Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Universalism, Truth, and St. Paul: interview w/ Badiou

Here is a great interview with Alain Badiou.
It is a great intro to his thought in the area of St. Paul, universalism and truth.

Here is a bit of it:

What is this new conception? For me,
something is universal if it is something that
is beyond established differences. We have
differences that seem absolutely natural to
us. In the context of these differences, the
sign of a new truth is that that these
differences become indifferent. So we have
an absorption of an evident natural
difference into something that is beyond that

A striking example, which is completely
different from the Pauline example, is the
example of the creation of a new physics by
Galileo. Before Galileo, there is a clear
difference between natural movements and
abstract mathematics. From Aristotle to the
16th century natural movement is conceived
of as something with local determinations,
as a kind of movement that is part of a
closed cosmology. With the Galileo-event
we have a completely new conception of
movement in which the difference between
concrete, natural movement on the one side
and mathematical analysis on the other side
becomes indifferent. This happens because
Galileo declares that the world itself is
written in mathematical language. The old
difference simply loses its pertinence.

Traditionally, universalism is conceived
as the realization of a universal judgment
about some real thing. This is something like
a grammatical conception of universalism.
Universality as a judgment is something that
you can find from Aristotle to Kant to
analytic philosophy today.

My conception is, on the contrary, a
creative one. Universalism is always the
result of a great process that opens with an
event. To create something universal is to go
beyond evident differences and separations.
This is, in my conviction, the great
difference between my conception of
universality (which, of course, is not only
my conception) and some traditional
conceptions of universality. It is also the
difference between a grammatical
conception of truth and my conception of
truth as a creation, a process, an event.

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