What Is Philosophy?
This is now a relatively simple question to answer, and it is no accident that this should be among the shortest chapters of the book. All truths are matters of thought, and thought is not the special prerogative of philosophy. Philosophy is thought thinking itself. Badiou defines philosophy as “the apprehension in thought of the conditions under which thought is exercised, in its different registers” (AM, 99). Truths occur regardless of philosophy, and “eternity” takes place without consulting a philosopher; philosophy is simply that discipline which “pays attention to the conditions whereby eternity comes to pass” (TA, 17.12.97). This paying attention, however, is itself an entirely inventive, fully specific dimension of thought. A truth must find its philosopher, in whatever guise, in order to be identified and affirmed as truth. There is nothing in the truth procedures themselves that performs this function, since a truth procedure need not be conscious of itself in order to proceed (anyone who has been in love can confirm the point).
The truths invented in love, art, science, and politics are the conditions rather than the objects of philosophy. Strictly speaking, philosophy has no distinct object. The history of philosophy is precisely the history of its deobjectivation, its subtraction from the myriad empirical domains initially claimed by Aristotle's encyclopedic embrace. 1 Today, cognitive science claims to explain the processes of understanding and knowledge, mathematics has absorbed logic, and the study of morality is caught up with anthropology and
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Publication information: Book title: Badiou: A Subject to Truth. Contributors: Peter Hallward - Author. Publisher: University of Minnesota Press. Place of publication: Minneapolis. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 243.
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