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On UniversalsConstructing and Deconstructing Community$
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Etienne Balibar

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823288564

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823288564.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

On Universalism

On Universalism

In Dialogue with Alain Badiou

(p.84) 4 On Universalism
On Universals

Étienne Balibar

, Joshua David Jordan
Fordham University Press

This chapter explores ideas and arguments with Alain Badiou on the theme of universalism and universality. It argues that a philosophical discourse on the categories of the universal, universality, and universalism—their meaning and use—must be a critical discourse. The chapter then adopts a critical and dialectic point of view in order to elucidate a discourse of universalism that allows one to incorporate its contradictory conditions, the contradictions that always already affect its conditions. It indicates three orientations which are particularly significant from this point of view. The first has to do with the dilemmas or dichotomized utterances of universalism in philosophy; the second concerns the intrinsic ambivalence of the institution of the universal, or the universal as “truth”; and the third deals with what can be called, in quasi-Weberian terms, the responsibility (or responsibilities) involved in a politics of the universal that many support.

Keywords:   Alain Badiou, universalism, universality, philosophical discourse, universal, philosophy

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