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tryptych
04-05-2005, 01:58 PM
So, since there seems to be a lot of people banging on about how great Badiou is, and here's me not even heard of him, when I came across the introduction to "Logics of Worlds" in Radical Philosophy the other week (the article was called "Democratic Materialism and the Materialist Dialectic"), I thought I'd read it. I thought it was interesting enough to read with my reading group..

Has anyone else read this?

I have several questions/problems with his "materialist dialectic" - I'm having trouble making sense of the idea that "truths exist as an exception to what there is" and "there isn't only what there is".

His statement of "materialist dialectic" is - "there are only bodies and languages, except that there are also truths".

It seems a rather odd use of the term dialectic, by which, he claims, "we should understand that the essence of all difference is the third term that marks the gap between two others" - I think that seems like a rather poor understanding of Hegel's conception of dialectic.

He goes on to find support for his idea in Descartes, of all people, where he finds a quote from the Principles of Philosophy that common-or-garden dualism is "subordinate to a more fundamental distinction", i.e. that between things with existence, on one hand, and truths, on the other.

Unfortunately, his whole argument seems undermined by the fact that the bit of Descartes he quotes actually says that this distinction is about things that fall into human knowledge, it is epistemological rather than ontolgical.

Anyone else care to comment, or help me understand this better?

tryptych
21-10-2005, 11:54 PM
Bumping this cause I got reminded of it by the other Badiou thread...

Sod the lot of you then.

dHarry
11-11-2005, 11:59 AM
So, since there seems to be a lot of people banging on about how great Badiou is, and here's me not even heard of him, when I came across the introduction to "Logics of Worlds" in Radical Philosophy the other week (the article was called "Democratic Materialism and the Materialist Dialectic"), I thought I'd read it. I thought it was interesting enough to read with my reading group..

Has anyone else read this?

I have several questions/problems with his "materialist dialectic" - I'm having trouble making sense of the idea that "truths exist as an exception to what there is" and "there isn't only what there is".

His statement of "materialist dialectic" is - "there are only bodies and languages, except that there are also truths".

It seems a rather odd use of the term dialectic, by which, he claims, "we should understand that the essence of all difference is the third term that marks the gap between two others" - I think that seems like a rather poor understanding of Hegel's conception of dialectic.

He goes on to find support for his idea in Descartes, of all people, where he finds a quote from the Principles of Philosophy that common-or-garden dualism is "subordinate to a more fundamental distinction", i.e. that between things with existence, on one hand, and truths, on the other.

Unfortunately, his whole argument seems undermined by the fact that the bit of Descartes he quotes actually says that this distinction is about things that fall into human knowledge, it is epistemological rather than ontolgical.

Anyone else care to comment, or help me understand this better?

I haven't actually read all that article, just the intro here (http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/default.asp?channel_id=2188&editorial_id=17175), but just because you're feeling so sorry for your self I'll have a go ;) Infinite Thought, K-punk etc please cut in to admonish/set straight whenever you see fit.

You say "His statement of "materialist dialectic" is - "there are only bodies and languages, except that there are also truths"" - actually he states above that "there are only bodies and languages" is materialist democracy by which I think he means that this is what is the current orthodoxy - materialism of the body, democracy of languages/pluralism, with war as the guarantor of this "freedom", by striking against any attempts to endanger it (e.g. the war on terror, the invasion of Iraq).

That's as far as the online essay goes, but I would imagine that he is opposing his concept of truth to this po-mo state of things, so maybe this is his conception of dialectic - opposing truth (closely related to his concept of the Event, as the creation of the new within a state of things, by the intervention of something unexpected and unimaginable and the subsequent creation of the revolutionary subject seizing the day, whether in politics, art, love or science) to materialist democracy, or the current orthodoxy.

So "truths exist as an exception to what there is" and "there isn't only what there is" I think are ways of describing that novel dimension that arrives unexpectedly in to a state of things ("what is") and allows some novel Event to take place as opposed to the mere knowable, predictable replication of the "what is". This has strong echoes of Deleuze's Nietzcheanism and Bergsonism, the becoming-in-progress before it is reduced to the historical narrative of "what happened/had to happen", even though Badiou uses set theory to justify it.

Make any sense?

conquering flesh
14-11-2005, 08:04 PM
if i may jump in...
it seems to me julia kristeva already explored the synthesis of vréel as interminable psychosis, which is not universal; in this light badiou's account of language is limiting and merely repeats degraded (mythic) narrative ad infinitum (reduced to a kind of beckettian theater). i would absolutely oppose deleuze's processus to badiou's procédure; becoming and temporality do not figure in this 'materialist dialectics'...

(can i just say it's really weird talking about things like this right below an 'anyone interpret their dreams' forum?)