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Badiou: A Philosophy of the New

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4277-2
224 pages
March 2010, Polity
Badiou: A Philosophy of the New (0745642772) cover image
Alain Badiou is one of the leading philosophers in the world today. His ground-breaking philosophy is based on a creative reading of set theory, offering a new understanding of what it means to be human by promoting an 'intelligence of change'. Badiou's philosophical system makes our capacity for revolution and novelty central to who we are, and develops an ethical position that aims to make us less anxious about this very capacity.

This book presents a comprehensive and engaging account of Badiou's philosophy, including an in-depth discussion of The Theory of the Subject, Being and Event and Logics of Worlds. In a clear and careful analysis, Ed Pluth considers exactly how Badiou's theoretical 'anti-humanism' is linked up to what is, for all intents and purposes, a practical humanism. Central to this is an account of Badiou’s theory of the subject, and his attempt to develop an 'ethic of truths'. The role of set theory, Marxism, and Lacanian psychoanalysis in Badiou's philosophy is also given close attention.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of philosophy, as well as to all those keen to develop a critical understanding of one of the most controversial and important thinkers of the twentieth century.

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Guide to Abbreviations of Badiou's Publications vi

Introduction 1

1 Badiou's Philosophical Background 17

2 Being and Event 29

3 Situations and Events 48

4 Logics of Worlds 67

5 Infi nity and Truth 85

6 Badiou's Theories of the Subject 104

7 Ethics and Affects 128

8 Politics 154

Conclusion 175

Select Bibliography 186

Index 188

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Ed Pluth is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at California State University.
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• a new book in the very successful Key Contemporary Thinkers series which looks at the highly influential philosopher, Alain Badiou
• includes an in-depth analysis of The Theory of the Subject, Being and Event and Logics of Worlds
• provides both a clear exposition and an original critique of Badiou's work tracing the development of her thought from his first book to his most recent work
• accessible and original contribution to existing debate that will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike
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"Ed Pluth's book is an admirably accessible and intellectually rigorous introduction to the work of Alain Badiou. In precise and unaffected prose, he provides compelling reconstructions of the key facets of Badiou's philosophy, from his mathematical ontology to his thinking of the event. An excellent starting-point for those new to Badiou's thought, Pluth's book also offers insightful treatments of issues of concern to more specialized readers, such as the role of affect in Badiou's understanding of the subject, and the link between his two major works, Being and Event and Logics of Worlds. Above all, Pluth convincingly shows how Badiou's philosophy combines the formal requirements of logic and ontology with an emphasis on the courage needed to live a life committed to unprecedented truths."
Alberto Toscano, Goldsmiths, University of London

"This book is a clear-eyed walk straight to the heart of Badiou's philosophy - all dross is eliminated in the pursuit of a single, astounding, idea: that if we do not take the risk of being faithful to a truth, we guarantee ourselves inhuman lives. Pluth has not only introduced Badiou's philosophy, he has crystallized it."
Oliver Feltham, American University of Paris


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