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In Praise Of Love Paperback – 12 Apr 2012
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Scarcely any other moral philosopher of our day is as politically clear-sighted and courageously polemical, so prepared to put notions of truth and universality back on the agenda (Terry Eagleton)
One of the most important philosophers writing today (Joan Copjec)
A philosopher who is far from willing to abandon humanity to the vicissitudes of so-called global capitalism (Mark Fisher)
French philosopher Alain Badiou turns his attention to loveSee all Product description
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The theory of the market assumes that every person is merely pursuing his own interests. In the days of neoliberalism, this idea has now penetrated all the pores of society and has also affected love affairs. Badiou stresses the importance of love as a counter-proof to the thesis of the omnipotence of self-interest. Love also shows that "one can experience the world differently than through a lonely consciousness and experience it differently".
Badiou sees the love threatened from both sides and understands its defense or even reinvention as a "philosophical task". This love is not simply an encounter and relationship between two individuals, but "a construction, a life that is no longer going from the point of view of the one, but of the two."
How can love be realized in the long run? This is the decisive question of Badiou. He understands it as a "stubborn adventure, the adventurous side is necessary, but the stubbornness is no less."
But, of course, an upright love does not protect itself from the disaster. A separation can break into every love, there is no protection. The uncertainty always remains, as long as one under love is something different from a comprehensive collision insurance. There is no love without risk for Badiou - only from admitting the unpredictable LOVE gains its intensity on the on the stage of the two.
The jacket promises that 'a figure like Plato walks here among us'. But this is not much like Plato (who manages to tell us both an exciting myth about love and develop a theory that can still inspire exciting modern commentary, for example in the short book Love and Death by Patrick Suskind).
Badiou does have a theory: love is the product of chance (he is scornful about doing research to prepare for love through dating agencies), which is then however harnessed through an 'event' into a 'Two Scene' in which we become aware of the otherness of another person. The enemy of this process being the selfishness inherent within ourselves. Love is intrinsically eternal refocussed from time to time through 'points' in our lives, as for instance if we have children with someone we love. Love isn't that much like politics, which is all about enemies (people you wouldn't be prepared to cede power to following a democratic election) nor yet religions, which try to harness the emotions of love for their own ends. Beckett is a great writer about love and its survival into old age.
While it's possible to summarise this theory - and I would say it's worth thinking about (a bit) - I'm not sure it's worth working through this text to get at the ideas. It's written in a highly abstruse style, a long way from empirical experience, and a work that clearly lies in the French rather than the Anglo-Saxon philosophical tradition. I'd say: try Plato's Symposium - or Suskind's book - for preference!
The notion of love being a value that we take build and take forward from a first significant encounter or moment was surprising as I wouldn't have expected him to hold up romantic love as a starting point.
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