Since time immemorial, philosophy were to speak with the voice of knowledge, but more importantly, with the voice of wisdom. It comes as a shock when a talented philosopher talks like a politician, a religious leader, or a market strategist. I found this quote by the French philosopher Alain Badiou in his essay "Mathematics and Philosophy":
I have assigned philosophy the task of constructing the reception in thought of its own time. of refracting incipient truths, through the unique prism of concepts.*
The essay has its weird moments, as when Badiou includes Kant in the "Grand Style" of philosophy, while taking issue with the German philosopher not setting a good example because of his use of "7+5=12" (in his Critique of Pure Reason, p. 56), which offends Badiou's sensibility.1 Then, he declares a sort of categorical imperative of mathematicism:
I will say: mathematics is our obligation, our alteration.
For someone who comes to philosophy via mathematics, I find Badiou's exhortation simply overstated. True, Badiou's Being and Event is a serious effort in recent ontology, quite original in its novel application of set theory. But there are many important philosophical contributions in the history of philosophy that don't necessarily intersect with mathematics.2 Why something as multifaceted as philosophy has to become a definite programme, whether mathematical, biological, or whatever?
Here's another example of Badiou's insufferable logorrhea mathematica:
For real examples, integrated into the movement of thought, I have already provided hundreds of them. I will mention two of these movements instead, for your excercise: In chapter 4 of Le nombre et les nombres (1990), the presentation of Dedekind's doctrine of number. Or meditation 7 of L'être et l'evénement (1988), meditation to the point of excess. Consult them, read them, using naturally the reminders, the cross-references and the glossary that I have provided. If someone does not understand, they can write to me exactly what they don't understand (otherwise we're simply dealing with the excuses for the readers' laziness).3Care for one more?
On all these points, between wintry anti-humanism and the trans-human advent of truth, I believe myself to be the only authentic disciple of Isidore Ducasse.Is this guy on crack or what?
*All the quotes taken from Alain Badiou's "Mathematics and Philosophy" in Virtual Mathematics: The Logic of Difference, edited by Simon Duffy (Clinamen Press, 2006). pp. 12-29. 1An idea is better if clothed in the language of mathematics? Give me a break. Better, how about reading Badiou's essay as a surrealist mathnifesto? (no, unfortunately; he's too much of a Realist to be a surrealist). 2Something Badiou is aware of: Grand Style includes math-inclined thinkers like Plato, Leibniz and Spinoza. The little style is, well, for the math-challenged (including Wittgenstein followers?). 3My red is just to stress the comical. What would you think of a philosopher who announces that he meditates to the point of excess?