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A letter from Alain Badiou

Rosie Warren21 December 2014

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The below is a letter from Alain Badiou regarding a critical review in
Actu Philosophia of Emmanuel Faye’s book on Heidegger by Jean-Clet Martin. Read the review (in french) here

Dear Jean-Clet,

Your text is very good, though in my view rather too moderate (I have not read this collection [1], however, and nor shall I). My reservation stems from my doubts that it is of much use to pay any attention to this group. Understand: I do appreciate your loyalty, your faithful and learned defence of Derrida and Foucault. But in assuming that it was really necessary to reply (and you were, ultimately, doubtless correct on this point) you stop halfway, forgetting that a vast array of statements tell us that however distant they may have been or could have become from Heidegger, the likes of Derrida, Foucault, Nancy and Lacoue always considered him a canonical, great philosopher (and many others also said the same: Sartre, Hyppolite, Lyotard…). It is also incumbent on us explicitly to say as much, even if it means running the risk of making a concession to the obscurantist intentions of the Faye clique. And that counts for me, too. Both in the seminar whose text you will soon receive (I passed your demand on to Fayard) and the 1985 seminar on Parmenides which I am currently correcting, I very frequently take Heidegger into consideration in terms of his evident greatness, even if I always ultimately distance myself from his conclusions, without having to show what any person with a bit of malign intention can do with any text, even the Bible: that under the problematic terms lies the hideous figure of anti-Semitism. I’ve seen this trick before and know it well enough.  I am counting on publishing my 1987 seminar devoted precisely to Heidegger, next year. I could perhaps put together a little preface on the tenacious plotting by these moral hermeneuts. Even beyond the ‘Heidegger case’ – and he did indeed stoop to vulgar anti-Semitism – it is of the utmost importance to shout from the rooftops that someone could be, or could have been, an anti-communist, a Stalinist, a philo- or anti-semite, hostile to women, a feminist, a monarchist, a democrat, a militarist, a nationalist, a partisan, a Nazi or Mussolinite, gay, sexually conformist, internationalist, colonialist, egalitarian, aristocratic, an elitist or friend of the masses, and so on and so forth… and be a philosopher of the greatest importance. Examinations of morality, passing as a democrat, being of the right ideological breed, non-criminality, inscrutability – ideological purity, in sum, the characteristic that these inquisitorial apostles test in those whom they must purge, and of which they must be the most perfect incarnation – are intolerable, and must not be tolerated. Down with the little masters of the purification of philosophy!

Kind regards,


[1] Emmanuel Faye (Ed.), Heidegger, le sol, la communauté, la race, Ed. Beauchesne

Translated by David Bröder. 
Read the original french here.

See more from Alain Badiou here.