Badiou and Plato: An Education by Truths

Badiou and Plato: An Education by Truths

Badiou and Plato: An Education by Truths

Badiou and Plato: An Education by Truths


An interrogation of Plato's entire work using the concepts and categories of Alain Badiou. This is the first book to critically address and draw consequences from Badiou's claim that his work is a 'Platonism of the multiple' and that philosophy today requires a 'platonic gesture'. Examining the relationship between Badiou and Plato, Bartlett radically transforms our perception of Plato's philosophy and rethinks the central philosophical question: 'what is education?'


‘And so not here only but in the journey of a thousand years of
which I have told you, we shall fare well.’ (R. 621d)

C’est la vielle.’ (TS, 346)

‘… you are already committed.’ (Pascal, Pensées)

In a short meditation concerning the pedagogical relation between art and philosophy, Alain Badiou makes the claim that ‘the only education is an education by truths’ (HB, 15). There are at least three key assumptions supporting this claim: the existence of truths; the existence of education; and the link between the two, a link that in fact requires that education be thought as something other than an adjunct to any institutional form. What we seek to do in this work is to enquire into the possibility of ‘an education by truths’. If, as is the case for Badiou, truths are what force ‘holes in knowledge’, which interrupt, subvert and are subtracted from the circulating rule of opinion or the ‘encyclopaedia’ – for Badiou, the order, rule and currency of the ‘state’ – then what we are seeking has to be a non-state education. What we present here, through a new reading of the Platonic corpus, is an elaboration of what might constitute such an ‘education’, an education that, as by truths, has done with the state.

BADIOU: intervention and dialectic

Two ‘methodological injunctions’ bookend Alain Badiou’s Being and Event. the first:

The categories that this book deploys, from the pure multiple to
the subject, constitute the general order of a thought such that it
can be practised across the entirety of the contemporary system of
reference. These categories are available for the service of scientific
procedures just as they are for those of politics or art. They attempt

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