BADIOU’S LADDER (2): Poetry – truth procedures as conceptual characters

In my previous post I discussed Badiou’s method of taking one particular truth procedure, in his case mathematics, and proceding by a form to guided abduction to elaborate speculative hypotheses at the more general philosophical level (noetic ascent) that could then be tested by a process of investigation within any of the four truth procedures (noetic descent). The particular experimental montage differs for each of the truth procedures.

Note: I am indebted to a discussion with Serge Druon for helping me clarify my ideas on this point.

This analysis supports my argument that mathematics has no privilege here, that we do not have to start with mathematics, and that we could take any of the other truth procedures as our starting point.

For example, poetry.

Thus the four truth procedures are not items in an epistemic hierarchy, but rather co-equal conceptual characters in a dramaturgy of ascent and descent

Badiou gives some amazing readings of poets, something that should not be missed. In IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS he has a chapter each (sometimes frustratingly short) on René Char, Victor Hugo, Emily Dickinson, Celan, Mandelstam, Pessoa, Brecht.

On the subject of poetry as a way into Badiou’s system: I produced a video summary and commentary of Badiou’s discussion of Rimbaud’s poem « Youth ». This is based on material from Badiou’s seminar that didn’t make it into the book. It allows us to have an overview of the conceptual trajectory of the book.

Subjects discussed in this video: the world of finitude and its sad affects, the capacity of everyone to encounter and participate in the infinite potentials of Truths-in-the-making, consolidating the multiple breakthroughs, the work of truth, paradigm-change and the new subjectivity.

My advice to anyone interested in the ongoing progress of recent French Philosophy’s meta-research programme is to read IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS. It is a game-changer, helping us to see that whole tradition with new eyes.

For example, Badiou made me see things in Deleuze’s work that I hadn’t noticed before e;g. the presence of four concepts of infinity in A THOUSAND PLATEAUS and the importance of the absolute in WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?

On the agon running through Deleuze’s work between pluralism and multiplicity on the one hand and infinity and the absolute on the other see:

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