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Concept and Form: Miller writes to Hallward and Badiou responds

Intern Verso, Huw Lemmey 1 March 2013

Following the publication of Concept and Form, a two-volume edition examining the work and legacy of the philosophy journal the Cahiers pour l’Analyse, writer and psychoanalyst Jacques-Alain Miller wrote an open letter to editor Peter Hallward. Below we publish the response from philosopher Alain Badiou.

Dear Jacques-Alain,

Thank you for having sent me your letter to Peter Hallward and your ‘confession of a renegade’.

‘Renegade’ is not an insult, it’s a description. It is quite clear to anyone that a person who lived and thought as you did between 1969 and 1972, and today is hand in glove with the Sarkozy clique, even going so far as to commit a Lacanian school to a disgusting and paradoxical support for the Libyan expedition and its eulogist Bernard-Henri Lévy, is a renegade from leftism, to say nothing of Maoism.

Why then do you take offence at this description? It seems to me you should rather be proud of it, and defend yourself as having reneged on the Bad in favour of the Good. You could even call it a moral Conversion.


Let’s say it: what is Conversion for you is Renegacy for me. Your point of view, moreover, is that of the majority of your contemporaries, at least as far as intellectuals are concerned. The extreme minority, which was and is insulted – for having refused to renege – is me and not you. I’ve lived with this for a long time already.

You doubt whether the confessions of a renegade would be priority reading for me. But I shall read your pamphlet one day, even with interest.

As for a debate, don’t think of it! I certainly wouldn’t debate with a renegade.




  Read Miller's open letter here. 

Read Badiou's response in French here. Many thanks to David Fernbach for the translation.

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