The Dialectic of Formalization


  • Magdalena Germek Independent researcher, Ljubljana, Slovenia



Badiou, truths, dialectic, formalization, dialectic of formalization


This article discusses the philosophy of Alain Badiou from the perspective of a formulation that we believe represents it succinctly: the dialectic of formalization. The main thesis of the article is that Badiou’s doctrine of the four truth procedures (politics, science, love, and art) can be understood as a doctrine of a dialectical realization of new and universal forms in the world. The dialectic of formalization announces a double procedure – an autonomous and creative procedure for the production of a new true form in the world and a process of the formation of continuity in discontinuity. Moreover, the dialectic of formalization represents a connection between Badiou’s mature work and his early writings from the late 1960s. Even though in the 1960s and 1970s Badiou had not yet introduced the concepts of subject and truth in the sense that he understands them today, it is possible to support the thesis that there is an indisputable connection between Badiou’s early concept of formalization and his later concept of generic truth procedure. We will try to show that the dialectic of formalization (Badiou’s own formulation) designates the continuity between Badiou’s early and mature work.


Download data is not yet available.


Badiou, Alain, Manifesto for Philosophy, trans. N. Madarasz, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1999.

Badiou, Alain, “Some Replies to a Demanding Friend”, trans. A. Toscano, in P. Hallward (ed.), Think Again. Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy, London and New York, Continuum, 2004, pp. 232–237.

Badiou, Alain, Metapolitics, trans. J. Barker, London, Verso, 2005.

Badiou, Alain, Briefings on Existence: A Short Treatise on Transitory Ontology, trans. N. Madarasz, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2006.

Badiou, Alain, The Century, trans. A. Toscano, Cambridge, Polity, 2007.

Badiou, Alain, The Concept of Model: An Introduction to the Materialist Epistemology of Mathematics, trans. Z. L. Fraser and T. Tho, Melbourne,, 2007.

Badiou, Alain, Conditions, trans. S. Corcoran. London, Continuum, 2008.

Badiou, Alain, Logics of Worlds: Being and Event, 2, trans. A. Toscano, London, Continuum, 2009.

Badiou, Alain, Theory of the Subject, trans. B. Bosteels, London, Continuum, 2009.

Badiou, Alain and Nicholas Truong, In Praise of Love, trans. P. Bush, London, Serpent’s Tail, 2012.

Badiou, Alain, Plato’s Republic: A Dialogue in Sixteen Chapters, with a Prologue and an Epilogue, trans. S. Spitzer, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2012.

Badiou, Alain, Being and Event, trans. O. Feltham, London, Bloomsbury, 2013.

Badiou, Alain, “The Autonomy of the Aesthetic Process”, trans. B. Bosteels, in A. Badiou, The Age of the Poets: And Other Writings on Twentieth-Century Poetry and Prose, London and New York, Verso, 2014, pp. 111–131.

Badiou, Alain, “Art and Mathematics”, trans. S. Corcoran, in Frank Ruda, Jan Völker (eds.), Art and Contemporaneity, Zürich-Berlin, Diaphanes, 2015, pp. 163–173.

Badiou, Alain, Can Politics Be Thought?, trans. B. Bosceels, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2018.

Badiou, Alain, Peter Hallward, and Bruno Bosteels, “Beyond Formalization: An Interview”, trans. B. Bosteels and A. Toscano, in B. Bosteels, Badiou and Politics, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2011, pp. 318–350.

Badiou, Alain, Zachary Luck Fraser, and Tzuchien Tho, “The Concept of Model, Forty Years Later: An Interview with Alain Badiou”, trans. Z. L. Fraser and T. Tho, in A. Badiou, The Concept of Model, Melbourne,, 2007, pp. 79–106.

Baki, Burhanuddin, Badiou’s Being and Event and the Mathematics of Set Theory, London, Bloomsbury, 2015.

Barker, Jason, Alain Badiou: A Critical Introduction, London, Pluto, 2002.

Bosteels, Bruno, Badiou and Politics, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2011.

Gillespie, Sam, The Mathematics of Novelty: Badiou’s Minimalist Metaphysics, Melbourne,, 2008.

Hallward, Peter, Badiou: A Subject to Truth, London, University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, The Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. T. Pinkard, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Lecourt, Dominique, Marxism and Epistemology: Bachelard, Canguilhem and Foucault, trans. B. Brewster, London, NLB, 1975.

Livingston, Paul, The Politics of Logic: Badiou, Wittgenstein, and the Consequences of Formalism, London and New York, Routledge, 2012.

Macherey, Pierre, A Theory of Literary Production, trans. G. Wall, London and New York, Routledge, 2006.

Šumič Riha, Jelica, “Towards a Materialism of the Real: The One of the Same”, Filozofski vestnik, 38 (2/2017), pp. 71–92.

Šumič Riha, Jelica, “Filozofija kot vzgoja z resnicami”, Filozofski vestnik, 31 (3/2010), pp. 149–162.

Voelker, Jan, “Obrniti in afirmirati avantgarde: nova paradigma politike”, trans. R. Benčin, Filozofski vestnik, 34 (3/2013), pp. 163–178.



2021-12-31 — Updated on 2022-04-05


How to Cite

Germek, M. (2022). The Dialectic of Formalization. Filozofski Vestnik, 42(1). (Original work published December 31, 2021)