The only possible ontology of the One, Badiou maintains, is theology. The only legitimately posttheological ontological attribute, by implication, is multiplicity. If God is dead, it follows that the “central problem” of philosophy today is the articulation of “thought immanent to the multiple” (D, 12). Each of the truly inventive strands of contemporary philosophy—Badiou mentions Deleuze and Lyotard in particular, along with Derrida's “dissemination” and Lacan's “dispersive punctuality of the real”—have thus presumed the “radical originality of the multiple, ” meaning pure or inconsistent multiplicity, multiplicity that is ontologically withdrawn from or inaccessible to every process of unification, every counting-as-one. 1 For Lyotard and Deleuze, of course, such multiplicity is caught up with (the neo-Aristotelian) substantial or intensive connotations of difference, fragmentation, and incommensurability. We know that Badiou's innovation is to subtract the concept of multiplicity per se from any such reference, however implicit, to the notion of substantial differences between multiples, indeed from the very medium of the “between.” Instead, “what comes to ontological thought is the multiple without any other predicate other than its multiplicity. Without any other concept than itself, and without anything to guarantee its consistency” (CT, 29).
Since the concept of the multiple is subtracted from any constituent reference to unity or units, its only conceivable foundational point must be void