Malebranche: Theological Figure, Being 2

Alain Badiou (Author) Susan Spitzer (With)
& 2 more


Alain Badiou is perhaps the world's most significant living philosopher. In his annual seminars on major topics and pivotal figures, Badiou developed vital aspects of his thinking on a range of subjects that he would go on to explore in his influential works. In this seminar, Badiou offers a tour de force encounter with a lesser-known seventeenth-century philosopher and theologian, Nicolas Malebranche, a contemporary and peer of Spinoza and Leibniz.

The seminar is at once a record of Badiou's thought at a key moment in the years before the publication of his most important work, Being and Event, and a lively interrogation of Malebranche's key text, the Treatise on Nature and Grace. Badiou develops a rigorous yet novel analysis of Malebranche's theory of grace, retracing his claims regarding the nature of creation and the relation between God and world and between God and Jesus. Through Malebranche, Badiou develops a radical concept of truth and the subject. This book renders a seemingly obscure post-Cartesian philosopher fascinating and alive, restoring him to the philosophical canon. It occupies a pivotal place in Badiou's reflections on the nature of being that demonstrates the crucial role of theology in his thinking.

Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
April 16, 2019
5.6 X 0.9 X 8.6 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Alain Badiou is emeritus professor of philosophy at the École normale supérieure in Paris. His Columbia University Press books include Plato's Republic: A Dialogue in Sixteen Chapters (2015) and Lacan: Anti-Philosophy 3 (2018).

Jason E. Smith is chair of the Graduate Art department at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. He has written widely on contemporary philosophy and translated Alain Badiou and Élisabeth Roudinesco's Jacques Lacan, Past and Present: A Dialogue (Columbia, 2014). He is currently writing a book on automation and work.

Susan Spitzer is a frequent translator of Badiou's works.


This book tackles Malebranche through Alain Badiou's unique perspective. Badiou nicely translates questions of theology into questions of politics, bringing Malebranche a contemporary resonance that he doesn't have in any other account.--Todd McGowan, author of Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution
I devoured this magnificent work in an evening. It blends Badiou's usual systematic approach with a nuanced account of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century philosophy that draws skillful contrasts between Malebranche's system and those of Arnauld, Bossuet, Leibniz, Pascal, and the Jesuits. Hovering over the scene is the unlikely but finally compelling specter of Jacques Lacan.--Graham Harman, author of Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything
Malebranche emerges from this seminar as an author divided between an asphyxiating theological doctrine and an exhilarating theory of the subject, which anticipates many ideas about desire, fantasy, finitude, and grace that will appear much later, from Hegel to Lacan. Even though Badiou claims that nothing productive came from his effort, we can appreciate in this new installment of his seminar a crucial stepping stone between Theory of the Subject and Being and Event.--Bruno Bosteels, author of Badiou and Politics
The book reads very well, and the translation is as excellent as one would expect from this team. . . . Anyone curious about Malebranche, or wishing to recall things they used to know about him, should enjoy Badiou's presentation; and anyone who appreciates solid philosophical exegeses and a bit of intellectual flair should be very entertained and provoked by this seminar as well.--Ed Pluth "Notre Dame Philosophical Review "
Malebranche is a must-read for Marxists, Philosophers, Theologians, and anyone interested in the Philosophy of Alain Badiou.--Dalton Winfree "Marx and Philosophy Review of Books "
A fascinating interrogation of a thinker much ignored in the English-speaking world by a leading contemporary philosopher.--Choice