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Theory of the Subject

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Theory of the Subject, first published in France in 1982, is without doubt one of Alain Badiou's most important works, laying many of the foundations for his magnum opus, Being and Event. Here Badiou seeks to provide a theory of the subject for Marxism through a study of Lacanian psychoanalysis, offering a major contribution to Marxism, as well as to the larger debate rega ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published 1982)
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This is Badiou's first major book, and it is about as hermetic and gnomic a book as Badiou will ever write. The central question that animates Badiou's entire corpus is, of course, the problem of the New, and in this book we find Badiou approaching the problem before having worked out his mathematical ontology in detail (though all his central concepts are already here: Event, Truth, Subject...)--thus Badiou is compelled to approach his topic through an engagement with all the familiar signposts ...more
Jul 06, 2009 J. rated it it was amazing
I write here so that neither I nor my interlocutors - intellectuals or not - ever become the one who, all told, can only meet the great dates of history by distributing herring vouchers.

A = (AAp)... [T:]he true but camouflaged contrary of A is the space of placement P: it is that which delegates the index. The givenness of A as being itself split into:
- its pure being, A
- its being placed, Ap
...Everything that exists is thus at the same time itself and itself-according-to-its-place.

Jun 01, 2013 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The main difference between this and the other two parts of his core works (Being & Event, Logics of Worlds) is that this reads in a much more "traditional" continental style of neologisms, weaving poetic sentences, short stabbing aphorisms and references to literature and poetry. In this respect, it reflects the other writers of the day and the influence they had on those around them. This is Badiou before mathematical rigour and his desire for as much clarity as is possible in his increasi ...more
Billy Dean
I'll admit this book has its occasional mire (getting stuck in which is often enough to deter readers from going any further), but I'd agree with Bruno Bosteels in calling this a masterpiece--perhaps THE most important work in Badiou's corpus. If you get off on set theory and Lacan, I can't recommend this highly enough.
Karlo Mikhail
Feb 24, 2016 Karlo Mikhail rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
A tour-de-force of Marxism-Leninism. Badiou captures some really significant thoughts and offers some outstanding work in formalizing them into mathemes. I especially appreciated his reworking of materialist dialects without the use of negation: scission/determination/limit.

Badiou also accomplishes a rather novel feat in working Marxism and Psychoanalysis into a theoretical overture of the subject. In thinking through the subject-effects of anxiety, superego, courage and justice, Badiou comes up
Aug 29, 2009 Steve is currently reading it
Shelves: philosophy
Still working on it.

This book starts by laying out a mathematical delineation of the ontic and ontological. Badiou is attempting to address those things which are conditional upon situations and those things which transcend situational specificity. He uses a mathematical system that reminds me much of general linear algebra. I hear that this book does much to address Marx, Lacan, and a synthesis of the two in a way very different than, say, someone like Zizek does. I hope I get more about Lacan
Evelyn R
Apr 16, 2016 Evelyn R rated it really liked it
Great engagements with subjectivity and Marxism. I don't have any background in Lacan, but I understood how it was working with Althusser and that tradition, so I was able to grasp it pretty well. Probably a must-read if you want to understand Badiou, but it's certainly a formidable work.

Full review here:
Jul 28, 2011 Phillip rated it did not like it
I decided not to finish this because it's quite difficult, I'm simply not that interested in the metaphysics of subjectivity, and I have more important things to do. That being said, I'm sure it's really brilliant stuff, but I have no wish to wrap my head around it.
Steven Felicelli
Jul 03, 2012 Steven Felicelli rated it did not like it
one star, but it's undoubtedly a great book - I quote Flann O'brien

"It is surely the handiwork of wisdom, because not one word of it do I understand."
Feb 28, 2013 Ariadna73 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I didn't understand a lot of it, but I am glad that there are still philosophers out there. I am a firm believer that philosophy will save our world.
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Alain Badiou, Ph.D., born in Rabat, Morocco in 1937, holds the Rene Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School EGS. Alain Badiou was a student at the École Normale Supérieure in the 1950s. He taught at the University of Paris VIII (Vincennes-Saint Denis) from 1969 until 1999, when he returned to ENS as the Chair of the philosophy department. He continues to teach a popular seminar at the Coll ...more
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