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The Ethic of Truths and faith-based intelligence

Nick Haeffner, London Metropolitan University

Badiou begins his discussion on the ethic of truths by asserting that he wishes to retain the word ethics in spite of all the objections he has previously made to current uses of the word. He observes that there are many "after Aristotle’ who ‘have used the word in a reasonable way" (p. 40). Just as he rejects the notion of ethics in general, Badiou dismisses the idea of the abstract subject. Instead, he posits a human animal which pre-exists the subject. This animal may become a conduit for the truth ("enable its passing") in the course of which the human animal may become a subject and realise a potential for immortality (ibid.). The truth and immortality may enable the human animal to realise exceptional potential but they are not the property of the human animal. The body of the human animal, along with its instincts for self-preservation, are strictly mortal and degradable. Their destiny is their proper corruption. However, the immortal subject, traversed by the truth, is super-human, incorruptible and endures after the demise of the human animal which was its support.

Here, Badiou’s concept of the immortal subject may bear some similarity to the absolute ego posited by German idealist philosophers such as Fichte. Fichte tried to establish that the lone human being does not realise true self-hood until it can see itself as one cell in a vast interconnected system of life. "It is not the individual", writes Fichte, "but the one immediate spiritual life Life which is the creator of all phenomena, including individuals" (in Coppleston 2003: 44). [Read more].