Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 14, No 3 (2018)

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The Political Thought of Alain Badiou

Matthew McManus

Abstract


Since the publication of Being and Event in 1988, Alain Badiou has established himself as inarguably the most ambitious philosopher in the Continental tradition in quite some time.  His rapidly growing oeuvre has come to encompass metaphysics, ethics, politics, art, cinema and more.  Badiou has truly taken it upon himself to build and defend a genuine philosophical system (once a faux pas par excellence) intended to stand next the great architectural edifices of Hegel, Kant, and of course Plato.  The result has been something of a philosophical scandal, with some scholars beholden to the skepticism of "democratic materialism" reacting critically, while others who long for a system have taken Badiou at his word that he is the real deal. All this makes thorough engagement with his work ever more important, especially as his influence on a new generation of continental philosophers becomes ever more apparent. In the English speaking world, many of Badiou's works have been translated slowly and in some cases only quite recently. This makes the necessity of a systematic engagement with his work all the more critical.  This paper is intended as an admiring, but ultimately critical, examination of Badiou's metaphysics and its grounding in his politics.


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