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Alain Badiou “On a Finally Objectless Subject”

Badiou, Alain 1991. On a Finally Objectless Subject. – Cadava, Eduardo; Connor, Peter; Nancy, Jean-Luc (eds). Who Comes after the Subject?. New York and London: Routledge: 24-32

Which  amounts  to asking:  can we think  an objectless  subject?  In  the  twofold sense in  which, concerning such a subject, one can neither designate its correlate in presentation,  nor suppose that it answers to any of thought’s objectives. (24)

[…] thc form of the object cannot in any way sustain the  enterprise  of truth.  This  imperative  thus  raises  the  following  question:  Is  it possible to de-objectify the space of the subject? (24-25)

I call subject the local or finite status of a truth. A  subject is what is locally born out. […] The subject  is  woven  out of a  truth ,  it is what exists of truth in limited fragments.  A subject is that which a truth passes  through,  or this finite point through which, in  its infinite  being,  truth itself passes.  This transit excludes every  interior moment. (25)

One must come to conceive  of truth as  making a  hole  in  knowledge. (25)

(a)    A  subject  is  not  a  substance.  If  the  word  substance  has  a  meaning,  it designates  a  multiple  that  is  counted  as  one  in  a  situation .  The  intrinsic indiscernibility into which a generic procedure resolves excludes a subject’s being substantial. (26)

(b)    Nor is a subject an empty point. The void, which is a proper name of bei ng, is  inhuman  and  a subjective.  It is an ontological  concept.  In add ition,  it is clear  that  a  truth  is realized  as  multiplicity  and  not  as  punctuality. (26)

(c)    A subject is  in  no sense the organi zing of a  meaning of experience .  It  is not a  transcendental  function . […]We should  also  differentiate  meaning  and  truth.  A  generic proced ure  reali zes  the post-even tual truth of a s ituation,  but this  indiscernible  multiple  in  which  a  truth  consists  yields  up  no  meani ng. (26-27)

(d)   A  subject is not an  invariant of presentation .  The subject is rare in that the generic  procedure runs diagonally to the situation. One could add  that each subject  is  rigorously  singular,  being  the  generic procedure  of a  situation that is  itself si ngular.  The  statement  “There  is  subject” {il y a du sujet} is uncertain  or  haphazard:  it  is  not transitive with  respect  to  being. (27)

(e)    A  subject  is  nei ther  a  result  nor  an  origin.  It  is  the  local status  of  the procedure,  a  configuration  that  exceeds  the situation. (27)

I  will call  subjectivization the emergence  of an operator  that  is  consecutive to the interventional  naming that decides the event. (27))

Subjectivization  is  the  interventional  naming from  the point  of  view of the  situation,  i. e., the  rule  governing  the  intrasituational  effects  of putting a supernumerary  name into  circulation. […] Subjectivization, i.e. ,  the singular configuration of a rule, subsumes the Two of which  it  consists  in  the  absence  of meaning of a  proper  name.  (27)

The proper name here designates that the subject, qua situated and local configuration, is  neither the  intervention nor the fidelity operator,  but  rather the advent of their Two,  i. e. ,  the incorporation of the event into the situation in the form of a generic procedure. The  absolute  singularity  of  this  Two,  dissociated  as  it  is  from  its meaning,  is shown by  the un-signifying nature of the proper name.  But this unsignifying nature also clearly recalls that what the interventionill naming convoked was the void which is itself the proper name of being. Subjectivization is the proper name  in situ of this general proper name.  It is an  instance of the void. (28)

Subjectivization thus is that which makes a  truth possible.  It turns the event towards the situation’s truth for which this event is an event.  Thus the proper name  bears  the trace of both the event and the situation,  being that by which one comes to be for the other, qua generic trajectory of a truth. (28)

This  randomness  is not visible in its result, which  is  a  truth, for  a truth  is  an  ideal collecting of “all” the  evaluations:  it  is  a  complete part . of  the  situation. (28)

Knowl((dge  never encounters  anything. It  presupposes  presentation, representing  it  in  language  by  discernment  and judgment.  That  which,  on  the contrary,  constitutes the subject is the encounter with its material,  though nothing in its form (the name of the event and the fidelity operator) orders this material.  If the subject has no other being in-situ  than the  multiple terms  it encounters  and evaluates,  its essence-having to include the randomness of these encounters-is rather the trajectory that links them.  Now this incalculable trajectory comes under no determination within knowledge. (29)

The subject is neatly separated from knowledge by randomness. It is randomness vanquished  term by  term,  but this victory,  subtracted  from  language,  is  accomplished only as truth. (29)

As  the subject is  a  local  configuration of the  procedure,  it  is  clear that truth  is equally  indiscernible  “for  it. ”  For truth  is  global.  “For it” means  exactly  that  a subject  that  effectuates  a  truth  is  nonetheless  incommensurate  to  it,  the  subject being finite,  truth being infinite. (29-30)

One must absolutely abandon every definition of the subject that would assume that it knows the truth or is adjusted to it. (30)

[…] the names  used by  a  subject in supporting  a  generic  truth’s local configuration generally  have  no  rliferent  in  the  situation. (31)

On the situation’s surface, a generic procedure draws attention to itself above all by the nominal aura that surrounds its finite configurations: the subject. (31)

An idiom [la langue] here is the fixed order in which a finitude attempts to postulate­within the condition of the  finite  effectuated by the finite-a referentiality yet-to­come.  Finitude  is  the  very  being  of truth  in  the  combination  of  current  finite evaluations and the future anterior of a generic infinity. (32)

They slightly shift the established meanings so as to leave the referent empty, the referent that will have been filled if the truth comes to  be  as  a  new  situation […] (32)

A  subject  emptily  names the universe yet-to-come  that is obtained from the fact that an indiscernible truth supplements the situation. It is concurrently the finite real, the local stage of this supplementation. Naming is only empty insofar as it is pregnant with what its own possibility sketches out. A subject is the antonym of an empty idiom [langue). (32)

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