4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Badiou gets unstuck on his road to Damascus,
This review is from: Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism (Cultural Memory in the Present) (Paperback)
Contrary to a reviewer below how describes this work as a 'pastiche of fashionable philosophical talk' or whatever, this is in fact the easiest read I have come across in Badiou's output. It is paradoxically both the best introduction to his system and its potential undoing.
The intrigue starts with that subtitle: 'the foundation of universalism.' According to Badiou's system of ontological multiplicity and the non-ontological logic of events, no foundation of universalism should be possible. So what is going on?
Badiou attempts to prove that in St. Paul he has discovered a perfect example of a Badiouian truth procedure in action. Pure positivity. No Christ dying on the cross, only the fidelity of Paul to the resurrection.
Badiou is fully aware of the critiques that his theory of the event looks an awful lot like repackaged Catholicism, so by adopting St. Paul he is in a way adopting that old trick of turning defence into attack. Like the homosexual who wears the title 'fag' with pride, Badiou hangs St. Paul round his neck as if to further provoke and defuse his detractors.
But this is a secular appropriation. As a taunt against the prevailing politically correct orthodoxy, or traditional Marxists: fine. But as work ontologically consistent with his system: I'm not so sure.
Foundations mean fixed predicates. And doesn't the idea of Christian universalism in the end work against the very tenets of Badiou's system that claim no true predicates can be fixed?