1) Is Badiou a philosopher the digital? If we take a naive definition of the digital as “the tools and technologies of contemporary mass media” we get a naive answer: . Badiou has almost nothing to say about mass media overall, and even less to say about contemporary computation or digitality in particular. Beyond a collection of incidental pieces on cinema, and beyond a series of essays and books on art and aesthetics -- a rich body of work focused largely on modernism -- Badiou has never written about media as such. (Someone please correct me if I've overlooked something.) Of course Badiou himself has written plays and novels, but this, again, does not constitute a theory of media, much less a theory of the digital.
'The Rational Kernel of the Hegelian Dialectic, first published as part of a series of Maoist booklets, is perhaps the single most important statement for anyone intent upon coming to terms with Alain Badiou’s understanding of the dialectic. The thirteen notes written by Badiou in the margin of a text from the Chinese philosopher Zhang Shiying are comparable only to the four-page summary “On the Question of Dialectics” in Lenin’s Philosophical Notebooks, which also deal with Hegel’s Logic.
The Rational Kernel of the Hegelian Dialectic is the last in a trilogy of political-philosophical essays, preceded by Theory of Contradiction and On Ideology, written during the dark days at the end of the decade after May ‘68. With the late 1970’s “triumphant restoration” in Europe, China and the United States, Badiou and his collaborators return to Hegel with a Chinese twist. By translating, annotating and providing commentary to a contemporaneous text by Chinese Hegelian Zhang Shi Ying, Badiou and his collaborators attempt to diagnose the status of the dialectic in their common political and philosophical horizon. Readers of Badiou’s more recent work will find a crucial developmental step in his work in ontology and find echoes of his current project of a 'communist hypothesis'. This translation is accompanied by a recent interview that questions Badiou on the discrepancies between this text and his current thought, on the nature of dialectics, negativity, modality and his understanding of the historical, political and geographical distance that his text introduces into the present.
In an essay written for new work of Zlatko Kopljar, K19, Žarko Paić, in the context of Adorno, Badiou and Lyotard, ask a question: Can contemporary art provide a possibility for man’s redemptive reversal? How and when does it become legitimate to open the possibilities of facing the question of boundaries between the sublime and the evil if just turning
He shows how our prevailing ethical principles serve ultimately to reinforce an ideology of the status quo, and fail to provide a framework for an effective understanding of the concept of evil.
In contrast, Badiou summons up an “ethic of truths” which is designed both to sustain and inspire a disciplined, subjective adherence to a militant cause (be it political or scientific, artistic or romantic), and to discern a finely demarcated zone of application for the concept of evil.
The publication in English of Alain Badiou's (originally published in French in 1998) may come to constitute an "event" in just the sense that Badiou gives to the concept in his own work: a break with the received ideas of a given context. As Badiou himself makes clear in the "Preface to the English Edition," his is mobilized by two, not always consistent desires: this slim volume is at once a critique of the taken for granted ethical culture of the contemporary political and intellectual order and the articulation of a radically different perspective on "Good and Evil." On the one hand, Badiou has used the [End Page 478] opportunity of an invitation to write a primer on ethics in order to express his "genuine fury" at the "moral terrorism" of the discourse of human rights and the new US-directed, "humanitarian" interventionism that it buttresses (liii). On the other hand, he seeks to develop the practical and ethical consequences of his philosophical system, which he set out in 1988 in his massive and complex work (—currently under translation). Badiou's political critique of the moralization of politics in the post-Cold War era is an important one, and has been echoed by Slavoj Z;akiz;akek and others. It becomes more interesting and original, however, when read from the perspective of his philosophical engagement with discourses of ethics in postwar thought.