Once again, all can see for themselves that the mix of treason, megalomania and laziness never brings more than a meager broth. I have no other commentary to make on this banal story of mental corruption.

Oi, this Badiou fellow does not sound too happy!

To see a philosopher of Badiou’s stature engaged in such sniping is a shock, given the operatic architectonics of much of his work, but it is also to see him as MBK saw him: petty, self-aggrandizing and paranoid (not unjustly) about betrayal. This is one of the troubling things about MBK’s book: Belhaj Kacem charges Badiou with a number of misbehaviors and seems to be telling the truth. And yet it’s also true, as Badiou counters, that he tells it in an anecdotic and even vulgar fashion.The critique comes couched in a surprising amount of name calling, enough that his future translator may have to resort to the innovations in invective that Hergé’s used for Captain Haddock. But we must remember that Belhaj Kacem’s philosophy is in fact an avowed antiphilosophy. Perhaps because of its correspondence with his own rhetorico-emotional register, he is further empowered to accuse Badiou’s philosophy, too, of being petty, self-aggrandizing and paranoid. Reading Après Badiou, you begin to believe him.


Random Quote: Badiou

“[Adorno’s] Negative Dialectics begins, in a way, with a long discussion of Heidegger’s ontology because the latter presents itself as another proposal for going beyond Enlightenment rationalism, which Heidegger regarded as no more than a moment in the history of metaphysics. But it actually falls short of doing so, in Adorno’s opinion, which is why he won’t hesitate to claim (much to Lacoue-Labarthe’s chagrin) that Heidegger was a fascist through and through. So Heidegger’s ontology, a rival of his own, is ultimately discredited by Adorno because it fails to go beyond Enlightenment rationalism – unlike negative dialectics, which will combine Kant’s critique and Hegel’s dialectics and transcend them in a new way.” [Five Lessons on Wagner, 30]

Interview with Badiou.

Infinite Thought interviews Badiou, posts uncut text here

NP: Perhaps one response to this would be to say, well isn’t this what literature does, what plays do.

AB: Exactly. Maybe it’s not a philosophical question, maybe it’s part of the truth procedure of art. We can say that, for example, mathematics is ontology, but we have to philosophically elaborate upon this idea, it’s not completely reducible to mathematics itself. And you can say also that the relation between individual and truth procedure is a question in literature, in poetry and theatre. But I’m not completely convinced that we can say only that. And finally, it’s not a philosophical question so we can say only that this possible answers to these questions are in literature. If I in the end don’t write this book, the title of which would be The Immanence of Truth or something like that, I have only two projects. First a small book concerning negation, because there is really a complete logical transformation of the question of negation today, so there is something which must be incorporated into the philosophical framework, because we have new forms of negation, new relationships between different forms of negation. On the other side, Plato, there are two works in progress. First the translation of The Republic, a very new translation. And the other is a movie, ‘The Life of Plato’. With Brad Pitt.

NP: You could be Socrates.

AB: My idea would be that Plato and Socrates are played by the same person. The movie will be the idea that Socrates is a retrospective creation of Plato, so inside the movie Socrates would be something like the old-young Plato. During the movie Plato finally becomes Socrates, something like that. But the script is not finished, so there are many possibilities!

I’m pretty sure I am going to skip this movie.

“Diagrammatic Metaphilosophy:” Mullarkey and “Post-Continental Philosophy”

One of the central problems throughout Mullarkey’s Post-Continental Philosohy: An Outline is if everything is immanence then it would only make sense that a philosophy of immanence itself would be, well, immanent. After having read Deleuze, Henry and Badiou and showing how each has a blind spot with regards to such an understanding of immanence, error and explanation–Badiou’s pure quantity and Henry’s pure quality supplement each other but end in monism, for one example–Mullarkey turns to examine the “non-philosophy” of Francois Laruelle, a figure whom I’ve never read a word until now (and which vacillates between very interesting/novel and sheer nonsense). This chapter is far more forgiving then the three previous chapters dealing with Deleuze, Henry and Badiou. Here’s Mullarkey quoting Laruelle from an article in Angelaki, “What Can Non-Philosophy do?”:

Non-Philosophy is not an intensified reduplication of philosophy, a meta-philosophy, but rather its simplification. It does not represent a change in scale with respect to philosophy, as though the latter was maintained for smaller elements. It is the “same” structure but in a more concentrated, more focused form (138).

Somewhat reminiscent of Foucault, as Mullarkey suggests, is one of Laruelle’s central claims: all philosophy/philosophical positions are ultimately circular because they rest upon a decision through which its whole structure is given all at once. For Laruelle, all of the terminology, grammar, neologisms etc of a philosophy show themselves all at once tautologically, rather than as an argumentative series. This circularity can only be overcome vis a vis non-philosophy, a move which literally draws out the movement of philosophy all the while “bracketing” philosophy. Continue reading

Philosophy as Creative Repetition

I came across Badiou’s article, “Philosophy as Creative Repetition,” in which he discusses the very conception and role of and the subsequent “disciplining” of philosophy. For one, since it’s the end of the semester, I’ve been thinking of these types of questions that have been bothering me for a long time. In fact, it seems to be everywhere, for some of the discussions recently here at PE and other places have touched on questions like “What is philosophy,” “What does philosophy do, if anything?” or even as one PE writer asked “Is philosophy irrelevent?” or finally “What is a philosopher?” After drawing on Althusser’s notion that philosophy has no history and is a continual repetition of the same, Badiou writes:

What is the sameness of the same, which returns in the a-historical destiny of philosophy? Behind this question we naturally find an old discussion about the true nature of philosophy. There are roughly two main tendencies. For the first one philosophy is essentially a reflexive knowledge. The knowledge of truth in theoretical fields, the knowledge of values in practical fields. We have to organize learning and the transmission of knowledge. And the appropriate form of philosophy is that of a school. The philosopher is a professor, like Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger and so many others., including myself, when you address me under the name of “Professor Badiou.” Continue reading