Badiou and Politics by Bruno Bosteels

By Bruno Bosteels

Badiou and Politics deals a much-anticipated interpretation of the paintings of the influential French thinker Alain Badiou. Countering rules of the thinker as a dogmatic, absolutist, or perhaps mystical philosopher enthralled through the strength of the development as an intensive holiday, Bruno Bosteels finds Badiou’s deep and ongoing funding within the dialectic. Bosteels attracts on all of Badiou’s writings, from the philosopher’s pupil days within the Nineteen Sixties to the current, in addition to on Badiou’s exchanges with different thinkers, from his avowed “masters” Louis Althusser and Jacques Lacan, to interlocutors together with Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek, Daniel Bensaïd, Jacques Derrida, Ernesto Laclau, and Judith Butler. Bosteels tracks the philosopher’s political actions from the occasions of could 1968 via his include of Maoism and the paintings he has performed because the Nineteen Eighties, aiding to mobilize France’s unlawful immigrants or sans-papiers. finally, Bosteels argues for figuring out Badiou’s notion as a revival of dialectical materialism, and he illuminates the philosopher’s figuring out of the duty of idea: to outline a conceptual house for pondering emancipatory politics within the current.

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Together with Natacha Michel, Lazarus is also one of Badiou’s ELEMENTS OF DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM 9 closest collaborators, both in terms of political militancy and in terms of their theoretical inquiries into the nature of politics in the contemporary moment. Throughout much of the 1990s, in particular, Lazarus and Badiou refused to tie the possibility of thinking contemporary politics to a dialectical articulation between objective and subjective conditions, or between the socioeconomical sphere and its concentration as the political act proper.

This would involve a closer reading of The Century, the book mentioned above that is based on a lecture series between 1998 and 2001 at the Collège International de Philosophie. Here, Badiou seems to want to come to terms once more with the possibility, or even the desirability, of a new figure of the dialectic. In fact, he argues that this has been a task that the past century very much imposed on itself: ‘‘The century is a figure of the nondialectical juxtaposition of the Two and the One. ’’≤Ω But then in many ways this assessment also involves a reassessment of Badiou’s own relation to the dialectic.

What is more, political events have no need for the philosopher to transmit from the outside what they themselves, as events, produce in terms of thinking or truth, or to judge ELEMENTS OF DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM 19 which of them qualify as properly political events. ’ ’’∂≤ What should we understand by ‘‘political philosophy’’ in this context, and why is there an urgent need to make place for a ‘‘metapolitics’’? According to Badiou, who in this regard agrees with Rancière’s argument in On the Shores of Politics and Disagreement in spite of their very different understanding of metapolitics, political philosophy relies on the idea that it can form a clear and distinct idea—or, better yet, a judgment— about what constitutes the essence of politics, or, at the very least, about what should constitute the essence of politics, properly speaking.

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