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The Persistence of the NegativeA Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory$
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Benjamin Noys

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638635

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638635.001.0001

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On the Edge of the Negative: Badiou

On the Edge of the Negative: Badiou

(p.134) 5. On the Edge of the Negative: Badiou
The Persistence of the Negative

Benjamin Noys

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter re-reads the work of Alain Badiou as a probing of the problem of negativity. Tracing the history of Badiou’s political involvement in the radical Maoist formations of the 1970s suggests how he tries to articulate a politics of destruction and subtraction. Turning to Badiou’s more recent work on formalising the logic of negation the chapter traces inconsistency in the attempt to subordinate negation to affirmation. Probing Badiou’s dismissal of certain radical forms of politics as forms of nihilism the chapter closes with a consideration, prompted by Badiou, of the Western as an aesthetic form able to convey a sense of political courage. Against his explicit intentions, Badiou’s work gives a sense of what it might mean to depart from the ‘affirmationist consensus’, and the possibilities of an alternative form of political negativity.

Keywords:   Alain Badiou, Politics, Logic, Negation, Nihilism, Western (film genre)

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