The gathering of great thinkers in Alain Badiou’s Pocket Pantheon: Figures of Postwar Philosophy convinces David Revill that our modern minds need expanding. From his review for the Times Higher Education Supplement:
As in Badiou’s major works – Being and Event, Theory of the Subject and Logics of Worlds – what implicitly emerges from Pocket Pantheon is a refreshing reassertion of the radical possibilities of philosophy – not only in retrospect, but today. “The trouble is that, nowadays,” he writes, philosophy is reduced to little more than a lifestyle option: “keep fit and be efficient, stay cool … So we revive ‘values’ that philosophy has always helped us get rid of: obedience …, empty religion …, and I could go on.” Instead, what philosophy can offer is the expansion of the human mind towards its potential, “exposing … the human animal to that which exceeds it”.
Inasmuch, then, as Pocket Pantheon incidentally provides a kaleidoscopic – or, more precisely, teleidoscopic – view of some of Badiou’s own preoccupations, we see that maitres a penser, whether or not we dare use the phrase, have not breathed their last. Badiou and his “pantheon” remind us that a relevant as well as rigorous philosophy remains attainable, not to mention urgently needed.
Read the full review here.