Journal of Philosophy


Badiou on Set Theory, Ontology and Truth: mathematics as a guide to metaphysics (Part Two)


Christopher Norris, University of Cardiff, Wales


In Part One of this essay I put the case that Badiou has advanced some highly original, indeed conceptually ground-breaking ideas in response to one of the most vexing issues in philosophy during the past half-century and more. That is, he offers an answer to the problem of how we can evaluate claims with regard to truth, knowledge, and progress whether in the mathematical, natural-scientific, socio-political, or artistic-cultural spheres while none the less taking adequate account of the differing standards of assessment (paradigms, frameworks, conceptual schemes, value-commitments, communal priorities, cultural life-forms, and so forth) which supposedly define what should properly count as such. That problem has been the perennial bane of analytic (and ‘post-analytic’) philosophy in the wake of those influential thinkers–an otherwise diverse assortment from the later Wittgenstein to Quine, Kuhn, and various more-or-less qualified subscribers to the ‘linguistic turn’–who have gone different ways around to the conclusion that truth and knowledge are in some sense relative, specific, or ‘internal’ to a given mode of understanding. Back