It saddens me to see so much shade thrown at Badiou and Zizek; especially by my Deleuzian friends. Are their philosophies problematic? To be sure. However, I think what each enunciates is today absolutely necessary and completely timely. Against what might unfairly be called a sort of anodyne Critchley pragmatism, it could be said that Zizek and Badiou call for us to will the impossible and to commit even where what we commit to appears doomed to defeat and failure. Put a bit differently, Zizek and Badiou both refuse that game theoretical logic where we determine what we should do based on what we believe others will do. “I will inform on my partner because I believe he will inform on me! At least this way I’ll get a lighter sentence!” “I will vote this way rather than the way I wish to vote because I believe others will vote this way and my vote will be wasted if I vote differently.” Increasingly I can’t help but believe that there is a sort of evil that precedes evil; an evil that precedes the evil of the act. It is the evil of cowardice– something I’ve often known in my life –that refuses to take that leap because it is believed the situation is hopeless and impossible. This sort of compromise of ones desire or truth is an evil that precedes the act because this sort of reasoning ensures that evil or wrong triumphs. Such is the outcome of game theoretical, political pragmatism (not to be confused with the philosophy of pragmatism defended by James, Dewey, and Peirce). It is strange to find myself agreeing with Kant’s position in “On the Supposed Right to Lie”, but if Kant is right, then this is first because we never know what the other will ultimately do because they are themselves autonomous beings, and second because the only way to make the impossible possible is by choosing the impossible or by making the imprudent decision.
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