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Badiou

A Subject to Truth

2003
Author:

Peter Hallward
Foreword by Slavoj Zizek

Badiou

The most complete and accessible guide in any language to this key contemporary thinker

Badiou is the first comprehensive introduction to Alain Badiou’s thought to appear in any language; it provides a highly readable discussion of each of the basic features of his ontology. Peter Hallward demonstrates in detail and in depth why Badiou’s ongoing philosophical project should be recognized as the most resourceful and inspiring of his generation.

This book provides a comprehensive and well-argued introduction to the work of a major contemporary philosopher. Rigorous, extremely well written, and highly readable, it not only gives an excellent account of a complex theoretical démarche but also locates it within the background of the rich and diversified French intellectual scene.

Ernesto Laclau

Alain Badiou is one of the most inventive and compelling philosophers working in France today—a thinker who, in these days of cynical resignation and academic specialization, is exceptional in every sense. Guided by disciplines ranging from mathematics to psychoanalysis, inspired as much by Plato and Cantor as by Mao and Mallarmé, Badiou’s work renews, in the most varied and spectacular terms, a decidedly ancient understanding of philosophy—philosophy as a practice conditioned by truths, understood as militant processes of emancipation or transformation.

This book is the first comprehensive introduction to Badiou’s thought to appear in any language. Assuming no prior knowledge of his work, it provides a thorough and searching overview of all the main components of his philosophy, from its decisive political orientation through its startling equation of ontology with mathematics to its resolute engagement with its principal competition (from Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Deleuze, among others). The book draws on all of Badiou’s published work and a wide sampling of his unpublished work in progress, along with six years of correspondence with the author.

Peter Hallward pays careful attention to the aspect of Badiou’s work most liable to intimidate readers in continental philosophy and critical theory: its crucial reliance on certain key developments in modern mathematics. Eschewing unnecessary technicalities, Hallward provides a highly readable discussion of each of the basic features of Badiou’s ontology, as well as his more recent account of appearance and “being-there.”

Without evading the difficulties, Peter Hallward demonstrates in detail and in depth why Badiou’s ongoing philosophical project should be recognized as the most resourceful and inspiring of his generation.

Badiou

Peter Hallward is lecturer in the French Department at King’s College, London. His previous publications include Absolutely Postcolonial: Writing between the Singular and the Specific (2002) and a translation of Alain Badiou’s Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil (2001).

Badiou

This book provides a comprehensive and well-argued introduction to the work of a major contemporary philosopher. Rigorous, extremely well written, and highly readable, it not only gives an excellent account of a complex theoretical démarche but also locates it within the background of the rich and diversified French intellectual scene.

Ernesto Laclau

This is a pioneering work in the philosophy of Badiou. It is difficult to imagine a more in-depth study of the overall philosophy of Badiou. Peter Hallward has consulted and utilized what must be every writing Badiou has produced, and quotes from a number of letters he has exchanged with Badiou.

Todd May, author of Our Practices, Our Selves, Or, What It Means to Be Human

An important, comprehensive introduction to the work of Alain Badiou. Hallward’s text is certain to remain an essential guide to understanding the work of this important thinker. Highly recommended.

Choice

Lucid and thorough . . . enthusiastic and eloquent.

Metapsychology

This is an admirable book in every way . . . so amazing are its range and depth. Peter Hallward has an intimate knowledge of the Badiou corpus, a corpus both vast and extravagantly diversified. . . . The book is not only a worthy monument to the grandeur of Badiou: it is a critical monument in its own right.

Radical Philosophy 125

An excellent book . . . will become an invaluable reference work for Badiou.

The Bible and Critical Theory

Badiou

Contents

Foreword: Hallward’s Fidelity to the Badiou Event Slavoj Žižek

Acknowledgments
Notes on Translation

Abbreviations

Introduction: A New Philosophy of the Subject

Part I. Matters of Principle

1. Taking Sides
2. From Maoism to L’Organisation Politique
3. Infinite by Prescription: The Mathematical Turn

Part II. Being and Truth

4. Badiou’s Ontology
5. Subject and Event
6. The Criteria of Truth

Part III. The Generic Procedures

7. Love and Sexual Difference
8. Art and Poetry
9. Mathematics and Science
10. Politics: Equality and Justice
11. What Is Philosophy?

Part IV. Complications

12. Ethics, Evil, and the Unnameable
13. Generic or Specific?
14. Being- there: The Onto-logy of Appearing

Conclusion
Appendix: On the Development of Transfinite Set Theory
Notes
Bibliography

Index