Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou teaches philosophy at the École normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including Theory of the Subject, Being and Event, Manifesto for Philosophy, and Gilles Deleuze. His recent books include The Meaning of Sarkozy, Ethics, Metapolitics, Polemics, The Communist Hypothesis, Five Lessons on Wagner, and Wittgenstein's Anti-Philosophy.


  • Alain Badiou: "Mao thinks in an almost infinite way"

    Badiou's apparently "unrepentant" Maoism has been one of the most controversial, if misinterpreted, elements of his thought. In the conversation below, Badiou is pressed on the question by an anonymous Chinese philosopher, and maintains that Mao continues to provide a model for dialectical thought, if not for a historical project. Visit LEAP to read the original piece in full.

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    ILLUSTRATION / Wang Buke

    A Dialogue Between a Chinese Philosopher and a French Philosopher

    December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York

    Some time ago, French philosopher (and venerable Maoist) Alain Badiou traveled to China to speak to a Chinese philosopher. Though his or her name appears to have been lost in the ashes of time, the transcript of this alleged meeting remains, and bears a noted resemblance to a series of conversations Badiou had with Lu Xinghua, a contentious proponent of the theorization of Chinese contemporary art. A restaging of this dialogue this past December in New York, with an actress as the skeptical interlocutor, provided a window into Continental philosophy’s most ardent Orientalist fantasies—and an hour or two of solid dialectical entertainment.

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  • Alain Badiou: "Happiness is a risk that we must be ready to take"

    Happiness is central to the police operation of contemporary capitalism: enforced at work by "chief happiness officers" and at home by mindfulness, self-help manuals and "neurosignalling" headbands. Happiness must be meticulously maintained, and a burgeoning industry has grown around it, because collective unhappiness runs the risk of financial collapse. But as Alain Badiou argues below, it is happiness—as the affect on which political action is founded—that is the true risk. 

    - Visit 
    Regards to read the original interview in French. Translated by David Broder. 

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  • Alain Badiou, "The law on the headscarf is a pure capitalist law"

    To coincide with the publication of three important works on the intersections of race, class and feminism—Christine Delphy's Separate and Dominate, Vron Ware's Beyond the Pale and Michele Wallace's Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman—we re-publish an essay by Alain Badiou on the French law on the headscarf, originally published in his Polemics. Against rising Islamaphobic currents in France, Badiou maintains: 'the enemy of thought today is property. It is commerce, and such things as souls, but not faith.'

    1. A few pleasant republicans decided one day to argue that a law was necessary to ban girls wearing scarves over their hair. First, ban it at school, then elsewhere, and everywhere if possible. Did you hear me say a law? A law! The president of the Republic was as limited a politician as he was unsinkable. Totalitarianly elected by 82 per cent of voters, including all the socialists, people from whom a number of the pleasant republicans in question were recruited, he nodded in agreement: a law, yes, a law against a few thousand young girls who put the headscarf in question over their hair. The scabby, mangy brats! And they're Muslims too! That is how, once again, similar to the capitulation at Sedan, Pe'tain, the Algerian War, the double-dealing of Mitterrand, villainous laws against undocumented workers, France has stunned the world. After the tragedies, the farce.

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