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The Mathematics of Novelty: Badiou’s Minimalist Metaphysics

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Ping balance Ping balance. Profile image for not logged in member. Decrement quantity 5 available. Buyer protection logo Buyer Protection. Closes: Sun 7th Jul, am. Several critics have questioned Badiou's use of mathematics. Mathematician Alan Sokal and physicist Jean Bricmont write that Badiou proposes, with seemingly "utter seriousness," a blending of psychoanalysis, politics and set theory that they contend is preposterous. Nirenberg and David Nirenberg, [21] which takes issue in particular with Badiou's matheme of the Event in Being and Event , which has already been alluded to in respect of the 'axiom of foundation' above.

Nirenberg and Nirenberg write:. Badiou again turns here to mathematics and set theory — Badiou's language of ontology — to study the possibility of an indiscernible element existing extrinsically to the situation of ontology.

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He employs the strategy of the mathematician Paul J. Cohen , using what are called the conditions of sets. These conditions are thought of in terms of domination, a domination being that which defines a set. If one takes, in binary language, the set with the condition 'items marked only with ones', any item marked with zero negates the property of the set.

The condition which has only ones is thus dominated by any condition which has zeros in it [cf. Badiou reasons using these conditions that every discernible nameable or constructible set is dominated by the conditions which don't possess the property that makes it discernible as a set. The property 'one' is always dominated by 'not one'. These sets are, in line with constructible ontology, relative to one's being-in-the-world and one's being in language where sets and concepts, such as the concept 'humanity', get their names.

However, he continues, the dominations themselves are, whilst being relative concepts, not necessarily intrinsic to language and constructible thought; rather one can axiomatically define a domination — in the terms of mathematical ontology — as a set of conditions such that any condition outside the domination is dominated by at least one term inside the domination. One does not necessarily need to refer to constructible language to conceive of a 'set of dominations', which he refers to as the indiscernible set, or the generic set.

It is therefore, he continues, possible to think beyond the strictures of the relativistic constructible universe of language, by a process Cohen calls forcing. And he concludes in following that while ontology can mark out a space for an inhabitant of the constructible situation to decide upon the indiscernible, it falls to the subject — about which the ontological situation cannot comment — to nominate this indiscernible, this generic point; and thus nominate, and give name to, the undecidable event.

Badiou thereby marks out a philosophy by which to refute the apparent relativism or apoliticism in post-structuralist thought. Badiou's ultimate ethical maxim is therefore one of: 'decide upon the undecidable'. It is to name the indiscernible, the generic set, and thus name the event that re-casts ontology in a new light. He identifies four domains in which a subject who, it is important to note, becomes a subject through this process can potentially witness an event: love, science, politics and art. By enacting fidelity to the event within these four domains one performs a 'generic procedure', which in its undecidability is necessarily experimental, and one potentially recasts the situation in which being takes place.

Through this maintenance of fidelity, truth has the potentiality to emerge. In line with his concept of the event, Badiou maintains, politics is not about politicians, but activism based on the present situation and the evental [ sic ] his translators' neologism rupture. So too does love have this characteristic of becoming anew.


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Even in science the guesswork that marks the event is prominent. He vigorously rejects the tag of ' decisionist ' the idea that once something is decided it 'becomes true' , but rather argues that the recasting of a truth comes prior to its veracity or verifiability. As he says of Galileo p. While Badiou is keen to reject an equivalence between politics and philosophy, he correlates nonetheless his political activism and skepticism toward the parliamentary-democratic process with his philosophy, based around singular, situated truths, and potential revolutions.

Alain Badiou is a founding member along with Natacha Michel and Sylvain Lazarus of the militant French political organisation L'Organisation Politique , which was active from until it disbanded in In addition to numerous writings and interventions, L'Organisation Politique highlighted the importance of developing political prescriptions concerning undocumented migrants les sans papiers , stressing that they must be conceived primarily as workers and not immigrants. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Alain Badiou. Rabat , French Morocco. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. This article may be written from a fan's point of view , rather than a neutral point of view. Please clean it up to conform to a higher standard of quality, and to make it neutral in tone.

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March Creative Thinking. Labyrinth Books, New York, 6 March French television. En direct, France 3 French. Philosophy and the Idea of Communism. Polity Press. Retrieved 24 February The Communist Hypothesis pbk. David Macey. Archived from the original on 8 September Retrieved 24 January Archived from the original on 25 May Retrieved 18 June Member Page". The Global Center for Advanced Studies.

Archived from the original on 28 March Retrieved 23 April The Symptom 9. Times Literary Supplement. Critical Inquiry. Archived from the original PDF on 11 August Retrieved 20 April Cease Fire Magazine. According to Aude Lancelin who moderated the discussion, "it came to an ideological confrontation of rare violence".

The Mathematics of Novelty: Badiou’s Minimalist Metaphysics

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4 SETTING UP THE ENCOUNTER

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