One Badiou? Parodies of Philosophy

Jacques Lezra


Alain Badiou’s Seminar: The One – Descartes, Plato, Kant (1983-1984) inaugurates "The Seminar," the collection of transcribed and edited seminars that Badiou chose for publication from the sessions he held over his career. To its place opening "The Seminar" other, perhaps more important functions should be added, however. The Seminar: The One serves, with the companion seminar on the Infinite (1984-1985), as a bridge between Badiou’s Theory of the Subject (1982) and the work for which he is best known, Being and Event (L'Être et l'Événement, 1988; English translation, 2005).1 (His play Incident at Antioch, whose first drafts are written during the years that Badiou holds the seminars on The One and The Infinite, builds another, rather different, bridge.) At once quite technical and rather chatty, The One – Descartes, Plato, Kant offers a genealogy for two decisive steps in Badiou’s thought: his description and his axiomatization of the operation “counts-as-one.” It also – rather against the grain of these two steps; inchoately, controversially – offers a tentative engagement with the dangerous mode of parody.


Badiou; philosophy; French philosophy

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