Jameson on Badiou: Ships Passing in the Night

Daniel Tutt

The American Marxist literary theorist Fredric Jameson’s latest article in the New Left Review, “Badiou and the French Tradition” (full PDF here) ends by noting the most important omissions Badiou makes throughout his oeuvre. I find Jameson’s reading of Badiou highly contradictory and sloppy at times. Jameson gives us a reading of Badiou that takes his thought from the ground of a schizophrenic position, a pastiche of philosophy in restless dialogue with all of the various major interlocutors of twentieth century Marxist and continental thought.

At times, Badiou owes his concepts to Husserl, at other times he remains caught within a Sartrean theory of the subject (Jameson isn’t convinced by either Sartre or Badiou on this topic), while still at other times Badiou’s truth procedures risk a Heideggerian reading of humanist authenticity – as virtuous modes of accessing one’s own historical truth in an authentic manner. Jameson doesn’t accept…

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