Monday, June 13, 2011

Alain Badiou's logorrhea mathematica

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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).3
Care 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?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

bullbadioshit-

Anonymous said...

WTF???

Feminista said...

A funny old man. I don't know much of his philosophy besides his manual of aesthetics, which I was not impressed with. I imagine I'm not grand style to even approach his Being and Event. Do I?

Octavio Guerra said...

French and German metabullshit transformed philosophy in a huge air balloon of nonsense. Since Heidegger altered ontology into an “ethic” issue, anyone could say anything about everything without any concerns about reason, logic or truth. Then, structuralists, post-structuralists and post-modernists came. They added neomarxism to the word game, launching the youth into the utopical unrest, barricades, terrorism and guerrillas, spreading death, destruction and anarchy with no responsibility or ethics at all. Philosophy was murdered in the sixties and today after forty years of gibberish it continue stinking. http://havanaschooleng.blogspot.com/

miamibourbaki said...

Thanks, Feminista. YOu should approach B&E is a complex and honest book (now you have an excuse in case you don't understand to call Badiou):)

Octavio, I don't know that I agree with you on Heidegger. True, a Nazi, but an important philosopher, no doubt. The last sentence reminds me of ZEN, "Buddha is in the shit."

Anonymous said...

In philosophy you can discuss the origins and implications (potential and actual) of assuming that the characters we know as 10 and 2 when added equal a sum known as the character 12.
in mathematics there is no discussion to be had

Anonymous said...

People are just waiting for an excuse to dismiss someone's work. Specially if their work is advanced and indecipherable as is the case with Heidegger.
Heidegger was a mind that changed critical thinking and philosophy and that's that. someone saying he was a nazi is just an idiot who did not write being and time and therefore is not as valuable as Heidegger.
He was a Nazi and did something valuable
you are a liberal and will never be worth anything
one point for Heidegger!

Anonymous said...

He was a Nazi and did something valuable you are a liberal and will never be worth anything one point for Heidegger!

Wait, Anonymous. Me, liberal, never worth anything? You Heideggerian, worth everything?

miamibourbaki said...

I own the comment above.

Anonymous said...

I am not a heideggerian
I just like to put things into perspective when people lose their grip on reality.
If you want to criticize Heidegger criticize his writings objectively
(if you can) don't dismiss his writings because of a political association to a group of people you detest that's just exemplary infantile behaviour...

miamibourbaki said...

If you want to criticize Heidegger criticize his writings objectively
(if you can) don't dismiss his writings because of a political association to a group...


Anonymous: My comment above at 10:06am explicitly acknowledge Heidegger's importance. As per your second point, check this. That said, I own my infantile thinking.

Octavio Guerra said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous, I agree that Heidegger did “changed critical thinking and philosophy” but for worse. Heidegger’s” advanced and indecipherable” language’s exegetists can’t actually understand a sh** of it. With his brilliantly metaphorical language, undercover by an impossible hiper-meta-metaphysics, what he actually discovered was the way to talk about the unknown and the not being, which is to say, nothing at all, distorting every ontological, epistemological and ethical category. Metaphysics is the actual language of philosophy and it is essentially logical. Without any logic, language falls inevitably into metaphor, i.e., pure fiction. Heidegger did exactly this. He wrote pure fiction -great poetry, indeed- disguised as philosophy. He dived into a linguistic region where any logic or any rational meaning works at all. The most basic linguistic analysis of Heidegger's writings could discern this. He was certainly a genius…but of deceive, as most of his epigones as Sartre, structuralists, postructuralists, who spread confusion and tortuous ways of thought among students and youth, deviating them from the unachievable but essential search of truth (or, at least, from a clear understaandig of their reallity inb order to fit in it) and driving them even into the most irrational utopias and extremisms. Most of Heidegger’s enthusiasts are philosophical and political demagogues or their idiotic followers. Heidegger not only was a Nazi but, today, inspires most neomarxists and neocommunists, which are worse than fascists. http://havanaschooleng.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Octavio no matter how you see it you are making that horrible mistake of putting Heidegger in the category of Sartre and the people that claimed to follow him yet never understood him.
Your opinions on what true philosophy is do not matter since your pedigree in the field is nonexistent (and a petty degree is not a pedigree) please don't discuss beings that far exceed your level of intellect it's just not a good look.
You sound like those fools that blame Duchamp and put him in the same category as the hack conceptual artists, it's just poor argumentation no matter how you slice it...

Octavio Guerra said...

I love your points of view, Mr. Anonymous. They are quite coherent (if the word is applicable) with a real Heideggerian. So because I don’t have any philosophic pedigree I don’t have any right to give any philosophical opinion. I think that, actually, you don’t have the required intellect to refute any of my humble opinions and use that unfortunate argument in order to disqualify them. I’m sure that you love the sound of Heidegger’s words (do you understand them in German, as well?) but I’m sure that, as most of Heidegger’s fans, you don’t have the most remote clue about what he was actually saying, which, in the other hand, was his ultimate purpose. By the way, I love Duchamp’s urinal, too.
http://havanaschooleng.blogspot.com/

Jaxson said...

Forget about Heidegger guys. The topic is Badiou. a i o u.

Anonymous said...

"I own my infantile thinking"
-Octavio Guerra

Octavio Guerra said...

Sorry, you're right, Jaxson… I could praise Badiuo's “endeavors” on criticizing postmodern and poststructuralist philosophers and their obsession with language. But, in the end, he transfered their same presuppositions into Math “algorithms”. This could give the impression that he in somehow was trying to update Descartes’ and Spinoza’s quests with the theory of sets. But his "attempts" of “deontologize” the epistemology -which seems to make him a “different” thinker- is a theoretical hoax as the “linguistic” and the “deconstructions” of postmodern and poststructuralist philosophers.
Thanks for the quote, Anonymous, I'll keep it as mine... at least, childish or not, I have my own thinking, you don't have anything of your own... even a nickname...
http://havanaschooleng.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

to be in the right is to have it all.

Octavio Guerra said...

So, only God has the right... it has been a pleasure chatting with you, guys... :-)

Jaxson said...

Something I get from all this is that people sometimes say too much and when that happens what was said that was right gets polluted.

Octavio Guerra said...

Don’t be so cautious and rigorous, Jaxson. Enjoy though provoking talk and enjoy life. There are no sacred authorities. They are all humans who have human limitations and make human mistakes. They are not perfect nor have the monopoly of absolute truth. There should be nothing you should not criticize or in which you should not have any doubt. Read Descartes and Kant, old wise skeptics. Anyway, thanks for the discussion

Anonymous said...

Fact: Badiou's work will be remembered as a great work of philosophy. The effects of his impact on philosophy will not be felt for a century. Unfortunately for critics like Octavio, undoubtedly a concomitant capitalist/positivist, his work and luckily his naive dismissive opinion will not be remembered at all.

Octavio Guerra said...

That's because you say so... you, "great thinker"... Badiou, (like most of his postmodern, post-structuralist and neo-marxist comrades) is a fake. His admirers, as all the admirers of all the "philosophers" of his kind, can't understand a single word of what he and his buddies had written because, in the end, they actually don't say anything at all...most of these admirers are also pseudo-intellectuals that adore the sound of words instead the search of truth ...please, study a little linguistic and philosophy before you make such "intelligent" remarks...
http://havanaschool.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

As if it is your school which bears the search for truth? Is analytic philosophy really concerned with the truth outside of specific worlds? Where do you begin, Wittgenstein? The Parmenides? Russell? Plato? You alone have made sense of all philosophical works? Perhaps you forget yourself. Could it be that you merely chose a set of thinkers,which, because of a limited undergrad and grad experience caused you to miss a few texts? Could your vapid criticism bespeak your lack of comprehension or worse, your lack of an attempt at comprehension? Your dismissal of a vast amount of philosophical works is your loss alone, let us keep it that way. Here, you have merely regurgitated a century-old strictly Americanised criticism of continental thought which, sad to say, shows your age. Today, we are after synthesis between the academic divide. Surely you can see the value in this activity. Alain Badiou has even written a criticism of Wittgenstein which I am sure you would love to criticise yourself. Go on and participate at the level of these thinkers and find yourself a seat waiting for you. But please, return from your certainty that 300+ years of enlightenment/post-enlightenment thought is nonsense, it makes you seem a little Napoleonic. Everyone who reads Alain Badiou knows his entire program is to offer a pre-modern argument. Sadly I now must think you have not read a word of any of it. I never claimed my comment was intelligent. Your sarcasm is childish.

Anonymous said...

The above comment and the one which asserts that Badiou's work will be remembered by the sheer fact of its publication and wide readership belong to the same person, the same anonymous person. I would not offer you any trite exposition of Heidegger on a blog. What I will do is point out that for someone as interested in American linguistics as you have reasonably explained, your grammar is a nightmare and your lines of argumentation amount to barbarism. In the words of your American poet Lil' John, "Read a book mother fucker, read a god damn book."

Octavio Guerra said...

Oh, my, oh my! It's sad when so sophisticated thinkers unveil their total lack of humor and originality. I'll never fall into the mediocrity of hiding myself in order to express my criteria. When any discussion is diverted into personal attacks, it means that the opponent who offends is completely void of points of view and ethics. The wronged scores the intellectual and moral victory. The absence of humor denotes the absence of intelligence; and vulgarity, a total cultural and moral vacuum. I’m sorry for you and the author of this blog, which you have muddied. Good bye