Friday, 28 August 2009

Affirmationism Again

ALAIN BADIOU: It seems to me that the problem with philosophical commitment is that it is often thought to be primarily critical. Very often, one equates philosophy and critique. So that philosophical commitment would ultimately amount to saying what is evil, what is suffering, of saying what’s not acceptable, or what is false. The task of philosophy would be primarily negative: to entertain doubt, the critical spirit, and so on and so forth. I think this theme must be absolutely overturned.The essence of philosophical interventionis really affirmation. Why is it affirmation? Because if you intervene with respect to a paradoxical situation,or if you intervene with regard to a relationthat is not a relation, you will have to propose a new framework of thought, and you will have to affirm that it is possible to think this paradoxical situation, on condition, of course, that a certain number of parameters be abandoned, and a certain number of novelties introduced. And when all is said and done, the only proof for this is that you will propose a new way of thinking the paradox. Consequently, the determinant element of philosophical intervention is affirmative – a point on which I agree with Deleuze. When Deleuze says that philosophy is in its essence the construction of concepts, he is right to put forward this creative and affirmative dimension, and to mistrust any critical or negative reduction of philosophy. When you just said that we should understand ‘inhuman’ as something other than a negation, I am obviously entirely in agreement with you. Once again I regret to say that we continue to be indefinitely in agreement, which besides proves that we engage in affirmation and not negation. ‘Inhuman’ must be understood as the affirmative conceptual element from within which one thinks the displacement of the human. And this displacement of the human always presupposes that one has accepted that the initial correlationis the link between the human and the inhuman, and not the perpetuation of the human as such.
Thanks to the Institute

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