In Dialogue with Alain Badiou
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.
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