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Reading: Illusion and betrayalThe city, the poets, or an ethics of truths?

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Illusion and betrayal
The city, the poets, or an ethics of truths?

Author:

Igor Stramignoni

Abstract

A nagging feeling of great expectations turned sour is in the air, at least at this end of the globe. The illusion appears to have been twofold. Those liberals who after the Cold War had imagined finally to see the Western city win over competing forms of self-regulation, self-reproduction, and homeostasis can no longer fail to see how, by the time the twenty-first century has commenced, democracy and the rule of law, the West's own blueprint for living together, have lost some of their lustre, when they have not been bluntly rejected. Those amongst the poets who, by contrast, had argued all along that another world was possible or, alternatively, that democracy and the rule of law could at most be promised or tendered rather than fully achieved or imposed, sometimes today worry whether in the process they may not have become somewhat problematically if unwittingly fixated with what in the age of mass culture and information technology some argue might be a potentially self-defeating aesthetics of the Other. Alain Badiou's Platonism of the multiple and, specifically, his ethics of truths invite us to consider whether the widespread sense of disappointment and closure which follow from such an unsatisfactory situation should not be grasped as a figure of nihilism, specifically as a figure of 'betrayal', and whether, on the other hand, what is required may not be discernment, courage, and caution and to remain alert to the possible occurrence of new signal events. Thus to a poetics of illusion and of consequent disappointment Badiou prefers an ethics of truths which starts from the obvious existence of certain generic truths and yet is never closed-off to the invention of new ones. As presented, Badiou's ethical proposal is far from being fully developed and it is bound to be contentious. And yet it does contribute to a unique and powerful critique of current events as they ceaselessly appear on the horizon of a more interconnected world, specifically a critique which purports to offer a more affirmative, and even optimistic, message than many competing analyses of democracy and the rule of law.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.167
How to Cite: Stramignoni, I., (2011). Illusion and betrayal
The city, the poets, or an ethics of truths?. Utrecht Law Review. 7(2), pp.160–179. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.167
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Published on 14 Apr 2011.
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