Non-Cantorian Theory of the Multiple

counting2

Over at Object-Oriented Philosophy, Graham Harman and (at Larval Subjects) Levi Bryant have been carrying on a discussion of Badiou’s idea of the count (and its related concepts, i.e. inconsistent & consistent multiple etc.) and what effect it has on the status of objects (real or subjective, etc.).Here is a taste:

if I were to start saying: “I’m a Badiouian, but I think that rocks and earthworms are also capable of invoking the generic through art, politics, science and love,” what do you honestly think Badiouians would say in this case? Would they say: “Cool. Badiou never specifies that it has to be a human”? You know full well that they would dismiss such a position as vitalist crap. The whole spirit of Badiou’s philosophy is of a militant human subject disrupting given states-of-situations in truth events.

The discussion strikes something that I have been bouncing around in my readings of Badiou. First, I must admit that there is something that I like about the language of the count, which is to say that I like it better than say Deleuze & Guattari’s discussion of infinite speeds and slowing down. But, second, I have found myself troubled by it in a way that is similiar to Graham and Levi’s discussions of it. It strikes me that Badiou and his discussion of the the count-as-one sounds remarkable close to Plato’s description of the demiure in the Timeaus. Specifically, the demiurge (the rational ordering God) is confronted by the choas of pure nothingness; a nothingness without void, but excessive becoming without order. The demiurge then “orders” the nothing under the function of same and different (following Plato’s understanding of order). Doesn’t this sound an awful lot like Badiou’s conception of the movement from the inconsistent multiple to the consistent multiple via the count. Badiou’s willingness to accept his “platonism” aside, this can be quite troubling for a materialist.

This brings us to the second point. Taylor Adkins (Speculative Heresy) and myself will soon publish a translation of Francois Laruelle’s “review” of Deleuze & Guattari’s What is Philosophy? in the next issue of PLI. In this article, Laruelle states that what is needed is a “Non-Cantorian Theory of the Multiple.” This is a curious concept indeed. Since finishing the translation, I have been trying to figure out what this would entail. Obviously, it would be an understanding of the multiple without count, a given without givenness. We have here a first step in a non-philosophical critique of Badiou (with Meillassoux being guilty by association). I wish I had more to say but I have quite got it down yet. It will come. Eventually.

Advertisements

~ by stellarcartographies on February 15, 2009.

3 Responses to “Non-Cantorian Theory of the Multiple”

  1. […] and Levi. The debate continues briefly, as Graham recounts here; and Stellar Cartographies also hints at a possible non-philosophical spin on the […]

  2. […] critique of Badiou on the grounds of onto-ontology. Stellar Cartographies weighs in making its own points. Reid over at Planomenology has two excellent posts developing a critique of Badiou’s account […]

  3. […] critique of Badiou on the grounds of onto-ontology. Stellar Cartographies weighs in making its own points. Reid over at Planomenology has two excellent posts developing a critique of Badiou’s account of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: