HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 41 no. 2 (2012)

Alain Badiou: Second manifesto for philosophy

Narcisa Paredes-canilao



Alain Badiou is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He is antipostmodernist, innovative modernist, and committed to the leftist tradition. His Second manifesto for philosophy (2011) is the English translation of the French original, Second manifeste pour la philosophie (2009). While the book is coherent and elucidatory with regard to the issue of what it means today to be a philosopher and to belong to the institution of philosophy, it is in principle best read as a continuation of Manifeste pour la philosophie (1989), translated into English as Manifesto for philosophy (1999). Precisely to allude to the reality that both books form a continuum, Badiou himself now refers to the first as the “First manifesto,” in many parts of the second book. Not only that Badiou describes the relationship between the two manifestoes to his two-volume work, Being and event, he sees the first manifesto (1989) and Vol. 1 of Being and event [1988 (English translation, 2005)] to be contiguous with each other. The same is true with the second manifesto (2009/2011) and Vol. 2 of Being and event: Logic of worlds [2006 (English translation, 2009)]: they form a continuum. However, for purposes of economy, this review will simply focus on the relationship between the first and the second manifestoes, as the topic occupies a central role in the Second manifesto.