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Alain Badiou, one of the most powerful and unusual voices in contemporary French philosophy, explodes the facile assumptions behind this recent ethical turn. He shows how our prevailing ethical principles...
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Alain Badiou, one of the most powerful and unusual voices in contemporary French philosophy, explodes the facile assumptions behind this recent ethical turn. He shows how our prevailing ethical principles serve to reinforce an ideology of the status quo and demonstrates that an ethics conceived in terms of negative human rights or tolerance of difference cannot sustain decisive and precisely situated interventions any more than they can underpin a coherent concept of evil. Our consensual ethical norms amount to nothing more than a jumbled confusion of legalistic formalism, scandalised opinion, and theological mystification.
By contrast, what Badiou calls an 'ethic of truths' is designed both to sustain and inspire a disciplined, subjective adherence to a militant cause (be it political or scientific, artistic or romantic), and to discern a finely demarcated zone of application for the concept of evil. He defends an effectively superhuman integrity over the respect for merely human rights, asserts a partisan universality over the negotiation of merely particular interests, and appeals to an 'immortal' value beyond the protection of our merely mortal privileges.
|Notes on the Translation|
|Preface to the English Edition|
|1||Does Man Exist?||4|
|2||Does the Other Exist?||18|
|3||Ethics as a Figure of Nihilism||30|
|4||The Ethic of Truths||40|
|5||The Problem of Evil||58|
|App||Politics and Philosophy: An Interview with Alain Badiou||95|