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April 13, 2016



Like you I think that hoaxes can be a sign of intellectual and social health. In Maoist terms: Let a thousand hoaxes bloom! I would argue further that many philosophers, including Badiou, provide us with unconscious self-hoaxes. Badiou, when he is not at his best, reads like an involuntary parody of his own jargon and theses. Any philosophy can become banalised into mere combinatory playing with its own stereotypes of expression and argument. I have no problem with critiquing such descent into stereotype when it occurs in Badiou or in his disciples. But I don't think it proves much.

My problem is with the supposed target of Huneman and Barberousse's hoax. I find they slide rather too easily between three different targets: Badiou himself, his philosophy, his anglophone reception, one particular issue of Badiou Studies.

Their target cannot be Badiou's philosophy: this would evolve a lot more work and argument than they have provided. Nor can it be Badiou's anglophone reception in general: here they just talk in terms of vague impressions, and do not consider the many serious Badiou scholars. One issue of Badiou Studies: why single out an insignificant and unrepresentative Badiousian production? Unless by picking on an easy target you can remount the chain and attack Badiou's philosophy without doing the hard interpretative and argumentative work.


Written up version here: https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/fifty-shades-of-badiou-is-fan-philo-fiction-a-genre/


Badiou’s philosophy as expressed in his books BEING AND EVENT and LOGICS OF WORLD is an impressive work in progress of pluralist philosophy. There are some major points that I disagree with, but the work as a whole is full of inspiring ideas, analyses and arguments. One of Badiou’s strong points is his ability to take philosophies that are very difficult to argue with, notably those of Heidegger and Deleuze, and bring them into an argumentative field by elaborating another philosophy of comparable scope and depth. To discuss Badiou's philosophy you can’t just extract de-conceptualised theses and “argue” about them, or exclaim ruefully that they are not open to argument.

On the question of Badiou's "postmodernism": Badiou's thesis is that the pluralism of the postmoderns is no big new final discovery, but constitutes merely a rather evident starting point for new analyses. Badiou has in common with the postmoderns the idea of pluralism. He differs from them with his theory of Truths. Huneman and Barberousse are content to group Badiou with the postmoderns without arguing their point. I think, as on several other points, that this is parallel is only partially true. But to prove their point they would have to analyse Badiou’s theory of Truths. Publishing a parodic imitation in an obscure para-academic journal is certainly not arguing at the right level, but taking the easy way out.


Written up version here: https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/post-badiousian-hoaxolgy/

Terence Blake

A few belated thoughts on the "Badiou Hoax" as self-hoax: https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/the-badiou-dictionary/

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