W10-2 Badiou on Truth as Ethics

W10-2 Badiou on Truth as Ethics
Dr. Kyoo Lee
Below [I.] is an example of how to read philosophical texts: how to “abstract” key points from
an already abstract line of thoughts, while reconstructing the argument; note how Badiou is
drawing and building a logical and creative “line” of thinking. Philosophy is a creative math.
Jn12: Do a similar exercise when reading the remaining sections [II-IV] in Badiou’s essay:
provide your own reading notes, following the format used below or else your own method.
Jn13: By using Badiou’s words and formulations, provide a summary (two-three paragraphs,
one page) of his points; an extra credit will be given to a journal that adds a critical reflection.
Reading Alain Badiou, “The Ethic of Truths” in Ethics, pp. 40-57
Being, Event, Truth, Subject
[Concrete/Compositional Subject] "There is no ethics "in general" […]
because there is no abstract Subject." (40); "Subjects, which are the local
occurrences of the truth-process ("points" of truth), are particular and
incomparable." (44)
[Eventual Convocation] Thus an ethical situation, "the event which
compels us to decide a new way of being," calls for a "convocation." (40-1)
[Fidelity to Truth] Truth is then procedural; a decision as an ethical act
is an "eventual supplement," an acting "according to" the event. (41); "I
shall call "truth" (a truth) the real process of a fidelity to an event: that
which this fidelity produces in the situation." (42); A truth is then "an
immanent break. “Immanent” because a truth proceeds in the situation,
and nowhere else—there is no heaven of truths. "Break" because what
enables the truth-process—the event—meant nothing according to the
prevailing language and established knowledge of the situation." (42-3);
In that sense, one can define the subject, especially the ethical subjective,
as "the bearer [le support] of a fidelity, the one who bears a process of
truth."” (43)
[Immanent Invention] An ethical situation then "compels the subject to
invent a new way of being and acting" (42); "irreducible singularities,"
"the "beyond-the-law" of situations" (44)
[Return of/to truth] "It is with respect to the subjects of this kind that it
is—perhaps—legitimate to speak of "an ethic of truths."" (44)
Formal Definition of The Ethic of a Truth
The Experience of Ethical “Consistency”