The difference between my position and Žižek’s is a very complex question. Sometimes I am very near to Žižek, sometimes I am not exactly in agreement. I think, in fact, that our projects are not the same.

I think that the brilliant work of Žižek is something like the creation of a conceptual matrix that has the power to shed new light on a great field of cultural facts: movies, books, sexual differences, sexual practices, psychoanalysis, and so on. And so I read Žižek as a strange and completely new composition, the composition of a conceptual nucleus between Lacan and German Idealism. He is an absolutely singular unification of Lacan and Kant, Schelling, and Hegel. With this sort of conceptual nucleus, with this conceptual matrix, Žižek can interpret anything in the world. You can ask him, ‘What do you think about this horrible movie?’ And he will have a brilliant interpretation that is much better than the actual movie because his conceptual matrix is very strong and very convincing.

That is, in my opinion, why Žižek is not exactly in the field of philosophy, but in the field of a new topology, a new topology for the interpretation of concrete facts in a situation, political events and so on. Though, here, I mean interpretation not in the hermeneutic sense, but in the psychoanalytic sense. Žižek offers us something like a general psychoanalysis, a psychoanalysis that exceeds the question of clinics and becomes an absolutely general psychoanalysis. This is the first time that anyone has proposed to psychoanalyze our whole world.

My work is ultimately much more classical. It belongs to the field of philosophy, to the field of ontological propositions, and concerns a theory of the relation between truth and the subject. So my fundamental concerns are things like being qua being, the event, the subject, truth, and the distinction between constructed multiplicities and generic multiplicities. My work is systematic philosophy in the great tradition of systematic philosophy that stretches from Plato to today.

Alain Badiou on his friend Slavoj Žižek in an interview with Alain Badiou, Universal Truths & the Question of Religion, conducted (and translated) by Adam S. Miller, Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, back in 2006.

Readers Comments

  1. I´m happy to learn that BADIOU´s brilliant book on saint Paul and universalism is being discussed. I rather feared the book had already been forgotten. I find the theme of universalism extremely relevant just now, when Europe seems to be swept away in an avalanche of right-wing Blut und Boden.

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