Chapter

On the Edge of the Negative: Badiou

Benjamin Noys

in The Persistence of the Negative

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638635
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671915 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638635.003.0006
On the Edge of the Negative: Badiou

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This chapter re-reads the work of Alain Badiou as a probing of the problem of negativity. Tracing the history of Badiou’s political involvement in the radical Maoist formations of the 1970s suggests how he tries to articulate a politics of destruction and subtraction. Turning to Badiou’s more recent work on formalising the logic of negation the chapter traces inconsistency in the attempt to subordinate negation to affirmation. Probing Badiou’s dismissal of certain radical forms of politics as forms of nihilism the chapter closes with a consideration, prompted by Badiou, of the Western as an aesthetic form able to convey a sense of political courage. Against his explicit intentions, Badiou’s work gives a sense of what it might mean to depart from the ‘affirmationist consensus’, and the possibilities of an alternative form of political negativity.

Keywords: Alain Badiou; Politics; Logic; Negation; Nihilism; Western (film genre)

Chapter.  12153 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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