Malebranche

Theological Figure, Being 2

Alain Badiou. Translated by Jason E. Smith with Susan Spitzer. Introduction by Jason E. Smith.

Columbia University Press

Malebranche

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Pub Date: April 2019

ISBN: 9780231174787

240 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.00

Pub Date: April 2019

ISBN: 9780231548533

240 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.00

Malebranche

Theological Figure, Being 2

Alain Badiou. Translated by Jason E. Smith with Susan Spitzer. Introduction by Jason E. Smith.

Columbia University Press

Alain Badiou is perhaps the world’s most significant living philosopher. In his annual seminars on major topics and pivotal figures, Badiou developed vital aspects of his thinking on a range of subjects that he would go on to explore in his influential works. In this seminar, Badiou offers a tour de force encounter with a lesser-known seventeenth-century philosopher and theologian, Nicolas Malebranche, a contemporary and peer of Spinoza and Leibniz.

The seminar is at once a record of Badiou’s thought at a key moment in the years before the publication of his most important work, Being and Event, and a lively interrogation of Malebranche’s key text, the Treatise on Nature and Grace. Badiou develops a rigorous yet novel analysis of Malebranche’s theory of grace, retracing his claims regarding the nature of creation and the relation between God and world and between God and Jesus. Through Malebranche, Badiou develops a radical concept of truth and the subject. This book renders a seemingly obscure post-Cartesian philosopher fascinating and alive, restoring him to the philosophical canon. It occupies a pivotal place in Badiou’s reflections on the nature of being that demonstrates the crucial role of theology in his thinking.
I devoured this magnificent work in an evening. It blends Badiou’s usual systematic approach with a nuanced account of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century philosophy that draws skillful contrasts between Malebranche’s system and those of Arnauld, Bossuet, Leibniz, Pascal, and the Jesuits. Hovering over the scene is the unlikely but finally compelling specter of Jacques Lacan. Graham Harman, author of Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything
Malebranche emerges from this seminar as an author divided between an asphyxiating theological doctrine and an exhilarating theory of the subject, which anticipates many ideas about desire, fantasy, finitude, and grace that will appear much later, from Hegel to Lacan. Even though Badiou claims that nothing productive came from his effort, we can appreciate in this new installment of his seminar a crucial stepping stone between Theory of the Subject and Being and Event. Bruno Bosteels, author of Badiou and Politics
This book tackles Malebranche through Alain Badiou’s unique perspective. Badiou nicely translates questions of theology into questions of politics, bringing Malebranche a contemporary resonance that he doesn’t have in any other account. Todd McGowan, author of Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution
Editors’ Introduction to the English Edition of the Seminars of Alain Badiou
Author’s General Preface to the English Edition of the Seminars of Alain Badiou
Introduction to the Seminar on Malebranche: Malebranche’s “Political Ontology”
(Jason E. Smith)
About the 1986 Seminar on Malebranche
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
Session 7
Notes
Index

About the Author

Alain Badiou (PhD, Philosophy, Ecole Normale Superieure) holds the Rene Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School; he also teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure and the College International de Philosophie in Paris. He is the author of several successful novels and plays as well as more than a dozen philosophical works, including his masterwork, Being and Event (Continuum, 2007), and several Columbia titles, includng Plato's Republic (2013) and Jacques Lacan Past and Present (2016).