Some controversy has arisen over Zizek’s recent critique of philosophies of withdrawal as exemplified in object-oriented ontologies. Far from reflecting a supposed unfamiliarity with the philosophies under discussion Zizek’s text embodies his long-standing critical engagement with not only with Heidegger but with all philosophies of withdrawal. The case of Badiou, Zizek’s ally in this rejection of ontologies of withdrawal, is even more explicit.
Heidegger has been a privileged influence and constant interlocutor throughout Badiou’s philosophical development. Badiou’s recently published Seminar: HEIDEGGER, subtitled “Being 3 – Figure of Withdrawal” (October 1986 to June 1987) shows that his engagement with Heidegger’s ontology was a key step leading up to the publication of his major work BEING AND EVENT a few months later, in January 1988.
Badiou’s engagement with Heidegger does not stop there. Many developments closely linked to this seminar are to be found not only in Badiou’s BEING AND EVENT (1988) and in MANIFESTO FOR PHILOSOPHY (1989) but also in LOGICS OF WORLDS (2006) and continuing up to the present day, in his seminar on IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS (October 2012 to January 2017).
Badiou’s seminar on Heidegger was published in French last year. It contains 340 pages, including a short preface written in 2015 which presents the major argumentative lines of Badiou’s engagement with Heidegger’s philosophy. In this preface Badiou concludes with a tribute to the crucial role that his dialogue with Heidegger, under the sign of both friendship and discord, played in the elaboration of his own ontology.:
“In a sense, with and against Heidegger, this Seminar recounts how an ontology is invented in philosophical discord, in friendship for the poem, and under the instruction of the matheme” (Badiou, HEIDEGGER SEMINAR, page 11, my translation).
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