inferentialkid

09/08 – Periodizing the 80’s (Badiou)

In Sessions on September 5, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Badiou might seem like an odd choice for a seminar in technology and rhetoric; his thoughts on the former (at least in this reading) are restricted to bemoaning Heidegger’s critique of “the essence of technology” (which for Badiou is largely important as a critique of “science” proper) and suggesting that the real “problem” of/with technology is how it has been “bridled” by capitalism, and, as is particularly apparent in the two essays added to the English translation of Manifesto, his stance on rhetoric is less than favorable. I would suggest, however, that Badiou’s intervention into the contemporary (as of the 1980s) state of philosophy and critical theory is important, perhaps even essential, to our course itinerary, for at least two reasons.

The first has to do with Badiou’s particular mode of engaging the (long) history of philosophy and (short) history of critical theory. Although Badiou explicitly connects his own thinking here with that of Platonic metaphysics, the vintage of philosophical though that has been being slowly overturned at least since Nietzsche and that, at least for Badiou, saw its last vestiges disappear through the wholesale adoption of Heidegger as a starting point for contemporary critical inquiry, it might be equally argued that his work also harkens back to the commonplaces of structuralism, the strain of critical thought more recently challenged by “poststructuralist philosophy” and “postmodern theory,” in its attempt to posit “forms” that persist and structure processes irregardless of their content. Importantly (and perhaps somewhat ironically, given Badiou’s interest in fidelity as a concept) Badiou’s method here cannot be described as anything like a doctrinaire or homodox appropriation of these earlier modes. Rather, his work in Manifesto reads much like a series of attempts to “do” these modes differently, or, more specifically, to mix objectives and strategies that are usually exclusive to one side of the pairings of structuralism/poststructuralism, philosophy/critical theory, analytic philosophy/continental philosophy, ontology/sociality, etc.

Most generally, Badiou navigates an fairly unique course between (vulgar) versions of traditional metaphysics that would insist on stable and transhistorical notions of such categories as truth, subject(ivity), and being, and contemporary theories of contextual contingency, social construction, performativity, etc., that would emphasize the “always already” artificial nature or these items, or there existence in a constant state of flux. In many ways, Badiou reverses our traditional sequence for approaching questions of truth and the subject. The primary (as in first) question for Badiou is not whether the common vectors of philosophy (truth, subject, etc.) “exist,” but whether philosophy itself is possible. Thus, as he writes, he does not “claim that philosophy is possible at every moment” but seeks a “general examination of the conditions under which it is possible, in accordance with its destination” (31). Making philosophy itself contingent or immanent (rather than posing contingency as the enemy of a transcendental metaphysics), Badiou is able to move questions about truth from the field of the “veridical” (questions about statements of fact, the consideration of non-contradiction, or about definition of “knowledge,” etc.) and instead focus of how “truths” (about the possibility of politics, about the cosmology of the world, about the nature of love, etc.) have emerged, been maintained, and produced subjects in accordance to them.

By identifying “procedures” through which truths are created and can be tested, and, in particular, through his emphasis on mathematics as a meta-model for pursuing question of identity, consistency, and relation, Badiou “borrows” (in at least a sense) the tools more commonly associated with analytical philosophy, but uses them in pursuit of the topics (non-veridical truths) more commonly associated with contemporary continental philosophy, or, more importantly for Badiou, the metaphysical tradition running from Plato to Descartes to what he calls the “Modern Period” of philosophy wherein concerns about the subject and of subjectivity dominated. We might also remark on a strange admixture of the (method of) metaphysics and (the aims of) critical theory through which liberatory/emancipatory role usually assigned to (post-Frankfurt School) critical theory is claimed by Badiou by positioned as the outcome of the tools of the metaphysical traditions that CT was originally meant to correct. Similarly, Badiou’s method might be taken as the inverse of Heidegger’s similar attempt to reinvent metaphysics: rather than seeing Plato as the beginning of a decline in this tradition, Badiou takes him as the starting point; rather critiquing the “mathematicization” of philosophy, Badiou sees something vital in applying mathematical frames to the traditional questions of metaphysics. To give just one more example, although Badiou has harsh words for the dominance of “language” or “poetics” in contemporary (1980s) philosophy and CT (or, more precisely, the tendency to use linguistic or discursive commonplaces as interpretive models for culture, thought, etc.), his definition of “truth” ends up following one of the most popular variations on this topic: performativity. “Truth” is “performative” for Badiou in the sense that it is maintained by the active fidelity (something similar to, but perhaps also more than, belief) of individuals, but Badiou sees nothing in this situation that makes truths privative or somehow inauthentic (as is typically the case with performative theories based on linguistic models).

To sum up rather broadly, the question Badiou poses to contemporary critical thought might be not so much whether “originary” philosophy can be returned to its Platonic origins but rather philosophy can be rethought as the very thing Plato doubted it could ever be: a techne. More precisely, Badiou presses us to consider whether a “technical system” or procedures and processes can be grafted onto social and cultural practices without one somehow necessarily triumphing over the other, or, perhaps even more specifically, whether questions of ontology, ethics, and truth can be identified as well created through a praxis of procedures, determinations, and strategies. Given our interest in this course as rereading the intertwined histories of logos and techne before and after their separation in Greek Antiquity, this will also be a central question for us. Another question we might pose is whether philosophy already is, or already was before Plato, a techne, but only insofar as it was/is not philosophy and was/is rhetoric.

This, of course, brings us to the second reason Badiou’s work is relevant to the concerns of our seminar. Badiou’s disaffection for rhetoric is actually fairly mild when put in the context of other ways the discipline has been defined/treated in the philosophical tradition. For Badiou, sophistry (in its original and present day forms) is not so much the enemy of philosophy (though it does seem to be treated that way by him at times) as it is a necessary (but inferior) partner that pressures philosophy to define and defend “itself.” Although in the essays that follow the Manifesto in our edition Badiou seems to take this relationship to be an essential one, his more recently published excerpt from his “hypertranslation” of The Republic (“Silencing the Sophists”) goes rather further in suggesting that sophistry can be bade good riddance once philosophy has adequately defined itself (and guess who is going to accomplish that objective?). Overall, we might take Badiou as bring up both the earliest and most recent ways rhetoric has been put in an inferior position to philosophy, which we call, to be dramatic, “The Six Betrayals of Rhetoric,” starting with the Platonic disavowal and ending with the more contemporary moment in which contemporary critical theorists and rhetorical scholars themselves have prized rhetoric precisely for role in “undermining” philosophy (follow this  link for a prezi visualization of the six waves). This tradition, and the ways in which it might be rethought by making a claim to a “first rhetoric” the same way Badiou and others have returned to the “first” philosophies of ontology and ethics will also be a concern or us this semester.

ON TAP FOR NEXT WEEK:

  • ASSIGNMENTS: Read Rotman’s Becoming Beside Ourselves (and bring your response to same to class with you next week). Fun fact: before BBO was published, Rotman delivered a talk based on its first chapter right hear @ WSU as part of the DeRoy Lecture Series. You weren’t there? If only there was some way you had access to it now. But wait, you do! (Although if you’ve already read BBO you’ll realize the irony of reading this talk rather than seeing it in person.)
  • STUFF TO LOOK FORWARD: What’s sexier than the parahuman? How about the TRANSHUMAN!!! And, if you think you can face it, be exposed to THE FUTURE OF FORGETTING!!

YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN:

* In (somewhat confused, perhaps) reference to Badiou’s interest in sequence, how the event disrupts that which came before it, and the emergence of the subject.

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  1. Response to Badiou1: Problems and Productivity of Naming (ignore footnotes…didn’t copy citations)

    In my ENG 1510 and 1520 classes yesterday, we read the article, “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age,” which held the following commentary on students from Susan D. Blum, who studied plagiarism in colleges:

    “If you are not so worried about presenting yourself as absolutely unique, then it’s O.K. if you say other people’s words, it’s O.K. if you say things you don’t believe, it’s O.K. if you write papers you couldn’t care less about because they accomplish the task, which is turning something in and getting a grade,” Ms. Blum said, voicing student attitudes. “And it’s O.K. if you put words out there without getting any credit.”2

    These thoughts seem to be representative of what one of my students called (and I’d agree, at least as far as this article presents it) a major cultural and ideological shift, that the students of the digital age, as described much more extensively in this article anyway, do not mind attempting ideas and personalities, as long as there is no commitment involved. My student described it as being part of the collective, rather than an individual.
    I see some connections here to the Jameson chapter and my questions about Badiou’s solution to this problem of the so-called “end” of philosophy. Jameson characterizes one change that has come along with (post?)postmodernism in the following: “Yet in the dialectical leap from quantity to quality, the explosion of modern literature into a host of distinct private styles and mannerisms has been followed by a linguistic fragmentation of social life itself to the point where the norm itself is eclipsed: reduced to a neutral and reified media speech…” (16-17).3 What we see is maybe a move away from “distinct” individualism or multiple expressions to generic collectivism, and this seems reflected in the Blum commentary above, where it is coupled with a sort of apathy or acquiescence.
    One of key questions that Badiou raises for me, then, is “So what now?” Badiou calls for us to take “one more step.” In order for philosophy to still be considered alive, we must, among other things, ask the question of what there is left to do. Part of this is abandoning the idea that if something is not namable it is not worth talking about and instead keep talking about it. That is, maybe it is worth it for us to strive to name the unnamable, to keep the discussion open.
    Badiou cautions against naming, however, and I would here tie his concept of suturing into naming, arguing that suturing produces limiting allegiances to one of the four conditions in the same way that naming something labels it with an insufficient signifier, something that cannot let it wholly be itself in terms of that particular identifier. He writes, “…it is only by taking into account the existence of any unnamable, ‘generic’ multiplicities whatever, delimited by no properties of language, that we may have a chance to approach the truth of the being of a given multiple” (80).
    My question: Is Badiou asking us to take this “one more step” by once again taking up the question of being through trying to identify it? He writes, “We are no longer held, if we accept to be within the effects of the mathematical condition, to choose between the namable and the unthinkable” (95). If we do not try to name something, we are not working to understand it. To simply call it unnameable seems too easy of a route to go, and abandons all thinking and work on the subject. It is dismissive. However, the attempt to name, to label, to designate, makes us work through it, try to understand it and figure it out. When we give up on naming, we give up on this working through, so though we must understand that to name something is arbitrary, to work through it, to try to name it, is important. Is this a possible conclusion for “So what now?”

  2. While Badiou provides examples of truth events from each of the conditions of philosophy, none of these examples clarifies the value of truth. Instead, these examples only indicate how he has chosen to organize his own particular understanding of the world. I found his observations on politics to be genuinely interesting, and I agree that the events he described require a rethinking of our understanding of revolutionary or radical politics. However, I don’t see why these events should be described as ‘truth events.’ If we are to accept his explanation, that the truth event introduces something new to the situation, I would argue that, depending on your definition of ‘new,’ either all events could qualify, or none could qualify. In the meantime, he seems to lack any awareness of audience. Perhaps he imagines that the rationality of his ideas exempts him from such concerns. If the possibility for truth has been generally denied in contemporary thought, it would seem that he has the burden of proving that truth and/or its pursuit serve some purpose. He certainly implies the value of truth in frequent references to the Holocaust. However, he fails to provide reasons for thinking that, on the one hand, his truth procedures would spare us from atrocity, or that, on the other hand, abandoning truth will damn us.
    His interpretation of Celan’s poetry as a truth event related to the suture of philosophy to poetry is an even more extreme example of his tendency to see truth where there is only perspective. However, it is Badiou’s assertion that Lacan’s theories about love are a truth event that I find most troubling. I am actually quite fond of Lacan- but his ideas about human sexuality are even more essentialist than Freud’s. When Badiou enshrines his interpretation of Lacan as a truth event, he is enshrining not only a sexist view that defines woman as ‘not all’ and man as ‘the all or the whole thus broken off,’ he is also enshrining heterosexuality as the truth of love- thereby marginalizing not only actual gay and lesbian people, but also their experience of the ‘truth about the two.’
    In general, his critique of post-modernism is weakened by his assumption the there is a coherent movement from Nietzsche to Heidegger to Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, and the rest. While there are some common concerns and attitudes, there is no doctrine that binds these thinkers together. In essence, he reduces Post-Modernism to Heideggarianism.
    This is especially clear if we examine the impact of Heidegger’s ideas about technology- while working on my M.A., I ended up reading a lot of ‘doom and gloom’ pronouncements about the danger posed by new technologies, and they all turned to Heidegger. None were written by Post-Modernists- in fact, after citing Heidegger, they invariably adapted Plato’s arguments against writing and reading to function as arguments against writing and reading with the new technologies. In the meantime, Post-Modernism offered some of the best strategies for refuting these arguments; Derrida could be just as helpful in refuting Heidegger as he was in refuting Plato.
    What I find most troubling about Badiou’s philosophical project is his ambition to place philosophy at the top of the academic hierarchy. By claiming that science, politics, love, and the poem are the conditions of philosophy, he is essentially claiming that philosophy still has proprietary rights to the subject matter of many of the modern academic disciplines. Of course, he is careful to delimit philosophy’s interest in each of its conditions. The philosopher has no interest in dealing with the messy realities of politics, or in the actual application of scientific and mathematic knowledge. Instead, philosophy serves as the base from which each of the academic disciplines derives (or accesses) its truths.
    Faced with the difficulties imposed by increasing specialization and a general lack of coherence, both in academia and outside of it, society may benefit from some integrative discipline. However, I don’t believe that philosophy is up to the task. While I applaud Badiou’s innovation in introducing the multiple over the one, this simply isn’t enough. For not only is philosophy restricted by its origins in western culture, it also valorizes specifically western values and practices. Philosophy will never be the conceptual lingua franca of the global community, because it can’t be used to communicate all of the lived realities that make up that global community.
    It is clear to me that while philosophy can’t serve as an integrative discipline, rhetoric can. Of course, I’m sure this argument sounds self-serving, but there are many good reasons for applying rhetoric in this way. Whereas philosophy can either dominate its conditions or endure the suture, rhetoric is comfortable with its interdisciplinary nature. Existing at the crossroads of both prescriptive and descriptive grammar, cognitive science, literature, psychology, politics, advertising, and yes, philosophy, rhetoric has never really had its own exclusive subject matter. Indeed the focus of rhetoric isn’t a subject but a practice, and this practice is intimately connected with meaning making in virtually every discipline and field. In the meantime, because rhetoric exists in every culture (even oral cultures) it allows for that ideal state in which each culture can maintain its identity while at the same time connecting to other cultures on a global scale. Because rhetoric is informed by (but not controlled by) post-modern thought, it is also better equipped to address what Lyotard calls the differend; since rhetoric doesn’t concern itself with truth, it opens up the opportunity for the practice of the imaginative function of empathy, which has the power to break through the impasse.

  3. Badiou/Jameson Response (Week 1)
    Room for Space in Badiou’s Theory of the Event

    In my effort to read this week’s texts together, remembering, of course, that this was ultimately part of the assignment, I find solace in Jameson’s critique of the postmodern disavowal of “dead classics.” For his part, echoing Badiou’s effort to interrogate a century-long aversion to philosophy, Jameson characterizes postmodernism not as a “style” bust as a “cultural dominant.” What this means, Jameson observes, is that the culture of postmodernism derives sustenance from the supposed invalidity of the very culture that preceded it. This is troubling for two reasons: First, he notes that postmodernism represses periodization. That is, in congruence with Badiou’s work on philosophy, Jameson sees that modernism is haunted by its own specter. As Badiou argues in M for P, philosophy is forced to contend with postmodernism’s historical misgivings. Second, and perhaps most importantly, these contentions have become institutionalized. Reading Badiou’s text against the backdrop of Jameson’s “Postmodernism,” we can see that Sophistry begins to represent Western institutional thought at large.

    Whatever path one takes, whether tracing Jameson’s interest in periodization or Badiou’s investment in philosophy, we begin to see that dominant institutional antagonisms leave little recourse for redeeming already troubled histories. For Badiou, the viability of philosophy ultimately suffers from this hangover: We read philosophy under the pretense of “capital punishment.” Nietzsche’s legacy finds us admitting to this weakness as a “situation of philosophy.”

    In the shadows of this legacy, Badiou turns to procedure. Rather than reading philosophy against this history, Badiou interrogates what it means to “seize” truths. This is the difference, he notes, between seeing or reading truth as a desired product and recognizing truth as pre-existing and constitutive of philosophy. For Badiou, the contemporary philosopher must see truth not as product but origin: “Philosophy is the locus of thinking wherein (non-philosophic) truths are seized as such, and seize us” (Badiou 126). Truths are not created but grasped, through a set of operations. The philosophical category of truth is a void: “It operates by and presents nothing.” Philosophy, he notes, is “an operation from truths […]”

    What is lost in our turn to the Sophist, our aversion to the Platonic and Philosophic is a sense of the importance, rather centrality, of the operation (124). For Badiou, “it is no way a question of ‘making a work of art.’” Rather, he notes, it is a question of resemblance (125). As an alternative to the criminal history of Platonic truth, philosophy might be thought of in terms of the processes or acts that legitimate it, namely stabilizing processes (141). This idea of resemblance gives us recourse to begin thinking about his earlier point that the event or situation is multiple and inconsistent: “A truth is this minimal consistency (a part, a conceptless immanence), which certifies in the situation the inconsistency from which its being is made” (107). Ultimately, this is not an issue of thwarting the sophist, as he notes that Truth annuls the randomness of the truths we might seize.

    In retrospect, I can’t help feeling that Jameson’s interest in cognitive mapping resonates with Badiou’s effort to reclaim the philosophical event. Though, I think the spatial dynamic is a bit clearer in Jameson’s text—he talks specifically about maps and architecture—I think there is also, as my clever title suggests, room for space in Badiou’s work. In talking about the situation, for instance, Badiou uses the term “motion” to describe procedure: “It shall stem from a singular procedure. In fact, this procedure can only be set into motion from the point of a supplement, something in excess of the situation, that is, an event” (106). The situation—in essence a cluster of “minimally consistent truths”—is defined by spatiality in two senses: truths across space and truths through space, that is, across time.

    In thinking about a departure point, my main question for the class relates to the spatiality of these events. That is, I’m particularly interested in how the architecture of the truth(s) or the event complicates our understanding of the postmodern dilemma/impasse. Though I think the temporal vector or dimension is fairly intuitive—postmodernism is implicated by that which comes before—I’m not sure that the related issues of space and architecture resonate as clearly.

  4. Badiou qua Badiou; Technology qua Technology

    I was thinking about the course objectives pertaining to writing technologies in relation to B’s discussion on the correlation between technology (technical thinking) and the philosophical event. Distinguishing technology from science (though not completely severing them) B asserts the common nostalgic critique that the utilitarian demands placed upon technological thought (he gives the examples of a coffee grinder and television) can be attributed to Capitalism’s debilitating control over all arenas of invention. Capitalism has retarded the true possibility of technology (could we call this the vector of at least art and math? If not the compossibility of political invention and love as well?), demanding its development satisfy the socio-economic call for “faster, cheaper, easier.” Moving away from this “bridling,” B. suggests that philosophy must enter into this new epoch and, via the productive prompting from Capitalism , seize upon the new organization of truth in the multiple being.

    With this being said, how do we theorize these possibilites of technology in relation to philosophy? Or, even more basically, what is technology in Badiou? How is it constituted? Perhaps, however, this question could also be turned on its head to read: given B’s exegesis on the contemporary philosophical event, how can we understand technology to factor in without falling into the trappings of Capitalist regimes? Do we, through B, need to move away from thinking about technology as the devices that we casually use each day as these are easily co-opted into Capitalist practices. Rather, I suspect that “technology” has a much more abstract construction here, but what? Despite B hesitantly connecting technology to the Greek techne, perhaps this is the most productive way of analyzing this concept.

    If I were to pose any thoughts on this, of which they may be completely off base and superficial, I would like to think through the question of technology in relation to contemporary (i.e. B’s contemporary a la 1989) cybercultural theory. For instance, if, as B connotes on a variety of occasions, the task is to think through the nature of Being qua being, what other kind of work was happening around this time that also tackled the transformation of identity and beingness in relation to technological advancements? Donna Haraway’s “Flickering Signifiers” perhaps, or other potential strands in post-human theory? Yet many of these cyberculure theories are entrenched in postmodern rhetoric, which I have yet to truly grapple with in relation to Badiou. If the philosophical event fundamentally changes the ways in which we can experience our being, then how to does technology have the potential to participate in this new regime? Does online participation and dawning of the facebook age factor into these posed questions?

  5. In Manifesto for Philosophy, Badiou is responding to the idea that philosophy is somehow impossible, or inadequate, today (by which he would seem to mean the 80s/early 90s). He suggests that philosophy has gotten tangled up in its own history, and has allowed itself to be absorbed into the territories of its four generic procedures (love, poetry, the matheme, and politics) rather than standing on its own. He also argues that the evolution of Capital has led to a desacralization, breaking down the idea of essential relations, and “expos[ing] the pure multiple as the foundation of presentation” (56). Philosophy’s problem stems in part from “its inability to conceive that we have blindly entered into a new phase of the doctrine of Truth, that of the multiple-without-One, or of fragmentary, infinite and indiscernible totalities” (58).
    Jameson’s project is somewhat different. This first chapter deals with two symptoms/characteristics of postmodernity, nostalgia (pastiche) and schizophrenia (hyperspace). Both seem to do with having lost our (modernist) center. Once, Jameson argues, we believed in individual style, and as a result could parody those styles by imitating what seemed like a deviation from the norm. Now, though, we have no norm, only endless deviations, which at that point cease to be deviations at all. As a result, parody becomes impossible, leaving us with pastiche, an empty quoting of others. In the case of schizophrenia, Jameson ties it to the concept of hyperspace. Using architecture in the postmodern period as his example, Jameson discusses the way we no longer have clear insides and outsides, the disorienting design of buildings. Hyperspace, he suggests, demands that we grow new sensory organs that we haven’t quite developed yet.
    A connection between the two pieces (other than their conviction that Capital in many ways is the driving force behind these changes) is in this idea of the lost center. What we can no longer believes in leaves us with multiples and multiple options without any clear way of getting our bearings. But where Jameson’s project is, thus far anyway, primarily to describe, Badiou is calling our attention to a lack and trying to fill it.
    His solution seems to me like it parallels my understanding of post-structuralism’s move –we’ll all agree that there is a thing that we could call Meaning, but we won’t claim to be able to produce it or get at it. Language will be able to move closer or further from an empty center called Meaning that we will never be able to get to. Similarly, Badiou says philosophy will put forth the claim that there is Truth, but it can’t be articulated or defined. Instead, we will have multiple (compossible?) truths. That Badiou then says that “philosophy is possible today, only if it is compossible with Lacan” is unsurprising (84), since Lacan is invested in a psychoanalytic project similar to the post-structuralist project.
    Assuming I’m understanding all this, one question that struck me was whether Badiou makes any attempt to differentiate between rhetoric and sophistry? Particularly when he is saying “what the ancient or modern sophist claims to impose is that there is no truth, that the concept of truth is useless and uncertain, since there are only conventions, rules, types of discourse or language games” (119), his sophistry sounds a lot like my understanding of part of rhetoric as a field of study. I say part of because while making claims like those, we’re also often invested in discussing the ethics of a situation, since truth can’t be achieved, or discussing the advantages and disadvantages of multiple possibilities. I guess what really hangs me up here is that, given that he introduces the concept of truth for both sophists and philosophers, I can see why they’re opposed. But I’m not sure I see why it matters quite so much to him to oppose them. If philosophy needs to change, why not claim that sophists ought to as well? It almost seems as if they need to remain in this position in order for philosophy to measure itself against them.

  6. Metaphysical Baggage Claim
    According to Jameson, there existed a “metaphysical baggage” carted around by the entire Modern period (12). Within (or part of) this metaphysical baggage, is the concept of “truth”- which, for Jameson, is indicative of the Modern era and something that Post-Modernists (naturally) sought to abandon (Jameson 12). Without the “truth seekers” of the modern period, their baggage (while arguably picked up by the post-modernists, just disguised in coding) remains in the carousels.
    While the “truth-seekers” could very well be part of both modernism (most likely) and post-modernism, Jameson indicates that post-modern period may instead be clinging to nostalgia through their “periodization.” The tendency toward nostalgia is born from Jameson’s “postliteracy” which he claims reflects “the absence of any great collective project” (Jameson 17). Jameson also mentions the “unavailability of the older language.” The “breaking of bonds” that Badiou cites in his chapter on “nihilism” is aligned with Jameson’s account of Lacan’s view of the schizophrenic. Lacan’s schizophrenic doesn’t contain the ability to string moments together – instead, only a series of moments without a connection. This is reminiscent of Badiou’s claim that our society today lacks the “bonds” that “sustained individuals” in past times – a problem brought upon by the “abstract potency of Capital” (Badious 55). Carrying the notion of “abstract potency” over to Jameson, one could draw a connection between it and the postmodern cultural products that are claimed to be “free-floating and impersonal and tend to be dominated by a peculiar kind of euphoria…” (Jameson 16).
    This almost concurrent theme of nostalgia and broken bonds leads into the discussion of truth (little ‘t’ truth) and for Badiou, a moment of necessity that I think Jameson would agree has been masked by our desire to grasp the affect of past times within artistic forms such as films and novels. Badiou affirms this with his accusation that philosophy has “clung to language, to literature, to writing…” (Badiou 58).
    It seems that this abandonment of/desire to abandon “truth” by the poststructuralists/post-modernists is aligned with Badiou’s take on (as I will call them) Big T truth and little t truth. Just as the postmodernists desire to rally against being “truth seekers,” I think Badiou would suggest that instead of seeing this modernist/post-modernist struggle as desiring to find the truth in any one object or moment, we should perhaps discretely pick up the baggage of the modernists and root through it to find the “potential power of philosophy today” – which is to wonder, it is possible for Jameson’s “metaphysical baggage” to facilitate the truth which would “stem from a singular procedure?” (one of Badiou’s criteria for truth)

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