On the Path to a New Thinking of the Absolute

  • Alain Badiou
Keywords: materialism, Spinoza, the Absolute, infinity, set theory, mathematics


The purpose of the text is to show that contemporary materialism has to assume the existence of an absolute ontology which thematizes the existence of the referential universe and has four main features. The first thinker who claimed that consequential materialism demands the absolute referent was Spinoza. The disagreement with Spinoza means that God or the absolute referent cannot have the form of the One. To claim that God is dead means less to claim the death of transcendence and more the death of The One and Unique. One has to find the immanent and absolute ontological guarantee on the side of the multiple as such, which retains four key principles: immobility, composition on the basis of nothing, axiomatic prescription, and the principle of maximality – this is successfully done by set theory. In the second part of the text counterarguments to many objections to this absolute referent (concerning infinity, undecidability, the multiplicity of logics) based on recent developments in the field of mathematics are presented. In this way the relationship between philosophy and mathematics is presented, as well as the fundamental wager: yes, it is possible to practice absoluteness of thought of the pure multiple, which is nothing but an atheistic replacement of monotheism including its immanent form presented in the works of Spinoza and Deleuze, however, on condition that we engage in rigorous mathematics.


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How to Cite
Badiou A. On the Path to a New Thinking of the Absolute. FV [Internet]. 2016Feb.6 [cited 2020Jun.3];32(3). Available from: https://ojs.zrc-sazu.si/filozofski-vestnik/article/view/4166