Alain Badiou

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Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou (born 1937) is a French philosopher.


  • Truth is a new word in Europe (and elsewhere).
    • Original French: La vérité est un mot neuf en Europe (et ailleurs).
    • From L'être et l'événement. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1988. ISBN 2020098628.
    • The quote is a variation on Louis de Saint-Just, "Happiness is a new idea in Europe."

  • Without mathematics, we are blind.
    • Original French: Hors les mathématiques, nous sommes aveugles.
    • From Court traité d'ontologie transitoire. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1998. ISBN 2020348853.

  • It is thus quite simply false that whereof one cannot speak (in the sense of 'there is nothing to say about it that specifies it and grants it separating properties'), thereof one must be silent. It must on the contrary be named.
    • From Manifesto for Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999. ISBN 0791442209.
    • The quote is a commentary on Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

  • The cinema is a place of intrinsic indiscernibility between art and non-art.
    • From Considérations sur l'état actuel du cinéma (1999), translated as Philosophy and Cinema in Infinite Thought: truth and the return of philosophy. London: Continuum, 2003. ISBN 0826467245.

  • It must be said that today, at the end of its semantic evolution, the word 'terrorist' is an intrinsically propagandistic term. It has no neutral readability. It dispenses with all reasoned examination of political situations, of their causes and consequences.
    • From Philosophy and the 'war against terrorism' in Infinite Thought: truth and the return of philosophy. London: Continuum, 2003. ISBN 0826467245.

  • If there exists one unique great imperial power which is always convinced that its most brutal interests coincide with the Good; if it is true that every year the USA spends more on their military budget than Russia, China, France, England and Germany put together; and if that Nation-State, devoted to military excess, has no public idol other than wealth, no allies other than servants, and no view of other peoples apart from an indifferent, commercial and cynical one; then the basic freedom of States, peoples and individuals consists in doing everything and thinking everything in order to escape, as much as possible, from the commandments, interventions and interference of that imperial power.
    • From Philosophy and the 'war against terrorism' in Infinite Thought: truth and the return of philosophy. London: Continuum, 2003. ISBN 0826467245.

  • In my view, only those who have had the courage to work through Lacan's anti-philosophy without faltering deserve to be called 'contemporary philosophers'.
    • From Vérité: forçage et innomable, translated as Truth: Forcing and the Unnameable in Theoretical Writings. London: Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0826461468.

  • Art attests to what is inhuman in man.
    • Original French: L'art atteste ce qu'il y a d'inhumain dans l'humain.
    • From Le siècle. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2005. ISBN 2020579308.

  • I am surprised to see that today everything that does not amount to surrender pure and simple to generalized capitalism, let us call it thus, is considered to be archaic or old-fashioned, as though in a way there existed no other definition of what it means to be modern than, quite simply, to be at all times caught in the dominant forms of the moment.
    • From Can Change Be Thought? A Dialogue with Alain Badiou by Bruno Bosteels, in Alain Badiou: Philosophy And Its Conditions, edited by Gabriel Riera. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. ISBN 0791465047.

  • Let us say in passing that since (philosophical) remedies are often worse than the malady, our age, in order to be cured of the Plato sickness, has swallowed such doses of a relativist, vaguely skeptical, lightly spiritualist and insipidly moralist medicine, that it is in the process of gently dying, in the small bed of its supposed democratic comfort.
    • From Plato, Our Dear Plato!. Magazine littéraire, no. 447, November 2005.

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