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The Adventure of French Philosophy

Over forty years of French philosophy through the eyes of its greatest living exponent.

The Adventure of French Philosophy is essential reading for anyone interested in what Badiou calls the “French moment” in contemporary thought.

Badiou explores the exceptionally rich and varied world of French philosophy in a number of groundbreaking essays, published here for the first time in English or in a revised translation. Included are the often-quoted review of Louis Althusser’s canonical works For Marx and Reading Capital and the scathing critique of “potato fascism” in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. There are also talks on Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Nancy, and reviews of the work of Jean-François Lyotard and Barbara Cassin, notable points of interest on an expansive tour of modern French thought.

Guided by a small set of fundamental questions concerning the nature of being, the event, the subject, and truth, Badiou pushes to an extreme the polemical force of his thinking. Against the formless continuum of life, he posits the need for radical discontinuity; against the false modesty of finitude, he pleads for the mathematical infinity of everyday situations; against the various returns to Kant, he argues for the persistence of the Hegelian dialectic; and against the lure of ultraleftism, his texts from the 1970s vindicate the role of Maoism as a driving force behind the communist Idea.

Reviews

  • “French philosophy still has a kick in it, and it can still turn heads. You have been warned.”
  • “One of the most important philosophers writing today.”
  • “A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!”
  • “An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser.”
  • “Focused and illuminating, technical and deft.”
  • “A series of snapshots of how Badiou participates in and understands what…we might call the post-1960s moment in French philosophy.”

Blog

  • Alain Badiou: Eleven points inspired by the situation in Greece

    By Alain Badiou, Athens, 7 July. Originally published in Liberation. Translated from the French by David Broder.


    Copyright: Giovanni Tusa 2014.

    It is urgently necessary to internationalise the Greek people’s cause. Only the total elimination of the debt would bring an "ideological blow" to the current European system.

    1. The Greek people’s massive "No" does not mean a rejection of Europe. It means a rejection of the bankers’ Europe, of infinite debt and of globalised capitalism.

    2. Isn’t it true that part of nationalist opinion, or even of the far Right, also voted "No" to the financial institutions’ demands – to the diktat from Europe’s reactionary governments? Well, yes, we know that any purely negative vote will be partly confused. It has always been the case that the far Right can reject certain things that the far Left also rejects. The only clear thing is the affirmation of what we want. But everyone knows that what Syriza wants is opposed to what the nationalists and the fascists want. So the vote is not just a generic vote against the anti-popular demands of globalised capitalism and its European servants. It is also, for the moment, a vote of confidence in the Tsipras government.

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  • 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.

    A full recording of the performance, held on December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York, can now be accessed here

    Stock-up, bulk-out, or fill-in the gaps in your Badiou Bookshelf with 50% off until tomorrow!



    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. 

    Verso is offering 50% off all our books by Alain Badiou until Friday!


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Other books by Alain Badiou Edited by Bruno Bosteels