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The insubordinate multiple: A critique of Badiou's Deleuze

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posted on 2023-05-26, 04:10 authored by Roffe, J
The published work of Alain Badiou includes a varied and fascinating series of engagements with that of Gilles Deleuze. These engagements run from outright polemic ('Le flux et le parti: dans le marges de l'Anti-Oedipe') to assiduous summaries and contrasts ('L'evenement selon Deleuze'), but are capped by the 1997 Deleuze. Le clameur de l'‚àö‚Ñ¢tre. This latter text presents a sweeping characterisation of Deleuze's project as committed to thinking the fundamental unity of being as such, in contrast not just with the orthodox reading of Deleuze, but also many of Deleuze's own explicit statements to the contrary, in which he presents himself as a philosopher devoted to the theme of multiplicity. This thesis presents the argument that Badiou's reading of Deleuze, though striking, is fundamentally misplaced. It does so by examining in close detail Badiou's arguments for this reading, bringing it into contact with the relevant detail of Deleuze's own work, in particular his magnum opus Difference and Repetition. Further ‚Äö- and in accordance with Badiou's own demand ‚Äö- this critical examination situates Badiou's account of Deleuze in the context of his work at the time of this crucial engagement, namely Being and Event. In nuce, the argument presented here is that Deleuze is indeed a philosopher of difference, that his characteristic claims about the nature of being, the virtual and the event do not commit him to a philosophy of the One as Badiou claims. The Clamor of Being, however provocative, cannot stand as a justified reading of the Deleuzean corpus.

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