13 November 2006


Readers may be interested to know that Badiou's Polemics is now available. I have not yet gotten very far in it, but this book is distinguished from Badiou's other texts in English by its clarity of presentation and its focus on situations. In the introduction, Badiou gives a very nice discussion of his conception of philosophy as premised on an encounter between heterogeneous terms that require a decision, such as the encounter between Callicles and Socrates regarding the difference between force and truth, or the encounter between Archimedes and the Roman soldier who killed him. Steve Corcoran writes a provocative translator's introduction discussing the manner in which ontology is related to onto-logy and politics. The various essays of the book deal with issues such as the war on terrorism, the nature of democracy, Israel, and capitalism. For those intimidated by Badiou's mathematical apparatus in Being and Event, Briefings on Existence, Theoretical Writings, and Logiques des mondes, and unsure of what to make of Saint Paul: The Spirit of the Universal, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, the Handbook of Inaesthetics, and On Beckett, this is a very good place to start in evaluating the "cash-value" of Badiou's ontology and political thought.


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