Philippe Douroux's report from Alain Badiou's final seminar was first published in Libération. Translated by David Broder.
His audience was there. 280 people in front of him, and thirty others in the hall before a screen, on the lookout for others leaving so that they too could enter the "cave" and face the master. An equal mix of men and women, the old and the young — mainly older, it should be said. None of them are dressed eccentrically, though there are sometimes some flashes of colour like orange or yellow trousers, or a bright yellow scarf with Indian motifs, doubtless a hangover of the 1970s. At the moment that everyone was about to go their separate ways, soon before midnight that evening, he even earned a standing ovation. That tells us how fervent his audience is.
On November 9th, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. Alain Badiou responded in a talk at the University of California, Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the program in Experimental Critical Theory and the Center for European and Russian Studies. Below we share the transcript of his response, originally published at Mariborchan — an eloquent reflection not only on the specific events that unfolded last week, but on the situation of the world today.
Alain Badiou was Ali Baddou’s guest on France Inter on 9 September.
As defendant, Mr. Badiou — profession, philosopher — do you admit having wanted to corrupt the youth, together with your accomplice Socrates?
Yes, if by "corruption" we mean proposing to the youth that it seek out its own way, by itself, by discussing it, thinking about it and reflecting on it rather than following the path already traced out by its predecessors, by governments, by the authorities and by tradition. The philosopher is supposed to corrupt youth — in a sense that is his job, his professional task.