The PSU was particularly active in the struggle for the decolonization of Algeria. He wrote his first novel, Almagestes, in To quote Badiou himself, the UCFml is "the Maoist organization established in late by Natacha Michel , Sylvain Lazarus , myself and a fair number of young people". This organization disbanded in , according to the French Wikipedia article linked to in the previous sentence. Unusually for a contemporary European philosopher his work is increasingly being taken up by militants in countries like India, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. I propose that nobody any longer accept, publicly or privately, this type of political blackmail.

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In Being and Event, Badiou links his theory of the event to the thesis that "there is some newness in being. He explains himself thus: Really, in the end, I have only one question: what is the new in a situation?

My unique philosophical question, I would say, is the following: can we think that there is something new in the situation, not outside the situation nor the new somewhere else, but can we really think through novelty and treat it in the situation? The system of philosophical answers that I elaborate, whatever its complexity may be, is subordinated to that question and to no other.

Even when there is event, structure, formalism, mathematics, multiplicity, and so on, this is exclusively destined, in my eyes, to think through the new in terms of the situation. The most important feature to note in this statement is the constraint Badiou places upon himself in relation to this task of philosophically grasping newness in its strongest sense: the new must be conceived as immanently arising out of specific "situations," rather than as swooping in from some unspecified transcendent other place in order to modify externally the coordinates of a particular status quo reality as an agent of alteration essentially foreign to the given site of change.

Here are just a few examples: an authentic intervention in politics involves a "cut" establishing a separation from communitarian links and relationships; any genuine event establishing a political sequence marks a moment of "rupture" in relation to the sociohistorical contextual terrain within which this evental detonation occurs; political pronouncements "spring up" in spaces left uncounted and uncovered by existing configurations of society or state; singular events of declaration creating the stratified histories of politics each amount to an "eruption" exploding out of the continuum of the status quo; politics as such entails a decisive "break" with that which is in the current state of affairs; In his text on metapolitics, Badiou speaks of "the suddenly emergent materiality of a universalisable collective.

Various thinkers engaged with Badiou, including both sympathetic commentators and skeptical critics, have picked up on this thematic thread appearing to entail that the initiation of real political trajectories is to be pinpointed in an irruptive happening that emerges with a surprising, shocking, and stunning degree of rapidity.

It arises suddenly, then ceases to be. He clarifies that an abrupt and complete change in a situation does not at all mean that the grace of an event has happened to it Hence, the question to pose now is: what general account of change is to be found in Badiouian philosophy? In the interview "Beyond Formalisation," conducted in , Badiou delineates four distinct categories of change: I distinguish between four types of change: modifications which are consistent with the existing transcendental regime , weak singularities or novelties with no strong existential consequences , strong singularities which imply an important existential change but whose consequences remain measurable , and, finally, events strong singularities whose consequences are virtually infinite.

This fourfold typology of transformation, succinctly sketched in the course of a rapidly moving conversation, clearly foreshadows the much more detailed and sustained treatment of this topic four years later in "Book V" entitled "The Four Forms of Change" of Logiques des mondes.

Rather, an event changes a world so radically that, at one and the same time, an old world is destroyed and a new one is assembled in the clearing opened up by the demolition of what was. Weak singularities, occurrences, and modifications all fall short, in their own ways, of attaining a properly evental status. Highlighting this stark contrast between modification and event, the title of the first section of "Book V" of Logiques des mondes is "Simple Becoming and True Change.

As regards the problem of philosophically grasping change, the novel, innovative contribution of Logiques des mondes consists primarily in the nuance added to the Badiouian account of processes of transformation by his admission that there are intermediary forms of change between modifications and events. As will be seen, Badiou continues persistently to invoke sharp black-and-white distinctions apropos shifts in political domains despite, in Logiques des mondes, the insertions of shades of grey between non-evental inertia and evental momentum.

In this radio interview he again confirms, during a discussion of the various categories of change outlined in Logiques des mondes, that his focus is on figures of rupture, going so far as to affirm the occurrence of instances of "radical discontinuity" i.

For Badiou, faced with the challenge of conceptualizing change, "it is necessary to think discontinuity as such, as that which nothing reabsorbs into any creative univocity, however indistinct, or chaotic, the concept of it would be. And what are its implications specifically for thinking through politics, especially in terms of questions concerning the conditions and consequences of processes of political transformation?

What alternative vision of historical temporality does Badiou propose? By tying his account of real change to events, Badiou is prompted to argue that, as he nicely summarizes this particular point from Being and Event during an interview, "every event constitutes its own time. Consequently, every truth also involves the constitution of a time. So there are times, not one time. A time starts to exist. Badiou fragments both history and time into a heterogeneous jumble of incomparable, autonomous sequences.

For him, truths that have appeared form a nontemporal "temporal" being understood here as an enveloping, homogeneous, linear chronology meta-history as the succession of singular flashes in which eternal truths burst forth into the temporal defiles of banal, humdrum historical becoming ; Badiou speaks of an "intemporal meta-history.

Excerpted by permission of Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc.


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