Three Modalities of the Immanent Infinitude: Life, Matter and Thought in Henry, Deleuze and Badiou

Senselogic

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Abstract

In this essay I attempt to explicate the sense in which Michel Henry’s reductive phenomenology rendering Life as affectivity resonates with Alain Badiou’s subtractive ontology rendering the subject as eternity in time. I claim that these two modes of subjectivity are the two modalities of the Real manifesting itself as quality (Henry’s patheme) and quantity (Badiou’s matheme). As the two anti-thetical components of a complementary mode of being and thinking, Henry’s and Badiou’s shifting conceptualisations of the subject constitute a new understanding of the human. In Henry the subject takes the form of the human before its reflection in philosophy and objectification by science. This non-human being of the subject is compared and contrasted with Badiou’s inhuman being of the subject which distinguishes between the human animal and the immortal subject of truth. Henry and Badiou proclaim a move away from the human-animal-machine and towards the human in human…

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