Marx in the context of the distinction between the situation and the state of the situation or the structure secured by count-as-one and its doubling by the metastructure.  The power set axiom secures this distinction between belonging and inclusion.  Marxism is seen to have neglected this basic ontological apparatus.  It seeks the future disappearance of the state as if it can simply be dispensed with.  For Badiou the set theoretical apparatus is necessary to any social and political program. 

In : Badiou 



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