Alain Badiou on Love, Math, and Kindergarten

Mathematics without Apologies, by Michael Harris

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A “New French Philosophy Event” at NYU last December, “co-sponsored by the departments of French and Comparative Literature.” presented Alain Badiou as

a philosopher, playwright, and author. His books include Logics of Worlds; Being and Event; Theory of the Subject; The Century and a host of treatises and manifestos on aesthetics, Arab Spring, love, and, most recently, mathematics.

This is not only inaccurate, it is internally inconsistent; both Logics of Worlds and Being and Event place mathematics at the center of Badiou’s philosophical system, and they are not “recent.”  For several years, since Vladimir Tasic drew my attention to the situation, I’ve been puzzled by the contradiction between Badiou’s warm reception in departments of Comparative Literature around the US and the indifference of his literary fans to the importance of mathematics to his thought.  (He gave two talks at Columbia and two at NYU last December, none of them…

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