I couldn’t have said it better myself:

The supposed neutrality of Badiou “not saying what does the counting” does not get him off the hook. He does not deserve the benefit of the doubt here. We all know that humans can assemble things in sets, and we all know that Badiou’s examples of events that go beyond the state of the situation are all things experienced by humans. (And it seems pretty clear to me that they are also generated by humans. What’s the point of a militant philosophy like Badiou’s if you’re going to claim that “Being” is responsible for the Chinese Cultural Revolution? That’s Heidegger, not Badiou.)

Read the rest here.

One of the things I’ve found very difficult as I’ve worked through Badiou on this blog and elsewhere is that often there seem to be a set of normative commitments that cloud discussions of just these sorts of very basic issues. On the one hand, there seems to be so much excitement and fascination surrounding Badiou’s account of events, the subject, and truth (which I think are largely solutions to a poorly posed problem, stemming from an underdetermined, yet fascinating, ontology), that scant attention gets devoted to how Badiou proposes to account for the structuration of what, in Being and Event he called “situations” and in Logiques des mondes he now calls “worlds”. Certainly we deserve a robust account of the transition from inconsistent multiplicities to consistent multiplicities.

Badiou’s discussion of the count-as-one seems designed precisely to give such an account (pardon the pun), yet this solution, regardless of whether Badiou describes it as “materialism”, seems doomed to lead us into idealism. Badiou’s discussions of materialism appear to be based on a sort of equivocation or sophism where a position is described as “materialist” if it mathematizes the world, yet is there not a difference between the material and the mathematical? More worrying, it seems impossible to treat the count-as-one as doing the work of structuring situations without presupposing a counter. Now Badiou can, following Husserl and Frege in their critique of Mill and psychologism, make noises about how this counter is not human; but ultimately he must still be talking about some version of a transcendental subject. All worlds then get shackled to the activity of this transcendental subject as what structures situations through the count-as-one, undermining the possibility of entities that are as they are regardless of the presence of any subject. What we thus seem to get in Badiou– amply confirmed by his turn to “the transcendental” in his most recent work –is a new variant of Kantianism or correlationism sans the categories of the understanding and the role played by intuition and finitude.

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