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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

  • The Pornography of Democracy

    On January 26, Alain Badiou gave the closing lecture of the France-Culture forum, of which the Nouvel Observateur is a partner. Below appears an extract.

    This text by Alain Badiou, which the Nouvel Observateur published as a pre-release, is a summary of the 'concluding lecture' which the philosopher gave this Saturday, 26 January, at the Sorbonne, at the end of the 'L'Année vue par... la philo' ['The year as seen by... philosophy'] forum, a day of debates organised by France-Culture  in partnership with the Nouvel Observateur.

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  • “France’s greatest export”: Alain Badiou and The Adventure of French Philosophy

    In his review for Prospect of The Adventure of French Philosophy by Alain Badiou, Jonathan Rée poses the question as to whether French philosophy is the country’s greatest export. Rée briefly details the rich history of what Badiou calls the “French moment” in contemporary thought. Focusing on Jean-Paul Sartre, Rée suggests that his and the work of other French theorists has always been received by the English speaking world with “a certain streak of madness.” Whilst the article locates Badiou as ‘the latest in the line of French philosophy professors who have had global greatness thrust upon them,’ Rée also states:

    … in one respect at least, he defies the stereotype: he is a Mr Valiant-for-Truth, a believer in invariant external verities, and a born-again Platonist, committed to philosophy as “the discipline of the concept,” and mathematics as the revelation of reality.

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  • An exceptional encounter: Alain Badiou and Michel Foucault in conversation

    Two giants of French philosophy discuss psychology, Western culture and the Kantian turn in the history of philosophy in this hidden gem of a video. Michel Foucault is interviewed by Alain Badiou, the acclaimed author of many books including Pocket Pantheon, and the forthcoming The Adventure of French Philosophy (2012), which both engage with Foucault's thought. 

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Other books by Alain Badiou Edited by Bruno Bosteels

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    Ethics

    One of the most powerful voices in contemporary French philosophy explodes the facile assumptions behind the recent ethical turn.