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The Ethics of Political Resistance

Althusser, Badiou, Deleuze

Chris Henry

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A new ontology that forms the groundwork for ethical practices of resistance

What and how should individuals resist in political situations? While these questions recur regularly within Western political philosophy, answers to them have often relied on dogmatically held ideals, such as the distinction between truth and doxa or the privilege of thought over sense. In particular, the strain of idealist political philosophy, inaugurated by Plato and finding contemporary expression in the work of Alain Badiou, employs dualities that reduce the complexities of practices of resistance to concepts of commitment.

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1. Badiou: Being and Failure

A question of dualities
Being resistant
Political ontology
The truth of mathematics
Who resists? Just Some-One
The failure of being

2. Contra axiomatics: the persistence of Althusser, Badiou and Deleuze

An Althusserian conjuncture
Which Althusser?
Relative autonomy within unity
Philosophical dualisms
A very full void
Time and persistence
The subject as practice
Non-dogmatic philosophy?

3. A time for practice

Speculative or problematic?
Meillassoux’s problem with Hume
The way the world really works
The hope of speculative resistance
Ideas and the social formation
Time and the syntheses of Ideas
An ontology proper to structuralism
Philosophy and idealism

4. Genius and ethology

Deleuze, morality and ethics
Ethical mediation
The necessity of ethics
Genius and the art of life
The repetition of genius
Mediated genius

Conclusion: The art of practical resistance


About the Author

Chris Henry is an Associate Lecturer in the Centre for Critical Thought at the University of Kent.


In this rigorous reflection on the form and basis for resistance, Chris Henry gives a critical reading of the most influential political thinkers of our age, including Badiou, Deleuze and Althusser. He arrives at a powerful concept of situated practice, with challenging implications for activists and researchers charting a way between states and resisting individuals and groups.

- James Williams, Deakin University

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