BADIOU AND CONFIGURABILITY

On the question of the task of philosophy as the configuation of a space of compossibility for the truth procedures of an epoch, Badiou states that the matheme is not all of science, but only what is philosophically configurable in the sciences. He affirms that for each of the truth procedures he deals only with the aspect that is philosophically configurable.

“Et comme la philosophie n’est que ce qui dessine, en un temps donné, l’espace où les vérités sont compossibles, je dis aussi que la vérité est à l’ordre du jour, dans chacun des régimes qui sont les siens, et qui sont, je le crois, au nombre de quatre : la science, l’art, la politique et l’amour. Ou plus précisément sans doute, pour ce que la philosophie est capable d’en configurer : le mathème, le poème, la politique inventée, et l’amour comme fidélité à l’événement où se fonde un Deux désormais diagonal au compte-pour-un de toutes choses” (Badiou, Une soiréé philosophique).

My translation:

“And since philosophy is only that which outlines , at a given time, the space where the truths are compossible, I also claim that truth is on the agenda today, in each of its regimes, of which there are, I believe, four: science, art, politics, and love. Or more precisely no doubt, concerning the aspect of them that philosophy is able to configure: the matheme, the poem, invented politics, and love as fidelity to the event where a Two is founded as henceforth diagonal to the count-as-one of all things”.

Badiou gives no argument here, but the justification is contained in his general argument that philosophy is not the encyclopedia of its conditions and that what it configures is not knowledge but Truths, and so it is essentially selective.

This selectivity consitutes a form of intra-procedural suture specific to Badiou. Other configurations are possible within this general schema. For example, Zizek “configures” quantum physics and Johnston configures neuroscience rather than the matheme.

Thus the configurability condition is not sufficient to select out uniquely what are the philosophically relevant aspects of each condition.

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