LACAN ZIZEK BADIOU BIOGRAPHY

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Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was born in 1901 to a bourgeois Catholic family. He was an admirable student, and excelled especially at Latin and philosophy.
Slavoj Žižek, Ph.D., is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a visiting professor at a number of American Universities (Columbia, Princeton, New School for Social Research, New York University, University of Michigan).
Alain Badiou, Ph.D., born in Rabat, Morocco in 1937, holds the Rene Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School EGS. Alain Badiou was a student at the École Normale Supérieure in the 1950s.
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Published : Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Reading/s : 21
Number of pages: 11
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ACQUES MARIE ÉMILE LACAN - BIOGRAPHY
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was born in 1901 to a bourgeois Catholic family. He was an admirable student, and excelled especially at Latin and philosophy. He went to medical school, and began studying psychoanalysis in the 1920s with the psychiatrist GaÎtan de Clérambault. He studied at the Faculté de Médecine de Paris, and worked with patients suffering from délires ý deux, or "automatism," a condition in which the patient believes his actions, writing, or speech, are controlled by an outside and omnipotent force. A growing psychoanalytical movement in France had been showing a particular interest in similar patients. Lacan wrote his thesis for his doctorat d'état in 1932 titledDe la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité, in which he drew a connection between phsychiatric medicine and psychoanalysis. It was this combination of the theoretical and the clinical that would become Lacan's practice and inform what he would call his "return to Freud." In his lifetime, Lacan extended the field of psychoanalysis into philosophy, linguistics, literature and mathematics, through close readings of Freud and continued clinical practice.
In discussions of Lacan's career, it is often divided into four stages. The first, from 1926 to 1953, marks an evolution from conventional psychiatric work to the gradual inclusion of psychoanalytical concepts in the clinic, both in diagnosis and treatment. His first publications are case studies. In 1936 Lacan developed his theory of the "Mirror Stage", and published a number of articles about its importance in the development of the subject. This work was particularly influenced by the psychologist Henri Wallon, as well as J.M. Baldwin, Charlotte Bühler, and Otto Rank. The Mirror Stage concerns the ability of an infant (6 to 18 months of age) to recognize its own image in mirror, before it is able to speak or have control over its motor skills. The infant must see the image of itself as both being itself and not itself, in that it is the reflection of its own face and only a reflected image at the same time. To become a subject, or social being, the infant must come to terms with the reflection not being identical to itself as a subject. This marks the child's entry into language, and the formation of ego. The Mirror Stage changes the emphasis in subject formation from a biological base to a symbolic or language base. As Lacan writes in theDiscourse of Rome, "Man speaks…but it is because the symbol has made him man."
TheDiscourse of Romeis the more common name given to Lacan's lecture presented in Rome in 1953 originally titledFonction et champ de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse. This paper became the manifesto of the new Société française de psychanalytique (SFP), which Lacan formed the same year when he broke with the International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA). His break with the IPA was based on major disagreements Lacan had with the ego psychology of the group, which placed the ego at the origin of psychic stability. Lacan
argued against therapeutic pretensions, claiming that the ego could never be "healed", and that the true intension of psychoanalysis was never cure, but analysis itself.
Lacan attracted philosophers, linguists, and other thinkers to his renowned weekly seminar at St. Anne's Church. Barthes, Foucault, Levi-Strauss, and Althusser sat in his audience and were influenced by his work. From this lecture series came what is perhaps his most celebrated work,Écrits(1966).
From 1953-63 Lacan concentrated on structural linguistics and the role of the symbolic in the work of Freud. He felt that Freud had understood that human psychology is linguistically based, but would have needed Saussure's vocabulary and structuralist concept of language as a system of differences to articulate the relationship. InLes Psychoses: Seminar III, Lacan claims that the unconscious is "structured like a language," and governed by the order of the signifier. This is contrary to the idea that the unconscious is governed by autonomous repressed or instinctual desires. Saussure's linguistic theory, especially on the relation of constant separation between signifier and signified, led Lacan to show that no signifier ever rests on any particular signified. He went on to argue that the Symbolic order, the order of signs, representations, significations and images, is the place where the individual is formed as a subject. He stated that the subject is always the subject of the signifier.
"I identify myself in language, but only by losing myself in it like an object. What is realized in my history is not the past definite of what was, since it is no more, or even the present perfect of what has been in what I am, but the future anterior of what I shall have been for what I am in the process of becoming." (FromÉcrits)
Lacan translated Martin Heidegger's work into French and the evidence of Heidegger's influence can be read in Lacan's essayThe Function and Field of Speech in Psychoanalysis, in which he concentrates on the idea that subjectivity is symbolically constituted. Lacan was also influenced by Hegel's work, and by his discussions with both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. He was the first to introduce structural linguistics to psychoanalytical theory, and because of this he attracted attention both nationally and, later in the 1970s, internationally. He was considered unorthodox and unusual in his psychoanalytical practice, and his lectures were a form of practice alongside his work as an analyst, in that they put his theory into practical form. His lectures made his theory evident: that language can say something other than what it says, and that it speaks through humans as much as they speak it.
Language is of the Symbolic order, one of three orders that constitute the subject in Lacanian psychoanalysis, the other two being the Imaginary and the Real. The Imaginary is the place where the subject fails to see the lack of reality in the symbolic, and mis-recognizes its nature, believing in its transparency. The Imaginary is the place of necessary illusion. At the level of the Imaginary, the de-centering of the subject that occurs at the Mirror Phase is not acknowledged. The Real can be understood, in one sense, as that that is always "in its place," because only what is absent from its place can be symbolized. The Symbolic is the substitute for what is missing from its place; language cannot be in the same place as its referent.
In the years 1964-73 Lacan departed further still from Freud and traditional psychoanalysis. His discourse became uniquely "Lacanian", and he became known for his neologisms and complex diagrams. His view of the ego as the seat of neurosis rather than the place of psychic integration, and the Symbolic order as the primary place for subject formation, made
his work groundbreaking. He still claimed to be continuing Freud's work, which had only been obscured by Freud's followers, and this accusation caused tension within the SFP. Lacan left this group in 1963 to form the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP). The decision to start the new group was inspired by a series of lectures, given at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, in which he read Freud's texts closely but also introduced new terms to the readings from outside the original work.
These lecture attracted still more attention from outside the psychoanalytical circle, including the press, who associated Lacan with the "structuralists" practicing in France at the same time. The training methods of Lacan's new school, the EFP, departed considerably from the traditional training offered to analysts at the IPA, causing the IPA distress. Tension between Lacan and the traditional psychoanalytic community grew greater still when he took the position of "Scientific Director" at the University of Paris at Vincennes in 1974, heading the department of psychoanalysis which had opened in 1969. Lacan hoped the new department at the University would integrate linguistics, logic and mathematics with psychoanalytical training, giving it a scientific rigor.
Lacan strived to create a more precise mathematically based theory in the last stage of his career. His "meta-theory" of psychoanalysis uses mathematics, casting the trilogy he conceived of earlier (the Real, Symbolic, and Imaginary) in the language of topology and mathemes rather than linguistics. He claimed that "La mathématisation seule atteint ý un reel." From 1974 he studied the intersection of the three registers through complicated topological figures. He began to confound even his most faithful followers, and students became suspicious of how applicable this type of education might be to their clinical practice. Lacan decided to dissolve the EFP and found another association, the École de la Cause Freudienne, which he maintained until his death in 1981. By the time of his death, Lacan had become one of the most influential and controversial intellects in the world. His work has had a significant effect on literature, film studies, and philosophy, as well as on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.
ACQUES MARIE ÉMILE LACAN - BIOGRAPHY
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was born in 1901 to a bourgeois Catholic family. He was an admirable student, and excelled especially at Latin and philosophy. He went to medical school, and began studying psychoanalysis in the 1920s with the psychiatrist GaÎtan de Clérambault. He studied at the Faculté de Médecine de Paris, and worked with patients suffering from délires ý deux, or "automatism," a condition in which the patient believes his actions, writing, or speech, are controlled by an outside and omnipotent force. A growing psychoanalytical movement in France had been showing a particular interest in similar patients. Lacan wrote his thesis for his doctorat d'état in 1932 titledDe la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité, in which he drew a connection between phsychiatric medicine and psychoanalysis. It was this combination of the theoretical and the clinical that would become Lacan's practice and inform what he would call his "return to Freud." In his lifetime, Lacan extended the field of psychoanalysis into philosophy, linguistics, literature and mathematics, through close readings of Freud and continued clinical practice.
In discussions of Lacan's career, it is often divided into four stages. The first, from 1926 to 1953, marks an evolution from conventional psychiatric work to the gradual inclusion of psychoanalytical concepts in the clinic, both in diagnosis and treatment. His first publications
are case studies. In 1936 Lacan developed his theory of the "Mirror Stage", and published a number of articles about its importance in the development of the subject. This work was particularly influenced by the psychologist Henri Wallon, as well as J.M. Baldwin, Charlotte Bühler, and Otto Rank. The Mirror Stage concerns the ability of an infant (6 to 18 months of age) to recognize its own image in mirror, before it is able to speak or have control over its motor skills. The infant must see the image of itself as both being itself and not itself, in that it is the reflection of its own face and only a reflected image at the same time. To become a subject, or social being, the infant must come to terms with the reflection not being identical to itself as a subject. This marks the child's entry into language, and the formation of ego. The Mirror Stage changes the emphasis in subject formation from a biological base to a symbolic or language base. As Lacan writes in theDiscourse of Rome, "Man speaks…but it is because the symbol has made him man."
TheDiscourse of Romeis the more common name given to Lacan's lecture presented in Rome in 1953 originally titledFonction et champ de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse. This paper became the manifesto of the new Société française de psychanalytique (SFP), which Lacan formed the same year when he broke with the International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA). His break with the IPA was based on major disagreements Lacan had with the ego psychology of the group, which placed the ego at the origin of psychic stability. Lacan argued against therapeutic pretensions, claiming that the ego could never be "healed", and that the true intension of psychoanalysis was never cure, but analysis itself.
Lacan attracted philosophers, linguists, and other thinkers to his renowned weekly seminar at St. Anne's Church. Barthes, Foucault, Levi-Strauss, and Althusser sat in his audience and were influenced by his work. From this lecture series came what is perhaps his most celebrated work,Écrits(1966).
From 1953-63 Lacan concentrated on structural linguistics and the role of the symbolic in the work of Freud. He felt that Freud had understood that human psychology is linguistically based, but would have needed Saussure's vocabulary and structuralist concept of language as a system of differences to articulate the relationship. InLes Psychoses: Seminar III, Lacan claims that the unconscious is "structured like a language," and governed by the order of the signifier. This is contrary to the idea that the unconscious is governed by autonomous repressed or instinctual desires. Saussure's linguistic theory, especially on the relation of constant separation between signifier and signified, led Lacan to show that no signifier ever rests on any particular signified. He went on to argue that the Symbolic order, the order of signs, representations, significations and images, is the place where the individual is formed as a subject. He stated that the subject is always the subject of the signifier.
"I identify myself in language, but only by losing myself in it like an object. What is realized in my history is not the past definite of what was, since it is no more, or even the present perfect of what has been in what I am, but the future anterior of what I shall have been for what I am in the process of becoming." (FromÉcrits)
Lacan translated Martin Heidegger's work into French and the evidence of Heidegger's influence can be read in Lacan's essayThe Function and Field of Speech in Psychoanalysis, in which he concentrates on the idea that subjectivity is symbolically constituted. Lacan was also influenced by Hegel's work, and by his discussions with both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. He was the first to introduce structural linguistics to psychoanalytical theory, and because of
this he attracted attention both nationally and, later in the 1970s, internationally. He was considered unorthodox and unusual in his psychoanalytical practice, and his lectures were a form of practice alongside his work as an analyst, in that they put his theory into practical form. His lectures made his theory evident: that language can say something other than what it says, and that it speaks through humans as much as they speak it.
Language is of the Symbolic order, one of three orders that constitute the subject in Lacanian psychoanalysis, the other two being the Imaginary and the Real. The Imaginary is the place where the subject fails to see the lack of reality in the symbolic, and mis-recognizes its nature, believing in its transparency. The Imaginary is the place of necessary illusion. At the level of the Imaginary, the de-centering of the subject that occurs at the Mirror Phase is not acknowledged. The Real can be understood, in one sense, as that that is always "in its place," because only what is absent from its place can be symbolized. The Symbolic is the substitute for what is missing from its place; language cannot be in the same place as its referent.
In the years 1964-73 Lacan departed further still from Freud and traditional psychoanalysis. His discourse became uniquely "Lacanian", and he became known for his neologisms and complex diagrams. His view of the ego as the seat of neurosis rather than the place of psychic integration, and the Symbolic order as the primary place for subject formation, made his work groundbreaking. He still claimed to be continuing Freud's work, which had only been obscured by Freud's followers, and this accusation caused tension within the SFP. Lacan left this group in 1963 to form the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP). The decision to start the new group was inspired by a series of lectures, given at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, in which he read Freud's texts closely but also introduced new terms to the readings from outside the original work.
These lecture attracted still more attention from outside the psychoanalytical circle, including the press, who associated Lacan with the "structuralists" practicing in France at the same time. The training methods of Lacan's new school, the EFP, departed considerably from the traditional training offered to analysts at the IPA, causing the IPA distress. Tension between Lacan and the traditional psychoanalytic community grew greater still when he took the position of "Scientific Director" at the University of Paris at Vincennes in 1974, heading the department of psychoanalysis which had opened in 1969. Lacan hoped the new department at the University would integrate linguistics, logic and mathematics with psychoanalytical training, giving it a scientific rigor.
Lacan strived to create a more precise mathematically based theory in the last stage of his career. His "meta-theory" of psychoanalysis uses mathematics, casting the trilogy he conceived of earlier (the Real, Symbolic, and Imaginary) in the language of topology and mathemes rather than linguistics. He claimed that "La mathématisation seule atteint ý un reel." From 1974 he studied the intersection of the three registers through complicated topological figures. He began to confound even his most faithful followers, and students became suspicious of how applicable this type of education might be to their clinical practice. Lacan decided to dissolve the EFP and found another association, the École de la Cause Freudienne, which he maintained until his death in 1981. By the time of his death, Lacan had become one of the most influential and controversial intellects in the world. His work has had a significant effect on literature, film studies, and philosophy, as well as on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.
SLAVOJ ZIZEK - BIOGRAPHY
Slavoj Žižek, Ph.D., is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a visiting professor at a number of American Universities (Columbia, Princeton, New School for Social Research, New York University, University of Michigan). Slavoj Žižek recieved his Ph.D. in Philosophy in Ljubljana studying Psychoanalysis. He also studied at the University of Paris. Slavoj Žižek is a cultural critic and philosopher who is internationally known for his innovative interpretations ofJacques Lacan. Slavoj Žižek has been called the ‘Elvis Presley’ of philosophy as well as an 'academic rock star'. He is author ofThe Indivisible Remainder;The Sublime Object of Ideology; The Metastases of Enjoyment;Looking Awry:Jacques Lacanthrough Popular Culture;The Plague of Fantasies; andThe Ticklish Subject. Slavoj Žižek's work can be characterized as vibrant, full of humor, blatant disregard for distinctions between high and low forms of culture and his work and presence has gathered him critical acclaim as a superstar in the world of contemporary theory.
Slavoj Žižek was born into a family of average wealth, his father Jože Žižek grew up in eastern Slovenia and worked in economics. Slavoj Žižek's mother Vesna was an accountant. It was in Ljubljana, the capital of modern day Slovenia, that Vesna gave birth to Slavoj on March 21, 1949. Both of Slavoj Žižek's parents were atheists. Most of young Slavoj's childhood took place in Portorož, a small seaside community. Slavoj Žižek states in an interview with Helen Brown of theTelegraph, "at 15, I wanted to be a movie director. But I saw some really good European films and I accepted that I couldn’t do that. Then, at 17, I decided to become a philosopher." When Slavoj Žižek became a teenager the family returned to Ljubljana where he attended Bežigrad High School. Slavoj Žižek when to the University of Ljubljana in 1967 to study sociology and philosophy, receiving a Doctorate in the Arts in Philosophy. During this period in what was then Yugoslavia was a tumultuous political environment. It was at this time that the Communist regime began a series of liberalization policies. Later Slavoj Žižek went on to study psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with François Regnault and Jacques-Alain Miller (Jacques Lacan’s son-in-law).
The Marxist Slovenian philosopher Božidar Debenjak was an early influence on Slavoj Žižek. It was from Debenjak that Slavoj began to turn to German idealism and Slavoj Žižek began to be influenced by the Frankfurt School. It was in Božidar Debenjak's course at the University of Ljubljana that Slavoj Žižek readKarl Marx'sDas Kapitalthrough the lens ofGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel'sPhenomenology of the Mind. The perspective formed
through this interrogation ofKarl MarxandGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegelhas heavily influenced Slavoj Žižek's contemporary works. Slavoj Žižek has associated with Tine Hribar and Ivo Urbančič, both Heideggerian philosophers.
Slavoj Žižek was hired at the University of Ljubljana in 1971 where he worked as an assistant researcher. His master's thesis was controversial due to the Marxist tendency of the reformist Slovenian regime in 1973 and therefore he lost his position at the university. After this period he worked for the Yugoslav army in Karlovac. Slavoj Žižek later began to work as a clerk for the Slovenian Marxist Center where he became acquainted with Mladen Dolar and Rastko Močnik. Both of these scholars were focused on the works ofJacques Lacan. Slavoj Žižek began working for the Institute of Sociology for the University of Ljubljana in 1979. Shortly after in the 1980's he began to publish books which examined Heglian and Marxist theories from the point of view of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. Slavoj Žižek has two sons from two different marriages.
Slavoj Žižek wrote the introduction to John Lee Carre and G.K. Chesterston's Slovenian translated novels. Slavoj Žižek edited a number of translations ofLouis Althusser,Jacques LacanandSigmund Freudto Slovenian. It was not until the late 1980s when Slavoj Žižek came under the scrutiny of public attention. During this period he was a columnist from his work forMaldina, a magazine aimed at youth which criticized the Titoist regime. The magazine gained notoriety for its stance against certain aspects of the times Yugoslavian politics, in particular the increasing militarization policies aimed towards society. Up until October of 1988 Slavoj Žižek was an active member of the Communist Party of Slovenia. He quit during the protest against the JBZ-trial. He was not alone in this protest, he quit along with thirty two other public intellectuals with origins in Slovenia. Slavoj Žižek was involved with the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights a social movement fighting for democracy in Slovenia. In 1990 the first free elections were held in Slovenia. At this time Slavoj Žižek ran for President aligned with the Liberal Democratic Party.
Slavoj Žižek became widely recognized as an important theorist of contemporary times with the publication ofThe Sublime Object of Ideology, his first book to be written in English, in 1989. Since this time Slavoj Žižek has taken the contemporary philosophical world by storm, never afraid of confrontation he is a dangerous theorist. Slavoj Žižek's work cannot be categorized easily. He calls for a return to the the Cartesian subject. Slavoj Žižek also calls for a return to The German Ideology, in particular the works ofGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Slavoj Žižek's work draws on the works ofJacques Lacan, moving his theory towards modern political and philosophical issues, finding the potential for liberatory politics within his work. But in all his turns to these thinkers and strands of thought, he hopes to call forth new potentials in thinking and self-reflexivity. Slavoj Žižek also calls for a return to the spirit of the revolutionary potential of Lenin andKarl Marx.
Slavoj Žižek is an atheist and often his theories go against analytical philosophical currents. He tends to be politically incorrect and has therefore caused quite a disruption within intellectual circles. It is his unique brand of political and philosophical bravery that has created a name for himself as the foremost thinker of our times. Slavoj Žižek puts forth that for one to understand today’s politics we need a different notion of ideology.
Slavoj Žižek was a visiting professor at the Department of Psychoanalysis, Université Paris-VIII in 1982–83 and 1985–86, at the Centre for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Art, SUNY Buffalo, 1991–92, at the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1992, at the Tulane University, New Orleans, 1993, at the Cardozo Law School, New York, 1994, at the Columbia University, New York, 1995, at the Princeton University (1996), at the New School for Social Research, New York, 1997, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1998, and at the Georgetown University, Washington, 1999. He is a returning faculty member of the European Graduate School. In the last 20 years Žižek has participated in over 350 international philosophical, psychoanalytical and cultural-criticism symposiums in the USA, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Brasil, Mexico, Israel, Romania, Hungary and Japan. He is the founder and president of the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana.
Slavoj Žižek's published books include:Začeti od začetka, Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba(2011),Hegel and the Infinite: Religion, Politics, and Dialectic(2011),Paul's New Moment: Continental Philosophy and the Future of Christian Theology(2010),The Idea of Communism(2010),Living in the End Times(2010),Philosophy in the Present Polity(with Alain Badiou, 2010),Badiou & Žižek: Hvalnica Ljubezni (Love and Terror)(2010),Društvo za teoretsko psihoanalizo(2010),Mythology, Madness and Laughter: Subjectivity in German Idealism(2009),First As Tragedy, Then As Farce(2009),In Search of Wagner(2009),Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic?(2009),Violence: Big Ideas/Small Books(2008),In Defense of Lost Causes(2008),En defensa de la intolerancia(2007),On Practice and Contradiction(2007),Terrorism and Communism(2007),Virtue and Terror(2007),How to Read Lacan(2006),The Parallax View(2006),Lacan: The Silent Partners(2006),Neighbors and Other Monsters (in The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology)(2006),The Universal Exception(2006),Interrogating the Real(2005),Kako biti nihče(2005),Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle(2004),Paralaksa: za politični suspenz etičnega(2004),The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity(2003),Organs Without Bodies(2003),Kuga Fantazem(2003),Revolution at the Gates: Žižek on Lenin, the 1917 Writings(2002),Welcome to the Desert of the Real(2002),Repeating Lenin(2001),Opera's Second Death(2001),On Belief(2001),The Fright of Real Tears(2001),Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?(2001),Strah pred pravimi solzami: Krzysztof Kieslowski in šiv(2001),Krhki absolut: Enajst tez o krščanstvu in marksizmu danes(2000),The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?(2000),The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime: On David Lynch's Lost Highway(2000),Contingency, Hegemony, Universality(2000),The Ticklish Subject(1999),Alain Badiou, Sveti Pavel: Utemeljitev Univerzalnosti(1998),The Plague of Fantasies(1997),The Abyss of Freedom(1997),Argument za strpnost(1997),The Indivisible Remainder: Essays on Schelling and Related Matters(1997),Slovenska smer(1996),The Metastases of Enjoyment(1994),Problemi: Eseji 4-5(1994),Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan... But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock(1993),Tarrying With the Negative(1993),Filozofija skoz psihoanalizo VII(1993),Enjoy Your Symptom!(1992),Looking Awry(1991),For They Know Not What They Do(1991),Hitchcock II.(1991),Beyond Discourse Analysis (a part in Ernesto Laclau's New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time)(1990),Beseda, dejanje svoboda: Filozofija skoz psihoanalizo V(1990),The Sublime Object of Ideology(1989),Druga smrt Josipa Broza Tita(1989),Pogled s strani(1988),Jezik, ideologija, Slovenci(1987),Hegel in
objekt(1985),Problemi teorije fetišizma: Filozofija skoz psihoanalizo II(1985),Filozofija skozi psihoanalizo(1984),Birokratija i uživanje(1984),Zgodovina in nezavedno(1982),Gospostvo, Vzgoja, Analiza: Zbornik tekstov Lacanove šole psihoanalize (editor, translator)(1982),Hegel in označevalec(1980),Znak, označitelj, pismo(1976) andBolečina razlike(1972)
ALAIN BADIOU - BIOGRAPHY
Alain Badiou, Ph.D., born in Rabat, Morocco in 1937, holds the Rene Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School EGS. Alain Badiou was a student at the École Normale Supérieure in the 1950s. He taught at the University of Paris VIII (Vincennes-Saint Denis) from 1969 until 1999, when he returned to ENS as the Chair of the philosophy department. He continues to teach a popular seminar at the Collège International de Philosophie, on topics ranging from the great 'antiphilosophers' (Saint-Paul,Nietzsche,Wittgenstein,Lacan) to the major conceptual innovations of the twentieth century. Much of Badiou's life has been shaped by his dedication to the consequences of the May 1968 revolt in Paris. Long a leading member of Union des jeunesses communistes de France (marxistes-léninistes), he remains with Sylvain Lazarus and Natacha Michel at the center of L'Organisation Politique, a post-party organization concerned with direct popular intervention in a wide range of issues (including immigration, labor, and housing). He is the author of several successful novels and plays as well as more than a dozen philosophical works.
Trained as a mathematician, Alain Badiou is one of the most original French philosophers today. Influenced byPlato,Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,Jacques LacanandGilles Deleuze, he is an outspoken critic of both the analytic as well as the postmodern schools of thoughts. His philosophy seeks to expose and make sense of the potential of radical innovation (revolution, invention, transfiguration) in every situation.
Unlike many of those schooled in the anti-humanist principles ofLouise Pierre AlthusserandJacques Lacan, Alain Badiou has never been tempted to celebrate the apparent end of philosophy, to question the possibility of metaphysics, or to qualify the classical attributes of truth: rigor, clarity, and eternity.
As Alain Badiou explains in detail in his major work to dateL'Etre et l'événement(1988), truths are militant processes which, beginning from a specific time and place within a situation, pursue the step-by-step transformation of that situation in line with new forms of broadly egalitarian principles. Only a pure commitment, one detached from any psychological, social, or 'objective' mediation, can qualify as the adequate vehicle for a truth, but reciprocally, only a properly universal truth qualifies as worthy of such a commitment. Only a truth can 'induce' the subject of a genuine commitment.
Badiou's most general goal can be described, then, as the effort to expose and make sense of the potential for profound, transformative innovation in any situation. Every such innovation can only begin with some sort of exceptional (though invariably ephemeral) break with the status quo, an 'event'. An event can occur at any time but not in just any place; an
event will generally be located close to the edge of whatever qualifies as 'void' or indistinguishable in the situation, i.e. in that part of the situation where for literally fundamental reasons the prevailing forms of discernment and recognition cease to have any significant purchase. A truth then expands out of this 'evental site' (site événementiel) insofar as it elicits the militant conviction of certain individuals who develop the revolutionary implications of the event, and by doing so constitute themselves as the subjects of its truth.
A subject is thus anyone carried by his or her fidelity to the consequences, as rigorous as they are haphazard, of an event, while a truth is nothing other than the cumulative collection of such post-evental consequences. The laborious, case-by-case application of these consequences will then serve to transform the entire way the situation organizes and represents itself, in keeping with the implications of the event.
An ordinary individual, or 'some-one,' only becomes a genuine subject insofar as he or she is caught up in a materially transformative procedure of this kind. By the same token (for reasons sketched in Badiou's most accessible short work,L'Ethique(1993), subjects only remain subjects insofar as their fidelity is in turn equipped to resist the various sorts of corruption it must inevitably face: fatigue, confusion, and dogmatism. For example, those mobilized by the civil rights, feminist, or anti-colonial movements remain true subjects insofar as these movements, initially sparked by certain events affecting particular groups of people in particular situations, call for the transformation of the situation as a whole in terms that can be directly and universally affirmed by its every inhabitant. But should such a movement seek simply the promotion of a particular group for its own sake, then its partisans act only as the proponents of an interest in competition with other interests. The identification of suffering victims is not by itself the sufficient basis, Alain Badiou insists, for a genuine political movement. Like all truths, politics must proceed in a sphere of rigorous universality, on the basis of statements that literally anyone could make or affirm.
This does not mean, however, that truth operates in the domain of consensus or communication. Every genuinely universal principle has its origin in an active and precisely situated taking of sides; every true affirmation of the universal interest begins as divisive. There is no philosopher more opposed to the 'ethical' coordination of opinions or differences than Badiou.
Alain Badiou distinguishes four general fields of truth, or four domains of subjectivation (which in turn operate as the four generic 'conditions' of philosophy itself): politics, science, art and love. These are the only four fields in which a pure subjective commitment is possible, i.e. one indifferent to procedures of interpretation, representation, or verification. Alain Badiou provides his most concise overview of the generic procedures in hisManifeste pour la philosophie(1989). True politics is a matter of collective mobilization guided by a 'general will' in something like Rousseau's sense, and not the business of bureaucratic administration or the socialized negotiation of interests. Within the limits of the private sphere, genuine love begins in the wake of an unpredictable encounter that escapes the conventional representation of sexual roles, continues as a fidelity to the consequences of that encounter, and is sustained through an unrepresentable exposure to whatLacanfamously described as the 'impossibility of a sexual relationship'. True art and true science proceed in somewhat the same way, through a searching experimental fidelity to
a line of inquiry opened up by a new discovery or break with tradition. Mathematics is then the most 'truthful' component of science simply because, thanks to its axiomatic foundation in the basic postulates of set theory, it is the most securely abstracted from any natural or objective mediation.
In the end, every truth is 'founded' only on the fundamental 'inconsistency' that Alain Badiou discerns as the exclusive and insubstantial stuff of pure beingquabeing — the generic being of all that is simply insofar as it is, but that is only exceptionally accessible, through the rare commitment of those who become subjects in the wake of its evental exposure.
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