Sunday, 30 September 2007

Badiou's ethics of truth

The problem with an ethics of fidelity (Badiou's truth) is that fidelity itself becomes the point of it--that 'remaining true' becomes more important than acting in this way or that way. In other words, loyalty tends to trump judgment. The British soldiers who undertook the distasteful work of slaughtering Indians in 1857, or the Germans who slaughtered Jews in the 1940s, were being true to their duty; a woman who stays with an abusive husband is 'being true to him' or 'to love'; a woman who submits to genital mutilation is 'being true' to her culture and identity. This sort of loyalty is obviously wrongheaded; but it's hard to see, in Badiou's scheme, how to challenge it. Badiou's ethics posits Bill Sikes's dog as the model for 'how to act'.

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