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Pocket Pantheon: Figures of Postwar Philosophyby Alain Badiou
"For Badiou, having made the wrong choice when active resistance was called for can discredit much of a philosopher's work. What he calls for, what shapes his responses to the legacy of the dead, is not simply a call to philosophical activism in such straits, but for philosophy to enable one to live life with dignity and honesty." W. C. Bamberger, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
Synopses & Reviews
In this pint-sized collection of essays, Alain Badiou takes the reader through a keen yet poignant journey through the pantheon of late twentieth-century philosophy. Through the course of the collection — each essay homage to a figure that helped to shape his own way of thinking — Badiou reveals and engages with his own intellectual roots. Through tributes to his teachers, allies and opponents — Althusser, Sartre, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze and Derrida, among others — Badiou conveys the richness and depth of this philosophical tradition, a tradition that has largely been lost in our contemporary world of pop-philosophers and political pundits.
"An uneven and politically jaundiced collection of brief tributes to 14 deceased 20th-century French philosophers ranging from the renowned (Derrida, Foucault, Sartre) to those practically unknown outside of France (Gilles Chtelet, Franoise Proust) by one of the primary current contenders for the title of continental philosopher-king. Offering less an introductory primer on French thought than a series of theoretical appropriations and political alignments, Badiou (Being and Event) reinforces his own ideas on the relationship between thought and political action, Being as multiplicity and, most frequently, his own Maoist commitments. With a tendency to self-mythologize through association ('Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, Canguilhem, Verstraeten, Terray, and yours truly') and repeated invocation of the May 1968 student revolts, the author identifies political revolutionary aspects not only in Althusser, as expected, but in the thought of Lacan and even Lyotard. Meanwhile, on the theoretical level, Derrida's notion of linguistic slippage is packaged into an account of 'degrees of existence,' all the more confusing for its brevity. Neither a truly illuminating introduction to French philosophy nor to Badiou's own complex thought, this book's primary value is rather as a document of Badiou's strategic positionings and prejudices. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A journey through twentieth-century philosophy with the titan of French thought.
Pocket Pantheon is an invitation to engage with the greats of postwar Western thought, such as Lacan, Sartre and Foucault, in the company of one of today's leading political and philosophical minds. Alain Badiou draws on his encounters with this pantheon – his teachers, opponents and allies – to offer unique insights into both the authors and their work. These studies form an accessible, authoritative distillation of continental theory and a capsule history of a period in Western thought.
About the Author
Alain Badiou teaches philosophy at the École normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including Theory of the Subject, Being and Event, Manifesto for Philosophy, and Gilles Deleuze. His recent books include The Meaning of Sarkozy, Ethics, Metapolitics, Polemics, The Communist Hypothesis, Five Lessons on Wagner, and Wittgenstein's Anti-Philosophy.David Macey translated some twenty books from the French. He was the author of Lacan in Context, the acclaimed The Lives of Michel Foucault, and The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory. He died in October 2011. David Macey translated some twenty books from French to English. He was the author of Lacan in Context, the acclaimed The Lives of Michel Foucault, The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory and Frantz Fanon: A Biography. He died in October 2011.
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