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Alain Badiou's Being and Event

Lecturer: Jon Roffe

Originally Taught: Summer School 2008

Alain Badiou’s Being and Event, recently translated into English, is a striking and strange addition to the tradition of continental thought. Its key reference points have never before been arranged together: set theoretic mathematics, Mallarmés poetry, Lacanian psychoanalysis and post-Marxist (quasi-Maoist) political thought. Nonetheless, in what is certainly his most important work, Badiou brings these together to form a novel system of thought which in one stroke provides an ontology, an account of the order in being, and the means whereby the subject can change this order.

This course will endeavour to elucidate the structure and central claims of Being and Event. The main lectures will be explicitly devoted to this discussion, while a supplementary class will provide the skeleton of the mathematics that Badiou utilises (these latter classes are highly recommended as illuminative of the main lectures, and why not learn some maths while you’re at it, anyway?).

Main lecture (2pm - 4pm)
Mathematical foundations lecture (4pm - 5pm)
Monday ¤  Badiou’s opening ontological decisions
¤  Introduction to Badiou
¤  The general project of the book
¤  Introduction to the philosophy of mathematics and
¤  the foundational crises in the 19th and early 20th century
¤  Set theoretic notation
Tuesday ¤  Situation, State and Nature ¤  Introduction to set theory and Badiou’s metaontological transliterations of the axioms of ZFC
Wednesday ¤  The encyclopedia and the language of the situation
¤  The evental site and the event
¤  The formalisation of intervention
¤  Set theory and the natural numbers
¤  Ordinality and denumerability
Thursday ¤  The course of the subject I
¤  nomination of the event
¤  enquiries
¤  the construction of a truth
¤  Badiou’s mathemes - some further mathematical formulations
Friday ¤  The course of the subject II (forcing)
¤  Conclusion
¤  A brief introduction to the method of forcing