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Daily Archives: August 10th, 2011

Alain Badiou

WITTGENSTEIN’S ANTI-PHILOSOPHY – BY ALAIN BADIOU

PUBLISHED 28TH AUGUST 2011

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“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!”—Slavoj Žižek

“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser”—New Statesman

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Alain Badiou, one of France’s most influential radical thinkers, turns his attention to Ludwig Wittgenstein, legendary maverick thinker and one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. One of the key figures of analytic philosophy and standard-bearer of the “linguistic turn”, Wittgenstein was hailed by (including himself) as the ‘last philosopher’.

Wittgenstein’s great work was TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS. Written in his twenties, it had a huge impact on modern thought, and in particular the use of language and logic in analytic philosophy. Badiou dissects the TRACTATUS, and finds Wittgenstein to be an exemplar of antiphilosophy.

Antiphilosophy is defined by Badiou as a way of doing philosophy which questions or attacks the very basis of philosophy itself. Other key antiphilosophers would include Nietszche, Kierkegaard and Lacan.

Badiou addresses the crucial seventh proposition in TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS where Wittgenstein argues that “what we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence”. Badiou argues that this mystical act reduces logic to rhetoric, truth to an effect of language games, and philosophy to a set of esoteric aphorisms.

In the course of his interrogation of Wittgenstein’s antiphilosophy, Badiou sets out and refines his own definitions of the universal truths that condition philosophy. Antiphilosophy shows the philosopher what he is: a political militant, hated by the powers that be and their servants; an aesthete; a lover, whose life is capable of capsizing for a woman or a man; and a savant. It is in this effervescent rebellion that philosophers produce their ideas.

Bruno Bosteels’ introduction shows that this encounter with Wittgenstein is central to Badiou’s overall project – and that a dialogue with the exemplar of antiphilosophy is crucial to the continuing development of modern thought.

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ALAIN BADIOU is the author of many books, including BEING AND EVENT and INFINITE THOUGHT. He teaches philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. His ETHICS: AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL, METAPOLITICS,  POLEMICS, FIVE LESSONS ON WAGNER and THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS are also available from Verso.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 694 1 / $24.95 / £14.99 / $31.00 CAN / Hardback / 192 pages

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For more information about WITTGENSTEIN’S ANTI-PHILOSOPHY or to buy the book visit: http://www.versobooks.com/books/961-wittgensteins-anti-philosophy

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Academics can request an inspection copy. For further information please go to: http://www.versobooks.com/pg/desk-copies

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Revolt

NEGATIVE COSMOPOLITANISMS: ABJECTION, POWER, AND BIOPOLITICS 

Negative Cosmopolitanisms: Abjection, Power, and Biopolitics
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 11-13 October 2012

Organizers: Terri Tomsky (University of Alberta), Eddy Kent (University of Alberta), Imre Szeman (University of Alberta)

Keynote Speakers:

Timothy Brennan (University of Minnesota)
Pheng Cheah (University of California, Berkeley)
Sneja Gunew (University of British Columbia)
Peter Nyers (McMaster University)

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the array of negative cosmopolitanisms operating today—all those ways in which cosmopolitan subjects are still stigmatized, disempowered, excluded, and denied. Against the superficial liberal celebration of cosmopolitan diversity in the world today, negative cosmopolitanism instead reveals experiences of rupture, exile, oppression, and imperialism. The conference will bring researchers together to explore the histories and constitution of cosmopolitanism past and present, with the aim of better understanding the complex experience of power today.

Though cosmopolitanism is often thought of as a positive form of “world citizenship”, this conference is interested in the way cosmopolitanism can signify disenfranchisement. Globalization’s economic asymmetries and the biopolitical management of modern states create cosmopolitan abjections: in the circulation of outsourced prisoners, with the deportation of sick migrants, in the extraordinary rendition of enemy combatants, with the worldwide flows of migrant and trafficked workers, and so on. The conference will engage the invisible presence of this “negative cosmopolitanism” for the Western middle-class and its liberal pundits. It will open up considerations of negative cosmopolitanism, exploring ideas around an imperial cosmopolis, slum or ghetto cosmopolitanisms, finance capitalism, piracy as it pertains both to material and intellectual property, and so on.

Despite its long history, the status of the negative cosmopolitan assumes a new importance in the aftermath of globalization, not only within discourses about universal human rights but also in the infrastructures built to shuttle people, things, and ideas around the world. We therefore aim to understand the role of the nation-state in refuting or resolving this problematic subjectivity. But we must also account for the influence of internationalism, workers’ unions, women’s movements, NGOs, and religious organizations. Some of this theorizing is obviously not new, but it needs to be rearticulated in a context in which idealistic misconceptions of cosmopolitanism still dominate.

We invite theoretical and historical contributions to these and related topics. Themes you may wish to consider include (but are not limited to):

* The history and/or representations of cosmopolitanism
* Slum- or ghetto-based cosmopolitanisms
* Imperial cosmopolitanism (e.g. the military complex, the War on Terror)
* Labor and Internationalism
* Community or the Commons
* Piracy
* Trafficking, dislocation, border-crossing
* State sovereignty/state vulnerability/ the penal state
* Communication and information technologies, new media
* Biopolitics
* Religious movements
* Feminism
 
Proposals shall consist of an abstract of 350-500 words and a one-page CV.

 

Please send your applications to Dr. Terri Tomsky <tomsky@ualberta.ca> by 21 October 2011.

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

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Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

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