Alain Badiou: Philosophy and Its Conditions

SUNY Press
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There is little doubt that Alain Badiou is one of the most challenging and controversial figures in contemporary philosophy. This volume of essays brings together leading commentators from both sides of the Atlantic to provide an introduction to Badiou’s work through critical studies of his more productive and controversial ideas.

Over the course of three decades, his numerous and extensive texts have challenged traditional views on ontology, mathematics, aesthetics, literature, politics, ethics, philosophy, and sexual difference. His texts on Plato, Saint Paul, Pascal, Lacan, Althusser, Heidegger, MallarmeŒ, Pessoa, and Beckett are among the most perceptive and penetrating essays on contemporary philosophical and literary culture. In addition to providing insight into the basic conceptual apparatus of Badiou’s philosophy, the essays also offer a more substantial critical assessment of the import of his main theses for different disciplines.
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About the author

Gabriel Riera is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
May 11, 2015
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780791483077
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.

At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?

Critics in recent years have discussed an "ethical moment or turn" characterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.

Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power.

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