“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Consequence of Badiou's Ontology

(See my immediately previous.) One malign result of Badiou's view is that it's plagued by Sorites paradoxes: when something is nearly dead how identical is it with itself? Where is the line?


Dominic said...

"We are first tempted to say that a thing is dead when, in the world of reference, its degree of existence is minimal, or when it inexists in this world. Asserting that a thing is dead would be tantamount to concluding that identity of the thing to itself is equal to the minimal degree. This would also means that death is the absolute non-identity to self. But absolute non-identity to self defines inexistence, and not death. Death must be something other as inexistence, because death happens, and this « happening » necessarily concerns an existent, and not the inexistent of the world."

I take it then that as far as Badiou's concerned, there's no such thing as "being dead": if you've reached the minimal degree of existence, you're just not there (in the world) at all. For as long as there's anything there about which you can ask "is it dead or not"?, it's not: the worst is not, so long as we can say "this is the worst".

In the case of my death, my body obviously isn't going to just wink out of existence the moment my heart stops beating. But "my" death and my body's death (its obliteration, its reduction to a minimal degree of existential intensity) are not identical. My body will go on existing even when I do not (unless I get vapourised in a nuclear explosion, or something like that).

ARP said...

it is said that when a metaphor dies, it becomes part of everyday language. that becoming-death is a mutation. The Heraclitean fragments "it all flows" and "life is war" have conjoined for me in reading this thread. thank you both. :)

ARP said...

I had read that when a metaphor dies it becomes part of everyday language.

This becoming-death is a *mutation*, as Bourdieu uses that term.

I have not read Badiou or even de Certeau as been recommended to me - and I'm so glad others do :)

A long standing memory just flooded back - the Heraclitean fragments "Life is war" and "it all flows" have now conjoined.

Nuclear explosion! I am reminded of Ubik by Philip K Dick. Kind regards.