‘Badiou and the German Tradition of Philosophy’ edited by Jan Völker

Published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019. Download link updated on 24. June 2021.

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The oeuvre of Alain Badiou has gained international success and recognition, but most of the secondary literature focuses on internal problems of Badiou’s philosophy, rather than its position within a broader philosophical genealogy.

This book unites philosophers from Germany, Slovenia, the UK, Australia and France, to trace the relation between elements of Badiou’s philosophy and the German philosophical tradition, namely the three significant movements of German Idealism, Phenomenology, Marxism and the Frankfurt School. This is a discussion that has not yet been established, although the parallels and decisive differences between poststructuralist French philosophy and German philosophy are apparent.

Through these paradigms – Badiou’s reception of German Idealism, Marxism, Adorno and the Critical Theory, and Heideggerian phenomenology – the authors shed light onto Badiou’s inheritance of and engagement with these specific traditions, but also highlight the links between these philosophies to open up new questions for contemporary continental thought.

With an original chapter from Alain Badiou himself, looking back at his influences and antagonisms within the German tradition, this book is essential for readers interested in the exploration of Badiou’s legacy. It illustrates the continuation of poststructuralist philosophy, Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School, assessing the place of classic continental philosophy to tackle how we might benefit from these intellectual exchanges today.


Table of Contents

Introduction – The Transmission and Its Moment by Jan Völker

1. Beyond Negative Dialectics by Alain Badiou
2. Badiou, Kant and the Question of the Subject by Rado Riha
3. Lack and Concept: On Hegelian Motives in Badiou by Dominik Finkelde
4. Hegel’s Immanence of Truths by Frank Ruda
5. The Torsion of Idealism by Jan Völker
6. Marx, an ‘Antiphilosopher’? Or Badiou’s Philosophical Politics of Demarcation by Svenja Bromberg
7. The Question Concerning Technology: Badiou versus Heidegger by Justin Clemens
8. Can a Philosopher Have Dirty Hands? What Adorno Has to Say about Badiou by Alexander García Düttmann
9. Yes and No, Adorno or Badiou: The Negativity of the Subject by Christoph Menke
10. Badiou and Adorno on Philosophy and Music by Jelica Sumič
11. Form and Affect: Artistic Truth in Adorno and Badiou by Rok Benčin


Alain Badiou is a French Marxist philosopher, novelist and playwright. Born in Rabat, Morocco, Badiou completed high school in Toulouse before moving to Paris for undergraduate studies at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure (ENS), where he worked closely with Louis Althusser, but was never one of the select group of disciples who came to be known as Althusserians. After completing his obligatory military service, Badiou taught in Reims, first at a lycée, then at the university. In 1968 he was invited by Michel Foucault to join the department of philosophy at Vincennes (University of Paris VIII), where his colleagues included Hélène Cixous, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean-François Lyotard. After spending 30 years at Vincennes, Badiou left in 1998 to return to his alma mater ENS. The primary philosophical system developed by Alain Badiou is constructed in Being and Event, Logics of Worlds: Being and Event II, and the forthcoming Immanence of Truths: Being and Event III. Badiou’s model of praxis is usually described as subtractive because it operates on the premise that political action can only work if it subtracts itself from the power and processes of the state. Throughout his career, Badiou has been actively involved in politics. During the events of May ’68 he was a member of highly vocal Maoist groups. In more recent times he has been involved with L’Organisation Politique, a politicized group he helped found. Because of its powerfully political texture, Badiou’s philosophy is increasingly widely read today, a measure both of the volatility of the times and the lucidity of his thought.

Jan Völker is Assistant Professor, Berlin University of the Arts, Germany.

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