BEING AND EVENT

¬Íulh Dudl0u
Translated by Oliver Feltham
.�
continuum
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Originally published in French as L'etre et Ivenement © Editions du Seuil, 1988
This English language translation © Continuum 2005
First published by Continuum 2006
Paperback edition 2007
Ouvrage publie avec !'aide du Ministere fran,ais charge de la Culture - Centre
national du livre.
This book is supported by the French Ministry (or Foreign Anairs, as part o(
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A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN-10: HB: 0-8264-5831-9
PB: 0-8264-9529-X
ISBN-13: HB: 978-0-8264-5831-5
PB: 978-0-8264-9529-7
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Tpeset by Interactive Sciences Ltd, Gloucester
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Contents
Author's Prcfacc xi
Tanslator'sPrcfacc xvii
!ntroduction
Part I Being: Multiple and Void. Plato/Cantor
1hc Oncandthc Multipl c. a priori conditions of
anv possiblc ontologv 2?
2 Plato > I
> 1hcorv of thc Purc Multipl e. paradoxcsand
critical dccision >8
1cchnicalNotc. thcconvcntionsofwriting 49
4 1hc Voi d. Propcrnamc of bcing ° 2
° 1hc MarkØ 60
l 1hc samc and thc othcr. thc axiom of
cxtcnsionalitv 60
2 The operations under condi ti on: axioms of the
powcrsct. ofunion. ofscparationandof
rcplaccmcnt 62
> 1hc void. subtractivc suturctobcing 66
6 Aristotlc 70
Part II Being: Excess, State of the Situation, One/
Multiple, Whole/Parts, or E /e?
7 1hc Point of Lxccss 8 l
v
vi
BEI NG AND EVENT
l Bc|onglngandlnc| uslon
2 1hcthcorcm o|thc polnt ofcxccss
> 1hcvoldand thc cxccss
4 Onc. count as-onc. unicltv. andlorming into
onc
8 1hc Statc. orMctastructurc. andthc1po|ogvof
Bclng ( norma|ltv. slngu|arltv. cxcrcsccnccì
9 1hc Statc o|thcBi storlco-socia| Sltuation
l0 Splnoza
Part III Being: Nature and Infnity. Heideggerl
Galileo
8 l
84
86
89
9>
l 04
l l 2
l l Naturc. Pocm or mathcmc' l 2 >
l 2 1hc Onto|ogica| Schcma olNatura|Mu|tip|csand
t hcNon- cxistcncc ofNaturc l >0
1hc conccpt ol norma| i tv. translt|vc scts l >0
2 Natura| mu| tip| cs. ordina|s l >2
> 1hc p| avolprcscntation ln natura| mu|tlp| csor
ordina|s
4 U|tlmatc natura| c| cmcnt ( unlquc atomì
¯ An ordina| ls thcnumbcrol thatofwhlch iti s
thcnamc
6 Naturcdocsnotcxist
l > !nnnitv. thc othcr. thc ru| candthc Othct
l4 1hc Onto|oglca| ucclslon 1hcrcl ssomc | nhnltv
lnnatura| mu|tip| cs'
I Point olccl ng andoperator olpassagc
2 S ucccsslon and | lmit
> 1hcsccondcxi stcntia| sca|
4 !nhnltv hnal!vdcnncd
¯ 1hcnnltc. insccondp| acc
l ¯ Ecgc|
I The Mathcnc ol | nInìtv rcvi sitco
2 uowcanan in|initvbcbad'
> 1hc rcturn and thcnomination
4 1hcarcana olquantltv
¯ Ll s] unction
l >4
l >8
l >9
l 40
l 42
l ¯0
l° l
l°4
l °6
l ° 6
l °9
l 6 l
l6 l
l64
l 6¯
l 67
l 69
CONTENTS
Part IV The Event: Histor and Ultra-one
l 6 Lvcntal S| tcsandEi storical Si t uations l 7>
17 1hc Mathcmc of thc Fvcnt l 78
l 8 Bcing sProhibitionof thc Lvcnt l 84
! 1hc ontological schcma ofhistoricitvand
instabilitv ! 84
2 1hc ax|om olfoundation l 8¯
> 1hc ax|om olfoundationis a mctaontological
thcsis ofontologv ! 87
4 Naturcand historv l 87
¯ 1hc cvcnt bclongsto thatwhich- i s notbcing
quabcing l 89
! 9 MalIarmc l 9 !
Part V The Event: Intervention and Fidelity.
Pascal/Choice; HOlderlin/Deduction
20 1hc!ntcrvcnti on. !l l cga|choiccola namcforthc
cvcnt. logicofthctwo. tcmporalfoundation 201
2 ! Pascal 2 l 2
22 1hcForm multiplc ol!ntcrvcnti on. isthcrca
bcing of cho|cc' 22>
2> Fidclitv. Conncction 2 >2
24 Lcduction as OpcratorofOntological F| dclitv 240
l 1hc forma| conccpt of dcduction 242
2 Rcasoningvi ahvpothcsis 244
> Rcasoning via thcabsurd 247
4 1riplc dctcrminationofdcduct|vc ndclitv 2 ¯ 2
2 ¯ Eo| dcrlin 2 ¯ ¯
Part VI Quantity and Knowledge. The Discernible
(or Constructible): Leibniz/Godel
26 1hc Conccpt ol Ouantitvandthc!mpasscof
Onto| ogv 26¯
l 1hc quantitativc comparison ofinnnitc scts 267
2 !aturalquantitativc corrclatc ofa multiplc.
cardinality andcardlna|s 269
> 1hc prob|cm of innni tc cardinals 272
vii
BEI NG AND EVENT
4 1hc statc of a situation is quantitativclv l argcr
thanthcsituation itsclf 2 7>
¯ First cxaminat|on of Cantor's thcorcm. thc
mcasuringsca| cofinnnitcmu| ti pl cs. orthc
scqucncc ofalcphs 27¯
6 Sccondcxamination of Cantor's thcorcm. what
mcasurcforcxccss' 277
7 Comp|ctc crrancv of thc statc of a situation.
Laston's thcorcm 279
27 Onto|ogica|Lcstinvof 0ricntation| n1hought 28I
28 Constructivist1houghtandthc Knowlcdgc of
Bcing 286
29 1hc Fo|ding ofBcingandt hcSovcrcigntvof
Languagc 29¯
I Constructionofthcconccpt of constructibl csct 296
2 1hc hvpothcsis of constructibilitv 299
> Abso|utcncss >02
4 1hc abso|utcnon bcing of thc cvcnt >04
¯ 1hc lcgalization of intcrvcntion >0¯
6 1hc normalization ofcxccss >07
7 Scho|arlv asccsis and its limitation >09
> 0 Lcibniz > I ¯
Part VII The Generic: Indiscerible and Truth.
The Event-P J. Cohen
> l 1hc1hought ofthc Gcncricand Bc|ng inTuth >27
l Knowlcdgc rcvisitcd >28
2 Lnquirics 129
> Tuth and vcridicitv > > l
4 1hc gcncricproccdurc > > ¯
¯ 1hc gcncric is thc bcing- multiplc of a truth >>8
6 Lo truths cxist' >>9
>2 Rousscau >44
> > 1hc Mathcmco f thc!ndisccrnibl c. P. J . Cohcn's
stratcgv > ¯ ¯
I Fundamcnta| quasi - complctc situation >¯ 8
2 1hc conditions. matcrial and scnsc >62
> Corrcct subsct . orpart i of thc sct of conditions >6¯
v|i|
CONTENTS
4 lnd|sccrniblc orgcncr|csubsct >67
14 1he Fx|stcncc ofthc!nd| sccrn|b|c. thcpowcrof
namcs >72
lndangcrof|ncx|stcncc >72
2 0nto|og|ca| coup de theiUre: thc |ndisccrnible
cx|sts > 7>
> 1hc nominat|on of thc i ndiscctn|blc >76
4 � rcfcrcnt ofa namc and cxtcns|onbv thc
ind|scern|b|c >78
¯ 1hc fundamcntal s|tuat|on|s a part ofanv
ccncr| ccxtcns| on. andthc|nd| sccrnib| c ± | san
elcmcntofanvgcnct| ccxtcns|on > 8 l
6 Fxp| orat|on of thc gcncr| c cxtens|on >84
7 !ntrins|c or |n-s|tuat|on |nd|sccrn|bihtv >86
Part VIII Forcing: Truth and the Subject. Beyond
Lacan
> ¯ 1hcorv ol thc Sub] cci >9 l
l Sub] cct|v|zat|on: |ntcrvcnt|on andopcraroiof
fa|thfu| conncct|on >92
2 Chancc. fromwh|ch anvtruth is wovcn. |s thc
mattcrofthc sub] cct >94
> Sub] cctandtruth. ind|sccrn|bi|itvand
nom|nat|on >96
4 Ycrac|tvandtruth from thc standpo|nt of thc
fa|thfulprocedurc. forc|ng 400
¯ Sub] cct|vcproduct|on: dcc|s|onofan
undcc|dab| c. d| squa||ncation. ptinciplc of
incxi stcnts 406
36 iotcing: from thc |nd|scctnlb|c to thc undccidab|c 4|0
I 1hc tcchn|quc of fotc|ng 4 l 2
2 A gcncr|ccxtcns|on of a quasl completc
s| tuat|on i s a|so |tse|fquas| comp|ctc 4 l 6
> Statusofvcr|dica| statcmentsw|thina gcner| c
cxtcns|on 5( �): the undcc|dab|e 4 l 7
4 Frrancv of cxccss ( Ji 420
¯ Abscnt|ngand ma|ntcnancc o||ntt|ns|c
quant|tv 42>
i x
BEI NG AND EVENT
6 Frrancvo| cxccss ( 2ì 42 ¯
7 iromthci ndisccrn| b| eto thcundcc|dab|c 426
>7 Lcscartcs/ Lacan 4> l
Appcndixcs
I Pr| ncip|cofminima| | tv |or ordina|s 44l
2 A rc| ation. or a funct|on. is so|clva pure
mu| tiplc 44>
> Ectcroccncltv of thc cardi na| s. rccu| ari tvand
sincu| aritv 448
4 Fvcrv ordina| is constructib|c 4¯ >
¯ On absolutcncss 4¯6
6 Pr|mitivcsicns ol |ocic and rccurrcncc on thc
|cncth offormu| as 4¯9
7 iotcincof cqua| | tv fo namcs ofthc nomi na|
rank 9 462
8 Fvcrvccncriccxtcnsion ofa quas| - comp|ctc
situat| onisitsc| fquasi comp|ctc 467
9 Comp|ction ofthcdcmonstrationof p�o)

(
witIin a ccncriccxtcns|on 47 l
l 0 Abscntlnc of a card| na| o o! 5 | n a ccocr| c
cxtcns| on 47>
I I Ncccssarv condition for a cardina| to bc
abscntcd | na ccncr| ccxtcnsion 47¯
l 2 Card| na| itvofthcan¡icha| nsof cond| t| ons 477
Notcs 48 l
Llctl onary 498
Author's Preface
Soonitwi | | havcbccntwcntvvcarss| ncc!pub| i shcdthi sbooki nFrancc.
At that momcnt ! was quitc awarc of havinc writtcn a crcat ' book of
ph|losophv !fc|tthat! hadactua|lvachicvcdwhat! hadsctouttodo. Not
w|thoutpridc. ! thoucht that I had inscribcd mv namc i n thc historv of
phBosophv. andi nparticu|ar. in thchistorvofthoscphilosophica| svstcms
whicharcthcsubj cctofintcrprctationsandcommcntaricsthrouchoutthc
ccnturics .
1hat a| most twcntv vcars | atcr thc book i s t obcpublishcd i n Fnc| ish.
aftcrhavincbccn pub| isbcd in Portucucsc !ta| i an and Spanish. andj ust
bcforci t is publishcd i n Gcrman. is ccrtain| v not a proof of i mmorta|itv1
ßut cvcn so. itis a proofofconsistcncvand rcsistancc. far morc sothanif
! hadbccnsubj ccttoimmcdiatctranslation÷which can alwavsbca mcrc
cffcct offashion.
I fact. at thc timc of its publicat|on. this book di d not l cnd | tsclf to
immcdiatc comprchcnsion. Wc wcrc at thc cnd of thc cichtics. in fu| |
l ntcl| cctua| rccrcss| on. What was fashl onab| c was moral phi|osophv dis
guiscdaspo|l tl calphllosophvAnvwhcrcvouturncdsouconcwasdcfcnd
i nc human richts. thc rcspcct for thc othcr. and thc rcturn t o Kant.
!nd|cnant protcstswcrc madc about total|tariani sm' and a unitcd front
wasasscmb|cd acainstradica| Fvi|. A kindof|| abbvrcactionarvphilosophv
|nsinuatcd itsclf cvcrvwhcrc. a companion to thc dissol ution ofburcau
craticsoci a| i sml nt hcUS3R. thcbrcakncckcxpansionoIt hcworldnnancc
markc¡ and thc a|most c|obal para|vsis of a po| . ti ca| thinklnc of cman
cipation.
xi
xii
BEING AND EVENT
1hc situation was actuallvquitcparadoxical On onc hand. dominat|ng
pub|icopinion. onchaddcmocracv÷initscntirclvcorruptrcprcscntativc
and clcctoral totm÷and trccdom rcduccd to thc trccdom to tradc and
consumc. 1hcscconstitutcdthcabstractunivcrsalitvotourcpoch. 1hatis.
thisallianccbctwccnthcmarkctandparliamcntarism÷what ! cal l capi
ta| oparliamcntarism÷tunctioncdasitthcon|vpossiblcdoctrinc. andon
aworldwidcsca| c. Onthcothcrhand. onchadthcwidcsprcadprcscnccot
rclativism Lcclarations wcrc madc tothcctlcct that all culturcswcrcot
thcsamcvaluc. thata| l communit|csgcncratcdvalucs. thatcvcrvproduc-
tionotthcimaginarvwasart. thatal l scxualpracticcswcrctormsotlovc.
ctc. ln short. thc contcxtcombincdthc violcnt dogmatism otmcrcantilc
dcmocracv withathorouglgoingsccpticismwhichrcduccdthccttcctsot
truthto particu| ar anthropologica| opcrati ons. Conscqucntlv. philosophv
was rcduccd to bcing cithcr a laborious j ustihcation ol thc univctsal
chatactcr ot dcmocratic va|ucs. or a linguistic sophistrv lcgitimating thc
righttoculturalJcrcncc againstanvunivcrsalistprctcnsiononthcpart
otttuths .
Mv book. howcvcr. bv mcans ot a wcightv dcmonstrativc apparatus.
madctoutathrmationsthatwcntcntirclvagainstthc|l owotthisordinarv
phi|osophv.
l . Situations arc nothing morc. in thcir bcing. than purc indittcrcnt
multipliciti cs. Conscqucntlv i t is pointlcss to scarch amongst dIfcr
cnccs tor anvthing that might plav a normativc rol c ! t truths cxist.
thcv arc ccrtainlv | ndittcrcnt to dit|ctcnccs. Cul tural tclativism
cannotgobcvondthctrivialstatcmcntthatdi ttcrcntsituationscxist.
!t docs not tc| l us anvthinc about what. among thc dittcrcnccs.
lcgltlmatclvmattcrs to subj ccts.
2. 1hcstructurc otsituationsdocsnot. in itsc|t. dclivcranvtruths. Bv
conscqucncc. nothing normativc can bc drawn trom t hc simplc
rcal|st cxamination o| thc bccoming ot things. !n particular. thc
victorv ot thc markct cconomv ovcr p|anncd cconomics. and thc
progrcssion ot parliamcntarism ( which in tact i s quitc mi nor. and
ottcn ach| cvcd bv violcnt and arti|lcial mcans i . do not constitutc
argumcntsi ntavourotoncorthcothcr A truthi ssolclvconstitutcd
bv ruptur|ng wlth thcordcrwhich supports it. ncvcras an cttcct ol
thatordcr. l havc namcd thistvpcotrupturcwhichopcnsuptruths
thc cvcnt Authcntic philosophv bcgins. not in structural tacts
( cultural. linguistic. constitutional. ctci . but uni quclv in what takcs
AUTHOR'S PREFACE
pl accandwhatrcmains in thcformofa strictlvincalculablc cmcr
gcncc.
>. Asub] ccti snothingothcrthananactivcñdclitvtothccvcntoltruth.
1his mcans that a sub] cct is a militant of truth. I philosophicallv
foundcd thc notion of militant at a timc whcn thc conscnsus was
thatanvcngagcmcntofthis tvpc was archaic. Notonlv di dI found
this notion. butI considcrablv cnlargcdi t. 1hc militantofa truthi s
not onl v thc pol itical militant working for thc cmancipation of
humanitv i n its cntirctv Hc or shc is also thc artist crcator. thc
scicntist who opcns up a ncw thcorctical hcld. or thc l ovcrwhosc
worldis cnchantcd.
4 1hc bcing of a truth. proving itsclf an cxccption to anv prc-
constitutcdprcdicatcofthcsituationinwhichthattruthi sdcplovcd.
i s to bc callcd 'gcncric . I othcrwords. although it i s situatcd in a
world. a truth docs not rctain anvthing cxprcssiblc from that
situation. A ttuthconccrnscvcrvoncinasmuchasiti sa mul t| plicitv
thatnoparticularprcdicatccancircumscribc. 1hcinñnitcworkofa
truth is thusthat ola gcncricproccdurc . Andto bc a Sub] cct ( and
nota si mpl cindividual animal i i s tobc a local activc di mcnsi onol
such a proccdurc.
I attcmptcdtoargucforthcscthcscsandlinkthcmtogcthcri na cohcrcnt
manncr. thismuch l havc said. What i s morc. I placcda rathcr sophisti
catcdmathcmatica|appatatusatthcirscrvicc 1o thi nkthc inhnitvofpurc
multip|cs I took tools trom Cantors sct thcorv. 1o think thc gcncric
charactcr of truths l turncd to Godcl and Cohcns profound thinking of
what a part of a multiplc is. And I supportcd th|s intcrvcnt|on of
mathcmaticalformalism with a radicalthcsi s. i nsofaras bci ng. quabcing.
i snothingothcrthanpurcmultiplicitv. iti s|cgitimatctosavthatontology.
thc scicncc ofbcing quabcing. is nothing othcr than mathcmatics itsclf.
1hlslntrusionollormallsmp| accdmcl na paradoxlcalposltion. Itlswc||
known thatfordccadcswc havc livcdinanartincialopposit|onbctwccn
Anglo Amcricanphi|osophv. whichi ssupposcdlvrationalist. bascdonthc
formal analvsis of languagc and mathcmatizcd l ogic. and contincntal
philosophv. supposcdlv on thc bordcr of |rrationalism. and bascd on a
l|tcrarv and poctic scnsc of cxprcssion Ouitc rcccntlv Sokal thought i t
possiblc to showthat contincmal rcfcrcnccs to scicncc. such asthoscof
Lacan. Lclcuzc. or cvcn minc. wcrc nothing morc than unintclligiblc
imposturcs
xi i i
xiv
AUTHOR' S PREFACE
However, if I use mathematics and accord it a fundamental role, as a
number of American rationalists do, I also use, to the same extent, the
resources of the poem, as a number of my continental colleagues do.
In the end it turned out that due to my having kept company with
literature, the representatives of analytic philosophy, including those in
France, attempted to denigrate my use of mathematical formalism. How­
ever, due to that very use, the pure continentals found me opaque and
expected a literary translation of the mathemes.
Yet there is no difference between what I have done and what such
philosophers as Plato, Descartes, Leibniz, or Hegel have done, a hundred
times over since the very origins of our discipline: reorganizing a thorough,
if not creative, knowledge of mathematics, by means of all the imaging
powers of language. To know how to make thought pass through
demonstrations as through plainsong, and thus to steep an unprecedented
thinking in disparate springs.
For what ! want to emphasize here is that ! present nothing in
mathematics which has not been established; [ took some care to repro­
duce the demonstrations, in order that it not be thought that I glossed from
a distance. In the same manner, my recourse to the poets is based on an
interminable frequentation of their writings.
Thus one cannot corner me in some supposed ignorance. neither in the
matter of the formal complexities I require, from Cantor to Groethendick,
nor in the matter of innovative writing, from Mallarme to Beckett.
But it is true that these usages, which break with the horrifc academic
destiny of specialization, renewing the tie to the absolute opening without
which philosophy is nothing, could quite easily have been surprising in
those times of reaction and intellectual weakness.
Perhaps today we are entering into new times. In any case, this is one of
the possible senses of the publication of my book in English.
This publication owes everything, it must be said, to my principal
translator, Oliver Feltham, and to his amicable advisor, Justin Clemens. It
is no easy matter to transport the amplitude that I give to French syntax
into the ironic concision of their language. Furthermore, I thank those
who have taken the risk of distributing such a singular commodity:
Continuum Books.
! would like this publication to mark an obvious fact: the nullity of the
opposition between analytic thought and continental thought. And I
would like this book to be read, appreCiated, staked out, and contested as
much by the inheritors of the formal and experimental grandeur of the
AUTHOR'S PREFACE
sciences or of the law, as it is by the aesthetes of contemporary nihilism,
the refned amateurs of literary deconstruction, the wild militants of a
de-alienated world, and by those who are deliciously isolated by amorous
constructions. Finally, that they say to themselves, making the diffcult
effort to read me: that man, in a sense that he invents, is all of us at
once.
Alain Badiou, January 200¯
xv
Transl ator's Preface
This translation of Le/rc c/ |événcmcn/ i s one way of prolonging the
dynamic it sets in motion. At the source of that dynamic we fnd two
fundamental propositions: the frst is that mathematics is ontology, and the
second is that the new happens in being under the name of the event. The
global consequences of these propositions are an explorative dethroning of
philosophy. the infnite unfolding of a materialist ontology, and the
development of a new thought of praxis, and it is these consequences
which give Badiou's philosophy its Singular shape.
I. 'Mathematics is ontology'
In Badiou's terms, the proposition 'mathematics is ontology' is a philo­
sophical idea conditioned by an event and its consequent truth procedure
in the domain of science. The event was Cantor's invention of set theory
and the truth procedure its subsequent axiomatization by Zermelo and
Fraenkel.' The frst element one should examine here is 'conditioning':
1 Badiou uses ZFC axiomatization of set theory (Zermelo-Fraenkel with the
Axiom of Choice). Of course, there are other axiomatizations of set theory,
such as W V O. Quine's, but this multiplicity simply reveals the contingency
of philosophy's conditioning: a conditioning that can only be contrasted by
developing another metaontology on the basis of another axiomatization of
set theory.
xvii
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
what does i t mean for a philosophical idea to be 'conditioned' by an event
in a heterogeneous domain?
Conditioning is a philosophical operation that names and thinks truth
procedures which occur outside philosophy. According to Badiou, both the
existence and the timeliness of a philosophy depend upon its circulation
between current truth procedures cndphilosophy's own concepts such as
those of truth, the subject and appearing. Badiou does not identify which
truth procedures should concern contemporary philosophy-outside his
own examples-but he does stipulate that they occur in four domains
alone: art, politics, science and love. He then assigns a central task to
philosophy: it must think the composs////|n of contemporary truth proce­
dures in the four domains; that is, it must construct a conceptual space
which is such that it can accommodate the diversity of the various truth
procedures without being rendered inconsistent: it must act as a kind of
clearing house for truths. In order to do so philosophy must name and
conceptually 'seize' contemporary truth procedures in the four domains. It
is this conceptual capture which transforms these independent truth
procedures into 'conditions' of philosophy. In Bc/nµ and Lvcn/. Badiou
names the Zermelo-Fraenkel axiomatization of set theory as a truth
procedure that follows upon the 'Cantor-event'. He thus transforms it into
a 'condition' for his philosophy. The philosophical result of this set­
theoretical conditioning is what Badiou terms his 'metaontology'.
Badiou's separation of philosophy from its conditions is designed to
prevent what he terms a 'disaster'. A disaster occurs, in his eyes, when
philosophy attempts to fuse itself with one of its conditions; that is, when
philosophy tries to become political in itself, or scientifc, or tries to rival
literature, or winds itself around the phenomenon of transference love
between the master and the disciple. These attempts at fusion constitute a
recurring problem that afflicts philosophy. The best known examples
concern philosophy and politics, and they include Heidegger's nomination
of the truth of National Socialist politiCS in his Rectorship Address, and
Marxism's declaration of the primacy of the proletarian viewpoint in
philosophy. One should also mention logical positivism's attempted fusion
between philosophy and science. In each of these 'disasters' Badiou would
diagnose the desire of philosophy to produce the truth of a domain which
is external to it. If there are certain strictures present in Badiou's work,
then they have their source in a rcnunc/a//on of this desire to detain truth
within philosophy. As Heiner Muller says, for something to come, some­
thing has to go. For Badiou, one must maintain that truth occurs ou/s/dc
xvi i i
TRANSLATOR' S PREFACE
and /ndcpcndcn//y of philosophy. This i s why, i n his terms, philosophy
itself is not a generic truth procedure, though it may-through its
conditioning-imitate many features of truth procedures.2 The corollary of
this stricture is that a strict division is required between philosophy and its
'outsides' .
Well before Badiou actually elaborated the idea, he practised philosophy
as an intersection for its conditions. In Ihéor/cdusu]c/.he developed lines of
argument from the thinking of Mao, Mallarme, and Lacan. Individual
mathematicians are conspicuously absent from this list. and looking back at
Badiou's early work, one can say that the political condition of Maoist
-Leninist politics dominated his philosophy. On the basis of his own
presentation of the development of his thought in the Introduction to Bc/nµ
and Lvcn/. it is clearly possible to speak of a 'mathematical turn' in his
thought. One should note, however, that this turn is clearly inscribed, for
Badiou, within the enduring problematic of thinking the relation between
change and being! Indeed it may be argued that it is the subsequent
predominance of the scientifc condition of set theory that saves Badiou's
own philosophy from near fusion with politics. There is a fne line between
thinking what is at stake in a particular condition and merging with that
condition, and this is why Badiou states philosophy must remain mobile by
circulating between a plurality of its conditions and its own history.
The general consequence of this defnition of philosophy in terms of
both its conditions andits history is that philosophy is dethroned from its
classical position of sovereignty over other discourses w//hou/ being
enslaved to truth procedures. That is, by maintaining a reference to
philosophy's own history and concepts, Badiou renders philosophy not
fully but par(/a//ydependent on the occurrence of events in heterogeneous
domains. In other words, philosophy no longer completely determines its
objects; the concept of generic mUltiple, for example, is initially deter­
mined in mathematics as an indiscernible set, and then, through Badiou's
2 As he notes in The Defnition of Philosophy' in A. Badiou, Infnite Thought·
Truth and the Return of Philosophy ( J. Clemens & O. Feltham. (eds & trans.);
London: Continuum. 2003). 165-8.
3 See P. Hallward. Badiou: A Subject to Tuth (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press. 2003 ). 49. Bruno Bosteels also comments on this idea of a
'mathematical turn' in 'On the Subject of the Dialectic' in P. Hallward (ed.).
Think Agail1: Alail1 Badiou al1d the Future of Philosophy (London: Continuum.
2004). 150-164.
xix
xx
BEI NG AND EVENT
work. |t bccomcs a ph||osoph|ca| conccpt. Of coursc phi|osophv | s not
thcrcbv rcduccdtothcro|cofa passivcrcccptac| c. | tdocsrcta|na cho|cc
ovcrwh|cI truthproccdurcs|tnamcsasthc cond|t|ons for|tsconccptua|
construct|on. and this construct|on must rcma|n cons|stcnt. lh||osophv
thusrcma|ns anact|vcpartncr| nthc affa|r.
lt|sthcmu|t|p||cat|onofph||osophvscond|t|onswh|cha||owsBad|outo
pu||offthcd|fhcu|ttr|ckofafnrm|ngthctasksandscopcofph||osophv÷to
th|nk occurrcnccs of thought |n art. po| |t|cs. sc|cncc and |ovc÷without
c|rcumscr|b|ng |ts rca|m andass|gning |ta sct ofpropcrob] ccts . |nothcr
words. Bad|oumanagcstorcncwandafhrmthcspcc|hc|tvofph| |osophv
w|thout un|fvinc |ts hc|d. truth proccdurcs cannot bc ass|gncd to anv
un|hcdtota||tv.andcannot.|nthc|rpart|cu|ar|tv.bcprcd|ctcdandthus| | m-
| tcd.
Forcxamp|c. a|though thcpropos|t|on mathcmat|cs | s onto|ogv' mav
havcthcscope of spccu|at|vc mctaphvs|cs. |t |s non-spccu|at|vc prcc|sc|v
bccausc |t sub] ccts ph| |osophv to unforcsccablc non- ph||osoph|ca| con
stra|nts. thosc|nhcrcnttoaxiomat|zcdsctthcorv |n |ts dctcrm|nat|onola
poss|b|cthoughtof|ncons|stcntmu|t|p||c|tv. ln Lacan|antcrms. |tsub] ccts
ph||osophvtothcrca/ofmathcmat|cs.and|ntwoforms. hrst. |nthatofthc
|mpasscs÷suchasRussc| | s paradox÷wh|ch forccd thc ax|omat|zat|onof
sctthcorvanddctcrm|ncd|tsshapc.andsccond. | nthcformofunprcdict-
ab|cfuturccvcnts| nthchc|dofmathcmat|csthatmavhavc|mp||cat|ons
forthc mctaonto|og|calapparatus sct out|nBc/nµ andLvcn/.'
Bad|ou s proposcd rc|at|on bctwccn ph||osophv and |ts cond|t|ons has
ccrta|n|vgivcnr|sctocontrovcrsv. Uc|cuzc. no|css. ob] cctcdthatBad|ou s
ph||osophv was dominatcd bv ana|ogica| think|ng. that is. that |t dctcr
m|ncs |ts own structurcs and thcn d|scovcrs thcm outs|dc |tsc|f. | n thc
rca| of othcr d|scourscs. ³ lnsofar as Bad|ous mcta onto|ogv attcmpts to
construct philosophical concepts which are parallel to the structures of set
thcorv. thcnBad|ou docscncagc|nana|og|cal th|nk|ng. But. |fana| og|ca|
4 See Quentin Meillassoux, who argues that these implications include obsoles­
cence, in his 'Nouveaute et evenement' in C. Ramond (ed.), Alain Badiou:
Penser Ie multiple (Paris: Harmattan, 2002), 21.
5 Badiou himself reports this objection in Deleuze: 'La clameur de /'etre' (Paris:
Hachette, 1997), 116. For the clearest exposition of Del euze's critique of
analogical thought see the third chapter 'Images of thought' of his Diference
and Repetition (P. Patton (trans.); New York: Col umbi a University Press,
1995).
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
thinking means matching relationships between already existing elements
in the philosophical domain to relationships between elements in the
mathematical domain-Ph l:Ph2 * Ma l:Ma2-then Badiou is innocent as
charged since he introduces new elements into philosophy on the basis of
the mathematics, such as the concepts of evental site, generic multiple and
natural situation. Not only that. but the subjection of philosophy to its
conditions results in new relationships being constructed between already
existing philosophical concepts on the basis of existing mathematical
elements and relationships, such as Badiou's articulation of subject and
truth on the basis of Cohen's operation of forcing.
In general. objections to a supposed philosophical imperialism present in
'conditioning' may be met with the reply that in Badiou's conception,
philosophy certainly engages in the construction of its own concepts, but
does so on the basis of its encounters with the singular real of heterogeneous
procedures such as Cantorian set theory and Mallarme's poetry. More
importantly, the accusation of imperialism is itself analogical. and supposes
a transitivity between the philosophical and the political realm; that is, it
presupposes that not only are the same structures present in both realms,
but there is an in mixing of these structures such that actions in one realm
may have effects in the other. Hence it flirts with disaster, almost fusing
philosophy to politics. Badiou, on the other hand, as mentioned above, is
careful to maintain the difference between the philosophical and political
realms. The supposition of transitivity can only lead-in the academy-to
piety (respect for inert differences), inactive activism, and the posture of
the radical professor.
If we use Badiou's own categories to deal with problems around the
philosophy-conditions relationship, we can say that the latter is an
example of the fraught relationship between representation and presenta­
tion. In other words, when philosophy names, for example, Zermelo­
Fraenkel set theory as one of its conditions, it places itself in the position
of philosophically representing set theory. Therefore, according to the
schema of the excess of the powerset over its set and Easton's theorem, the
number of ways one can philosophically represent a set theoretical
presentation immeasurably exceeds the number of elements in the original
presentation. Badiou terms this immeasurable excess 'the impasse of
being', and argues that thought. faced with this impasse, has historically
distributed itself into four grand orientations which each attempt to bridge
or avoid this impasse: the transcendentaL the constructivist, the generiC
and the praxiological. Badiou champions the fourth orientation, which he
xxi
xxii
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
claims i s operative i n Marx and Freud's thought: the orientation which
states that there is no unique response but a plurality of responses to the
gap between representation and presentation, and the only place they are
to be found is in practice. Evidently we can adopt this orientation of
thought in regard to the question of the gap between Badiou's sense-laden
meta ontology and set theory's senseless inscriptions of mUltiplicity. The
result of our adoption is that the only responses to this question to be
found are those in the philosophical practice of conditioning; that is, in
o/hctphilosophical responses to events in mathematics, o/hcrphilosophical
acts of nomination.6
Now that we have examined the nature of conditioning we may retur
to the status of the proposition 'mathematics is ontology': it is a nomina­
tion, a ph//osoph/:a//dca.that is, it is a decision, a principle and a hypothesis.
First. although the proposition is philosophically comprehensible, given
the arguments on being as inconsistent multiplicity, it is a dcc/s/onin that it
does require a certain leap from their conclusions-otherwise it would
merely be a calculated or derived result.7 Second, it is a pr/nc/p/cin that it
opens up new realms for thought. It leads to the construction of new
concepts, such as a 'generic truth procedure', and to the elaboration of new
relationships between classical ontological categories such as the One and
the Many, foundation and alterity, representation and presentation. Third,
it is a hypo/hcs/s. but not in the sense that it can be tested by physical
experiment or any appeal to experience: it is itself an experience of
thought to be traversed until it breaks or is interrupted by other such
decisions.
If conditioning works as an encounter. then philosophy is opened up to
contingent transformation and reworking. For millennia, philosophy has
attempted to ground itself on One Eternal Necessity such as the prime
6 Monique David-Menard affrms, in relation t this question of condi ti oning,
that 'The j unction of the di scourse to the matheme i s nei ther thematized nor
transcendentally determined . . . i t is thi s excess of the practice of thought over
the rules that i t defnes whi ch gi ves i t its scope: See her '
E
tre et exi stence dans
la pensee d' Alain Badiou' i n Ramond, Alain Badiou: Penser Ie mUltiple.
7 One can trace l i neages, albeit twisted, from the thesi s 'being is inconsistent
multiplicity' back to the work of philosophers such as Heidegger ( the task is to
name being without objectifying it), Derrida (there is no outside-of-the-text).
and Del euze (the plane of i mmanence)-and all this without the mathe­
matics.
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
mover, or the dialectic of history. Here it consciously chooses to ground
itself on the shifting sands of emergent truths.
With an end to ontological speculation via one last speculative proposi­
tion, the abandonment of any single ground of necessity, philosophy thus
abdicates via its own magisterial gesture of naming its conditions and
subjecting itself both to their necessities and their impossibilities-such as
the insistence of love within the impossibility of the sexual relation.
Badiou is the King Lear of philosophy, but a Lear who retains a part, a part
to which one may return after voyaging through the diverse realms
opened up by new artistic. political. scientifc and amorous procedures.
Philosophy is thus dethroned, and it wanders over the heath, open to
the storms of even tal reworking, but at the same time, the ensuing
multiplication and dynamism of its domains amounts to a serene affrma­
tion of the freedom and power of thought.
l]ma/hcma//.s /s on/o/oµ+. wha///ndo]on/o/o«y /s //³
Badiou names Cantor's invention of set theory as an event. and its
Zermelo-Fraenkel axiomatization as a conditioning truth procedure for his
philosophy. rhe result is materialist. non-representational but schematic
ontology: an ontology that does not claim to re-present or express being as
an external substantiality or chaos, but rather to unfold being asit inscribes
it: being as inconsistent mUltiplicity, a-substantial. equivalent to 'nothing'.
By 'unfolding' I mean that in Badiou's reading the extension of the set
theoretical universe is strictly equivalent to the actual writing of each of its
formulas; it does not pre-exist set theory itself.
The materialism of set theory ontology is anchored in the axiom of
separation, which states that all sets corresponding to formulas-all
multiples which correspond to the limits of language-presume the prior
existence of an undefined set-a multiple in excess of l anguage. Bei ng, as
inconsistent multiplicity, is thus both in excess of the powers of language
to define and differentiate it. and it must be presupposed as such in order
for language to differentiate any multiple whatsoever8 Badiou thus
identifes this axiom as inscribing a critical delimitation of the powers of
language, which allows him to counter what he sees as the contemporary
form of idealism in philosophy: the primacy accorded to language.
8 Badiou, Infnite Thought. 177.
xxiii
xxi v
BEI NG AND EVENT
Set theory ontology is non-representational in that it does not posit being
outside itself but detains it within its inscriptions; in other words, it unfolds
being performatively, in the elaboration of its formulas and their pre­
suppositions. It avoids pos///nµ being inasmuch as there is no explicit
defnition of sets in Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. As Robert Blanche argues,
axiomatic systems comport 'implicit defnitions', whereby the defnition
arises as the global result of a series of regulated operations.9 This non -thetic
relation to being may also be understood in a pragmatic sense: Peirce wrote,
'Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we
conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of
these effects is the whole of our conception of the object: 10 In these terms, it
is the effects that sets have /hrouµhtheir manipulation by the axioms, and
the real limits that sets impose on such manipulation, that determine our
conception of inconsistent multiplicity, and thus of presented-being. These
effects and their limits have no other place than the axioms, theorems and
formulas of set theory, and so this is how set theory ontology may be said to
be an ontology of immanence, retaining being w//h/n its inscriptions. In
other words, Badiou assumes the original Parmenidean dispensation such
that set theory, in its materiality-its letters-presents being as pure
multiplicity. Badiou states: 'In mathematics, being, thought, and con­
sistency are one and the same thing
:
I I
Another way of understanding this immanent unfolding of being as
inconsistent multiplicity is to characterize set theory ontology as performa­
tive in that it cnac/swhat it speaks of. Certainly, one may object that this is
an ancient philosophical fantasy: to do what one is talking of, to ensure a
perfect equivalence between action and discourse, practice and theory, to
become the philosopher-king. However. unlike Derrida's texts which
deconstruct other texts as they speak of deconstruction, unlike Hegel. who
historically achieves absolute knowledge as he represents its historical
progress, and fnally unlike Deleuze who sets into motion his own
nomadic war machine as he extols the virtues thereof, the performativity
of set theory is no/ self-reflexive: set theory does not refect its own
performance, its own effcacy. This is so for two reasons: frst. thanks to
9 R. Blanche, L'aiomatique ( Paris: Quadrige/PUE 1955), 38.
lO c. S. Pei rce, 'How to Make Our Ideas Clear' in Philosophical Writings of Peirce (J.
Buchler ( ed.); New York: Dover Publications, 1955).
II See A. Badi ou, 'Platonism and Mathemati cal Ontology' in R. Brassier & A.
Toscano ( eds & trans. ) Theoretical Writings ( London: Conti nuum, 2004).
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
Godel's incompleteness theorem, we know a theory cannot prove its own
consistency-its effcacy. Second, set theory cannot re-present itself in its
totality because that would require a set of all sets, the total- set, and such
a set is strictly non-existent: there is no Whole in set theory. Set theory
ontology is thus a performative yet non-specular unfolding of being.
Although set theory ontology is non-representational in its relation to
being, Badiou does claim that it is schematic: that is, not only does it
present inconsistent mUltiplicity but it also presents the s/ruc/urc of non­
ontological situations. Badiou discers three basic structures of situa­
tions-natural, historical and neutral-and each is determined by a
particular relationship between a set's elements and its subsets. These
structures are said to ontologically differentiate non-ontological situations,
such as forests and nations. This is precisely where the abstraction of set
theory ontology risks being feshed out: note that such feshing out is in
fact native to set theory in that any number of 'models' of it can be created
by assigning fxed values to its variables. However, when it comes to
Badiou's meta ontological feshing out, one operates in the opposite
direction, selecting a non-ontological situation and then trying to deter­
mine its set-theoretical schema. A certain method is thus required to make
the passage from a concrete analysis of a situation to an ontological
description. The existence of such a method hinges on whether one can
securely identify evental-sites regardless of the occurrence of an event,
since it is such sites which differentiate historical from natural situations.
However, Badiou stipulates that an evental-site, strictly speaking, is only
evental inasmuch as an event occurs at its location. This suggests that it is
undecidable whether a site is evental in the absence of an event. The
method for the ontological analYSis of situations thus cannot follow a
verifcationist model; we must accept that it will be heuristic and prag­
matic. In another context, I have argued that indigenous politics in
Australia constitutes a generic truth procedure, and the indigenous peoples
themselves constitute an evental site in the situation of Australian poli­
tics. 1 2 In Australian governmental discourse the indigenous peoples are
always said to be either excessive or lacking: excessive in their political
demands, their drain on the public purse, their poverty; lacking in their
recognition of the government's 'good intentions', in their community
12 See O. Feltham, ' Singularity in Politics : the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra
1 972' , in D. Hoens (ed. ), Miracles do Happen ( Communication and Cognition, VoL
37, no. I, 2004) .
xxv
xxvi
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
health standards, in their spirit of enterprise and individual responsibility,
etc. It is possible to generalize these structural characteristics of excess and
lack by arguing that inasmuch as the state has no measure of the contents
of an evental site, the site itself will continually appear to be radically
insuffcient or in excess of any reasonable measure. One can thus adopt the
criteria for the existence of an evental-site that it marks the place of
unacceptable excess or lack in the eyes of the state.
The ultimate result of Badiou's structural differentiation of situations is
that he is able to anchor his conception of praxis-of generic truth
procedures-in particular types of situation. That is, only those political.
scientifc. artistic and interpersonal situations which comport evental-sites
may give rise to a situation-transforming truth procedure. This is one of
the signifcant strategic advantages set theory ontology possesses: rather
than locating a permanent source of potential change in a general and
omnipresent category (such as Negri and Hardt'S 'multitudes'), it singles
oul a particular type of situation as a potential site of transformation. Any
theory of praxis requires some form of structural differentiation to anchor
the practical analyses made by the subjects involved: whether they be
political (the concrete analysis of a conjuncture), artistic ( the nomination
of the avant-garde), or psychoanalytic ( diagnostic categories). For Badiou,
it is the structure of historical situations alone that provides a possible
location for an event and thus for the unfolding of a praxis. But the
existence of an evental-site is not enough to ensure the development of a
praxis; for that. an event must occur.
II. 'The new happens in being, under the name of the event'
Events happen in certain times and places which, unlike the minor
contingencies of everyday life, rupture with the established order of things.
If they are recognized as harbouring implications for that order, then a
transformation of the situation in which they occur may be initiated. For
Badiou, there is no ground to these events: they have no assignable cause,
nor do they emerge from any other situation. hence their belonging to the
category of 'what-is-not-being- qua-being'. This is how Badiou places the
a/se/u/c con//nµcnc of events: the most important feature of his new
theory of praxis with regard to the withered Marxist model and its
determinism.
TRANSLATOR' S PREFACE
This second fundamental proposition of Badiou's philosophy, like the
frst is not the result of a philosophical deduction. However, there is
certainly a philosophical context for it and its place in Badiou's thought:
the encounter between epistemology, psychoanalysis and Marxism that
occurred in Louis Althusser's work and in that of the ccrc/cdép/s/émo ¤/c
group at the
E
cole Normale Superieure in the mid 1 960's. " Moreover, the
concept of a rupture and an ensuing structural change of a situation could
be compared to the notion of an epistemological break drawn from the
lineage of Bachelard, Koyre, Canguilheim and Foucault. The problem of
differentiating praxis from the repetition of social structure can be identi­
fed as emerging from the encounter between structuralism and Marxism.
Finally. the problematic of the emergence of a subject separate from the
ego and its interests within a praxis is a properly Lacanian problematic: the
subject of desire emerges in response to the 'cut' of analytic interpretation
which also provides the measure of unconscious structure. Yet in Bc/nµand
Lvcn/none of these discourses or authors are privileged in the emergence
of the thought of the event; instead Badiou turns to Mallarme. His analysis
of the structure of the event is conditioned by the poem A cas/o]u/cc. - . ,
and it is in this poem that he finds the Mallarmean name of the event: 'the
Unique number which cannot be another'.
The proposition ' the new happens in being' therefore does not result
from a philosophical deduction, but rather from a conditioning of philoso­
phy, and, as with all conditioning, its resulting status is fnally that of a
philosophical idea: a hypothesis, a principle and a decision. The conse­
quences of denying this hypothesis are as clear as they are undesirable.
One could deny it for example, by arguing that Badiou's philosophy
merely presents a sophisticated take on the romantic conception of
modernism with its avant-garde heroes and its ruptures of the status quO. ' 4
The fundamental position underlying such an argument i s that named in
Ecclesiastes: there is nothing new under the sun. But rather than repeating
1 3 The group responsi bl e for the journal Cahiers pour I 'analyse.
14 Badiou hi msel f i s well aware of the risk of romanti cism; to the poi nt of arguing
that it still presents the major site for philosophi cal t hought today. See his
' Philosophy and Mathematics: Infnity and the End of Romanti ci sm' in
Badi ou, d. n. I I Theoretical Writings, 21 -38. The most ri gorous delimitation of
the fragments of romanti ci sm which remain i nherent to Badi ou's thought can
be found i n Justi n Cl emens' work: The Romanticism of Contemporar Theor.
Institutions. Aesthetics. Nihilism ( London: Ashgate. 200 3 ) .
xxvii
TRANSLATOR' S PREFACE
the romantic conception of immediate invention, Badiou condemns it
under the name of speculative leftism and its dream of an absolute
beginning. What he presents, on the contrary, is a detailed study of the |onµ
s/ow proccss o] supp/cmcn/a//on that may follow the occurrence of an
event.
Apart from this theoretical difference, the global consequences for
philosophy of the Ecclesiastes position must be named. I myself hold these
consequences to be three, an unholy trinity of destinies for philosophy:
scholastic specialization, philosophy as consolation or therapy, and fnally
philosophy as fashion. Philosophy, of course, does require rigorous analysis
and knowledge, it does produce affect and modify the subject, and it does
require an attention to what is new in its feld, but none of these
requirements univocally determines its destiny. If philosophy cedes to such
univocal determination-as specialization, therapy or fashion-it does
remove a large part of uncertainty from its practice, but it also dies a certain
death. There is far more animation to be found in Badiou's conception of
philosophy in that it embraces a certain anxiety, obsession and desire: the
mix which fuels its circulation between the history of philosophy, a theory
of the subject. truth and appearing, and contemporary truth procedures.
A /hcomo]prax/s
Badiou's theory of praxis is timely. Much of contemporary critical philoso­
phy arrives sooner or later at the problematic of praxis, precisely because
such philosophy attempts to critically delimit capitalism and identify those
practices that escape the cold rule of egoistic calculation. One can think of
Derrida's work on a new type of faith, Jean-Luc Nancy's idea of a writing
of the unworking of community, and Foucault's late conception of the self­
styling of subj ects. The signifcance of Badiou's conception is that it
manages to develop a prac//ca/model of praxis insofar as we can already
identify examples of such praxis at work in the world. The fundamental
source of the ' practicality' of Badiou's theory of praxis is his placing it
under the signs of possibility and contingency: there maybe an evental site
in a situation, an event may happen at that site, someone mayintervene
and name that event, others mayidentify an operator of fdelity, series of
enquiries maydevelop, and fnally, at a global level, these enquiries maybe
generic. We can also understand the practicality of Badiou's conception as
the result of his subtraction of praxis from any form of the One-thus
repeating the fundamental gesture of his ontology: the One of historical
xxvi i i
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
determinism ( the dialectic of the class struggle); the One of eschatology
(the ideal or goal of a classless society); and the One of a privileged and
necessary agent ( the proletariat as /hcsubject of history). The results of
these three subtractions from the One are: frst, that generic truth
procedures may take any number of historical forms; second, that they are
infnite and do not possess a single goal or limit; and fnally. that any
subject whatsoever may carry out the work of the enquiries.
What survives this process of subtraction is language. This is another
signifcant strength of Badiou's conception of praxis; because it includes a
certain use of language-forcing-it is /ransm/ss//|c /c/wccn su/]cc/s. This is
what allows Badiou, when removing the determinism of the Marxist
modeL to avoid embracing some form of mysticism or a spontaneous
participation in truth on the part of an initiated elite. Not only is a generic
truth procedure an eminently practical affair which takes time, but it
unfolds according to principles-an operator of fdelity, the names gen­
erated by the enquiries-which can be transmitted from subject to subject
and thus remain the property of no one in particular. This transmissibility
of principles removes any seat for the institution of hierarchy within the
praxis; indeed Badiou argues that equality, just as universality. is an
immanent axiom of truth procedures.
Badiou thus removes everything from his model of praxis that could
either give rise to dogmatism or retain assumptions about the shape that
history-or rather histories-might take. However, there is a problem
which is often mentioned in the commentary on Badiou's work, a problem
about belief. action, and ideas: inasmuch as a subject retroactively assigns
sense to the event, and there are no objective criteria determining whether
the procedure the subject is involved in is generic or not. there is no
distinction between subjectivization in a truth procedure and ideological
interpellation. 1 5 In fact. Badiou has built in one safeguard to prevent the
confusion of truth procedures and ideologies, and that is that the former i s
initiated by the occurrence of an event a/ancvcn/a/s//c. He recognizes that
many practical procedures occur which invoke a certain fidelity-his
example is Nazism-but he argues that they neither originate from an
evental site, nor are they generic, being fully determined by existing
1 5 The most developed form of thi s obj ection may be found in S. Zizek,
' Psychoanalysi s i n Post - Marxi sm: The Case of Alain Badi ou' i n South Atlantic
Quarterly 97: 2 ( Spri ng 1 998) : 2 3 5-6 1 . which i s reworked in S. Zizek, The
Ticklish Subject ( London: Verso, 1 999) .
xxix
xxx
BEI NG AND EVENT
knowledge. However, Badiou also says that there i s no guarantee that a
procedure is generic. and so we do not possess a sure-fre method for
identifying even tal sites. Consequently, the only answer to whether an
even tal site is at the origin of a procedure or not is local: that is, it depends
on a concrete analysis of the locality of the procedure. The distinction
between generic truth procedures and ideologies is thus a prac//.a/matter,
to be dealt with by those locally engaged in the procedure. There is no
global guarantee of the absence of ideology.
Perhaps the most questionable position here is that of the philosophers
in their a|s/rac/fear of ideology. Let's take it for granted that we bathe daily
in ideology, if only at the level of obeying the imperative Slavoj Zizek,
following Lacan, identifed as 'Enjoy! ' According to Badiou, the only
guarantee of working against such ideology is not to be found in an
abstract fear or wariness, but rather in the principled engagement in
particular praxes which maybe generic.
A generic truth procedure is thus a praxis which slowly transforms
and supplements a historical situation by means of separating out those of
its elements which are connected to the name of the event from those
which are not. This is an infinite process, and it has no assignable overall
function or goal save the transformation of the situation according to
/mmancn/imperatives derived from the operator of lidelity and the actual
enquiries.
Such is the result of Badiou's second fundamental proposition-'the
new happens in being, under the name of the event'-a renovated theory
of praxis. But Badiou does not rest there, for then he would risk
reintroducing a dualism between the static ontological regime of the
mUltiple, and the dynamic practical regime of truth procedures. Badiou
joins the two regimes by sketching the on/o/.µ/ca/ schcmc of a situation­
transforming praxis, and t his, in the end, is the most astonishing con­
sequence of Badiou's identifcation of mathematics as ontology. Thanks to
the event-within mathematics--f Paul Cohen's work on the continuum
hypothesis, it is possible to mathematically write a generic or indiscernible
set. In other words, Cohen develops a rigorous formalization of what is
vague, indeterminate and anything-whatsoever; it i s possible to speak of
what i s strictly i ndi scerni bl e without di scerni ng i t . Some readers may have
been struck by Badiou's taste for hard and fast categories-philosophy
is not a truth procedure, truths take place in four domains, all appeals
to a One are theological-but it is here that Badiou fnally places a real
TRANSLATOR' S PREFACE
diffculty with categorizing: the generic set inscribes the emergence of the
new insofar as it is strictly uncategorizable.
Badiou is thus able to join his thought of being to his thought of concrete
change via the mathematical concept of the generic multiple. This is the
grand synthesis and challenge of Badiou's philosophy, crystallized in the
title of this work, being andevent; the task is to think being andevent, not
the being of the event, nor the event of being. The concepts Badiou
employs to think this synthesis of being and event are those of a 'generic
multiple' and 'forcing', and he draws them from the work of a mathema­
tician, Paul Cohen. However, these mathematical concepts then lead
Badiou to a classical philosophical concept: the subject. The reason for this
turn in the argument is that for Badiou the only way to develop a modern
de-substantialized non-reflective concept of the subject is to restrict it to
that of a subj ect of praxis. Consequently, the ' and' of being and event
fnally names the space of the subject, the subject of the work of change,
fragment of a truth procedure-the one who unfolds new structures of
being and thus w//:s /hccvcn//n/o /c/nµ. ' ¯
Badiou's subject of praxis i s not identical to an individual person; in his
view, subjects are constituted by works of art, scientifc theorems, political
decisions, and proofs of love. Despite this, a 'subject' is not an abstract
operator; any individual may form part of such a subject by their principled
actions subsequent to an event
The ' and' of 'being and event' is thus up to the subject: it's open. Alain
Badiou's philosophy certainly makes a call upon one-not least to under­
stand some set theory-and the call is made through a forceful affrmation
of eveyone's capacity for truth. One can always, as Celan says, cast oneself
out of one's outside, and recognize an event.
Notes on the translation
In this translation I have tried to retain some echoes of the particularities
of Badiou's syntax without losing fluidity. The reason behind this choice is
that, as Louise Burchill remarks ( translator of Badiou's uc/cuzcì . Badiou's
syntax is not innocent; it does some philosophical work. Usually this work
16 This idea i s developed in O. Feltham ' And bei ng and event and . . .
phi losophy and its nominati ons' i n The Philosophy of Alain Badiou i n Polygraph
16 ( 2005) .
xxxi
BEI NG AND EVENT
simply amounts to establishing a hierarchy of importance between the
terms in a sentence, hence the necessity of fnding some equivalent to his
syntax in English. One syntactic structure in particular is worth mention­
ing: Badiou often separates the subject of the sentence from the main verb,
or the object of the verb, by inserting long subordinate phrases. One could
say these phrases interrupt the 'situation' of the sentence, much like an
event. Now for specifc terms:
Beings/existents, being qua being. !have translated é/an/ as 'being' or
'beings' and occasionally, to avoid confusion with the ontological sense of
being, as 'existents'. Lé/an/·cn· /o/a///é is rendered by 'being-in-totality'. !
have translated / e/rccn· /an/·aue/rc as 'being-qua-being' rather than as
'being as being' , since the latter is a little flat. Complications arise
occasionally, such as in Meditation 20, with formulations such as / e/rc·non
é/an/. translated as 'non-existent-being' rather than as 'non-being-being'.
The term / í/an/·cn· /an/·auí/an/ is translated as 'beings-qua-beings' to
avoid confusion with 'being-qua-being'. The main problems reside in
passages in Meditations 2 and 1 3 where Badiou exploits the distinction
between é/an/and e|rc. For example, in Meditation 1 3 he fnally forms the
term / u·c-é/an/·dc·/ un Though the term 'beings' is retained for é/an/
throughout the entire passage, !found myself obliged to translate the latter
as · the being-existent-of-the-one'.
Evental site translates the technical term s//c événcmcn//c/. The adjective
'eventful' is inappropriate due to its connotations of activity and busyness
and so ! have adopted Peter Hallward's neologism ( translator of Badiou's
L/h/csi .
Fidelity translates the technical term {dc///í which is drawn from the
domain of l ove to designate all generic procedures in whi ch a subject
commits him or herself to working out the consequences of the occurrence
of an event in a situation for the transformation of that situation.
Thought. The French substantive pensee refers to the activity and process
of thinking whereas 'thought' generally refers to a single idea or notion. !
have translated pcnsécwith 'thought' or 'thinking' because neither 'theory'
nor 'account' nor 'philosophy' are adequate. Moreover, the Heideggerean
echoes of the term should be retained.
The errancy of the void translates / c·ranccdu v/dc. ! chose errancy over
wandering, deeming the latter too romantic and German for a French
subtractive ontology.
xxxi i
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
Unpresentation. Badiou uses the neologism /mprcscn/a//on for which
unpresentability, connoting a lack of manners or dress, is entirely unsuit­
abIe, hence the neologism 'unpresentation' .
Veracity/veridical. Badiou employs a distinction between /c vcr/4/auc/
vcr/d/c//í and /c vra|. Veracity, veridicity and veridical are employed, as
distinct from truth, despite not being in current usage.
What is presented/what presents itself. These syntagms are used to
translate ccaa/scpríscn/c Since it can be translated in both the active and
the passive voice, it suggests the middle voice-unavailable in English
-which possesses the advantage of avoiding any suggestion of an external
agent of the verb.
Tanslator'S Acknowledgements
I would like to frst thank Alain Badiou for providing me with the
inestimable opportunity to translate this work and for his patience. I am
also very grateful to friends, family and colleagues for their continual
encouragement, enthusiasm and assistance: Jason Barker, Bruno Besana,
Ray Brassier, Chris, VaL Lex and Bryony Feltham, Peter Hallward, Domi­
niek Hoens, Sigi Jottkandt, Alberto Toscano, and Ben Tunstall. To people
deserve special mention for their attention to detail and innumerable
suggestions when reading the drafts, Justin Clemens and Isabelle Vodoz.
Lastly, thank YOl Barbara Formis-a true partner in the daily practice of
translation.
xxxi ii
Introducti on
Let's premise the analysis of the current global state of philosophy on the
following three assumptions:
1 . Heidegger is the last universally recognizable philosopher.
2 . Those programmes of thought-especially the American-which
have followed the developments in mathematics, in logic and in the
work of the Vienna circle have succeeded in conserving the fgure of
scientifc rationality as a paradigm for thought.
3. A post-Cartesian doctrine of the subject is unfolding: its origin can be
traced to non-philosophical practices ( whether those practices be
politicaL or relating to ' mental illness'); and its regime of inter­
pretation, marked by the names of Marx and Lenin. Freud and Lacan,
is complicated by clinical or militant operations which go beyond
transmissible discourse.
What do these three statements have in common? They all indicate, in
their own manner, the closure of an entire epoch of thought and its
concerns. Heidegger thinks the epoch is ruled by an inaugural forgetting
and proposes a Greek return in his deconstruction of metaphysics. The
'analytic' current of English-language philosophy discounts most of clas­
sical philosophy's propositions as senseless, or as limited to the exercise of
1
2
BEI NG AND EVENT
a language game. Marx announces the end of philosophy and its realiza­
tion in practice. Lacan speaks of 'antiphilosophy', and relegates speculative
totalization to the imaginary.
On the other hand. the disparity between these statements is obvious.
The paradigmatic position of science, such as it organizes Anglo- Saxon
thought ( up to and including its anarchistic denial), is identifed by
Heidegger as the ultimate and nihilistic effect of the metaphysical disposi­
tion, whilst Freud and Marx conserve its ideals and Lacan himself rebuilds
a basis for mathemes by using logic and topology. The idea of an
emancipation or of a salvation is proposed by Marx and Lenin in the guise
of social revolution, but considered by Freud or Lacan with pessimistic
scepticism, and envisaged by Heidegger in the retroactive anticipation of a
'return of the gods', whilst the Americans µresso medo make do with the
consensus surrounding the procedures of representative democracy.
Thus, there is a general agreement that speculative systems are incon­
ceivable and that the epoch has passed in which a doctrine of the knot
/c/nµ/non /c/nµ//houµh/( if one allows that this knot. since Parmenides, has
been the origin of what is called 'philosophy') can be proposed in the form
of a complete discourse. The time of thought is open to a different regime
of understanding.
There is disagreement over knowing whether this opening-whose
essence is to close the metaphysical age-manifests itself as a rcvo/u//on. a
rc/urn or a cr///auc.
My own intervention in this conjuncture consists in drawing a diagonal
through it: the trajectory of thought that ! attempt here passes through
three sutured points, one in each of the three places designated by the
above statements.
- Along with Heidegger, it will be maintained that philosophy as such
can only be re-assigned on the basis of the ontological question.
- Along with analytic philosophy, it will be held that the mathematico­
logical revolution of Frege-Cantor sets new orientations for
thought.
- Finally, it will be agreed that no conceptual apparatus is adequate
unless it is homogeneous with the theoretico-practical orientations of
the modern doctrine of the subject. itself internal to practical pro­
cesses ( clinical or pol i tical).
This trajectory leads to some entangled periodizations, whose unifca­
tion, in my eyes, would be arbitrary, necessitating the unilateral choice of
I NTRODUCTI ON
one of the three orientations over the others. We live i n a complex, indeed
confused, epoch: the ruptures and continuities from which it is woven
cannot be captured under one term. There is not ' a' revolution today (nor
'a' return, nor 'a' critique) . I would summarize the disjointed temporal
multiple which organizes our site in the following manner.
l . We are the contemporaries of a /h/rdcpoch of science, after the Greek
and the Galilean. The caesura which opens this third epoch is not ( as with
the Greek) an invention-that of demonstrative mathematics-nor is it
(like the Galilean) a break-that which mathematized the discourse of
physics. It is a split. through which the very nature of the base of
mathematical rationality reveals itself. as does the character of the decision
of thought which establishes it.
2. We are equally the contemporaries of a sccondcpochof the doctrine of
the Subject. It is no longer the founding subject, centered and reflexive,
whose theme runs from Descartes to Hegel and which remains legible in
Marx and Freud ( in fact. in Husser! and Sartre) . The contemporary Subject
is void, cleaved, a-substantial. and ir-reflexive. Moreover, one can only
suppose its existence in the context of particular processes whose condi­
tions are rigorous.
3 . Finally, we are contemporaries of a ncwdcpcr/urc in the doctrine of
truth, following the dissolution of its relation of organic connection to
knowledge. It is noticeable, after the fact, that to this day vcrac/n. as I call
it, has reigned without quarter: however strange it may seem, it is quite
appropriate to say that truth is a new word in Europe ( and elsewhere) .
Moreover, this theme of truth crosses the paths of Heidegger ( who was the
frst to subtract it from knowledge) , the mathematicians ( who broke with
the object at the end of the last century, just as they broke with
adequation) , and the modern theories of the subject ( which displace truth
from its subjective pron unciation) .
The initial thesis of my enterprise-on the basis of which this entangle­
ment of periodizations is organized by extracting the sense of each-is the
following: the science of being qua being hcscx/s/casince the Greeks-such
is the sense and status of mathematics. However, it is only today that we
have the means to knowthis. It follows from this thesis that philosophy is
not centred on ontology-which exists as a separate and exact dis­
cipline-rather, it c/·cu/c/csbetween this ontology ( thus, mathematics) , the
modern theories of the subject and its own history. The contemporary
complex of the conditions of philosophy includes everything referred to in
my frst three statements: the history of 'Western' thought. post-Cantorian
3
4
BEING AND EVENT
mathematics, psychoanalysis, contemporary art and politics. Philosophy
does not coincide with any of these conditions; nor does it map out the
totality to which they belong. What philosophy must do is propose a
conceptal framework in which the contemporary compossibility of these
conditions can be grasped. Philosophy can only do this-and this is what
frees it from any foundational ambition, in which it would lose itself-by
designating amongst its own conditions, as a singular discursive situation,
ontology itself in the form of pure mathematics. This is precisely what
delivers philosophy and ordains it to the care of truths.
The categories that this book deploys, from the pure multiple to the
subj ect, constitute the general order of a thought which is such that it can
be prac//scd across the entirety of the contemporary system of reference.
These categories are available for the service of scientifc procedures just as
they are for those of politics or art. They attempt to organize an abstract
vision of the requirements of the epoch.
2
The ( philosophical) statement that mathematics /s ontology-the science
of being qua being-is the trace of light which illuminates the speculative
scene, the scene which I had restricted, in my !héot/c du su]c/. by
presupposing purely and simply that there 'was some' subjectivization. The
compatibility of this thesis with ontology preoccupied me, because the
force-and absolute weakness-of the 'old Marxism' . of dialectical materi­
alism. had lain in its postulation of just such a compatibility in the shape of
the generality of the laws of the dialectic. which is to say the isomorphy
between the dialectic of nature and the dialectic of history. This (Hegelian)
isomorphy was. of course. still-born. When one still battles today. along­
side Prigogine and within atomic physics. searching for dialectical cor­
puscles. one is no more than a survivor of a battle which never seriously
took place save under the brutal injunctions of the Stalinist state. Nature
and its dialectic have nothing to do with all that. But that the process­
subject be compatible with what is pronounceable-or pronounced-of
being. there is a serious diffculty for you. one. moreover. that I pointed out
in the question posed directly to Lacan by Jacques-Alain Miller in 1 964:
'What is your ontology?' Our wily master responded with an allusion to
non-being. which was well judged. but brief. Lacan. whose obsession with
mathematics did nothing but grow with time. also indicated that pure logic
I NTRODUCTI ON
was the 'science of the rea\' . Yet the real remains a category of the
subject.
I groped around for several years amongst the impasses of logic­
developing close exegeses of the theorems of GiideL Tarski, and
Liwenheim- Skolem-without surpassing the frame of Ihcor/cdusu]c/save
in technical subtlety. Without noticing it, I had been caught in the grip of
a logicist thesis which holds that the necessity of logico- mathematical
statements is formal due to their complete eradication of any effect of
sense, and that in any case there is no cause to investigate what these
statements account for, outside their own consistency. I was entangled in
the consideration that if one supposes that there is a referent of logico­
mathematical discourse, then one cannot escape the alternative of think­
ing of it either as an 'object' obtained by abstraction ( empiricism), or as a
super-sensible Idea ( Platonism). This is the same dilemma in which one is
trapped by the universally recognized Anglo-Saxon distinction between
' formal' and 'empirical' sciences. None of this was consistent with the clear
Lacanian doctrine according to which the real is the impasse of formal­
ization. I had mistaken the route.
H was fnally down to the chance of bibliographic and technical research
on the discrete/continuous couple that I came to think that it was
necessary to shift ground and formulate a radical thesis concerning
mathematics. What seemed to me to constitute the essence of the famous
'problem of the continuum' was that in it one touched upon an c/s/auc
intrinsic to mathematical thought, in which the very impossibility which
founds the latter's domain is said. After studying the apparent paradoxes of
recent investigations of this relation between a mUltiple and the set of its
parts, I came to the conclusion that the sole manner in which intelligible
fgures could be found within was if one frst accepted that the Multiple,
for mathematics, was not a ( formal) concept, transparent and constructed,
but a real whose internal gap, and impasse, were deployed by the
theory.
I then arrived at the certainty that it was necessary to posit that
mathematics writes that which, of being itself. is pronounceable in the feld
of a pure theory of the Multiple. The entire history of rational thought
appeared to me to be illuminated once one assumed the hypothesis that
mathematics, far from being a game without object, draws the exceptional
severity of its law from being bound to support the discourse of ontology.
In a reversal of the Kantian question, it was no longer a matter of asking:
5
6
BEI NG AND EVENT
'How is pure mathematics possible?' and responding: thanks to a transcen­
dental subject. Rather: pure mathematics being the science of being, how
is a subject possible?
3
The productive consi stency of the thought termed 'formal' cannot be
entirely due to its logical framework. It is not-exactly-a form, nor an
episteme, nor a method. It is a s/nµu/arscience. This is what sutures it to
being (void), the point at which mathematics detaches itself from pure
logic. the point which establishes its historicity, its successive impasses, its
spectacular splits, and its forever-recognized unity. I this respect. for the
philosopher. the decisive break-in which mathematics blindly pro­
nounces on its own essence-is Cantor's creation. It is there alone that it
is finally declared thaL despite the prodigious variety of mathematical
'obj ects' and 'structures' , they can a// be designated as pure multiplicities
buill. in a regulated manner, on the basis of the void- set alone. The
question of the exact nature of the rel ation of mathematics to being is
therefore entirely concentrated-for the epoch in which we fnd
ourselves-in the axiomatic decision which authorizes set theory.
That this axiomatic system has been itself in crisis, ever since Cohen
established that the Zermelo-Fraenkel system could not determine the
type of multiplicity of the continuum, only served to sharpen my convic­
tion that something crucial yet completely unnoticed was at stake there,
concerning the power of language with regard to what could be mathe­
matically expressed of being qua being. I found it ironic that in Ihéor/cdu
su]c/ I had used the 'set-theoretical' homogeneity of mathematical lan­
guage as a mere paradigm of the categories of materialism. I saw,
moreover. some quite welcome consequences of the assertion 'mathe­
matics = ontology'.
First. this assertion frees us from the venerable search for the foundation
of mathematics, since the apodeictic nature of this discipline is wagered
directly by being itself. which it pronounces.
Second, i t disposes of the similarly ancient problem of the nature of
mathematical objects. Ideal objects ( Platonism) ? Objects drawn by abstrac­
tion from sensible substance (Aristotle)? Innate ideas (Descartes ) ? Objects
constructed in pure i ntuition (Kant) ? In a finite operational intuition
( Brouwer) ? Conventions of writing (formalism) ? Constructions transitive
I NTRODUCTI ON
to pure logic, tautologies (logicism) ? If the argument I present here holds
up, the truth is that /hcrc arc no mathematical obj ects. Strictly speaking,
mathematics prcscn/s no/h/nµ. without constituting for all that an empty
game, because not having anything to present, besides presentation
itself-which is to say the Multiple-and thereby never adopting the form
of the ob-ject, such is certainly a condition of all discourse on being aua
|c/nµ.
Third, in terms of the 'applcation' of mathematics to the so-called
natural sciences (those sciences which periodically inspire an enquiry into
the foundation of their success: for Descartes and Newton, God was
required; for Kant, the transcendental subject, after which the question
was no longer seriously practised, save by Bachelard in a vision which
remained constitutive, and by the American partisans of the stratifcation
of languages) , the clarification is immediately evident if mathematics is the
science, in any case, of everything that is, /nso{ar as // /s. Physics, itself.
enters into presentation. It requires more, or rather, something else, but its
compatibility with mathematics is a matter of principle.
Naturally, this is nothing new to philosophers-that there must be a link
between the existence of mathematics and the question of being. The
paradigmatic function of mathematics runs from Plato ( doubtless from
Parmenides) to Kant, with whom its usage reached both its highest point
and, via 'the Copernican revolution' , had its consequences exhausted:
Kant salutes in the birth of mathematics, indexed to Thales, a salva tory
event for all humanity ( this was also Spinoza's opinion) ; however, it is the
./osurc of all access to being-in- itself which founds the ( human, all too
human) universality of mathematics. From that point onwards, with the
exception of Husserl-who is a great classic, if a little late-modern ( let's
say post-Kantian) philosophy was no longer haunted by a paradigm,
except that of history, and, apart from some heralded but repressed
exceptions, Cavailles and Lautman, it abandoned mathematics to Ang|o
Saxon linguistic sophistry. Thi s was the case in France, it must be said, until
Lacan.
The reason for this is that philosophers-who think that they alone set
out the feld in which the question of being makes sense-have placed
mathematics. ever since Plato, as a model of certainty, or as an example of
identity: they subsequently worry about the special pos///on of the objects
articulated by this certitude or by these idealities. Hence a relation, both
permanent and bi ased, between phi l osophy aodmathematics : the former
oscillating, in its evaluation of the latter, between the eminent dignity of
7
8
BEI NG AND EVENT
the rational paradigm and a distrust in which the insignifcance of its
'objects' were held. What value could numbers and fgures have­
categories of mathematical 'objectivity' for twenty-three centuries-in
comparison to Nature, the Good, God, or Man? What value, save that the
'manner of thinking' in which these meagre objects shone with demon­
strative assurance appeared to open the way to less precarious certitudes
concerning the otherwise glorious entities of speculation.
At best if one manages to clarify what Aristotle says of the matter. Plato
imagined a mathematical architecture of being. a transcendental function
of ideal numbers. He also recomposed a cosmos on the basis of regular
polygons: this much may be read in the I/macus.But this enterprise, which
binds being as Totality (the fantasy of the World) to a given state of
mathematics. can only generate perishable images. Cartesian physics met
the same end.
The thesis that I support does not in any way declare that being is
mathematical. which is to say composed of mathematical objectivities. It is
not a thesis about the world but about discourse. It affrms that mathe­
matics. throughout the entirety of its historical becoming. pronounces
what is expressible of being qua being. Far from reducing itself to
tautologies (being is that which is) or to mysteries (a perpetually
postponed approximation of a Presence) , ontology is a rich. complex.
unfnishable science, submitted to the diffcult constraint of a {dc//n
( deductive fdelity in this case) . As such, in merely trying to organize the
discourse of what subtracts itself from any presentation. one faces an
infnite and rigorous task.
The philosophical rancour originates uniquely in the following: if it is
correct that the philosophers have formulated the question of being, then
it is not themsel ves but the mathematici ans who have come up with the
answer to that question. All that we know, and can ever know of being qua
being, is set out through the mediation of a theory of the pure multiple.
by the historical discursivity of mathematics.
Russell said-without believing it, of course, no one in truth has ever
believed it save the ignorant and Russell certainly wasn·t such-that
mathematics is a discourse in which one does not know what one is talking
about nor whether what one is saying is true. Mathematics is rather the
so/ediscouse whi ch ' knows' absolutely what it is tal king about: being. as
such, despite the fact that there is no need for this knowledge to be
reflected in an intra-mathematical sense. because being is not an object
and nor does it generate objects. Mathematics is also the sole discourse,
I NTRODUCTI ON
and this i s well known, i n which one has a complete guarantee and a
criterion of the truth of what one says, to the point that this truth is unique
inasmuch as it is the only one ever to have been encountered which is fully
transmissible.
4
The thesis of the identity of mathematics and ontology is disagreeable, I
know, to both mathematicians and philosophers.
Contemporary philosophical 'ontology' is entirely dominated by the
name of Heidegger. For Heidegger, sdence, from which mathematics is not
distinguished, constitutes the hard kernel of metaphysics, inasmuch as it
annuls the latter in the very loss of that forgetting in which metaphysics,
since Plato, has founded the guarantee of its objects: the forgetting of
being. The principal sign of modern nihilism and the neutrality of thought
is the technical omnipresence of science-the science which installs the
forgetting of the forgetting.
It is therefore not saying much to say that mathematics-which to my
knowledge he only mentions laterally-is not, for Heidegger, a path which
opens onto the original question, nor the possible vector of a return
towards dissipated presence. No, mathematics is rather blindness itself, the
great power of the Nothing, the foreclosure of thought by knowledge. It is,
moreover, symptomatic that the Platonic institution of metaphysics is
accompanied by the institution of mathematics as a paradigm. As such, for
Heidegger, it may be manifest from the outset that mathematics is internal
to the great 'turn' of thought accomplished between Parmenides and Plato.
Due to this turn, that which was in a position of opening and veiling
became fxed and-at the price of forgetting its own origins-manipulable
in the form of the Idea.
The debate with Heidegger will therefore bear simultaneously on
ontology and on the essence of mathematics, then consequently on what
is signifed by the site of philosophy being ' originally Greek' . The debate
can be opened in the following way:
l . Heidegger still remains enslaved, even in the doctrine of the with­
drawal and the un-veiling, to what I consider, for my part, to be the
essence of metaphysics; that is, the fgure of being as endowment and gift,
as presence and opening, and the fgure of ontology as the offering of a
trajectory of proximity. I will call this type of ontology poetic; ontology
9
10
BEI NG AND EVENT
haunted by the dissipation of Presence and the loss of the origin. We know
what role the poets play, from Parmenides to Rene Char, passing by
H6lderlin and TrakL in the Heideggerean exegesis. I attempted to follow in
his footsteps-with entirely different stakes-in Ihéer/c da su]c/. when I
convoked Aeschylus and Sophocles, Mallarme, Hiilderlin and Rimbaud to
the intricacy of the analysis.
2. Now, to the seduction of poetic proximity-I admit, I barely escaped
it-I will oppose the radically subtractive dimension of being, foreclosed
not only from representation but from all presentation. I will say that being
qua being does not in any manner let itself be approached, but solely
allows itself to be su/urcd in its void to the brutality of a deductive
consistency without aura. Being does not diffuse itself in rhythm and
image, it does not reign over metaphor, it is the null sovereign of inference.
For poetic ontology, which-like History-fnds itself in an impasse of an
excess of presence, one in which being conceals itself. it is necessary to
substitute mathematical ontology, in which dis-qualifcat i on and unpre­
sentation are realized through writing. Whatever the subjective price may
be, philosophy must designate, insofar as it is a matter of being qua being,
the genealogy of the discourse on being-and the reflection on its possible
essence-in Cantor, GiideL and Cohen rather than in Hilderlin, Trakl and
Celan.
3 . There is well and truly a Greek histoicity to the birth of philosophy,
and, without doubt, that historicity can be assigned to the question of
being. However, it is not in the enigma and the poetic fragment that the
origin may be interpreted. Similar sentences pronounced on being and
non-being within the tension of the poem can be identifed just as easily in
India, Persia or China. If philosophy-which is the disposition for designat­
i ng exactly where the joint questions of being and of what- happens are at
stake-was born in Greece, it is because it is there that ontology estab­
lished, with the frst dcduc//vc mathematics, the necessary form of its
discourse. It is the philosophico-mathematical nexus-legible even in
Parmenides' poem in its usage of apagogic reasoning-which makes
Greece the original site of philosophy, and which defnes, until Kant, the
'classic' domai n of its objects.
At base, affirming that mathematics accompl ishes ontology unsettles
philosophers because this thesis absolutely discharges them of what
remained the centre of gravity of their discourse, the ultimate refuge of
their identity. Indeed, mathematics today has no need of philosophy, and
thus one can say that the discourse on being continues 'all by itself' .
I NTRODUCTI ON
Moreover, i t i s characteristic t
h
at this 'today' is determined by the creation
of set theory, of mathematized logic, and then by the theory of categories
and of /opo/. These efforts, both reflexive and intra-mathematical, suff­
ciently assure mathematics of its being-although still quite blindly-to
henceforth provide for its advance.
¯
The danger is that if philosophers are a little chagrined to learn that
ontology has had the form of a separate discipline since the Greeks, the
mathematicians are in no way overjoyed. I have met with scepticism and
indeed with amused distrust on the part of mathematicians faced with this
type of revelation concerning their discipline. This is not affronting, not
least because I plan on establishing in this very book the following: that it
is of the essence of ontology to be carried out in the reflexive foreclosure
of its identity. For someone who actually knows that it is from being qua
being that the truth of mathematics proceeds, doing mathematics-and
especially inventive mathematics-demands that this knowledge be at no
point represented. Its representation, placing being in the general position
of an object would immediately corrupt the necessity, for any ontological
operation, of de-objectifcation. Hence, of course, the attitude of those the
Americans call work/nµma/hcma//c/ansthey always fnd general considera­
tions about their discipline vain and obsolete. They only trust whomever
works hand in hand with them grinding away at the latest mathematical
problem. But this trust-which is the practico-ontological subj ectivity
itself-is in principle unproductive when it comes to any rigorous descrip­
tion of the generic essence of their operations. It is entirely devoted to
particular innovations.
Empirically, the mathematician always suspects the philosopher of not
knowing enough about mathematics to have earned the right to speak.
No-one is more representative of this state of mind in France than
Jean Dieudonne. Here is a mathematician unanimously known for his
encyclopaedic mastery of mathematics, and for his concern to continually
foreground the most radical reworkings of current research. Moreover,
Jean Dieudonne is a particularly well-informed historian of mathematics.
Every debate concerning the philosophy of his diScipline requires him.
However, the thesis he continually advances ( and it is entirely correct in
the facts) is that of the terrible backwardness of philosophers in relation to
1 1
12
BEING AND EVENT
living mathematics, a point from which he infers that what they do have
to say about it is devoid of contemporary relevance. He especially has it in
for those (like me) whose interest lies principally in logic and set theory.
For him these are fnished theories, which can be refned to the n(hdegree
without gaining any more interest or consequence than that to be had in
juggling with the problems of elementary geometry, or devoting oneself to
calculations with matrices ( ' those absurd calculations with matrices' he
remarks).
Jean Dieudonne therefore concludes in one sole prescription: that one
must master the active, modern mathematical corpus. He assures that this
task is possible, because Albert Lautman, before being assassinated by the
Nazis, not only attained this mastery, but penetrated further into the
nature of leading mathematical research than a good number of his
mathematician-contemporaries.
Yet the striking paradox in Dieudonne's praise of Lautman is that it is
absolutely unclear whether he approves of Lautman's ph//osoph/.a/state­
ments any more than of those of the ignorant philosophers that he
denounces. The reason for this is that Lautman's statements are of a great
radicalism. Lautman draws examples from the most recent mathematics
and places them in the service of a transplatonist vision of their schemas.
Mathematics, for him, realizes in thought the descent. the procession of
dialectical Ideas which form the horizon of being for all possible rationality.
Lautman did not hesitate, from 1 939 onwards, to relate this process to the
Heideggerean dialectic of being and beings. Is Dieudonne prepared to
validate Lautman's high speculations, rather than those of the 'current'
epistemologists who are a century behind? He does not speak of this.
I ask then: what good is exhaustivity in mathematical knowledge
-certainly worthwhile in itself. however diffcult to conquer-for the
philosopher, if, in the eyes of the mathematicians, it does not even serve as
a particular guarantee of the validity of his philosophical conclusions?
At bottom, Dieudonne's praise for Lautman is an aristocratic procedure,
a knighting. Lautman is recognized as belonging to the brotherhood of
genuine scholars. But that it be philosophy which is at stake remains, and
will always remain, in excess of that recognition.
Mathematicians tell us: be mathematicians. And if we are, we are
honoured for that alone without having advanced one step in convincing
them of the essence of the site of mathematical thought. In the fnal
analysis, Kant, whose mathematical referent in the cr///aucof |urckcasen
did not go much further than the famous 7 + 5 * 1 2', beneftted, on
I NTRODUCTI ON
the part of Poincare ( a mathematical giant), from more ph//osoph/ca/
recognition than Lautman, who referred to the nccp/as u//ra of his time,
received from Dieudonne and his colleagues.
We thus fnd ourselves, for our part, compelled to suspect mathema­
ticians of being as demanding concerning mathematical knowledge as they
are lax when it comes to the philosophical deSignation of the essence of
that knowledge.
Yet in a sense, they are completely right. If mathematics /s ontology,
there is no other solution for those who want to participate in the actual
development of ontology: they must study the mathematicians of their
time. If the kernel of 'philosophy' is ontology, the directive 'be a mathema­
tician' is correct. The new theses on being qua being are indeed nothing
other than the new theories, and the new theorems to which work/nµ
ma/hcma//c/ans-'ontologists without knowing so' -devote themselves; but
this lack of knowledge is the key to their truth.
It is therefore essentiaL in order to hold a reasoned debate over the usage
made here of mathematics, to assume a crucial consequence of the identity
of mathematics and ontology, which is that ph//osophy/sor/µ/na//yscpara/cd
]rom en/o/oµy. Not, as a vain 'critical' knowledge would have us believe,
because ontology does not exi st, but rather because it exists fully, to the
degree that what is sayable-and said-of being qua being does not in any
manner arise from the discourse of philosophy.
Consequently, our goal is not an ontological presentation, a treatise on
being, which is never anything other than a mathematical treatise: for
example, the formidable !n/ro4uc//on /oAnalys/s. in nine volumes, by Jean
Dieudonne. Only such a will to presentation would require one to advance
into the ( narrow) breach of the most recent mathematical problems.
Failing that, one is a chronicler of ontology, and not an ontologist.
Our goal is to establish the meta-ontological thesis that mathematics is
the historicity of the discourse on being qua being. And the goal of this goal
is to assign philosophy to the thinkable articulation of two discourses (and
practices) which crc no/ //. mathematics, science of being, and the inter­
vening doctrines of the event, which, precisely, designate 'that- which­
is-not -being- qua-being' .
The thesis 'ontology = mathematics' i s meta-ontological: this excludes it
being mathematical, or ontological. The stratifcation of discourses must be
admitted here. The demonstration of the thesis prescribes the usage of
certain mathematical fragments, yet they are commanded by philosophical
rules, and not by those of contemporary mathematics. In short, the part
13
14
BEI NG AND EVENT
of mathematics at stake is that in which it is historically pronounced that
every 'object' is reducible to a pure multiplicity, itself built on the
unpresentation of the void: the part called set theory. Naturally, these
fragments can be read as a particular type of ontological marking of meta­
ontology
,
an index of a discursive de- stratifcation, indeed as aa cvca/a/
occurrcnccof bc/nu. These points will be discussed in what follows. All we
need to know for the moment is that it is non- contradictory to hold these
morsels of mathematics as almost inactive-as theoretical devices-in the
development of ontology, in which it is rather algebraic topology
,
func­
tional analysis, differential geometry, etc., which reign-and, at the same
time, to consider that they remain singular and necessary supports for the
theses of meta-ontology.
Let's therefore attempt to dissipate the misunderstanding. I am not
pretending in any way that the mathematical domains I mention are the
most 'interesting' or Signifcant in the current state of mathematics. That
ontology has followed its course well beyond them is obvious. Nor am I
saying that these domains are in a foundational position for mathematical
discursivity, even if they generally occur at the beginning of every
systematic treatise. To begin is not to found. My problem is not, as I have
said, that of foundations, for that would be to advance within the internal
architecture of ontology whereas my task is solely to indicate its site.
However, what I do affrm is that historically these domains are s,mp/oms.
whose interpretation validates the thesis that mathematics is only assured
of its truth insofar as it organizes what, of being qua being, allows itself to
be inscribed.
If other more active symptoms are interpreted then so much the better,
for it will then be possible to organize the meta-ontological debate within
a recognizable framework. With perhaps, perhaps . . . a knighting by the
mathematicians.
Thus, to the philosophers, it must be sai d that it is on the basis of a
defnitive ruling on the ontological question that the freedom of their
genuinely specific procedures may be derived today. And to the mathema­
ticians, that the ontological dignity of their research, despite being
constrained to blindness with respect to itself, does not exclude, once
unbound from the being of the work/nu ma/hcma//c|an. their becoming
interested in what is happening in meta -ontology, according to other rules,
and towards other ends. In any case, it does not exclude them from being
persuaded that the truth is at stake therein, and furthermore that it is the
act of trusting them for ever with the 'care of being' which separates truth
I NTRODUCTI ON
from knowledge and opens i t to the event. Without any other hope, but it
is enough, than that of mathematically inferring justice.
6
If the establishment of the thesis 'mathematics is ontology' is the basis of
this book, it is in no way its goal. However radical this thesis might be, all
it does is dc//m//the proper space of philosophy. Certainly, it is itself a meta­
ontological or philosophical thesis necessitated by the current cumulative
state of mathematics ( after Cantor, Godel and Cohen) and philosophy
( after Heidegger) . But its function is to introduce specifc themes of
modern philosophy, particularly-because mathematics is the guardian of
being qua being-the problem of ' what-is-not-being- qua-being'. More­
over, it is both too soon and quite unproductive to say that the latter is a
question of non-being. As suggested by the typology with which I began
this Introduction, the domain ( which /s no/ a domain but rather an
incision, or, as we shall see, a supplement) of what-is-not-being-qua-being
is organized around two affliated and essentially new concepts, those of
truth and subject.
Of course, the link between truth and the subject appears ancient, or in
any case to have sealed the destiny of the frst philosophical modernity
whose inaugural name is Descartes. However, I am claiming to reactivate
these terms within an entirely different perspective: this book founds a
doctrine which is effectively post-Cartesian, or even post-Lacanian, a
doctrine of what, for thought, both un-binds the Heideggerean connection
between being and truth and institutes the subject, not as support or
origin, but as ]raumcn/of the process of a truth.
If one category had to be designated as an emblem of my thought, it
would be neither Cantor's pure multiple, nor Geidel's constructible, nor the
void, by which being is named, nor even the event, in which the
supplement of what-is-not-being-qua-being originates. It would be the
ucncr/c
This very word 'generic': by way of a kind of frontier effect in which
mathematics mourned its foundational arrogance I borrowed it from a
mathematician, Paul Cohen. With Cohen's discoveries ( 1 963 ) , the great
monument of thought begun by Cantor and Frege at the end of the
nineteenth century became compl ete. Taken bit by bit, set t heory proves
inadequate for the task of systematically deploying the entire body of
I S
16
BEI NG AND EVENT
mathematics, and even for resolving its central problem, which tormented
Cantor under the name of the continuum hypothesis. In France, the proud
enterprise of the Bourbaki group foundered.
Yet the philosophical reading of this completion authorizes acon/rar/oall
philosophical hopes. I mean to say that Cohen's concepts (genericity and
forcing) constitute, in my opinion, an intellectual /oposat least as funda­
mental as Godel's famous theorems were in their time. They resonate well
beyond their technical validity, which has confned them up till now to the
academic arena of the high specialists of set theory. In fact, they resolve,
within their own order, the old problem of the indiscernibles: they refute
Leibniz, and open thought to the subtractive seizure of truth and the
subject.
This book is also designed to broadcast that an intellectual revolution
took place at the beginning of the sixties, whose vector was mathematics,
yet whose repercussions extend throughout the entirety of possible
thought: this revolution proposes completely new tasks to philosophy. If,
in the fnal meditations (from 3 1 to >6i . 1 have recounted Cohen's
operations in detai, if I have borrowed or exported the words 'generic' and
'forcing' to the point of preceding their mathematical appearance by their
philosophical deployment, it is in order to linally discern and orchestrate
this Cohen-event; which has been left devoid of any intervention or
sense-to the point that there is practically no version, even purely
technical, in the French language.
7
Both the ideal recollection of a truth and the {n//c instance of such a
recollection that is a subject in my terms, are therefore attached to what l
wl term µcncr/cproccdurcs ( there are four of them: love, art, science, and
politics). The thought of the generic supposes the complete traversal of the
categories of being ( multiple, void, nature, infinity, . . . ) and of the event
( ultra-one, undecidable, intervention, fdelity, . . . ). It crystallizes concepts
to such a point that it is almost impossible to give an image of it. Instead,
it can be said that it is bound to the profound problem of the indiscernible,
the unnameable, and the absolutely indeterminate. A generic multiple
( and the /c/nu of a truth is always such) is subtracted from knowledge,
disqualifed, and unpresentable. However, and this is one of the crucial
concerns of this book, it can be demonstrated that it may be thought.
I NTRODUCTI ON
What happens i n art, i n science, i n true (rare) politics, and i n love ( if it
exists), is the coming to light of an indiscernible of the times, which, as
such, is neither a known or recognized multiple, nor an ineffable singular­
ity, but that which detains in its multiple-being all the common traits of the
collective in question: in this sense, it is the truth of the collective's being.
The mystery of these procedures has generally been referred either to their
representable conditions ( the knowledge of the technical, of the social, of
the sexual) or to the transcendent beyond of their One (revolutionary
hope, the lovers' fusion, poetic ec-stasis . . . ). In the category of the generic
I propose a contemporary thinking of these procedures which shows that
they are simultaneously indeterminate and complete; because, in occupy­
ing the gaps of available encyclopaedias, they manifest the common-being,
the multiple-essence, of the place in which they proceed.
A subject is then a fnite moment of such a manifestation. A subject /s
man/]cs/cd/oca//y. It is solely supported by a generic procedure. Therefore,
s/r/c/o scnsu. there is no subject save the artistic, amorous, scientifc, or
political.
To think authentically what has been presented here merely in the form
of a rough sketch, the frst thing to understand is how being can be
supplemented. The existence of a truth is suspended from the occurrence
of an event. But since the event is only dcc/4cdas such in the retroaction of
an intervention, what fnally results is a complex trajectory
,
which is
reconstructed by the organization of the book, as follows:
l Being: multiple and void, or Plato/ Cantor. Meditations l to 6.
2. Being: excess, state of a situation. One/multiple, whole/parts, or
e /c ? Meditations 7 to l 0.
3 . Being: nature and infnity, or Heidegger/ Galileo. Meditations l l to
1 5 .
4 The event : hi story and ul tra- one. What - i s- not -bei ng- qua-being.
Meditations 1 6 to 1 9.
5 . The event: intervention and fdelity. Pascal /axiom of choice. Holder­
lin/deduction. Meditations 20 to 2 5.
6. Quantity and knowledge. The discernible (or constructible): Leibniz/
Godel. Meditations 26 to 30.
7. The generic: indiscernible and truth. The event ¯ P. J. Cohen.
Meditations 1 l to 14
8 Forcing: truth and subj ect. Beyond Lacan. Medi tati ons ?4to ?7
17
18
BEI NG AND EVENT
lt is clcar. t hcncccssarv passagc through fragmcnts ofmathcmat|cs i s
rcquircd | n ordcr to sc/ c] wi thi n a poi nt of cxccss. that svmptomat|c
torsion ol bci ng wh|ch i s a truth within thc pcrpctua| | v total wcb of
know|cdgcs. 1hus. |ct | tbc undcrstood. mv discoursc is ncvcr cpistcmo-
log|ca| . nor |s it a phi losophvc]mathcmati cs. llthatwcrcthc cascl would
havc discusscd thc grcat modcrn schoo| s of cpistcmo| ogv ( formal|sm.
|ntui ti oni sm. ñni t| sm. ctc. ì . Mathcmati cs i sc//cdhcrc to| cti ts ontolog|ca|
csscncc bccomc manilcst. 1ust as thc ontologics of Prcscncc c|tc and
commcntuponthcgrcatpocmsofBo| dcrli n. Tak| andCc|an. andno- onc
nndsmattcrforcontcstat|on | nthcpoct| ctcxtbci nc thus sprcad outand
d|sscctcd. hcrc onc must a||ow mc. without tipp|ng thc cntcrpri sc ovcr
into cpistcmo|ogv ( no morc than that of Bcidcggcrs cntcrprisc |nto a
simplcacsthctics ì . thc rightto citcanddi sscct thcmathcmatica|tcxt. For
what onc cxpccts from such an opcrati on is lcss a knowlcdgc of mathc
mati cs than a dctcrminat|on of thc po|nt at which thc savi ng of bc|ng
occurs. in a tcmpora| cxccss ovcr itsc|f. as a truth÷a|wavs art|stic.
scicnt|ñc. po| i tica| oramorous .
lt is a prcscription of thc t| mcs. thc possi bi || tv ofci t|ngmathcmat|cs i s
ducsuch that trut handt hcsub] cctbcthinkab|ci nthci rbcing. Al l owmc
to sav that thcsc ci tat|ons. a| l th|ngs consi dcrcd. a rc morc uni vcrsallv
acccssiblcand un| voca| than thosc ofthcpocts.
8
1his book. in conform|tv to thc sacrcd mvstcrv of thc 1rin|tv. is thrcc-
i n onc' . lt i s made up o| th| rtv- scvcn mcdi tat| ons. thi s term rcca| l s thc
characteristics of Descartes' text-the order of reasons (the conccptual
| inkagci s| rrcvcrs| b| ci . thcthcmaticautonomvofeach dcvc|opmcnt. and
a mcthodof cxpos| ti on wh|ch avo|ds passi ngbv thc rcfutation ofcstab-
| i shcd oradvcrse doctri ncs i n order to unfold | tsc| | | n i tsown right 1hc
rcadcrw||| soon rcmark. howcvcr. thatthcrcarc thrcc di |fcrcnt tvpcsof
mcditati on. Ccrtai n mcdi tat| ons cxposc. l|nk and unfo|d thc organ|c
conccpts ofthc proposcd tra] cctorv ofthought. Lct's cal l thcm thcpurclv
conceptua| mcd| tati ons. Othermcditations | ntcrpret on a si ngu| arpoint.
tcxtsfromthc grcat historvofph|losophv ( in ordcr. c|cvcn namcs . Plato.
Aristot|c. Spinoza. ucgc| . Ma|larme. Pascal. Bo|dcrlin. Lc|bniz. Rousscau.
LcscartesandLacani . |ct'sca||thcscthetcxtua|mcd. tations . i| na| |v.thcrc
I NTRODUCTI ON
arc mcditations bascd on fragmcnts of mathcmatica|÷or onto|ogica|÷
discoursc. 1hcscarcthcmcta onto|ogicalmcditations. uowdcpcndcnt arc
thcsc thrcc strands upon onc anothcr. thc strands whosc trcss i s thc
book'
- ! ti squitcpossib|c. butdrv. torcadon|vthcconccptua| mcditations.
Bowcvcr. thc proof that mathcmatics is onto|ocv i s not cntirc|v
dc|ivcrcdthcrcin. andcvcni fthcintcrconnectiono|manvconccpts
i s cstab|ishcd. thcir actua| origin rcmains obscurc. Morcovcr. thc
pcrtincnccofthisapparatustoatransvcrsa| rcadingofthchistorv of
phi| osophv÷whichcou| dbc opposcdtothatofuci dcgger÷is| cft in
suspcnsc.
÷ ! ti sa| mostpossib|cto rcadthctcxtua| mcditationsa|onc. butatthc
priccofa scntimcntofintcrprctativc discontinuitv. andwithoutthc
p|acc ofthc i ntcrprctationsbcinggcnuinc| vundcrstandab| c. Such a
rcadngwou| dtransformthisbookintoa co||cctionofcssavs. andal l
that wou| d bc understood is that i t | s scnsi b| c to rcad thcm i n a
ccrtai nordcr.
÷ !t is possib|ct rcad uniquc| vthc mcta- onto|ogica| mcd|tations . But
t hcriski s that t hcwcight propcrto mathcmaticswou| d confcr thc
valuc of mcrc scansions or punctuations upon thc phi|osophica|
intcrprctationsonccthcvarcno| ongcrti cdtothc conccptua| bodv.
1hisbookwou| dbctransformcdintoa c|osc studvand commcntarv
ola fcw crucia| fragmcntsofsct thcorv.
For philosophvher

tobccomca circu|ationthrough thc rcfcrcntia|÷as
I havcadvanccd÷onc mustmakconc's wavthrougha||thcmcditations.
Ccrtain pai rs. howcvcr . conccptua| + tcxtua| . or. conccptua| + mcta
onto|ogica| ì . arc no doubtquitcpractical .
Mathematics hasaparticu| arpowcrtobothfascinatcandhorrifvwhich!
holdtobca social construction: thcrcis nointrinsic reason for it. Nothingi s
prcsupposcdhcrcapart fromattcntion.a frccattcntiondi scngagcdapriori
from such horror. Nothing clsc i s rcquircd othcr than an clcmcntarv
familiaritvwithforma| |anguagc÷thcpcrtincntprincip|csandconvcntions
arcl ai douti ndctai| inthc tcchnica|notc' whichfol| owsMcditation3.
Convinccd. a| ongwiththccpistcmo|ogists. thata mathcmatica|conccpt
on|vbccomcsi ntc| | |gib|concconccomctogripswithitsusci ndcmonstra
tions. ! havc madca pointofrcconstitutingmanvdcmonstrations . I havc
also left some more delicate but instructivc dcductivc passagcs for thc
appcnd|xcs. !n gcncra|. assoon as thc tcchnicalitv of thc proof ccascs to
19
20
BEI NG AND EVENT
transport thought that is uscful bcvond thc actual proof. l procccd no
furthcrwi ththc dcmonstration. 1hc hvc mathcmatical bulwarks uscd
hcrc arcthcfol|owing.
- 1hcaxiomsofsctthcorv. introduccd. cxplaincdandaccompanicdbv
a philosophicalcommcntarv ( partsl andll. thcnlVandVi . 1hcrci s
rcallv no difñcu|tv hcrc foranvonc. savc t hat which cnvclops anv
conccntratcd thought.
- 1hcthcorv ofordina| numbcrs ( part lll ì . 1hc samcappl i cs.
- Afcwindicationsconccrningcardina|numbcrs ( Mcditation26i . lgo
a bitquickcrhcrc. supposingpracticc i ncvcrvthing whichprcccdcs
this sccti on. Appcndix 4 complctcs thcsc i ndications. morcovcr. i n
mvcvcs. it is ofgrcat|ntrinsicintcrcst.
- 1hc constructiblc ( Mcditation29ì
- 1hcgcncr|candforcing ( Mcditations >>. >4. and> 6i .
1hcsc|asttwocxpositionsarcbothdccisivcandmorcintricatc. But thcv
arcworththccffortandlhavctricdtouscamodcofprcscntationopcnto
all cfforts. Manv of thc tcchnical dcta|ls arc placcd i n an appcndix or
passcdovcr.
l havc abandoncd thc svstcm of constraining. numbcrcd footnotcs. if
vou intcrrupt thc rcadingbv a numbcr. whvnot put intothc actual tcxt
whatcvcrvouarci nv|tingthc rcadcrto pcrusc' ! fthc rcadcraskshi mor
hcrscl fa qucstion. hcorshccangotothccndofthcbooktosccifl havc
givcna rcsponsc. !twon tbcthci rfaul t. forhavi ngmisscda footnotc.but
rathcrmincforhavi ngdisappointcdthci rdcmand.
At thc cndof thcbooka di ctionarv of conccpts mavbcfound.
ÎAÑT I
Bei ng: Mu l ti pl e and Voi d.
Pl ato/Cantor
MEDI TATI ON ONE
The One and the Mu l ti pl e: a U//0//condi ti ons of
a ny possi bl e ontol ogy
Sincc i t s Parmcni dcan organi zati on. ontologv has bui | tt hcportico of i ts
rui ncd tcmp| c out of thc fo||owing cxpcri cncc what prcscn/s i tsclf i s
csscnti a| | vmu| ti p| c. wha/prcscntsi tsc| fi scsscnti a| l vonc. 1hc rcciprocitv
of thc onc and bci ng is ccrtai n| v thc inaugura| axiom of phi | osophv
÷Lci bni z's formu| ati on i s cxcc||cnt. What i s not a bci ng i s not a
b./nj ÷vct it is a| soi tsi mpassc. an i mpassc in whi ch thc rcvo|vi ngdoors
of P| ato's |arocn/dcs i ntroducc us to thc si ngu| ar] ov ol ncvcr scci ngthc
momcntofconc|usi onarri vc. Forifbcingi s onc. thcnoncmustpos|tthat
what isnotonc. thc mu| ti plc. /sno/ But thi si s unacccptab| clorthought.
bccauscwhati s prcscntcd is multip|c andonccannotscchowthcrccou| d
bcanacccsstobci ngouts|dca| | prcscntati on. !fprcscntati oni s not. docsi t
sti | | makcscnsctodcsi gnatcwhatprcscnts( itsc| fì asbc| ng'Onthcothcr
hand. i fprcscntati on i s. thcn thc mu| ti p| c ncccssari |v i s. !t lo| | ows that
bcingi s no| ongcrrcci proca|wi ththconcandthusi t i s no| ongcrncccssarv
to cons|dcrasoncwha/prcscntsi tsc| f. inasmuch asi t i s . 1hi sconclusi onis
cqual|vunacccptab|ctothoughtbccauscprcscntati oni s on| v/h/smu| ti p| c
i nasmuch aswhati tprcscntscanbc countcdasonc. andso o
Wcnndoursc| vcson thcbri nkofadccision. adcci si ontobrcakwi ththc
arcanaofthconcandthcmulti p|ci nwhi chphi | osophvi sbornandburicd.
phocni xofi tsownsophi sti cconsumption.1hi sdcci si oncantakcnoothcr
formthan thc fo||owi ng. thc onc/sno/. !t i s not a qucstion. howcvcr. of
aoandoning thc princip|c Lacan assi gncd to thc svmbo| i c. that /hcrc /s
0ncncss . Fvcrvthi ng turns on mastcringthcgapbctwccnthcprcsupposi
tlon( thatmustbc rcj cctcdi olabci ngolthconcandthcthcsi soli ts thcrc
i s ' . What could thcrcbc. whi ch i snot' Strict|v spcaking. i t i s a| rcadvtoo
23
24
BEI NG AND EVENT
much to sav thcrc | s Oncncss' bccausc t hc thcrc' . takcn as an crrant
localization. conccdcs a po| nt ofbcingto thconc.
What has to bc dcclarcd i sthatthconc. which is not. sol cl vcx| sts as
opcra//on !nothcrwords. thcrc isnoonc. onlvthccount- as- onc. 1hconc.
bci ng an opcrat| on. is ncvcr a prcscntation. ! t sHoul d bc takcn qui tc
scriouslv that thc onc' is a numbcr And vct. cxcept i | wc pvthagorizc.
thcrcisno causctopos|tthatbcingquabcinci snumbcr Locs thismcan
that bcing is not mult| plc e| thcr' Strictlv spcaking. vcs. bccauscbcing i s
on| vmultiplc | nasmuch as| toccurs i nprcscntation.
!n sum. thcmultip| c| sthcrcgimcofprcscntation.thconc. inrcspcctto
prcscntat| on. is an opcrational rcsul t. bcing |s what prcscnts ( |tscll ì . On
thisbas| s. bc| ngisncithcronc ( bccausconlvprcscntationitsc|fispcrtincnt
to thc count- as- onci . nor mult|plc ( bccause thc mul tiplc is so/c/y thc
rcgimco|prcscntationì .
Lct' s n x thc tcrminologv. ! tcrm s//×a//on anv prcscntcd multiplicitv.
Crantcd thc cf|cctivcncss of thc prcscntat|on. a situation i s thc placc of
taking-placc. whatcvcr thc tcrms of thc multiplicitv in qucsti on. Fvcrv
situationadmitsitsownpart| cularopcratorofthccount - as- onc. 1hisisthc
mostgcncraldcnn| tion ofa s/r×c/×rc. i t i swhatprcscribcs. foraprcscntcd
multiplc. thc rcgimcofitscountas- onc.
Whcnanvth| ngiscountedasonci na situat| on. allthismcansi sthati t
bclongs to thc situation | n thc modc part|cular to thc cffccts of thc
situation's structurc.
A structurcallowsnumbcrtooccurwith|nthc prcscntcdmultipl c Locs
thi s mcan that thc multiplc. as a ngurc o| prcscntati on. | s not vct a
numbcr' Onc must not forgct that cvcrv situation is structurcd. 1hc
multiplc|srctroactivclvlcgiblcthcrcinasan/cr/ortothconc. i nsofarasthc
count - as- one i s al ways a rcs×/( 1hcfact that the one i s anopcrat. onal lows
usto savthat tHcdomain ofthcopcrat|on | snot onc ( forthc onc/sno/i .
and thatthcrcforc th|sdoma| n |s multiplc. si ncc. w//h/nprcscn/a//on. what
is not one is ncccssarilv multiplc !n othcr words. thc count - as onc | thc
structurci installs thcunivcrsalpcrtincncc o|thc onc/ multiplccouplcfor
anvsituation.
What will havc bccn countcd as onc. on thc basis of not having bccn
onc. turns outto bcmultipl c.
!tisthcrcforcalwavsi nthcaftcr-cffcctofthccountthatprcscntationi s
uniquclvthinkablcasmul t|plc. andthcnumcricali nerti a of thcsituation
is sct out Yct thcrc is no situation without thc cffcct ofthc count. and
THE ONE AND THE MULTI PLE
thcrcforc it is corrcct to statc that prcscntation as such. i n rcgard t o
numbcr. i smultipl c
1hcrc i sanothcrwavof putting thi s. t hcmul tiplc i st hcincrtia which
canbc rctroactivclvdisccrncdstartingfromthcfactthatthc opcrationof
thccount- as- oncmustcffcctivclvopcratci nordcr|orthcrctobcOncncss.
1hc multiplc |s thc incvitablc prcdicatc ofwhat is structurcdbccauscthc
structuration÷in othcr words. thc count- as onc÷is an cffcct. 1hc onc.
whichi snot. cannotprcscntitsclf. i tcanonlvopcratc. As such i tfounds.
bchind itsopcration. thc statusofprcscntation÷it i softhc ordcrofthc
multiplc.
1hc multiplc cvidcntlv splits apari hcrc multiplc i s i ndccd said of
ptcscntation. i nthati ti srctroactivclvapprchcndcd asnon-oncassoonas
bcing-onc i sa rcsult. Yct multipl c' i salso said ofthc composition ofthc
count. that is. thc multiplc as scvctal - oncs countcd bv thc action of
structurc. 1hcrc i s thc multiplicitv o| i ncrti a. that of prcscntation. and
thcrc i sal sothcmultiplicitv ofcompositionwhi chi sthatofnumbcrand
thc cffcct ofstructurc.
Lct' s agrcc to tcrm thc nrst /ncons/s/cn/ mu//|p//c/n and thc sccond
cens/s/cn/mu//|p//c/n.
A situation ( which mcans a structurcdprcscntationi i s. rclativc to thc
samc tcrms. thcir doubl c mul tiplicitv. i nconsistcnt and consi stcnt 1his
dualitvi scstabl i shcdi nthcdistributionofthccount as onc. inconsistcncv
bcforc and consistcncv a|tcrwards. Structurc i s both what obligcs us to
considcr. viarctroaction. thatprcscntationi sa multiplc ( inconsistcnt i and
whatauthorizcsus. viaanticipation. tocomposcthctcrmsofthcprcscnta
tion asunits of a multiplc ( consistcnt i . lt i sclcar|v rccognizablc thatthis
distribution of obligation and authorization makcs thc onc÷which is
not÷intoa /aw. lti sthcsamcthingtosavofthconcthati ti snot. andto
savthatthconci sal awofthcmultip|c. i nthcdoublcscnsco|bcingwhat
constrains thc mu|tiple to mani fcst itsclf as such. and what ru| cs i ts
structutcdcomposition
What form would a discoursc on bcing÷qua bcing÷takc. in kccping
withwhat hasbccn said'
1hcrc i s nothing apart from situations. Ontologv. i f i t cxists. i s a
sltuation. Wc immcdiatclvnndoursc|vcs caught in a doublc difncultv.
On thc onc hand. a situation i s a prcscntation. Locs this mcan that a
prcscntationofbci ng as such is ncccssarv' !t scems rathcrthat bcing' i s
includedi nwhat anvprcscntationpresents Onecannot seehowi t could
bc prcscntcdauab:/nµ.
25
26
BEI NG AND EVENT
0n theothcrhand. ifontologv÷thcdiscoursconbcingquabcing÷isa
situation. it must admit a modc of thccount as onc. that i s. a structurc.
But wouldn' t thc count as onc e] bc/n« | cad us sttaight back i nto thosc
aporiasi nwhich sophistrvsoldcrsthcrcciprocitvofthc oncandbci ng' !f
theoncisnot. bcingso| clvthcopcrationofthc count. mustn' toncadmit
thatbcing/sno/onc'Andi nthiscasc. i s|tnotsubtractcdfromcvervcount'
Bcsidcs. this i scxact|v what wc arc saving whcn wc dcclarcithctcrogc
ncoustothcoppositi onofthc onc andthc mu| tiplc
1his mav alsobcput asfollows. thcrcisnostructurc ofbcing.
lt i s at thi spoi ntthatthe Grcat1cmptation ariscs. a tcmptati onwhich
philosophical ontologics' . historicallv. havc not rcsistcd. it consists i n
removing thc obstac|c bvposi ngthat ontologv isnot actual| va situation.
1o savthatonto| ogv isnota situationistosignifv thatbcingcannotbc
signincdwithinastructurcdmult|p|c. andthatonl vancxpcri cnccsituatcd
bevond all structurc wil| afford us an acccss to thc veiling of bcings
presencc 1he most maj estic form ol this conviction i s the Platonic
statcmcntaccotdingtowhichthc!dcaofthcGood. dcspitc p| acingbcing.
asbcing- suprcmclv-bci ng. | nthcintclligiblc rcgi on. i sforal | that E7EXHVa
T�S ovutaS, bcvondsubstancc . that is. unprcscntablcwithinthc conngura
tionofthat- which- i s mai ntai ncd thcrc !t is anldca whi ch is not an !dca.
whilst being that on thc basis of wh|ch thc vcrv i dca' itv of thc ldca
maintainsitsbeing ¬ Elva, ) , andwhichthcrcforc. notallowingitsclftobc
knownwithinthcarticu| at| onsolthcplacc. canon| vbcsccn orcontcm
platcdbva gazcwhi chis thc rcsult ofan i nitiatorvj ourncv.
l oftcn come across this path of thought lt i s wc|| known that. at a
con:cp/ua| l cvcl it mav bc found in ncgative thco| ogics. for which thc
cxtcrioritv to s| tuation of bcing is rcvea|cd | n its hctcrogcncitv to anv
prcsentati on and to any predi cati on; that i s, i n i ts radi cal al teri ty to both
thc mu| tiplcfotmofsituationsandtothc rcg|mc ofthccount as onc an
a|teritv whi ch i nstitutcs t He Oncof being. torn from t hc multip| e. and
namcable cxclusivclv as absolutc Othcr. From thc poi nt of vi ew of
cxpcr/cncc. thispathconsccratcsitsclftomvstica|ann| hi| ati on. ananni hi l a
ti oni nwhi ch. onthcbasisofanintcrruptionofa| | prcscntativcsituations.
and at thc cnd of a negat| vc spiritua| cxcrc|sc. a Prcscncc is gaincd. a
prcscnccwhi ch is exactl y that of thc bc| ngof thc Onc as non¯ being¡ thus
the annu|mcnt of al l funct|ons olt hccount of One. Fina| | v. in tcrms of
/anµua«c. t hi s pat h of thought poscs that i t is t hc poetic rcsourcc of
languagcal onc. throughi t ssabotagc oft hc| awofnominations. whichi s
THE ONE AND THE MULTI PLE
capab|cofformingancxccption÷withint hclimitsoft hcpossiblc÷tot hc
currcntrcgimc ofsituations.
1hccaptivating grandcurofthccffccts ofthi schoicc i sprccisclvwhat
callsmctorc]asctoccdconwhatcontradictsi tthroughandthrough. !will
maintain. andi ti sthcwagcrofthisbook. thaton/c/oµy/sas//aa//on. ! will
thus havc to tcsolvc thc two maj or difncultics cnsuing from this option
÷thatofthcprcscntationwithinwhichbcingquabcingcanbcrationallv
spokcnofandthatofthccountas onc÷rathcrthanmakingthcmvanish
inthcpromiscofancxccption. !f! succccdi nthistask. !wi l lrcfutc. point
bv point. thc conscqucnccs of what ! will namc. from hcrc on. thc
ontolog|csofprcscncc÷forprcscnccisthccxactcontrarvofprcscntati on.
cenccp/aa//y. it i s wi thi n thc posi ti vc tcgimc of prcdication. and cvcn of
formalization. that ! will tcstifv to thc cxistcncc of an ontologv 1hc
cxpcr/cn.c will bc onc of dcduct|vc invcntion. whcrc thc rcsult. far from
bcing thc absolutc singularitv of saintlincss. wil| bc fullv transmissiblc
withinknowlcdgc. Finallv. thc /anµaaµc. rcpcalinganvpocm. willposscss
thcpotcntialofwhatFrcgcnamcdidcographv.1ogcthcrthccnscmblcwill
opposc÷to thc tcmptation of prcscncc÷thc rigour of thc subtractivc. i n
whichbcingi ssai dsol clvasthatwhichcannotbcsupposcdonthcbasisof
anvprcscnccorcxpcri cncc.
1hc subtractivc | s opposcd hcrc. as wc shall scc. to thc Ecidcggcrcan
thcsisola withdrawalofbcing. !tisnoti nthcwithdrawal of- i ts- prcscncc
thatbcingfomcntsthcforgctting ofi tsoriginal disposition to thcpoint of
assigning us÷us at thc cxtrcmc point of nihilism÷to a poctic ovcr
turning . No. thc ontological truth is both morc rcstrictivc and lcss
ptophctic. i t i si nbcingforccloscdfrom prcscntationthatbcingassuchis
constraincdtobcsavablc. forhumanitv. withintlcimpcrativc cffcctofa
law. thc mostrigidofall conccivablc laws. thc law of dcmonstrativc and
formalizablc infcrcncc.
1hus. thc dircction wc wi| | lo|low i s that of taking on thc apparcnt
paradoxcsofontologvasa situation 0fcoursc. i t coul dbc saidthatcvcn
abookofthissizci snotcxccssivcforrcsolvingsuchparadoxcs. farfromi t .
!nanvcasc. l ct usbcgin.
!f thcrccannotbcaprcscntat|ono]bcingbccauscbcingoccurs in cvcrv
ptcscntation÷andthisi swhvit docsnotprcscnt//sc/¯thcn thcrc is onc
solution lcft |or us. that thc ontolocical s|tuation bc /hc prcscn/a//on o]
prcscn/a|/on. !f. i nfact. thi si sthecasc. thcnitisquitcpossiblcthatwhati s
atstakcinsucha situationisbcingquabcinc. insolarasnoacccsstobcing
i soffcrcdto us cxccptprcscntations. At thcvcrv | cast. a situation whosc
27
28
BEI NG AND EVENT
prcscntativcmultiplcisthat ofprcscntationitsclfcoul dconstitutcthcplacc
fromwhichal l possiblc acccss tobcingis graspcd.
Butwhatdocsi tmcanto savthata prcscntationi sthcprcscntationof
prcscntation'ls thiscvcnconccivablc'
1hconlvprcdicatcwc havcapplicdtoprcscntationsofari sthatolthc
multipl c. ! fthconcisnotrcciprocalwithbcing. thcmultiplc. howcvcr. i s
rcciprocal withprcscntation. i nits constitutivcspl i tintoinconsistcntand
consistcntmultiplicitv. Ofcoursc. i na structurcdsituation÷andthcvarc
all such÷thc multiplc of prcscntation i s /h/s multiplc whosc tcrms lct
thcmsclvcs bc numbcrcd on thc basis of thc l aw that is structurc ( thc
count- as onci . Prcscntation i n gcncral i s morc latcnt on thc sidc of
inconsistcnt multiplicitv. 1hc l attcr allows. within thc rctroaction of thc
count.a kindofincrtirrcducibilitvofthcprcscntcd multiplctoappcat. an
irrcducibilitv of thc domain of thc prcscntcd- multiplc for which thc
opcrationofthc count occurs.
0n this basis thc following thcsis mav bc infcrrcd. il an ontologv is
possiblc. thatis. a prcscntation o|prcscntation. thcn i ti sthc situationof
thc purc mul tiplc. ol thc multiplc i n- itscl f . 1o bc morc cxact. ontologv
can bc solclv/hc/hcono]/ncons/s/cn/ma///p//c|//cs assuch. As such mcans
thatwhatisprcscntcdi nthc ontologicalsituationisthcmultip|cwithout
anvothcrprcdicatcthanitsmultiplicitv.Ontologv.insofarasitcxists. must
ncccssarilvbcthcscicncc ofthcmul ti pl cqua mult|pl c.
Fvcnilwcsupposcthatsuchascicncccxists. whatcouldi t sstructurcbc.
that is. thc law of thc count-as-onc which rulcs i t as a conccptual
situation' !t sccms unacccptablc that thc multiplc qua multiplc bc com-
poscd ofoncs. sinccprcscntation. which iswhat must bcprcscntcd. | si n
i tscl f multiplic| tv÷thc onc i s onl v thcrc as a rcsul t. 1o composc thc
multiplcaccordingtothconcolal aw÷ola structurc÷isccrtainlvtolosc
bcing. i| bcing i s solclv in situation as prcscntation of prcscntation in
gcncra|thatis. ofthcmultiplcquamultiplc.subtractcdfromthconcinits
bcing.
For the multiplc to bc prcscntcd. is it not ncccssarvthatitbc inscr|bcd
i nthc vcrv law itscllthat thc onc/sno/' And thatthcrcforc. in a ccrtain
manncr. thc multiplc÷dcspitc its dcst|nv bcing that of constituting thc
pl acc i n whichthc onc opcratcs (thc thcrc is of thcrc is 0ncncss' i ÷bc
itsell without onc' !t is such which is glimpscd i n thc inconsistcnt
dimcnsion olthc multiplc ofanvsituation.
But i f i n thc onto|ogical situation thc composition that thc structurc
authorizcsdocsnotwcavcthcmultiplcoutotoncs. whatwillprovidcthc
THE ONE AND THE MUlPLE
basls of l t s compos| tion' What is l t . ln t hc cnd. which l s countcd as
onc'
1hcapr/or/rcqui rcmcnti mposcdbvthlsdlf|i cu|tvmavbc summarizcd
l ntwo thcscs. prcrcquisltcs foranvposslblcontol ogv
1 . 1hcmultiplcfromwhichontologvmakcsupltssituatloniscomposcd
so|clv ol multiplicit|cs . 1hcrc ls no onc ! n otlcr words. cvcrv
multlplcisa mu| tlp|c ofmultiples.
2. 1hccount- as oncisnomorcthanthcsvstcm ofcondltionsthrough
whichthcmu| tip| c can bcrccognlzcdas mu|tlpl c.
Mind thlssccondrcquircmcnti scxtrcmc. Whatitactuallvmcanslsthat
what ontologv counts as onc i s not a multlp|c i n thc scnsc in which
ontologvwoul dposscssancxp|icit opcratorforthcgathcri ngi n to onc of
tlcmu|tlplc. a dcnnition of the mult|plc qua onc. 1hl s approach would
causc us to |osc bcing. bccause it would bccomc rcciprocal to thc onc
agal n. Ontol ogvwoulddlctatcthccondltlonsundcrwhi ch a mu///p/cmadc
up a mu| tip| c. No. What is rcqulrcd is that thc opcrational structurc of
ontologvdiscernthcmultip|cwithouthavlnctomakca oncoutofl t. and
thcrcforcwi thoutposscsslngadcnnltlonofthcmu| ti pl c. 1hccount-asonc
must stipulatc that cvcrvthing it | cgislatcs on is mu| tl p| i citv of mul tl
pllcltics. and it must prohibit anvthlng othcr' than thc purc multlplc
÷whcthcrl tbcthcmultlplcofthlsorthat. orthcmultip|cofoncs. orthc
form of thc onc itsclf÷from occurrlng wl thl n thc prcscntation that l t
structurcs.
Eowcvcr. thls prcscrlptl onprohibltlon cannot. ln anv manncr. bc
cxpllclt .ltcannotstatc ! onl vacccptpurcmultipllci tv' . bccausconcwould
thcnhavctohavcthccritcria. thcdcnnltlon. ofwhatpurc mu| tipllc|tvls.
Oncwouldthuscountit asoncandbclngwou| dbc l ost agaln. slncc thc
prcscntatlonwouldccasctobcprcscntatlonofprcscntat| on. 1hcprcscrl p
tlon ls thcrcforc tota|lv imp|lclt. !t opcratcs such that it l s onl v cvcr a
mattcrofpuremultip|cs. vct thcrcls nodcnncdconccptofthcmu| ti pl cto
becncountcrcdanvwhcre.
Whatls a law whoscob] cctsarc lmpliclt'Aprcscriptionwhi chdoesnot
namc÷ln itsvcrv opcratlon÷tlatalonctowhichittolcratcsappllcatlon'
ltlscvldcnt|va svstcm ofaxl oms. Anaxlomaticprcscntatlonconslsts. on
thcbasl sofnon dcnncdtcrms. inprcscrlblngthcru| cforthci rmanipul a
tlon. 1hl srul ecounts asoncinthc scnsct hat thcnon dcnncd tcrms arc
nevcrthc|css dcnncd bv tbclr compositlon. i t so happcns that t hcre l s a
dc]ac/oprohibltlonofcvcrvcomposltionln whlch thc ru|cls btokcnanda
29
30
BEI NG AND EVENT
dc]ac/o prcscriptiono| cvcrvthingwhich con|ormstothcru| c. Ancxp|icit
dcnnition o| wha/anaxiom svstcm counts asonc. orcountsasi tsob] cct
oncs. isncvcrcncountcrcd.
lti sc| carthat on|vanaxi omsvstcmcan structurc a si tuati oni nwhich
whatisprcscntcdi sprcscntation.!taloncavo. dshavingtomakcaoncout
o| thc mu|tiplc. |caving thc lattcr as what ls imp|icit i n thc rcgulatcd
conscqucnccs through which i t mani|csts itsc||asmu| ti p| c.
!t i s now undcrstandab| c whv an onto| ogv procccds to | nvcrt thc
consistcncv i nconsistcncv dvadwi th rcgard to thc two |accs o| thc l aw.
ob|igationandaut horization.
1hc axia| thcmc o| thc doctr|nc o| bcing. as I havc pointcd out. i s
inconsistcnt mu| tiplicitv. But thc c||cct o| thc ax| om svstcm i s that o|
makingt hc| att crcons| st. asaninscribcddcp|ovmcnt. howcvcr| mp| icit. o|
purcmu| tiplicitv. prcscntat|ono|prcscntati on.1hi saxiomatictrans|orma
tion i nt o consistcncv avoids composition accord|ng to t hc onc. lt i s
thcrc|orcabsolutc| vspccinc. Noncthclcss.i t sobligationrcmai ns Bc|orci t s
opcration. what i t prohibits÷without nami ng or cncountcring it÷
i n-consists. But what thcrcbv i n consists is noth| ng othcr than /mpurc
multip|icitv. that is. thc multiplicitv which. composablc according to thc
onc. or thc particu|ar ( plgs. stars. gods . . . i. in anv non- ontological
prcscntation÷anvprcscntationi nwhichthcprcscntcdi snotprcscntation
itscl|÷consi stsaccordingtoa dcnncdstruct urc. 1oacccdcaxiomati cal|vto
thcprcscntationo|thcirprcscntation. thcscconsistcntmultiplcso|partic
u|arprcscntations. onccpuri ncdo|al l particu| aritv÷thussc| zcdbc|orcthc
count - as onco|thcs| tuat| oni nwhichthcvarcprcscntcd÷must nolongcr
posscssanv othcrconsistcncvthanthat o| thcirpurcmultip| icitv. thati s.
thci rmodc o| | nconsistcncv wi thi nsituati ons. !t is thcrclorc ccrtai nthat
thci rpri mi ti vcconsistcncv isproh/b//cdbv thcaxi om svstcm. whi ch| s to
say i t is ontologica| | y l nconsistcnt. wh| lst thcir i nconsistcncv ( thcir purc
prcscntativc mu| tip|ici t vi is au/hor/zcd as onto|ogica||v consistcnt.
0nto| ogv. axi omsvstcm o|thcpart| cu| arincons| stcncvo| multiplicitics.
scizcs thc i n- itsc|l o|thc mu| tiplc bv lorming lnto consistcncv al l i ncon
sistcncv a nd|ormingi nto inconsistcncya| | consistcncv. ! t thcrcbv dccon
structs anv oncc||cct. i t is |aith|ul tothcnonbcing o|t hconc. so as to
un|o|d. without cxp|lcit nomination. thc rcgu| atcdgamco|t hcmultiplc
such thatl t isnonc othcrthan thcabso| utc|ormo| prcscntatlon. t husthc
modc i nwhich bcingproposcs itscl| to anvacccss.
THEORY OF THE PURE MULTI PLE
ß÷wh|ch | sa part o|a÷whoseelementsva| | datet he|otmul aa(ì 8ut | s
there an a' 1he ax| om savs noth|ng o| th| s. | t |s on| v a med| at|on bv
language|rom ( supposedì ex|stence to ( |mp| | edì ex|stence
What 2ermelo proposes as tHe language mult|pl e ex| stence knot no
longerst|pu| atesthatonthebas| so|languace theex| stenceola mul t| pl e
| s|n|erred. butratherthat' anguageseparatesout. w| th| na supposedc| ven
ex| stence ( w| th| n some a| readv presented mu|t|pleì . the ex| stence o| a
sub- mu|t| ple
Language cannot | nduce ex|stence. solelva spl|tw| th| o ex| stence
2ermelo sax| om|sthere|oremater|al|st| nthat| t breaksw| ththengure
o| | deali ngu| sterv÷whose pr|ce |s the paradox o| excess÷|n wh| ch the
ex|stent|al presentat|on o| the mult|p|e | s d| rectlv | n|erred |rom a wel l -
constructed| anguage 1heax| omre-establ|shest hat | t| ssol e| vw| t h| nthe
presuppos|t|on o| ex|stence that language operates÷separates÷andthat
what| ttherebv| nduces| ntermso|cons| stentmult|pl|c| tv| ssupported| n
|ts be|ng. | n an ant|c| patorv manner. bv a presentat|on wh| ch | s al readv
there 1he ex|stence- mult|ple ant|c|pates what l anguage retroact|velv
separates out|rom |t as | mpl | edex|stence mult| ple
1hepowero| languagedoesnotgo so|aras to| nst| tutcthe there | s o|
the there | s !t con|| nes | tsel|to pos| ng that there are some d| st| nct| ons
w|th|n the there | s' 1he pr|nc|ples d|||erent|ated bv Lacan may be
remarkedthere| n. that o|therea| ( there| sì andthato| thcsvmbol| c( there
are some d| st| nct| ons ì
1he|ormal st|gmatao| thea/rccdyo| a count. | ntheax| omo| separat|on.
| s|ound| ntheun|versal|tvo| the|n|t|a|quant| ñer( the|i rstcount - as - oneì .
wh|ch subord|natestheex|stent|alquant| ner( theseparat. ngcount - as one
o| languageì
1here|ore.| t | s not essent| allvthed| mens| ono | setswh| ch| s restr|ctedbv
2ermelo. but rather the presentat|ve pretens|ons o| lancuage ! sa|d that
Russell' sparadoxcouldbe| nterpretedasanexcesso| themult| pleoverthe
caoac| tvo|languaget opresent|t w|thout|a' l | ng apart One coul d] ust as
wel l savthat| t | sl ancuagewh| ch| sexcess|ve| nthat| t| sab| etopronounce
propert|essuchas- (< E oì ÷| twoul dbeal|ttle|orcedtopretendthatthese
propert|es can | nst| tut e a mult|p|e presentat| on Be| ng. | nasmuch as | t | s
t he pure mult|ple. | s subtracted | rom such |otc|nc. | n ot her words. the
ruptureo|languageshowsthatnoth|nccanaccedetocons| stentpresenta
t|on| nsuch a manner
1he ax| omo|separat| ontakesa standw| th| nontologv÷| tspos| t| oncan
besummar|zedqu| tes| mpl v thet heorvo|themul t| ple. asgeneral|orm o|
47
48
BEI NG AND EVENT
prcscntation. cannotprcsumcthati t isonthcbasisofi tspurc formal rul c
alonc÷wcll constructcd propcrt|cs÷that thc cxistcncc of a multiplc ( a
prcscntationi i si nfcrtcd. Bcingmus t bcalrcadv thcrc. s omcpurcmultiplc.
asmul tiplc of mu| tiplcs. must bc prcscntcd in ordcr for thc rulc to thcn
scparatcsomcconsistcntmu| tiplicitv. itsclfprcscntcdsubscqucntlvbvthc
gcsturcofthc initialprcscntation
uowcvcr. a crucialqucstionrcmainsunanswcrcd. if. within thc framc
workof axiomaticprcscntation. i t i snot ont hcbasisoflanguaccthatthc
cx|stcncc ofthc mu| tiplci scnsurcd÷that i s. onthcbasisofthcprcscnta
tionthatt hcthcorvprcscnts÷thcnwhcrcist hcabsolutc| vi nitialpointof
bc|nc' Which ini ti a| multiplc has i t s cxistcncc cnsurcd such t hat t hc
scparatingfunctionoflancuagccanopcratc thcrci n'
1hisisthcwho| cprob|cmofthcsubttactivcsut urcofsctthcorvtobcing
quabcing. ! t isaproblcmthat|anguagccannotavoid. andtowhichi t |cads
usbv foundcr|ng upon its paradoxica| disso' ution. thc rcsul t of its own
cxccss Languagc÷which providcs for scparati ons and compositions÷
cannot. alonc. institutcthccxistcnccofthcpurcmultiplc. i tcannotcnsurc
thatwhatthc .hcorv prcscntsisindccdprcscntati on.
Techni cal Note:
the conventi ons of wr i ti ng
1hc abbrcviatcd or|orma| writing uscd i n this book i sbascd on what i s
cal|cdnrst ordcrlogic. ! t i sa qucstiono| bcingablct oinscribcstatcmcnts
olthcgcnrc. |oralltcrms. wchavcthc|ollowingpropcrtv . or thcrcdocs
notcxistanvtcrmwhichhasthc|ollowingpropcrtv . or i|thisstatcmcnt
istruc. thcnthis othcrstatcmcnt i s a| sotrue: 1hefundamental pri nciple
is that thc |ormulations |or al| and thcrc cxists onlv a||cct tcrms
( individua| si andncvcrpropcrtics. !nshort. thcstricturcisthatpropcrtics
arcnotcapablc. inturn. o|posscssingpropcttics ( thi swould carrvusinto
a sccond-ordcrlogici .
1hcgtaphicrcalizationo|thcscrcqu|sitcsisaccomplishcdbvthc nxation
ol nvc tvpcs o| sign. variablcs ( which inscribc individual s i . logical con
ncctors ( ncgation. conj unction. disj unction. implicationandcquivalcncci .
quantincrs( univcrsal . |oral l ' . and cxistcntia| . thctccxists i . ptopcrt|csor
rclations ( thcrc wil l onl vbctwo o|thcsc|or us. equality andbclongingi .
andpunctuations ( parcnthcscs. braccs. a ndsquarc brackcts i
÷ 1hc variablcs|orindvidua| s ( |orus. multiplcso r scts i arc thc Crcck
lcttcrs a, {, y. S. 7 and. somctimcs. à. Wcwillalso uscindiccsi|nccd
bc. to introducc morc variablcs. such as aI , Y3. ctc. 1hcsc signs
dcsignatc /ha/wh/ch i s spokcn ol. that o| which onc a|nrms this or
that.
- 1hcquantincrsarcthcsigns V ( univcrsalquanti ncri and3 ( cxistcn
ti a| quantincri 1hcvarca| wavslollowcd bva var| abl c. ( 'Ia) rcads.
lora| l a' ; ( 3a) rcads thcrc cxists a' .
49
so
BEI NG AND EVENT
÷ 1hc |ogica| conncctors arc thc |o||owing. - ( ncgationi . - ( i mp| i ca
ti oni . o r ( di s] uncti oni . 8 ( con] uncti oni . H ( cquiva|cncci .
- 1hc rc|ations arc = ( cqua| i tvi and E ( bc|ong| ngi . 1hcv a| wavs | i nk
twovariab| cs. o
=
ß. which rcads ' a i s cqua| to ß' . and a E ß which
rcads a bc| ongstoß´
- 1hc punctuation i s compriscd ol parcnthcscs ( i . braccs | j . and
squarc brackcts ¸ l
Atormu| ai sanasscmb|agco|signswhichobcvsru| cso|corrcct|on 1hcsc
ru|cs can bc str| ct|v dcnncd. but thcv arc i ntu| tivc. i t i s a mattcr o| thc
|ormu| abci ng rcadab| c. For cxamp| c. (
\
a) ( 3f) J (a E 8i - - L E a)
]
rcads
without a prob| cm. For a| | a, thcrc cxists at | cast onc ß such that i | a
bc|ongs to ß. thcn ß docs notbc|ongto a. '
Anindctcrminatclormu|awi | | o|tcnbc notcd bvt hc| cttcrà.
0ncverv |mportant poi nt | s t hc|o||owing in a |ormu| a. a variab|c i s
ci thcrquanti ncdornot. !nthc|ormu| aabovc. thctwovariab|cs a andß
arc quanti ncd (a univcrsa||v. ß cxistcntia| |vi . A variab| c which is not
quanti ncd i s a |rcc variab| c. Lct s considcr. |or cxamp| c. thc |o||owing
|ormu| a.
( \
a)
[ ( =
a) H ( 3
y
)
[ (y
E 8i 8
i
E a) ] ]
!trcadsi ntuiti vc| v. Fora| | a, thc cqua| i tvo|ßanda is cquiva|cnttothc
|actthatthcrccxi stsa y such that y bc|ongstoß andy a| sobc|ongst oa. '
!nthis|ormu| aa andy arcquantincdbut ßi slrcc. 1hc|ormu| ai nqucstion
cxprcsscs a prepcrn o| ß. namc|v thc |act that bc| ng cquiva|cnt to ß is
cquiva|cnt to such and such ( to what i s cxprcsscd bv thc piecc o| thc
|ormu| a. ( 3y)
[
( E 8i 8 ( E a) ] ) . Wc wi | | o|tcnwritcà(ai |ora |ormu| ai n
whlch a i s a lrcc varlab| c !ntuitivc|v. this mcans that thc |ormu| a à
cxprcsscs a propcrtv o| thc variab|c a. l|thcrc arc two |rcc var| ab|cs. onc
writcsà(a. ßi . wh|chcxprcsscsarc|ati onbctwccnthc|rccvariab|csa andß.
iorcxamp| c. thc|ormu| a( Vyi ¸ (E a) or(E di | . wHi chrcads a| | ybclong
ci thcrtoa ortoß. ortobotho|thcm ( thc| og| ca| or| snotcxc| usi vci . nxcs
a particu| arrc|ationbctwccn a anJß.
Wcwi | | a| | owoursc|vcs. aswcgoa| ong. to4c{ncsupp| cmcntarvsi gnson
thc basis o| pr| m| t|vc signs. For that i t wi | | bc ncccssarv to nx via an
equi val ence, the possibi l i ty of retransl ati ng these si gns i nto |ormu| as
which contai n pri mi ti vc si gns a| onc. For cxamp| c. thc |ormu| a.
a C ß H (
v
yi ¸ ,E a
)
- ( E (
)
] dcnncsthc rc| at| ono|i nc| usi onbctwccn
a andß. !ti scquiva|cnt tothccomp|ctc|ormu| a. |ora|| y, i | y bc|ongsto
THEORY OF THE PURE MULTI PLE
o. thcny bc| ongst oß. ' !tl -cvl dentthatt hcncwwrltl ngoc 8lsmcre| van
abbrcvlatlon|ora|ormu|a\(o. ßi wrlttcnunl quc| vwl thprimltlvcsl gns. and
i nwhlch a andß arc frccvar| ab|cs .
In the bodvof the tcxtthcrcadl ng ofthc |ormu| asshou| d not poseanv
problcms. morcovct. thcv wl|| a|wavs bc l ntroduccd. Lcnnl tl ons wl|| bc
cxplained. 1hc rcadcr can trust thc lntultlve scnse o| thc wrlttcn forms
51
52
MEDI TATI ON FOUR
The Voi d: Proper name of bei ng
1akc anv s|tuat| on |n patt|cular. It has been sa|d that |ts struct utc÷thc
tcg|mc o|thccount as onc÷spl|ts thcmult|plcwh|ch| sptcscntcdthcrc.
spl | ts| t|ntocons|stcncv ( thccompos|t|ono|oncsì and|ncons|stcncv ( thc
|ncrt|ao|thcdoma|nì . Eowcvct. | ncons|stcncv|snotactuallvptcscntcdas
such s|ncc al l ptcscntat|on|sundcrthcl awolthccount . !ncons|stcncvas
purc mu|t|plc|s solclvthcptcsuppos|t|onthatpr|ort othc countthconc
| s not. Yct what | s cxpl|c| t |n anv s|tuat|on |s rathct that thc onc |s. In
gcnctal. a s|tuat|on |s not such that thc thcs|s thc onc | s not' can bc
presented thctc| n. Onthc contrary, bccauscthc l aw| sthc count as onc.
noth|ng |s prcscntcd | n a s|tuat|on wh|ch | s not countcd. thc s|tuat|on
cnvclops cx|stcncc w|th thc onc. Noth| ng |s ptcscntablc |n a s|tuat|on
othcrw|sc than undct thcc||ccto| structurc. that | s. undct thc |otm o|
thconcand|tscompos|t|on|ncons|stcntmult|pl|c|tl cs. 1hconc| sthctcbv
not only the regime olstructured presentati on but also the regime olthe
poss|blco|ptcscntat|on|tscl|. Ina non ontolog|cal ( t husnon mathcmat
|calìs|tuat|on. thc mult|plc|sposs|blconlv|nso|aras |t |s cxpl|c|tlvordcrcd
bvthclaw accord|ngtothc onco|thccount . Ins|dcthc s|tuat|on thcrci s
nograspablc|ncons|stcncvwh|chwoul dbcsubttactcd|romthccountand
thus a struct urcd. Anv s|tuat|on. sc| zcd| n |ts |mmancncc. thus rcvctscs
thc| naugutal ax|omo| our cnt|tc ptoccdutc. Itstatcsthatthc onc| sand
that the pure mul tiple-inconsi stency-i s not . 1h|s i s entirel y natural
bccauscan|ndctctm|natcs|tuat|on. notbc|ngthcptcscntat|ono|prcscn
tation. ncccssar|lv| dcnt|ncsbc|ngw|thwhat|sptcscntabl c. thuswlththc
poss|b|l|tvo|thc onc.
THE VOI D : PROPER NAME OF BEI NG
! t |sthcrcforcvcr/4/ca/( ! w| llfoundthccsscntlald| stlnct| onbctwccnthc
trucandthcvcrid|ca|much furthcroni nMcd|tatlon> l i that. | nsldcwhat
a s|tuatlon cstabl|shcs as a form of know| cdgc. bc|ng i s bclng ln thc
poss|b|l| tv of thc onc. !t |s Lclbn| z's thcs|s ( What | s not a bc| ng | s not a
bc/nj' i wh|ch lltcral|v govcrns thc immancncc of a sltuat| on and |ts
horlzon ofvcrltv. !t| sa thcsls of thc |aw.
1hlsthcsls cxposcs ustothcfo| | ow| ngdi fncu| tv | f. l nthcl mmancnccof
as|tuat| on. ltsi ncons|stcncvdocsnotcomcto|lght. ncvcrthc|css. |tscount
as- oncbclnganopcrat| onltsc|f| ndlcatcsthatthconcl sarcsult . !nsofaras
thc onc ls a rcsu| t. bv ncccss|tv somcth| ng' of thc multlp| c docs not
absol utc|vcolnc| dcw|th thcrcsu| t. 1obcsurc. thcrc|snoantcccdcnccof
thc mu|t|p|c wh|ch would glvc r| sc to prcscntat| on bccausc thc lattcr | s
a|wavs a| rcadv structurcd such that thcrc | s on| v oncncss or cons|stcnt
mult|p|cs . But th| s thcrc |s' |cavcs a rcma| ndcr thc | aw l n wh| ch | t ls
dcp|ovcd|sdlsccrn|blcasopcrat| on. Andalthoughthcrcl sncvcranvth|ng
othcr÷|n a sltuatlon÷/han thc rcsult ( cvcrvth| ng. | n thc s|tuat|on. ls
countcdi . what thcrcbv rcsu| tsmarks out. bcforcthc opcratlon. a must
bccountcd. !t ls thc | attcr wh| ch causcs thc structurcd prcscntatlon to
wavcrtowards thcphantomof| nconslstcncv.
Ofcoursc. |t rcma|nsccrtal nthatth| sphantom÷whlch. onthcbasls of
thcfactthatbcl ng oncrcsu| ts. subt|v unhlngcs thc onc from bclng | nthc
vcrv m| dst of thc sltuatlonal thcsls that onlv thc onc ls÷cannot | n anv
manncr bc prcscntcd ltsclf. bccausc thc rcg|mc of prcscntatlon | s con
s|stcntmu|tlpllc| tv. thcrcsult ol thccount.
Bvconscqucncc. sl ncc cvcrvthlngi scountcd. vctg| vcnthat thconcof
thc count. obllgcd to bc a rcsult. lcavcs a phantom rcmalndcr÷of thc
mu|tlplcnotorlg|na|lvbc|ng| nthcformofthconc÷onchastoal|owthat
lnsldcthcs|tuat|onthcpurcorlnconslstcntmu|tlp|clsbothcxc| udcdfrom
cvcrvth|ng. and thus from thc prcscntatlon ltsc|f. and |nc| udcd. ln thc
namcofwhat wou|dbc' thcprcscntatlonltsc||. theprcscntatlon l n | tsc| |.
lfwhatthc|awdocsnotauthorlzctothlnkwas th| nkabl c. thatthc onc| s
not. thatthcbcingofconslstcncv ls |nconslstcncv.
1o put |t morc clcar|v. oncc thc cnt|rctv of a sltuatlon ls subj cct to thc
law of thc onc and conslstcncv. lt l s ncccssarv. from thc standpo|nt of
lmmancncctothcs|tuatlon. thatthcpurc multlp|c. abso|utc|v unprcscnt
ablc accordlng to thc count. bc nc/h/nj. But bci ng noth|ng ls as d| st|nct
from nonbclng as thc thcrc ls ls distlnct from bclng.
1ustas thc statusof thc onc |s dcc|dcdbctwccr t hc ( truci thcs|s thcrc
|s oncncss' andthc ( fa| sci thcslsof thc onto|oglesofprcscncc. thconcl s' .
53
54
BEI NG AND EVENT
sol sthcstatuso|thepurcmu| tl p| cdccl dcd. | n thcl mmancncc o|a non
onto| oglca| s| tuatl on between thc ( truei thcs| s l nconsl stcncvlsnoth|ng' .
andt hc . fa| sci structura| l st or|cga|lst thcsl s l ncons| stcncv l snot . '
! t l s qul tc truc that prl or to thc count there l s nothlng bccausc
cvervthlng l scount cd. Yctth| sbclng nothl ng÷whcrcln rcsldcsthci||cga|
l nconslstcncv o| bc| ng÷ls thc basc o| thcrc bcl ng thc who| c' of thc
composltlonso|oncs| nwhl ch prcscntatlon takes p| ace.
!tmustccrta n| vbeassumcdthatthcc||ccto|struct urc |scomp|cte. that
whatsubtracts| tse| |lromthc |attcrl snothing. and that thc |aw docsnot
cncountersl ngu| arl s' andsl nprcscntatl onwhlchobstruct| tspassagc. ! nan
l ndctcrml natcsl tuat| onthcrc|snorcbc| orsubtract| vcprcscntatlonofthc
pure mu| tl p| c upon whlch thccmplrcofthc onc ls cxcrclscd. Morcovcr
thlslswhv. wl th| nas| tuatl on. thcscarch|orsomcth| ngthatwou| d|ccdan
lntul tl ono| bc| ng quabcl nglsa scarch ln val n 1hc| ogl co| thc| acuna. o|
whatthccountasoncwou| dhavc |orgottcn' . o|theexc| udcdwhlchmav
bcposltlvc|v|ocatcdasaslgnorrea|o|purcmu| tl p| lcltv. | sanlmpassc÷an
l | | usl on÷o| thought as l t l s ol practlcc. A sl tuatl on ncvcr proposcs
anvthlng other than mu|tlp|es wovcn lrom ones. and thc | aw o| |aws ls
that nothlng l | ml ts the c||ccto|thccount
Andvct thccorrc|atcthcsl sa| so l mposcsitse| |. thatthcrc l sa bcing o|
nothlng. as |orm o| thc unprcscntab| c. 1hc nothl ng' l swhatnamcsthc
unpcrcclvab| c gap. cancc|| cd thcn rcncwcd. bctwccn prcscntatlon as
structurcandprcsentatlonasstruct urcd prcscntatl on. bctwccnthconcas
rcsu| t and thc onc as opcratl on. bctwccn prcscntcd conslstcncv and
lnconsl stcncv as what-wl | | havcbccn- prcscn| cd
Natura||v lt wou| dbcpol nt|cssto sct o|| ln scarch o| the nothl ng. Yct l t
mustbc sal dthatthl sls cxact|vwhatpoctrv cxhaustsl tsc| fdol ng. thl sl s
wbatrcnderspoetrv. evcnat t bemostsovere| gnpo| n| ol | t sclar| tv. cvcn| n
| t s percmptorva||lrmatl on. comp|icltwithdeat h. ! | oncmust÷a| as ' ÷con
ccdc that there ls somc scnsc ln P|ato's proj cct of crown| ng thc pocts l n
ordertothensendt heml nt oexi|e. l tlsbccauscooetrvpropagatest hcldea
ofanl ntul tl ono|thenothlngl nwhl ch bcl ngwou|d rcsl dcwhcn thcrc l s
not cvcnthcsl tc|orsuch l ntul tlon÷thcv ca|| |t Naturc÷bccausc everv
th|ng is conslstcnt . 1hc on| v thlng we can alll rm l s thls. cvcrv sl tuatlon
l mp|lcsthcnot hl ngol| t sa|| Butthcnoth|ng. snclthcra pl acc nora term
o|thcsl tuatl on Forl lthcnothl ng wcrca tcrm thatcou| don|v mcanonc
thlng. that l t had bcen countcd as one. Yct cvcrvthl ng whlch has bccn
countcdls wl thl nthcconslstcncv o|prcscntatl on !tl sthusru| cdoutthat
THE VOI D: PROPER NAME OF BEI NG
thc nothing÷which hcrc namcs t hc purc wi ll havcbccncountcd as
distinguishab|cfromthccffcctofthccount. and thus dist| nguishablctrom
prcscntation÷bc takcn as a tcrm. 1hcrc | s not a- nothing. thcrc i s
nothing' . phantomot inconsistcncv.
Bv itsclf. thc nothing |s no morc than thc namc of unprcscntation in
prcscntation. !ts stat us of bc| ng rcsu| ts lrom thc fo| | owing. onc has
to adm|t that if thc onc rcsults. thcn somcthing'÷which is not an
i nsi tuati on tcrm. and which ist hus nothing÷has notbccn countcd. this
somcthing' bcing that i twas ncccssarv that thc opcration of thc count-
asonc opcrat c. 1husi tcomcsdownto cxact|vthcsamct hingt osavthat
thcnothing|sthcopcration ofthc count÷which. assourccofthconc. is
not itsc|fcountcd÷andto savthat thcnothingisthcpurc mu|tiplc upon
which thc count opcratcs÷whi ch in | tsclf' . as noncountcd. i s quitc
distinct fromhow| tt urns out according tothc count .
1hc nothing namcs t hat undccidab|c of prcscntation which i s its
unprcscntab|c. distributcdbctwccn thc purc incrtia ofthc domain ofthc
mul tip|c. and thc purc transparcncv of thc opcration thanks to which
thcrc | s oncncss. 1hc noth| ng i s as much that of structurc. thus ol
consistcncv. as that of thc pure mu|tiplc. thus ol inconsistcncv. !t i s said
withgoodrcasonthatnothingissubtractcdfromprcscntation. bccauscit
is onthcbas|s ofthclattcr' sdoublc] uri sdiction. thc|awandthcmul ti pl c.
that thcnothi ngisthc nothi ng.
Foranindctcrminatcs| tuation. thcrci sthusancquiva| cnttowhatP|ato
namcd. with rcspcct to thc grcat cosmological construction of thc
Umaeus÷an almost carnivalcsquc mctaphor of univcrsa| prcscnta
tion÷thc crrant causc' . rccocnizinc its cxtrcmc difncultv for thought
Whatisat stakci sanunprcscntab|cvctncccssarvngurcwhichdcsignatcs
thc gap bctwccn thc rcsult onc of prcscntation and that on thc basis ol
which'thcrcisprcscntat| on. that| s. thcnon- tcrmofanvtota|itv. thcnon
onc ol anv count as onc. the nothi ng part| cu| ar to thc s| tuati on. thc
unloca|izab|c voi dpoi nti n which it is manifcst both that thc si tuati onis
suturcd to bcing and that the /ha/wh/chprcscnts itsc| f wandcrs in thc
prcscntati oninthcformof a subtraction from thc count. !t woul dalrcadv
bcincxactt ospcako|thisnothingasapointbccauscitisncithcr|oca|nor
c|obal . butscattcrcd a| | ovcr. nowhcrc andcvcrvwhcrc it issuchthat no
cncountcrwou| d authorizc | ttobc hcld asprcscntab| c.
! tcrm vo/4ofa situation t his sut urc to | tsbci ng Morcovcr. [ statcthat
cvcrv structured prcsentat| on unpresents i ts' vo| d. | n t hc mode o| this
nononc wh| chis mcrc|vthc subtractivc |accof thc count .
ss
S6
BEI NG AND EVENT
! sav voi d' rathcrthan nothi ng . bccauscthc nothi ng' i s thcnamc of
thcvoi dcorrclativctothcµ/o/a/clfcctolstructurc ( cvc¬/h/nµi s countcdi .
i ti smorcaccuratc toi ndi catct hat nothavi ngbccn countcdi salsoqui tc
/oca/ i n its occurrcncc. sincc i t i s not countcd as onc. Voi J' i ndicatcs thc
failurc ofthc onc. thc notonc. i na morc pri mordi a| scnsethanthcnot
of- thc whol c.
!t i s a qucstion of namcs hcrc÷ nothi ng' or voi d' ÷bccausc bcing.
dcsi gnatcJ bv thcsc namcs. i s ncithcr local nor global . 1hc namc ! havc
choscn. thc voiJ. i ndicatcs prccisclv that nothi ng i s prcscntcd. no tcrm.
anJalsothatthedcsignati on ofthat nothingoccurs cmptilv' . i tdocsnot
locatc i t structura| | v.
1hc vo| d is thc namc of bci ng÷ol i nconsi stcncv÷accord|ng to a
situation. i nasmuch as prcscntati on gi vcs us thcrci n an unprcscntablc
acccss.thusnon acccss. tothi sacccss. i nthcmodcofwhati snot onc. nor
composab|cofoncs. thuswhati squa| i liablcwithinthc si tuati onso|clvas
thccrrancv ofthc nothi ng.
!ti scsscntialtorcmcmbcrthatnotcrmwi thi nasi tuati ondcsignatcsthc
voiJ. andthati nthisscnscAristot|cqu| tcright|vdcclarcsinthc|hys/csthat
thcvoidi snot. i loncundcrstanJsbv bci ng' whatcanbclocatcdw|thin a
situation. that i s. a tcrm. orwhat Aristotlc cal|cd a substancc. Undcrthc
norma| rcgimc o| prcscntation it is vcri di ca| that onc cannot sav of thc
vo|J. non onc anJ unsubstanti a| that iti s.
! will cstabli sh |atcr on ( McJi tation l 7i that f ort hcvoi d to bccomc
loca| izablcatthc|cvclolprcscntat| on. andthuslora ccrtaintvpco|intra
si tuational assumpti on of bci ng qua bc| ng to occur. a dvslunction ol thc
count i srcqui rcJ. whi ch rcsultslromancxccss- ol- onc. 1hc cvcntwi llbc
thi sultraonc ofa hazarJ. onthcbasi sofwhich thcvoi dofa situationi s
retroacti vel y di scernibl e.
But for thc momcnt wc must ho| d t hat | n a si tuati on thcrc | s no
conccivablc cncountcr with t hc voi J. 1hc normal rcgimc o| structurcJ
situations i s that of thc i mpos| t| on o| an abso|utc unconscious' o| thc
voi J.
Bcncc onc can dcJucc a supp| cmcntarv prcrcqui si tc lor onto|ogica|
Jiscoursc.| fi tcx|sts. anJi |i tis÷as!mai nta| n÷asi tuati on( thcmathcmat
i ca| situationi . ! havcalrcadvcstab|i shcJ
a that ontologv is ncccssar| | v prcscntation o| prcscntati on. thus
thcorv of thc purc mu| ti p| c without- onc. thcorv of thc multi plc o|
mu| t| p| cs.
THE VOI D: PROPER NAME OF BEI NG
/. thati t sstructurccanonlvbcthatof animpl| citcount. thcrcforcthat
ol an axi omati c prcscntati on. without a conccpt-onc of i ts tcrms
( wi thouta conccptofthcmultiplci .
Wc can now add that /hc sc/c /c·m ]rom wh/ch on(o/oµy s compos///ons
w//hou(conccp/wcavc/hcmsc/vcs/s ncccssar//y(hcvo|d.
Lct's cstablish thi s poi nt. lf ontologv is thc parti cular si tuati on which
prcscntsprcscntation. it mustalsoptcscntthc law ofal l prcscntation÷thc
crrancv of thc void. thc unprcscntablc as non- cncountcr. Ontologv wil|
onlv prcscnt prcscntation i nasmuch as i t providcs a thcorv of thc prc
scntativcsuturctobcing. which. spcakingvcridical l v. fromthcstandpoint
of anv prcscntation. i s thc vo|d i n which thc otiginarv i nconsistcncv i s
subtractcd from thc count. Ontologv i s thcrcforc rcqui rcd to proposc a
thcorvof thc voi d
But if it is thcorv ofthc voi d. ontologv. in a certai n scnsc. can on/ybc
thcorv of thc voi d. 1hat i s. i fonc supposcd that ontol ogv axi omaticallv
prcscntcd othcr tcrms than thc voi d÷irrcspcctivc of whatcvcr obstaclc
thcrc mav bc to prcscnting thc void÷thi s would mcan that i t di sti n
gui shcd bctwccn thc void and othcrtcrms. and that i ts struct urc thus
authorizcd thc count- asonc ol thc void as such. according to i ts spcciñc
diffcrcnccto full tcrms . !ti sobviousthatthiswouldbci mpossi blc. sincc.
assoonasi twas countcd asonc i ni tsdiffcrcncctothc onc-lul| thcvoid
wou| d bc ñllcd with th. s altcritv. !f thc void i s thcmatizcd. i t must bc
accordi ng to thc prcscntation of i ts crrancv. and not i n rcgard to somc
singularitv. ncccssarilv full. whi ch would di sti ngui sh |t as onc w|thin a
Jiffcrcntiating count. 1he onlvsolution is lor a//of thc tcrms to bc voi d
such that thcv arc composcd from thc voi d alonc. 1hc voi d is thus
distr|butcd cvcrvwhcrc. and cvcrvthing that | s distinguishcd bv thc
implicitcountofpurc multipliciticsi sa modalitv- accordi ngto- thconcol
thc void itsclf. 1his alonc would account lor thc fact that thc void. i n a
situation. is thc unprcscntablcolprcscntati on.
Lct s rcphrasc thi s. Civcn that ontologv i s thc thcorv of thc purc
mul ti pl c. what cxactl v coul d bc composcd bv mcans of i ts prcscntat|vc
axiom svstcm' What cx/s/cn( i s scizcd upon bv thc !dcas of thc multiplc
whosc axioms i nsti tutc thc |cg|slating acti on upon thc multip|c qua
multiplc' Ccrtainlvnotthconc. whichi snot. Fvcrvmul ti pl ci s composcd
of mu|tiplcs. 1his is thc hrstontologicallaw. Butwhcrc to start' What is
thcabsolutc|voriginalexistcnt| alposition. thchrstcount. i fi t cannotbca
hrst cne' 1hcrc is no qucsti on about i t. thc ñrst' prcscntcd multiplicitv
57
58
BEI NG AND EVENT
wi thout conccpt has to bc a mu|tip|c o| nothing. bccausc i | it was a
mu|tip|cofsomcthi ng. thatsomcthingwou| dthcnbc in thcpositi onofthc
onc. And. t i sncccssarv. thcrca 0cr.thattucaxlomaticru| csolc|vauthorizc
compositions onthc basi s ol thi s mu| ti p| c o|nothing. wh|ch i s t o savon
thcbasis of thcvoi d.
1hi rdapproach. What onto|ogvthcorizcsi sthci nconsi stcntmu| t ip|c of
anvsi tuat| on. thati s. thcmu|ti p| csubtractcd|romanvparticu| ar|aw. from
anvcount as onc÷thc a struct mcd mu| tip| c. 1hc ptopcr modc i n which
inconsistcncvwandcrswi thin thcwho| cofa s|tuation i sthc nothing. and
thc modc i n which it un prcscnts itsc|l i s that of s ubtraction lrom thc
count. thcnononc. thcvold. 1hcabso| utc| vpri marvthcmco|onto| ogvi s
thcrc|orc thc voi d÷thc Grcck atomi sts Lcmocritus and hi s succcssors.
c|car|v undcrstood this÷but it i s a|so its hna| thcmc÷thi s was not thcir
vicw÷bccausc in thc | ast rcsort. all inconsistcncv i s unprcscntab| c. thus
void. !| thcrc arc atoms . thcv arc not. as thc matcri ali sts of anti quitv
bc|lcvcd. a sccondprlncip|co|bcing. thconca|tcrthcvoi d. butcomposi
tionso|thcvoi di tsc| f.ru| cdbvt hci dca| |awsolthcmo|tip|cwhoscaxi om
svstcml s| ai dout bvontologv.
Onto|ogv. t hcrc|orc. can on|v count thcvoi dascx| stcnt. 1his statcmcnt
announccs that onto|ogv dcp| ovs thc ru|cd ordcr÷thc consistcncv÷o|
what i s nothingothcr than thc suturcto-bcl ng of anv si tuati on. thc /ha/
wh/.h prcscntsi tsc| f. i nsofarasi nconsistcncvassi gnsi t to so|c|vbci ngthc
unprcscntablc olanvprcscntativcconsi stcncv.
!tappcarsthatinthiswavama] orprob| cmi srcso|vcd. ! saidthati |bcing
i sprcscntcdaspurcmu|tip|c( somctimcs!shortcnthi spcri|ous|vbvsaving
bci ng i s multiplci . bcing aua /c/nµ. strict|v spcaking. i s ncithcr onc nor
mu| t i p| c. Onto|ogv. thc supposcd sci cncc ol bci ng qua bcing. bcing
subm| ttcd to thc |aw of situat| ons. must prcscnt. at bcst. it must prcscnt
prcscntation. whichi stosavthcpurcmu| ti p| c uowcani tavoidJcci ding.
inrcspccttobcingqua bcing. i nfavouro|thcmu| ti p| c'!tavoidsdoi ngso
i nasmuchasitsownpointofbci ngi sthcvoid. thatis. thls mul tip| c' wh| ch
i sncithcroncnormu| tip|c. bcingthc mu| ti p| co|nothing. andthcrcforc.
asfarasi tisconccrncd. prcscntingno/h/nµ l nthcformofthcmu| ti p| c. no
morc than i n |hc form of thc onc 1his wav onto|ogv statcs that
prcscntation i s ccrtain|v mu| ti p| c. butthatthcbcing o|prcscntati on. thc
that wh|ch i s prcscntcd. bciog void. | s subtractcd from thc onc/ mu|tip|c
dia|ccti c.
1hc fo|lowing qucstion thcn ariscs. i f that i s so. what purposc docs lt
scrvc t spcak o| thc voi d as mu| ti p| c in tcrms st| ch as thc mu| ti p| c of
THE VOI D: PROPER NAME OF BEI NG
nothi ng '1hctcasonf ot suchusagci sthatontol ogvi sasi tuati on. andthus
evctvth| ng tHat i tptcscnts fal |s under i ts |aw. which is to know nothing
apattftomthcmu|ti pl c wi thout onc 1hctcsul tisthatthcvoidi s ncmcdas
mu| ti p| ccvcni|. compos|ngnoth| ng. i tdocsnotactual l vnti ntothe| ntta
situationa| opposition o| thc onc and thc mul tipl c. Nami ng thc voi d as
multip|ci sthconl vsol uti onl c|t bvnotbc| ngablctonamcitasonc. givcn
that ont o|ogvsctsoutasi tsma] orpr| nci p| e thc |ol | ow| ng. thc onc| s not.
but anv sttuctutc. cvcn thc ax| omatic sttuct ute of ontol ogv. cstab|ishcs
thatthctc atcuni qucl voncsand mul ti pl cs÷cvcnwhcn. asi nthi scasc. i t
| si notdetto annu| thc bcingo|thc onc.
One of the acts o| t h| s annu| ment is pteci sc| v to posi t that thc voi d i s
mul ti p| c. that | t is thc ntst mu|tip|c. thc vctv bcing |tom whi ch anv
mu| ti p| c ptcscntat| on. whcnptcscntcd. is wovcn andnumbcrcd.
Natutal | v. bccausc thcvoid | si nd| scctn| b| casa t ctm ( bccausc it| s not
onci . | ts i naugutal appeatancc | s a putc act of nom| nati on. 1his namc
cannot bc spcci nc. it cannot p| acc thc vo| d undct anvthi ng that woul d
subsumc i t÷thi s woul d bc to tccstablish thc onc. 1hc namc cannot
| ndicatc that thc voi d is this ot that. 1hc act of oomi nati on. bci ng
a spcc| lic. consumcs i tse| f. i nd| cat | ng noth| ng othct than thc unptescnt
ab|c as such. ! n onto| ogv. howcvct thc un prcscntab|c occurs within a
ptcscntativc fotcing wh| ch disposcs it as thc nothi ng |tom which cvctv
thing otocceds. 1hc conscqucncc i s that thc namc of thc void i s a pure
propcr namc. whi ch i ndicatcs itse||. which docs not bestow anv | ndex of
diffctcncc w| thi n what t tcfcrs to. and wh|ch auto declatcs itscl | |n thc
lorm of thc moltip|c. despitc thcte bci ng no/h/n« which i s numbetcd bv
| t .
Onto|ogv commcnccs. i nc| uctablv. once t hc |cgislativc ! dcas of thc
multi p| e ate un|ol dcd. bv the oute uttetancc of the atbi ttari ncss o| a
propcrname. 1hisname. thi ssi gn. indcxcd tothcvoi d. i s. |n a scnscthat
willalwavs rcma| ncni gmati c. the propet namc of bc| ng.
S9
60
MEDI TATI ON FI VE
The Mar k 0
1hc cxccution of ontol ogv÷which is tosavofthc ma/hcma//ca/thcorv of
thc multiplc. orsct thcorv÷canonlvbcprcscntcd. in conformitvwiththc
rcqui sitionofthcconccpt ( Mcdi tat|on l i . asasvstcmofaxi oms. 1hcgrand
!dcasofthcmulti p| carcthusi nauguralstatcmcntsconccrningvariablcsa,
ß. y, ctc . in rcspcct ofwhich i ti s implicit|v agrccd that thcv dcnotcpurc
multiplcs. 1hi s prcscntationcxcludcsanvcxpl| ci t dcñnition ofthc multi -
plc÷thc solcmcansolavoidingthc cxistcnccofthc0nc. !tis rcmarkablc
that thcsc statcmcnts arc so fcw i n numbcr. nine axioms or axiom-
schcmas. 0nccanrccognizci nthiscconomvo|prcscntationthcsi gnthat
thc ñrst pri nci p| cs ol bci ng . as Aristot|c sai d. arc as fcw as thcv arc
cruci al .
Amongst thcsc statcmcnts. onc alonc. strictlv spcaking. i s cxistcnt|al.
that is. its task is to di rcctlv i nscribc an cxistcncc. and not to rcgulatc a
constructionwh. ch prcsupposcsthcrca| rcadvhc| nga prcscntcd mu| ti plc.
As onc mi ght havc gucsscd. thi sstatcmcnt conccrnsthc voi d.
!nordcrtothi nkthcsi ngu| aritvofthi scxi stcnti a| statcmcntonthcvoid.
lct s ñrst rap| d| v situatc thc pr|ncipa| !dcas of thc mul ti p| c. thosc with a
strictlvopcrat| ona| va| uc.
l . 1BFSAMFANL1BF O1HFR 1BFAX! 0V OFFX1FKS!ONAL!1Y
1hcax| omofcx|cnsi ona| i tvpositsthattwo scts arc cqua| ( | dcntica| i if thc
multi plcs of whi ch thcv arc thc mu| ti plc. thc mu| ti p| cs whosc sct
thcorcticalcountasoncthcvcnsurc. arc thcsamc . Whatdocs thcsamc
THE MARK 0
mcan' !sn' t thcrc a circlc hcrc which would found thc samc upon thc
samc'!nnatural andi nadcquatevocabul arv. which di sti ngui shcsbctwccn
clcmcnts' and scts . a vocabularv which conccals that thcrc arc onlv
mul tiplcs. thc axi om savs. two scts arc i dcnt| cal if thcv havc thc samc
clcmcnts . ' But wc know that cl cmcnt ' docs not dcsi gnatc anvthi ng
i ntri ns| c. all i tind|catcsi sthata mul t iplcy
i sprcscnt cdbvthcprcscntati on
ofanothcrmultiplc. a, whi chiswri ttcny e a. 1hcaxi omofcxtcns| onali tv
thusamountstosavi ng. | |everv mult|plcprescntcdi ntheprescnta| i onol
a |sprcscntcdi nthatof
{
, and|hci nvcrsc. thcnthcsctwomul t| pl cs a and
3. arc thcsamc
1hc logical arch| tccturc of thc axi om conccrns thc univcrsal i tv ofthc
asscrtionandnott hcrccurrcncc ofthcsamc. !t| ndi catcsthatif. |orcvcrv
mul ti pl cy, it is cqui val cntandt husi ndiffcrcnt to afñrmt hat i t bcl ongsto
a ortoa|ñrmthati tbcl ongsto3. thcna andßarc| nd| sti ngui shabl candcan
bc comp| ctclv substi tutcd |or cach othcr. 1he /dcn//n of mul t iplcs | s
|oundcd on thc /nd/]]crcncc o|bclonging. 1hi s | swri t t cn.
(
\y) [ ( E a
)
H
(
E
{) ]

(
-=8i
1hc di |fcrcntial mark| ng o| t hc two scts dcpcnds on what bclongs to
thcir prcscn|ati ons . But thc what ' i s alwavs a mul | | pl c. 1hat such a
multiplc. savy, mai ntai nsa rclationofbclongi ngwi tha÷bci ngonc ofthc
mult|plcs |rom whi ch - i s composcd÷and docs not mai nt ai n such a
rclation wi th8. cntai l st hat a andß arc coun| cd as diffcrcnt .
1hi spurclv cxtcnsi onal charactcr of t hc rcgimc of thc samc and thc
othcrisinhercnt |othcnat urco|sctthcorv. bci ng thcorv ofthcmul ti pl c
without onc. t hc mul ti p| c as mu|tip| c o| mu| ti plcs . What possi bl csourcc
coul d |herc bc for t hc cxi stcncc o| di ffcrcncc. |f not that of a mul t iplc
lack|ngfroma mu| ti pl c'Nopart| cularqua| itv canbcolusctoustomark
diffcrcncc hcrc. not cvcn that t hc onc can bc di sti ngui shcd from thc
multip|c. bccause t hc onc i s not. What t he axl om o| cxtcnsi on docs i s
rcducet hcsamcandthcothcrtot hcstrictri gouro|t hecountsucht hat i t
structurcs thc prcscntati on o|prcscntati on. 1hc samc i s thc samc of thc
countofmul ti pl cslromwhichal l mu|t|plcsarccomposed. oncccountcdas
onc.
Eowcvcr. | ct us not c. |hc |aw of thc samc and thc othcr. thc axi om ol
cxtcns| onal i tv. docsnottcl l us .n anvmannerwhcthcranvthingcxi sts. Al
lt docs is fx, lor any possib|v cxl stcnt mu| t lp| c. t hc canon|ca| ru| c ol its
dif|crcnti at i on.
61
62
BEI NG AND EVENT
2 . 1BFOPLRA1lONSUNUFRCONU!1! 0N AX! OMSOF1BL
lOWLRSF1 0FUN!ON. 0FSLlARA1lONANU 0FRLPLACLMLN1
!| wc lcavc asldc the axloms o| cholcc. o| l nhnl tv. and o| |oundatlon
whosccsscntlal mct a ont ologlcallmportanccwl|lbcsct out | atcron÷lour
other c| asslc' axl omsconstl tutca sccond catcgorv. al l bcing o|t hc|orm
1akc anvscta whlchls supposcdcxi stcnt . 1hercthenex| st sa secondsct
ß. constructcd on thc basis o| a. in such a manncr. ' 1hesc axloms arc
cqua| l vcompatlb| c wlth thc non- exlstcncc o|anvth. ngwhatsocvcr. wlth
absolutcnonprescnta| l on. bccausethcvsol el vi ndl cateanexlstenccundcr
thc condltion ol anothcr cxlstcncc 1he purc|v condltlonal charactcr o|
cxlstcncc | sagaln markcd bv thclogicalstructurc o|thcscaxloms. whlch
arcallo|thctvpc |oralla. thcrccxistsßsuchthati thasa dcnncd rclat|on
t oa ' 1hc loral | a' cvldcntlvslgnl hcs l|thcrcexlstsana. thcnl nallcascs
thcrc cxists a ß. assoclatcd to a accord|ng t o thls or that rul c. But thc
statemcnt docs not decldc upon thc cx| stcnce or non- cxi stcncc o| evcn
onco|thcsca' s .1cchn| ca| l vspcaklng. thlsmcanst hat thepte]÷thclnltlal
quantincr÷o|thcscaxlomslsolthctvpe |ora| l . . . therc cxlsts. . . such
that. . . that ls. ( V aì ( 3f) [ . . . ] . ! t ls clcar. on thc othcr hand. that an
axi om whlch a||| rmcd an uncond|tioncd cx| stcncc would bc o|thc tvpc
thcrccxlsts. . . suchtHat . andwoul dthuscommcncc wlththccxlstcntlal
quantlncr.
1hcsc lourax| oms÷whosedcta. l cdtcchnlcal cxamlnatlon would bco|
no usc hcrc÷conccrnguarantccsolcxlstcncc |or constructlonso|multi
plcs on thc basls o| ccrtai n lntcrnal charactcrlstlcs o| supposcd cxi stent
mul ti pl cs. Schcmatlca| l v
a. The axiom of tle powerset (the set of subsets)
1hlsaxloma|nrmsthat glvcna sct thcsubsctso| thatsctcanbc count ed
as onc. thcvarca sct . Whatl sa subsctof a multlplc' | t lsa mul tlplcsuch
that al l thc mu| tlpl cs whlch arc prcscntcd | n l ts prcscntatlon ( wh| ch
bc| ong' to l t ì areal soprcscntedbvthci ni tlal multlplea. w//hou//hc/nvcrsc
/c/nµncccssar//y/ruc ( ot hcrwiscwcwoul dcndupwithcxtcnsi ona| l dcnti tv
agalnì 1hel ogl cal structurco|thisaxlomlsnot oncolequl va| cncebutonc
o| impllcation. 1hc setß | s a subsctof a÷thl slswrlttcnß c a÷l|. wheny
ls an clcmento|ß. thati s. yE ß. ltls t hcnal soel cmcnt o| a, t husy e a. ! n
otherwords. ßc a÷whlchreads' f l sl ncl udcdl na'÷lsanabbrcvlat i ono|
t hc|ormul a. ( V,ì ' (y e ßì � ( e -· ¡
THE MARK 0
!n Mcdltat|ons 7 and 8, ! wl|l rcturn to thc conccpt ol subsct or sub
multlp|c. whlch l s qultc lundamcntal and to thc d| stlnctlon bctwccn
/c/onµ/nµ ( e ) and /nc/us/on ( c) .
For thc momcnt |t ls cnough to know that the axl om o| tHcpowcrsct
cuarantccsthatdasctcx|sts. /hcn anothcrsetalsocxlststhatcountsasonc
all thc subscts ol tHc nrst !n morc conccptual l anguacc l| a mul t| pl c l s
prcscntcd. thcnanothcrmultlp' clsalsoprcscntcdwhosctcrms( clcmcnts ì
arc thc sub mu| tlp' cs ol thc nrst
/ Ihc cx/om e]un/on
Sl ncc a multlplc ls a multlplc ol muI tlplcs. lt ls lcgltl matc to ask l| thc
powcro|thc count v| awhlch a multlplc lsprcscntcd al so cxtcndsto the
unloldcd prcscntat|on o|thcmul t|plcswhlcH composclt. graspcdln turn
asmultlplcso|multlplcs Canonc lnternallvdlsscmlnatethcmultlplcsout
ol whlch a multlp|c makcs tHc onc o| the rcsult' 1h. s opcratlon l s thc
lnvcrse o| thatguarantccd bv thc axlom olthcpowcrsct .
1hc lattcrensuresthatthcmultlple o| al | thcrcgrouplngsls countcdas
onc. thatls. thc multlplco|al l thc subsctscomposcdlrommu| tlplcswhlch
bclong to a glvcn mul tlpl c. 1hcrc ls thc rcsul tonc ( . hc sct ì o| al l thc
posslblc comvos///onsall thc lncl uslons÷ol what ma| ntal nswlth a glvcn
sct thcrclatlono|bc| onglng. Can! svstcmatlcallv count thc4ccompes///ons
o|thc multlplcs that bclongtoa g| vcnmul tlp| c'3ccauscl |a multlplclsa
multlplc ol multlplcs. thcnlt lsa| soa multlp|c o|multlplcs olmul t|plcso|
multlplcs. ctc
1hlsl sa doubl cqucstlon
a. Uocs thc count asonccxtcndtodccompos| tlons` !s thcrc an axlom
ol dlsscmlnat| on] ust as thcrc ls onc o|composl t| on'
h
. !sthcrea halt| ngpolnt÷g| venthatthcproccss o| dlsscml nat| on. as
wc havc] ust sccn. appcars tocontlnucto l n|i nltv'
1hc sccond qucst|on i s vcrvproloond and thc rcason lor this depth ls
obvlous !ts ob] cct ls to nnd out whcrc prcscntatlon | s suturcd to somc
hxcdpolnt. to somc atom o|bclng that coul dno longer bc dccomposcd.
1hlswoul dsccmto bclmposslblcl|bel ng multlplcl sthcabsolutc|ormo|
prcscntatl on. 1hcrcsponsctothlsquestlonwlllbcsctoutlntwostagcs.bv
thcax| omo|thcvold. a llttlc|urthcron. andthcnbvthccxamlnatlono|
thc ax| om ol|oundatl on. l nMcdltat| on 1 8.
The frst questi on is decided here bv the axl om of uni on whi ch states
thatcachstcpolthcdlsscmlnat| onlscountcdasonc. 1hatls. l tstatcsthat
63
64
BEI NG AND EVENT
thc multiplcs|rom whichthcmulti pl cswhichmakcup a onc multi p| carc
composcd. |orma sctt hcmsclvcs ( rcmcubcrthatthcword sct' . whi cHi s
nci t hcrdcnncdnordcnnab| c. dcs| gnatcswhatthcaxiomaticprcscntation
authorizcstobc countcdasonc ì .
Lsi ngthc mctaphoro| clcmcnts÷itscl|a pcrpctual l v riskv substanti al
ization o|t hc rclation o| bclonging÷thc axi om i s phrascd as such. |or
cvcrv sct. thcrccxiststhc sct o|thc clcmcntso|thc clcmcnts o| thatsct.
1hati s. i |a i sprcscntcd. a ccrtain
[
i s alsoprcscntcdto which al l thc o' s
bclongwhichalsobclongtosomcy whichbclongstoa. !nothcrwords i|
y E a and0 E y, |hcrcthcncxistsa[ suchthat0 E [. 1hcmultiplcßgathcrs
togcthcrthc l1rst disscmi nati on o| a, that obtai ncdbv dccomposing into
mu|tiplcsthc multip| cswhichbclongtoit. thusbv ×ncoua//nµ -
(
'
a
) ( 3
[) [
(0
E
[) H ( 3y) [ (
y
E a
)
8 (0 E y) ] ]
Civcn a, thc sctß whosc cxistcncci s a|nrmcd hcrc wi | | bcwrittcn U a
( un/on o| a
)
. 1hc cho|cc o| thc word unl on rc|crs to thc i dca that this
axiomatic proposition cxhibits thc vcrv csscncc o| what a multiplc
uni ncs' ÷multiplcs÷and that this i s cxhibitcd bv uni |vi ng' thc sccond
mu| tiplcs (in rcgard to thc i niti al onc · |rom which. in turn. thc hrst
multip| cs÷thosclromwhich thc | niti a| onc rcsults÷arc composcd.
1hc |undamcntal homogcncitvo| bci ngi s supposcd hcncc|orth onthc
basisthatU a, whichdisscminatcsthci ni ti al onc multiplcandthcncounts
as onc what i s thcrcbv disscminatcd. is no morc orl css a mult|plc itscl|
than thc initial sct. 1ust |ikcthcpowcrsct. thc uni on sct docsnoti nanv
wavrcmovcus|romtHcconccpt lcssrcign o|thcmultipl c. Ncithcrlowcr
down. nor highcr up. whcthcr onc dispcrscs o gathcrs togcthcr. thc
thcorvdocsnotcncountcranv thi ng' whichi shctcrogcncoustothcpurc
multiplc. Ontologv announccs hcrci n ncithcr Onc. nor Al l nor Atom.
so|c| vthcuni|orm axiomaticcount as onc o|mu|tipl cs.
c Ihc ax/om o]scpara//en. orc]zcrmc/o
Studi cdin dctai| in Mcditation 1 .
d Ihc ax/om-schcma o]rcp/accmcn/ (oro]s×/s(/(u//on)
!n itsnatura||ormul at on. thc axi omo|rcplaccmcntsavs thc |ollowing. i |
vouhavcasctandvourcp|acci tsclcmcntsbvothcrc| cmcots. vouobtain
a sct.
!n its mcta ontological |ormul ati on. thc axi om o| rcplaccmcnt savs
rathcr. i | a multiplc o| mu|tiplcs i s prcscntcd. anothcr multiplc is a|so
THE MARK 0
prcscntcd which is composcd |rom thc substitution. onc bv onc. o| ncw
mu|tip| cs |or thc mu|tip|cs prcscntcd bv thc hrst mu| ti p| c. 1hc ncw
mu|tip| csarcsupposcdashavingbccnprcscntcdthcmsc|vcsc| scwhcrc.
1hc ldca÷singu| ar. pro|ound÷is thc |o| |owing. i| thc count as- onc
opcratcs bv giving thc consistcncv o| bcing onc mu|tip|c to somcmu| ti
p|cs. i twi | | a| soopcratc l| thcsc mu|tip|csarcrcp|accd. tcrmbvtcrm. bv
othcrs. 1hls ls cquiva|cntto savlngthat/hccons/s(cnco]a mu|//p/c docs no(
4cpcndupon/hcpar//cu/armu///p/cswhescmu///p/c///s. Changc thcmu|tip|cs
and thc onc consistcncv÷wh|ch i s a rcsu|t÷rcmai ns. as | ong as vou
opcratc. howcvcr. voursubstltutlonmu|tip|cbvmu| tip|c.
What sct thcorv a|nrms hcrc. puri|ving agaln what it pcr|orms as
prcscntatlon o| t hc prcscntatlon mu|tip|c is that t hc count as- onc ol
mu| tip|csis i ndi ||crcntt owha/thcscmu| tip|csarc mu|tip|cso|. provi dcd.
o| coursc. thati tbc guarantccd thatnothingothcrthan mu|tip|cs arc at
stakc. !n short. thc attributc to bc- a mu|tip| c' transccnds thc parti cu| ar
mu|tip|cs whi ch arc c| cmcnts o| a gi vcn mu|tip| c. 1hc making up a
mu|tip|c( thc ho| d| ng togcthcr asCantoruscdtosavi . u| timatcstructurcd
hgurc o| prcscntati on. mainta| ns itsc|| as such. cvcn | | cvcrvthlng |rom
whichit i s composcd l srcp|accd.
Onccan scc] usthowl ars ct thcorvtakcsi t s vocationo|prcscntlngthc
purc mu| tip|ca| onc. tothcpolntatwhichthccount as- oncorgani zcdbv
itsaxiomsvstcminstltutcsitsopcrationa|pcrmancncconthcthcmco|thc
bond mu|tlp|c i n ltsc||. dcvo. d o| anv spccincation o| what i t bi nds
togcthcr.
1hc mul tlp|c i sgcnuinc|v prcscntcd as|orm mu|tip|c. invarlant i n anv
substltutlon which a||ccts its tcrms. ! mcan. invariant i nthat i t ls a|wavs
disposcd ln thc oncbond olthcmu|tip| c.
Morc thananvothcraxi om. thcaxi omo| rcp|accmcnti ssultcd÷cvcn
to thc polnt o| ovcri ndicating it÷to thc mathcmatica| situatlon bci ng
prcscntatlon o| thc purc prcscntativc |orm in whichbei ng occurs as that­
whlch l s.
Howcvcr. nomorcthanthcaxiomso|cxtcnsi ona| i tv. scparati on. subscts
or un| on docs thc axiom o| rcp|accmcnt l nducc thc cxi stcncc o| anv
mu|tip| c whatsocvcr.
1hc axiom o| cxtcnslona|l tv nxcs thc rcgimc o| thc samc and thc
othcr
1hcpowerset and the uni on- set regulate i nternal composi ti ons ( subsets)
anddlsscmlnati ons ( unloni such that thcv rcmaln undcr thc | aw o| the
65
66
BEI NG AND EVENT
count. thus. nothlng ls cncountcrcd thcrcln. nci thcr lowcr down nor
hi ghcrup. whlch woul dprovc an obstac|c tothc uni|ormitvo|prcscnta-
ti onasmu| tlplc.
1hcaxlomo|scparatlonsubordlnatcsthccapacltvo|| anguagctoprcscnt
multip| cstothc|acto|thcrc al rcadvbclngprcscntatl on.
1hcaxl omo|rcplaccmcntposltsthatthcmul tiplclsundcrthc| awo|thc
count qua |orm- mult|plc. lncorruptlb|cl dcao| thcbond.
!n sum. thcsc l| vc axloms o axi om schcmas nx t hc svstcm o| !dcas
undcr whosc | aw anv prcscntatlon. as |orm o| bci ng. | cts l tscl | bc
prcscntcd. bclonglng ( unlquc pr| mitlvc ldca ultlmatc slgnl|| cr o| prc
scntcd-bcingì . di||crcncc. i nc| uslon. disscmlnatlon. thc| anguagc/cxlstcncc
coup| c. and substl tuti on.
Wc dc|i nitclvhavc thc cntlrc matcrla| |or an ontologvhcrc. Savc that
nonco|thcsclnauguralstatcmcntsln whlch thc |aw o|!dcaslsgivcnhas
vctdccldcdthcqucstl on !s thcrcsomcthlngrathcrthannothlng''
1 1uL V0l L. SUB1RAC1!VF SU1URL1O BLl NC
At thl spol ntthc axlomatlc dcclslon ls pari lcu| ar| v rlskv. What privi| cgc
cou| d a multiplcposscss such that it bc dcslgnatcdasthc mu| tlplc whosc
cxistcncc| slnaugurallva|nrmcd'Morcovcr. l|ltls/hcmul tlp|c|romwhich
al l thc othcrs rcsu| t bv composltions ln con|ormitvwlththc !deas o|thc
mu|tlp| c. ls ltnotlntruth that oncwhoscnonbclnghasbccnthe|ocuso|
ourcnt l rc c||ort' ll on thc othcr hand lt ls a mu|tl pl c countcJ as onc.
thusa mu|tiplco|mu|tlp| cs. howcoul dli bc thcabso| ut c| vnrst multiplc.
alrcadvbclng thc rcsult o|a composltlon'
1hls qucstlon ls nonc othcr than tha t o| thc s ut ure-tn-bei ng of a
thcorv÷aslomatlca| |vprcscntcd÷o|prcscntatl on. 1hccxlstcntla|lndcxto
bc|ound |s thatbvwhl chthc | cglslatlvc svstcmo|!dcas÷whlch cnsurcs
that noth ng a||ccts thc purltv o| thc mu| i lp|c÷proposcs l i sc| | as thc
lnscrlbcd dcp| ovmcnto|bclug quabclnc
But to avol d | apslng lnto a non onto| oglca| sltuatl on. thcrc ls a prc
rcqulsltc lor thls l ndcx. lt cannot proposc any/h/nµ l n partlcu| ar. consc
qucnt| v. lt can nclthcr bc a mattcro| thc onc. whlch l s not. nor o| thc
composed muli p| e. which i s never anythi ng but a resu| t of thc count, an
c||cct o| structurc.
1hc so| utl ontothcprob|cmlsquitcstr|kl ng malntalnthcposltlonthat
nothlng i s dclivcrcd bv thc | aw o| thc !dcas. but makc thls nothi ng /c
THE MARK (
through the assumpti on ol a propername !n other words. vcr/]. v/a /hc
cxccdcn/a¬ cho/cc o]a provcr naoc. /hc unp·cscn/a//c a/onc as cx/s/cn/. on its
basisthe!deaswll|subsequent|ycausealladmi ssi bl elormsolpresentat|on
to proceed.
! nthelrameworkolsettheorvwhati s presentedi smulti pleolmult|ples.
thelormolpresentati onitsell. lorth| sreason. theunpresentabl ecanonlv
hgure within language aswhati s multiple olne/h/nµ.
Let s al so note t hi s po|nt t he di llcrence between two multi ples. as
regulated bv the axi om ol extens|onali tv. can onl v be marked bv those
mul tiplesthatactua| | vbelongt othetwomultiplestobedi llerenti ated. A
mult|pl eol-nothl ng thus has no conce|vable d. llerent|ating mark. 1he
unpresentab|e i si nextensibleand therelore i n dillerent . 1heresultis that
the|nscription olthl si n di llerent will benecessari lv negat|ve becauseno
poss|bil|tv÷nomu| ti p| e÷cani ndi catethat| ti son//sbasl sthatexistencei s
alnrmed. 1hlsrequi rementthattheabsolutelvi ni t|alex| stencebethatola
negat|onshowsthatbeingis denni telvsuturedtothe!deasolthemulti ple
ln thesubtracti vemode. Eere begins the expulslon 01 anv presentilving
assumption olbei ng.
But what i s it that thi s negation÷|n whi ch the exi stence ol the
unpresentab|e as |n d|llerence i s i nscri bed÷is able to negate' Si nce the
pr|mitlve idea ol the mul ti pl e |s belong|ng. and si nce i t i s a matter ol
negating themultiple as multi ple olmult|ples÷w|thout however. resur
tectingtheone÷l ti scertai nthati tisbelongi ngassuch wh|ch i snegated.
1he unpresentablei sthattowhich nothlng. no multi ple. belongs. conse
quentlv. i t cannot present i tsel |i n|ts d|llerence.
1o negate belonging is to negate presentat|on and t herelore ex|stence
becauseexi stence |s be|ng l n presentat|on 1he structute ol the statement
that inscribes the l|rst exi stence |s thus. i n truth. the negati on ol anv
ex|stence accordi ng to belongi ng. 1h| sstatementwi l l savsomethi ngllke
there exl sts that to whi ch no exi stcnce can be sal d to bel ong . or. a
multiple exists whi ch i s suctracted lrom t he pr| ml tl ve ! dea ol the
mul ti pl e´
1hissi ngularax| om. the sixth on ourlist. i s/hc ax/om o]/hc vo/dsc/
!n its natural lormulati on÷thi s time actual lv contradi ct|ng lts own
c| aritv÷itsavs ·here exi stsa set whichhasnoel ement . a point atwhlch
thesubtractlve olbelngcausesthe| ntuitive d|st|nctlonbetweene| ements
andsetstobreakdown
!n |ts metaontologlcallormulationtheaxi omsavs . theunpresentablei s
presented. asa subtractivetermolthepresentatlon olpresentati on. Or. a
67
68
BEI NG AND EVENT
multip|ci s. whichi snotundcrthc! dcaolthcmul ti p| c. Or. bci ng| ctsitscll
bcnamcd. with|n thconto|ogica|situation. asthat |romwhichexistcncc
docs not cxist.
! n its tcchnical lormul ation÷thc most suitablc lor conccptua| cxpos
i tion÷thc axiom olthc voi d-sctw| | l bcgin with ancxistcntial quanti hcr
( thcrcbv dcclaring that bcing invcsts thc !deas ì . and conti nue with a
ncgation ol cxi stcncc ( thcrcbv unprcscntingbcingì . which wi l | bcaron
bclonging ( thcrcbv unprcscnting bcing as multiplc si ncc thc i dea ol thc
multip|c is E ) . Ecnccthclo|lowing ( ncgationis writtcn - ì .
( Jßì '- ( 3a) ( E ßì }
1hisrcads thcrccxists ßsuchthatthcrcdocsnotcxistanva whichbclongs
to it.
Now. i n what scnse was ! ablc to say that this 3 whosc cxistcnce is
alnrmcdhcrc. andwhichi sthus nolonccra simp|c !dca ora law but an
onto|ogicalsuturc÷thc cxi stcncc of ani ncxistcnt÷wasi ntrutha propcr
namc' A proper namc rcquircs its rclcrcnt to be uni quc. Onc must
carclu| | v di sti ngui shbctwccn thc onc and un/./n. !lthc onc i s so|clv thc
i mp| i ci tcllcct. wi thout bcing. olthc count. thus olthc axi omati c!dcas.
thcnthcrci snorcasonwhvuni citvcannotbcanattributcofthcmultip| c.
!t i ndicatcs so|c|v that a mu|tip|c i s dil|crcnt lrom anv othcr. !t canbc
contro| lcdbvuse olt hcaxiomolextcnsiona|itv. Howcvcr. t hcnu| l scti s
incxtcnsib|c. i n- di l|crcnt . Eowcan! cvcnthinki t sunicitvwhcnnothing
bc|ongs toi tthat would scrvc asa marko|its di|lcrencc' 1hc mathcma
ticians say in gencral qui tc |ight handedlv. that thc voi d sct is uni quc
altcr thc axiomo| cxtcnsiona|itv' Yctthi s i s toprocccdas i l two' voids
canbc idcntincdlikc two somcth|ug s' . which i s to savtwo multiplcs ol
muhip| cs. whi | st thc |aw ol dlllcrcncc is conccptua| | v. i l not lorma| l v.
inadcquateto thcm. 1hc truthis ratherthls. thc unicitv o| thcvoi dseti s
immcdiatcbccauscnothingdl|lcrcntiatcsit. not bccausci tsdillcrencc can
bc attcstcd. An i rrcmcdiab|c unicitv bascd on i n dillcrencc is hcrein
substitutcdlorunl ci tvbascdon dil|crcncc.
Whatcnsurcsthc uni qucncssolthcvoi d sctis that in wishingtothink
ol i t as a spccies or a common namc. in supposing that thcre can bc
scvera| ' voids. ! cxposc mvsc|l. w|thin thc lramcwork olthc onto|ogica|
thcorvolthcmu| ti p| c. totheriskolovcrthrowingthercgimco|thcsamc
and thc othcr. and so to hav/nµ /o]ounddt]]crcncc on somc/h/nµ o/hcr/han
bc/onµ/nµYctanysuchproccdurci scquiva| cnttorcstoringthc bclngo|thc
onc. 1hat i s. thcsc' voids. bcing incxtcnsible. arc indistinguishab| c as
THE MARK 0
mult|ples . 1hev woul d therefore have to be d|fferentiated as ones. bv
meansofan entlrelvnewprlnc|p| e But. the one isnot. andthus! cannot
assumethatbelngvoi d| sa propertv. a specl es. ora commonname. 1here
are not several voids. there l s onl v one voi d. rather than slghlfv|ng the
presentati onoftheone. thlssi gn| ll estheun|citvoltheunpresentablesuch
as marked w|thlnpresentatlon.
We thus arr|ve at the lollow|ng remarkable concl us| on. // /s /ccausc /hc
onc /s no//ha//hcvo/d /s un/auc
Savlngthatthenul l set|s un| quelsequi valenttosavi ngthatltsmark| s
apropername. Belngthusl nveststhe!deasofthepresentatlonofthepure
mult|plei ntheform ofunic|tvslgnal | edbvapropername.1owr| te| t. th|s
nameofbelng. thlssubtractlvepo| ntofthemult|ple÷ofthegeneralform
ln wh|ch presentat| on preseni s itself and thus |s÷the mathemati c|ans
searchedfora slgnlarfromal l the|rcustomarval phabets:nelthera Creek.
nora Lati n. nora Coth|cletter. butanold Scandinavianletter. Ø.embl em
of the voi d. zero alfected bv the barr|ng of sense. As | f thev were dul l v
awarethat| nprocl ai mlngthatthevoi dal onei s÷becausei tal onel n ex|sts
fromthe multlpl e. andbecause the!deasolthemultlp| eonl vl i veon the
basis ol what l s subtracted from them÷thev were t ouch|ng upon some
sacredreg|on. ltself| i ml nal tolanguage. as|lthus. rlvalllngthetheologlans
for whom supreme belng has oeen the proper name s|nce l ong ago. vet
opposlngtothel atter' spromlseofthe One. and ofPresence. the| rrevoca
b|lltvofun presentationandthe unbelngoftheone. themathematlc|ans
had to shel ter the|r own audac| tv behlnd the character of a forgotten
language.
69
70
MEDI TATI ON SI X
Ar i stot l e
Absurd ( out ol placei ( to supposei thatthe po|nt| s vo| d. '
!hys/cs. Book! V
Foral mostthreecentur|es| t waspossib|et obel|evethattheexper|menta-
t|onolrat|onalphvsi cshadrenderedAristotle srelutat|onoltheex|stence
olthevo|dobsolete. iascal s lamousl ea|letNcwLxpcr/mcn/sconccrn/nµ /hc
lo/d. the title alone be|ng | nadm|ss|b|e |n Ar|stotl es svstem. had to
endow÷|n l 647÷1orr|celli 's pr|or work with a propagand|st|c lorce
capable olmobi | |z|ng the non sc|ent|ncpubl|c
!n hi sct|t|calexaminat|on olthe concept olthe vo|d ( |hys/cs. Book!V.
Sect|on8i . Ar|stotle. |n threedi llerentp|aces. exposeshi sargumentto the
poss|bi l |tvoltheexperimentalproduct|onolacounterexampl eonthepart
olposi ti vescience. F|rst. heexplic|tlvdec| aresthat|ti stheprov|nceolthe
phvsi c|sttotheor|zeon the vo| d. Second. h|s ownapproachc|tesexper|
mentssucb asthato|p| unglnga woodcncube| ntowaterand compar|ng
|tsellectstothoseolthesamecubesupposedemptv.i|nal lv. h|sconcl us|on
|s entirelv negat|ve. the vo|d has no conce|vab|e tvpe ol bei ng neither
separable nori nseparable (OVTE oXWpiOTOV OUTE KEXWPW/EVOV
)
.
Eowever. thanksto thel|ghtshedonth|smatterbvEei deggerandsome
others. we can no longer be sat|shed todav with this manner ol dealing
w|th the quest|on. Upon a close examinat|on. one has to accord that
Ar|stot|e leavesatleastoncpossibilitvopen thatthevoidbeanothername
lor matterconce|ved as matter (� ;>" f TaL aVTT) ' espec| al | v matterasthe
conccpt olthepotent| a| be|ngolthel|ght and thc hcavv. 1he vo| d woul d
thusnamethcmater|a| cause o|transpott. not÷as w|th theatomi sts÷as
ARI STOTL E
a un|versa| mi | i eu ol | oca| movement. but rather as an undetermi ned
ontologi ca| v|rtua| i tv i mmanent to natural movement wh| ch carries the
l | ght upwards and the heavv downwards. 1he vo| d wou| dbe the latent
i n- d|llerenceolthenatura| di llerentiat|onolmovements. such asthevare
prescr|bed bvthequal i nedbe| ng÷||ghtorheavv÷olbod| es. ! nth|ssense
therewoul d denn| telvbea be| ng olthevoid. buta pre substant|a| be|ng.
therelore uoth| nkable assuch .
Bes|des. a n experi ment |n Ar|stot| e's sense bears no re| ati on to the
conceptua| att|lacts materi a| i zed | n1orr|ce| | |' s orlasca| 's watcr andmer
curvtubes | n whi ch the mathemat|zab| e medi at| on ol measure preva|l s
ForAristot| e. an exper|ment |s a currentexamp| e. a sens|b| e|mage. wh|ch
serves10 decorateandsupporta demonstrationwhosekevresides ent|relv
|ntheproductionolacorrectdenn|t|on. !t|squi tedoubtlu|thata common
relerentexi sts.eveni ntheshapeolan| n ex|stent. th|nkab|easun| que. lor
whatPasca| andAr| stot|ecal|thevo|d. ! l onewantstol earnlromAristot| e.
orevent orelutehl m. t henonemust pavattenti ontot hespace olthought
withi n wh|ch h|s concepts and denn|t|ons lunct| on. For the Greek. the
vo|d|snotanexperi menta| di llerence buttatheranonto| og|ca| categorv.
a supposi ti on relative to what aa/ura|/y prol|lerates as ngures ol bei ng. !n
th| s| ogi c. thcar//]./a/product| onola voi d| snotanadequateresponseto
thequesti onolwhethernatureallows. accord|ngtoi tsownopen| nglorth.
'
a pl ace where noth| ng i s to occur. because such is the Aristotel|an
denn|t| on olthevoi d (TO KEVOV T07O< fV < 11IEV funv) .
1h|s | s because the phvs| clst |n Ar|stot| es sense i s |n no wav the
archaeologi cal lorm olthe modern phvsicist. ue onl v appears to be such
duetotheretroact|vei | l us| onengenderedbv theGa| i l eanrevo| uti on. For
Ar|stot| e. aphvs|c|ststudi esnature. wh|chi s tosavthatreg|onolbe|ng ( we
w|ll sav. that tvpe ol si tuationì | nwh|ch the concepts ol movement and
rest are pertinent. Betterst| | | . thatw|th wh|ch the theoreti cal thought ol
thephvslcist l s | n accord | sthatwhich causes movement and rest to be
/n/r/ns/: attr| butes ol that wh| ch- l s l n a phvsl cal s| tuatl on. Provoked
movements Arlstotle terms them v| ol ent i and thus. i n a certa| nsense.
evervth|ngwhich can beproducedvi athearti lI ce olanexperl ment. vi aa
techni cal apparatus. are exc| udedlromthephvslca| domai n ln Ar|stotl es
sense. Nature is the bei ng quabe|ng ol that whose presentation |mpl|es
movement. it|snotthelawolmovement. |t/smovement. Phvs|csattempts
to th|nkthethere- i solmovementasa ngureolthe natural comi ngtobe
of be| ng. physl cssetsl tse' lt helo| l owl ngquest l on whvl sthere movement
ratherthan absolu|e | mmob| | | tv' Nature|sthepti nci p| e ( dpx�) , the cause
71
72
BEING AND EVENT
µ/-/ai . of scll mov|ng and of bc|ng at- rcst. wh|ch tcs|dc pr|mord|allv | n
bc|ng movcdorbc|ng- at rcst. andth|s | nandfor |tsclf.aJaò¬i andnot
bv accidcnt. Noth|ng hcrcin i s capablc of cxcl ud| ng Pascal or1orr| ccl l | 's
vo| d÷notbcingdctcrm|ncd as csscnti a| | vbclong|ngtowhat | s prcscntcd
| n|tsnatural orig|nal|tv÷frombc|ngani n cxistcntwithrcgardtonaturc.
a phvsi cal nonbci ng ( |n Aristotlc s scnsci . that| s. a forccd or acc|dcntal
product|on.
!t is thus appropr|atc÷|n our onto|og|cal proj cct÷to rccons| dcr Ar|s
totlc's qucsti on. ourmax| mcannotbc that ofPasca| . who. prcc. sclvw|th
rcspcct to thc cx|stcncc of thc vo|d. dcc|arcd that | f on thc bas|s ol a
hvpothcs|s somcth|ng follows wh|ch |s contrarv to onc phcnomcnon
al onc. that i s sufñci cntproofof its falsitv. ' 1o th|s rui n of a conccptual
svstcmbvthcun|c|tvofthcfact÷inwhi chPascal ant|cipatcsPoppcr÷wc
must opposcthci ntcrnalcxami nat|onolAr|stot| c'sargumcntat|on. wcfor
whom thc void i s in truth t hc namc ofbc|ng. and so can nci thcrbc cast
|ntodoubtnor cstabl|shcd v|a thccffccts ofan cxpcrimcnt . 1hcfacil|tvof
phvs|cal rcfutation÷in thc modcrn scnsc÷|s barrcd to us. and consc
qucntlv wc havc to d|scovct thc onto| oc|cal wcakpoi ntof thc apparatus
|ns|dcwh|chAr|stotlccauses thcvo|d to abso| utclv| n- cxi st.
Ar|stotlc h|msc| fdi sm|sscsanontologica| facil|tv wh|ch | ssvmmctr|cal .
| n a ccrta|n scnsc. to thc fac|l|tv of cxpcr|mcntat| on. !fthcl att crpr|dcs
|tsc|fonproduc|ngancmptv spacc. thcformcr÷| mputcdto Mc||ssos and
Parmcn|dcs÷contcntsi tscllwithrc] cct|ng thcvo|daspurc nonbc|ng TO
0
" K€VOV 0' T(VV OVTWV, thc vo|d docs not makc up onc of thc numbcr of
bc|ngs. |t is forcc| oscd from prcscntat|on. 1his argumcnt docs not su|t
Ar|stotlc. for h|m÷quitc r|ghtlv÷nrst onc must thinkthc corrcl at|on ol
thcvo|dand phvs| cal ' prcscntation. orthcrcl at| onbctwccnthcvo|dand
movcmcnt. 1hcvo| d | n |tsc| f' i sl|tcral | vunthi nkab| candthus|rrcfutabl c.
!nasmuchas thc qucsti on01 thcvo|dbc' ongst ot hcthcorv ofnaturc. i ti s
ont hcbas|sof|tssupposcdd|spos|t|onw|thinsclf mov|ngt hat t hccr|t|quc
must commcncc !n mv | anguagc thc void must be exami ncd /n
s/tuct/on.
1hc Ar|stotcl |anconccptofa natura| situati on|splacc. Placcl tsclfdocs
notcxist. | ti swhatcnvclopsanvcx|stcnti nsofarasthcl attcr|sass|gncdto
a natural s|tc 1hcvoid |nsi tuat|on wou| dthusbca p| acc| nwh|chthcrc
wasnoth|ng. The i mmcd| atecorrclation |s not that ofthcvoid and noo-
bc|ng. |t israthcrthatofthc vo|d and thc noth|ngv|athcmcd|ation÷non
bc|ng. howcvcrnatural÷ofp| acc. But thcnat ural ncss ofpl acc| s thatof
bc|ngthcsitctowardswh|chthcbodv( thcbci ngi whoscplacc| t|s. movcs .
ARI STOTLE
Fvcrvp|accist hat ol abodv.andwhat tcst|ncstoth|s| st hat | foncrcmovcs
a bodvlrom |tsplacc. i ttcndstorcturn tothatplacc. 1hc qucst|on ofthc
cx|stcncc ofthcvo|dthus comcsdowntothatof|tsfunct|on|nrcspcctto
sclf moving. thc po| ar|tv ofwh|ch | spl acc.
1hc a|m ofAristotl cs ñrstma] ordcmonstration | stocstabl |shthat thc
vol dcxcl udcsmovcmcnt. andthat|tthuscxcludcsitscllfrombc|ng- qua
bc|nggraspcd| n|tsnatural prcscntation.1hcdcmonstrat|on. whi ch|svcrv
clfcct|vc. cmplovs. oncaftcrthcothcr. thcconccptsofdiffcrcncc. unl |ml t
cdncss( orinhn|tvi . andincommcnsurabilitv. 1hctc | sgtcatprofunditvin
positing thc void |n th|s manncr. as | n diffcrcncc. as | n nnitc. and as
un-mcasurcd 1h|stri pl cdctcrminat|on spcci ncs thc crrancvof thcvo|d.
|tssubtractivcontologicalfunctionand|tsinconsistcncvw|thrcgardtoanv
prcscntcd mul t|pl c.
a |nd/]]crcncc. Anvmovcmcnt graspcdi ni tsnatural bc| ngtcquircsthc
d|ffcrcntl atl onofplacc. thcplacc thats|tuatcsthcbodvwh| chmovcs. Yct
thc vo|d as such posscsscs no d|ffcrcncc (n yap K€VOV, OUK EX€< OL a<opav) .
L|ffcrcncc. |n fact. supposcs that thc d|ftcrcnt|atcd mult|p|cs÷tcrmcd
bod|cs bv Atistotlc÷arc countcd asonc accord|ngto thc naturalncss of
thc|rloca| dcst|nation. Yctthcvoid. whichnamcsincons|stcncv. i s pr|or
tothccount asonc. !tcannotsupport d|ffctcncc (c. Mcd|tation ¯ onthc
mathcmat|cs of this po|nt i . and conscqucntl v lorb|ds movcmcnt. 1hc
d|lcmma l s thc fo|low|ng F| thcr thcrc is no natura| transport ( <opa)
anvwhcrc. foranvbcing. or. |fthcrc|ssuchtransport. thcnthcvo|dlsnot .
ßut thc cxclus|on of movcmcnt l sabsurd. for movcmcnt | s prcscntatl on
| tscl fas t hc natura| com|ng forth ofbc| ng. And | t woul dbc÷and th|s | s
Ar|stot| c s cxprcss|on |tsclf÷r| d| cul ous (€'oiov) to dcmandproof of thc
cx|stcncc of prcscntation. sincc al l cx|stcncc |s assurcd on thc basi s of
prcscntat|on. Furthcrmorc !t |s cv|dcntthat. amongst bcl ngs. thctc| s a
pl ural|tv of |cings arising from natutc. !f thc vo|d thus cxcl udcs d|ffcr
cncc. l t | s rld|cul ous to cnsurc lts bclng asnaturalbcl ng.
/ |n]n//c iorAr|stotlcthcrcl san|n/r/ns/cconncct|onbctwccnthcvo|d
and|n|l n| tv. andwc shal| scc ( in Mcd|tat| ons l 1 and l 4 forcxamp| ci that
hc| scnt|rc|vcorrcctonthlspo| nt thcvo|d| sthcpo|ntofbc|ngof|nñn|tv
Ar|stotlcmakcs this po|nt accotdingtothc subtract|vc ofbc|ng. bvpos|ng
that| n d| ffcrcncc|scommontothcvo|dand|nñn|tvasspcc|csofboththc
noth|ng andnonbc|ng Eowcoul dthcrcbc natural movcmcntlf. ducto
thc vo|d andi nñnltv. nodl ffcrcncc cxlstcd' . . Iorthcrc ls nodl ffcrcncc
on thc bas| s of thc nothing (TOU 10€vo, , no morc than on thc
73
74
BEI NG AND EVENT
bas i sol non be|ng (TOU jT OVTO,i . ¥ett hcvo| dseemstobea non be|ngand
a privati on (aTEPYot, ) . '
Eowever. what| si nnni tv. or moreexact |v. t he unl|mi ted' Fora Greek.
|t| sthenegat|onolpresentat| on| tse| l. becausewhatpresents| tse| lalnrms
|tsbe|ngw| t h| nthestr|ctd|spos|tionoli ts| | m| t (7Epa,) . 1osavthatthevo|d
i s|ntr|nsica| | v|nnni te i s equiva|ent to saving that |t i s out s| de si tuat|ons.
unpresentab| e. As such. t he void |s | n excess ol be|ng as a th|nkable
d|sposi t|on. andespeci a| | vas nat ura| d| spos| tion. ! t i ssucH | n three man
ners .
- First. suppos|ng t hat there i s movement. and thus natura| presenta
ti on. | nt hevo|d. oraccord| ng1 0 thevo| d onewoul dthenhavet oconceive
that bodies are necessari | v transported t o i nnni tv (Ei, Q7EtpOV dVUYKY
<EpeaBat ) , si nce no d| llerence wou| d di ctate t hei r cominc to a ha| t . 1he
phvs| ca| exacti tude ol t h| s remark ( |n tHe moder sense i | s an ontologi
ca|÷thus phvsica|÷| mpossi bi | |tv |n |ts Ar|stote| |an sense !t i nd|cates
so|e|v that the hvpothes|s ol a natura| bei ng ol the vo| d | mmed|ate|v
exceedsthe | nherent | | m| t ola nvellectivepresentat|on.
- Second. giventhatthe|nd| llerenceolthevoi dcannotdeterm|neanv
natural d| rect | onlormovement. the| atterwou| dbe exp| osi ve . whi chi sto
sav mu| t| di rect|ona| . t ransport wou| d take p| ace evervwhere (7oVTYi .
Eere aga| n t he vo|d exceeds the a|wavs or/cn(a(cd character o l natura|
d| sposit|on. !t ru|ns t hetopo| ogvol si t uat | ons
÷F|na|| v. | l wesupposethat| t | sa bodvs /n(crna/vo|dwh| ch| | ghtensi t
and| i l t s| t up. | | . there|ore. t hevo|d i st he cause ol movement. | t wou| d
a| sohavetobethe| at |er scoa| t hevo| dtransport|ng|tse| l. owards| tsown
natural p|ace. which one wou| d suppose t o be. lor examp| e. upwards.
1herewou| dt husbea redup| | cat|onolthevoi d. anexcessolthevoi dover
itse|l therebv enta|||nc | ts own mob| | | tv towards i t sel l. or what Ar|stot| e
ca| | s a voi d ol the vo| d \EVOU KEVOV
)
. Yet the |nd|llerence ol t he vo|d
proh|bits |t lrom di llerent| ati ng |tse|l lrom itse|l÷wh|ch |s i n lact an
onto| oc| ca| t heorem ( d. Med| tat| on ¯ i ÷and consequent | v lrom pre
supoosinc i tse| las the dest| nation ol i tsnat ura| bei ng.
1o mvm|nd. theensemb|eo| theseremarks| sent|telvcoherent . !t| sthe
case÷andpo| | t|cs| npart| cu| arshowst h| s÷thatt hevo|d. oncenamed | n
s|tuat | on . exceedsthes|tua| |on accord|ngtoitsown|nnn|tv. | t| s a| sothe
case that i ts event a| occurrence proceeds exp| osi ve| v . or evervwhere .
w|t h| n a s| tuat|on. nna| | v. it |s exact t hat t he vo| d pursues i ts own
part| cul ar t ra]ectorv÷once unbound lrom the errancv | n wh| ch |t |s
con|| ned|vthestat e Lv|dent| v.wemustt here|oreconc| udewi thAr|stot|e
ARI STOTLE
that t he vold /s no/. |f bv bel ng we understand the l|mlted order of
presentat|on. and|n partlcul arwhat l snatutal ofsuch order.
c. |nmcasurc. Fverv movement | s measurable | n relat|on to another
accord|ngtoltsspeed. Or. asArlstotlesavs. therelsalwavsaproport|on. a
rat|o ('"yos) between onemovement and another. | nasmuch as thev are
w|thln t|me. and al l tlme ls nnlte. 1he natural characterofa sl tuat|on ls
also |tsproport|onateornumerable character| nthebroadersense of the
term. 1hls| s actuallv what! wlll establ|shbvllnklngnat ural s|t uat|onsto
the concept of ordlnal multlpl|cltv ( Medltat|ons I I and 1 2 ) . 1here |s a
reclprocltvbetweennature ( 'aL s) andproport|on. or reason (,"yos) . One
el ement wh|ch contr|butes to thls rec|procltv as a power ol obstruct|on
÷and thus ol a llm|t÷ls the res|stance of the m|l|eu ln wh| ch there l s
movement . !fonea| l owsthatth|sres|stancecanbezero. wh| ch| sthecase
|f the m|l|eu ls vo| d. movement wlll l ose al l measure. |t w|l l become
lncomparablet oanvothermovement. |tw||ltendtowatds|nhnltespeed.
Arlstotle savs 1hevol dbears no rat|o to theful l . such thatne|therdoes
movement ¸ | nthevo|d| . Eereaga| ntheconceptual medlat|onl saccom
p|lshedsubtract|velv. wh|chl stosavbvmeansofthenoth|ng 1herel sno
ratlo l n whlch the vol d |s exceeded bv bod|es. ] ust as there l s no ratlo
between the noth|ng (TO J1OEV) and number. 1he vo|d | s | n numerab| e.
hencethemovementwh|ch| ssupposedthete|ndoesnothavea thlnkabl e
nature. possesslngnoreasononthebas|sofwh|ch|tscomparlsontoother
movementscoul dbe ensured.
Phvs|cs ( l n the modern sensei must not l ead us astrav here. What
Ar|stotlelslnvlt|ngustoth| nklst hefol l owlng. evervreferencetothevold
produces anexcessover the count as one. an|rruptlon of |ncons|stencv.
wh|chpropagates÷metaphvs|callv÷w|thlnthe s|tuat|on at lnnnltespeed
1hevo|d|sthus|ncompat|blew| ththeslow¬rder| nwh|chevervsltuat|on
re ensures. l nthe|rpl ace. the mul t|plesthat |t presents
!t ls thl s tr|pl e negat|ve determ|nat|on ( | n d|fference. | n nn| te. un
measuredi whlchthus leads Ar|stotle to reluseanv na(ura/be|ng |orthe
vold. Coul d| t . however.havea nonnc/ura/be|ng'1hreeformul asmustbe
|nterrogated here. where| n res| dest heposs|ble en|gma of an unpresent
able. presubstant|al vo|dwhose belng. unborn and non arr|v|ng. woul d
howeverbet helatent|l l um|nat|on olwhat| s. |nsofaras| t l s.
1he ñrst of these formul as÷attr|buted | n trut h bv Ar|stotle to those
part|sans ofthevo| d thathe sets out t orefute÷dec| ares that the same
be| ng( uan/i perta|nstoavo| d. 10 fullness. andtopl ace. butthesamebe|ng
( uan/i does not belong to them when thev are consldered from the
75
76
BEI NG AND EVENT
standpo|nt of bc|ng ( e|rci . !f onc allows that placc can bc thought as
s|tuat|on|ngcncralwh|ch|stosavnotasancx|stcncc ( amul t|plci . but as
thc s| tc of cx|st|ng such that |t c|rcumscrlbcs cvcrv cx|st|ng tcrm. thcn
Ar|stotlc' s statcmcnt dcs|gnatcs |dcnt|tv to thc s|tuat|on ofboth fullncss
( thatofancffcct|vcmult|p|ci . andofthcvol d ( thcnonprcscntcdi . Buti t
al so dcslgnatcs thc|r non |dcnt|tv oncc thcsc thrcc namcs÷thc vo|d.
fullncss. andplacc÷arc ass|gncdtothc|rdl ffcrcnccaccor4/nµ10 /c/nµ. ! t | s
thus | mag| nab| c that a s|tuat|on. concc|vcd as a structurcd mult|pl|citv.
s|multancouslvbrlngs about cons|stcntmu| t|pl|c|tv . fullncs s i . lncons|stcnt
mult|pllc|tv (thc vo|di . and |tsclf ( placci . accord|ng to an |mmcdiatc
|dcnt|tvwh|ch| sthatofbc| ng- | n total|tv. thccomp|ctcdoma|nofcxpcr|-
cncc. But. on thc othcr hand. what can bc sa|d v|a thcsc thrcc tcrms of
bc|ngqua bc|ng |s not |dcnt|cal. s|ncc on thc s|dc ofpl acc wc havc thc
onc. thc|awofthccount. onthcs|dcoffu| | ncssthcmu| t|plcascountcd-
as- onc. and on thc s|dc ol thc vo| d. thc w|thout-onc. thc unprcscntcd.
Lct's not forgct that onc of Ar|stotlc's ma] or ax|oms | s bc|ng | s said | n
scvcralmanncrs . ' Undcrthcsccond|t|ons.thcvo|dwouldbcbc|ngasnon-
bc|ng÷ot unprcscntat|on÷fullncss. bc| ng as bc|ng÷cons|stcncv÷and
pl acc. bcl ngasthc non cxlstl ng- | im|tol|tsbclng÷bordcrofthc mult|plc
bvthc onc.
1hcsccondformula|sArlstotl csconccsslontothoscwhoarcabsolutclv
(1VTWS) conv|nccdofthcrolcofthcvo|dascauscoftransport . Ecallows
thatonc couldadm|tthcvo|d l s thcmattcrofthc hcavvand thcl |ghtas
such' . 1o conccdc thatthcvo| dcoul dbc a ncmcformattcr l n |tsclf is to
attr|butc an cnlgmat|c cxl stcncc to |t. that of thc th|rd prl nc|plc' . thc
sub] cct - support (TO VTOK€LVOVi . whoscncccssl tv| scstabllshcdbvAr|stotlc
| nthcñrstbookofthc!hys/cs. 1hcbc|ngofthcvo|dwou|d sharcw|ththc
being of matter a sort of precari ousness, whi ch wou|d s uspcnd l tbctwccn
purc nonbc| ngandbcl ngcffcct|vcl vbc|ng. whl chlor Ar| stotl ccan onlv
bc a spccl ñablc tcrm. a somcth|ng (TO ToD€ Tt ) . Lct' s sav that fa|||ng
prcscntat| onl nthccons| stcncvofa mult|plc. thcvo|dl sthc| atcntcrrancv
of thc belng of prcscntatl on. Ar|stotlc cxpll cl tlv attr|butcs thl s crrancv of
bc|ng÷on thc undcrs|dc andat thc l|m| t ol |ts prcscntcd cons|stcncv÷to
mattcr wbcn hc savs that matter | s ccrta|n| v a nonbclng. but solclv bv
acc|dcnt �aTa aU/{€G
T
KOS ) , and cspcci al | v÷| nastr| kl ngformu| a÷thatlt l s
| nsomc manncr a quas| substancc' ( E
Y
US Kat ouaLav Tws) . 1o adm|t that
thcvo|d can bcanothcrnamcformattcr|stoconfctuponl t thcstatusof
an almost -bcl ng.
ARI STOTLE
1hel ast lormul a evokes a poss|bil|tv that Aristotle re] ects. and th|s | s
wherewepartlromhi m thatthcvoid. once| ti sunl ocal i zabl e( or outsi de
situat|on i . must bc thought as a pute po/n/. We know that thi s is the
genui ncontologicalsolutionbecause (d. Med|tati on5 ) theemptvset. such
thatitexistssolelvbv|tsname. Ø. can howeverbe qual i nedas un| que. and
thuscannotbe represented asspaceotextens| on. butratheraspunctual
itv. 1hc vo|d | s the unpresentable vo/n/ o] /c/n« ol anv presentation
Aristotlc nrm| vd|smi ssessucha hvpothesis ' :orov O' El � aTlYfT KEVOV' ,
absurd( outol pl acci t hat t hepo|ntbcvoid 1hereasonl orth| sdi sm|ssal
i sthatit| s unthinkablelothimtocompletelvseparatethequest|onolthe
voidlromthatolplace ! lthevo|disnot.i ti sbecauseonecannotthi nkan
emptvplace Asheexplai ns. |lonesupposedthe punctualitv olthevoid.
th|spointwoul dhaveto bea p|acei nwhichthercwasthe extens| onola
tangiblebodv 1he | n extensionola point does not make anv placelor a
voi d !t is prec|selvherethat Ar| stotl es acute thoughtencounters itsown
po|ntolimpossibi l i tv. that it |s necessarv tothink. underthe nameolthe
void. the outsi depl ace on thc basis ol which anv pl ace÷anv situa
t|on÷mai ntai ns |tscll with respect to i ts being 1hat the without pl ace
( a1orov) si gn| nestheabsurdcausesonetolorgetthatthepoint. preci sel vi n
not being a place. can mitigatethe aporiasol t hevoi d
!ti sbecauset hevoid| st hepoi ntolbeingthati t i s al s ot heal most-being
whichhauntsthe si tuati on i nwhichbeing consi st s. 1he insistence olthe
voidi n cons| sts asde locali zati on
77
PAk1 I I
Bei ng: Excess,
State of the si tuati on,
One/Mu l t i pl e, Whol e/Pa rts,
or E /e?
MEDITATI ON SEVEN
The Poi nt of Excess
l . BFLONClNC ANL ! NCLUSl ON
!n manyrcspectssctthcorv forms a tvpc olfoundational interruption of
thclabvrinthincdi sputcsovcrthcmultiplc. Forccnturies. phi | osophyhas
cmpl oyedtwo di alectical coupl es i n its thought ol prcscntcd-bcing. and
thci rcon] uncti onproducedal l sortso|abvsscs. the couplcsbci ngthconc
and the multiplc and thc part and thc whol c. !t woul d not bc an
cxaggcration to saythatthccntircty of spcculativc ontologvi stakcnup
wi thcxam|nations of thc connections anddisconncctionsbctwccnUnitv
and1otalitv. !thasbccnsofromthcvervbccinningsofmctaphvsics. sincc
iti spossiblctoshowthatllatoesscntiallvhasthcOncprcvailovcrthcAll
whilstAristot|cmadc thcoppositcchoicc.
Sctthcorv shcds light on thc fccundfronticrbctwccn thc wholc/parts
relation andthconc/ multiplcrelation. bccausc. atbasc. i tsupprcsscsboth
of thcm. 1he multiplc÷whose conccpt it thinks without dcnni ng its
signihcation÷fora post Cantorian|s ncithcrsupportcdbvthccxistcnccof
thc one nor unfol dcd as an organi c total i tv. 1he mu| t| pl c consi sts from
beingwithoutonc. ormultiplcofmultiplcs. andthccatcgoricsofAristot|c
( orKant ì . Unitvand1otalitv. cannot hclp usgrasp it.
Ncvcrthclcss. sct thcorv distlnguishcs two possiblc rclations bctwccn
multip| es. 1hcrc i s thc origi narv rclation. /c/onµ/nµ. writtcn E , which
indicates that a multiplc i s countcd as clemcnt i n the prcsentation of
another mu| tip| e. But thcre i s a| so thc rel ati on of /nc/us/on. wri tten c,
which indicatcs that a multiplc i sa sub multiplc ofanothcrmul ti pl c. wc
81
82
BEI NG AND EVENT
madereferencet othis relation ( Medi tation 5) i nregardt othepower-set
axi om 1orecap. thewriti ng8 c a, whlchreads8 i si ncl udedi na, or8 i s
a subsetofa, si gni ñesthatevervmul tiplewh| ch belongstoß al sobelongs
to a: (
v
,i ' ( e ßi � ,y e al
l
0necannotunderesti mate the conceptual i mportanceofthedi stinction
betweenbelongingandi nclusi on. 1hi sdistinction directs. stepbvstep. the
entire thought of quantitv and nnallv what ! wil| term later the great
orientati ons of thought. prescribed bv bei ng i tsel f. 1he meani ng of thi s
d|stinction must thusbei mmediatelvclari ñed.
First ol al l . note that a multlple i snot thought d|fferentlv accordingt o
whetherit supportsoneort heotheroltheserelati ons. ! f! sav 8belongs
to a
'
, themu| tiplea is exactlv thesame. a multipleofmul ti ples. aswhen
! sav ' y i s i ncl uded in a. ' !t i s entirelv | rrelevant to believe that a i s ñrst
thoughtas0ne (orsetolelementsi . andthenthoughtasWhole ( orsetof
parts i . Svmmetri callv. norcan the set whichbelongs. orthe set whi ch is
i ncl uded. be qual i tativelv di sti ngui shed on the basis of their relationa|
position. 0f course. ! will savif8belongs toa it i sanelement ofa, andif
yi sincl udedi na i t i sasubsetola. Butthesedetermi nations÷elementand
subset÷do not allow one to think anvthing | ntri nsi c. ! n everv case. the
el ementßandthesubsety arepuremulti ples. Whatvari esi sthe| rposition
alonewith regardtothemultiplea. !n onecase ( thecasee i . themultiple
fallsunderthecount as onewhi ch i s t he othermul ti pl e. !ntheothercase
, thecasec), evervelementpresentedbvtheñrstmulti ple| salsopresented
bv|hesecond. 8utbei ng- multiplerema|nscompletelvunallectedbvthese
d| sti nctions ofrelativeposi ti on.
1hepower-setaxi om al so helps toclari fvthe ontologi calneutrali tv of
the di stinctlon between be|onging and l nc| usl on. What does tb| s ax| om
stai e( d. Medl tati on5 ) 7 1hati l a seta exists ( | s presentedi thenthere al so
exi ststhe setolall i tssubsets. Whatth| saxiom÷the most radi ca| andi n
i ts ellects. themost enigmatic olaxi oms ( and ! wi l | comebacktot hi sat
lengthi÷afñrms. i sthatbetweene andc therei s atl eastthecorrel ati on
thatal l the multi ples/nc/udcdin asupposedlvexistinga /c/onµto a 8. that
i s. thevlorm a set. a multi ple counted as one.
(
Va
) ( 3ßi ' (
v
yi ' (y e
()
H ( C a
) l l
Givena, theset8whoseexlstencei s afñrmedhere. thesetofsubsetsof
a, willbewrlttenp
(
a) . 0ne can thus also write.
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
[ y
e p(ai ] H ( C a)
1hc d| alcct|c wh|ch | s knottcd togcthcr hcrc. that of bcl ong|ng and
|nclus|on. cxtcndsthcpowcr olthc count - as- onctowhat. |n a mult|plc.
can bc d|st|ngu|shcd | n terms of |ntcrnal mult|pl c-prcscntat|ons. that |s.
compos|t|onsofcounts a| rcadv poss|bl c/nthc|n|t|alprcscntati on. onthc
bas|s olthc samc mul t|pl|cit|csasthoscprcscntcd | nthc |n|t|almult|plc.
Aswcshal l scc latcr. |t|sofcapital|mportanccthat|ndo|ngsothcax|om
docs not |ntroducc a spcc| al opcrat|on. nor anv pr/m///vc rc| at|on othcr
thanthatofbclong| ng. !ndccd. aswchavcsccn. | ncl us| oncanbcdcnncd
onthcbasi sofbclong|ngal onc. Whcrcvcr!wri tcf C a. ! coulddcc|dcnot
to abbrcv|atc andwr|tc. ( '
y)
[
( e oi � (y
E ai ] . 1h|s amounts to sav|ng
that cvcn |f lor commod|tv s sakc we somet|mcs usc thc word part to
dcs|gnatc a subsct. thcrc| s no morc a conccpt of a whol c. and thus ofa
part. than thcrc |s a conccpt of thc onc. 1hcrc |s solclv thc rclat| on of
bclonging.
1hc sctp(ai ofal l thc subsctsofthcscta|sa mu//|p/ccsscn//a//xd/s//nc/]rom
a //sc/]1h|scruc|alpo|nt|nd|catcshowfalscit| stosomct|mcsth|nkofaas
form|nga oncout of i t s c| cmcnts ( bcl ong|ngi andsomctl mcsast hcwholc
of|tsparts( |ncl us|oni . 1hesctofmult|plcsthatbclongtoa|snoth|ngothcr
than a |tsclf. mult|pl c- prcscntat|on of mult|pl cs. 1hc sct of mult|plcs
|ncludcd |n a. or subscts of a. |s a ncw mul t|plc. p(ai . whosc cx|s-
tencc÷oncc that of a |s supposcd÷is solclv guaran|ccd bv a spcc|al
ontolog|cal!dca thcpowcr- sctax|om 1hcgapbctwccn a ( whi chcounts-
as- onc thc bclong|ngs. or clcmcntsi and pµi ( wh|ch counts - as onc thc
|nclus|ons. orsubscts i | s. aswcshaHsec. thcpo|nt| nwhi chthc|mpasscof
bc|ng rcs|dcs
F|na| l v. bclong|ngand|nclus|on. w|thrcgardtothcmul t|plc a. conccrn
twod|st|nctopcratorsofcount|ng.andnottwod|lfcrcntwavst oth|nkthc
bc|ngofthc mult|plc 1he structurc ofa |sa itscll. whi ch formsa onc out
of all thcmult|plcswhi ch bclong t |t 1hcsctof all thcs ubsetsofa, p(ai .
forms a onc outof al l the mult|plcs |ncl udcd| na, but thi ssccondcount.
dcsp|tcbc|ngrclatcdtoa, | sabsolutclvdi st|nctfroma |tsclf. ! t | sthcrcforc
a mctastructurc. anothcr count. wh|ch complctcs' thc nrst |n that |t
gathcrs togcthcr all thc sub- compos|t|ons o| |ntcrnal mult|pl cs. al l thc
|ncl usi ons . 1hc powcr-sct ax|om pos|ts that th|s sccond count. th|s
mctastructure. always exi sts i f the frst count, or presentative structurc.
cx|st s Mcd|tat|on 8 wil| addrcss thc ncccssitv of thi s rcdupl i cat| on or
83
84
BEI NG AND EVENT
rcquircmcnt÷countcringthcdangcrofthcvoid÷thatcvcrvcount- as- onc
bc doublcd bv a count of thc count. that cvcrv structurc cal l upon a
mctastructurc. As alwavs. thc mathcmatica| axiomsvstcm docsnotthink
this ncccssitv. rathcr. itdcc/dcs it.
Eowcvcr. thcrc i s an immcdiatc conscqucncc ofthis dccision. thcµap
bctwccn structurc and mctastructurc. bctwccn clcmcnt and subsct.
bctwccnbclongingandi nc|usion. isapcrmancntqucstionforthought. an
i ntcllcctual provocation ofbcing. l said that a and pµì wcrc distinct. !n
what mcasurc' With what cffccts' 1his point. apparcntlv tcchnical . will
lcadus a| lthcwavtothc Sub] cctandto truth. Whati ssurc. inanvcasc.
i sthatnomultiplcacancoinci dcwiththcsctofitssubscts. Bclongingand
inclusion. inthc ordcrofbeing cxistcnt. arc |rrcduciblv dis] unct . 1his. as
wcshal l scc. i sdcmons/ra/cabv mathcmaticalontologv.
2 . 1HF 1HFORFM 0F1HF POlN1 OF FXCFSS
1hcqucstionhcrci sthatofcstablishingthatgivcnaprcscntcdmultiplcthc
onc- multiplccomposcdfromitssubscts. whosccxistcnccisguarantccdbv
thcpowct-sct axiom. i scsscntiallv l argcr thanthcinitialmultipl c. 1hisi s
a crucial ontological thcorcm. which lcadstoa rcalimpassc. it is litcrallv
impossiblctoassigna mcasurc tothissupcri oritvinsizc. lnothcrwords.
thc passagc tothc sct of subsctsi sanopcration ina/so/a/c cxccssofthc
situation itsclf.
Wc must begin at thc beginning. and show that thc multiplc of thc
subscts ola sctncccssarilv contains at lcast onc multiplcwhich docsnot
bclongtothcinitialsct . Wcwill tcrm this/hc/hcorcm o]/hcpo/n/o]cx.css
1akc a supposcd cxistingmul tiplc a. Lcts considcr. amongst thc multi
plcsthata formsintoaonc÷all thc ßs suchthatßE a÷thoscwhichhavc
thcpropcrtvofnot being clcmcnts ofthcmsclvcs . that is. which donot
prcscntthcmsclvcs asmu| tiplcsi nthc oncprcscntation that thcv arc
!n short. wc hnd hcrc. again. thc basis of Russcll

s paradox ( H.
Mcditation 1 i . 1hcsc mu|t|plcs ß thcrcforc ñrst posscss thc propcrtv of
bel onging to a, ± E a) , and second the property of not bel onging to
thcmsc|vcs. - ( E ßì .
Lcts tcrm thc multipliciticswhichposscssthc propcrtvof not bclonging
to thcmsclvcs ( -( E ßì i erd/nan multipl | citics. and for rcasons madc
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
clcarl n Mcdltatlon l 7. thoscwhl chbcl ongto thcmsclvcs t E ßì cvcn/a/
multlplicltl cs.
1akc allthccl cmcntso|a whl charc ordlnarv. 1hc rcsu| tlsobvl ousl va
subsct ofa, thc ordlnarv' subsct. 1hls subsct ls a mul tlplc whlchwc can
cally. Aslmplcconvcntlon÷oncwhlchlwllluscoftcn÷lsthatofwrltlng.
| ß/ . . . j todcslgnatcthcmu| tlplcmadcupofal l thcß'swhlchhavcthls
orthatpropcrtv.1hus. forcxamplc. y, thcsctofallordlnarvclcmcntsofa,
canbcwrlttcn. y * | ß/ ßE a 8 - 1 E ßì j . Oncc wc supposc that a cxlsts.
y alsocxlsts. bvthcaxlomofscparatlon( c] Mcdltatlon> i . l scparatc' lna
a| l thc 8's whlchhavc thc propcrtv ofbclngordlnarv. ! thcrcbv obtalnan
cx/s//nµpart of a. Ict's tcrmt hl spart t hcord/namsu/sc/ofa.
Slncc y l s /nc/udcd l n a, ( C a) , y /c/onµs to thc sct of subscts of a,
( E pµi i .
But.o n thcothcrhand. y docsno/bclongtoa ltsclf. !fy dl dbc| onctoa,
thatls. l fwc hady E a, thcnoncoftwo thlngs woul dcomctopass. Flthcr
y lsordlnarv. -(E y), andi tthusbclongsto thcordlnarv subsctofa, thc
subsct whlch l s nothlng othcrthan y ltsclf. ln that casc. wc havc y E y,
whlch mcans y ls cvcnta|. But lf lt ls cvcntal such that y E y, bclng an
clcmcntoft hcordlnarvsubscty, lthastobcordlnarv.1hi scqul val cnccfor
y of ( E y), thc cvcnta| and - ( E y) , thc ordl narv. | s a formal
contradlctl on. !tob|lgcsustorc] cct thclnltlalhvpothcsl s. thus. y docsnot
bclongto a.
Conscqucntlv. thcrc ls a| ways÷whatcvcr a ls÷at lcast onc clcmcnt
( hcrc y) ofpoì whlch ls not ancl cmcnt ofa. 1h| s l sto sav. no mu///p/c /s
ccpa//c o]]orm/nµaonc o×/o]cvcm/h/nµ // /nc/udcs. 1hc statcmcnt lf ß ls
/nc/udc4l na, thcnß/c/onµstoa' lsfalscfora| | a. lnclusloni s lnlrrcmcdlablc
cxccss ofbclonglnc. ! npartlcular. thc lncl udcd subsct madc up ofall thc
ordlnarv clcmcntso|a sctcons|ltutcsa dchnltlvcpolntofcxccssovcrthc
sct l nqucstlon. !tncvcrbcloncs to thc lattcr.
1hc lmmancnt rcsourccs of a prcscntcd mu| tlplc÷lf th|s conccpt ls
cxtcndcd to lts subscts÷thus surpass thc capacltv of thc count whosc
rcsul t onc l s i tsclf. 1o numbcrthls rcsourcc anothcr powcr o| countlng.
onc di lfcrcnt from ltsclf wi l l bc ncccssarv 1hc cxlstcncc of thl s othcr
count.thlsothcronc multlplc÷towhlchthlstlmcthcmultlplcslncludcd
ln thc hrstmultlplcwi l l |olcratc bclonglng÷ls prcclsclvwhat lsstatcdln
thcpowcr sct axlom.
Oncc thls axloml s admlttcd. onc| s rcau/rcd to thl nk t hccap bctwccn
slmplcprcscntatlonandthlsspcclcsofrc prcscntatlonwhlch| sthccount
asoncofsubscts.
85
86
BEI NG AND EVENT
3 . 1EFVO! LAL1ELLXCLS S
Whati s the retroactiveellectol theradical distinctionbetweenbel onging
and inclusion upon the proper name ol being that i s thc mark Ø olthe
emptvset'1hi si sa typi cal ontological questlon. establ l shtheellectupon
a pointolbelng ( andtheonlvoncwehaveaval l abl ci sØï ola conceptual
di stinctioni ntroducedbvan!dea ( an axi omi
0ne might expect there tob e no ellcct sl nce thevold does notprcsent
anvthi ng !t seems logical to suppose that the void does not l nclude
anvthingei ther. nothavi nganvelements.howcoul di thaveasubset'1hi s
supposi tl oni swrong. 1hevoi dmaintalnswi ththeconceptoli ncl usi ontwo
relationsthat are essenti al l vnewwith respect tothcnul litvoll tsrelati on
withbelongi ng
- thevoid ls a subset olanvsct. i ti s unl vcrsallv i ncl uded.
- thevol dposscssesa subset. whl chi stHc vo| d l tsell.
Let s examl nc these two properti es. 1hl s exami nati on | s al so an onto
log|calexerclse. whi chli nksa thesi s( t hcvoldaspropernameolbei ngi t o
a cruci a| conceptual disti nctlon ( bel ong|ngandl nc| usl oni
1henrstpropertvtesti|l estothcomnipresencco l thevo|d. !trcveal sthc
errancvolthevoidi nal l prcsentation. thevold. t whl chnothingbelongs.
l sbv thl sverv lact i ncludedi ncvcrvthi ng
0ne can i ntultlvelv grasp the ontological pertl ncnce ol thi s theorcm.
wh| chstates 1Hevoldsetlsa subsetol anv set supposedexi stent´Forll
thevoid is the unpresentab| epolntolbcing. whoseunl citvoli nexi stence
i smarkedbv tHe exl stentpropername Ø. thcn no multlple. bvmeans ol
i ts cxistence. can prevent this i nexistent lrom placing itsell within it On
thebasi soleve|vth| ogwhlcH | snotpresentab| e|t | sl nlerrcd tHatthevoid
i spresentcdcvervwhcrel nitslack. not. however. astheone-ol-i ts uni ci tv.
as | mmedi ate mu| tl ple counted bv thc onc multlple. but as /nc/us|on.
becausesubsetsare thevervplacei nwhicha mul tl pl eolnothing cancrr.
] ust as thc not hlng ltsellerrs withintheall .
!n the deducti ve prescntation ol t hi s lundamental ontolog|cal
theorem÷in what wc wl l l term the regime ol ndelltv ol the ontolog|cal
situati on÷lt is remarkablethat it appear as a consequencc. or ratheras a
parti cu| arcase. of t he' oglca|prl nc|ple cx]a/soscau//urauod|/bc/ 1hisis not
surprising i l wc remcmber that the axi om ol the emptv set states. i n
substance. thattherecxi stsa negation ( there cxi st sa setlorwhi ch tonot
belongtol t' | sa uni versalattri butc. anattri butcolevervmultlplci Onthe
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
basi sol th| strucncgativc statcmcnt. i l| t | sdcni cdi nturn÷il | t is la|sc|v
supposcd that a multiplc bc| ongs to thc void÷onc ncccssari|v i nlcts
anvthing. and i n patticu|ar. that this mu| t| p| c supposcd| v capab| c ol
bc|ongingtothc void. isccrta| u| vcapab| colbc|ongingtoanvothcrsct. ! n
othcrwords. t hcabsurd chimcra÷oti dcawithoutbcing÷olan c| cmcnt
olthc voi d | mplics thatth| s c|cmcnt÷radica| | vnon prcscntcd olcoursc
÷wou| d. i l| twcrcprcscntcd. |canclcmcntolanv sctwhatsocvcr. Ecncc
thc statcmcnt !l thc void ptcscnts a mu | t| p| c a, thcn anv mu| | | p| c �
whatsocvcr a| soptcscnts that a. ' Onc can a| so sav that a mu| t| p| cwhich
wouldbc| onctothcvoidwou| dbcthatu| tta- nothing. thatultravo| dwith
tcgardto which no cxi stencc mu|tip|c cou|d opposc itbcinc ptcscntcdbv
itscll. 3incc cvcrvbc| ongingwhichissupposcd lorthcvoidiscxtcndcdto
cvctv mu| t| p| c. wc do not nccd anvthing morc to concl udc thc void is
|ndccd | nc| udcdi ncvctvth| ng
1hi sargumcnt mavbclorma||vprcscntcd | nthclo|lowingmanucr.
1akc thc |og|ca| tauto| ogv -A - ( A - B) whi ch is thc princ| p| c
mcntioncdabovci nLatin ilastatcmcntA isla|sc ( | l ! havcnon Ai andil
!alnrmthc| attcr( il!pos|tAi . thcnitlo|lowsthatanvthing( anvstatcmcnt
B whatsocvcti is ttuc.
Lct scons| dctt helo| | owi ngvariation | orpart| cul atcasci o|t hi s|auto|
ogv -(a E 0) - [ ( E 0) - (a E ,) ) in wh| ch a and , arc anv mu|tiplcs
whatsocvcrsupposcd givcn. 1h| s vatiation | s itscll a logica| tauto| ogv !ts
antcccdcnt. -(a E Øï. i s axiomat| ca|| v ttuc. bccausc no a can bc| ong to
thc cmptv sct. 1hcrclorc its conscqucnt. ' (o E Øì - (a E ,) ) , | s cqual | v
ttuc Sincc a and , atc indcicrminatc lrcc vati abl cs. ! can makc mv
lormula un|vcrsa| ( Va) ( V,) 1 ( E 0) - (a E ,) J . But what i s ( Va) ( V,)
[ (a E 0) - (a E ,) ) | l| tisnot t hcvcrvdcnn| t| onolthctc|at| onol| nc| usion
bctwccn 0 and,, thc tc|ation0 c ,?
Conscqucnt|v. mv lormu| a amounts to thc lol|owing ( V,) [ 0 c ,) ,
which rcads. as prcdictcd ol anv supposcd gi ven mu|tiplc ,, 0 |s a
subsct .
1hc vo| d |s thusc|carlv| n a pos| tion olun| vcrsa| inc| us| on
!t i s on th. s vcrv basi sthat . t | s inlcrtcd that thc vo| d. whi ch has no
clcmcnt. docs howcvcrhavca subsct
I thclormu| a ( V,) [ 0 c ,) , whichmarks thc univcrsalinclusi onolthc
void. thc un| vctsa| quantinct | ndicatcs that. w| thout tcstricti on. cvcrv
existent mu| t| p| cadmi ts thc vo| d as subsct. 1hcsct0 itsc| lis an exi stent­
multipl e. t he multi pl e- of-nothi ng. Consequentl y, 0 i s a subset ol | tscl l.
0 c 0.
87
88
BEI NG AND EVENT
At nrst glancc t h| s formula | s complctclv cn|gmat|c. 1h|s | s bccausc
|ntu|t|vclv. andgu|dcdbvthcdcnc|cntvocabularv wh|chshodd||vd|stln-
gu|shcs. v|a thc vaguc |magc of bc|ng|ns|dc' . bctwccn bclong|ng and
|nclus|on. | t sccms asthoughwc havc. bvth|slnclus|on. nl l cd thcvo|d
w|thsomcth| ng. Butth|s| snotthccasc. 0nlvbe|ong|ng. E , thcun|qucand
suprcmc ldca of thc prcscntcd- mult|plc. ñlls prcscntat| on. Morcovcr. | t
would |ndccd bc absurd to |mag|nc that thc vo| d can bclong to |tsclf
÷wh|chwouldbcwrlttcnØ E Ø÷bccausc noth|ngbclongs to |t. But |n
rcal|tv thc statcmcnt Ø c Ø solclv announccs that cvcrvthlng wh|ch | s
prcscntcd. | ncl ud| ngthcpropcrnamcofthcunprcscntablc. formsa subsct
of|tsclf. thc max|mal subsct. 1h|srcdupl|cat|onof|dcnt|tvbv|nclus|on|s
nomorc scanda| ous whcn onc wr|tcs Ø c Ø than |t | s whcn oncwr|tcs
a C a ( wh|ch | struc | nall cascsì . 1hat th|s max|malsubsct ofthcvo|d|s
|tsclfvo|d| sthclcastofth|ngs .
Now. g|vcn that thc vo|d adm|ts at |cast onc subsct÷|tsclf÷thcrc | s
rcasontobcl|cvcthatthcpowcr-sctax|omcanbcappl|cdhcrc. thcrcmust
cx|st. s|ncc Ø cx|sts. thcsctof|tssubscts. p( Øì . Structurc ofthcnoth|ng.
thc namc of thc vo|d calls upon a mctastructurc wh|ch counts |ts
subscts.
1hcsctofsubscts ofthcvo| d| sthcscttowh| chcvcrvth|ng /nc/udc4| n
thc vo| d /c/onµs. But onlv thc vo| d | s |ncludcd |n thc vo|d. Ø C Ø.
1hcrcforc. p( Øì . sct of subscts ofthcvo| d. | sthatmult|plc to wh|ch thc
vo| d. andthcvo|dal onc. bclongs. M|nd' 1hcscttowh| chthcvo|dalonc
bc|ongscannotbcthcvo|d|tsclf. bccauscno/h/nµbclongstothcvo|d. not
cvcnthcvo|d|tsclf. ltwould alrcadvbccxccssivcforthcvo|dtohavcan
clcmcnt . 0nccoul dob] cct. butg|vcnthatth| sclcmcnt| svo| dthcrc| sno
problcm. No' 1h| scl cmcntwouldnotbcthcvo|dasthcnoth| ngthat|t| s.
asthcunprcscntabl c. lt wouldbcthcnamcofthcvo|d. thccx|stcntmark
of thc unprcscntabl c 1hc vo|d would no longcr bc vo|d | f |ts namc
bclongcdto| t. Ccrta|nlv. thcnamcofthcvo|dcanbc/nc/udcd|nthcvo|d.
wh|chamountstosav|ngthat.|nthcs|tuat|on. lt| scqualtothcvo|d. s|ncc
thc unprcscntablc |s solclvprcscntcdbv|tsnamc. Yct. cqua| to |ts namc.
thcvo|d cannotmakc a onc outof|tsnamcw|thout d| ffcrcnt|at|ng |tsclf
from |tscllandthusbccom|nga nonvo| d.
Conscqucntlv. thcsctofsubsctsofthcvo| disthcnon- cmptvsctwhosc
unl quc c| cmcnt |s thc namc of thc vold. !rom now on wc wlll wrltc
| ß. . ß.. . . ß. . . = j forthcsctwh|ch| scomposcdof( wh|chmakcsaoncout
ofìthcmarkcdsctsbctwccnthcbraccs. lntotal.thcclcmcntsofth|ssctarc
prcc|sclv ß. . ß.. ctc. S| ncc p( Øi has as |ts un|quc clcmcnt Ø. th|s
THE POINT OF EXCESS
c|vcs us. p( Øì * ¦ Øj . wh|ch cv|dcntlv |mpl|cs Ø E p( Øì .
Eowcvcr. | cts cxam|ncth|s ncw sct closclv. p( Øì . oursccondcx|stcnt
mult|plc| nthc gcncaloc|cal framcworkolthc sct- thcorvax|omat|c. lt| s
wr|ttcn ¦ Øj . andØ| s|tssol cclcmcnt. nnc. Butnrstofall. what| ss|cn|ñcd
bv thcvo|d bc|ncanclcmcntofa mult|plc'Wcundcrstoodthat Øwasa
subsct of anv supposcd cx|stcnt mu|t|plc. but clcmcnt ' Morcovcr. th|s
must mcan. |t bc|ng a mattcr of ¦ Øj . that Ø | s both subsct and clcmcnt.
|ncludcdandbclong|ng÷thatwchavcØ c ¦Øj andal soØ E ¦ Øj . Locsn' t
th|s |nfr|nccthc rulc accord|ng to wh|chbclong|ng and |nclus|on cannot
co|nc|dc'Sccondlv. andmorc scr|ouslv. th|smult|plc ¦Øj hasas|tsun|quc
clcmcnt thc namc- of-thcvo|d. Ø. Thcrcforc. wouldnt th|s bc. qu|tc
s|mplv. /hconcwhosc vcrvbc|ngwccla|mcd to call |nto qucst|on'
1hcrc| sas|mplcrcsponsctothcñrstqucst|on Thcvo|ddocsnothavc
anv clcmcnt. |t | s thus unprcscntablc. and wc arc conccrncd w|th |ts
propcr namc alonc. wh|ch prcscnts bc|nc | n |ts lack. !t | s not thc vo|d
wh|chbcl ongs to thc sct ¦ Øj . bccausc thc vo|d bcloncs to no prcscntcd
mult|plc. bc|ngthc bc|nc|tsclfofmult|pl c-prcscntat|on. Whatbclongsto
th|s sct | s thc propcr namc wh|ch const|tutcs thc suturc-to-bc|ng ofthc
ax|omat|c prcscntation of thc purc mult|plc. that | s. thc prcscntat|on ol
prcscntat|on
1hc sccond qucst|on |s not dangcrous c|thcr. 1hc non- co|nc|dcncc ol
|nclus|on and bclong|ng s|cn|ncs that thcrc |s ancxccss of|ncl us|onovcr
bclong|ng. that|t|s|mposs|blcthatcvcrvpartofa mu|t|plc bcloncsto |t
0nthcothcrhand. | t| s|nnowavrulcdoutthatcvcrvth|ngwh|chbclongs
to a mult|plc| salso|ncludcd|n| t. 1hc|mpl|cat|vc d|ssvmmctrvtravcls| n
oncd|rcct|onal onc. Thcstatcmcnt( Vaì ' µc ßi - µE 8ì [ | sccrta|nlvfalsc
foranvmul t|plcß ( thcorcmofthcpo|ntofcxccss ì . Eowcvcrthc |nvcrsc
statcmcnt. ( Vaì 'µ E ßi - (a C ßi ] . canbctruc. forccrta| nmult|plcs. lt| s
part|cularlvtrucforthcsct¦ Øj . bccausc| tsun|qucclcmcnt. Ø. | sal soonc
of |ts subscts. Ø bc|nc un|vcrsallv |ncludcd. 1hcrc is no paradox hcrc.
rathcra s|ngul arpropcrtv of ¦ Øj .
l now comc to thc th|rd qucst|on. wh|ch clar| ñcs thc probl cm of thc
0nc.
4. 0NF. COUN1- AS- ONF. UNlCl1YANL F0RMlNG- lN1O- ONF
1hcrcarclourmcan|ngsconccalcdbcncaththcs|nclcs|cnihcr onc .1hcir
d|ffcrcnt|at|on÷a task |n wh|ch mathcmat|cal ontologv provcs to bc a
89
90
BEI NG AND EVENT
powcrlultool÷scrvcst oclar|lva numbcrol spcculat|vc. and| npart|cular.
Hcgcl|an. apor| as
Ihc oncas such. as ! sa|d. |s not lt| s alwavs thc rcsul tol a count. thc
cllcct ola structurc. bccauscthcprescntat|vclorm|nwh| chal l acccssto
bc|ng | stobchad |s thcmult|plc. asmult|p| colmult|plcs . Assuch. |nsct
thcorv. what ! count as onc undcr thc namc ol a sct a, | s mult|plc
ol-mult|pl cs. !t |sthusncccssarvtodist|ncu|shthc coan/asenc. ors/ruc/arc.
wh|ch produccs thc onc as a nom| nal scal ol thc mult|plc. and /hc oncas
c]cc/. whoscnct|vcbc|ng|s ma|nta|ncdsolclvbv thc structuralrctroact|on
|n wh|ch |t | s cons|dcrcd. ! n thc casc ol thc nul l sct. thc count- as- onc
cons|stsi nnx|ngapropcrnamclorthcncgat|onolanvprcscntcdmul t|plc.
thus a propcr namc lor thc unprcscntabl c. 1hc nct|vc onc- cllcct occurs
whcn. v|a a shortcut whosc dangcr hasalrcadv bccn mcnt|oncd. ! al low
mvsclltosav thatØ| s thcvo| d' . thcrcbvass|gn|ngthcprcd| catcolthc onc
tothcsuturc-tobc|ngthat |sthc namc. and prcscnt|ngthc unprcscntablc
as sach. 1hc mathcmat|cal thcorv |tscll |s morc r|gorous |n |ts paradox
spcak|ng ol thc vo| d sct' . |t ma|nta|ns that th|s namc. whlch docs not
prcscnt anvth|nc. | s ncvcrthclcss that ol a mult|plc. oncc. as namc. | t |s
subm|ttcdto thc ax|omat|c!dcas olthc mult|plc.
As lor un/c/n. |t |s not a bc|ng. buta prcd|catcolthc mult|pl c !tbclongs
tothcrcg|mcolthcsamc anJthcothcr. suchas|tslaw| s|nst|tutcd bvanv
structurc. A mult|plc|sun|quc|nasmuchas|t|s othcrthananvothcr. 1hc
thcolog|ans. bcs|dcs. alrcadv kncw that thc thcs|s God |s Onc' | s qu|tc
dillcrcnt lrom thc thcs|s Cod |s un|quc ' ln Chr|st|an thcologv. |or
cxamplc. thctr|pl|c|tvolthcpcrsonolGod| s|ntcrnaltothcd|alcct|colthc
Onc. but|tncvcrallcc|sh|sun|c|tv ( mono- thc|smì . 1hus. thcnamc olthc
vo|d bc|ng un|quc. oncc |t |s rctroact|vclv gcncratcd as a- namc lor thc
mult|pl c-o|- noth|ng. docsnotslgnl|v|nanvmanncrthat thcvo|d| sonc '
!t solclv s|gn|ncs that. g|vcn that thc vo|d. unprcscntablc' . | s solclv
prcscntcdasa namc. thccx|stcnccol scvcral ' namcs wouldbc| ncompat
|blcw|ththc cxtcns|onalrcg|mc olthcsamc andthc othcr. andwould|n
lact constra|n us to prcsupposc thc bc|ng o| thc onc. cvcn || |t bc |n thc
modc ol onc-vo|ds. orpurcatoms
F|nallv. |t |s a|wavs poss|blc to count as onc an alrcadv countcd onc
multlplc. that |s. to appl vthccountto thc onc- rcsul t ol thc count. 1h|s
amounts, l n fact. to submlttlng to the law. ln t urn, the names that lt
produccs as sca| - ol-thc-onc lor thc prcscntcd mult| plc. !n othcr words.
anv namc. wh|ch marks that thc onc rcsults lrom an opcrat|on. can bc
takcn |n thc s|tuat|on as a mult|plc to bc countcd as onc. 1hc rcason |or
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
th| s| sthat thconc. such as i toccurs v|a thc cllcct olstructurc uponthc
mult|plc. and causcs | t to consist. | snottransccndcnt to prcscntation. As
soon as| trcsu|ts. thc onc i sprescntcd|nturn and takenas atcrm. thusas
a mult|pl c 1hc opcrat|on bv wh|ch thc law i ndcnni tclv subm| ts to |tscll
thconcwhich| tproduces. count|ngitasonc mult|plc. !tcrm]orm/aµ /n/c
onc Form| ng| nto-onc | s not rca//y d|st|nct lrom thc count - as onc. | t | s
rathcra moda|itvol thc l attcrwh|ch onccan usc to dcscribc thc count
as one app|ving itsc|f to a resu| tonc. !t |s c|car that lorm| ng | nto- one
conlcrsnomorc bci nguponthconcthandocsthccount. Bercagai n. the
bc|ngolthc onc | s a retroactivc nct|on. and what | s prcsentcd al wavs
rcma|ns a mult|ple. cvcn bci ta mu|t|plcof namcs.
! can thus considcrthatthc sct | Cj . wh| ch counts as- onc thc rcsul t ol
thc or|g|narv count÷the onc mult|plc whch is thc namc ol thc vo|d÷|s
thc lorm| ngi ntoonc ol this namc 1hcrc|n the onc acqu|rcs no |urthcr
bc|ngthanthatcon|crrcdupon| topcrat|onal|vbvbc|ngthcstructuralscal
ofthc mul t|p| c. Furthcrmorc. | Øj | sa mult|plc. a sct. lt so happcns that
whatbclongs to it. Ø. i sun|quc. that s al l . But uni c|tvi snot thc onc.
Notc that oncc thc ex| stcncc ol | Øjtbe lormi ng i nto-onc ol Ø÷|s
guarantecdvia t be power set ax| omappl| edtot heoameo|thc voi d. thcn
thcopcrati ooollormi ng|nto ooei suni lorm|vapp| |cab|ctoanv mult|plc
alrcadv supposcd cx|stent . !t | s herc that thc value ol thc axiom of
rcplaccmcntbccomcs cv|dcnt (c. Mcd|tat|on ¯ ì !n substancc th| s ax|om
statcsthat| la mu|tiplc ex| sts. thcnthcrcalsocx|ststhemu|tiplc obta|ncd
bv rcplacingcach olthc c|cments olthc nrst bvothcrcxi st|ng mult|plcs.
Conscqucnt|v. |l| n| Øj . wh|chcx| sts. ! rcp|acc' Øbvthcsupposcdcx|stcnt
sct 0, ! gct | o| . that is. thc sct whosc un| quc c| emcnt is o 1h| s sct cx|sts
bccausc thc ax|om ol rcplacemcnt guarantccs thc pcrmancncc ol thc
cx|stcntonc-mul tiplcloranvtermbv tcrmsubsti tuti onolwhatbc|ongsto
| t.
vethusf nd ourse| ves| nposscss| ono|ourll rst der| ved| aww| t H| nthe
lramcwork olaxi omat|csct thcorv. i lthc mu| ti p| c 0 exists ( i s prcscntcdì .
thcnt hcmu| ti p| c | oj i salsoprescnted. t owhi ch 0 a| oncbc| ongs. |nothcr
words.thcname onc'0' thatthemu|t|plcwh|ch| t | srccc|vcd. havi ngbccn
counted- as onc 1his| aw. 0 - | oj . | sthclormi ngi nto oncol thcmult|ple
0; thc|attcra| rcadvbci ngthconc- mult|plcwhichrcsultslroma count . Wc
willtcrmthemu| ti p| c| oj . rcsu| t oncol thelorming into- onc. thcs|nµ/c/on
ol o.
1hcsct | Cj is thussi mpl vthenrsts|ngleton.
91
92
BEING AND EVENT
1o concludc. lctsnotcthatbccauscformlng-| nto- onc| salawappl|cablc
toanvcx|st|ngmult|p|c. andthcs|nglcton ¦Øj cx|sts. thclattcrs form| ng-
| nto-onc. wh| ch|stosavthcform|ng- |nto-oncofthcformlng-| nto-oncof
Ø. al socx|sts. ¦ Øj � ¦ ' Øj j . 1h|sslnglctonofthcs|nglctonofthcvo|dhas.
l|kccvcrvs|nglcton. oncsolcclcmcnt. Howcvcr. th|sclcmcnt| snotØ. but
¦Øj. andthcsctwoscts. accord|ngtothcax|omofcxtcnslon. arcd|ffcrcnt .
lndccd. Ø|s anclcmcntof¦ Øj rathcrthanbcl ng an clcmcntofØ. Flna|lv.
lt appcarsthat ¦ Øj and ¦ ¦ Øj j arc a|sodlflcrcntthcmsclvcs.
1h|s | s whcrc thc unl|m|tcd product|on of ncw mult|plcs commcnccs.
cach drawn from thc vold bv thc comblncd cffcct of thc powcr-sct
ax|om÷bccauscthcnamcofthcvo|dl sapartofltsclf÷andform|ng-| nto
onc.
1hc ldcasthcrcbvauthorlzc that startlngfromoncs|mplcpropcrnamc
alonc÷that. subtract|vc. of bc|nc÷thc complcx propcr namcs d|ffcr-
cnt|atcthcmsclvcs. thankstowh|chonc|smarkcd out. thatonthcbas|sof
wh|chthcprcscntatlon ofan|nnn|tvofmult|plcsstructurcs|tsclf.
MEDI TATI ON EI GHT
The State, or Metastructure,
a nd the Typol ogy of Bei ng
( normal i ty, si ngul ari ty, excrescence)
Al l mult|plc prcscntati on|scxposcdtothcdangerolthevo|d. thevo|d| s
| tsbe| ng. 1hc consistencv olthc mult|plc amounts t the lollow|ng. thc
vo|d.which| sthcnamcol|ncons|stcncv|nthcsi tuati on( undcrthclawol
thccountas oncì . cannot. |nitscll. bcprcsentcdornxed. WhatHeldeggcr
namcs thc care o| bci ng. whlch | s thc ccstasv ol bc| ogs. coul d also bc
tcrmcdthcs|tuati ooal anxi ctvolthe vo|d. orthenccessi tvolward|ngotl
thc vo|d. 1hc apparcot so| |d|tv ol thc world ol prcscntati on | s mcrclv a
rcsultolthcaction olstructurc. cvcn|l no/h/nµ |s outsi dcsucha resul t . !t
isnccessarvtoproh| bi tthatcatastrophcolprcscntationwhi chwoul dbc|ts
encountcr w|th |ts own void. thc prcsentati ona| occurrcncc ol |ncon
s|stcncv assuch. orthc ru|n ol thc 0nc.
Fv|dentlvthe guarantec olcons|stencv ( thc thcre i s Oncncss' ì cannot
rclv on structurc or thc count- as onc alonc to c|rcumscr|bc andproh|bit
thccrrancvolthcvoid|rom]/nµi tsell.andbcinc. onthcbas| solth|sverv
lact. as prcscntat|on ol thc unprcscntablc. thc ru|n ol cvcrv donat|on ol
bei ng and the fgure subj acent to Chaos. The fundamental reason behi nd
th|s|nsulñc|encv | sthatsomc(h/nµ. w| th| nprcscntati oo. escapcsthccount.
th|ssometh|ng|sooth| ncothcrthanthccounti tsel l. 1hc thcrci sOncncss'
| sapurcoperat|ona|rcsu|t. wh|chtransparcntlvrcvcalsthcvervopcrat|on
lromwh|chthc rcsult resu|ts. !t|s thusposs|blc that. subtractcd lromthc
count. and bv conscqucncc a structurcd. thc structure itsc|lbc thc po|nt
whcre thc vo| d i s givcn !n ordcr lor the void to bc proh|b|tcd lrom
prcsentat|on. /( /s ncccsscm (hc( s(ruc/urc /c s(ruc(urcd. that the thcrc |s
Oncness bc val|d lor thc count as-one. 1hc cons|stcncv ol prcsentat|on
93
94
BEI NG AND EVENT
t husrcquircsthata| | structutcbcdcub/ed bvamctastructurcwhichsccurcs
thc lormcragainst anv nxation olthc void.
1hc thcs|s that a| | prcscntation i s structurcd twicc mav appcar to bc
comp|ctc|vapr/er/ But whatitamountst o. i nt hccnd. i ssomcthingthat
cach and cvcrvbodv obscrvcs. and which i s phi|osophica| | v astonishing
thc bcingolprcscntati on is inconsistcntmu|tip|icitv. but dcspitcthis. it i s
ncvcrchaoti c. A| | ! amsaving i st hi s iti sont hcbasi solChaosnot bcing
thclormolthcdonati onolbcingthatoncisob|| gcdtothinkthatthcrci s
arcdup|icationolthccountasonc. 1hcprohibitionolanvprcscntationol
thc voi d can on|v bc i mmcd| atc and constant | l this van| sh| ng poi nt ol
consistcnt mu| t| p| i ci tv÷which is prccisc| v its consi stcncv as opcrationa|
rcsu| t÷| s. i n turn, stoppcd up. or closcd. bv a countasonc ol thc
opctation itsc|l. a count olthc count. a mctastructurc
! wouldaddthat thc invcstigation olanv cllcctivcsituation | anvrcgion
olstructurcdprcscntationi . whcthcritbc natuta| orhi storica| rcvca| sthc
rca| opcrati on ol thc sccond count. 0n this point. concrctc ana|vsis
convcrgcswiththcphi|osoph| ca|thcmc a| | si tuati onsarcstructurcdtwicc.
1hisa| somcans thcrc is a|wavsbothprcscntati on and rcprcscntati on. 1o
thinkthispoint |s toth|nk thc rcqui sitcsol thc crrancv ol thc voi d. ol thc
non prcscntationol| nconsistcncv. andolthcdangcr thatbci ngqua bc|ng
rcprcscnts. haun//nµ prcscntation.
1hcanx|ctvolthcvoid. othcrwiscknownasthccarcolbc| ng. canthus
bc rccognizcd. in a| | prcscntation. i n thc lol|owi ng thc structurc ol thc
count i srcdup| icatcd in ordcrto vcrilvitsc|l. to vouch that its cllccts. lor
thc cntirc duration ol| ts cxcrcisc. arc comp|ctc. and to unccasing|vbring
thc onc i nto bcing within thc un cncountcrab|c dangcr olthc voi d. Anv
opctationolthccount as onc ( ol tcrmsi isi nsomc manncr doub|cdbva
count ol thc count. which guarantccs. at cvcrv momcnt. that thc gap
octwccn thc cous| st cnt mu| t| pl c ( sucb t hat |t rcsults. composcd ol oncs ï
and thc |nconsistcnt mul t| plc | which |s solclv tbc prcsupposition ol thc
vo|d. anddocsnotprcscntanvthi ngi i svcritablvnu| | . !t thus cnsurcsthat
thcrci snopossibi l | tv olthatdisastcrolprcscntationcvcroccurringwhich
wou|dbcthcprcscntati ona| occurtcncc. |n torsion. o|thcstructurc sown
void.
1hcstructurcolstructurcisrcsponsib|clorcstab| i sbi ng. |ndangcrolthc
vo| d tbat |t | s un| vcrsallv attcstcd that. |n tbe s| tuat | on. tbc onc |s. !ts
ncccssitvrcsidcscntirc|v i nthcpoint that. givcn that thc onc i snot. itis
on| vonthcbasisolitsopcrationa|charactcr. cxhi bi tcdbv|tsdoub|c. that
thc onc- cllcct can dcp|ov thc guarantccolits own veracitv. 1hisvcrac|tv
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
i s litcrallvt hcncti ona| i zingofthccountvi at hci magi narvbcingconfcttcd
uponi t bv i tundctgoi ng i nturn. thc opcration ola count .
Whatisi nduccdbvt hecrtancv oft hcvoidi st hat st ruct ure÷thcplace
of risk duc to its purc opcrat|onal transparcncv and duc to thc doubt
occasioncd. as lor thc one. bv i t having to opcratc upon thc multiple
÷must. i ntutn. be strict|v nxedwithin thc onc.
Anv otdi narv si | uat | on thus contains a structurc. both sccondarv and
suprcmc. bvmeansolwhi chthccount - asoncthatstructorcsthcsituation
isi nturncountcd as one. 1hccuatantccthatthconc|s i sthuscomplctcd
bv thc followi ng that ltom which its bci nc procccds÷t hc count÷|s. ! s
mcans i s onc' . gi venthatthclawofa structurcdprcscntati ondi ctatcsthc
tcciprocitvol bcinc and onc thcrcin. bvmcansofthcconsistcncvofthc
mul ti p| c.
Luc to a mctaphori ca| afnnitv with po| i ti cs that w| | | bc expl ai ncd i n
Mcditation 9, I wi | | hcrci naftcttcrmstatceJthcs/tuat/on thatbvmcans ol
whichthc structutc ola si tuati on÷ofanvsttucturcd prcscntationwhat
socvcr÷iscountcdasonc. wh. chi stosavthconcol thcone cffcctitsclf.
ot what Ecgc| ca||s thc Onc- Onc
Whatcxact|visthcoperationaldomainofthc statcola si tuati on¯!fthi s
mctasttuct utc di d oot hi ng otherthan countthc tcrms ol the si tuati oni t
woul dbci ndi sti ngui sha|| efromstructutcitsc|f. whosccntireto| ei ssuch.
Jn the othct hand. dc]n/nµ i t as thc count of thc count al onc i s not
sufncicntci thct. ottathct. i tmustbcaccotdcdthat the|attctcanso|clvbc
a nnal rcsult oft heopctationsolthc statc. A sttucture i s prcci sclv nota
term of thc si t ua| i on. and as such it cannot bc countcd. A sttucturc
exhausts itself in i ts cffcct. wh. ch is thatthcrc is oncness.
Mctastructurc thetcforc canuot si mplvrc-count thc t etmsofthcsi tua
ti on and te composc consistent mul tiplicitics. nor can i | havc purc
opcration as itsopcrati onal domain. thatis. itcannot haveforminga onc
outolthe one- el|ec| as . ts di tect tolc.
!fthc qucstionisapproachcdltomthc othctsi de÷t hat ol | hcconcctnof
thcvo| d. and the t skitteprescntslotsttuctutc÷wcca n sav t oelo||owinc.
thc void÷whosc spcctre must bc cxotciscd bv dec| ati ng that structutal
|ntcgritv |s intccra| . bv bcstowing upon sttuctutc. and thus thc onc. a
bcingof itsc|l÷asI mcntioncd. canbcncithcrloca|notg|obal . 1hctcis no
tiskofthcvoi d bcingatctm ( s|nccit is thc!dcaolwhatis subtractcdfrom
thccount i . noris i t possiblc fori ttobcthcwho|e ( si ncc it i sprccisclvthc
noth| ngolthi s wbo| ci !lthere i s a risk of the voi d, i t i s nci tbcra | oca| risk
( inthcscnseola tcrmi noti sita globa|tisk (in thcscnseofthcstructural
95
96
BEI NG AND EVENT
|ntcgral|tv ofthcs|tuat|onì . What| s thcrc. bcingnc| thcrlocal norglobal.
whichcoul ddcl|m|tthcdoma|nofopcrat|onforthcsccondandsuprcmc
count as onc. thccountthatdcñncsthcstatcofthcs|tuat|on'lntu| t|vclv.
oncwouldrcspondthatthcrc arc par/sofa situat|on. bc|ngnc|thcrpo|nts
northcwhol c.
Yct. conccptuallv spcak|ng. what | s a part ' ' 1hc ñrst count. thc
structurc. allows thc dcs|gnat|on w|th|n thc s|tuat|on of tcrms that arc
onc- mult|plcs. that |s. cons|stcnt mult|pl|c|tics . A part |s |ntu|t|vclv a
mu|t|plcwh|chwouldbc composcd. |nturn.ofsuchmult|pl|c|t| cs. A part
would gcncratc compos|t|ons out of thc vcrv mul t|pl|citi cs that thc
structurccomposcsundcrthc s|gn ofthc onc. A part i sa sub- mult|plc.
Butwcmustbc vcrvcarclulhcrc. c|thcrth|s ncw mul tiplc. wh|ch|sa
sub mult|plc. couldform a onc |n thc scnscofstructurc. andso |ntruth| t
wouldmcrcl vbc a tcrm. a composcdtcrm. grantcd. butthcnsoarcthcv
al l . 1hatth|stcrmbccomposcdofal rcadvcomposcdmult|plcs. andthatal l
ofth|sbcscalcdbvthc onc. |sthcord|narv cflcct ofstructurc. Or. onthc
othcrhand. th|s ncw mult|plcmavnotforma onc. conscqucntlv. | nthc
s|tuat|on. |twoul dpurcl vands| mp|vnotcxi st
In the i nterest of simpliying thought l et' s directly import sct theory
catcgor|cs ( Mcd|tation 7 i . Lct's sav that a consistcntmult|pl|c|tv. countcd
as onc. /c/onµs to a s|tuat|on. and that a sub- mult|plc. a compos|t|on of
cons|stcntmult|pl|c|t|cs.|s/nc/udcd| nasituat| on. Onlvwhatbclongstothc
s|tuat|on is prcscntcd !f what |s | ncludcd |s prcscntcd. it |s bccausc | t
bclongs. !nvcrsc|v. |fasub- mult|plcdocsnotbclongtothcs|tuat|on. | tcan
dcñn|tclvbc sa|dtobcabstractlv |ncludcd' inthc l attcr. |t| snot. infact.
prcscntcd.
Apparcntlv. c| thcra sub- mult|p|c. bccausc it |s countcd- as- onc | n thc
s|tuatlon. | son|vatcrm.andthcrclsnorcasontolntroduccancwconccpt.
or|t| snotcountcd. and|tdocsnotcx|st Aga|n. thcrc wouldbcnorcason
to introducc a ncwconccpt. savc if itwcrc poss|b|c thatwhati n cx|sts|n
th|s manncr | s thc vcrv p|acc of thc r|sk of thc vo| d. lf|ncl us| on can bc
d|st|ngu|shcd from bc|ong|ng. |s thcrc not somc part. somc non-un|ñcd
compos|t|on of cons|stcnt mul tipl|cit|cs. whosc|ncx|stcncc lcnds a latcnt
ñgurc to thc vo| d' 1hc purc crrancv ofthc vo|d | s onc th|ng. |t | s qu|tc
anothcrtorca|lzcthatthcvo|d. concclvcdasthc||mltofthc onc. cou|dln
fact takc placc' w|thln thc | ncx|stcncc of a compos|t|on ol cons|stcnt
mult|pl|ci t| cs upon wh|ch structurc has fa|lcd to confcr thc scal of thc
onc.
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
l nshort. | f| t| snc|thcra onc tcrm.nor thcwholc. thcvo|dwouldsccm
to havc|tsp|accamongstthc sub-mu|t|plcs or parts ' .
Howcvcr. thc probl cm w|th th|s idca i s that structurc could wcll bc
capablc of confcrring thc onc upon cvcrvth|ng found within | t that |s
composcdfromcompos|t| ons. 0urcnt|rcart|ñccisbascdonthcdi st|nct|on
bctwccnbclongingand|nclus|on. Butwhvnotposcthatanvcompos|t|on
of cons|stcnt multipl|c|t|cs | s. | n turn. consistcnt. wh|ch | s to sav grantcd
onc cx|stcncc|nthcs|tuat|on'Andthatbvconscqucncc|nclus|on|mpl|cs
bclonging'
For thc ñrst t|mc wc havc to cmplov hcrc an on/c/oµ/ca/ /hcorcm. as
dcmonstratcd | n Mcd|tat|on 7. thc thcorcm of thc po|nt of cxccss. 1h|s
thcorcmcstabl|shcs that w|thin thc tramcwork of thc purcthcorvofthc
multiplc. orsctthcorv. | t| sformallvimpossibl c. whatcvcrthcs|tuationbc.
for cvc¬/h/nµ wh|ch is inc| udcd ( cvcry subsctì to bclongto thc s|tuation
1hcrc is an irrcmcd|abl ccxccss ofsub- mult|plcsovcrtcrms. Appl|cd to a
s|tuat|on÷inwh|ch tobclong' mcans . tobca cons|stcntmult|plc. thusto
bcprcscntcd. ortocxi st÷thcthcorcmof thc pointofcxccsss|mplvstatcs.
thcrcarcalwavssub- mu|t|plcswhich. dcspitcbc|ngincludcd| nas|tuat|on
as composi ti ons of mu|ti pliciti cs. cannot bc countcd in that situation as
tcrms. andwh|chthcrcforc donotcx|st.
Wcarc thusl cdbacktothcpo|ntthat parts'÷ifwcchooscthiss|mplc
word whoscprcc|sc scnsc. d|scngagcdfromthc dialcct|c ofparts and thc
wholc. |s. sub- mult|plc'÷must bc rccognizcd as thc placc in which thc
voidmavrcccivcthclatcntformofbci ng. bccauscthcrcarcalwavsparts
wh|ch| n cxisti na s|tuat|on. andwh|charcthussubtractcdfromthc onc.
An |ncxistcnt part is thcpossiblc supportofthc |ollow|ng÷whi chwould
ru|n structurc÷thc onc. somcwhcrc. i s not. |ncons|stcncy is thc l aw of
bc|ng. thc csscnccofstructurci sthc vo|d.
1hcdcñni ti onolthcstatcofasituation|sthcnclar|ñcd|mmcdiatclv. Ihc
4oma/no]mc/as/ruc(urc/spar/s.metastructure guarantccsthat the one holds
lor inclusion. j ust as thc ini ti al structurc holds for bclong|ng. Put morc
prcc|sclv. givcn a situat|on whosc structurc dclivcrs consistcnt onc
mul t|pl cs. thcrc | s alwavs a mcta structurc÷thc statc of thc si tuat|on
÷whichcountsasonc any composit|onofthcsccons|stcntmul tiplicit|cs.
Whati s/nc/udcd| na situation/c/onµs toits statc. 1hcbrcach is thcrcbv
rcpa|rcd v|a whi ch thc crrancv of thc void could havc ñxcd itsclf to thc
multiplc. i n the i nconsi stent mode of a non- counted part . Lvcrv part
rccc|vcs thcscal of thc onc from thc statc
97
98
BEI NG AND EVENT
Bv thc samc tokcn. |t | s truc. as]ne/ rcsu//. that thc nrst count. thc
structurc. | scountcdbvthcstatc. ! t| scv|dcntthatamongstal l thc parts'
thcrc | s thc total part' . wh|ch |s to sav thc complctc sct of cvcrvth|ng
gcncratcd bv thc |n|t|al structurc | n tcrms of cons|stcnt mult|p||c|t|cs. of
cvcrvth|ng |t counts as onc !f thc statc structurcs thc cnt|rc mult|plc of
parts. thcn th|stotal|tv alsobclongs to | t. 1hc complctcncss ofthc |n|t|al
onc-cffcct | s thus dcnn|tclv |n turn. countcd as onc bv thc statc | nthc
formof|ts cffcct|vc wholc
1hc statcofa s|tuat| on|sthcr|postctothcvo|dobta|ncdbvthccount
asonc of |ts parts . 1h|s r|postc | s apparcntlv complctc. s|ncc | t both
numbcrswhatthc nrststructurcal|owsto| ncx|st ( supcrnumcrarvparts.
thccxccss of|nclus|onovcrbcloncingì and. nnallv. |tgcncratcsthc Onc
Onc bv numbcr|ng structural complctcncss |tsc|f. 1hus. for both polcs of
thc dangcr of thc vo| d. thc | n cxistcnt or |ncons|stcnt mul t| pl c and thc
transparcntopcrat|onal|tvolthc onc. thcstatcofthcs|tuat|onproposcs a
clausc of closurc and sccur|tv. through wh|ch thc s|tuat|on cons|sts
accord|ngtothconc.1h|s|sccrta|n. thcrcsourccofthcstatcaloncpcrm|ts
thcoutr|ght afnrmat|onthat. |ns|tuat|ons. thc onc| s.
Wcshculdnotcthat thcstate is a structure which is intrinSically separate
from thc or|g|nal structurc of thc s|tuat| on. Accord|ng to thc thcorcm of
thcpo|ntofcxccss.partscx|stwh|ch|n-cx|stforthc or|g|nalstructurc. vct
wh|ch bclong to thc statc's onc cffcct. thc rcason bc|ng that thc lattcr |s
fundamcntallv d|st|nct from anv of thc |n|t|al structurc's cffccts. ! n an
ord|narv s|tuat|on. spcc|al opcrators would thus ccrta|nlv bc rcqu|rcd.
charactcr|st|c ofthc statc. opcrators capablc of v|cld|ng thc onc ofthosc
partswh|charcsubtractcdfromthc s|tuat|on's count- as onc.
On thc othcr hand. thc statc | s al wavs that o] a s|tuat|on. what | t
presents, under the s|gn o|the one, as consistent multiplicities, is i n turn
solc|vcomposcdof what thc s|tuat|on prcscnts. s|ncc what | s /nc/udc4 | s
composcdofonc-mult|plcswh| ch/c/onµ
As such. thc statc of a s| tuat|on can c|thcr bc sa| d to bc scparatc ( or
transccndcnt ì ortobcattachcd( or|mmancntì w| thrcgardtothcs|tuat|on
and |ts nat|vc structurc. 1h|s conncct| on bctwccn thc scparatcd and thc
attachcd charactcr|zcs thc statc as mctastructurc. count ol thc count. or
oncofthc onc !t| sbv mcans ofthc statc thatstructurcdprcscntat|on |s
furn|shcd w|th a nct|onal /c/nµ. thc lattcr ban|shcs. or so | t appcars. thc
pcr|| of the void, and establ ishes thc rc|gn. since compl eteness i s num
bcrcd. of thc un|vcrsa' sccur|tv ofthc onc
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
1hcdcgrccofconncctionbctwccnthcnativcstructurcofasituationand
itsstatistmctastructurcisvariabl c. 1hisqucstionofaµapi s thckcvtothc
analvsis ofbcing. ofthctvpolocv ofmultip|cs- i n- situat| on.
Oncc countcd as onc in a situation. a multiplc ñnds itsclf prcscn/cd
thcrci n. !f it i s also countcd as onc bv thc mctastructurc. or statc of thc
situation. thcniti sappropriatctosavthatitis rcprcscn/cd 1hismcansthat
itbclongstothcsituation ( prcscntationì . andthatiti scquallvincludcdin
thcsituation ( rcprcscntationì . lt i sa tcrm- part. !nvcrsclv. thc thcorcmol
thc po|nt ofcxccssi ndicatcs thatthcrcarcincludcd ( rcprcscntcdì multi
plcs which arc notprcscntcd ( whichdonot bclongì . 1hcsc multip|csarc
parts and not tcrms. Fi nallv. thcrc arc prcscntcd tcrms which arc not
rcprcscntcd. bccausc thcv do not constitutc a part of thc si tuation. but
solclvoncofitsimmcdiatc tcrms.
! willcallnorma/a tcrm which isbothprcscntcdandrcprcscntcd. ! w|||
callcxcrcsccnccatcrmwhichisrcprcscntcdbutnotprcscotcd. iinallv. !w|ll
tcrms/nµu/a·a tcrm which i sprcscntcdbut not rcprcscntcd.
! t hasalwavsbccnknownthatthcinvcst|gationofbc| ngs ( thus. ofwhat
is prcscntcdì passes bv thc ñltcr of thc prcscntation/rcprcscntation dia
lcctic. ! n our |ogic÷bascd dircctlv on a hvpo|hcsis conccrning bcinc
÷normalitv. singularitv and cxcrcsccncc. l|nkcd to thc gap bctwccn
structurcandmctastructurc. orbctwccnbc|ongingand|nclusion. formthc
dccisivcconccpts o|a tvpologvofthc donations ofbci ng.
Normalitvconsists| nthcrc-securingofthcoriginarvoncbvthcstatco|
thcsituation i n wh| ch thatoncis prcscntcd. Notcthat a normal tcrmis
found both i n prcscntation ( it bc|ongs ì and in rcprcscntation ( it is
includcdì .
Sincul artcrmsarcsubj ccttothconc- c|fcct. butthcvcannotb c graspcd
as parts bccausc thcv arc composcd. asmultiplcs. of c|cmcnts wh|ch arc
not acccptcd bv thc count !n othcrwords. a singul artcrm |s dcñnitclva
onc- multiplcofthe situation. but it is i ndccomposab| c' | nasmuchaswhat
|ti scomposcdof. orat lcastpartofthclattcr. i snotpresentcdanvwhcrc
|n thcsituation|n ascpa·a/cmanncr 1histcrm. unifvi ncingrcdicntswhich
arc not ncccssarilv thcmsclvcs tcrms. cannot bc considcrcd a part.
Althoughi tbcloncstoit thistcrmcannotbcinc| udcdinthcsituat| on. As
such. anindccomposablctcrmwillnotbcrc- sccurcdbvthcstatc. Forthc
statc. not bcing a part. this tcrm is actuallv not onc. dcspitc it bcinc
evi dentl y one i n the si tuati on. To put i t differently; t hi s term exi sts-it i s
prcscntcd÷but i ts cxistcncc i s not dircctlv vcri ñcd bv thc statc. !ts
99
100
BEI NG AND EVENT
cx|stcncc| sonl vvcr|ñcd|nasmuchas|t|s carr|cd bvpartsthatcxcccd| t.
1hcstatcw| l l nothavc to rcg|stcrth| stcrm as onc-of-thc- statc.
F|nallv. ancxcrcsccncc|sa onc ofthc statcthat|s not a oncof thc nat|vc
structurc.ancx|stcntofthcstatcwh|ch| n- cx|sts|nthc s|tuat|onofwh|ch
thcstatc |s thc statc.
Wc thus havc. w|th|n thc complctc÷statc- dctcrm|ncd÷spacc of a
s|tuat|on. thrcc fundamcntal tvpcs of onc-tcrms. thc normal. wh|ch arc
prcscntcd and rcprcscntcd. thc s|ngular. wh|ch arc prcscntcd and not
rcprcscntcd. andthccxcrcsccnt.wh|charcrcprcscntcd andnotprcscntcd.
1h|s tr|ad |s |nfcrrcd on t hcbas|s oft hc scparat|on oft hc statc. andbv
cxtcns|on. oft hcncccss|tvof| t spowcrfort hcprotcct|onoft hconcfrom
anvñxat|on- w|th|n- thc-mu|t|plc ofthc vo| d. 1hcsc thrcctvpcs structurc
what |s csscnt|a|lv at stakc | n a s|tuat|on. 1hcv arc thc most pr|m|t|vc
conccpts of anvcxpcr|cncc whatsocvcr. 1hc|rpcrt|ncncc w|ll bc dcmon
stratcd|n thc follow|ngMcd|tat|onus|ngthc cxamplcofh|stor|co- pol|t|cal
s|tuat|ons.
Of al l thcsc |nfcrcnccs. what part|cular rcqu|rcmcnts rcsult f or thc
s|tuat|onofonto|ogv'lt|scv|dcntthatasa thcorvolprcscntat|on| tmust
also prov|Jc a thcorv of thc statc. wh|ch |s to sav. mark thc d| st|nct|on
bctwccnbclong|ngand |nc|us|on andmakcscnscoutofthccount-as-onc
ofparts. ltspart|cul arrcstr|ct|on. howcvcr. |sthatofhav|ngtobc statclcss
w|thrcgardto |tsclf.
lf |ndccd thcrc cx|stcd a statc of thc ontolog|ca| s|tuat|on. not onlv
would purc mu|t|plcs bc prcscntcdthcrc|n. but also rcprcscntcd. consc
qucntlvthcrcwouldbc a rupturc. oranordcr. bctwccna hrst spcc|cs of
mult|plcs. thoscprcscntcdbv thcthcorv. and a sccond spcc| cs' . thc sub-
mult|p|csof thc ñrstspcc|cs.whoscax|omat| ccountwouldbc cnsurcdbv
thc statc ol thc ontolog|cal s|tuatlonal onc. lts t hcorct|cal mctastructurc.
Morc |mportant|v. thcrc would bc mcta- mu|t|plcs that thc statc of thc
s|tuat|on a/onc would countas onc. andwhichwoulJ bccompos|t|onsof
s|mpl c-mul t|plcs. thc | attcr prcscntcd d|rcctlv bv thc thcorv. Or rathcr.
thcrcwou|dbcnoax|omsvstcms.oncforclcmcntsandoncforparts.onc
ofbclong|ng ( è ì . andthc othcrof|nclus|on ( c) . 1h|s would ccrta|nlvbc
|nadcquatcs| nccthcvcrvstakcofthcthcorv | sthcax| omat| cprcscntat|on
olthc mult|plc ofmul t|plcs asthcan/aacgcncrallorm olprcscntatlon
I othcrwords. |t |s | nconcc|vablc thatthc |mpl|c|t prcscntat| on ofthc
mult|plcbvthcontolog|cal ax|omsvstcm|mplv.|nfact.twod| s] o|ntax|om
svstcms. thatofstructurcdprcscntat|on. andthatofthc statc.
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
1o put | t d|llcrcntlv. ontologv cannot havc |ts own cxcrcsccnccs÷
mult|pl cs that arc rcprcscntcd w//hou/ cvcr hav/nµ /ccn prcscn/cd as
mu///p/cs¯bccauscwhat ontologv prcscntsls prcscntat|on.
Bvwavolconscqucncc. ontologv|s obl|gcdtoconstruct thcconccptol
subsct. draw al l thc conscqucnccs ol thc gap bctwccn bc|ong|ng and
|nclus|on. andnotlal l undcrthcrcg|mcolthatgap. |nc/us/onmus/ne/ar/sc
on/hc/as/so]anyo(hcrpr|nc/p/co]coun//nµ /han/ha/o]/c/onµ/nµ. Th|s| sthc
samc as sav|ng that ontologv must procccd on thc bas|s that thc count-
as-oncola mult|pl c's subscts. whatcvcrthatmult|plcmavbc. | sonl vcvcr
anothcr tcrm w|th| n thc spacc olthc ax|omat|cprcscntat|on olthc purc
mult|p|c. andth|s rcqu|rcmcntmustbc acccptcdw|thoutl|m|tat| on
1hcstatcolthcontolog|cals|tuat|on| sthus|nscparablc. wh| ch| stosav.
|ncx|stcnt 1h|s |s what|s s|gn|ncd ( Mcd|tat|on 7i bv thccx|stcncc olthc
sctolsubsctsbc|nganax|omoranldca.]us///kc/hco/hcrs. al l |tg|vcsus| s
a multlplc
1hcpr|cctobcpa|d|s clcar. |nontologv. thc statc' s ant| -vo| d' funct|ons
arcnotguarantccd lnpart|cular. notonlv|s|tposs|blcthatthcnxat|onof
thcvo|doccursomcwhcrcw|th|nthcparts. but|t| s|ncv|tabl c. Thcvo|d|s
ncccssar|lv. |nthcontolog|calapparatus. thcsubsctparcxccllcncc. bccausc
noth|ngthcrc|ncancnsurc|tscxpulslonbvspcc|alopcratorsolthccount.
d|st|nct lrom thosc ol thc s|tuat|on |n wh|ch thc vo|d roams. lndccd. |n
Mcd|tat|on7 wc sawthat |n sctthcorv thcvo|d|s un|vcrsallv| ncl udcd.
1hclntcgralrcallzation. onthcpartolontologv. olthcnon-bc|ngolthc
onc lcads to thc |ncx|stcncc ol a statc ol thc s|tuat|on that |t |s. thcrcbv
|nlcct|ng|nclus|onw|ththcvo|d. altcral rcadvhav|ngsub] cctcdbcl ong|ng
tohavlngtowcavcw|th thc vo|dalonc.
1hc unprcscntablc vo|d hcrc|n suturcs thc s|tuat|on to thc non
scparat|on ol|tsstatc.
101
BEI NG AND EVENT
1ab|c 1 : Conccpts rc|ativc tothcprcscntation| rcprcscntat| oncoup| c
S!1UA1! 0N S1A1L Oi1BL S!1UA1!ON
Phi|osophv Mathcmatics Philosophv Mathcmatlcs
- A tcrmola
- 1hc sctß is an
- 1hcstatc
- 1hcrccxistsa
situation is w¦ ¡at
e|emcnt olthc
sccurcsthc
sct ol a|| thc
thatsituation sei a il| t entcrs
count as one o|
subscts of a
prcscntsand
|nto t hc
a| l thcsub
c|vcn sct a. !t| s
counts asonc
mu|tiplc
multiplcs. or
wri ttcn. p(a) .
compos| tion ol a.
su|scts. orparts
Lvcrv c|emcnt
|t | s thcnsaid
olthc situat| on
olp(a) isa
t Hat ß bc|oncs to
!t rccounts thc
subsct ( Lncl | sh
a. 1h| s| swr| ttcn
tcrms olthc
tcrmino|ocvì or
ß E a.
situat|on
a part ( ircnch
inasmuchas
tcrminolocvì ol
thcv arc
the sct a.
1obclonct
- E is thc sicn ol
prcscntcd bv
such sub
a s| tuati on'
bc|onc| nc It | s mult|plcs
means tobc
tHe lundamcntal
prcscntcdbv
s| cn ol sci
- 1o be |nc|udcd
- 1obc a subsct
that situat|on.
theorv !ta| l ows
| na sit uation'
(o a parti i s
to|concolthe
onetoth|nkt hc
mcans. to be
sa| d y is
clcmcnts |t
puremu| |ip|c
cocntcd |v t Hc
| ncl udcdl na.
structurcs
without recourse
statc o|thc
1his i swri ttcn y
to t HcOnc
s| tuation
C a.
!nc| usion | s
- C | sthes|cn
thus cquiva|ent
olincl us|on !t | s
8c|onc| ncis torcprcscntat| on
a dcr|vcd s| cn !t
thuscqu| val ent by t he st at e. ve
can bc deñned
t opresellat i on, wi l l say of an
on t he bas| sol
anda tcrm | nc| uded÷tH us.
E .
wh|chbcloncs reprcsented÷
w| l l a|sobc sa| d
Q
tcrm t hat |t |s a
Q
to|c an part
c|emcnt
f E a
y e a
ory E p( a)
102
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BE I NG
1husi tmust bc undcrstoodthat
- presentation, count- as- one, structure, belonging and element are on
(hcs/dco](hcs/(ua(/en.
- representati on, count of the count metastructure, i ncl usi on, subset
and part are en(hcs/dc o](hcs(a(co](hcs/(uc(/on
103
104
MEDI TATI ON NI NE
The State of the Hi stor i cal -soci al Si tuati on
! n Mcd|tat|on 8 ! sa|d that cvcrv structurcd prcscntat|on supposcs a
mctastructurc.tcrmcdthc statcotthc s|tuat|on. !putforwardancmp|rical
argumcnt |n support of th|s thcs|s. that cvcrv cffcct|vcl v prcscntcd
mult|pl|citvrcvcals|tsclftobcsubm|ttcdtoth|s rcdupl|cat|on ofstructurc
orofthccount. !wouldlikctog|vcancxamplcofsuchrcdupl|cat|onhcrc.
thatofh|stor|co- soc|als|tuat|ons (thc qucst|onofNaturc willbctrcatcd| n
Mcd|tat|ons l l 8 l 2 ì Bcs|dcsthcvcr|ncat|onoft hcconccptofthcstatcof
thc s|tuat|on. th|s |l|ustrativc mcJ|tat|on will also prov|dc us w|th an
opportun|tvtocmplovthcthrcccatcgor|csofprcscntcd-bc|ng. normal|tv.
s|ncular|tv. andcxcrcsccncc.
0nc ofthc grcat advanccs of Marx|sm was no doubt | t hav|ng undcr-
stood that thc 3tatc. |n csscncc. docs not cntcrta| nanv rclationship with
ind|v|duals. thc d|alcct|c of |ts cx|stcncc docs not rclatc thc onc of
author|tvto a mult| p| c ofsubj ccts
!n itself. th|swasnota ncw |dca. Ar|stotlc had al rcadvpoi nted outthat
thc dc ]ac/o prohib|tlon wh|ch prcvcnts th|nkablc const|tutions÷thosc
wh|ch conform to thc cqu|l|brium of thc conccpt÷from bccom|ng a
rcal|tv. andwh|chmakcspol|t|cs|ntosuchastrangcdomaln÷|nwh|chthc
patholog|cal ( tvrann|cs. ol|garch|cs and dcmocrac|csì rcgularlv prcvails
ovcr thc normal ( monarchics. aristocrac|cs and rcpubl |cs i ÷i s |n thc cnd
thccx|stcnccolthcr|chandthcpoor. Morcovcr. | ti s bcforcth|spart|cular
cxlstcncc. thi s ul ti mate and rcal impasse of/hcpo/|//ca/ as purc thoucht,
that Ar|stotlc hcsitatcs. not know|ng how |t m|ght bc supprcsscd. hc
hcs|tatcsbcforcdcclar|ng|tcnt|rclv natural ' . s|nccwhathcmostdcs|rcsto
scc rcal|zcd i s thc cxtcns| on÷anJ. rat|onallv. thc un|vcrsal|tv÷of thc
THE STATE OF THE HI STORI CAL- SOCI AL SI TUATI ON
m|ddlc class. Hcthus clcarlv rccogn|zcs that rcal statcs rclatc l css t othc
soc| al bondthanto| ts un-b| nd|ng. to|ts|ntcrnaloppos| t|ons. andthat|n
thccndpo////csdocsnotsu|tthcph| losoph|calclar|tvof/hcpo////ca/bccausc
thcstatc.| n|tsconcrctcdcst|nv. dcñncs|tsc|fl cssbvthcbal anccdplaccof
c|t|zcnsthanbvthcgrcatmasscs÷thcpartswh|charcoltcnpart| cs÷both
cmp|r|caland| n llux. thatarc const|tutcdbvthc r|ch andthc poor.
Marx|stthoughtrc|atcsthc Statcd| rcctlvtosub-mult|p| csrathcrthanto
tcrmsofthcs|tuat|on. ltpos| tsthatthccount- as- onccnsurcdbvthcStatc
|snotor|g|nallvthatofthcmult|plcof|nd|v|duals. butthatofthcmult|plc
ofclasscsof| nd|v|dua| s. Fvcn| toncabandonsthctcrm| nologvofclasscs.
thc formal |dca that thc Statc÷wh|ch | s thc statc of thc h| stor| co soc| al
s| tuat|on÷dcalsw| thcollcct|vcsubscts andnotw| th| nd| v|duals rcma|ns
csscnt|al . 1h| s |dcamustbcundcrstood. thccsscnccofthc Statc| sthatof
notbc|ngobl | gcdtorccogn|zc|nd|v|duals÷whcn| t| s obl | gcdtorccogn|zc
thcm. | n concrctc cascs. | t | s alwavs accord|ng to a pr| nc| plc of count| ng
wh|chdocsnotconccrnthc|nd| v|dualsassuch. Fvcnthccocrc| onthatthc
Statccxcrc|scsovcrsuchorsuchan|nd| v|dual÷bcs|dcsbc|ng|orthcmost
part anarch|c. unrcgu|atcd and stup|d÷docs nots| gn|fv | n anv wav that
thcStatc| sdc]ncdbvthccocrc|vc | ntcrcst' that| td|rcctsatth| s| nd|v| dual .
orat| nd| v| dual s| ngcncral . 1h| s| s thcundcrlv|ng mcan| ngthat mustbc
confcrrcduponthcvul garMarx|st| dcathat thcStatc| salwavsthc Statc
ofthcrul|ngclass´1hc|ntcrprctat|onlproposcofth|s| dca| sthatthcStatc
solclvcxcrc|scs|tsdom|nat|onaccordingtoal awdcst|ncdtoform- oncout
ofthcpar/so|a s| tuat| on. morcovcr. thcrol cofthc Statc | stoqual|tv. onc
bv onc. cach of thc compos|t|ons of compos|t|ons ol mult|plcs whosc
ccncra|cons|stcncv. | nrcspcctof/crms. | ssccurcdbvthcs|tuat|on. that|s.
bv a h|stor|calprcscntat|onwh| ch| s alrcadv' structurcd.
1hc Statc|ss| mp|vthc ncccssarvmctastructurcofcvcrvh|stor|co-soc|al
s|tuat|on. wh|ch| stosavthclawthatguarantccsthatthcrc| s 0ncncss. not
|n thc |mmcd|acv of soc|ctv÷that |s alwavs prov| dcd for bv a non- statc
structurc÷but amongst thc set of |ts subscts . !t | s th|s onc- cffcct that
Marx|sm dcs|gnatcs whcn | t savs that thc 3tatc| s thc Statc ofthcrul|nc
class' . !fth|sformula| ssupposcdtos|gn|fvthatthc Statc| san| nstrumcnt
posscsscd' bv thc rul|ng class. thcn | t | s mcan|ngl css. lf |t docs mcan
somcth|ng. it | s |nasmuch as thc clfcct of thc Statc÷to v| cl d thc onc
amoncst thc complcx parts ot h| stor|co- soc|al prcscntat| on÷|s alwavs a
structurc.and| nasmuchas |t |s clcarlvncccssarvthat thcrcbe a l awofthc
count.andthusaan/]orm/no]c]]cc/.Atthcvcrvlcast. thctcrm rul|ngclass'
105
106
BEI NG AND EVENT
dcs|gnatcs t hi s un|form|tv. whatcvcr t hc scmant|c pcrt|ncncc of t hc
cxprcssion michtbc.
1hcrc | s anothcr advantagc to thc Marx|st statcmcnt |f i t | s graspcd
purclv in | ts form. | n pos|ng thatthc Statc |s that o]thc rul|ng class. it
/n4/ca/cs /ha/ /hc 5/a/c a/wa,s rcprcscn/s wha/has a/rcady |ccn prcscn/cd. !t
ind|catcs thc lattcr all thc morc g|vcn that thc dcnn|t|on of thc rul|ng
classcs| snot stat|st iti srathcrcconom|candsoc|al . l nMarxswork. thc
prcscntat|on ol thc bourgcoisic |s not claboratcd i n tcrms of thc Statc.
thccr|tcriaforthcbourgco| sicarcposscss|ono|thcmcansofproduct|on.
thcrcg|mcofpropcrtv. thcconccntrat|onofcap|ta|ctc. 1osavo|thcStatc
that| t| sthato]thcbourgcois|chasthcadvantagco|undcrl|ningthatthc
Statcrcprcscntssomcth|ncthathasalrcadvbccnh|stor|callvandsociallv
prcscntcd. 1h|s rc-prcscntation cv|dcntlv has nothing to do with thc
charactcr ofgovcrnmcnt as constitut|onal|v rcprcsentat|onal . !t s|gnincs
that| n attr|but|ng thc onc to thc subscts orparts of thc h|stor|co-soc|al
prcscntat|on. i nqual ||v|ngthcmaccord|ngtothclawwh|chi t|s. thcStatc
|s alwavs dcnncd bv thc rcprcscntat|on÷according t o thc mult|plcs of
mult|plcstowh|chthcvbclong. thus. accord|ngtothc| rbclong|ngtowhat
|s /ac/udcd |n thc s|tuation÷of thc tcrms prcscntcd bv thc s|tuat|on. Of
coursc. thcMarx|ststatcmcnti s|artoorcstr|ctivc.| tdocsnotcnt|rclvgrasp
thc Statc as statc (of thc s|tuationì . Yct |t movcs i n thc r|ght d|rcct|on
|nsofar as | t |nd|catcs that whatcvcr thc form of count-as- onc of parts
opcratcd bv thc Statc. thc lattcr |s alwavs consccratcd to rc- prcscnt|ng
prcscntati on. thc Statc |s thus thc structurc of thc h| stori co-soc|al struc
turc. thcguarantcc thatthconcrcsults/ ncvc¬/h/nµ.
lt thcn bccomcs cv|dcnt whv thc Statc | s both absolutclv t| cd to
histor|co socialprcscntat|on andvctal soscparatcd |rom | t.
The State | s ti ed to prcscntatlon ln that thc parts. whosc onc lt
constructs. arcsolclvmultip| cso|multip|csalreadvcountcd as oncbvthc
structurcsofthcs|tuat| on. Fromth|spo|nto|v|cw. thc Statc i shistoricallv
l|nkcdtosocictv|nthc vcrvmovcmcnto|prcscntati on. 1hc Statc. solclv
capablc of rc prcscntat|on. cannot br|ng forth a nul l mult|plc÷
nul | tcrm÷whosc componcnts or clcmcnts would bc abscnt |rom thc
s|tuat|on. 1h|siswhatclar|ncsthcadm|n|strat|vcormanagcmcntfunction
o|thc Statc. afunction whl cH. in | tsdi|igent uniformity, andi n the speci fc
constra|nts| mposcdupon l tbvbcl ngthc statc o]/hcs//ua/·on. i sfarmorc
structuralandpermancntthanthccocrc|vc |uncti on. Onthcothcrhand.
bccausc thcparts ofsocictvcxcccd|tstcrmsoncvcrvs|dc. bccauscwhat
THE STATE OF THE HI STORI CAL- SOCI AL SI TUATI ON
l slncludcdl nah|storlcals|tuatloncannotbcrcduccdtowhatbclongsto|t.
thc Statc÷concclvcd as opcrator o| thc count and cuarantcc o| thc
un|vcrsal rclnforccmcnt o| thconc÷|s ncccssarllv a scparatc apparatus .
L|kc thc statc o|anvs|tuat|on whatsocvcr. thc Statc ofa h|stor|co-soclal
s|tuat|onl s sub] cct to thcthcorcm ofthc po|nt olcxccss ( Mcd|tatlon 7 ì .
What |t dcals w|th÷thc g|gant|c. | nnn|tc nctwork o f thc sltuat|on's
subscts÷forccs thc Statc to not | dcnt|fv ltscl| w|th thc or|g|nal structurc
wh|ch |avs out thc conslstcncv o| prcscntat|on. whlch | s to sav thc
|mmcd|atcsoc|albond.
1hc bourgco|s Statc. accord|ng to thc Marxlst. | s scparatcd fromboth
Capltal and |rom |ts gcncral structur|ng c||cct. Ccrta|nlv. bv numbcr|ng.
manag|ng and ordcrlng subscts. thc Statc rc- prcscnts tcrms wh|ch arc
a|rcadv structurcd bv thc capltallstlc naturc of soclctv Eowcvcr. as an
opcrator. | t| sd|st|nct. 1h|s scparat|ondcnncsthccocrc|vcfunct|on. s|ncc
thcl attcrrclatcstothc|mmcdlatcstructur|ngoftcrmsaccord|ngtoa law
wh|ch comcs from clscwhcrc' . 1hls cocrclon | s a mattcr of pr|nc|pl c. | t
formsthcvcrvmodcl nwh| chthc onc can bcrclnforccd l nthc counto|
parts. If, for cxamp|c. an|ndlvldual| s dcaltwlth' bvthc Statc. whatcvcr
thccascmavbc. this|ndlv|duali s notcountcdasoncas h| m' or hcrsclf.
wh|ch solclv mcans. as that mult|plc wh|ch has rccclvcd thc onc ln thc
structurlng lmmcd|acv o|thc sltuat|on. 1h|s lndlvldual l s cons|dcrcdas a
sa/sc/.thatls÷to|mportamathcmatlcal( ontolog|cal ì conccpt( c. Mcd|ta
t|on ¯ ì ÷asthcs|ng|ctonofhlmorhcrscl| NotasAntolncLombaslc÷thc
propcr namc of an |nnnltc mult|plc÷but as ¦Anto|nc Lombaslc¦. an
lnd|ffcrcnt ngurc of un|c| tv. constitutcd bv thc form|ng-i nto onc o| thc
namc
1hc votcr' . |or cxamplc. ls not thc sub] cctJohnLoc. lt|s rathcrthc part
thatthc scparatcdstructurc ofthc Statcrc prcscnts. accord|ngto|tsown
onc. that |s. |t l s thc sct whosc solc clcmcnt | s John Loc and not thc
mult|plc whosc lmmcdiatc onc l s 1ohn Loc' 1hc |ndlv| dual l s alwavs
÷pat|cntlv or |mpatlcntlv÷sub] cct to thls cl cmcntarv cocrc|on. to thls
a|omolconstraintwhlchconstltutcsthcposs|b|l|tvo| cvcrvothcrtvpc o|
constra|nt. |ncludlng |nlli ctcd dcath Thls cocrclon conslsts l n not bc|ng
hcldtobcsomconcwhobclongstosoc|ctv.butassomconcwhol s/n:/udcd
wlth|nsoc|ctv. 1hc Statcls|undamcntallv|ndl|fcrcnttobcl onclngvctl tls
constantlvconccrncdwlth |ncluslon Anvconslstcntsubsct|sl mmcd|atclv
countcd and consldcrcd bv thc Statc. |or bcttcr or worsc. bccausc |t | s
mattcrlorrcprcscntatl on. Onthcothcrhand. dcspl tcthcprotcstat| onsand
dcclarat|onstothccontrarv. |tlsalwavscvi dcntthatl nthccnd. whcnl t l s
107
108
BEI NG AND EVENT
a mattcrofpcoplc' s/|ves÷wh|ch| stosav. ofthcmult|plcwhosconcthcv
havc rccc|vcd÷thc Statc |s not conccrncd. Such | s thc ult|matc and
|ncluctablc dcpthofi tsscparat|on.
lt|satth|spo|nt. howcvcr. thatthcMarx|st||ncofanal vs|sprogrcss|vclv
cxposcs |tsclfto a fatal amb|gu|tv. Grantcd. Fngcls and Lcn|n dcnn|t|vclv
undcrl|ncd thc scparatc charactcr of thc Statc. morcovcr thcv showcd
÷and thcv wcrc corrcct÷that cocrc|on | s rcc|procal with scparat|on.
Conscqucntlv. lorthcmthccsscnccofthcStatc |snnal l v|tsburcaucrat|c
and m| l|tarv mach|ncrv. that |s. thc structural v|s|b|l|tv of |ts cxcess ovcr
socal |mmcd|acv. |ts charactcr of bc|ng monstrouslv cxcrcsccn/once
cxam|ncd from thc solc standpo|nt ot thc |mmcd|atc situat|on and |ts
tcrms.
Lct'sconccntratconth|sword cxcrcsccncc' . lnt hcprcv| ousmcd|tat|on
l madc a gcncral d|st|nct|on bctwccn thrcc tvpcs of rclat|on to thc
s|tuat|onal|ntcgr|tvofthconc-cffcct ( tak|ngbothbclong|ngand|nclus|on
|ntocons|dcrat|onì . normal| tv( tobcprcscntcdandrcprcscntcdì . s|ngular
|tv ( tobcprcscntcdbutnot rcprcscntcdì . cxcrcsccncc ( to bcrcprcscntcd
butnotprcscntcdì . Obv|ouslv what rcma|ns |s thc vo|d. wh|ch|s nc|thcr
presented nor represented.
Fngclsqu|tcclcarlvrcmarkss|cnsofcxcrcsccncc| nthcStatcs burcau
crat|c andm|l|tarv mach|ncrv. Thcrc | s no doubt that suchparts of thc
s|tuat|on arc rc-prcscntcd rathcr than prcscntcd. Th|s | s bccausc thcv
thcmsclvcshavctodow|ththcopcratorofrcprcscntat|on. Prcc|sclv' Thc
amb|valcncc | nthc c|ass|c Marx|st analvs|s |s conccntratcd |n onc po|nt.
th|nking÷s|ncc|t|ssolclvlromthcstandpo|ntofthc Statcthatthcrcarc
cxcrcsccnccs÷that thc Statc //sc/]| s an cxcrcsccncc. Bvconscqucncc. as
pol| t|calprogrammc. thcMarx|stproposcs thc rcvolut|onarv supprcss|on
o|thc 9tatc. thus thccnd olrcprcscntat|onandthcun|vcrsal|tvo|s|mplc
prcscntati on.
What|s thc sourcc ofth| sambivalcncc' Whatmustbcrccallcdhcrc| s
thatforFngclsthcscparat|onofthcStatcdocsnotrcsul td|rcctlvfromthc
s|mplc cx|stcncc of classcs ( partsì . | t rcsults rathcr from thc antagonist|c
naturc ot thc|r|ntcrcsts. Thcrc |s an |rrcconclablc conll|ct bctwccn thc
mosts|gn| ncantclasscs÷|nfact. bctwccnthctwocl asscswh|ch.accord|ng
toclass|cal Marx|sm. producc thcvcrv cons|stcncv of h|stor|calprcscnta
t|on. Bv conscqucncc. |f thc monopolv on arms and structurcd v|olcncc
wcrc not scparatc |n thc torm of a Statc apparatus. thcrc would bc a
pcrmancntstatc of c|v|lwar.
THE STATE OF THE HI STORI CAL- SOCI AL SI TUATI ON
1hcsc classical statcmcnts must bc qu|tc carcfullv sortcd bccauscthcv
conta|napro|oundi dca. /hc5/a/c/sno/]oundcdupon/hcscc/a//cnd. wh/ch//
wou/dcxprcss. /u/ra/hcr upon un //nd/nj. wh/ch //proh///|s. Or. to bc morc
prcc|sc. thc scparation of thc Statc is lcss a rcsult of thc cons|stcncv of
prcscntat|on than of thc dangcr of incons|stcncv. 1h|s idca gocs back to
Hobbcs of coursc ( thc war ot al l aga|nst al l ncccss|tatcs an absolutc
transccndcntalauthor|tvì and|t| sfundamcntallvcorrcct| nthcfollow|ng
form. | f. | na s|tuat|on ( histor|cal ornot ì . | ti sncccssarv that thc partsbc
countcd bv a mctastructurc. |t |s bccausc thc| rcxccss ovcr thc tcrms.
cscap|ng thc |nit|al count. dcs|gnatcs a potcnt|al placc for thc nxation of
thc vo|d. ! t is thus truc that thc scparat|on of thc Statc pursucs thc
|ntcgral|tv of thc onc cffcct bcvond thc tcrms wh|ch bclong to thc
s|tuat|on. to thc po|nt of thc mastcrv. which | t cnsurcs. of /n:/udcd
mult|plcs. sothatthcvo| dandthcgapbctwccnthccountandthc countcd
do notbccomc |dcntinab|c. so that thc |ncons|stcncv that cons|stcncv /s
docsnot comc to pass .
!t |s not for noth|ng that govcrnmcnts. whcn an cmblcm of thci rvo|d
wandcrs about÷gcncrallv. an incons|stcnt or r|ot|ng crowd÷proh|b|t
gathcrings ol morc than thrcc pcopl c' . wh|ch |s to sav thcv cxpl|c|tlv
dcclarcthc|rnontolcranccofthconcofsuch parts' . thusprocla|m|ngthat
thc funct|on of thc Statc | s to numbcr |nclus|ons such that cons|stcnt
bclong|ngsbcprcscrvcd
Eowcvcr. th| s i s not cxactlv what Fngc|s sa|d. roughlv spcak|ng. for
Fngcls. us| ngMcd|tat|on8'stcrm|nologv. thcbourgco|s|c| sanorma| tcrm
( it | sprcscntcd cconom|callvandsoc|aIlv. andrc-prcscntcdbvthc Statcì .
thcpro|ctariati sa singulartcrm ( iti s prcscntcdbutnotrcprcscntcdì . and
thcStatcapparatus| sancxcrcsccncc1hcult|matcfoundat|onofthcStatc
|s that s|ngular and normal tcrms ma|nta|n a sort of antagon|st|c non
l|a|sonbctwccnthcmsclvcs. ora statc of un- b| nd| ng. 1hc Statc's cxcrcs
ccncc| s thcrc|orcarcsultwh|chrcfcrsnot t ot hcunprcscntablc. but rathcr
to dl||crcnccs|n prcscntat|on. Hcncc. on thcbas|s ofthc modlncat|on o|
thcscdi|fcrcnccs. | t| sposs|blcto hopc forthcd|sappcaranccofthcStatc.
!twouldsufnccfor thc s|ngulartobccomcun|vcrsal.th|s|s al socallcd thc
cndofcl asscs. wh| ch| sto savthc cnd ofparts. andthusofanvncccss|tv
to controlthc|rcxccss.
Notc that fromth|s po|nt ofvicw. commun|sm would in rcal|tvbc thc
unl|m|tcdrcg|mc ofthc|nd|v| dual .
Atbasc. thcclass|calMarxlstdcscriptlono|thc 3tatc| s|ormal l vcorrcct.
but not |ts gcncral d|alcct|c. 1hc two maj or paramctcrs of thc statc of a
109
1 1 0
BEI NG AND EVENT
situation÷thc unprcscntab|c crrancv of thc voi d. and thc i rrcmcdiab| c
cxccssofi ncl usionovcrbc| oncinc. whichncccssitatcthcrc- sccurincolthc
onc andthcstructurinc ofstructurc÷arc hc|dbv Lncc|s tobcparticu|ar
iticsofprcscntation. andofwhat| snumbcrcdthcrci n 1hcvoidisrcduccd
to thc non- rcprcscntation of thc prolctariat. thus. unprcscntabilitv i s
rcduccdtoa moda| itvofnon rcprcscntation. thcscparatccountofpartsi s
rcduccdtothcnon- uni vcrsa|itvofbourccois| ntcrcsts. tothcprcscntativc
sp| | t bctwccn norma| i tv and singu|ar| tv. and. nnal l v. hc rcduccs thc
machincrv of thc countasonc t o an cxcrcsccncc bccausc hc docs not
undcrstandthatthccxccsswhichi ttrcatsisinc| uctab| c. foriti sa thcorcm
of|ci nc
1hcconscqucnccolthcscthcscsi sthatpo|iticscanbcdcnncdthcrci nas
an assau| tacainstthc Statc whatcvcrthc modc ofthat assau| tmichtbc.
pcaccfu|orvio|cnt !t sufnccs' forsuchanassaulttomobi|izcthcsi ncu| ar
mu| ti p| cs acainst thc norma| mu| tip|cs bv arcui ng that cxcrcsccncc i s
into|crab|c Bowcvcr. ifthccovcrnmcntandcvcn thc matcria| substancc
ofthc Statc apparat uscan|c ovcrturncdordcstrovcd. cvcn i l i nccrtain
circumstanccsitispol itica| | vuscfu|todoso. oncmustnot|oscsichtofthc
factthatthc Statc assuch÷whichi stosavthcrc sccurincofthconcovcr
thc mu| ti p| c of parts ( or particsì ÷cannot bc so cas| | v attackcd or
dcstrovcd Scarcc| v|lvcvcarsaftcrthcOctobcrRcvo| ut i on.Lcni n. rcadvto
dic. dcspai rcdovcr thc obsccnc permancncc of thc Stat c Mao hi msc| f.
morcph|ccmaticandmorcadvcnturous. dcc|arcd÷aftcrtwcntv nvcvcars
inpowcrandtcnvcarsofthcCu| tura| Rcvo|utionslcroci oust umu|t÷that
notmuch had chanccd aftcra| l
1his is bccausc cvcn if thc routc of politica| chancc÷and ! mcan thc
routc of thc radica| dispcnsation of ] usticc÷is a|wavs bordcrcd bv thc
State, i t cannot i n any way l et itself be gui ded by thcl atter, for the 9tatel s
prccisc|v nonpol i ti ca| . i nso|ar as i t cannot chancc. savc hands. and| t i s
wcl| known that thcrc i s|itt|c stratccicsicni|lcationi nsuch a chancc
!t i s notantaconi smwhich l | csat thc oricin of t hc Statc. bccausc onc
cannot think thcdi alccticolthcvoi dandcxccssasantaconism Nodoubt
po||tics itsc|f must oricinatc i n thc vcrv samc p| acc as thc statc. in that
dial ccti c 8ut thi s i sccrtain|vnotin ordcrtoscizcthc Statcnortodoub|c
thc 9tatc' s cflcct On thc contrarv. pol ltics stakcs | t s cxistcncc on its
capacitv to cstabl | sh a rc|ation to both thc void and cxccss which i s
csscntia| | v diffcrcnt from that of thc Statc. it is thi s di ffcrcncc a| oncthat
subtractspo| i ti cs lromthc onc ofstati strc i nsurancc
THE STATE OF THE HI STORI CAL- SOCI AL SI TUATI ON
Rathcrthana warr|orbcncatht hcwa|lsof t hcStatc. a politicalactivist
is a paticnt watchman ofthc voi d i nstructcd bv thc cvcnt. tor it is onlv
whcn crapplinc w| th thc cvcnt ( scc Mcditation l 7 i that thc Statc b|inds
itsclftoitsownmastcrv. 1hcrcthcacti vistconstructsthcmcanstosound.
ifonlvtoraninstant thcsitc of thc unprcscntab|c. and thc mcanstobc
thcncctorth taithful to thc propcr namc that. afterwards. hc or shc wi l l
havcbccnab| ctogi vcto÷orhcar. onc cannotdccidc÷thisnon pl acc of
p|acc. thc void.
1 1 1
112
MEDI TATI ON TEN
Spi noza
6a/cau/dcs(/nUcocs(or a| | s| tu at| ons havc thc samc statc.
L(h|cs. Book!
Spinoza|sacutc|vawarcthatprcscntcdmu| t| p| cs. wh| chhcca||s singular
things ( ·css|nµu/arcsi . arcccncra|lvmu|tiplcsolmu| t| plcs. A composition
ol mu| t| p| c indiv| dua| s (p|ura /nd/v/duai is actua| l v onc and thc samc
sincul ar th|ng providcd that thcsc ind| v| dua| s contributc to onc uniquc
act|on. that | s. | nso|arasthcvsimu|tancous|vcausca un| quccllcct ( un/us
c]cc(uscausai !nothcrwords. lorSpinoza. thccount as oncol a mult| p| c.
structurc. /scausa//n. A combinationolmu|t| p|csisa onc-mu|t|plcinsolar
as|t| sthconcola causa|acti on. Structurcisrctroactivc|v|cgib|c. thconc
olthccllcctva| | datcsthconcmu| tip|colthccausc. 1hcti mcol|nccrtitudc
wi th rcspcct to th| s |cgibi|itv distinguishcs i ndi vi dua| s. whosc mult|pl c.
supposcd incons| stcnt. rccc| vcsthc sca| ol consistcncv oncc thc uni tv ol
thei r effect i s regi stered. The inconsistency, or di sj uncti on, of i ndi vi dual s is
thcnrccc| vcdasthccons| sicncv olthcs|ngu| arthing. one andthcsamc
!n Latin. inconsistcncv |s p/ura /nd/v/dua. cons| stcncv |s rcs s/nµu/arcs
between the two, t he COllnt - as- one, whi ch is the un/usefc:/usccasc.or unc
ac(|o
1hcprob|cm w|th th| s doctrinc i s that it |s circular !l| n lact [ can onlv
dctcrm|nc thc onc ol a singu| ar thing |nsolar as thc mu|t|p|c that i t i s
produccsa un| quccllcct. thcn!musta| rcadvdi sposcolacritcrionolsuch
unic|tv. What| sth|s un| quccllcct ' `Nodoubt| t| sacomp|cxolindividua| s
inturn÷inordcrtoattcst|tsonc. i nordcrtosavthat|tisas| ngularthing.
! must considcr its cllccts. and so on 1hc rctroaction ol thc
SPI NOZA
onc cflcctaccordlngtocausalstructurcl ssuspcndcdfromthcantlclpatlon
of thc cffccts of thc cffect. 1hcrc appcars to bc an | nnnltc oscl|latlon
bctwccn thc lnconslstcncv of lndlvlduals and thc conslstcncv of thc
slngularthlnc. lnsofarasthcopcratorofthccountwhlchartlculatcsthcm.
causalltv. can onlvbcvouchcdfor. l nturn. bv the countofthc cffcct.
What ls surprlslng ls that Splnoza docs not ln anv wav appcar to bc
pcrturbcd bv thls lmpassc. What ! would llkc tolntcrprcthcrc ls not so
much thc apparcnt dlfncultv as thc fact that lt l s not onc for Splnoza
hlmscll. ! nmv cvcs. thckcv to thcproblcmls thataccordInc to hls own
fundamcntal loglc /hc :oun/csonc /n /hc /as/ rcsor/ /s assurcd |y /hc
mc/as/r×c/urc.bvthcstatcofthcsltuatlon. whlchhecallsGodorSubstancc
Splnoza rcprcscnts thc most radlcal attcmpt cvcr ln ontologv to ldcntlfv
structurc and mctastructurc. to asslgn thc onc-cflcct dircctlvto thc statc.
andto| n dlstlngulshbclonglngandlnclusl on Bvthcsamc token. itlsclcar
that thls ls thc phl l osophv pcr cx:c//cncc whi ch ]orcc/oscs /hc vo/4 Mv
lntcntlonlstocstabllshthatthl sforcclosurcfalls. andthatthcvold. whosc
mctastructuralordlvinc closurc shouldcnsurc thatl trcmalnsl n cxlstcnt
andunthlnkablc. l swcllandtrulvnamcdandplaccdbvSplnozaundcrthc
conccptof/ntn//cmodc Onccouldalsosavthatthclnnnltcmodciswhcrc
Splnoza dcslcnatcs. dcspitc hlmsclf÷and thus wlth thc hlghcst uncon
sclousawarcncss olhlstask÷thcpolnt ( cxcludcdcvcrvwhcrc bv hlmì at
whl chonc canno| ongcravol dthc supposltlon ofa Sub]cct.
1ostartwl th. thc csscntlal l dcntltv of bclonglng andl ncl usl on can bc
dlrcctlvdcduccdfromthcprcsupposltlonsofthcdchnlt|onofthcslngular
thlng. 1hct h|ng. Splnozatc| l sus. l swhatrcsultsasoncl nthccntlrcncl d
of our cxpcrlcncc. thus l n prcscntatlon |n gcncral !t l s what has a
dctcrmlnatccxlstcncc' Butwhat cxlsts ls clthcrbcl ng quabclng. whlch
ls to sav thc oncl nnnltvofthc unlquc substancc÷whosc othcr namc ls
Cod÷or an lmmancnt modlncatlon of God hlmsclf. whlch |s to sav an
cffcctofsubstancc. ancffcctwhosccntlrcbcl ngissubstanccl tscl f Splnoza
savs. Codl sthclmmancnt. notthctransltlvc. causcofallthlngs . ' Athlng
ls thus a modc of Cod. a thlng ncccssarllvbclongs to thcsc l nhnltlcs ln
lnnnltc modcs' ( /n¤n//a |n]n///s mod/si whlch fol l ow' dlvinc naturc. I
othcr words. 6u/caa/d cs//n Uce cs/. whatcvcr thc thlngbc that ls. lt ls l n
Cod. 1hc/ nof bclonglng| sunlvcrsal!tl snotposslblct oscparatcanothcr
relatlonfromlt. such aslncl uslon ! fvoucomblncscvcralthlngs÷scvcral
lndlvlduals÷accordlng to thc causal count - as onc for cxamplc ( on thc
basls ofthc onc ofthclrcffcct ì . vou wlll onl vcvcr obtaln anothcrthlng.
that ls. a modcwh|chbclongs to God. ! t l snotposslblcto dlstlngulsh an
1 1 3
1 1 4
BEI NG AND EVENT
clcmcnt or a tcrm of thc situation from what wou| d bc a part of i t . 1hc
si ngu|arthing . which isa onc multi plc. bclongstosubstanccinthcsamc
manncr as thc i ndi v| dua| s from whi ch i t i s composcd. | t i s a modc of
substancc ] ust as thcv arc. which i s to sav an i ntcrna| affccti on . an
i mmancnt and parti a| cffcct Lvcrvthing that bc| ongs i s i nc| udcd and
cvcrvthi ng that i s inc| udcd bclongs. 1hc absolutcncss of thc suprcmc
count. ofthcdi vi ncstatc. cntai | sthatcvcrvth|ngprcscntcdi srcprcscntcd
and rcciprocal|v. /ccausc pr:scn/a/|on an4 rcpr:scn/a//on arc /hc semc /h/nµ.
Sincc to bc|ongto God and to cxi st arcsvnonvmous. thccountofparts
i s sccurcd bvthc vcrv movcmcnt which sccurcs thc count of tcrms. and
which i sthci ncxhausti b| c|mmancntproductivitv of substancc.
Locsthi smcanthatSpinozadocsnotdi sti ngui shsi tuati ons. thatthcrci s
onlvoncsi tuati on`Notcxact|v !lGod| suni quc. andi f bci ngi s uniquclv
God. thc/dcn/mca//onofGod unfo|ds ani nñnitvofi ntcl | cctuallvscparab| c
si tuati onsthatSpi nozatcrmsthcattributcsofsubstancc.1hcattributcsarc
substanccitsc|f.i nasmuchasi ta||owsitsc|ftobci dcnti ncdi nan| nnnitvof
di flcrcnt manncrs. Wc must di stingui sh hcrc bctwccn bci ng quabcing
( thcsubstanti ali tvofsubstanccì . andwhatthoughtisablctoconccivcofas
constituting thc diffcrcntiab|c i dcntitv÷Spi noza savs. thc csscncc÷of
bcing. whichis p|ura| . Anattributc consi sts ol whatthc | ntcll cct ( /n/c//cc
/usi pcrccivcs of a substancc. as consti tuti ng its csscncc . ! wou| d sav thc
fo||owing. thc onc- ofbcingi s thinkab|cthroughthcmu| ti pl i ci tvofsi tua
ti ons. cachofwhi ch cxprcsscs' thatonc. bccausci f thatoncwasthinkab|c
i noncmanncra| onc. thcni twou|dhavcdiffcrcncc cxtcrnaltoi t. thatis.
i t wou|dbc countcd i tsc|l. whichi s impossiblc. bccausc i t /s thc suprcmc
count
!n thcmsclvcs. thc situations i nwhi ch thc onc of bci ng i s thought as
i mmancntdi ffcrcntiationarcofi nnni tc numbcr . fori t i s ofthc bcing of
bcingtobci nnni tc|vi dcnti |i ab| c. Godlsi ndccd a substanccconsi sti ng of
i nnni tc attributcs' . othcrwisci twould again bcncccssarv that di ffcrcnccs
bc cxtcrna|lv countabl c. ior us. howcvcr. according to human nni tudc.
two si tuati ons arc scparab| c. thosc wh|ch arc subsumcd undcr thc
attributc thought ( coµ//a//oi and thosc undcr thc attributc of cxtcnsion
( cx/cns/oi 1hc bci ng of thisparticu|armodc that i s a human animal i s to
cobclongtothcsc two situations
!t ls cvidcnt. howcvcr. that t hc prcscntationa| structurc of si tuati ons.
bcingrcduci blcto thc di vi ncmctastructurc. i suni quc. thc twosi tuat|ons
in whi ch humans cxist arc structurallv ( that is. i n tcrms of thc statcì
uni quc. 0rdoc/conncx/o /dccrum /4cm cs|. aco·doc/cenncx/e rcrum. i tbcing
SPI NOZA
undcrstoodthat thing' ( rcsi dcsignatcshcrcancxistcnt÷a modc÷ofthc
s|tuation cxtcnsi on . and that idca ( /dcai an cxistcnt of thc situation
thought 1his i sa striking cxamplc. bccausci tcstabli shcsthata human.
cvcnwhcnhcorshcbclongstotwoscparablcsituations. cancountasonc
insofarasthcstatcofthctwosituationsi sthcsamc Onccoul dnotnnda
bcttcr indication ol thc dcgrcc to which statist cxccss subordi natcs thc
prcscntativc immcdiacv ofsituations ( attributcsì to i tscl f 1hispar/thatis
ahuman.bodvandsoul. intcrscctstwoscparablctvpcsofmul ti plc. cx/cns/o
and coµ//a//o. and thus is apparcntlv includcd in thcir uni on ln rcalitv i t
bclongs solclv to thc modal rccimc. bccausc thc suprcmc metastructurc
dircctlvguarantccsthccount as oncofcvcrvthi ncwhi chcxists. whatcvcr
its situation mavbc
Fromthcscprcsupposit|onsthcrcimmcdiatclvfollowsthcforcclosurcof
thc void On onc hand. thc voi d cannot /c/onµ to a si tuati on bccausc it
wouldhavctobccountcdasoncthcrcin. vctthcopcratorofthccounti s
causalitv 1he voi d. wh|ch docs not contain anv i ndi vi dual . cannot
contributctoanvactionwhoscrcsultwouldbca uniquc cffcct 1hcvoi d
is thcrcforc i ncxistcnt. orunprcscntcd 1hevoi di s notgi vcni n Naturc.
andal l partsmustworktogcthcrsuchthatthc voi d| snotgivcn Onthc
othcrhand. thcvoidcannotbc/nc/udcdi na situationc| thcr. |tcannotbc
a part ofi t. bccause i twoul dhavcto bc countcd as onc bv i ts statc. its
mctastructurc ln rcalitv. thc mctastructurc i s e/so causal i tv. thi s timc
undcrstood as thc immancnt production of thc divinc substancc lt i s
impossiblcforthcvoi dto bc subsumcdundcrthi scount ( of thc count ì .
which i s idcntical t o the count itsclf 1hc void can thus nci thcr bc
prcscntednorcancxcccdprcscntationi nthcmodcofthcstatistcount lt
isnci thcrprcscntablc ( bc| ongingì nor unprcscntablc ( point olcxccss ì
Yct this dcductivc forccl osurc o f thc void docs not succccd÷far from
it÷in thc cradication ofanvpossibilitvofits crrancv i nsomcwcakpoint
orabandoncdj oi ntolthc Spinozistsvstcm. Putitthiswav thc dangcris
notoriouswhcni tcomcstothcconsidcration. withrcspcctto thc count
as onc. ofthc di sproportionbctwccnthci nnni tcandthc nni tc
Si ngularthings . prcscntcd. accordingtothcsi tuati onsof1houghtand
Lxtcnsion. tohumancxpcricncc. archni tc. thi si sancsscntialprcdicatc. i t
i sgivcni nthcirdcnni ti on lfi ti structhatthcul ti matcpowcrofthccount
asonc i s God. bcing both thc statc of situations and i mmancnt prc
scntativclaw. thcnthcrcisapparcntlvnomcasurcbctwccnthccountand
i ts resul t because God i s ' absol utely infnit e' . lobe more preci se, does not
causali tv÷bvmcansofwhichthconcofthcthi ngi srccognizcdi nthconc
1 1 S
116
BEI NG AND EVENT
of |ts cffcct÷r| sk | nt roducinc thc void of a mcasurab|c non- rclation
bctwccn | ts inhnitc oricin and thc nnitudc of thc onc-cffcct' Spinoza
pos|ts that thc know|cdcc of thc cffcct dcpcnds on. and cnvclops. thc
knowl cdcc of thc causc´ !si tconccivab|cthat thc know|cdcc of a nnitc
thinc cnvc|op thc knowlcdcc of an | nnni tc causc' Woul d | t not bc
ncccssarv totravcrscthcvoi d ofan abso|utclossofrca|itvbctwecncausc
and cffcct i f onc | s innnitc and thc othcr nn| tc' A voi d. moreovcr. that
wou|d ncccssar||vbci mmancnt. sincc a nnitc thinc i sa modalitv of Cod
hlmsclf' !t sccms that thc exccss ofthc causal sourcc rccmcrccs at thc
polnt at which i ts i ntrinsic qualihcation. abso|utc i nnni ty. cannot bc
rcprcscnted on thc samc axi sasits nnitc cffcct . !nnnitv woul dthcrclorc
dcs|cnatc thc stat| st cxccss ovcr thc prcscntativc bc| oncinc of slncular
nnitcthincs Andthccorrclatc.inc| uctab|cbccauscthcvoidi sthcultimatc
foundation of that cxccss. | s that thc vold wou| d bc thc crrancy of thc
incommcnsurab| | |tvbctwccnthcl nnnitc andthc nnitc.
Spinozacatccorical|vafnrmsthat, bcvond substanccandmodcs. noth-
i nci sci vcn( n//da/ari ´ Attributcsarc actuallvnot civcn' . thcvnamcthc
situations of donat| on !f substancc i s innnitc. and modcs arc nni tc. thc
voi d i s i nc| uctab| c. likc thc sticmata of a sp| | t in prcscntation bctwccn
substantialbcinc-qua-bcincand its nnitc immancnt production
1o dcal wi th this rc- cmcrccncc of thc unqua| | hablc void. and to
maintainthc cntirclvafnrmativcframc ofhi s onto|ocv. Sp| noza i sl cdto
posit that /hccoap/c sa/s/an:c/modcs. wh/ch dc/:rm/ncs a// dona//on o] /c/nµ.
docs no/ co/nc/dc w//h |hc coap/c /n{n//c/]n//c. 1h| s structura| sp|it bctwccn
prcscntat|vcnominat|onand its cxtcnsivc' qua| i ncat| onnatura|lvcannot
occuronthcbasisofthcrcbcinca hni tudcofsubstancc. s|nccthclattcris
absolutclv i nnn| tc' bv dcnnition. 1hcrc i s on|v onc so| ut| on. that /n]n//c
mo4cs cxi st Or. to bc morcprccise÷sincc. as wc sha| | scc. it is rathcrthc
casethattbcsc modcs i n- cxist÷thc immcdiatc cause o|a si ncul ar ñnite
thinc can onlv bc anothcr sincular nnitc thinc. and a con/rar/o. a
( supposcdì innni tcth|nccanonlvproduccthcinñnitc 1hccffcctivccausal
liaisonbcincthuscxcmptcdfromthc abvssbctwccn thc i nnnitc andthc
nn|tc. wccomcbacktothc point÷withln prescntation÷whcrc cxcessls
canccl l cdout. thus. thcvoi d.
Spinoza sdcduct|vcproccdurc ( propositions2 l . 22. and28ofBook! of
!hc L/h/csi thcn runsasfollows
Lstablish that cvcrvthinc which fo|lows lrom thc absolutcnature of
anv of Gods attr|butcs . is | nnnltc´ 1hls amounts to savinc that il an
effcct ( thus a modcì rcsults di rcctlv from thc i nnn| tv of God. such as
SPI NOZA
idcntincd i n a prcscntat|vc situation ( an attributcì . thcn that cflcct is
ncccssarily | nnni tc !t is animmcdiatc innnitc modc.
- Lstablishthatcvcrvthingwhich|ol lowsfromani n|| n| tcmodc÷inthc
scnsco|thcprcccd| ngproposition÷|s. i nturn. i nnni tc. Such| sa mcdiatc
i nnnitcmodc.
Bavi ngrcachcdthi spoint. wcknowthatthci nnni tvolacausc. whcthcr
i t bc dircctlysubstantial oral rcadv modal. sol cl v cngcndcrs i nnni tv. Wc
thcrc|orc avoid thc l oss o| cquali tv. or thc non measurabl c relation
bctwccn an innnitc causc and a nnite cllcct. whi ch would have | mmc-
diatc|yprovidcd thc pl acc |ora nxati onofthcvo| d
1hcconvcrsc immcdiatcl vfo|lows
- 1hc count as onc o|a singularthingonthcbasiso| |ts supposcdnnitc
cllcctimmcd| atclvdcs| gnatcs| t asbcingnn|tcitscl|. for| | | t wcrci nhni tc.
its c||cct. aswc havc sccn. woul dalso havc tobe such. ! nthc structurcd
prcsentation olsi ncularthingsthcrcis a causal rccurrcncc ofthc nnitc.
Any singular thing. for cxamplc somcthing which i s nnitc and has a
dctcrminatc cxistcncc. can ncithcrcxist. norbc dctcrmincdtoproducc
anc|lcctunlcssitisdctcrmincdtocxistandproduccan ef|ectbyanothcr
causc. which i s also finite and has a determinate existence; and again,
thiscausc also can ncithcr cx|st norbcdctcrmi ncdtoproduccanc||ect
un|css i tis dctcrmincdtocxist andproducc anc|lcctbyanothcr. which
i s also nnite and has a dctcrminatc cxi stcncc. and so on. to i nnn| ty.
Spinozas |cat hcrc is to arrange mattcrs such that thc cxccss o| thc
statc÷thci nhni tcsubstantialoriginolcausality÷|snotdisccrnibl cassuch
i nthcprcscntationofthccausalchai n. 1hcnnite i nrcspcctto thccount
o| causa|ity and its oncc||cct. rcfcrs back to thc nnitc alonc 1hc r|ft
bctwccnthcñnitcandthcinnnitc. i nwhichthcdangcro|thcvoi drcsi dcs.
docsnottravcrscthcprescntationo|thcnni tc. 1h| scsscntialhomogcncity
olprcscntation cxpcls thc un measurc i nwhich .hc di al ccticolthc voi d
andcxccssmightbc rcvcal cd. or cncountcrcd. w| thi nprcscntati on.
8utthiscan onl vbccstabl | shcdi |wesupposcthat anothcrcausal cha|n
doublcs' . so to spcak. thc rccurrcncc o| thc nnitc. thc chain of innnitc
modcs. immcdiatc thcn mcdiatc. i tscl f intrinsical l y homogcncous. but
cntirclvdisconncctcd |romthe prcscntcd worldol singular things '
1hcqucstioni sthato| knowingi nwhichscnscthcsci nnn| tcmodcscx/s/
! n|act. vcrvcar|v on. thcrcwcrc a numbcro|curi ouspcoplc who askcd
Spinozacxactlywhatthcsc|nnnitcmodcswcrc. notab|yaccrtai nSchul| cr.
a Gcrman corrcspondcnt. who. in his lcttcr o| 2 ¯ Jul v l 67¯. bcggcd
117
118
BEI NG AND EVENT
thc vcrvwiscandpcnctratingphi|osophcrBaruchdcSpinozatogivchim
cxamp|cs ofthingsproduccdimmcdiatclvbv God. andthingsproduccd
mcdiatc| vbvaninnnitcmodincati on . Fourdavs|atcr. Spinozarcp|icdto
him that i n thc ordcr of thoucht ( in our tcrms. i n thc si tuati on. or
attributc. thought ì thc cxamp| c of an immcdiatc innnitc modc was
abso|utc|v innnitc undcrstanding . and in thc ordcr ofcxtcnsion. movc
mcnt and rcst . As for mcdiatc inhnitc modcs. Spinoza on| v citcs onc.
without spccifving itsattributc ( whichonc can imaginctobc cxtcnsioni .
!tis thc hgurcofthccntirc univcrsc (]ac/cs (o//us un/vcrs/i .
1hrouchoutthccntirctvofhiswork. Spinozawi|lnotsavanvthingmorc
about inhnitc modcs !n thc L/h/.s. Book !l. lcmma 7. hc introduccs thc
idcaofprcscntationasa mu|tiplcoImu| tip|cs÷adaptcdtothc situation of
cxtcnsion. whcrc things arc bodics÷and dcvclops it into an innnitc
hicrarchvofbodics. ordcrcdaccordingtothccomp|cxitvofcachbodvasa
mu| tip|c. !f this hicrarchv is cxtcnJcd to innnitv ( /n /n]n//umi . thcn it is
possib|ctoconccivcthat thcwho|cofNaturcis oncsol c!ndividua| ( /e/am
Na/uram unumcssc|nd/v/du×mi whoscparts. that is. al| bodics. varvin an
innnitv of modcs. w| thout anv changc of thc who|c lndividua| . ! n thc
sche//um lor proposition 40 i n BookV. Spinoza dcclarcs that our mind.
insofarasit undcrstands. isanctcrnalmodcofthought ( cc/cnuscoµ//cnd/
mo4usi . which isdctcrmincdbvanothcrctcrna|modc ofthought. andthis
againbvanothcr. andsoon.toi nhnitv. sothata| l togcthcr. thcvconstitutc
thc ctcrna| and innn|tc undcrstanding of God.
l t shou| d bc notcd that thcsc asscrt. ons do not makc uppart of thc
dcmonstrativcchai n. 1hcvarciso|atcd. 1hcvtcndtoprcscntNaturcasthc
innnitc immobi|c totalitv of singu|ar moving things. anJ thc divinc
Undcrstandingasthc i nnnitc tota|itv olparticu| armi nds.
1hcqucsti onwhichthcncmcrccs. anditi saninsistcntonc. i sthatolthc
cxistcnccofthcsctota|iti cs. 1hcproblcmi sthatthcprinciplcolthc1otalitv
which is obtaincd bv addition /n /n]n//um has nothing to do with thc
princip|c of thc Onc bv which substancc guarantccs. in rad|cal statist
cxccss. howcvcr immancnt. thc count of cvcrv sincu| arthi ng.
Spinoza i s vcrv c| car on thc options avai|ab|c for cstablishing an
cxistcncc. ln his | cttcr to thcvcrywi scvoung man Simon dc Vri cs of
March l 66>. hc distinguishcs two of thcm. corrcsponding to thc two
instanccsolthcdonationolbcing. substancc ( anditsattr| butivc| dcntihca
tions i and thc modcs. With rcgardto substancc. cxistcncc is not distin-
gu| shcdfromcsscncc. andsoitis apr/o·/dcmonstrablc on thc basisofthc
dchnition a|onc of thc cxisting thing. As proposition 7 of Book l ofthc
SPI NOZA
P/h/csc| carlvstatcs. i tpcttainstothcnatureota substancctocxi st.With
rcgard to modcs. thcrc | s no othcr rccoursc savc cxpcricncc. lor thc
cxistcncc otmodcs' cannot] be concl udcdlrom thcdcnni ti onotthings ´
1hc cx|stcnce ot thc univcrsal÷or statist÷powct ot thc count- as- onc i s
originarv. or a pr/or/. the cxistcncc in situation ol particular thi ngs i s a
pos/cr/o·/ or to bc cxpcricnccd.
1hat bcingt hccasc. i t i s cvidcnt that thc cxistcncc ol i nhni tc modcs
cannotbc cstablishcd. Sincc thcv are modcs. the correctapproach i s to
cxpcriencc ottcstthcircxistcncc. Howcvcr. i t i sccrtainthatwc havc no
cxpcrienccolmovcmcntorrestas/n]n//cmedcs( wcsolclvhavecxpcricncc
ot particul ar nnitc things in movcmcnt or at rcst i . nor do wc havc
cxpcriencc ot Naturc i n totalitv or]ac/cs /o//us an/vcrs/. which radicalIv
cxcccds our singular idcas. nor. ot coursc. do wchavc cxpcricncc otthc
absolutclvinhnitcundcrstanding. orthctotalitv o|minds. wh|chi sstrictlv
unrcprcscntabl c. A con/rar/o. |t. therc whcrc cxpcriencc tail s a pr/or/
dcduct|on might prcvail. i ti tthcrctorc bclongcdtothcdcnncdcsscnccot
movcmcnt. ot rcst. ot Naturc i ntotalitv. or ot thc gathcring otmi nds. to
exist. thcn thcsc cntitics would nolongcrbc modal but substanti al 1hcv
wouldbc. atbcst. idcntincationsolsubstancc. situations. 1hcvwouldnot
bcgivcn. but wouldconstitutcthcplaccsoldonation. whichi stosavthc
attributcs . ln rcalitv. i t woul d not bc possiblc to di st| ngui sh Naturc i n
totalitv tromt hcattri bute cxtcnsion' . northc divinc undcrstandingtrom
thc atttibutc thought ' .
Wchavcthusrcachcdthctollowingimpassc. i nordcrtoavoidanvdircct
causal rclation bctwccn thc innnitc and thc nn| tc÷a point in which a
mcasurclcsscrrancy ot thc voidwou| dbc gcncratcd÷onchasto supposc
thatthc dircct action otinnnitc substantialitv docs notproducc. i nitsclt.
anvthing apart trom innnitc modcs But i t i s imposs| blc to ] usti|v thc
existcncc ot cvcn onc otthcsc modcs . lti sthusncccssarvto posc cithcr
that thcsc inñnitc modcs cxist. butarcinacccssiblctoboth thought and
experiencc. or that thcv do not cxist. 1hc ñrst possioilitv crcatcs an
undcrworld oti n|i ni tcthings. an intelligiblcplacewhich i stotallvunprc
scntablc. thus. a void]orus ( lor ours|tuationi . in thc scnscthat thc onlv
cxistcncc' towhichwccantcst|tvi nrclationtothispl acci sthatolanamc.
innnitcmodc' . 1hesccondpossibilitvdircctlvcreatcsa void. i nthcscnsc
inwhichthcproototthccausalrccutrcnccotthennite÷thcproototthc
homogcncitv and consistcncv ot prescntation÷|s toundcd upon an i n
existcncc. uerc again. i nñnitc mode' i s a purc namc whose rctctcnt i s
eclipscd. i t i sci tcdonlvinasmuchasiii srequircdbvthcproot. and then
1 1 9
120
BEI NG AND EVENT
| t | s canccllcd lrom a| l nn| tc cxpcr|cncc. thc cxpcr|cncc whose un| tv | t
scrvcdt olound.
Sp|noza undcrtook thc ontolog|ca| crad|cat| on ol thc vo|d bv thc
appropr|atc mcans olanabso|utcun|tvolthes|tuat|on ( ol prcscntat|onì
and | ts statc ( tcprcsentat|onì . ! w|ll dcs|gnatc as nc/u·c/ ( or ord|nal ì
mult|pl|c|t|cs thosc that |ncarnatc. in a g|vcn s|tuat|on. thc max|mum |n
th|scqu|l|br|umolbclong|ncand|nclus|on( Mcd| tati on l l i . 1hcscnatural
mu| t|plcsarcthoscwhosctermsarcal l normc/( H. Mcdi tat| on8ì . wh|ch|s
t osavrcprcscntcd|nthcvcrvplaceolthc|rprescntat|on. Accord|ngt oth|s
dcñn|t|on. cvcmt crm.lorSp|noza.| snatural. thclamous ucus. s/vcNc/arc
| s cnt|rclv loundcd. 8ut thc rul c lor th| s loundat|on h| ts a snag. thc
ncccss|tv ol hav|ng to convokc a vo|d tcrm. whosc namc w|thout a
tcst| nablc rclcrent ( |nnn|te modc' ì |nscr|bcs crrancv |n thc dcduct|vc
cha|n.
1hc grcatlcsson ol Sp|noza |s |n t hc end the lollow|ng. cvcn |l. v|athe
pos|t|onola suprcmccount as oncwh| chluscst hcstatcolas| tuat| onand
thc s| tuat| on ( that | s. mcta structurc and structutc. or |nclus|on and
bclong|ngì . vou attcmpt t oannul cxccss andrcducc | t to a un| tv olthc
prcscntat|vcax|s. vouw|llnotbcablct oavo|dthccrtancvolthcvo|d.vou
will have to place i ts name.
Ncccssarv. but|ncx|stcnt. thc|nñn|tcmodc.ltnl l s| n÷thcmomcntol| ts
conccptual appcarance be| ng also thc momcnt ol | ts ontolog|cal
d|sappcarancc÷thc causa| abvss bctwccn thc |nhn|tc and thc nn|tc.
Howcvcr. |t onlv docs so |n bc|nc thc tcchn|ca| namc ol thc abvss . thc
s|gn|ñcr |nnn| tc modc' orcan|zcs a subtlc m|srccogn|t|on ol th|s vo|d
wh|ch was to bc lorccloscd. but wh|ch |nsists on crr|ng bcncath thc
nom|nal art|ñce |tscll lrom wh|ch one dcduccd. | n theorv. |ts rad|cal
absencc.
F4k1 Ì Ì Ì
Bei ng: Natu re and Infi ni ty.
Hei degger /Ga l i l eo
MEDI TATI ON ELEVEN
Nature: Poem or matheme?
1hc thcmc ot naturc'÷and lct's allow thc Crcck tcrm <
u
o" to rcsonatc
bcncath this word÷is dcci s|vc tor ontologics ot lrcscncc. or poctic
ontologics . Ec|dcggcrcxplicitlvdcclarcsthat<
u
o" i sa lundamcnta| Crcck
word tor bcing' . !t th| s word | s tundamcnta| i t |s bccausc | t dcs| gnatcs
bcing' s vocation tor prescncc. | n thc modc ol | ts appcar|ng. or morc
cxplic|tlv ot | ts non- latcncv ( L\�eEta) . Naturc i s not a rcg|on ot bc| ng. a
rcgistcrotbc| ng- | n- total| tv. !t |s thc appcaring. thcburst| ngtorthotbcing
itsclt. thc com| ng-tootits prcscncc. orrathcr. thc stanccotbci ng' . What
thc Crccks rccc|vcd in this word <
u
o's, in thc int|matc conncction that|t
dcsignatcs bctwccn bc|ng andappcaring. wasthat bc|ng docsnot]orcc its
comingtolrcscncc. butco|ncidcsw|thth| s mat|na| advcnt| nthcguiscot
appcarancc. ot thc pro-posit|on. lt bcing | s <
u
ms, | t is bccausc it |s thc
appcaring wh|ch rcs| dcs i n | tscl t' . Naturc i s thus not ob] cct|vitv nor thc
givcn.butrathcrthcg| tt. thcgcsturcotopcn|ngupwhichuntolds| tsown
limitasthati nwh|chi trcsidcswithoutlim| tation. Bci ng| s thcopcn| ngup
wh| ch holds swav. <
u
o, ,' . !t would not bc cxccss|vc to sav that <
u
o's
dcsignatcs bc| ngprcscnt accord|ng to thc ottcrcd csscncc ot its auto-
prcscntation. andthatnaturc| sthcrctorcbcingitscltsuchasi tsproxi mi tv
and its un- vcil| ng arc mainta| ncd bv an ontologv ot prcscncc. Naturc'
mcans. prcscnti||cation otprcscncc. ottcr|ng otwhat | s vc| l cd.
Otcoursc. thcword naturc' . cspcciallv| nthcattcrmathotthcCal i lcan
rupturc. |s commcnsuratcw|tha complctctorgctt| ngwith rcgardtowhat
isdcta| ncd| nthcCrcckword<uo" . Howcanoncrccognizci nth|s naturc
writtcni nmathcmat| callanguagc' whatuc|dcggcrwantsustohcaragain
whcn hc savs ' <
u
o's i s thc rcma| ning- thcrc- i n- |tscl t' ' But thc torgctting.
123
124
BEI NG AND EVENT
undcrthcword naturc' . olcvcrvth|ng dctaincd i nthcword<UG' S i nthc
scnsc ol com|ng lorth and thc opcn. is lar morc ancicnt than what is
dcclarcdi nphvsics' initsCalil canscnsc Orrathcr . thc natural ' ob] cctiv-
|tvwh|chphvsics t akcsas|tsdomainwasonlvpossiblconthcbasisolthc
mctaphvsical subvcrs|on thatbcganw|th llato. thc subvcrsion olwhat|s
rcta| ncd in thc word <UG'S |n thc shapc ollrcscncc. olbcing appcaring.
1hcCalilcanrclcrcncctollato. whoscvcctor. lct' snotc. isnoncothcrthan
mathcmat| cism. is not accidcntal 1hc Pl atoni c turn' consistcd. at thc
ambivalcnt lronticrs ol thc Crcck dcstinv o| bcing. ol proposing an
i ntcrprctation ol<UG'S as tOEa' . But in turn. thc ! dca. i n llato' s scnsc. can
also onlvbcundcrstoodon/hc/as/s o]thc Crcck conccpti onol naturc. or
<UG'S. !tis ncithcra dcnial nora dccli nc. ! tcomp/c/cs thc Crcck thoughtol
bcingasappcaring. it|sthc complct|onolthcbcginni ng' . Forwhati sthc
!dca' !t |s thc cv/dcn/ aspcct ol what is ollcrcd÷it is thc surlacc' . thc
laçadc' . thcollcri ngtothcrcgardolwhatopcnsupasnaturc !tisstil|ol
coursc. appcaringasthcaura l i kcbcingolbcing. butwith|nthcdclimita
tion. thc cut out. ol a visibilitv]or ×s.
From thc momcnt that this appcar|ng i n thc sccond scnsc' dctachcs
|tscll. bccomcs a mcasurc olappcaring itscll. and i s isolatcd as ,OEa, lrom
thcmomcntthatthissliccolappcaringistakcnlorthcbcingolappcaring.
thc dcclinc' indccd bcgins. which| sto savthc loss o|cvcrvthingthcrcis
olprcscncc andnon l atcncv ( d'�/ht a) i nprcscntati on. Whatisdccisivcin
thc Platonic turn. lollowingwh|chnaturc lorgcts <UG'S, i snot that <UG'S
shouldhavcbccn charactcriscd as lOEa, butthat ,OEa shouldhavcbccomc
thc solc anddccisivcintcrprctationolbc| ng' .
!l l rcturn to uci dcggcr's wcll known analvscs. i t is to undcrl|nc thc
lollow|ng. whichi nmvcvcs|slundamcntal . thctra] cctorvolthclorgctting
which lounds ' obj ecti ve' naturc. subm|ttcd tomathemat| ca| ! deas. as|oss
olopcninglorth. ol<UatS, consistsñnallv| nsubstitutinglacklorprcscncc.
subtraction lor pro- positi on. From thc momcnt whcn bcing as !dca was
promotcd t o thc rank of vcritablc cntitv÷whcn thc cvidcnt laçadc' ol
what appcars was promotcd to thc rank ol appcari ng÷ 'what was]
prcviousl vdominant. 'was] dcgradcd to what Plato calls thc I� OV, what
in truth should not bc ' Appcaring. rcprcsscd or comprcsscd bv thc
cvi dcncc ol thc ,Ua, ccascs to bc undcrstood as opcni ng lorthi nto
prcscncc. andbccomcs. on thc contrarv. that wh|ch. lorcvcr unworthv
÷bccausc unlormcd÷ol thc idcal parad|gm. must bc ñgurcd as /ack o]
/c/nu What appcars. thc phcnomcnon. |s no l ongcr <UG'S, thc holding
NATURE: POEM OR MATHE ME?
swav otthatwHich opcns torth . . what appcars |s mc·c appcarancc. it is
actua| | v an | | | us| on. which is to sava l ack.
lt withthci ntcrprctationol bc| ngas.··-thcrci sa rupturcwithrcgard
to thc authcnt| cbcginning' . it i sbccausc what gavc ani ndi cati on. undct
thc namc ot 'VaL S, ot an ori gi narv l ink bctwccn bcing and appcar
|ng÷prcscntation' s guisc ot ptcscncc÷is tcduccd to thc rank ot a sub
tractcd. i mpurc. inconsistcntgi vcn. whoscsol cconsistcntopcninglorthi s
thc cut out ot thc ldca. and particular|v. lrom l| ato to Ca| | l co÷and
Cantot÷thc mathcmat| cal !dca
1hc llatonic mc/hcmc must bc thought hcrc prccisclv as a d/spos///on
which i s scparatcd trom and lorgcttul ot thc prcpl atoni cpocm. ot larmc
nidcs' pocm Fromthcvcrvbcc| nningoth| sanalvsis. Hci dcggcrmarksthat
thcauthcnticthoughtotbcingas<vaLS andthc namingtorccotthcword'
arclinkcdto thcgrcatpoctrvolthcCrccks' .Bcundcrlincsthat lorlindar
'uG consti tutcs thc tundamcnta| dctcrmination ot bcingthcrc ' Morc
gcncrallv. thcworkotatt. -·..,| nthc Crcckscnsc. i stoundcd onnaturc
as<vms: !nthc workotartconsidcrcdas appcaring.whatcomcstoappcar
is thchol ding swav otthcopcninglorth. 'VaLS. '
lt is thus c|cat that at th|s point two d| rcct | ons. two oricntations
commandthccntirc dcst|nvolthoughtinthcWcst. Onc. bascdonnaturc
in its original Crcck scnsc. wclcomcs÷in poctrv÷appcaring as thc
coming- to- prcscncc ol bcing. 1hc othcr. bascd on thc ldca in i ts llatonic
scnsc. subm|ts thc l ack. thc subtraction ol a|l prcscncc. to thc mathcmc.
andthus dis] oinsbcing |rom appcaring. csscncc tromcxi stcncc.
For Hci dcggcr. thc poctico natural ori cotati on. wh|ch l ctsbc
prcscntati onasnonvci| |ng. isthcauthcnt| corigi n 1hcmathcmatico- i dcal
oricntation. wHi ch subtracts prcscncc and promotcs cvidcncc. is thc
mctaphvsical closurc. thc nrststcp ot thclorgctting.
What!proposcisnotanovcrturningbutano/hcrdispositionotthcsctwo
oricnt ati ons. ! wi|ling|vadm| t that abso|utc|yori g| nary thought occurs in
pocticsandi nthclcttingbcolappcaring. 1h|sisprovcnbvtHcimmcmot
i a| charactct olthc pocm andpoctrv. andbvi tscstablishcdand constant
suturc to thc thcmc ot naturc. Howcvcr. this i mmcmotialitv tcstincs
againstthccvcn tal cmcrgcncc olphilosophv in Crcccc. Ontologvstrictlv
spcaking.asnat| vcngurcotWcstcrnphi| osophv. isnot. andcannotbc. thc
arriva| ot thc pocm | n its attcmpt to namc. in brazcn powcr and
coruscati on. appcaring asthccomi ngtorth olbc| ng. ornon- latcncv 1hc
lattcr| sbothlarmorcancicnt. andwi thrccardtoitsor|ginalsitcs. tarmorc
multiplc ( China. !ndia. Lgvpt. . . i . What const i tutcd thc Crcck cvcnt i s
125
126
BEI NG AND EVENT
rathcrt hcsccon4oricntation. whichthinksbcingsubtractivelvi t hcmodc
otanidcaloraxiomaticthought .1hcparticularinvcntionotthcCrccksi s
thatbci ngi scxprcssiblconcca decision otthoughtsubtractsi t |romanv
instanccotprcsencc.
1hc Crccks did not invcnt thc pocm. kathct. thcv/n/crrup/cd thc pocm
with thc mathcmc. !n doing so. i n thc cxcrc|sc ot dcduction. which is
ñdc|itvtobcingsuchasnamcdbvthcvoid (c. Mcditation24i . thcCrceks
opcncdup thc inñnitepossibilitvot anontologicaltext.
Nordi dthcCtccks. andcspcciallvlarmcnidesandllato. thinkbci ngas
CUat< or nature. whatcvcr dccis|vc importancc thi s word mav havc
posscsscd tor thcm. Rathcr. thcv originallv un//cd thc thought ol bc|ng
tromitspocticcnchainmcnttonaturalappcar|ng. 1hcadvcntotthc!dca
dcsignatcsthisunchai ni ngotonto|ogv and thcopcningotitsi nnni tc tcxt
as thc historicitv ot mathcmatical dcducti ons. For thc punctual. ccstatic
andrcpctitivcñgurcolthcpocmthcvsubstitutedthci nnovatorvaccumu-
lat| onotthc mathcmc For prcscncc. whichdemandsan initiatorvrcturn.
thcv substitutcd thc subtractivc. thc void mul tiplc. which commands a
transmissiblc thinking
Ctantcd. thc pocm. intcrruptcd bv thc Crcek cvent. has ncvcrthc|ess
ncver ccascd. 1hc Wcstcrn conñguration ol thought combincs thc
accumulativc inñnitv ot subtractivc ontologv and thc poctic thcmc ot
natural prcscncc. !tsscansionisnot thatota torgctting. butrathcrthatot
asupp/cmcn/. itsc|tinthctormolacacsuraandanintcrruption.1hcradical
changc introduccd bv thc mathcmatical supplcmentation i s that thc
immcmorial naturc ot thc pocm÷wh|ch was tul| and i nnatc dona
tion÷bccamc. altcrtheCrcckcvcnt. thc /cmp/c//on ota rcturn. a tcmpta-
tion that Ecidcggcr bclicvcd÷likc so manv Cermans÷to bc a nostalgia
anda loss. whcreasitismcrclvthcpcrmancntplavi nduccdi nthoughtbv
thc unrc|cntingnovc|tv olthc mathcmc. Mathematicalontologv÷l abour
ot thc tcxt and ol invcntivc rcason÷rctroactivclv constitutcd poctic
uttcranccasanauroraltcmptation. asnostalgiatorprescnccandrcst. 1his
nostalgia. latcntthcrcattcri n cverv grcat poctic cntcrprisc. i s not woven
trom thc |orgctting o| bcing. on thc contratv. it i s wovcn ttom thc
pronunciation ol bcing i n its subtraction bv mathcmatics i n its cltott ot
thought . 1hc vicorious mathcmat|cal cnunciation cntai l s thc bclict that
thc pocm savs a lost prcscncc. a thrcshold ol scnsc. But this i s merely a
divis|vci l | usi on. a correlatcol thc to|lowing. bcingis exprcssiblclromthc
unlquc po| nt ol its cmptv suturc to thc dcmonstrativc tcxt . 1hc pocm
cntrustsitsellnostalgicallvtonaturcsolclvbccausci twasonccinterruptcd
NATURE: POEM OR MATHE ME?
bv thc mathcmc. and thc bcl ng whosc prcscncc |t pursucs |s solclv thc
lmpossl b| c]///nµ /n o| thc vold. such as aml dst thc arcana o| thc purc
mult|plc. mathcmatlcs|ndcñnltclvdlsccrnsthcrclnwhatcan. |n truth. bc
subtractlvclvpronounccd o| bclng|tscl|.
What happcns÷|orthatpart o||twh|chhas notbccncntrustcdtothc
pocm÷to thc conccptol naturc l nth|s connguratl on' What l s thc |atc
and thc scopc o| thls conccpt wlth|n thc |ramcwork o| mathcmatlca|
ontologv' ltshouldbcundcrstoodthatthlsl sanontologlcalqucstl on and
has nothlng to do w|th phvslcs. wh|chcstabl|shcsthc laws |or partlcular
domalnso|prcscntat|on( mattcr i 1hcqucstloncanal sobc|ormulatcdas
lollows . l s thcrc a pcrtlncnt conccpt o| naturc l n thc doctrlnc o| thc
multlplc' lsthcrcanvcausctospcako| natural ' mul t| pl|c|t|cs'
Paradoxl callv. l t l s aga|n Bcldcggcr who l s ablc to gu|dc us hcrc
Amongst thc gcncral charactcrl stlcs o| 'vats, hc namcs constancv. thc
stabl lltvo|whathas opcncd |ortho|ltscl |' . Naturc | sthc rcmal nl ngthcrc
o| thc stabl c . 1hc constancv ol bclng whlch rcsonatcs l nthc word 'vats
can al so bc |ound l n l l ngul stl c roots 1hc Grcck 'vw, thc Latln ]/. thc
Frcnch ]us. andthcGcrman//n( ami and//s/( arciarcal l dcr|vcd|romthc
Sanscrlt/huor/hc×1hcEcl dcggcrcanscnsco|th|sanccstrvl s tocomcto
standand rcma|n stand|ng o|ltscl |'
1hus. bcl ng. thoughtas 'vats, ls thc stab||ltvo|mal ntalnl ng l tscl| thcrc.
thc constancv. thc cqulllbr|um o| that wh|ch mal ntal ns |tscl| wlthln thc
opcn|ng |orth o|l ts l l ml t !|wc rctal n thls conccpt o|naturc. wc wlll sav
that a purc multlplc l s natural l |l t attcsts. l n lts |orm mult|plc ltscl|. a
part|cular con sl stcncv. a spcc|ñc manncr o| hold|ng togcthcr A natura|
mul tlplc l s a supcrlor|ormo||hc |ntcrnalcohcs|ono|thcmultlplc
Eow can th|sbc rcllcctcdlnourown tcrms. wlthln thc tvpologv o| thc
multlplc' l dl stl ngul shcd. |n structurcd prcscntat|on. normal tcrms ( prc
scntcd and rcprcscntcdi |rom slngular tcrms (prcscntcd but not rcprc
scntcdi andexcrcsccnccs ( rcprcscntcdbutnot prcscntcdi ( Mcdl tat| on8 i
Alrcadv. l t l s poss|blct othlnkthatnctma//nwhlchbalanccsprcscntat|on
( bclonglngi andrcprcscntatlon( lnclus|oni . andwh|chsvmmctrlzcsstruc
turc ( what l s prcscntcd l n prcscntatloni and mctastructurc ( what ls
countcdasoncbvthcstatco|thcsl tuatl oni ÷prov|dcsa pcrt|ncntconccpt
o|cqul ll brl um. o|stabl l ltv. ando|rcma|nlngthcrc l n l tscl|. Forusstabl l|tv
ncccssarllv dcrlvcs |rom thc count as onc. bccausc all conslstcncv pro
cccds |rom thc count. What could bc morc stablc than what l s. as
mu|t|p|c. countcd twl cc l n l ts placc. bv thc sl tuatl on and bv i ts statc¯
Xormal|tv. thc max|mumbond bctwccnbclong|ngand lncluslon. l swcll
127
128
BEI NG AND EVENT
su|tcdtoth|nklngthcnatura|stas|so|a mu|t|p|c Naturc| swhat|snormal.
thcmult|plc rcsccurcd bvthc statc.
But a mu|tlp|c |s ln turn mu| ti p|c o| mu|ti p|cs . l| |t ls norma| |n thc
s|tuat|on|nwhlch lti sprcscntedandcountcd. thc mu|t|p|cs|romwhl ch|t
|scomposcdcould. |nturn. bcsi ngu|ar. norma|orcxcrcsccntw|thrcspcct
to |t. 1hc stab|c rcma| nl ng thcrc o|a mu| t|plc cou|d bc /n/crna//y contra
d|ctcdbvs|ngu|ar|ti cs. whlcharcprcscnt cdbvthemultl p| eln qucstlonbut
not rcprcscntcd. 1o thoroughlv th|nk i hrough thc stablc cons|stcncv o|
natura|mu|tlplcs. nodoubtoncmustprohl b|tthcsc|ntcrnals|ngu| ar|tlcs.
andpos|tthatanorma|mu|t|plcl scomposcd. |nt urn. o|normalmu|t|plcs
a|onc. ! nothcrwords. such a mu|t|plc is bothprcscntcd andrcprcscntcd
wlthl n a s|tuatlon. and |urthcrmorc. lns|dc it. a|l thc mult|plcs wh|ch
bc|ongto| t( that| tprcscnts i arealso|nc| udcd. rcprcscntcdi . morcovcr. al l
thcmult|plcswh|ch makcupt hcsc mult|plcsarcalsonormal. and soon
A naturalprcscntcd mult|p|c ( a natura| sl tuat|oni |s thc rccurrcnt |orm
mu|tlplc o|a spcc|a| cqu|l|bri umbctwccnbclong|ngand l ncl us|on. struc
turc andmctastructurc. On|v thls cqul | ibr|umsccurcs and rc sccurcsthc
cons|stcncv o| thc mu|t|plc. Natura|ncss |s thc l ntr|ns|c normalltv o| a
s|tuat|on.
Wc shal | thus sav thc |o|lowlng. a si t uat|on i s nc/ura/| | al l thc tcrm
mu|t|plcs that |t prcscnts arc normal and ||. morcovcr. all thc mult|plcs
prcscntcdbvl tstcrmmult|p|cs arc a| sonormal Schcmatl callv. ||N|sthc
s|tuat|on l n qucst|on. cvcrv clcmcnt olN |s also a sub mu| t|plc o| N !n
ontologvth|sw|llbcwr|ttcnassuch. whcnonchasnE N( bcl ong|ngi . onc
al sohasnc N( |ncl usi oni . !nturn. thcmult|plcnl salsoanatural s|tuat|on.
|nthat| |n E n. thcn cqua|lv n c n. Wc canscc that a natura| multiplc
counts asonc norma| mult| p|cs. wh|ch thcmsclvcs count as onc norma|
mul ti ples Thi s normal stabili ty cnsurcs tbe hemoucnc/n of natura| mul ti ­
p| cs. 1hat | s. || wc pos|t rcclprocltv bctwccn naturc and normal l tv. thc
conscqucncc÷g|vcn that thc tcrms o| a natura| mult|p|c arc thcmsclvcs
composcd o| norma| mult|plcs÷|s that nature rcma|ns homogcncous /n
d/ss:m/na/|on. whatanaturalmu|t|p|cprcscnts| snatural. andsoon. Naturc
ncvcr|ntcrnal| vcontrad|ctsltsc||. lt| ssc||homogcncousscl|prcscntat|on.
Such |s thc |ormulatlon w|th|n thc conccpt o| bc| ng as purc mu|t|plc o|
whatEc|dcggcrdctcrm|ncsas<
u
r,s, rcma|n|ngthcrc | n |tscl| .
But |or thc poct|c catcgorlcs ol thc aurora| and t hcopcn|ng |orth wc
subst|tutc thc structural and conccptua| | v transm|ss|blc catcgor|cs o| thc
maxlmal corrc|at|on bctwccn prcscntatlon and rcprcscntatlon. bc| ong|ng
and lnclus|on.
NATURE: POEM OR MATHEME?
Hc|deggcr holds thatbe|ng | s asçcc..' . Wc sha| ls avrathcr bc|nccon
s|sts maxl ma| lv as natural mult|pl|c|tv. wh|ch |s to sav as homogcncous
normal|tv. Forthcnon ve|l|ngwhoscprox|m|tv| slost. wc subst|tutcth|s
aura lcss propos|t|on. naturc |swhat| sr|gorouslv normal| nbc| ng.
129
130
MEDI TATI ON TWELVE
The Ontol ogi cal Schema of Natural Mu l t i pl es
and the Non-exi stence of Natu re
Sctthcorv. consldcrcdasanadcquatcthl nkl ncofthcpure mult| plc. orof
thc prcsentatlon of prcsentatlon. ]orma//zcs anv sl tuatl on whatsocvcr
| nsofar as l t rcllccts thc lattcr's bc|ng as such. that l s. thc multlp|c of
mu|tlplcswhlchmakcsupanvprcscntatlon. !f.wl thl nthlsframcwork.onc
wants to lorma| l zc a part| cular sltuatlon. thcn l t l s bcst to consldcr a sct
suchthatltscharactcr|stl cs÷wh|ch.l nthclastrcsort.areexprcsslblclnthc
log|c of thc slgn of bc|onglng alonc. e ÷arc comparablc to that of thc
structurcd prcscntatlon÷thc s|tuatl on÷ln questl on.
!fwcwl shtonndthcontolog|ca| schcma olnatural mul tl pl l clt|cs such
asltl sthought ln Mcdl tatl on l l . that|s. asa sct ofnormal multlpllc|tlcs.
thcmsc|ves composcd of norma| mult|pl | cl tl cs÷thus thc schcma o| thc
max|mum cqulllbrlum of prcscntcdbclng÷thcn wc must nrst of al l
formal|zcthc conccptofnormal|tv.
The hcart ofthc qucstlonllcs ln there sccurlngpcrformcdbv thcstatc
!tls on thcbaslsofthlsrc sccurlng. andthuson thc baslsofthc dl s] unctl on
bctwccn prcscntatlon and rcprcscntatlon. that ! catcgorlzcd tcrms as
slngular. norma|. orcxcrcsccnt.anddcnncdnatural sl tuat|ons ( cvcrvterm
l snormal . and thc tcrms ol thctcrmsarcalso normal i .
Lo thcsc !dcas of thc multlplc. thc axl oms of sctthcorv. al low us to
|ormallzc. andthusto thl nk. th|s conccpt'
l . THE CONCEPT OF NORMALITY: TRANSITIVE SETS
1o dctcrmlnc thc ccntral conccpt of normalltv onc must start from thc
follow|ng a mu|tlplca lsnormal| fcvcrvc/cmcn/oo|th|ssct| salsoasu/sc/.
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MUlI PLES
t hat | s. 8 E a � 8 C a.
Onc can scc that a | s consldcrcd hcrc as t hc s|tuatl on |n wh| ch 8 | s
prcscntcd. andthatthc|mp| l cat|ono|thc|ormul al nscr|bcsthc| dcathatß
|s countcd as onc m/cc ( | n a) ; oncc as clcmcnt and oncc as subsct. bv
prcscntat|on and bv thc statc. that l s. accordlng to a. and accord|ng to
p() .
1hc tcchnlcal conccpt whl ch dcs|gnatcs a sct such as a ls that o| a
/rans///rcsct Atransltlvcsctls a sct such thatcvcrvth|ngwhlchbcl ongsto
lt æ E a) ls a| so l ncl udcd|n it B c ai .
l nordcr nott oovcrbutdcn ourtcrmlnologv. andoncc l t| sundctstood
thatthccoup| cbclong|ng/|nclus|ondocsno/co|ncldcwlththccouplcOnc/
All ( d. onthi spol ntthctabl c|ol | ow|ngMcdltatlon8i . |romth| spo| nton.
alongwl thFrcnchmathcmatlclans. wcwl l l tcrmallsubsctso|apar/so|a
In othcrwordswcwl l l rcadt hcmarkf C aas ßl s a part o|a. ' Fort hcsamc
reasonswc wlll namcp(ai . whi chl sthc sct o|subsctso|a ( and thus thc
statco|thcsltuat|on a), thcscto|partso|a. ' Accord|ngtoth|sconvcntl on
a trans| tl vcsctw|llbca sctsuch thatal l o||tsc/cmcn/s arc al so par/s.
1rans|t|vc scts plav a |undamcntal rolc |n sct thcorv. 1hl s ls bccausc
ttanslt|vltvl sina ccrtal nmanncr(hcmax/m×mcor·c/a//on /c/wccn /c/onµ/nµ
and/nc/us/on lttcllsus that cvcrvthl ngwh|chbclongs|s|ncludcd. ' 1hanks
tothcthcorcmo|thcpo|nto|cxccsswcknowthatthclnvcrscpropos|tlon
woul ddcs|gnatcanlmposslbllltv. l tl snotposslblc|orcvcrvth|ngwh|ch| s
| ncl udcd to bcl ong 1rans|t|vltv. wh|ch |s thc ontolog|cal conccpt o| thc
ont|c conccpt o| cqu|l|brl um. amounts to thc prlm|t|vc s|gn o| thc onc
mult|plc. E , bcl nghcrc÷lnthcl mmancncco|thcscta÷translatablcl nto
l nclus|on. !n othcrwords. |n a translt|vcsctl nwhl ch cvcrv cl cmcntl s a
part. whatls prcscntcdto thc sct'scountasonc ls al sorcprcscntcdtothc
sct o|parts' count as onc.
Locsatl castonctrans|t|vcsctcx| st'Atthlspo| nto|ourargumcnt. thc
qucstlono|cxi stcnccl sstrlct| vdcpcndcntuoont hccxl stcnccof thcnamc
o|thc vold. thc solc cxl stcntla| asscrt|on whlch has so |ar ñgurcd | n thc
axl omso|sctthcorv. orthc!dcaso|thcmultl plc !cstabl l shcd( Mcd|tat|on
7ì thc cx|stcncc o| thc sl ng| cton o| thc vo|d. wrlttcn | Øj . which l s thc
|ormation l nto onc o| thc namc o| thc vo|d. that | s. thc mu| tl p| c whosc
solcclcmcnt| sØ. Lct' sconsl dcrthcscto|subsctso|th|s| Øj . that|s. p| Øj .
whlchwcwl l | nowcal l t hcsct o|partso|thcsl ng| ctonolthcvol d 1hl ssct
cx|stsbccausc | Øj cx|stsandthcaxl omo|parts l sa cond|tlona| guatantcc
o|cx|stencc( | |acxlsts. p(ai cxl sts. d. Mcdltat|on ¯ i . Whatwoul dthcparts
o|p( Øi bc'Loubtlcssthcrc i s |Oj |tscl|. wh|chl s. a|tcral| thc totalpart ' .
1 31
132
BEI NG AND EVENT
1herc ls also Ø. bccauscthevoldls un| vcrsallvl ncludcd ln cvcrvmult|plc
(Ø ls a part o|cvcrv sct. c| Mcdltat|on 7 ì !t ls cvldcnt that therc are no
othcrparts 1hc mul tl p| cp| Øi . set o|parts01 thc s|nglcton |Øj. l sthusa
multl plc whl ch has /wo clcmcnts. Ø and | Øj Bcrc. woven |rom noth|ng
apart|romthcvold. wchavcthcontoloclcalschcmao|thcTo.whlchcan
bewr|ttcn. |Ø. | Øj j
1hlsTo l sa trans|t|vc set Wltncss.
~ thcclcmcnt Ø. bcl nga unl versal part. | spart o| thc1o.
~ thcclcmcnt| Øj |sa| soaparts| nccØl sanc/cmcn|o| thcTo. |tbclongs
toit i 1hcrc|orcthcs|nµ/c/ono|Ø.thatls.thcpartolthc1owhl chhasØ
as |ts soleclcmcnt. ls clcarlvl ncludcd ln thc1o
Conscqucntlv.thctwoclemcntso|theToarcalsotwopartso|thcTo
and thc1ol stransltlvc l nso|aras |t makcs a onc solclvouto|mul tlplcs
that arc al so parts 1hc mathematl cal conccpt ol trans|t|vltv. whlch
|ormal|zes normal|tv or stabl c mult|pl lcltv. ls thcrc|orc th|nkabl c. Morc
over. |tsubsumcscxl stl ngmu| tlplcs ( whosccxl stcncc |s dcduccd|romthc
ax|omsi
2. NA1URAL MUL1!PLFS. 0RL!NALS
1hcrc l s bcttcr to comc Not onlv l s thc 1o a transrtrvc set. but |ts
c|cmcnts. Ø and |Øj. arc also trans|t|ve As such. wc rccogn|zcthat. asa
normalmultl plccomposcdo|normalmul t|plcs. thc 1o|ormal|zcsna/ura/
cxlstcnt- dual |tv.
1o|ormal|zcthc naturalcharactcrofa s|tuat|on not on|v |s ltncccssarv
thatapurcmu| tl p| cbctransl t | vc. buta|sothatall of l tsc| cmcntsturnout
tobctransl tl vc 1hl sl stransl tl vltv'srccurrcncc l owcrdown whlchrulcs
thenaturalcqul ll br|umo|asl tuatl on. slnccsucha s|tuatl on l snormaland
cvervth|ng wh| ch l tprcscnts ls cquallv normal. rclat|vc to thc prcscnta
t|on So. how docs th|shappcn'
- 1hccl cmcnt¦ Øj has Ø asltsun| quccl cmcnt 1hcvo| d| sa un|vcrsal
part 1h|s c|cmcnt Ø | sthusa| soa part
~ 1hcelcmcntØ. propcrnamco|thcvold. docsnotprcscntanvclcmcnt
and conscqucntlv÷and |t |s hcrc that thc d| ||crcncc accord|nc to |nd||
|crcncc. charactcr|st|co|thevold. rcallvcomcslntoplav÷noth|ng|nsldc|t
/sno/a part 1hcrc l sno obstaclcto dcclar|ngØ tobc trans|t|ve
As such. thcTo |strans|tlvc. and a| l o||tscl cmcntsarc trans|t|vc
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
A sc| t hat has thls propcrtv w| l l bc ca| lcd an ord/na/. 1he To i s an
ordlna| . An ordinal ontologlcal | v rc|lccts thc mu| ti pl cbcl ng o| natural
sltuatlons . And. o|coursc. ordlna| splav a dcc|slvcrolcl nsctthcorv. Onc
o|thclrmalnpropcrtlcsi sthatcvcmmu///p/cwh/ch /c/onµs/o/hcm/sa/soan
ord/na/. whlchls thc lawo|bclng o|ourdeñnltlon o|Naturc. cvcrvthlng
wh|ch bclongs to a natural sltuation can a|so bc consldcrcd as a natural
sltuatlon. Ectc wchavc loundthe homogcncltv o|naturc agaln.
Lct' sdcmonstratc thlspolnt] ust |or |un.
1akc a, an ordl nal . !| ß e a, it |¡ rst |oll ows that8 ls transitivc. bccausc
cvcrvc| cmcnto|anordi nallstransitlvc. !tthcn|ollowsthat8C a, bccausc
a lstransi tlvc. andthusevcrvthlngwh|ch /c/onµs/ol tl sal so /nc/udc4/nl t.
ßutl|8 |slncludcdl na, bvthcdcñnltlonollncluslon. cvcrv clcmcnto|8
bclongs to a. 1hcrc|orc. (y e 3i - (y e oi . But |l y bclongs to a, |t ls
transltlvcbccausc a ls an ordlnal . Flnallv. evcrvclcmcnt o| 8 is transitlvc.
andglvcnthat8 ltscl|| stranslt|vc. 8mustbc anordinal .
Anordlnalls thusamultlplco|multlplcswhlcharcthcmsclvcsordi nals .
1hls conccpt lltcrallvprov|dcs the backbonc o| a| l ontologv. bccausc it l s
thcvcrvconccpt olNaturc.
1hc doctrlnco|Naturc. |romthestandpoi nto|thcthoughto|bc|ng qua
bclng. | sthusaccompllshedlnthcthcorvolord|nal s. !tl srcmarkab|cthat
dcsp|tcCantor'scrcatlvcenthuslasmlorordlnals. slncch|stimcthcvhavc
not bcen consldcrcd bv mathcmatlcians as much morc than a curlosltv
w|thoutmaj orconscqucncc. 1hls |s becauscmodcrn ontologv. unllkcthat
o| thc Anclcnts. docs not attcmpt to lav out thc archltccturc o| bclng
ln totalitvl nal l i tsdctal l . 1hc|cwwhodcvotcthcmsclvestothlslabvrlnth
arc special|sts whosc prcsuppos| ti ons conccrnlng onto- l ogv. the llnk
bctwccn languagc and thc savablc o| bcing. arc partlcul ar| v rcstrlctlvc.
notablv÷and ! w| l l rcturn to thi s÷onc ñnds thcrc|n thc tcnants of
cons/ru.//////n. whlch l s concc|vcd as a programmc |or thc complctc
mastcrv o| thc conncctlon bctwccn |ormal languagc and thc multi plcs
whosccxi stcnce lstolcratcd.
Onco|thc|mportantcharactcristlcso|ordlnalsi sthat thci rdcñni ti onls
lntrlnslc.orstructural . !|vousavthata multlplcl s anordlnal÷atransi tlvc
sct o|translt|vc scts÷this ls an a/so/u/c dcicrmlnatlon. l ndi ||crcnt to thc
sltuat|on i nwhlchthc multlplc i sprcscntcd .
1hc ontologlcal crltcrion |or natural multlplcs is thcl r stab|l|tv. thclr
homogcncitv.that| s. aswesha| lscc. thclrimmancntordcr. Or. tobcmorc
prcclsc. thc|undamcntalrc| atlono|thcthoughto|thcmul tl p| c. bclonging
( e i . connccts a|l natura| multlplcs togcthcr l na spcc|nc manncr. Natural
133
134
BEI NG AND EVENT
mu|tiplcsarcunivcrsa||vintricatcdvi at hcsigninwhich ontologvconcen
trates prcscntation. 0r rathcr. natura| consistcncv÷to spcak | i kc Bc| -
dcggcr÷is t hc ho|ding swav' . throughout t hc cntirctv ol natural
mu| tiplcs. o|thc original !dea o|multlp| c prcscntat| on that i sbc|onging
Naturcbclongstoitsc||. 1hispoint÷|romwhich |ar rcach| ngconc| usions
willbcdrawnonnumbcr. quantltv. andthoughtl ngencral~dcmandsour
cntrancc| ntothcwcbo|inlcrcnce.
> . 1EF PLAY 0F PRFSFN1A1!0NlX NA1URALMUL1!PLFS 0R
0RL!NALS
Considcra naturalmu| tiplc. a. 1akc anelcmcnt8 olthatmultiplc. 8 E a.
Sincc a i snormal ( transitivci . bvthc dcñnition o|natura| multip|cs. thc
clcmcnt8is also a part. and thus wc havc8 c a. 1hc rcsulti sthat cvcrv
clcmcnto| 8 is alsoan clcment o| a. Lcts notc. morcovcr. thatductothc
homogcncitv ol naturc. cvcrv clcmcnt o| an ordinal i s an ordinal ( scc
abovci . Wc attainthc|ollowlngrcsul t. llanordl nal 8 i sanclcmcnto|an
ord| na| a, andi|anordi nal y isancl cmcnto|thcordi na| 8. thcny isalso
anclcmcnto|a: 't E a) 8 ( E 8i ] � ( E a) .
0nccan thcrc|orcsav thatbc|onging transmitsitscl| |roman ordina|to
anv ordinalwhichprcscnts|tln thc onc multiplcthatit l s. thc c|cmcnto|
thc clcmcnt isa|so an clcmcnt. !| onc dcsccnds withinnaturalprcscnta
tion. onc rcmalns within such prcscntation. Mctaphoricallv. a ccll o| a
complcxorganismand thcconstitucntso|thatccllarc constitucntso|that
organism] ust asnaturallvas itsvlsiblc |unctiona| parts arc.
Sot hat natural | anguagcml ghtgui dcus÷and dcspitc t hcdangcrthat
intultionprcscnts|orsubtractivcontologv÷wc shalladoptthcconvcnt|on
o|savingthatanordinal8issma//cr/hananordinala i | onchas8E a. Notc
that l n thc casc o|a bcl ng di||crcnt t f, sma| | crthan causcsbc| onglng
andinclusiontocoincldchcrc.bvvirtuco|thc transitivitvo|a, i|f E a, onc
also has 8C a, and sothc c| cmcnt 8 iscquallva part. 1hat anordinalbc
smal|crthananothcrordina| mcansind| ||crcntlvthat itcithcrbc| ongs to
thc|argcr. orls inc| udcdi nthc | argcr.
Must smal| crthan' bctakcn l na s/r/c/scnsc.cxcludingthc statcmcnt
'
a
is smallcr than a
'
' Wc wil| allow hcrc that. in a gcncral manncr. it l s
unthinkablc that a sct bc|ong to itscl|. 1hc wrlting a E a i s markcd as
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
|orb|ddcn. 1hc rcasons ol thought wh|ch ll c bch| nd th|s prohlb|t|on arc
pro|ound bccausc thcv touch upon thc qucst|on o| thc cvcnt. wc shall
studv th|smattcr|nMcd|tatlonsl 7 and l 8. Forthcmomcntalll askl sthat
thcproh|b|t|onbcacccptcdassuch !tsconscqucncc. o|coursc. l sthatno
ord|nalcanbcsmal l crthan|tscll.s|ncc smallcrthan' col nc| dcs. |ornatural
mult|plcs. wlth tobclongto .
What wc havc statcd abovc can a|so bc |ormu| atcd. accordlng to thc
convcnt|ons. assuch ||anord|nall ssmallcrthananothcr. andthatothcr
|ssmallcrthan a thlrd. thcnthc ñrstl salso smallcrthan thcth|rd 1h|s|s
thc banal law o| an ordc·. vct th|s ordcr. and such | s thc |oundat|on o|
natural homogcnc|tv. | s noth|ng othcr than thc ordcr o| prcscntat|on.
markcdbvthc s|gnE .
Oncc thcrc l s an ordcr. a smallcr than' . l t makcs scnsc to posc thc
qucstl on o| thc smallcst' mult|plc wh|ch would havc such or such a
propcrtv. accord|ng to thls ordcr
1hls qucst|on comcs down to know|ng whcthcr. glvcn a propcrtv '
cxprcsscd |n thclanguagc o| sct thcorv. such or such mult|plc
nrst. posscsscst hcsal dpropcrtv.
÷ sccond. glvcn a rclat|on o| ordcr. | s such that no multlplc wh|ch |s
smallcr' accordlngto that rclat|on. hasthc sal dpropcrtv.
S|ncc smal l cr' . lor ord|nals or natural mult|p|cs. |s sa|d accordlng to
bclonglng. this sl gn| li cs that ana cx|stswhlch ls suchthat|t posscsscsthc
propcrtv ' | tscl |. but nomultl plcwh| chbclongstol t posscsscsthclattcr
propcrtv. !t can bc sa|d that such a mult|plc | s E m|n|mal |or thc
propcrtv.
Ontologv cstabl|shcs thc |ollow|ng thcorcm. g|vcn a propcrtv '. |] an
ord|nalposscsscsl t. /henthcrccxlstsanordl nalwh|ch|sE m|nl mal |orthat
propcrtv. This connecti on between the ontological schema for nature and
m|n|mal|tv accord|ng to bclong|ng |s cruc| al . What | t docs i s or|cntatc
thought towards a natural atom| sm' |n thc w|dcr scnsc. l | a propcrtv | s
attcstcd |or at lcast onc natural mul t|plc. thcnthcrcw|llal wavscx|st an
a///ma/cnatural clcmcnt w|th thls propcrtv. Forcvcrvpropcrtv wh| ch| s
d|sccrn|blc amongst mu| t| pl cs. nat urc proposcs to us a hal t| ng po| nt.
bcncath wh|chnoth| ngnatura| mavbcsubsumcdundcrthcpropcrtv.
lhcdcmonstratlono|thls thcorcmrcqulrcsthc usco|aprl ncl plcwhosc
conccptual cxam|natlon. ll nkcd to thc thcmc o| thc cvcnt. l s complctcd
1 35
136
BEI NG AND EVENT
solclv ln Mcdltatlon 1 8. 1hc csscntlal po|nt to rctaln ls thc ptl nclp|c o|
ml nl mall tv. whatcvcr ls accuratc|v thought about an ordl na| . thcrc wi l |
al wavs bc anothcr ordi na| such that thls thought can bc mi nl mal|v'
appllcdto l t. andsuch thatno sma| | crordina| ( thusnootdina|bc| onclng
tothc|attcrordlnal i i spcrt| ncnt to thatthought. 1hcrcl sa haltlngpoint.
/owcrdown. |orcvcrvnatura| dctcrml natl on 1hl scan bc wrlttcn.
I(a) - ( 38i ' ( V8i ô ( E / - - ( Vyi |
!n thl s |ormu| a. thc ordl na| 8 i s thc natura| mi nl mal va| l dat| on o| thc
propcrtv V. Natural stabl | i tv is cmbodlcd bv thc atomic stopplng polnt
that l t llnks to anv cxpll c| t charactcrizatl on. !n thls scnsc. all natura|
conslstcncv i satomlc
1hcprlnci p| co|mi ni ma|ltvlcadsustothcthcmco|thcucncra/connc.//on
o|a| | natura|mu| tl p| cs. Forthc hrsttlmc wcthusmcctaµ|o/a/ontologlcal
dctcrminatl on. oncwhi ch savsthatcvctvnatura| mu|tlp|ci sconncctcdto
cvcrv othcr natura| multiplc by prcscntatl on. 1hcrc arc no ho|cs | n
naturc.
! sal d that /] thcre ls thc rc| atlon o| bc|ongi ng bctwccn ordi na| s. it
|unctlons | l kc a rc| atl on o| ordct 1hc kcv polnt ls that in |act thcrc l s
a/ways. bctwccnt wodl||crcnt ordlnals. t hcrc| atl ono|bc| ongl nc. ! | a and
8atctwoordl nalssuchthata o ß. t hcnclthcra E ßorßE a. Fvcrvordina|
l sa portlon o|anothcrordlna| (bccausc a E / - a C ßbythc ttansltlvltv
o|ordina| si savc l | thc sccond ls a portlono|thc nrst.
Wcsawthatthconto|ogi calschcma o|naturalmul ti p| cswascsscntla|lv
homogcncous. |nso|atascvcrvmu|tlp|cwhosccount as onclsguarantccd
bv anordlna| l s ltsc|| an ordi na| . 1hc idca that wc havc now comc to ls
much stronger. It dcs. gnatcs the unlvcrsa| i ntrication, orco- prcscntation.
o| ordlna|s . Bccausc cvcrv ordlnal i s bound to cvcrv othcr ordlna| bv
bc|onglnc. l t l s ncccssarv to thlnk that mu| t| plcbcl ng prcscnts notIlng
scpcra//cwithl nnatural sltuatl ons Fvcrvthingthati sprcscntcd. bvwavo|
thcmultl p| c. l nsucha sl tuatl on. | s clthcr contal ncdwlthln thcprcscnta
tlono|othcrmcltlplcs. orcontai nsthcmwl thl ni tsownprcscntatl on. 1hi s
ma] orontologlca|prlnclp|ccanbcstatcdas|o|| ows. Naturcdocsnotknow
anvi ndcpcndcncc ! ntcrmsof thcpurcmu|tiplc. andthusaccordi ngtoits
bclng. thc natuta|wot|drcqulrcscachtcrmtolnscrlbcthcothcrs. ortobc
lnscrlbcdbvthcm. Naturcisthusuni vcrsa||v.onncc/cd. itlsanasscmb|agc
o|mu|tlp|csl nttlcatcdwlthlncachothcr. withouta scparatlngvold ( vol d
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
| s not an cmp|r|cal or astrophvslcal tcrm hcrc. |t |s an ontolog|cal mct
aphori
1hc dcmonstratl on o| th|s polnt ls a l|ttlc dcl|catc. but |t |s qu|tc
lnstruct|vcata conccptuallcvclducto|tscxtcnslvcusagc o|thcprl nc|plc
ol m|n|ma|ltv Normalltv (or transl tlv|tvi . ordcr ml nlmal|tv and total
conncct|onthusshowthcmsclvcstobcorganlcconccptso|naturalbc|ng
Anv rcadcr who l s dl scouragcd bv dcmonstrat|ons such as thc |ollow|ng
cantakc thc tcs ult asg|vcn and procccd toscct|on |our
Supposcthattwoordl na| s. a and8. howcvcrd|||crcntthcvarc. sharcthc
ptopcrtv o| no/ bcl ng bound' bv thc rclat|on o| bclongl ng. Nc|thcr onc
bclongstothcothcr. - (u e ßi 8 - (8e a) 8- (a = ßi .Tootdl nalsthcncx|st.
sav y and 0, wh|ch arc e m|nl mal |or th|s propcrtv. 1o bc prcc|sc. th|s
mcans.
- thatthcord|nalyl se m|n|mal|orthcpropcrtv thcrccx|stsanotd|nal
a such that - (a e yi 8 -( e a) 8 -µ = yi ' . or. thcrc cxl sts an otd|nal
d|sconncctcd|rom thcord|nal |nqucst|on' .
- that. suchane· ml nl mal ybc|nghxcd. 0 |se- m|nl ma| |orthcpropcrtv.
- (0 e yi 8 - (e 0) 8 - (0 = yi
Eow arc th|sy andthls0 s|tuatcd' |n rclatlon to cach othcr. glvcnthat
thcvarceml nl ma| |orthcsupposcdpropcttv o|4/sconncc//onw|thrcgard
tothctclatlono|bclonglng'! wl l l showthat. atallcvcnts. onc| s/nc/u4cd
|nthcothcr. that0 C y. 1hlscomcsdowntocstabl|sh|ngthatcvcrvclcmcnt
o|0 |sanclcmcnto|y 1h|s|swhcrcm|n|mal|tvcomcs| ntop| av Bccausc
o|s e- m|n|mal |or t hcd|sconncct|on wlthy. l t|o| lowsthat oncc/cmcn/o|
o |s |tscl| actuallv conncctcd 1hus. l | , e 0, , l s conncctcd to y. wh|ch
mcans c|thcr
- that y e ,, but thl s | s l mposs|blc bccausc e | s a rclatlon o| ordcr
bctwccnotd|nals. andlromye , and, e 0, wc woul dgcty e o. wh|ch
|s |orb|ddcnbv thc dl sconncctlon o|y and0;
- orthat y = ,, whi ch | s mctby the same obj ecti on si nce i f , e o. y e o
whlch cannot be al lowcd.
- orthat , e y. 1hls l sthc onlv so| utl on 1hcrc|orc. (, e 0) - (, e yi .
wh|chclcatlvmcansthat0 |sa parto|y ( cvcrvc' cmcnto|0 | sanclcmcnt
o|yi
Notc. morcovcr. that 0 C y l s a s/r/c/ |nc| us|on. bccausc 0 andy arc
cxcl udcd |rom bcl ng cqual bv thc|r d|sconncct| on. ! thcrc|orc havc thc
right to consider an el ement of the difference between S and y. si nce that
dl ||crcncc |snotcmptv Sav7 | s thatclcmcnt. l havc 7 e Y ô -(- e o)
137
138
BEI NG AND EVENT
Slncc y l sE ml nl mal | orthc propcrtv thcrc cxlsts anordlnal whlch l s
dlsconncctcd |rom thc ordlnal undcr consldcrat|on' . cvcm ordlnal l s
conncctcd t oanclcmcnto| y ( othcrwlsc. y woul dnot bcE m| nl mal |or
that propcrtvi . lnpart lcular. thc ordlnal 3 l sconncctcd to T. whlch l s an
clcmcnt o|y. Wcthushavc.
- cl thcr3 E 7. whlchl sl mpossl blc. |orglvcnthatT E y. wcwouldhavc
to havc 3 E Y whl ch l s|orbl ddcnbv thc dl sconncctl ono|3 8 y;
~ or3 = T. samc obj cctlon.
- or T E 3. whlch ls |orbl ddcn bv thc chol cc o| T outsl dc 3.
1hlst l mcwchavcrcachcdanl mpassc. Allt hchvpothcscsarcunwork
ablc. 1hc ln|tlal supposl tl on o| thc dcmonstratlon÷that thcrc cxl st two
dl sconncctcdordlnals÷mustthcre|orc bc abandoncd. and wc must poslt
that.glvcntwodl ||crcntordlnals. clthcrthcñrstbclongstothcsccond. or
thcsccondto thc ñrst
4. UL1lMA1F NA1URAL FLFMFN1 ( UNlOUF A1OMi
lhc |act that bclonglng. bctwccn ordlnals. l s a tota| ordcr complctcs thc
prlnclplco|ml nl mal l tv÷thc atomlsm o| ultlmatc natural clcmcntswhlch
posscss a glvcnpropcrtv !thappcnsthatan ultlmatc clcment. E mlnl mal
|orthc propcrtv ' l sñna| lvun/aac.
1akc anordlnala whl chposscssesa propcrtvc andwhl ch l sE mlnl mal
|orthatpropcrtv. l|wc consldcranvothcrordi nal ß. dl ||crcnt|roma. wc
knowthatl tl sconncctcd to a bvbcl onglng. 1hus . clthcr a E ß. andß÷l |
l t has thcpropcrtv÷is not E mlnlma| lori t. bccauscß containsa. which
posscsscsthcpropcrtv ln qucstlon. or. ß E a. andthcnß docs notposscss
thc propcrtv. becausc a l s E ml nl mal lt |ollows that a l s thc un/;uc
E ml nl mal ordl nal|orthatpropcrtv.
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
1hl s rcmark has wl dc ranglng conscqucnccs. bccausc l t authorlzcs
us÷|ora naturalpropcrtv. whlchsul ts naturalmultl plcs÷to spcako| |hc
unl quc ordlnal whlch ls thc smallcst' clcment |ot whlch thc propcrtv l s
approprl atc. Wc arc thusnowablct ol dcntl lv an atom |orcvcrvnatural
propcrtv.
1hc ontologlcal schcma o| natural mu| tl plcs clarl hcs our constant
tcndcncv÷prescntl nphvslcsasl t l s clscwhcrc÷todctcrml ncthcconccpt
olthc ultl matc constl tucnt capablc ol bcarlng' an cxpllclt propcrtv. 1hc
unlcltv o| bc|ng o| thc ml nl mum l s thc |oundatlon o| thc conccptual
unl cltvo|thl sconst|tucnt 1hccxamlnatlono|naturccananchorl tsel|. as
a l awo|l tspurc bcl ng. l n thc ccrtl tudc o|a unl quc hal tl ngpol ntl n thc
desccnt' towardsu| tl matcclcmcnts.
¯. AN ORLINAL lS1EF NUMBFROF1BA1 OF WBI CBI1l S1BF
NAMF
When onc namcs a' an ordlnal. whlch l s to sav thc purc schcma o| a
naturalmultl plc. oncscalsthconc o|thc multlplcswhl chbclongto l t. But
thcse mul tl pl cs. bclng otdl nals. are entl rc|v ordcrcd bv bclonglng. An
ordl nal can thcrc|orc bc vl suallzcd' as a chal n o| bclonglng. whlch.
startlng|romthcnamco|thcvold. contlnucsuptlllawlthoutincludlnglt.
bccausc a E a l s|orbl ddcn. In sum. thc sltuatlon | sthc|o| l owl ng.

0 E . . . . . E - - « v C 3 C . - - - « E u
"-�
All thc clcmcnts al lgned accordlnc to bclonglng arc al so thosc whlch
makcupthcmultlplca. 1hc slgnlñer a dcslgnatcsthc|ntcrruptl on. atthc
rank a, o| a chaln o| bcloncl ng. an lntcrruptlon whl ch l s al so thc
rcasscmblagc l na multlplc o|all thcmultl plcsordcrcdl n thc chal n. Onc
canthussavthatthcrcarcaclcmcntsl nthcordlnal a. bccauseal s thcath
tcrmolthc ordcrcdchal n o|bclonglngs.
139
140
BEI NG AND EVE NT
Anord|nal|sthusthc numbcrof|ts namc. 1h|s |saposs|blcde|in|t|onof
anatura| mul t| pl c. thoughtaccord|ngto itsbc|ng. thconc- mult|plcthat|t
|s. s|gn||icd |n thc rc- collect|on of an ordcr such that th|s onc' |s an
|ntcrrupt|on of thc l attcr at thc vcrv po|nt of |ts mult|plc-cxtcns|on.
Structurc ( of ordcri and mu|t|p| c' . bot h rclcrr|ng backto the pr|m|t|vc
s|gnofthcmu| t|plc. E , arc |na pos|t|on ofcqu|vocitv|nthc namc. 1hcrc
| s a balancc ol bc|ng and of orJcr wh|ch ] ust|ncs thc Cantor|an namc
ord|nal
A natural mu| t|ple structurcs |nto numbcr t hc mult|plc whosc onc | t
forms. and|tsnamc-onc co|nc|desw| thth| snumber- mu|t|pl c.
lti sthustructhat naturc' and numbcr arcsubst|tutabl c.
6 NA1URLLOLSNO1LXlS1
lf|t |scl carthata natural bcing|s thatwh|chpossesscs. as |ts ontoloc|cal
schcmaofprcsentat|on. anord|nal. whatthcn| sNa/urc.thatNaturcwh|ch
Gal|lco dcclarcd to bewr|ttcn |n mathcmat|cal languagc ' Graspcd | n|ts
purc mult|pl c-bc|ng. naturc should bc natural -bc|ng- | n total|tv. that |s.
the mult|plc which |s composcd of a// thc ord|nals. thus of al| thc purc
mult|plcs wh|ch arc proposcd as foundat|ons of poss|blc bci ng for cvcrv
prcscntcdorprcscntablcnaturalmult|p| ic|tv.1hcsctofa|lthcord|nals÷of
all thc namc-numbcrs÷denncs. |n the framcwork of thc ldeas of thc
mult|plc. thc ontoloc|cal substructurc of Naturc
Eowcvcr. a ncw thcorcm of ontologv dcclarcs i hat such a sct |s not
compatiblcw|ththcaxiomsof themultiplc. and could notbcadmittcdas
cx|stcntw|thinthcframcolonto-locv Xaturchasnosavablcbc. ng. 1hcrc
arconlvsomc natural bc|ngs .
Lct' s supposc thc cx|stcnce ofa multiplc whichmakcsa onc out of al |
thcord|nals. andsavt hatthi smu|t|p|ci s6. lt| sccrta|nthat0 |strans|t|vc
lf a E 0, a |s an ord|nal . and so al l ol |ts cl cmcnts arc ord| nal s. and
conscqucntlvbe| ong to 6. 1hcrclorc a |s alsoa partof0: a E 0 - a C 6.
Morcovcr. al l thcclcmcntsol0, bcingord|nals. arc thcmsclvcstrans|t|vc.
1hemult|plc0 thcrcbvsat|sncsthe dcnni t|onoford|nal s . Bc| nganordina|
0, thcsupposcd sctolal l ordinals. must bcloncto |tsclf. 0 E 6 Yctauto
bclong|ng| s forbi ddcn.
1hcontolog|cal doctr|ncolnaturalmu|t|pl|c|t|csthusrcsul ts. onthconc
hand. |n thc rccogn|t|on ol thc|r un|vcrsal |ntr|cat|on. and on thc othcr
hand. | nthc|nex|stcnccofthc|rWhol c. Onccouldsav. cvervth|ng( wh|ch
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
| snatural i | s( bcloncs i i nevcrvth|ng. savct hat thcrc| s nocvcrvthinc. 1hc
homogcnc|tvofthcontologlcalschcmaofnaturalprcscntat|ons| srcal|zcd
|n thc unl|ml|cd opcn|ng ola cha|n ol namc- numbcrs. s uch that cach |s
composcdolall thosc which preccdc| t .
141
142
MEDI TATI ON THI RTEEN
Infi ni ty: the other, the ru l e, and the Other
1hc compat|b||itv ofd|v|nc|nñn|tvw|th thc csscntiallv ñn|tc onto| ogvof
thc Grccks. | nparticularthat ofAr|stot| c. | s t hcpo|nt atwh|chli ghtmav
bcshcduponthcqucst|onofwhcthcr|tmakcsanvscnsc. andwhatscnsc
|npart|cul ar.tosavthatbc|ngquabc|ng| s|nñn|tc.1hatthcgrcatmcd|cva|
phi|osophcrs wcrc ablc to graft thc |dca of a suprcmc |nñn|tc bc|ng
w|thout too much damagc on to a substant|alist doctr|nc whcrc|n bc|ng
unfoldcd accord|ng to thc d| spos|t|on of |ts propcr l|m|t. |s a sufñc|cnt
|nd|cat|on that| t |s at thc vcrv lcast poss|blc to th|nk bc|ng asthc nn|tc
opcn|ng of a s|ngular d|ffcrcncc whi|st plac|ng. at thc summ|t of a
rcprcscntablchi crarchv. ancxccssofd|ffcrcnccsuchthat. undcrthc namc
of God. a bc|ng |s supposcd for whom nonc of thc nn|tc l|mit|ng
d|st|nct|onsproposcdto usbycrcatcdNaturcarcpcrt|ncnt
l t must bc adm|ttcd that. | n a ccrta|n scnsc. Chr|st|an monothc|sm.
dcsp|tc i ts dcsignat|on of God as innnitc. docs not |mmcd|atclv and
rad|callvrupturc w|thCrcckñn|t|sm 1Hcthoughtofbc|ngassuch| snot
fundamcntallvaffcctcd bv a transccndcnccwh|ch |s h|crarchicallv rcprc
scntablc as bcvond÷vct dcduc|blcfrom÷thcnaturalworl d 1hc poss|b| l
|tv of such continu|tv |n thc or|cntat|on of onto|og|cal d|scourse i s
cvidcntlv foundcd on thc follow|ng. |n thc mctaphvs|cal agc of thought.
wh|chfuscsthcqucst|onofbcingtothatofthcsuprcmcbc|ng. thc|nñn|tv
of thc God-bc|ng can bcbascd on a th| nk|ng |n wh|ch bc|ng. qua bc|ng.
rcma|ns csscnt| a| | v ñnitc. bivinc |nñnitv so|clv dcs|gnatcs thc transccn
dcnt rcg| on' olbc|ng-| n- totalitvwhcrc|nwcno/onucrknow|nwhatscnsc
thc csscnt|al ñn|tudc ofbc|ng |sman|fcstcd 1hc | n- ñn|tc| sthc punctual
limit tothccxcrcisc ofourthoughtofñn|tc-bc|ng With|nthcframcwork
I NFI NI TY: THE OTHER, THE RULE, AND THE OTHE R
ol whatHcidcggcrnamcsontothcologv ( thc mctaphvs|cal dcpcndcncv of
thcthoughtofbcinconthcsuprcmclv-bc|nci . thcd| ffcrcnccbctwccnthc
|nnn|tc and thc nn|tc÷a di ffcrcncc amongst bc|ngs or on//ca/ d|ffcr
cncc÷strictlv spcak|ng. docs not dcc|arc anvth|ng about bcing as such.
andcanconscrvcthcdcsignofCrccknnitudc pcrlcctlv. 1hatthc|nhnitc/
nnitccouplc|s non-pcrt|ncnt w|th|n thc spaccofon/o/oµ/ca/ d|ffcrcncc | s
nnallv thc kcvto thc compat|b|l|tv of a thcologv of thc |nnn|tc wi th an
ontologvofthcnn|tc. 1hccoup| c|nnnitcnn|tcd/s|r//u/csbc|nc- i n- totalitv
with|n thc unshakcn framcwork of substantialism. wh| ch ngurcs bcing.
whcthcti tisdivincornatural. as.60£ n, sincularcsscncc. thinkablcsolclv
accord|ng to thc afnrmat|vc d|spos|t|onof|ts limit.
1hcinnnitcGodofmcd|cvalCht|stian|tv/s. quabcing. csscnt|allvhnitc.
1h|s |s cv|dcntlv thc rcason whv thcrc |s no unbr|dgcablc abvss bctwccn
H|m and crcatcd Naturc. s| ncc thc tcasoncd obscrvation ol thc lattcr
furn|shcsusw|thproofofHiscx|stcncc. 1hc rcal opcratorofth|sproof|s
morcovcrthcd|st|nct|on. spcc|nca| lvl| nkcdtonatura|cx|stcncc. bctwccn
thc rc|gn of movcmcnt÷propcr to natural substanccs sa| d to bc nn|tc
÷and that of immobilitv÷God |s thc i mmob|lc suprcmc movcr÷wh|ch
charactcr|zcs|nnnitcsubstancc.Atth|spointwcshoul dnotcthatwhcnhc
wasonthcpointofrccogniz|ngthc|nnn|tvolcrcatcdNaturcitsc|f. undcr
thccffcctofthcGal | l cocvcnt. Lcscartcsalsohadtochanµcproe]s astothc
cx|stcncc ofCod.
1hc cffcctivc |nnn|tv ol bc|nc cannot bc rccogn|zcd accotd|ng to thc
un|quc mctaphvs|cal punctual|tv ofthc substant|al innn|tv ofa suprcmc
bc|ng 1hcthcsisofthc innnitvofbcingi sncccssar|lvpost Christi an. or. if
voulikc. post Galilcan. lt| sh|storicallvlinkcdtothcontologicaladvcntof
amathcmat|csofthcinnnitc. whosc|nt|matcconncctionw|ththcsub] cct
ofScicncc÷thc void ofthc Cog| to~tuinsthc Grcck l|m|t and| n- d| sposcs
thc suprcmacv ofthc bcing| nwh|chthc nn|tc ontolog|cal csscncc ofthc
i nñn|tci tsc| fwasnamcd God.
1hc conscqucncc|s that thc tad|cal|tv ofanv thcs|s on thc|nnn|tcdocs
not÷paradox| callv÷conccrn GodbutrathcrNaturc. 1hc audac|tv of thc
modcrns ccrta|nlv d|d not rcsidc |n thc|r |ntroduct|on of thcconccpt of
|nnn|tv.forthclattcthadlongsinccbccnadaptcdtoGrcckthoughtbvthc
Judco- Christian foundation. 1hc|raudac|tv lav |n cx- ccntr|ng thc usc ol
th|sconccpt.|nrcdircct|ng| tfrom| t�funct|onofd|str|butingthcrcg|onsof
be|ng | ntota|i tvtowards a charactcr|zat|on olbc|ngs-qua- bc|ngs naturc.
thcmodcrns sa|d. | s|nnn|tc.
143
144
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hi sthcsisoft hci nnnitvolnaturci smorcovcronlvsupcrncia|lvathcsi s
conccrningthcworld÷orthc Univcrsc. For world' cans|il l bcconcc|vcd
asa bci ng-ofthc- onc. andassuch. asshownbvKanti nthccosmological
antinomv. i | mcrclv constitutcs an l | l usorv impassc. 1hc spcculativc
possibilitvofChrist| anitvwasanattcmpttothinki n¦| nitvasanattributcof
theOnc-bcingwhilstuni vcrsal|vguardiogontologicalnni tudc. andrcscrv-
ing thc ontical scnse of nni tudc for thc multipl c. !t is through thc
mediation of a supposition conccrning thc bcing of thc Onc |hat thcsc
great thinkcrs wcrc ablc to si mu|tancouslvturn thc innnitc ( Godi into a
bcing. turn |hc nn| tc ( Naturci into a bc| ng. and maintain a nnitc
ontologicalsubstructurci nbothcascs. 1hisambigu. tvof|hcnni tc. which
onticallv dcsignatcs crcaturcs and ontologicallv dcsignatcs bcing. God
incl udcd hasitssourcci nagcsturcofPrcscnccwhi chguarantcesthatthc
Onci s. !lthcinnnitvofNaturcsolclvdcsignatcsthc i nnni tvofthcworld
orthc i nnn| tc univcrsc' i nwhichKovrcsawthcmodcrnrupturc. thcnit
i s still possiblc | o conccive |his unl vcrsc as an accomplishment of thc
bcing- cxistcntofthc- onc. |hatis. asnothingo| hcrthana dcpunctualizcd
God. Morcovcr. thc hni tistsubstructure ofon|ologvwouldpcrsis|within
this avatar. and ont. cal innnitv would fall lrom its transccndcntal and
pctsonalstatusi nfavourof a cosmological spacing÷wi thout. foral l that.
opcninguptoa radical sta|cmcnt on thccssenti al i nnnitv ofbci ng.
What must thcrcforc bc undcrstood | s that thc innnitv of naturc onlv
dcsignatcs thci nnnitv ofthc One-wor| d imaginari|v. !tsrcal scnsc÷sincc
the onc | snot÷conccrnsthc purcmul |iplc. which i sto savprescntati on.
!f. hi stor|cal|v. cvcni na manncrorigina| lvmisrccognizcd. thc conccptof
i nhni tvwasonl vrcvol utionarvi nthoughtonccitwasdcclarcdtoapp| vto
Naturc. thi s i sbccausccvervoncfclt t aat what was touchcd upon thcrc
wasthcontothcologlcalcdili.ci tscll. spccl ñcal|vi n| tscncounterwiththc
i nhni tc/hni | c coupl e. wha| was at stakc was thc rui n of thc si mplc
cri |cri onofthcrcgionaldi stinction. withi nbcing- i n totalitv. bctwccnGod
andcrcatcdNaturc. 1hcmcan| ngolt h strcmorwasthcrcopcnl ng olthc
on|ologicalquesti oni tsclf. ascanbcsceni nphilosophvfromLcscartesto
Kan| . anabsolutclvncwanxictvinfcctcd|hchnitistconv| cti on. lf.aftcrall.
i nl¡ni tvis natural. i f| ti snotthcncgat|vc namcofthcsuprcmcbcing. thc
sign of an cxceptlon i n whlch a hl crarchical punctual itv i s dl stl nguishcd
that i s thinkablcas thc bc| ng-ofthc- onc. then i si t not possiblc |hat this
predicate i s appropr|atc to bci ng insolar as i t i s prcscn|cd. thus to thc
multi p| c i n itsclf' !t i s from |he standpoint of a hvpothcsis. no| of an
I NF I NI TY: THE OTHER, THE RUL E, AND THE OTHER
|nnn|tc bc|ng. but of numcrous i nhn|tc mult|plcs. that thc |ntcllcctual
rcvolution ol thc s|xtccnth and scvcntccnth ccntur|cs provokcd. l n
thought. thc r|skv rcopcn|ng of thc |ntcrrogatlon of bc|ng. and thc
|rrcvcrs|blcabandonofthc Grcck d|spos|t|on.
ln |ts mostabstractform. thc rccogn|t|onofthc | nnnltvofbc|ng|s nrst
ofal l thcrccogn|t|onofthc| nnn|tvols|tuatlons. thcsupposlt|onthatthc
count-as- oncconccrns| nhn|tcmult|p||c|tlcs What. howcvcr. lsan|nnn|tc
mult|pl|c|tv' ln a ccrta|nscnsc÷and! w|ll rcvcalwhv÷thcqucst|on has
notvctbccncnt|rclvdcaltwlthtodav Morcovcr. | t| sthcperfcctcxamplc
ofan|ntr|ns|cal l vontol ogical÷mathcmat|cal÷qucsti on. 1hcrc| sno|nfra
mathcmatlcal conccpt of i nnn|tv. onlv vaguc |magcs of thc vcrv largc' .
Conscqucntlv. not onlv ls| t ncccssarvt o afnrm thatbc|ng| s | nnn|tc but
that // a/onc | s. or rathcr. that |nnn|tc |s a prcd|catc wh|ch | s solclv
appropr|atc to bcl ng quabc|ng. lf. lndccd. |t |s onlv | nmathcmat|cs that
oncnnds un|vocal conccptuallzat|ons of thc lnnnltc. th|s l s bccausc th|s
conccptis on|vsu|tablc to whatmathcmatlcs| sconccrncdw|th. whlch|s
bc|ng qua bclng lt | s cvldcnt to what dcgrcc Cantor's ocuvrc complctcs
and accompl|shcs thc h|stor|ca| Gal|lcan gcsturc. thcrc at thc vcrv po|nt
whcrc. in CrcckondthcnCrcco- Chrlstianthoughtancsscntla|appropr|a
t|on ofbc|ngas nn|tc was bascd÷innn|tvbc|ngthc onticattr|butc of thc
d| v|ncd|ffcrcncc÷|t| sonthccontrarvofbc|ngassuchandofltaloncthat
lnnn|tvls fromth|spo|nt on prcd|catcd. |n thc form ofthc not|onof an
|nnnltc sct' . and lt | s thc nn|tc whlch scrvcs to thl nkthc cmplr|cal or
|ntras|tuat|onal d| ffcrcnccswhl chconccrnbc|ngs.
Wcshoul daddthat. ncccssar|lv. thcmathcmat|calontologlzat|onofthc
|nnn|tcscparatcsltabsolutclvfromthconc. wh| ch| snot. lfpurcmult|plcs
arcwhatmustbcrccognl zcdas|nnn|tc. |tlsrul cdoutthatthcrcbcsomc
onc-|nnn|tv.1hcrcw|llncccssarllvbcsomc|nnn|tcmult|plcs. But what| s
morcprofoundst|ll| sthatthcrc|snol ongcranvguarantccthatwcwlllbc
ablc to rccognlzc a slmplc conccpt ol thc lnnnlt c- mult|plc. for | f such a
conccpt wcrc lcgltlmatc. thc multlplcs approprlatc to |t wou| d. |n somc
manncr. bc suprcmc. bc|ng no lcss multlplc' than othcrs. ! n th|s casc
|nnn|tv would lcad us back to thc soprcmclv-bclng. |n thc modc of a
halt|ngpo|ntwh|chwouldbc ass|gncdtothcthoughtofthc purcmu| t|plc.
g|vcnthat thcrc would bc noth|ng bcyond thc |nnn|tc multlpl cs . 1hcrc
forc. what must bc cxpcctcd |nstcad |s that thcrc bc |nnn|tc mult|plcs
whlchcanbcdlffcrcntlatcdfrom cachothcr/o/n]n/n. 1hc ontolog|zatlon
ol|nnnltv. bcs|dcsabol|shl ngthconc-lnnnltc. also abol|shcs thcunlc|tvof
145
146
BEI NG AND EVENT
innn|tv. what it proposcs |s thc vcrtigo of an inhn|tv of inñnitics di s-
tinguishablcwi thi nthci rcommon oppositiontothcñni tc.
What arc thc mcans of thought avai l abl c for rcndcring cffcct|vc thc
thcsis thcrccxi stsan|nñn|tvofprcscntation' 'Bv mcans' wcundcrstand
mcthodsv|a which |nnn|tv would occur w|thinthcthinkablc w//hou//hc
mcd/a//ono]/hc onc. Ar|stotlc alrcadv rccognizcd that thc i dca of inñnitv
( for him. thc arEtpOV, thc un l i m|t cdi rcqui rcs an intcllcctual opcratorof
passagc. Forhi m. innn|tv' wasbci ngsuch thati tcoul dnotbccxhaustcd
bvthcpioccss|onofthought. gi vcna possi blcmcthodofcxhausti on. 1his
ncccssari|vmcansthatbctwccnoncstagcofthcproccdurc.whatcvcr|t|s.
anJ thc goal÷that i s. thc supposcd l|mit of thc bci ng undcr con
sidcrat|on÷thcrc alwavs cxists sti |l morc' ( cncorci . 1hc phvs|cal cmbodi
mcnt ( cn corpsi oft hcbc|ng | s hcrc t hc stillmorc' of t hcproccdurc. at
whatcvct stagc i t mavbc of thc attcmptcd cxhausti on. Aristotlc dcnicd
thatsuchas|tuati onwasrcalizablcforthcobvi ousrcasonthatthcalrcadv
thcrcofthcbci ngundcrcons|dcrationincludcdthcd|spositionofitslim|t.
FotAristotl c. thcsingular alrcadv' ofanindctcrminatcbc| ngcxcludcsanv
invariantorctcrnal rcdupl|cati on ofthc stillmorc .
This dialectic of the alrcadv' andthc st|ll morc' | s ccntral . l t amountsto
thcfollowing. lora proccdurcofcxhaustionwhichconcctnsa multip|cto
havc anv mcaning. |t i sncccssarv thatthat mu| tip|c bc prcscntcd. But i f
thc lattcr is alrcadv cffcct|vc|v prcscntcd. how can thc travcrsal of |ts
prcscntat|on rcqul rc i t bcl nga| ways stl | l tocomc'
1hcontologvofi nhni tv÷wh|ch| stosavofthc|nhn|tcmultip|c. andnot
ofthc transccndcnt 0nc÷nna| lvrcqui rcsthrcc clcmcnts.
a. an alrcadv' . a point of bci ng÷thus a prcscntcd ot cxistcnt
multlpl c.
/. aproccdurc÷aru|c÷whl ch lssuchthat| tl nd|catcshowl pass from
onc prcscntcd tcrm to anothcr. a rulc which | s ncccssarv sincc |ts
fa|lurc to travcrsc thc cnt|rctv ol a mult|plc will rcvcal thc lattcr's
innnitv.
c. thcrcportofthcinvariantcx|stcncc÷onthcbasisofthcalrcadv. and
accordlngtothcrulc.t thcrul c's stil l morc'÷ofa tcrmstil l not vct
travcrscd.
Butth|si snotsufnc|cnt. Suchasi tuat|onw|| lonlvrcvcalthcimpotcncc
ofthc rulc. itw|llnotrcvcal/hccx/s/cncco]acausco{/h/s/mpo/cn:c. What| s
thcrcforc ncccssarv i nadd|ti on. i s
I NFI NI TY: THE OTHER, THE RUL E, AND THE OTHER
d. a sccond cx|stcnt (bcs|dcst hc alrcadv' i which acts as causc of thc
fa|l urc of thc proccdurc of cxhaust|on. that| s. a mult|plc wh|ch | s
supposcdsuch thatthc st|ll - motc' | s rcitcratcd|ns|dc| t.
W|thout th| s suppos|tion of cx|stcncc. thc onl v poss|b|l|tv | s that thc
rulc÷whosc cvcrv proccdural stagc would gcncratc thc nn|tc. howcvcr
numcrousthcvwcrc÷bc|tsclfcmp|r|callv |ncapablcofrcach|ngthcl|m|t.
lfthccxhaust|on. rathcrthanbc|ng cmp|r|cal. | s onc ofpr|nciplc. thcnit
|sncccssarv thatthc rcdupl|cat|on ofthc st|l l - morc' bc attcstablc w|th|n
thcplacc ofan cx|stcnt. that|s. w|thin a prcscntcd mult|plc.
1hcrulcwi | l notprcscntth|smult|plc. s|ncc| t| sbvfai | i ngtocomplctclv
travcrsc| tthatthcrulc qualincs|tas|nnni tc. !t| sthusncccssarv that|tbc
ptcscntcd clscwhcrc' . asthcplacc ofthc rul c's |mpotcncc.
Lct' sputth|sd|ffcrcntlv. 1hc rulctcllsmchow! passfromonctcrmto
anothcr. 1h|s othcr | s also thc samc. bccausc. aftcr |t. thc st|ll - morc' | s
rc|tcratcd duc to whi ch th|s tcrm w|ll sol cl v havc bccn thc mcdiat|on
bctwccn its othcr ( thc nrst tcrmi and thc othcr tcrm to comc. Onlv thc
absolutclv|n|t|al alrcadv' was|n- diffcrcnt. accordingtothcrul c. towhat
ptcccdcd | t. Eowcvcr. th|s |n|t| al alrcadv' |s rcttoact|vcl v al|gncd w|th
whatfollowsit. s|ncc. statt|ng outfrom|t. thc rulc hadalrcadvfound|ts
st|l l -onc-morc' . Al of thcsc tcrmsarc on thc cdcc of sti l l - vct - an othcr'
andthis| swhatmakcscachofthcscothcrsimothcsamcas|tsothct. 1hc
rulc rcstr|cts thc othcr to | ts | dcnt|tv of |mpotcncc. Whcn l posit that a
mult|plc cx|sts such that /ns/dc // th|s bccomiug-thc- samc of thc othcts
ptocccdsaccotd|ngtothc st|ll -vct- an- othcr' . amu| ti plcsuchthatal l ofthc
othcrs arc conta|ncd w|th|n |t. l causc tHc advcnt. not of st|l| - vct
an- othcr' . butrathctofthatOthcronthc basi sofwh|ch|t so happcnsthat
thcrc| ssomcothcr. thatis. somc samc.
1hc 0thcr| s . ont hconchand. i n tbc posit|onofpl acc for t hcothcr
samcs. | | i sthcdomainofboththcrulc scxcrciscand|tsi mpotcncc Onthc
othcr hand. |t | s what nonc of thcsc othcrs arc. what t hc ru|c docs not
allowtotravcrsc.| t|sthcrcforc|hcmult|plcsubtractcdfromthcrulc. and
|t | s also what. |f rcachcdbv thc rulc. would |ntcrrupt |ts cxcrci sc lt | s
clcarlvi nthcpos|t|on of //m//forthctul c.
A |nñn|tcmultiplc| st husaprcscntcdmult|plcwh|ch| ssucht hat arulc
ofpassagcmavbccorrclatcdto|t. forwh|ch|t|ss| mul tancouslvthcplacc
of cxcrc|sc and l|mi t. lnñn|tv |s thc Othcr on thc bas|s of whi ch thcrc
i s÷bctwccnthcnx|tvolthcal rcadvandthcrcpct|t|onofthcst|l l - motc÷a
rulc accord|ng to wh|ch thc othcrs arc thc samc.
147
148
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hc cx|stcnt|al status of |nnn|tv |s doublc. What |s rcqu|rcd |s boththc
bc|ng-al readv- thcrcofan|n|t|almult|pleandthcbc|ngofthcOthcrwh|ch
can ncvcr bc |nfcrrcd from thc rulc. 1h|s doublc cx|stcnt|al scal | swhat
d|st|ngu|shcs rea| inñn|tv from thc |mag|narv of thc onc| nnn|tv. wh|ch
was pos|tcd | na s|ng|c gcsturc.
P|nallv. | nnn|tv estabhshes a conncct|on betwccn a po|nt of bc|ng. an
automat|sm of rcpct| t|on and a sccond cx|stcnt|a| scal . ! n |nnn|tv. thc
or|g|n.thcotheraodthc Othcrarc] o| ned. 1hercfcrra| ofthcothcrtothc
Othcroccurs| ntwomodcs thatofplacc ( cvcrvothcri sprcscntcdbvthc
Othcr. asthcsamewh|chbelongsto| ti . andthatof| i m| t( thcOthcr| snonc
ofthosc othcrswhosetraversal| sauthor|zcdbv the rulci .
1hc sccond cxistcnt|al scalforb|ds onc from |mag|n|ngthatthc|nnn|tc
can bc dcduccd from thc ñn|tc. lf onc tcrms ñn| tc whatcvcr can bc
cnt|rclvtravcrscdbva rulc÷thuswhatcvcr. |napo|nt. subsumcs|tsOthcr
asanother÷thcn|t| sclcarthat|nnn|tvcannotbc|nlcrrcdfrom|t.bccausc
|nnn|tv rcqu| res that thc 0thcr or|g|natc from clsewhcre than anv rulc
conccrn|ngthcothcrs.
Ecnccthcfo||ow|ngcrucl al statcmcnt. thcthes| softhci nnn|tvofbe|ng
| s ncccssar|lv an onto| og|caldcc|s|on. wh|ch| sto sav anax|om. W|thout
such a dec| si oo | t w| | l rcma|nforcvcrposs|blc forbeing to bc esscnt|allv
ñn|tc.
And th|s|sprec| sc|vwhat was dcc|dcdbv thc mcoofthcs|xtccnthand
scvcntccnthccot ur|cswhcnthcvpos|tcdthatnaturc |s| nnn|tc.ltwasnot
poss|ble. |nanvmanncr.¡odcduccth|spo| ntonthebas|sofobscrvat|ons.
of ncw astronomi cal tclcscopcs. etc. What |t took was a purc couragc of
thought. a volunt arv|nc|s|on|ntothc÷ctcrnallvdelcndablc÷mcchanism
ofontolog|ca| hn|t|sm.
Bv conscqueoce. ontol ogv. l|m|tcd hlstor|a| | v. must bcar a tracc of thc
fol|owlng. thc on|vgcnu|nclvathcolog|cal form ol thc statcment on thc
|nhn|tvofbc|ngconccrncdnaturc.
! statcd ( Meditation l l i that na/ura/ mu|t|p||c| t es ( or ord|nal s i wcrc
thosc wh| ch reahzcd thc max|mum cqu|l|bri um betwccn bclong|ng ( thc
rcg|mc of thc count-as-onei and|nclus|on ( t uereg|mc ofthc statcì . 1hc
ontolog|caldec| sionconccrn|ng|nñn|tvcanthcnbcs| mp|vphrascdas. an
|nhn|tcnatura| mult| pl|c|tv cx|sts .
1h|sstatementcareful l y avoids any reference to Na(urc. |nwh|ch|t|sst i l l
toocasvto rcadthcsubst|tut|vc rc|gn ofthc cosmo|og|calonc. aftcrthc
ccntur| cs-l ongrc|gn ofthcd|vine onc-|nñn|tv. !tso| cl vpostulatcsthatat
lcastonenatural mult|ple÷a trans|t|vcsct of trans| t|vc scts÷|s|nnnitc.
I NFI NI TY: THE OTHER, THE RUL E, AND THE OTHER
1h|s statcmcnt mav d|sappo|nt. |nasmuch as t hcad]cct|vc | nnn|tc | s
mcnt|oncd thcrc|n w|thout dcün|t|on. 1hus. | t w|ll rathcr bcsa| d. thcrc
cx|sts a natural mult|plc such that a rulc |s l|nkcd to it on thc bas|s of
wh|ch. atanv momcnt ol |ts cxcrc|sc. thcrc | salwavs still - vct-anothcr .
vctthc rulc | s suchthat |t |s not anvofthcscothcrs. |n sp|tc ofthcm al l
bclong|ng to | t.
1h| sstatcmcntmavappcarprudcnt. | nasmuchas| tsol cl vant|cipatcsthc
cx|stcncc. | nanvattcstablcs|tuat|on. ofonc| nnn| tcmulti pl c. !tw|llbcthc
taskofontologvtocstabl|shthat|fthcrc|sonc. thcnthcrc arcothcrs. and
thc Othcrofthoscothcrs. and so on.
1h| sstatcmcntmavappcarrcstr|ct|vc andpcr| l ous. | nasmuchas| tonl v
dcl|vcrsa conccptol|nnn|tv. Aga|n. |tw| l l bcthctaskofontologvtoptovc
that|fthcrccx|stsan|nnnitcmult|plc thcnothcrs cx|st. wh|ch. accord|ng
to a prcc|sc norm. arc |ncommcnsurablc to| t.
lt|sbvthcscmcansthatthchistor|caldcc|s|ontomainta|nthcposs|blc
|nnn|tv of bc|ng | s structurcd. 1h|s |nnn|tv÷oncc subtractcd from thc
cmp|rc of thc onc. and thcrcforc |n dcfau|¡ of anv onto|ogv ol Prc-
scncc÷prol|fcratcs bcvond cvcrvth|ng tolcratcd bv rcprcscntat|on. and
dcs|gnatcs÷bvamcmorablc|nvcrs|onofthcantcr|oragcofthought÷thc
nn|tc |tsclf asbc|ng thc cxccpt|on. Solclv an |mpovcr|shmcnt÷no Joubt
v|tal÷of contcmplat|on would ma|nta|n. concctn|ng us. thc fratcrnal
prccar|ousncssofth|s cxccpt|on.
A human | sthatbc|ngwh|chprcfcrsto rcprcscnt |tsc|fw|th|nnn| tudc.
whoscs| gn| sdcath. rathctthanknow|ng|tsclftobccnti tcl vtravcrscdand
cnc|rclcdbvthcomn|prcscncc of|nnn|tv.
At thc vcrv lcast. onc consolat|on rcma|ns. that of d|scovcr|ng that
noth|ng actuallvobl|gcs human|tv to acqu|tc th|sknowlcdgc. bccausc at
th| spo|ntthcsol crcm| tforthought|s tothcschool ofdcc|s|on.
149
150
MEDI TATI ON FOURTEEN
The Ontol ogi ca l Deci si on :
There i s some i nfi n i ty i n natu ral mu l ti pl es'
1hcontolog|ca|schcmaof natura| multiplcs| s thcconccptof ord|nal s. 1hc
h|stor|c|tv ofthcdcc|s|ononthcbe|ngof| nñnltv| slnscr|bcd | nthcthcs|s
naturc |s |nñn|tc ( and not | n thc thcs|s Cod |s i nñn| tc i . For thcsc
rcasons. anax|omon|nñn|tvwouldlog|callvbcwr|ttcnas. thcrccx|stsan
| nhn| tc ord|na| Howcvcr. th|s ax|om | s mcan|ng| css. |t rcma| ns c|rcu-
lar÷|t|mp||cs|nhnitv|nt hcpos|t|onofl t sbc|ng÷as| ongast hcnot|onof
|nhn|tvhasnotbccntransformcd| ntoaprcd|cat|vcformulawr|ttcn|nsct
thcorv languagc and compat|blc w| ththc alrcadv rccc|vcd ldcas of thc
mult|pl c.
Oncopt|on| s forb|ddcntous. thc opt|on of dcñn|ngnatural|nñn|tvas
thc /o/a//n of ordi nal s. !n Mcditat|on I 2. wc showcd that undcr such a
conccpt|onNaturchasnobcing. bccauscthc mult|p|cwh|ch|ssupposcdto
prcscnt al l thc ord|nals÷a|l poss|blc bc|ngs whosc form:s natural÷fal l s
foul ofthcprohi bl ti ononsclfbclong|ng.bvconscqucncc. | tdocsnotcx| st.
Onc mustacknow|cdgc. a| ongwl thKant. thata cosmolog|cal conccpt|on
of thc Wholc or thc 1otalltv | s | nadm|ss|bl c lf |ntin|tv cx|sts. |t must bc
undcrthc catccorv of oncorof scvcra|natura| bclngs. not undcrthat of
thc Crand 1otal|tv' ln thcmattcr of|nnn|tv. j ust as clscwhcrc. thc onc
mult|plc. rcsult ofprcscntat|on. prcva|| sovcr thc phantom ofthc Wholc
and|ts Parts
1hcobstaclc thatwc thcncomc up against l s thc homogcnc|tv ofthc
ontol ogical schcma of nat ural mul tipl cs - If thc qual i tative oppositi on
|nhn|tc/hn|tctravcrscs thc conccpt ofordina|. |t ls bccauscthcrcarctwo
fundamcntallv d|ffcrcnt spcc/cs of natural mult|plcbc|ng. ll | n fact. a
dcc|s|onlsrcqui rcdhcrc. |tw|llbcthatofassum|ngth|sspcc| ñcdiffcrcncc.
THE ONTOLOGI CAL DECI SI ON ON I NFI NI TV
andthusthatofruptur|ngthcprcscntat|vchomogcnc|tvofnaturalbc|ng
1o st|pulatc thc placc of such a dcc|s|on |s to th|nk about whcrc. |n thc
dcñn|t| on of ord|nals. thc spl|t or conccptual d|scont| nu|tv l|cs. thc
d|scont|nu| tv wh|ch. found|ng two d|st|nct spcc|cs. rcqu| rcs lcg|slat|on
upon thc|r cx|stcncc. Wc shal| bc gu| dcd hcrc|n bv thc h| stor|co
conccptual|nvcst|gat|on of thcnot|onof|nñn|tv ( Mcd|tat|on l > i .
l . POlN1OF BFlNGANL OPFRA1OR OFPASSACF
lnordcrtoth|nk thc cx|stcnccof|nhn|tvl sa|dthat thrccclcmcnts wcrc
ncccssarv. an |n|t|al po|nt of bc|ng. a rulc wh|ch produccs somc samc
othcrs. andasccondcx|stcnt|a|scalwh|chñxcsthcpl accofthc Othcrfor
thc othcr.
1hc absolutclv|n|t|alpo|ntolbc|ngforontologv|s thc namcof thc vo|d.
Ø. 1hc lattcr can also bc tcrmcd thc namc of a natural mult|plc. s|ncc
noth|ng proh|b|ts |t frombc|ngsuch ( d. Mcd|tat|on l 2 i . lt |s. bcs|dcs. thc
onlv cx|stcnt|al ldca wh|ch wc havc rcta|ncd up to th|s po|nt. thosc
mult|plcswh|charcadmittcd|ntocx|stcncconthcbas|softhcnamcofthc
vo|d÷l|kc. for cxamplc. { Ø}÷arc donc so |n conform|tv w|th thc con
struct|vc ldcas÷thc othcrax|omsofthc thcorv.
A rulcofpassagcfornatural mult|plcs must allow us. onthc bas|s ofØ.
to ccasclcsslv construct othcrcx| st| ng ord|nals÷to al wavs sav st|ll onc
morc÷that |s. to construct othcr trans|t|vc scts whosc cl cmcnts arc
cquallv trans|t|vc. and wh|ch arc acccptablc accord|ng to thc ax|omat|c
ldcas ofthcprcscntat|onofthc purc mult|plc.
Ourrcfcrcncc po|nt w|ll bc thc cx|stcnt ñgurc of thc To ( Mcd|tat|on
l 2 i . that |s. thc mult|plc { Ø. { Z} } . whosc clcmcnts arc thc vo|d and |ts
singl eton. The ax|omolrcplaccmcntsavsthatonce this 1o cx|ststhen |t
|s thc casc that cvcrv sct obta|ncd bv rcplac|ng |ts clcmcnts bv othcr
( supposcdcx|stcnti clcmcntscx|sts ( Mcd|tat|on ¯ i . 1h|s| showwcsccurc
thc abstract conccpt of thc 1o |f a and 8 cx|st. thcn thc sct { a. 8} al so
cx|sts. ofwh|chaand8arcthcsolcclcmcnts( |nthccx|st|ng1o.lrcplacc
o w|th a. and { Ø} w|th3i . 1h| s sct. {a. 8}. w|llbc callcd thcpa/rofa and
ß lt| sthc form|ng-| nto two of a and 8.
lt|sonthcbas|softh|spa|rthatwc shalldcñncthcclass|copcrat|onof
thcun. onoftwoscts. a U 6÷tbcclcmcntsolthcunion arcthoscofaand
thosc of 8 ] o|ncd togcthcr . 1akc thc pa| r { a. 8}. 1hc ax|om of un|on
lSI
152
BEI NG AND EVENT
( d. Medi tat|on 5 ) st|pulatest hat t heset olthee|ementsoft heelementsof
a g|vensct ex|sts÷|tsd| ssemi nat| on. ! l t hepai r{ a. 8} ex|sts. t hen| t sun| on
. { a. ß}a| soex|sts. as|tse| cments|t hasthee|ementsofthee| emems of
thepai r. that|s. theelementsolaand8. 1h|s|sprec|selvwHatwewanted.
Wew| l | t hus pos|t that a U 8 i s a canon|ca| formul ati on for . { a. 8} .
Moreoverwe have] ustseenthat |f a and 8 ex|st. then a . 8 al so ex| sts.
Ourru| eofpassagew|l| thenbe the lol|owi og. a - a . { a} .
1h|sru| e produces' . ont hebasi sol a c| ven ord|nal. t hemu|t|pleun| on
of|tselland|tsowns|ngl etoo. 1heelementsolth|sun|onarethus. onthe
onehand. thoseofa|tself. aodontheotherhand. a| nperson. theun| que
element of |ts s|ngleton. !n short. we areaddiog a' sown propername to
i tself. or |n other words. we are add|ngthe one mul ti pl e that a |s to the
mult|plesthat i t presents .
Note thatwedenn|te| vptoduce an o/hc·i n th| smanner 1hati s. a. as !
have]ustsai d. |sanelementofa .{ a} . however. it |s not|tse|lan element
ofa. becauseaE a| sprohi bi ted. 1Herefore. a |sd|fferent froma U { a} bv
v|rtueoltHeaxi omofextensi onal|tv1hevdi lferbvonemu| ti p| e. wh|ch| s
preci se| va itsell.
!nwha| follows. wesha| lwri te a . {o} i n t helorm5(ai . wHich wew|ll
read. thesucccsso·ofa Our tuleenablesusto pass' lromanord| nalto|ts
successor.
1H|s otHer' thatistHesuccessor. | salsoa same' i nsolaras/hcs×cccsso·o]
ano·d/na//s anord/na/. Ourru| ei s thusaruleofpassagewh|chisi mmanent
to natural multi ples. Let's demonstrate th| s.
Ontheonehand. thee| ementsof5(ai arecertai nl val l trans|t i ve. 1hat| s.
s|nce a |s an ord|na| both | tsel f and | ts e| ements are transi t|ve. !t so
bappenstbat. S�ï i s composed precise| vof thee| ementsof at which one
addsa.
Ont heotherhand. 5(ai i- |tsellal sottansi t|ve. 1ake 8 E 5(a i
- e|t HerßE a . a ndconsequentlv8c a ( becausea| s transiti vei . 8ut s|nce
5(ai = a . {a}. |t | sclearthat ac 5{ a} . S| nceapart ola part |salsoa part.
wehave ß c 5(ai .
÷ or8 = a. andthus8 c S�i because a c 5�i
So, everv mu|t|ple whl ch bc/onµs to 5�ï is a| so /nc/udcdln i t 1herefore.
S(ai |s transit|ve.
Asatrans|t|vemult| p| ewaoseelementsarctrans|t|ve. 5(ai | sanord|nal
(as |ong as a |s i
THE ONTOLOGI CAL DECI SI ON ON I NF I NI TY
Morcovcr. thcrc|saprcc|scscnsci nsav|octhat5(a) |s/hcsucccssorofa,
or thc ordina|÷thc sti | | onc morc÷which comcs immcdiatclv aftcr a.
Xoothcrordinalßcanactua| | vbc p|accd bctwccn' a and5(a ) . Accord|nc
to wh| chlawolplaccmcnt' 1o thatofbc| onci nc whi ch i sa total rc| ati on
ofordcrbctwccnordi na| s ( d. Mcditation 1 2 ) . !r othcrwords. noordinal
cxistssuch that a E ß E 5(a) .
Sincc 5(a) = a . ¦ a}. thc statcmcot 8 E 5(a) ' s | cn|ncs.
÷ ci t hcr8E a, wh|chcxcludcsa E 8. bccauscbc|oncinc. asa rclationof
ordcrbctwccn ordi nals. i s traositivc. andlromf E a and a E 8 onc can
draw8 E 8 which| s|mpossiblc.
- or8E { a}. wh|chamountst 8" a, a bcincthc uniqucc| cmcntofthc
sinclcton { a} . 8ut 8 = a obvi ouslv cxc|udcs a E 8. aca|n duc to thc
prohibit|on on scllbclonci nc
!n cach casc it is impossiblcto i nscrt 8 bctwccn a and 5(a) . 1hc rulc of
succcssionisthcrclorcuoivoca| !tal|owsustopasslromoncordi nalto/hc
uni quc ordi oal which lol|ows it accordinc to thc total rclation ol ordcr.
bclonci nc.
On thc basi s ol thc i ni ti al poi nt of bc|nc. Ø. wc construct. |n thc
followincmanncr. thc scqucncc ofcx/s//nu ordina| s ( si occ Ø cxi sts i
n timcs
,-
0, 5(0) , 5( 5(0) ) , " " 5( 5( . . . ( 5( 0) ) ) ' "
i
r . . .
Ouri ntuitionwoul drcadi | vtcl|us thatwc havcdcnni tclv produccd a n
innnitvof ordinals hcrc and t hus dccidcdi nlavourof a natural i ntl nitv.
Yctth|s woul dbctosuccumbto thci maci oarv prcst|cc of1ota||tv. Allthc
classical phi | osophcrs rccocnizcd thatv|a th|s rcpctit|on ofthc cffcct ofa
rulc. l onlvcvcrobta|n thc i ndcñnitc ol samc othcrs. and not an cx|st|nc
i nnnitv. On thc onc hand. ccch of thc ord|nals thus obta| ocd i s in an
i ntuitivc scnsc. manifcstlv ñn| tc. 8ci ncthc nth succcssor ofthc namc of
thc void. i t has n clcmcnts. a| | wovcn lrom thc vo|d alonc vi a thc
rcitcrationof lormi nc i nto- onc (asrcqui rcdbvontol ocv. d. Mcdi tati on4ì .
Onthc othcrhand. no axiomatic!dcaofthcpurcmultiplcauthorizcsus to
lormonc out ol c// thc ordinals that thc rulc ol succcssion al lows us to
attai n Lach cx| sts accordinc to thc sti ll ooc morc to comc. accordinc to
which i tsbci nc othcr is rctroactivclv qua| | nablc as thc samc. thati s. as a
onc bctwcco othcrswhichrcsidcson thc bordcrof thc rcpcti ti on. wh|ch
|t supports. ol thc rul c. uowcvcr. thc 1otali tv l s | nacccss|b| c. 1hcrc i s ao
abvsshcrc that solclv a dccision will allowustobr|dcc.
153
154
BEI NG AND EVENT
2. SUCCLSSlONANLLlMl1
Aongst thosc ord|nals whosc cx|stcncc | s foundcd bv thc scqucncc
constructcdv|athc rulc ofsucccss|on. Ø |sthc nrstto d|st|ngu| sh|tsclf. |t
| scxccpt|onal|nal l rccards. j ustas| t|sforontologv| n|tscnt|rctv. W|th|n
thcscqucnccthc ord|nalswh|chd|ffcrfromØ arcallsucccssors olanothcr
ord|nal . lna gcncralmanncr. onccan savthatanord|nala |sa succcssor
ord|nal÷wh|ch wc w|ll notc 5cuì ÷|f thcrc cx|sts an ord|nal 8 wh|ch a
succccds. 5cui - ( 38i
'
a * 5ti | .
1hcrccanbcn o doubtaboutthccx| stcnccolsucccssorord|nalsbccausc
l havc] ust cxh|b|tcd a who|c scr|cs of thcm. 1hc problcm |n wh|ch thc
ontolog|cal dcc|s|on conccrn|ng|nnn|tv w|ll bc plavcd out |s that of thc
cx|stcncc of non·succcssoror4/na/s. Wc w|ll sav that an ord|nal a |s a //m//
ord/na/. wr|ttcn |/m»i . |f|t docs not succccd anvord|nal 8.
//m(aì - -5c»i - -( 38ì '
a * 5tì |
1hc |ntcrnal structurcof a l|m|tord|nal÷suppos|ng thatonccx|sts÷|s
csscnt|allv d|ffcrcnt from that of a succcssor ord|nal . 1h|s |s whcrc wc
cncountcra qual|tat|vcd| scont| nu| tv|nthchomogcncousun|vcrscofthc
ontolog|calsubstructurcofnaturalmult|p|cs .1hcwaµcrof|nnn|tvt urnson
th|s d|scont|nu|tv. a l|m|t ord|nal | s thc placc of thc Othcr for thc
succcss|on ofsamc- othcrswh|ch bclongto | t.
1hccruc|alpo|nt| sthcfollow|ng. |fanord|nalbclongstoal | m| tordina|
|tssucccssoralsobclongstothatl|m|tord|nal . 1hat| s. | f8E a (a supposcd
asl|m|tord|nal i . onccannothavca E 5(dì . s|ncca would thcnbc|nscrtcd
bctwccn f and 5ti . and wc cstabl|shcd th|s to bc |mposs|blc abovc.
Furthcrmorc. wc cannothavc5ti = a, bccausca, bc|nga l|m|tord|nal |s
not thcsucccssorol anv ord|nal . 9|nccbclong|ng|sa totalrclat|onolordcr
bctwccnord|nals. thc|mposs|b|l|tvofa E 5ti andofa * 5ti |mposcsthat
5ti E a.
1hcrcsul tofthcsccons|dcrat|ons| sthatbctwccnal|m|tord|na|andthc
ord|nal8wh|chbcloncsto|t.an|nnn|tv (|nthc|ntu|t|vcscnsci oford|nals
|nscrt thcmsclvcs. 1hat|s. |f8E a, anda |sl|m|t. 5ti E a and5( 5ti i E a,
andso on. 1hc l|m|t ord|nal |s clcarlv thc Othcr- placc | nwh|chthc othcr
of succcss|on |ns|sts on bc|ng |nscr|bcd. 1akc thc scqucncc of succcssor
ord|nalswh|chcanbcconstructcd. viathcrulc5. onthcbas|sofanord|nal
wh|chbclongstoal|m|tord|nal . 1h|scnt|rcscqucnccunfolds|tsclf |ns|dc'
thatl|m|tord|nal| nthcscnscthatal l thctcrmsofthcscqucnccbclongto
THE ONTOLOGI CAL DECI SI ON ON I NF I NI TY
thclattcr. Atthc samctlmc. thcllmltordlnal ltsclfls Othcr. | nthatltcan
ncvcrbc thc stll l onc morcwhlch succccds anothcr.
Wc could also mcntlon thc follow|ng structural dlffcrcncc bctwccn
succcssorandl lmltordlnals. thc ñrstposscssa max| mummultlplcw|th|n
thcmsclvcs. wh|lstthcscconddonot Forl fanordlnala l softhcform5ti .
thatl s. ß . | ß. thcnß. whlchbcloncstoa, l st hcl argcstofal | t hcord|nals
whlchmakc up a ( accord|ngto thctclat|on ofbclonglngi . Wchavc sccn
that no ordlnalcan bc lnscrtcdbctwccnßand 5ti . 1hc ord|nalß ls thus.
absolutclv. thc maxlmum multlplc conta|ncd ln 5ti . Bowcvcr. no max
| mumtcrm ofth|stvpc cvcrbclongsto a llmlt ordlnal onccß E a. l fa l s
||m|t. thcnthcrc cxlsts a y suchthatß E y E a. As such. thconto|og|cal
schcma ordlnal ' ÷|f a succcssor ls at stakc÷ls approprlatc for a strlctlv
hlcrarchlcalnaturalmultlplcl nwhlchonccandcslgnatc. lnanunamb|gu
ous and |mmancnt manncr. thc domlnant tcrm !f a llmlt ordlnal ls at
stakc. thc natural multlplc whosc substructurc of bclng |s formallzcd bv
such an ord|nal ls opcn' ln that lts lntcrnal ordcr docs not conta|n anv
max| mumtcrm. anvclosurc. !tlsthcl|mltordl nal l tscl fwhl chdom|natcs
suchanordcr. butltonlvdocssofromthccxtcrlor. notbclonglngtoltsclf.
|t cx slsts lrom thc scqucnccwhoscllmltlt l s.
1hc |dcntlñablc d|scontlnu|tv bctwccn succcssor ordlnals and l|mlt
ord|nals ñnallvcomcs downto thcfo|low|ng.thc ñrstarc dctcrm| ncdon
thcbas|solthcun/aucordlnalwhlchthcvsuccccd. whllstthcsccond. bc|nc
thc vcrv placc of succcsslon. can onlv bc lndlcatcd bcvond a ñn|shcd'
scqucncc÷though unñn|shab| c accordlng to thc rulc÷of ord|nals prc
v|ous|vpasscdthrough. 1hc succcssorordlnalhasa /oca/statuswlthrcgard
toordlnalssmallcrthanlt ( smallcrthan' . lct srccal| mcans. wh|chbclonc
tolt.slnccl tlsbclonglngwh|chtotallvordcrsthcordlnal s i . !ndccd. lt| sthc
succcssorofonc o|thcsc ordlnal s. 1hc |lm|t ordlna| on thccontrarv. has
a µ/obc/status. slncc nonc ofthc ordlnals smallcr than lt l s anv closcr' to
lt than anothcr. l tl sthc Othcr ofall ofthcm.
1hc llmltordlna|ls subtractcdfrom thc partofthcsamcthat|s dcta|ncd
wlth|nthcothcrundcrthcs|gnol stlll -oncmorc . 1hcllmltordlnal| sthc
non- samcolthccntlrc scqucncc ofsucccssorswh|chprcccdcsl t. !t| snot
stlll oncmorc.butrathcrthc0nc- multlplcwlthlnwhlchthclnslstcnccof
thcru|c (olsucccssl oni cx slsts. Wlthrcgardtoa scqucnccoford|nalssuch
asthoscwcarcmovlngthrough. l npass|ncvlasucccsslonlromanord|nal
to thc fo||ow|ng ord|nal a l|m|t ordlnal ls what stamps lnto ck s|stcncc.
bcvondthc cx|stcnccofcachtcrmofthc scqucncc. thcpassagc|tsclf. thc
ISS
156
BEI NG AND EVENT
support mul tlplc in whlch al l thc ordinal s passcd through mark thcm-
sclvcs. stcpbvstcp. !nthc |imit ordina| thcp/cccofaltcrltv (all thctcrms
of thc scqucncc bcl ong to | ti and thc po/n/ of thc Othcr ( l ts namc. a,
dcsignatcs an ordinal situatcd bcvond al l thosc whlch ñgurc i n thc
scqucncci arc fuscd togcthcr. 1his l s whv it is quitc corrcct to namc lt a
//m//. thatwhlchgivcsascricsbothitsprlnci pl cofbclng. thc onc cohcsion
ofthcmultlplcthatitis. andlts ultimatc tcrm. thconc mul ti pl ctowards
which thcscricstcndswithout cvcrrcaching norcvcn approaching l t.
1his fusi on. at thc limit. bctwccn thcpl acc of thc Othcrand lts onc.
rcfcrrcdtoanlnltlalpointofbcing. hcrc. Ø. thcvoidi andarulcofpassagc
( hcrc. succcssloni i s. litcral lv. thc gcncralconccptofi nñnitv.
> . 1BF SLCONLFX! S1LN1!AL SLAL
Nothing. at thls stagc. obligcs usto admit thc cxlstcncc ofa l imitordlnal .
1hc !dcas of thc multlplc put in pl av up ti | l now ( cxtcnslonalitv. parts.
scparatlon. rcplaccmcntandvoidi . cvcni fwcaddthcldca offoundation
( Mcditation l 8 i andthatofchoicc ( Mcd|tation22i . arcpcrfcctlvcompat-
iblcwlththcincxistcncco| suchanordinal . Ccrtainlv.wchavcrccognlzcd
thccxistcnccofascqucnccofordinalswhoscinltlalpointolcxi stcnccisØ
and whosc travcrsal cannot bc complctcd via thc rulc of succcsslon.
Eowcvcr. strictlvspcaking. itisnot thcscqucnccwhichcxlsts. but cachof
lts ( ñnltci tcrms. Onlv an absolutclv ncw axiomatic dccision would
authorizc us to composc a oncout of thc scqucncc ltscl f. 1hi s dccislon.
whlch amounts to dcciding ln favour of inhnitv at thc lcvcl of thc
ontological schcma of natural multlplcs. and whlch thus formal i zcs thc
hlstorical gcsturc of thc scvcntccnth ccnturv phvsicists. i s statcd qultc
simpl v. thcrccxistsa l imi tordinal . 1his thcrc cxists . thcñrstpronounccd
bv us sincc thc asscrtion ofthc cxistcncc of thc namc of thc vo|d. ls thc
sccond cxlstcntlal sca| in which thc | nhnltv of bcing t| nds its
foundation.
4 !NF!N!1Y FlNALLY LLF!NFL
1hl s thcrc cxl stsa l lmlt ordinal ls our sccond cxlstcntlal asscrtion aftcr
that of thc namc of thc void. Bowcvcr. lt docs not introducc a sccond
suturc of thc framcwork ofthc !dcas ofthc multiplc tobcing quabcing.
TH E ONTOLOGI CAL DECI SI ON ON I NF I NI TY
1ust as fot thc othet mu|t|p|cs. thc ot|g|nal po|nt of bc|ng fot thc | |m|t
otdina| | s thc vo|d and |ts c| cmcnts atc solc|v comb|nat|ons of thc vo|d
w|th|tsclf. as tcgu| atcdbvthcax|oms . Ftomth|spo|ntofv|cw. |nhn|tv |s
not|nanvwava sccondspcc|es ofbc|ngwh|chwou| dbcwovcntogcthct
w|ththccffectsofthcvo|d !nthe| anguageofthcGtceks. oncwou|dsav
thata|thoughthcteatctwocx|stcnt|a|ax|oms. thetcatenottwoPt|nc|p|cs
( thcvo| dand|nñn|tvi . 1hc ||m|totd|na|| son|vsccondat||v cx|stcnt . on
thesuppos|t| onthat. a| teadv. thcvo|dbc|ongsto|t÷wehavematkcdth|s
| nthcax|omwh|chfotmal|zcsthc dec|s|on. Whatthc | attetthuscauscsto
ex|st|s thc p| acc ofa tcpct|t|on. thc Othcr ofothcts. thc doma|n |otthe
exctc|scofanopctatot( ofsucccss|oni . wh||stØ summonsbc|ngassuchto
onto|og|calptescntat|on Lcc|d|ngwhcthcra | |mItotd|na|cx|stsconcctns
thcpowcrofbc|ngtathetthan|tsbc|ng !nñn|tvdocsnot|n|t|atcadoctt|ne
ofm|xtutc. |nwh|chbc|ngwou|dtcsu|t. |nsun. ftomthcd|a| cct|ca|p| av
oftwohctctogcncousforms. 1hctc|son| vthcvo| d. andthc!dcas. !nshott.
thcax|om thctccx|stsal|m|totd|na| | san!dca h|ddcnundcranassctt|on
of cx|stcncc. thc !dca that an end|css tcpct|t|on÷thc st| | l onc mote
÷convokcsthefus|onof|tss|teand|tsonctoa sccondex|stent|a|sea| . the
po|ntexcmp|at||vdes|gnatcd bv Mallatmc as lat as a place fuscsw|tha
bcvond Ands|nce. ln onto|ocv. toex|st|s to bc a one mul t|p| e. thc fotm
oftccogn|t|on ofa p| acc wh|ch| s also a bevondwou| dbc thc ad] unct|on
ofa mult|p|e. anotd|nal.
Bcthatas|tmav. wchcvcno/yc/dc]ncd/n¡n/n.Al|m|totd|na| cx|sts. that
much| sg|ven. Lvenso. wc cannotmakc thc conccptof |nñn|tv andthat
ofa | |m|totd|na|co|nc|dc. conscquentlv. notcanwc |dcnt|fv theconcept
ofñn|tudcw|ththatofa succcssototd|nal. !fa | sa ||m|totd|na| . thenS(a) ,
|ts succcssot. |s | argct than| t . s|ncc a E S(a) . 1h|s ñn|tc succcssot÷|fwe
posc t hccquat|on successot = ñn|tc÷wou| d thctcfote bc |atgctt han|ts
|nñn|te ptcdcccssot÷|f wc posc that ||m|t = |nñn|tc÷howcvct. th|s |s
unacceptab|c fot thought. and it supprcsses thc | ttcvcts|bi||tv of the
passagc to |nñn|tv .
!ft hedcc/s|onconcetn|ngt hc| nñn|tvofnatuta| bc|ngdocsbcatuponthe
||m|t otd|na|. thcn thc dc]n///cn suppottcdbv thls dcc|s|on |s nccessat||v
qu|tc d|ffetent. A lutthcrptoolthatt hctcal. wh|ch |s(0 savthc obstac|c.
of thought |s tatc| v that of ñnd|ng a cottect dchni t|on. thc |attct tathct
lollowsftomthcs|ngu|arandccccntt|cpo|ntatwh|ch| tbecamcncccssatv
towaccruponscnsc. cvcnwhcnitsdircctl i nkto thcl nitial problcmwas
not appatcnt . 1hc |aw of thc hazatdous dctout thctcbv summons the
157
158
BEI NG AND EVENT
subj ccttoa strlctlvlncalculabledlstanccfroml t sobj ect. 1hl sl swhvtherc
l sno Method.
! nMcdltatlon l 2 ! lndlcateda ma]orptopcrtvofordl nal s. mlnlmalltv. l f
thcrc cxlsts an ordlnal whlch posscsscs a gl ven propcrtv. thcre cxl sts a
unlqucordl nalwhlchls E mlnlmal for thlspropcrtv ( thatls. such thatno
ordl nal bc|onglngtolthasthcsaldpropcrtvi . !thappcnsthat tobca llmlt
ordlnal ' l sapropcrtv.whlch| scxpresscd÷approprlatel v÷lnaformul a+µi
wltha frcevarlabl c. Morcover. t hcaxlom thcrc cxlstsa llmltordl nal ' tells
usprcclsc|v that at lcast one cxlstcnt ordlnalposscsscs thls propcrtv. Bv
conscqucncc. a unlquc ordlnal cxlsts whlch l s E mlnlmal for thc sald
propcrtv. What wc havc hcrc l s /hcsmc//cs/ //m// ord/na/. bclow' whlch.
apart from thc vold. thcrc arc so/c/y succcssot ordl nal s. 1hls ontologlcal
schema l sfundamcnta| . !t marks thc thrcshold of lnnnltv. l tl s. slncc thc
Grceks. thc cxcmpl arv mult|plc ofmathematlcal thought. Wc shall calllt
Wo ( l tl s also ca||cd N or alcph zcro) . 1hls propcr namc. wo, convokcs. ln
thc form of a mul tlp|c. thc nrst cxlstcncc supposcd bv thc dcclslon
conccrnlngthclnnnltvofbelng. !tcarrlcsoutthatdeclslonl ntheformof
a spcclncd pure multlplc. 1hc structutal faul t whlch opposcs. wlthln
natural homogcncltv. thc orderofsucccssors ( hl erarchlcal andclosedi to
thatol|imits ( opcn. andsca|cdbv an cx sistcnt i . hnds lts/ordcrin Woo
1hcdcnnltlonoflnhnltviscstab| lshcduponthlsbordcr. Wewll lsavthat
anord/na//s/n]n//c/]///swo, or/]Wo bc/on«s/o// Wcwlllsavthatcnord/na/
/s]n//c /]/|/c/on«s/owoo
1hcnamcofthc dlstrlbutlon and dlvlslon olthcnnl tcandthel nnn| tc.
l nrespccttonatural multlples. l sthercfotcwoo 1hcmathcmcofl nnnltv. l n
thcnaturalorder. supposcssol cl vthatWo l sspeclncdbvthemlnlmalltvof
thc| lmlt÷whlchdcnncsaun/aucordlnalandj ustlncsthcusagcofapropcr
name.
//m�ai ô |
V
ai | | |a E woi 8 |a
=
0) ) - 5c|ai I .
slnce thc followlng dennltlons of |n] ( lnnnltci and I/n ( hnltci arc pro
posed.
|n]zi H | |a * woi or �o E ai I .
I/nzi H |aE woi .
whc(wo prescntsare nat ural nnltemultlpl cs. Lvcrvthlngwh/chprescntsWo
l slnnnltc. 1hc mu|tlp|c wo, | npart both nnltc andlnnnlte. wlll bc sald to
bc |nnnlte. due to lt bclng on thc sldc of thc l | mlt. not succccd|ng
anvthlng.
THE ONTOLOGI CAL DECI SI ON ON I NF I NI TY
Amongstthclnñnltcscts.ccrtalnarcsucccssors. forcxamplc. Wo U { wo} ,
thcsucccssorofwoo Othcrsarc| l ml ts forcxamplc. woo Amoncstñnltcscts.
howcvcr. al| arc succcssors cxccpt 0. 1hccrucla| opcrator of dls] unctlon
wlthlnnaturalprcscntation ( llmlt/ succcssori l sthcrcfotc notrcstltutcd|n
thcdcnncddls] unctlon ( lnñnltc/ ñnltci .
1hccxccptlonalstatusofWo shouldbctakcnlntoaccountlnthlsmattcr
uuctoltsmlnlmal| tv. lt|sthconlvlnñnltcordlnaltowhichnoothcrllmlt
ordlna| bclongs. As for thc othcr lnhnltc ordlna|s. Wo at lcast bclongs to
thcm. Wo docsnotbclongtoltself. 1husbctwccnthcñnltc ordlnals÷thosc
whlchbcloncto o.÷and Wo ltsclf. thcrc l sanabvss wlthout mcdlatlon.
1hls ls onc of thc most profound problcms of thc doctrlnc of the
multlplc÷known undcrthc namc ofthcthcorv of l argc cardlnals ÷that
of knowlng whcthcr such an abvss can bc rcpeatcd wlthln thc l nñnltc
ltsclf. !tl sa mattcrofasklngwhcthcranlnhnltcordlnalsupcrlortoWo can
exlstwhlchlssuchthatthcrclsnoavallablcproccdurcforrcachlnglt.such
thatbetwccnltandthclnñnltcmult|plcswhlchprcccdclt. thcrcl sa total
abscnccofmcdlatlon. llkcthatbctwccnthcñnltcordlnalsandthclrOthcr.
Woo
!t| squltccharactcrlstlcthatsuchancxlstcncc dcmands a ncwdcc/s/on. a
ncw axlom on lnñnltv.
¯ 1EL F!N!1F. !NSFC0NL PLACF
In thc ordcrof cx/s/cncc thc ñnltc l s prlmarv. slncc our lnltlal cxl stcnt ls
0, from which we draw { 0) . S{ 0} . etc. . all of thcm Fnltc' . Eowcvcr. in
thc ordcr ol thc .onccp/. thc ñnltc ls sccondarv. !t ls solclv undcr thc
tctroactlvcclfcctolthccxlstcnccofthcllm|tordlnalWo thatwcqua|lfvthc
scts 0, { 0} , ctc. . as ñnltc. othcrwlsc. thc lattcr would havc no othct
attr|butc than that of bei ng cxlstcnt onc-mu| tlp| cs . 1hc mathcmc of the
nnltc. I/n|ai � |a E o.i . suspcndsthecrltcrlaofnnltudefromthcdcclslon
on cxlstcncc whlch strlkcs the llmlt ordlnal s. !fthc Grccks wcrc ablc to
| dcntlfvñnltudcwlthbcing. | ti sbccausc that wh.ch ls. ln thc abscncc ofa
dcclslon on | nñnltv. ls foundto bc ñnl tc. 1hc csscncc ofthcñnltcls thus
solclvmultlpl cbclngassuch. 0nccthchlstorlcaldcclslontobrlnglnñnlte
natutal multlplcs into belnc i stakcn. thc nnltc | s qua| l ñcd as a rc«/on ol
bclnc. a mlnor form ol thc |attcr's prcsencc. it thcn follows that the
conccptofñnl tudccanon|vbcfu| lve|ucldatcdonthcbaslsofthclntlmate
naturcoflnhnltv. 0ncolCantor'sgreatlntultlonswasthat ofposltlngthat
159
160
BEI NG AND EVENT
thc mathcmatical rc| gn ol 1hought had as l ts Paradi sc' ÷as Ei lbcrt
rcmarkcd÷thc prolifcrati on of inHnitc prcscntations. and that thc ñnitc
camc sccond.
Arithmctic. quccn ol Grcck thought bcforc Ludoxas' gcomctrizlng
rcvolution. i si ntruththc scicncc ofthc ñrst | lmit ordina| alonc. o.. !tls
ignorantof thc |attcr sfuncti onasOthct lt rcsidcs w//h/n thc clcmcntarv
immancncc ol what bcl ongs to o.÷nnitc ordi nal s. 1hc strcngth of
ari thmctlc lics i n its calcu| atorv dominatlon. whlch i s obtai ncd bv thc
forccl osurc ol thc limit and thc purc cxcrcisc of thc i ntcrconncction ol
samc othcrs. !tswcakncss|ics ln itsignoranccofthcprcscntativccsscncc
of thc multlplcs with which i t calculatcs. an csscncc rcvcalcd onlv l n
dccldlngthatthcrci sonlvthcscri csofothcrswi thi nthcsi |colthcOthcr.
andthatcvcrvrcpctitionsupposcsthc polntatwhich.i ntcrruptingitsclli n
anabvss. itsummonsbcvondltscllt hcnamco|t hconc- mul ti p| ct hat iti s.
!nñnltvi sthatnamc.
MEDI TATI ON FI FTEEN
Hegel
!nnnltv | s | nltsc|fthcothcrof thcbcl ng othcrvo| d.
Ihc 5./cncc e]Loµ/.
1hc ontologlcal lmpassc propcr to Ecgcl ls fundamcntallv ccntrcd ln hl s
holdlngthatthcrc| sabcl ngofthcOnc. or. morcprccisc|v.thatprcscn/a//on
«cncra/css/ru./urc. that thc purcmultlplcdctalnsin ltscllthc count as- onc
0nccoul da| sosavthatBcgc| docsnotccasctowrltc thcl ndl|fcrenccol
t hc othcr and the Othcr. ! n dolng so. he rcnounccs thc posslbllltv ol
ontologvbclnga sltuatlon 1hlslsrcvcalcdbvt woconscqucnccswhlchact
asproof
÷ Slnccl tlsl nnnl tv whlchartlculatcsthcothcr. thcrulc and thcOthcr.
|t ls calculab|cthatthclmpassecmcrgc aroundthlsconccpt 1hc d| s] unc
tl onbetwccnthcothcrandtheOthcr÷whlchEcgcl trlcstocllmlnatc÷r
cappcars ln hls tcxt i n thc gulsc ol two dcvclopmcnts whlch arc both
dls] o|ntandldcntlcal ( qualltv and quantltvi .
- Slncc l t l s mathcmatlcs whlch constitutcs |hc ontolog|ca| s/|ua//on.
Hegel wi l l fnd it necessary to deval ue i t. As such, the chapter on
quantitative i nfni ty is fol lowed bv a gi gant | c remark on mathematical
| nnnltv. l nwhlchEcgclproposcstocstabllshthatmathematlcs.l ncompar
|sontothcconccpt. rcprescntsastatcofthoughtwhlchl s dclcctlvcl nand
lor ltseu. andthatlts proccdurcl snon sclcnt l nc .
l . 1BL MA1ELML OF !NF!N!1Y kLV! S!1FL
The Hegel i an matri x of the concept of i nfi nity i s stated as fol l ows:
Conccrnlngqual ltatlvc and quantltatlvc lnnnltv l t l scsscnt| al to rcmark
161
162
BEI NG AND EVENT
thatthc ñnltc lsnotsurpasscdbva thlrdbutthatlt ls dctcrmlnatcncssas
dissolvlngl tsc| fwl thl nltsclfwhlch surpasscsltsc| f ' .
1hc notlons whlch scrvc as t hc archltcctutc of t hc conccpt arc thus
dctcrmlnatcncss ( Bcs/|mm/hc//i . startlng polnt of thc cntlrc dl alcctlc. and
surpasslnc( h/nausµchcnu/cr| . ! t lscasvt rccocnlzcthcrclnboththclnltlal
polnt of bclnc and thc opcrator of passagc. or what ! a|so tctmcd thc
alrcadv' and thc stl|l morc' ( d. Mcd|tatlon | > i . !t would not bc an
cxacgcrat|on to sav that al l of Ecgcl can bc found | n thc foll owlng. thc
stll l morc' lslmmancnttothc a| rcadv' . cvcrvthlngthatls. lsalrcadv stl|l
morc' .
Somcthlng'÷a purc prcscntcd tcrm÷ls dctcrm| natc lor Ecgcl onlv
lnsofar as lt can bc thought as othcr than an othcr. 1hc cxtcrlor|tv of
bclng othcrls thc propcrlntcrlorltvofthc somcthlng. ' 1h|s slgnlñcs that
thc|awofthccountas onclsthatthctcrmcountcdposscsscs/n//sc/]thc
mark othcrolltsbclnc. Orrathcr thconclsonlvsaldofbclnglnasmuch
asbclngl sltsownpropcrnon bclng. l swhat lt l snot. ForEcgcl. thcrc l s
anldcntltvlnbccomlncofthc thcrcl s' ( purcprcscntat| oni andthc thcrc
l soncncss ( structurci . whoscmcd/a//on/s/hc/n/cr/or/wo]/hcncµa/|vc.Ecccl
posltsthat somcthlng' mustdctalnthcmarkolltsownldcntltv. 1hcrcsult
ls thatcvcrvpolnt of bclng |s bctwccn' ltsclfand ltsmark. Lctcrmlnatc
ncss comcs down to thc followl ng. ln ordcr to found thc Samc lt l s
ncccssarv that thcrc bc somc Othcrwl thl n thc othcr. !nnnl tv orlglnatcs
thcrcl n.
1hc analvtlc hcrc l svcrvsubtlc !f thc onc of thc polnt ofbcl ng÷thc
count asonc of a prcscntcd tcrm÷that ls. lts llmlt or what dlsccrns lt.
rcsults from lt dctalnlnc lts markothcr ln lntcr| orl tv÷lt l s what lt
lsn' t÷thcnthcbclngofthlspolnt. asonc thlnc. l stocrossthatl lmlt. 1hc
l|mlt. wh|chconstltutcsthcdctcrm| nat|onofthcsomcthlng. butsuchthat
lt lsdctcrmlncdatthcsamctlmcaslts nonbclnc. lsa lrontlcr. '
1hc passagcfromthc purcllmlt( crcnzci tothcfrontlcr ( 5chran/ci forms
thc tcsourcc ofanlnñnltv d| rcctlvrcau/·cdbvthc polnt ofbclng
1o savofa thlngthatl tl smarkcdlnltsclfasonchastwoscnscs. forthc
thlnclnstant| vbccomcsboththcgapbctwccnltsbclngandthconc of lts-
bclng. On onc sldcofthlsgap. ltls clcarlvlt. thcthlng. whlch ls onc. and
thusllmltcdbv what| snotl t. 1hcrcwc havcthcstat| crcsu|t ofmarklng.
crcnzc. thc llml t. But on thcothcrsldc ofthccap. thconcofthc thlncl s
not | ts bclng. thc thl ng ls l n l tsc| f othct than ltsclf. 1hls ls 5ch·ankc. l ts
frontlcr. Butthcfrontlcrls a dvnamlcrcsul tol thc marklnc. bccauscthc
thlnc. ncccssarl|v. passcs bcvond |ts frontlcr. |n fact. thc frontlcr l s thc
HEGEL
nonbclng through whlch t hcllmlt occurs. Yct t hc thlng /s. l t s bclng l s
accompllshcd bv t hc crosslng of nonbclng. which l s to s av bv passlng
throughthclrontlcr. 1hcprofoundrootofthls movcmcntl sthatthconc.
lf l t marks bclng /n //sc/] ls surpasscdbv thc bclng that lt marks. Hcgcl
posscsscs a profound l ntultlon of thc count as- onc bclng a law. But
bccauschcwants. atanvprlcc.thlslawtobca lawo]/c/nµ. hctransforms
lt lnto dutv. 1hc bclngofthc-onc conslsts l n hav/nµ thc frontlcr /o bc
passcdbcvond. 1hcthlnclsdctcrmlnatcncsslnasmuchasl thas- to-bcthat
onc thatlt l sln not bclng l t . 1hc bc|ngl n ltsclfofdctcrmlnatlon. ln th|s
rclatlon to thc llm| t. l mean to ltsclf asfrontlcr. ls /o hcvc/o/c.
1hconc. lnasmuchas| t| s . lsthcsurpasslngof| t s nonbcl ng. 1hcrcforc.
bclngonc( dctcrmlnatcncssi l srcallzedascrosslngthcfrontlcr. Butbvthc
samctokcn.i tlspurchavlng to bc ltsbclncl sthelmpcratlvctosurpasslts
onc. 1hcpolntofbclng. alwavsdi scctnlbl c. posscsscsthconclnltself. and
soltdltcctlventallsthcsurpasslngofscllandthusthcd| alcct|coftheñnltc
and thc lnñnltc 1hc conccpt of the ñnlte l s l nauguratcd. l n gcncral. ln
havlnctobc. and. atthcsamctlmc. thcactoftransgrcsslngi t. thcl nñnltc
ls born. Eavlngtobc contalns what prcsents ltsclf as progrcss towards
l nñnltv.'
At thls polnt. thc csscncc of thc Ecgcllan thcsls on lnñnltv ls thc
lollow|ng thc polnt of bclng. slncc lt ls alwavs lntrlnslcallv dlsccrnlblc.
«cncra(csoutofltsclfthcopcratoroflnñnltv. thatl s. thcsurpasslng. whlch
comblncs. as docs anv opcrator of thls gcnrc. thc stcp furthcr ( thc stlll
morci ÷hcre. thc |rontler÷and thc automatlsm of rcpctltlon÷hcrc. the
havlnc to be.
! na subtractlvcontologvltlstolcrablc. andcven rcqulrcd. thatthcrcbc
somc cxterlorltv. some cxtrlnslc- ness. slncc thc countas onc l s not
|nfcrrcdfromlnconslstcntprcscntatlon. !nthcHcgcllandoctrlnc. whlchls
agcncratlvcontologv. cvcrvthlnglslntrlns|c. slnccbclng- othcrl sthconc
ofbelng. andcvervthlncpossessesan l dcntlñcatorv markl ntheshapc o|
thc lntcrlorltv of nonbelng. 1he rcsult l s that. lor s ubtract| vc ontology.
| nñnltv ls a dcc/s/on ( of ontolocvi . whllst for Hcgel lt ls a /aw. On thc basls
thatthcbclng of thc onelslntcrnaltobclngl nccnera| . l tfollows÷lnthe
Ecgellan analvsls÷that |t ls ofthccsscncconc of belngtobc l nñni tc.
Hcgel.wl thancspcclalgcnlus. sctouttoco cngcndcrthchnl tcandthe
|nñnlte on thc basls of thc pol nt of bclng alonc. lnñnltv bccomcs an
intcrnal rcason ol thc hnltc ltsclf. a slmplc attri bute of cxperlence l n
general , because i t i s a consequence of the regime of t he one, of the
bctwcenl nwhlchthcthlngresldcs. l nthcsuturc oflts bclnconc andlts
163
164
BEI NG AND EVENT
bcl ng. Bclnghas/obc| nñnlte. 1hcñnl tclsthctcfotc| tsc| fthatpasslngovct
ofltsc|f. lt l sltse|fthcfact of bclng /n]n//c.
2 . BOWCANAN!NF|N!1YBFBAL'
Bowcvct. whlch l nñni tvate wc dca| lnc wlth' 1hc | lmlt/ftontlct sch|sm
founds thc |i nltc' s lnslstcncc on sutpasslng ltsc|f. lts havlng-tobc. 1h|s
havlngtobc tcsu|ts ltom thc opctatot of passagc ( thc passlngbcvondi
bclng a dltcct dctlvatlvc of t hcpolnt of bclng ( dctetmlnatcncss i . But l s
thctcso|c|vonel nñn| tv hctc' !sn' tthcteso|c|vt hcrcpc////on oft hcñnltc.
undct the |aw of thc onc' |n what ! ca| | cd thc mathcmc of l nhnltv. thc
tcpetltlon of the tctm as samc- othct ls not vct lnñnltv. !ot thctc to bc
ln|lnltv.l tl snccessatvfottheOthctp/acctocxlstlnwhichthcothctlnslsts.
! ca| | cd thls tcqulsltc that of thc sccond cxlstcntla| sca| . vla whlch thc
lnlt| a| polntofbclnglsconvokcdtolnsctlbcltstcpctltlonwlthlnthcp|acc
ofthcOthct So|c|vthlssccoadcxlstcnccmctltsthcnamcoflnñnltv. Now.
l tlsc|cathow Bcgcl undctthc hvpothcslsofa ñxcdandlntctna|l dcntltv
ofthc somcthl ng' . cngcndcrsthcopctatotofpassagc. Buthowcanhc/cap
ftom thls to thcgathctlngtogcthctofthccomp| ctcpassagc'
1hlsdlfñcu|tvlscvldcnt|voncthatBcgc|lsqultcawatcof. Fothlm. thc
havc- to bc. otptogtcsstolnñnltv. lsmctc|va mcdloctcttansltlon. whlch
hcca||s÷qultcsvmptomatlca| l v÷thcbad lnñnltv.!ndccd. onccsutpasslng
l sanlntctna| | awofthcpolnt ofbclng. thc lnñnltvwhlch tcsu|ts hasno
othctbclngthanthatofthl spolnt 1hatls. ltls no|ongctthcñn| tcwhlch
lsl nñnltc. ltls tathctthc lnhnltcwhlch|sñnltc. Ot. tobccxact÷a sttong
dcsctlptlon÷the lnñn| tc l smctc|vthcvoldlnwhlchthc tcpctltlonofthc
ñnltc opctatcs. Fach stcpfutthct convokcs thc vold l n whlch lt tcpcats
ltsc|f. !nthlsvo|d. whatl sltthatcmctgcs' . . thlsncw|lmltl sltsc|fon|v
somcthlnctopassovctotbcvond. Assuch. thcvold. thcnothlng. cmctgcs
agaln. but thls dctctm| natlon canbc poscdln lt. a ncw |lmlt. andso on/o
/n]n/n.
Wc thus havc nothlng motc than thc putc a|tctnatlon of thcvoldand
thc| l mlt. | nwhlchthestatcmcnts thcñnltclslnñnltc' and thclnñnltcls
ñnltc' succccd cachothctlnhavlngto-bc. |lkc thc monotonvofa bot|ng
andfotcvctldcntlca|tcpctltlon' . 1hlsbotcdomlsthatofthcbadln|lnltv. It
tcqultcsahlghctdutv thatthcpasslngbcvondbcpasscdbevond. thatthc
| aw of tcpctltlon bc µ/o/a/|y afñtmcd. ln shott. that thc Othct comc
fotth.
HEGEl
But thls tlmc t hc task l s of t hc crcatcst dlfñcultv. Aftcr a| | t hc bad
lnñnltvlsbadductothcvcrvsamcthlngwhlchmakcsltgoodl nHcccllan
tcrms. ltdocsnotbrcakthcontoloclcallmmancncc ofthconc. bcttcrstlll.
lt dcrlvcs from thc l attct. !ts l|mltcd or ñnltc charactcr or| clnatcs l n lts
bclng solclv dcñncd locallv. bv thc stlll morc of thls alrcadv that ls
dctcrmlnatcncss. Howcvcr. thls localstatus cnsutcs thc grasp ofthc onc.
slncca tcrmlsalwavslocallvcountcdordlsccrncd. Locsn tthcpassaccto
thcclobal. andthustothc goodl nl| nltv . lmposca dls] unctlvc dcclslonln
whlchthcbclncofthconcwlllfaltcr'1hcBcgcllanartlñcclsatl tsapoccc
hcrc.
>. 1EF RF1URX ANL 1EFNOMlNA1!ON
Sl nccltlsncccssarvtorcsolvcthl sprobl cmwlthoutundolngthcdla|cctlcal
contlnultv. wc wll| now t urn. wlth Bcgcl. to thc somcthlnc . Bcvond lts
bclnc. ltsbc| ngonc. lts llmlt | ts frontlcr. and ñnallv thc havlnctobc l n
whl chltl nsl sts. what rcsourccs docsl tdlsposc ofwhl chwoul daut horlzc
us. lnpasslncbcvondpasslncbcvond. toconqucr thcnon-vol dplcnltudc
ofa globallnñnltv' Ecgel s strokc ofgcnlus. l fltlsnotrathcra mattcrof
suprcmc dcxtcrltv. l s to abruptlv rcturn to putc prcscntat| on. towards
|nconslstcncv as such. and to dcclarc that what constltutcs the good
lnñnltvlsthcprcscnccofthcbad. 1hatthcbadln||nltvlsc]]cc//vclsprcclsclv
what | ts badncss cannot account fot. Bcvond rcpcatlng ltsc|f. thc somc
thlnc dctalns. ln cxccss of that rcpctltlon. thc csscntlal and prcscntablc
capacltvto rcpcatltsc|f.
1hc ob] cctlvc. orbadlnñnltv ls thc rcpctltlvc oscl l l atl on. thc tltcsomc
cncountcr of thc ñnltc ln havl nctobc and thc lnhnltc as vold. 1hc
vcrltablc lnhnltv ls sub] cctlvc l n that lt l sthc vlrtual l tv contalncd ln thc
purcprcscnccofthcñnltc.1hcob] cctlv|tvofob]cctlvcrcpctlt| onl sthusan
afñrmatlvclnñnltv. aprcscncc. 1hcunltvofthcñnltcandthclnñnltc. . .
ls ltsclf prcscn/. Consldcrcd as prcscncc of thc rcpctltlvc proccss. thc
somcthlng has brokcn lts cxtcrnal rclatlon to thc othcr. from whlch |t
drcw lts dctcrmlnatcncss. ! t l s now rclatlon to sclf. purc l mmancncc.
bccausc thc othcr has bccomc cffcctlvc /n /hc modc o] /hc /n]n//c vo/d/n
wh/ch /hcsomc/h/n« rcpcc/s //sc/ 1hcgood lnñnltv l s ñnallv thc fol|owing.
thc rcpctltlonal of rcpct| tlon. as otherofthcvold. ! nlI nltvls . . . as othcr
ofthcvoldbclngothcr. . . rcturn to sclf and rc|atlon to scl l.
165
166
BEI NG AND EVENT
1h|s subj cct|vc. orlor|tsclf. lnnn|tv. whlch|st hcgoodprcscncc ofthc
bad opcrat|on. |s no longcr rcprcscntablc. for what rcprcscnts | t |s thc
rcpct|t|onofthcnn|tc Whatarcpctltloncannotrcpcat|s|tsownprcscncc.
|t rcpcatsltsclf/hcrc/nwlthoutrcpctlt|on. Wccan thus scca d|vld|ngl|nc
drawn bctwccn
÷ thc bad l nnn| tv. obj cct|vc proccss. transccndcncc ( hav|ngtobci .
rcprcscntat|on.
- thcgood |nnn|tv. subj cct|vc virtual|tv. lmmancncc. unrcprcscntablc.
1hc sccond tcrm | sl|kc thc doublc of t hcñrst. Morcover. i t |s strlk|ng
that| nordcrtoth|nk|t. Hcgclhasrccoursctothcfoundatlona| catcgor|cs
ofontologv. purc prcscncc andthe vold.
Whathasnotvctbccncxpla|ncd| swhvprcsenccorvlrtual|tvpcrs|sts|n
bclngcallcd l nnnltv' hcrc. cvcnl nthcworldofthcuood|nnnltv.W|ththc
bad |nnn|tv. thc t|c to thc mathcmc |s clcar. thc |n|t|al po|nt of bc|ng
( dctcrm|natcncssi and thc opcrator of rcpctitlon | pass|ng- bcvondi arc
both rccogn|zab|c. But whatabout thcgood'
!n rcalltv. th|s nom|nat|on | s thc rcsu|t of thc cntlrc proccdurc. wh|ch
canbc summarlscd lns|x stcps.
a. 1hcsomcthlnglsposltcdasoncont hcbaslsofancxtcrna|d|ffcrcncc
(lt l sothcrthan thc othcri .
/. But s|ncc|tmustbc|ntr|ns|ca|lvd|sccrn|blc. |t mustbcthoughtthat
|t has thc othcr mark of lts onc |n |tsclf. !ntroj cct|ng cxtcrna|
d|ffcrcncc. lt vo/4s thc othcr somcthlng. whlch bccomcs. no longcr
an othcrtcrm. buta vo|d spacc. anothcrvo| d.
c Hav| ng|ts nonbc|ng | n|tsclf. thc somcth|ng. whl ch|s. sccs that| ts
l | m| t|sal soa front|crthatltscnti rcbcl ng| stopassbcvond( tobcas
to havctobci .
d. 1hc pass|ngbcvond. duc to po|nt /. occurs l nthc vo|d. 1herc |s an
altcrnat|on bctwccn th|s vo|d and thc rcpct|t|on of thc somcth|ng
( wh|ch rcdeplovs |ts |lm|t. thcn passcs bcvond lt agaln as lront|cri .
1h|s ls thcbad|nnn|tv.
c. 1h|s rcpct|t|on i sprcscnt. 1hcpurcprcscnccofsomcthi ngdctalns÷
v|rtua||v÷prcscncc andthc|awofrcpct|t|on. !t |s thcg|obalolthat
ofwhichthc| oca|lscach osci | | atlonofthet| n|tc ( dctcrminatcness i /
| nñn|tc ( vol di a|ternat|on.
] 1onamcth|sv|rtual|tv! mustdraw|hcnamc]rom/hcvo/d. s|ncc purc
prcscnccasrclat|ontosclfls. atth|spolnt. thcvoldltsclf. G|vcnthat
HEGEL
thcvoldlst hctranshnltcpol arltvof thcbadl nnnltv. l t| sncccssarv
that thls namebc. l nñnltv. thc good l nñnltv
!nñn|tv l s thcrcforc thc contractlon ln vlrtual ltv of rcpct|tlon ln thc
prcsenccofthatwhlch rcpeatsltscl f. a contractlonnamcd lnñnltv' onthc
baslsolthcvoldlnwhlchthc repctltloncxhaustsl tscl f. 1hcgoodlnñnltv
l s the namc of whattransplrcs wlthlnthc rcpcatablc of thcbad. a namc
drawn|romthcvoldbordcrcdbvwhatlsccrtalnlva tlrcsomcproccss.but.
onccthcl attcrl strcatcdasprcsencc. wcalsoknowthatltmustbcdcclarcd
subj cctlvclvlnñnlte.
!t scems that thc dl alcct|c oflnñnltv ls thorouchl v complctc. On what
baslsthcn docslt startal | ovcragaln'
4 1BF ARCANA OF OUAN1!1Y
!nñnltv was spllt lnto bad and good. But hcrc lt ls spllt agaln lnto
qual ltatlvcl nñnltv( whoscprlnclplcwchavej uststudl cdi andquantltatlvc
lnñn| tv.
1hckcvtothlsturnstllcrcsldcslnthc mazc ofthc Onc. lfl tl sncccssarv
totakeup thc qucstlonoflnnn| tvagaln. ltlsbccauscthebcl ngofthconc
docsnot opcratc l nthc samc manncr lnquantltvaslnqual ltv. Or rathcr.
thc polnt ofbclng÷dctcrmlnatcncss÷ls constructcd quantltatlvclv ln an
|nvcrse manncrtoltsqual ltatlvc structurc.
!havcal rcadvlndlcatcdthat. atthccndofthchrstdlalcctlc.thcthlngno
|ongcrhad anvrcl atlonsavctoltsclf. !nthcgoodlnnnltv. bclngl sfor ltsclf.
|t has vol dcd' ltsothcr. Bow can ltdctaln thc mark of thc- onc thatl tl s'
1hcquall tatlvc somcthlngl s. |tsclf.dlsccrnlbl cl nsofaraslthasltsothcrln
. tsclf 1hc quantltatlvc somcthlng ls. onthc othcr hand. without othcr.
and conscqucntl v //s dc/crm/nc/cncss /s /nd/"crcn/ Lct's undcrstand thls as
statingthatthc quantltatlvc Onc lsthcbclngofthc purc One. whlchdocs
not dlffcr from anvthing. !t ls not that lt l s lndlsccrn|bl c. // /s d/s:crn///c
am/ds/cvc¬/h/nµ. /y/c/nµ /hc /nd/sccrn///c o]/hc 6nc
What founds quantltv. what dlscerns lt. ls l lterall v thc lndlffcrencc of
dlffcrcncc. thc anonvmous Onc. Butlfquantltatlvcbel ng-oncl swlthout
dlffcrencc. l t l sclcarlvbecauseltsllmltlsnota l|mlt. bccause cvcrv l l mlt.
aswehavcsccn. rcsul tsfromthclntroj cctlonofanothcr. Ecgcl wl|lspcak
of ' determinateness which has become i ndifferent to bcing. a limit whi ch
lsj ust as muchnotonc . Onlv. a llmltwh|ch ls alsonota l lmltlsporous
167
168
BEI NG AND EVENT
1he quantltatlvc Onc. the lndllfctcnt Onc. whlch ls numbet. ls al so
multlplconcs. bccausc l ts ln dlflctcnce ls al so that of ptollfcratlnc thc
samc as sclf outsldc of sclf thc0nc. whosc llmlt l s lmmcdlatelv a non
llmlt. tcallzcs ltscl f l nthcmultlpllcltv cxtctnal to scl l whlch has as lts
ptlnclplcotun| tvthc lndlflctcnt Onc' .
0nccan now ctasp thc dlffctence betwccn thc movcmcnts l n whlch
qualltatlvc and quantltatlve lnñnltv atc tcspcctlvelv genctated. !f thc
cssentlal tlmc of thc qualltatlvc somcthlnc ls |hc /n/ro]cc//cn o]a//cr/n (thc
llmltthctcbv becomlnc ltontl eti . that olthcquantltatlvc somcthlncl s|hc
cx|crna//zc//on o] /dcn||n. ! n thc ||tst casc. thc onc plavs wlth bclnc. thc
betwccntwo ln whlch the dutv l s to pass bcvond thc ftontlet. !n thc
sccondcasc. theOncmakcsltsclflntomul tlpl c Oncs. aunltvwhoscteposc
l les ln sptcadlnc ltsclf bcvond ltsclf. Oualltv ls l nl| nl tc accotdlnc to a
dlalcctlc of /dca//]ca||oa. ln whlch the onc ptocecds from thc othct.
Ouantltv ls lnñnltc accotdlnc to a dlalectlc ol pro//]cra//oa. ln whlch thc
samc ptocccds ltom thc One.
1hc cxtctlorof numbctls thetefotc not thevold in whlch a tcpctltlon
lnslsts. 1hc cxteti otof numoctlsltsclfasmultlplc ptollfctatlon. Onc can
also sav thatthe opctatots atcnotthc samc ln qua| ltv andquantltv. 1hc
opctatot of qualltatlve lnñnltv ls passlng-bcvond. 1hc quantltatlvc opct
ator ls dupllcat| on. Onc tc poslts thc somethlnc ( stl | l motci . thc othct
lmposcs |t ( alwavs i . !nqualltv. whatlstcpcatcdls that thc othetbethat
lntctlotwhlchhastoctosslts| lmlt. ! nquantltv.whatl stcpeatcdlsthatthc
samc bc that cxtctlotwhlchhas to ptollfctatc
Onccrucla| conscqucnccofthcscdlffetcnccsls that thcgoodquantlta
tlvcl nñnltvcannotbcputcptcscncc.lntetlotvittual ltv.thcsub] cctlvc.1hc
tcason l s that thc same of thc quantltatlve 0nc also ptollfctatcs lns|dc
ltsclf. !f. outsldcltsclf. ltlslnccssantlvnumbct( thcl nñnltc| vlatcei . lns|dc
itsclfi ttcmal nsextctna| . ltlsthcinñnltc|vsmall . 1hcdlsscmlnatlonofthc
Onelnltselfbalanccsltsptol. fetatlon.1hetclsnoptcscncc| nlntctlotltvof
the quant|tatl ve. Lvctvwhcrc thc samc dlsposcs thc llmlt. bccause lt ls
lndllfctcnt. Numbct. theotcanlzationofquant|tatlvc | nnnltv. sccmstobc
unlvctsallvbad.
Onccconftontcdwlththlslmpasscconcctnlncptcscncc | andfot usthls
l s a ] ovfu| slcht÷numbct | mposlnc thc dancct ol thc subttactlvc. of
un prcscncci . uegcl proposcsthclollowlngllnc olso| utl on: thlnklncthat
thc | ndlffctcnt l.mlt ñnallv produccs somc tcal dlffetcncc 1hc ttuc÷ot
cood÷quantltatlvc lnhnltvwlllbc|hc]orm/nµ |n/o·d/"crcncco]/n4/]crcncc
Onc can. fotcxamplc. thlnkthat the lnñnltvolnumoct. bcvond the Onc
HEGEL
which prollfcratcs and composcs th|s or that numbcr. l s that of /c/nµ a
numbct. Ouantltatlvc l nnnltvls quant|tvquaquant|tv. thc prol|lcrator ol
ptolifcrat|on. whlch ls to sav. qultc s|mplv. thc qualltv of quantltv. thc
quant|tatlvc such as dlsccrncd qual|tatlvc|v from anv othcr
dctcrm|natlon.
But ln mv cvcs thls docsn' t work. Whatcxactlv docsn t work' !t s thc
nom|natlon. [ havc no quarrcl wlth thcrc bc|ng a qua| ltatlvc csscncc of
quant|tv. but whv namc lt l n||n|tv' '1hc namc su|ts qual|tativc i nñnltv
/ccausc//was drawn]rom/hcvo/4. andthcvold wasc| carlv thc transnnltc
polarltvofthcptoccss. !nnumcrlcalprollfctat|onthcrc|snovoldbccausc
thccxtcr|orolthcOnc/sltslntcrlor. thcputc lawwhlchcauscsthcsamc-
asthc 0nc to ptol |fcratc 1hc tad|cal abscncc of thc othcr. lndlffctcncc.
rcndcrs| l lcgltlmatchcrcanvdcclaratlonthatthccsscnccofñnltcnumbcr.
lts numcrlcltv. |s l nhnltc.
!n othcr words. ucµc/]a//s /o /n/crvcnc on num/cr Hc la|ls bccausc thc
nominal cqulvalcncc hc proposcs bctwccnthc purc prcscncc ofpasslng-
bcvond |n thc vo|d ( thc good qual|tatlvc |nñnltvi and thc qual ltat|vc
conccptof quantltv ( thc cood quantltat|vc lnnnltvi l s a tr|ck. an lllusorv
sccncofthcspcculatlvcthcatrc. 1hcrel snosvmmctrvbctwccnthcsamc
and thc othcr. bctwccn proli fctatlon and ldcntlncatlon. Howcvcr hcrolc
thc cflort. it ls /n/crrup/cd dc]ac/o bv thc cxtcrior|tv |tsclf of thc purc
mult|ple. Mathcmatlcsoccurshercasdlscontlnu|tvwl thl nthcdlalcctic. ! t
ls t h| s lcsson t hat Hcgcl wlshcs to mask bv suturlng undcr t hc samc
tcrm÷lnñnltv÷two dls] olnt dlscurslvc ordcrs.
5 . u! SJUNC1!ON
!t ls at th|s polnt that thc Hcgc|lan cntcrprlsccncountcrs. as|ts rcal. thc
lmposslbllitvofpurcdls] unct|on. Onthcbasi softhcvcrvsamcprcmi scsas
Hcgcl. oncmustrccognlzcthat|hcrcpct|t|onofthcOnc| nnumbcrcannot
at|sc from thc i ntcti orltvolthcncgat|vc. What Hegclcannot think l sthc
d|ffcrcnccbctwccnthcsamcandthcsamc. thatls. thcpurcpos|tlonoftwo
lcttcrs. !n thc qua|ltatlvc. cvctvthlng orlg|natcs in thc lmpurltv wh|ch
stlpul atcs that thc othcr marks thc po|nt of bclng wlth thc onc. !n thc
quant|tat|vc. thc cxprcss|onofthc Onccannotbc markcd. suchthatanv
numbctl sboth dls] olntfromanvothcrandcomposcd ftomthc same. ! f| t
is i nñni tvthat i s desi red, nothi ngcan saveus here lrommakinga decision
which. | n onc go. dls] olns thc placc of thc Othcr from anv lnslstcncc of
169
170
BEI NG AND EVENT
samc othcrs . !n wlsh|ng to malntaln thccontlnultv ofthcdlalcctlc rlght
through thc vcrvchlcancsofthcpurcmul tlplc. andto makc thc cnt|rctv
procccd from thc polnt ofbclng alonc. Ecgcl cannot rc] oin lnñnltv. Onc
cannotforcvcrdlspcnsc with thcsccond cxlstcntlal scal
Llsmlsscd |rom rcprcscntation and cxpcrlcncc. t hcdls] olnlnc dcc|s|on
makcsltsrcturnlnthctcxtitsclf. bva splltbctwccntwodialcctlcs. qualltv
andquantltv. so slmilarthatthconlvthingwhlchfrccsusfromhavlncto
fathom thcabvssofthclrtwinhood. andthusdiscovcrthcparadox ofthclr
non- k| ndrcdnaturc. lsthatfragllcvcrbalfootbrl dgcthrownfromoncsl dc
tothcothcr. lnñnitv .
1hc good quantltativc l nñn|tv' l s a propcrlv Ecgcllan hal!uclnat|on. ! t
was on thc basls of a complctclv dl|fcrcnt psvchosls. l n whlch Cod
l nconslsts. that Cantorhadto cxtract thc mcans for lcgltimatclvnamlng
thc inñnltc mu| tlp| lcitlcs÷at thc prlcc. howcvcr. ol trans|crrlnc to thcm
thcvcrvpro| lfcratlonthatEcgcllmaglncdonccouldrcducc (ltbclngbadi
through thc artlñcc o| its d|ffcrcntlablclndlffcrcncc
Fñk1 I V
The Event: Hi story and U l tra-one
MEDI TATI ON SI XTEEN
Eventa l Si tes and Hi stori cal Si tuati ons
CuidedbvCantor' s inventi on. we have determi ned |or the moment the
|ollowing categories o| bei ng qua being the multiple. general |otm o|
presentation. the void. proper name o|being. the excess. orstate o| the
situation. representative reduplication o| thestructure ( or count as onei
of presentation. nature. stable and homogeneous form of the standing
there of the multiple. and. |n|Initv. which decides the expansion of the
naturalmultiplebevond |ts Greekl i mi t.
!t ism th| s|rameworkthat ! wi l l broach the questi on o| what - i s not
beingqua-be| ng' ÷with respect to which it woul d not be prudent to
immedlatelv conc|udethat it isa question o|nonbei ng.
! t l s striking that |or Beidecger thatwhichi s not-being qua being i s
distingui shed bv its negai ive counter position to art. For hi m. it is <um,
whoseopeni ng forth i s set to workbv the work of art and bv it alone.
1hrough the work o| art we know that evervthlng el se which appears'
÷apart from appearing |tse|f. which is nature÷is onlv connrmed and
accessib|e asnot counting. asa nothing' . 1henothing|s thussingledout
bv its standing thete not bei ng coextensive with the dawning o|bei ng.
with the nat ura| gesture o| appearing. ! t is what i s dead through being
separated. Beidegger |ounds the position of the nothing. of the that
which- i s- notbei ng. within theholding swav of <UOL,. 1he nothing is the
i nert bvproduct o|appearing. thenon-natura| whose culmination. dur
ingtheepocho|nihilism. is|oundi ntheerasureo|anvnatura| appearing
underthevi o|entandabstract reigno|modern technologv.
! shall retai nfrom Beideggerthe germ ofhis proposit|on. that the p/acc
ol thought ol that-whi ch i s not-being is the non natural. that which i s
173
174
BEI NG AND EVENT
presentedo/hcrthannatura| orstab|eornorma|mu|tlp|lcltl es. 1hep| aceol
theotherthanbelngls theabnorma|. the lnstab| e. theantl natura|. ! wl||
term h/s/er/ca/whatls thus determlned astheopposlte olnature
Whatlstheabnorma| '!n theana| vtl cdeve|opedl nMedl tatl on8 what
are lnltla||v opposed to norma| mu|tlp|lcltles ( whlch are presented and
representedi are slngu|ar mu|tlp|lcltles. wh|ch are presented but not
represented. 1hese are mu| tlp|es whlch be|ong to the s| tuatlon wlthout
belnglnc|udedl nthe|atter thevare e|ementsbutnot subsets.
1hatapresentedmu|tlp|el snotatthesametl measubsetolthesltuatlon
necessarl| v means that certaln mu|tlp|es lrom whlch thls mu|tlp|e l s
composed do not. themse|ves. be|ong to the sltuatlon. !ndeed. ll a// the
termsolapresentedmu|tlp|earethemse|vespresentedl nasltuatlon. then
theco||ectlonoltheseterms÷themu|tlp|eltse|l÷lsapar/olthesltuat| on.
and ls thus counted bv the state. !n other words. the necessarv and
sulnclentcondltl onlora mu|tlp|etobebothpresentedandrepresentedls
thata| | o|ltsterms. lnturn. bepresented. uerel sanlmage( whlchl ntruth
lsmere|vapproxlmatei . a laml| volpeop|e l sa presentedmu|tlp|e olthe
socla|sltuatlon(lnthesensethatthev|lvetogetherlnthesameapartment.
orgoonho|ldavtogether. etc i . andltlsa|soarepresentedmu|tlp|e. apart.
ln the sense that cach ol lts members ls reglsteredbv the reglstrv olnce.
possessesirench natlona|ltv. andsoon !l. however. oneolthemembers
olthelaml|v.phvslca||vtledtolt. lsnot reglsteredandremalnsc|andestlne.
andduetothlslactnevergoesouta|one. oron|vl ndlsgulse. andsoon. l t
canbesaldthatthls|aml|v. despltebel ngpresented. l snotrepresented. !t
l sthuss/nµu/ar.!nlact. oneolthemembers o|thepresentedmu| tl p| ethat
thls laml| vls. remalns. hlmse|l. unpresentedw//h/n /hcs//ua//on.
1hl sl sbecauseatermcanon| vbepresentedl na sltuatlonbva mu|tlp|e
towhlchl tbelongs. wlthoutdlrectlvbelngltsel!a mu|tlpleo!thesltoatlon.
1h|stermla||sunderthe count as oneolpresentatlon (becauseltdoes so
accordlngto the onemu|tlp|etowhlch ltbe|ongs i . butlt |s notseparate|v
counted as one. 1he be|onglng ol such terms to a mu|t|p|e singularizes
them
!tls ratlona|tothlnktheab norma|or the antl natura|. that| s. hlstorv.
as an omnlpresence olslngu| arltv÷] ust as we havethoughtnature as an
omn| presence o! norma| lty 1he lorm mu|tlp|e o! hlstorlcltv l s what| l es
entlre|y wlthln the lnstabl||tv ol the smgu|ar. l t l s that upon whlch the
state' s meta structure has no ho| d. !t ls a pol nt ol subtractlon lromthe
state's re secur|ngolthe count.
EVENTAL SI TES AND HI STORI CAL SI TUATI ONS
! wl| | termcvcn/c/s//canent|re|vabnorma|mu| t| p| e. that| s. a mu| tlp|e
suchthatnoneol|tse| ementsarepresented| nthesltuat| on 1Heslte. | tse|l.
| s presented but beneath lt nothlng lrom wh| ch | t | s composed | s
presented As such. thes|tel s nota partol thes| toat | on ! w| | | a| sosavol
such a mu|t| p| e that lt | s on |hc cduc o] /hc vo/d. or{ounda|/ona/ ( these
deslgnatlons w||| be exp| alnedi
1o emp|ovthe| mageusedabove.l t wou| dbe acaseo l a concretelam||v.
c// ol whose members were c|andestlne or non dec|ared. and wh| ch
presents ltse|l ( manllests | tse|l pub|lc|vi un/auc/y ln the group lorm ol
laml|voutlngs !nshort.suchamu|tlp|elsso| e| vpresentedasthemu| tl p| e-
that -l t l s Noneol| tstermsarecountedasoneassuch. on| vthemu| tlp|e
olthese termslormsa one
!tbecomesc| earerwhvaneventa| s| tecaobesa| dtobe ontheedgeol
the vol d whenwe remember that lrom the perspectlve ol the sltuatlon
thls mu| tl p| e | s made up exc| uslve|v ol non presented mu| t| p| es 1ust
beneath th| s mu| t | p| e÷ll we conslder the mu| tl p| es lrom wh| ch lt l s
composed÷there |s no/h/nµ. because none ol |ts terms are themse| ves
counted as ooe A slte | stherelore the m/n/ma/ellectol structure whlch
canbe conce| ved. | t ls such that lt be|ongs to the s| tuat| on. whl | st what
be|ongs to | t ln turn does not 1he border ellect | n wh| ch thls mu|t| p|e
touchesuponthevoldorlgl nateslnltscons|stencv( | tsone mu| t| p| eibelng
composed so| e| v lrom what. wlth respect to the sltuat| on. l n- conslsts
Wlthln the s| tuatlon. th| s mu|tlp|e | s. but /ha/ o!wh/ch lt .s mu|tlp| e l s
not
1hat an eventa| (or on the edge ol the vol di s| te can be sald to be
loundat| ona| | sc| ar| hedpreclse|vbvsucha mu|tlp| ebe| ngm| nl ma| lorthe
ellectolthe count 1h| smu|tlp|e canthen natura||v enterl nto conslstent
comblnatlons | t can. | n turn. /c/onµ to mu| tl p| es countedas one ln the
situatlon 8ut be| ncpure| vpresentedsuch thatnoth| ngwhl chbe| ongsto
i t |s. | tcannot | tse| | resu| i |roman |nterna| comb| natl on olthe sltuatl on
Cne cou|dca|| |t a prlma| - ooeol thesltuatlon. a mu| tlp| e adml tted lnto
thecountw|thouthav|ngtoresu|tlrom prev| ous coonts !t| s| nthlssense
thatonecansavthat| nregardtostructure. |tl sanondecomposab| eterm
!tlo||owsthateventa|s| tesb| ockthelnnnlteregressl ooolcomb| natlonsol
mu|tlp| es Slnce thev are on the edge ol the vold. onecannot th| nk the
uoders|de olthe| rpresentedbe| ng !tl stherelorecorrect tosavthatsltes
]oundthe s| tuat| on becaosethevaretheabso| ute|vprlmarv termsthereln.
thev| nterrupt questlonlnc accord| ngtocomblnatorvor|g| n
175
176
BEI NG AND EVENT
One shou| d note tHat the concept ol an eventa| slte. un| l ke that ol
natura| mu|tlp|lcltv. l s neltHer lntrlnslc nor abso| ute A mu|tlp|e cou|d
qulte easl|v be slngu|ar l n one sltuatlon ( l ts e|ements are not presented
t Hereln. a|though lt |si vet norma| l n another sltuatl on ( lts e| ements
happen to be presented ln thls new sltuatloni !n contrast. a natura|
mu| tlp|e. whlchl s norma| and a| | olwhose terms are norma|. conserves
thesequa|ltleswhereverl tappears Nature l sabso|ute. hlstorlcltvre|at| ve
One ol the proloundcharacterlstlcs olslngu|arltlesls thatthevcan a|wavs
be norma//zcd as ls shown. moreover. bv soclo po|ltlca| Blstorv. anv
eventa|slte can. l ntheend. undergoa statenorma|lzatlon Bowever. | t ls
lmposslb|etoslngu| arlzenatura|normalltv !loneadmltsthatlorthereto
be hlstorlcltv even ta| sltes are necessarv. then the lo| | ow| ng observatlon
canbemade. hlstorvcanbenatura|lzed. butnaturecannotbehlstorlclzed
1herelsa strlklngdlssvmmetrvhere. wHlchprohlblts÷outsldet helrame
workoltHeonto|oglca|thoughtolthepuremu|tlp|e÷anvunl tvbetween
nature andhlstorv
!n other words. the ncµa/|vc aspect olthedennltlonoleventa| sltes÷to
not be represented÷prohlblts us lrom speakl ng ol a slte l nl tse|l A
mu|tlp|elsa sltere|at| vetothe sltuatlonln wHlchlt ls presented( counted
asone i A mu|tlp|e l sa slteso| e| v/ns//u. !ncontrast. a natura| sltuat| on.
norma|lzlnga| | olltsterms. | sdennab|elntrlns| ca||v.andevenl lltbecomes
a sub sltuatlon (a sub mu|t|p| ei wlthlna | argerpresentatlon. l t conserves
ltscharacter
It ls therelore essentla| to reta| n that the dennlt| on ol even|a| sltes l s
/occ/.whl | stthedenn| tl onolnatura| sltuatlonslsµ/o|a/. Onecanmalntaln
thatthereareon|vsltepo/n/sy lnsldea s| tuatlon. |nwhlchcertalnmu|tlp|es
( but not otHers i are on the edge ol the vold !n contrast. there are
situations whi ch are gl obal l y natural
!n Ih.er/cdusu]c/. I lntroduced the theslstHatBlstorvdoesnot exlst !t
wasa matterolrelut|ngthe vu| garMarxlstconceptlon ol the meaning ol
history. Wlthlntheabstractlrameworkwhlchlsthatolthl sbook. thesame
ldealsloundlnthelo||owlnglorm tHerearelnsltuatloneventa| sltes. but
there l s no eventa| s|tuatlon We can thlnk the h/s/or/c/n ol certaln
mu|tlp|es. but we cannot tHlnk a Blstorv 1he practlca|÷po| ltlca |÷conse
quences ol th. s conceptlon are cons| derab| e. because thev set out a
dll|erentl a| topo|ogv ol act. on 1he | dea ol an overturnlng whose orlgln
woul d be a state ola tota|ity i s imaginary. Every radical transformational
actlon orlg| nates/ napo/n/. whlch. lnsldea sl tuatl on. | s aneventa| slte
EVENTAL SI TES AND HI STORI CAL SI TUATI ONS
uoesthl smeanthattheconceptolsltuat|onls|ndlllerenttohlstor|cltv'
Not exact|v !t l s obvlous that not a|| thlnkab|e sltuatlons necessar||v
contaln eventa| sltes 1hls remark |eads toa tvpo|ogv olsltuatlons. whlch
wou|d prov|de the startlng polnt ol what. lor Beldegger. wou| d be a
doctrlne.notol the belngolbelngs. butratherolbelngs l ntota|ltv' !wl||
|eaveltlor|ater. l ta|onewou|dbecapab|eolputtlngsomeorderlnto the
c|asslncatlonolknow|edces. andol|egltlmatlngthestatusolthecong|om-
erate once termedthe humansclences
iorthemoment. l t l s enoughlorus t od|stlngulshbetweensltuatlonsl n
whlch there are eventa| sltes and those l n whlch there are not ior
examp|e. l n a natura| sltuatlon there l s no such slte Yet the reglme ol
presentatlon has manv other states. ln partlcu|ar ones l n whlch the
dlstrlbutlon ol slngu|ar. norma| and excrescent terms bears nelther a
natura| mu|t|p|e nor an eventa| slte Such ls the glgantlc reservolr lrom
whlch ourexlstencelswoven. thereservolrolnc×/ra/sltuatlons. lnwhlch
ltl s ne|ther a questlono|| | le ( naturei norolactlon ( hlstorvi
! wl termsltuat| onsl nwhlcha t |eastoneeventa| slte occursh/s|or/ca/.
! have chosenthe term hlstorlca| l nopposltlonto the lntrlnslcstabl|ltvol
natura| sltuatlons ! wou|d l nslst upon the lact that hlstorlcltv l s a |oca|
crlterlon. one (at |easti ol the mu|tlp|es that the sltuatlon counts and
presentsl sa slte. whlchlstosavlt|ssuchthatnoneolltspropere|ements
(the mu|tlp|es lrom wh|ch ltlorms a onemu|t|p|ei are presented | nthe
s|tuatlon A hlstorlca|sltuatlon|stherelore.l nat|eastoneolltspolnts. on
theedce olthevol d
Blstorlcltv ls thus presentatlon at the punctua| | lmlts ol lts bel ng I
opposltlon to Beldegger. ! ho|dthat lt ls bv wavolhlstorlca| | oca|ltatlon
thatbe|ngcomes lorth wlthl npresentatlveproxl mltv. becausesomethlng
ls subtracted lrom representatlon. or lrom the state Nature. structura|
stabl|ltv. equ||lbrlum ol presentatlon and representatlon. l s rather that
lrom whlch belncthere weaves thegreatest ob|lvl on Compact excessol
presenceandthecount. natureburl eslnconslstencvandturnsawavlrom
the vold Nature ls too g|obal too normal to open up to the eventa|
convocatlonolltsbel ng !tlsso| e|vl nthepolntolhlstorv. therepresenta
tlveprecarlousnessoleventa|sltes. thatl twl | | berevea|ed. vl athechance
ola supp|ement. thatbelng mu|tlp|elnconslsts
177
178
MEDI TATI ON SEVENTEEN
The Mathere of the Event
1heapproach ! sha| | adopt here . s a constructlve one. 1he event l s not
actua| | vlnterna|totheana|vtlcolthemu|tlp|e. Lventhoughltcana|wavs
be |oca//zcd wlthln presentatlon. lt l s not. as such. presented. nor l s lt
presentab| e. !tl s÷notbelnc÷supernumerarv.
Crdlnarl|v. conceptua|constructlon ls reservedlorstructureswhl|stthe
eventl sre] ectedlntothepureemplrlcltyolwhat happens. Mvmethodls
thelnverse. 1hecount as onel slnmvevestheevldenceolpresentatlon.
!t ls the event whlchbe| oncsto conceptua| constructlon. l n the doub|e
sensethatltcanon|vbe/hoaµh/bvantlclpatlncltsabstractlorm.andl tcan
on|v be rcvca/cd l n the retroactlon ol an lnterventlona| practlce whlch ls
ltse| l entlre|v thouchtthrouch.
An event cana|waysbe |oca|lzed. What does thlsmean' ilrst. thatno
eventl mmedlate|vconcernsa sltuatlonl nltsentlretv. Aneventl sa|wavs
l n a polnt ol a sltuatlon. whlch means that lt concerns' a mu|t| p|e
presentedl nthe sltuatlon. whateverthe word concern mav mean lt l s
posslb|e to characterlze ln a cenera| mannerthetvpe olmu| tlp| ethatan
event cou/d concern' wlthln an lndetermlnate sltuatlon As one mlcht
have cuessed. lt l sa matterolwhat ! named above an eventa| slte ( ora
loundatlona|slte. oraslteonthe edceolthe voldi . Wesha||posltonceand
lora| | thatthere areno natura| events. nor are there neutra| events !n
natura|orneutra|sltuatlons. thereareso|e|v]cc/s.1hedl st|nctlonbetween
alactandan event| sbased, |nthelastinstance, onthed| st| nct| onbetween
natura|orneutra|sltuatlons. thecrlterlaolwhlcharec|oba|. andhlstorlca|
sltuatlons. thecrlterlonolwhlch(theexlstenceola sltei l s| oca| . 1hereare
eventsunlque| vl nsltuatlonswhlchpresentat| eastones|te. 1heeventls
THE MATHEME OF THE EVENT
attached. ln l ts verv defn|tlon. to thep|ace. to the polnt. l n whlch the
hlstorlcltvolthesltuatlonlsconcentrated Lverveventhasa sltewhlchcan
beslngu|ar|zedl na hlstorlca| sltuatlon
1he slte deslgnates the |oca| tvpe ol the mu|tlp|lcltv concerned' bv an
event .!tl snot becauset heslteexlstsl nthesltuatlont hat therelsanevent
8ut ]or theretobeanevent. theremustbethe|oca|determlnatlonolaslte.
thatl s. a sltuatlonl nwhlchat|eastonemu|tlp|eontheedgeolthevoldls
presented
1he conluslon ol the exlstence ol the s|te ( lor examp|e. the worklng
c|ass. ora g|ven stateolartlst|ctendencles. ora sc|entlhclmpassei wlththe
necess|tv ol the event |tse|l |s the cross ol determlnlst or g|oba|lzlng
thought 1he sltels on|vevera cond/|/on o]bc/nµ lorthe event . Ol course.
llthesltuatlonl snaturalcompact orneutral the eventl sl mposslb| e. Put
the ex|stence ol a mu|tlp|e on the edge ol the vo| d mere|v opens up the
posslbl|ltv olanevent !t ls a| wavs posslb|e that no event actua| | v occur
>trlct|v speaklng. a slte ls on|v eventa| ' lnsolar as l t l s retroactlve|v
qua|lhedassuchbvtheoccurrenceolanevent uowever.wedoknowone
ollts onto|oglca| characterlst| cs. re|ated to the lorm olpresentatl on lt ls
a| wavsanaonorma|mu|ti p| e. on theedgeolthevold 1herelore. there ls
noeventsavere| atlvetoahlstor|ca|sltuatlon. evenl l ahlstor|ca|sltuatlon
doesnotncccssar//yproduce events
And now. h/cRhodus. h/csa//c.
1ake. ln a hlstorlca| sltuatlon. an eventa|slteX
|/crm cvcn/o]/hcs//cXcmu///p/csuch/ha/|//s composcdo]on/hconchand
c/cmcn/so]/hc s//c. cnd on /hc o/acr hand. //sc/]
1he lnscrlptlonola mc/hcmco]/hccvcn/ls not a | uxurvhere Savthat5
ls the sltuat|on. andX ÷ 5 .Xbe|ongsto5. Xls presentedbv5i theeventa|
slte 1he event wl|| be wrltten c. ( to be read event ol the sl te X) . Mv
defni tion i s t hen written as fol l ows:
1hatls. theeventl sa one mu|tlp|emadeupol.ontheonehand. a| | the
mu|tlp| es wHlch be|ong to |ts slte. and on the other hand. the event
l tse|l
1o quest. ons arlse l mmed| ate|v 1he nrst | s that olknow| ng whether
the denn| t i oo corresponds i n any manner to the ' i ntui ti ve' | dea of an
event 1hesecondlsthatoldetermlnlngtheconsequencesolt Hedefnltlon
179
180
BEI NG AND EVENT
w|thregardtothep|aceoltheevent|nthes|tuat|onwhoseevent|t|s. | n
the sense |n wh|ch | ts s|te |s an abso|ute|v s|ngu|ar mu|t|p|e ol that
s|tuat|on.
!w| | | respondtothehrstquest|onw|than| mage. 1akethesvntagm' the
irench Revo|ut|on' . What shou|d be understood bv these words' One
cou|dcerta|n|vsavthattheevent theirenchRevo|ut|on' lormsaoneout
olevervth|ngwh|chmakesup|tss|te. that|s. irancebetween I 789and.
|et' s sav. ! 794. 1herevou' || hnd the e|ectors olthe Cenera| Lstates. the
peasantsoltheCreatiear. thesans cu|ottesolthetowns. themembersol
the Convent|on. the1acob|n c|ubs. the so|d|ers olthe dralt. buta|so. the
pr|ce ol subs|stence. the gu|||ot|ne. the ellects ol the tr|buna|. the mas
sacres. the Lng||sh sp|es. the Vendeans. the ass/µna/s ( banknotes i . the
theatre. theMarsc///a/sc. etc 1heh|stor|anendsup|nc|ud|ng |ntheevent
' the irenchRevo|ut|on' evervth|ngde||veredbv the epoch astraces and
lacts 1h|sapproach. however÷wh|ch|sthe|nventorv ol a||thee|ements
olthe s|te÷mav we|| |ead to the one ol the eventbe|ng undone to the
po|ntolbe|ngnomorethanthelorever|nhn|tenumber|ngolthegestures.
th|ngs and words that coex|sted w|th | t 1he ha|t|ng po|nt lor th|s
d|ssem|nat|on |s /hc modc /n wh/:h /hc Rcvo/a//on /s a ccn/ra/ /crm o] /hc
Rcvc/u//on //sc/] that |s. the manner |n whlch the consc|ence ol the
t|mes÷andtheretroact|ve|ntervent|onolourown÷h|terstheent|res|te
throughtheoneol|tseventa|qua||hcat|onWhen. lorexamp|e. Sa|nt1ust
dec|ares |n I 794 'the Revo|ut|on |s lrozen' . he |s certa|n|v des|gnat|ng
|nhn|tes|gnsol| ass|tudeandgenera|constra|nt. butheaddstothemthat
oncmarkthat| sthe Revo|ut|on|tse|l. asth|ss|gn|heroltheeventwh|ch.
be|ngqua||hab|e ( theRevo|ut|on |s lrozen' i . provesthat| t | s|tse|la /crm
ol the event that |t | s Ol the irench Revo|ut|on as event|t mustbe sa|d
that|tbothpresentsthe|nhn|temu|t|p|eolthesequence ollactss|tuated
between l 789 and | 794. and. morcovcr. that l t presents |tse|l as an
|mmanent rcsumc and one mark ol |ts own mu|t| p| e. 1he Revo|ut|on.
even|l|t|s|nterpretedasbe|ngsuchbvh|stor|ca|retroact|on.|sno|ess. |n
|tse|l.supernumerarvtotheso|enumber|ngolthetermsol|tss|te. desplte
|t present|ng such a number|ng 1he event |s thus c|ear|v the mu|t|p|e
wh|chbothpresents|ts ent|re s|te. and. bvmeans olthepure s|gn|herol
|tselllmmanentto|tsownmu|t|p|e. managestopresent thepresentat|on
ltsell. that ls. the one ol the |nnn|te mu|t|p|e that lt ls 1h|s emplr|cal
ev|dence c|ear|vcorrespondsw|th ourmatheme wh|ch pos|ts that. apart
lrom the terms ol |ts slte. the mark ol |tse|l. c.. be|ongs to the even ta|
mu| t|p|e
THE MATHE ME OF THE EVENT
Now. what are the consequences o| a| | thls ln regard to the re|atlon
betweentheeventandthesltuatlon'Andhrsto|al | . l stheeventorlsl t not
a /crm o|thesltuatlonl nwhlch lthasltsslte'
! touch here upon the bedrock o|mv entlre edlhce. iorlt so happens
thatl t ls lmposslb|e÷atthlspolnt÷to respond to thls slmp|e questlon !l
thereexlstsanevent. //s|c/onµ/nµ/o/hcs//uc//ono]//ss//c/sun4cc/dab/c]rom
/hcs/andpo/n/o]/hcs//ua//on //sc/] 1hat ls. theslgn| nero|the event ( ourc.ì
lsnecessarl|vsupernumerarv to the slte. uoes ltcorrespondto a mu|tlp|e
e||ectlve|v presented l nthe sltuatlon' Andwhatl sthlsmul tlp|e'
Let sexamlnecarelu|lvthemathemec.|xI xE X c.¦ . SlnceX. theslte.
lsontHeedgeo|thevold. ltse| ementsx. l nanvcase. areno/presentedln
thesltuatlon. on| vXltse||l s( thus. lorexamp|e. tHepeasants arecertal n| v
presented lntheirenchsltuatlono| I 789÷I 790. butnot/hoscpeasantso|
theCreatiearwhoselzedcast|es i . !|onewlshestoverl|vthattheeventls
presented. there remalns the other e| ement o| the event. whlch l s the
slgnlher o| the event ltse||. c.. 1he basl s o| thls undecldabl|ltv ls thus
evldent l t ls due to the clrcularltv o| the questlon. !n order to verl|v
whetheran eventls presented ln a s|tuatlon. ltls hrst necessarvtoverl|v
whether l t ls presented as an element ol ltsel| 1o know whether the
French Revolutlon l s real|v an event l n irench hlstory. we must hrst
estab|lsh that lt l s dehnlte|v a term |mmanent to ltse||. !n the |o|lowlng
chapterwesha||seethaton|van/n/crprc/a//vc /n/crcn//encandec|aretHat
anevent/spresentedl nasltuat|on. asthearrlvallnbelngolnonbelng. the
arrlva| amldst the vlslb|e olthe lnvls|b| e.
iorthemomentwecanonl vexamlnetheconsequencesoltwoposslb|e
Hvpotheses. hvpotheses separated ln lact bv the entlre extent ol an
lnterpretatlve lnterventlon. o| a cu|. elther the event be|ongs to the
sltuatlon. orlt doesnotbelongto l t.
- P/rs/hypo/hcs/s.theeventbelongstothesltuatlon. iromthestandpolnt
o!thesltuatlon. belngpresented. lt/s.!tscharacterlstlcs. bowever. arequlte
specla| ilrst o! al| . note that the event ls a s/nµu/a· mul tl pl e (ln the
sltuatlon to whlchwe supposel tbe|ongsi . ! | l twas actua| l vnormal and
cou|dthusberepresented. theeventwou|dbeapar/o|the sltuatlon. Yet
thls ls lmposslb|e. because e|ements o| lts slte belong to lt. and such
elements÷the slte belng on tHe edge ol the vold÷are not. themselves.
presented. 1Heevent ( as. besldes. lntultlongraspsl t i . therelore. cannotbe
thoughtl nstateterms. lntermso|partsoltHesltuatlon.1hestatedoesnot
countanvevent.
181
182
BEI NG AND EVENT
uowever. /]/hccvcn/bc/onus /o /hcs//ua//on|l| t| spresentedthereln÷lt
lsnot. ltse|l. onthe edge olthevold Ior.havlngthe essentla|characterlstlc
olbe|ong|ngto|tse|l. c.E c.. l tprescnts. asmu|t|p|e. at| eastonemu|tlp|e
whlchl spresented. name|vltse|l !nourhvpothesls. the eventb|ocksl ts
/o/a|slngu|arlzat|onbv thebe|onglngol|tsslgnlnerto themu|tl p|ethatlt
l s !notherwords. anevent| snot( doesnotcolncldew|thi aneventa| s| te
!t mob| |lzes thee| ementso|| tss| te. but|taddsltsownpresentat|ontothe
ml x
lromthestandpo| ntolthes| tuat| on. lltheeventbe| ongsto| t. as!have
supposed. theevent| s separatedlromthe volJ bv| tse| l 1hls | s whatwe
wl | | ca| | belng u|tra one Whv u|tra one '8ecausetheso| eand unl que
termoltheeventwh|ch guarantees thatlt ls not÷on| l ke| tsslte÷on the
edge ol the vo| d. | s the one that- l t l s And | t /s one. because we are
supposlngthatthesltuat| onpresents| t. thusthat| tla| | sunderthecount-
as one
Io dcc/arc /ha/ancvcn/bc/onµs /o |hcs//aa//on:omcsdown /o say/nµ /ha/ ///s
conccp/ua//yd/s//nµu/shcd]rom//ss//cby /hc/n/crpos///ono]//sc/{bc/wccn /hcvo/d
and//sc/]1h|s| nterpos| t| on. tledtosc| l-be|onglng.lstheu|tra one. because
l t counts t he same th| ngas one /w/cc once as a presented mu|t| p|e. and
once asa mu| t| p| epresented| n|tsownpresentatlon
- 5ccondhypo/acs/s theeventdoesno/ be|ongtothes| tuatlon1heresu|t .
noth|nghastakeop| aceexceptthep| ace lorthe event. apart lrom |tse|l.
so|e|v presents | he e| ements ol lts slte. whl ch are not presented | n the
s| tuatlon !l| tl snotpresentedthere el ther. no/a/nµ| s presentedbvl t. lrom
thestandpo|ntolthe s| tuat| on 1heresu|tl sthat. | nasmuchasthe slgn| ner
c. adds| tse| l . v|a somemvsterlousoperatlonw| thln theborder| andsola
slte. to a s| tuatl onwh| chdoes not present lt. on/y /hc vo/dcanposslb|vbe
subsumedonder| t. becauseno prescntab|emu| t| p| erespondstot heca||ol
such a name Aud |n lact. |l vou start pos| ngtHatthe !renchRevo| ut| on
| smere|va pure word. vou wl||have nodllncu| t v| udcmens/ra//nµ. glven
the| nnn| tvolpresented andnon-presentedlacts. thatno/h/nµolsuchsort
evertookp| ace
1herelore elthertheevent| slnt hes| tuatloo. and|t rupturestheslte s
be| ng on the edge ol the vo| d bvl nterpos| ng| tse| lbetweenltse| landthe
vo|d. or. |t ls not ln the s|tuat|on. and |ts power olnom| natlon | s so|e|v
addressed | l | t|s addressed to somcth| ng . tothevo| d |tse|l
1he undec| dab| | | tv ol the events be|onglng to the sl tuatlon can be
|nterpretedasa doub| elunctl on Cntheonehand. t heeventwou| devoke
thevo|d. ontheotherhand.ltwou| J| nterpose|tse|lbetweenthevo| dand
THE MATHE ME OF THE EVENT
ltse|l !t wou| d be both a name ol t he vol d. and t he u| tra one ol the
presentatlve struct ure And lt ls thls u|tra onenam| ng t he vol d whlch
wou|ddep| ov. |n t he| nter| orexterlorol a hlstorlca| sl tuatl on. lna torslon
olltsorder. the be|og olnon belng. name|v. cx/s//nµ.
!t ls at thls very po| nt that the lnterpretat| ve | nt ervcot| on has to both
detalnanddec| de 8vthedec| aratlonolthebe| ong| ngoltheeventtothe
sl tuatlonl tbars the vo| ds | rruptl on 8ut tHls |s on|v i n ordert lorcethe
sl t uat lon ltse|l t o cooless |ts own vo|d. and t o t he(cbv |et lorth. lrom
lnconslstent be|ngandthe | nterruptedcount. the lncandescentnon belng
olanexlstence
183
184
MEDI TATI ON EI GHTEEN
Bei ng' s Prohi bi t i on of the Event
1he onto|oglca| ( or mathematlca| i schema ol a natura| sltuatlon l s an
ordlna| ( Medltatlon l 2 i . WHat wou|d t He onto|oglca| schema be ol an
eventa| slte ( a slte on t he edge ol t he vold. a loundatlona| slte i ' 1he
examlnatlon ol thls questlon |eads to surpr|slng resu|ts. such as the
lo||owlng onthe onehand. lna certaln sense. cvc¬pure mu|tlp|e. everv
thlnkab|e |nstance olbelng- qua belngl s hl stor|ca| . butonthe condltlon
that one a||ows that the name o| the vold. the mark Ø. counts as a
hl storlca| sltuatlon ( whlch ls entlrely l mposslb|e ln sltuatlons other than
onto|ogvl tse| l i . ontheotherhand. theeventl slorbldden. onto|ogvre] ects
l tas that whl ch l s notbelng- qua belng Wesha||reglsteronceagalnthat
thevold÷thepropernameolbel ng÷subtractlve|vsupportscontradlctorv
nomlnatlons. slncel nMedl atlon l 2 wetreatedltasanatura| mu| tlp|e. and
here we sha|| treat lt as a slte. 8ut we sha|| a|so see how the svmmetrv
between nature and hlstorv ends wlth thls lndl|lerence ol the vol d.
onto|ogvadml tsa comp|ete Joctrlne o|norma| ornatura| mu|tlp|es÷the
theorv o|ordl na| s÷vet l tdoes notadm| ta doctrl neol the event. and so.
strlct|vspeaklng. l tdoesnot admlt historlcltv Wlththe event wehavethe
nrstconceptcx/c·na/tothene|do|mathematlca| ontologv uere. asa|wavs.
onto|ogv decldesbvmeansola specla| axlom. t he axlom ol|oundatlon.
I . 1HL C!1CLCG!cAL scHLMA C!H!s1CR! c!1YANDiNs1AB!L!1Y
Medltatlon l 2 a||owed us to nnd the onto|oclca| corre|ates o| norma|
mu|tlp|es | n translt|ve sets ( everv e|ement l s a|so a subset. be|onglog
BEI NG' S PROHI BI TI ON OF THE EVENT
| mp||cs|nc|us|oni . B|stor|c|tv. | ncontrast.|sloundcdonslngu|ar|tv.onthc
onthc cdgcolthc vo|d´ on what bc|ongs wlthoutbclng lnc| udcd.
Bowcanth| snotlonbclorma|lzcd'
Lct' suscancxamp| c Lctabca nonvo|dmu| tlp|csubm|ttcdtooncru|c
a|onc. |t|snotanc|cmcntolltsc|l( wc havc ~ µ÷ ai i . Cons| dcrthcsct| aj
wh|chls thclormlngl ntooncol a. or |ts s|ng|cton. thc sctwhoscunlquc
e|cmcnt l s a. Wccan rccognlzc thata l s on thc cdgc olthc vold |or thc
sltuat|on lorma|lscd bv | aj . ! n lact. | aj has on|v a as an c|cmcnt. !t so
happcnsthata |snotanc| cmcntol|tsc|l. 1hcrclorc |a|. whlchprcscntsa
a|onc. ccrta|n|vdocsnot prcscntanvothcrc| cmcntol a. bccauscthcvarc
a|| dlllcrcnt lrom a. As such. wlth|n thc s|tuat|on | aj . thc mu| tlp| ca |s an
cvcnta| s|tc. | t| sprcscntcd. but nothlng whlch bc|ongs to | t| s prcscntcd
' wlthlnthc sltuatlon | aj | .
1hc mu|tlp|c a bclng a sltc |n | aj . and |aj thus lorma||z|ng a h|storlca|
sltuat|on (bccausc| thasancvcnta| s|tc asan c|cmcnt ì . canbc cxprcsscd
| n thc lo||owlng manncr÷whlch causcs thc vold to appcar thc lntcr
scct|on ol| a| ( thcs|tuatloni anda (thc sltci lsvold. bccausc |aj docsnot
prcscntanvc|cmcntola 1hcc|cmcntabc|nga s|tclor|aj mcansthatthc
vo|d a|onc namcswhat| scommon to a and | aj . |aj ´ a = 0.
Ccncra||vspcak|ng. thc onto|og|ca| schcmaol a h|stor|ca| sltuat|onl sa
mu|tlp|c such that thcrc bc|ongs to lt at |cast onc mu| tlp| c whosc
|ntcrscct|on wlth thc |nltla| mu|tlp|c l s vold. | n a thcrc ls ß such that
a ´ ß= 0. !t|squ|tcc|carhowßcanbcsa| dtobconthccdgcolthcvold
rc|atlvcto a thc vold namcs what f prcscnts/na. namc|v nothlng. 1hls
mu|tlp|c. ß. lorma|lzcs an cvcnta| sltc ln a. !ts cxl stcncc qua| |ncs a as a
h|stor|ca|s|tuatlon !t cana|sobcsal dthat3]oundsa. bccauscbc| ong|ngto
a hnds lts ha|t|ngpo|ntln whatßprcscnts
2. THE AXI OM OF FOUNDATION
uowcvcr. and thls l s t hccrucla| stcp. l t so happcns thatt hl sloundatlon.
thls onthc-cdgcol- thcvold. thls s|tc. constltutcs l n a ccrtaln sensc a
gcncra| | aw ol onto|ogv. An ldca ol thc mu|tlp|c ( anaxl omi . l ntroduccd
rathcrtardl|v bv 2crmc|o. an axlom qultc propcr|v namcd thc axlom ol
loundatlon. poscs thatlnlactcvcrvpurcmu|tlp|clsh|storlca| orconta|ns
at|castoncsltc. Accordlngtothlsaxi om. wlthlnancxlstlngoncmu|tlp|c.
thcrca|wavscxlstsa mu|tlp|cprcscntcdbvltsuch thatthlsmu| tlp|cl son
thccdgcolthcvo| drc|atlvc to thcl nl tl a| mu|tlp| c.
185
186
BEI NG AND EVENT
Let sstartwl ththetechn|ca| presentat . onolthl snewaxl om.
1akea seta. andsavthatf lsane| ementola, ]÷ai . ! l ßlsontheedge
ol the vo|d accord|ng to a. thls ls because no e| ement ol ß l s |tse|l an
e|ementola: themu|tlp|eapresentsßbut ltdoesnotpresent|naseparate
manneranvolthe mu|tlp|es thatf presents.
1hlss|gn| hesthatßandahavenecommonc/cmcn/. nomu|t|p|epresented
bv the one mu|t|p|e a |s presented bv f, desplte ß |tse|l. as one. be|ng
presented bv a 1hat two sets have no e|ement |n common can be
summar|zed as lo||ows. the lntersectlon ol these two sets can on|v be
namedbvthepropernameolthevo|d a ´ ß* Ø
1hi s re|atlon ol tota| dls] unctlon |s a concept ol a| terltv. 1he axlom ol
extens|on announces that a set ls other than another set |l at |east one
e|ementolone|snotan e|ement oltheother. 1he re|atlon old|s] unct|on
|sstronger.becauseltsavsthatnoe|ementbe|onglngtoonebe|ongstothe
otherAsmu| tlp|es. thevhaveno/h/nµtodow|thoneanother. thevaretwo
abso| ute|vheterogeneous presentat|ons. and thls l swhv thls re|atlon÷ol
nonre| at|on÷can on|v be thought under the s|gn|ner ol be|ng (ol the
vo|di . wh|ch lnd|cates that the mu|t|p|es ln quest|on have noth|ng |n
commonapartlrom/c/nu mu|tlp|es. !nshort. theaxlomolextens|ona|ltv
lsthe !deaolthe otherandtota|d|s] unctlon|sthe ldea olthe Other.
!t ls ev|dent that an e|ement ß wh|ch ls a s|te ln a |s an e|ement ol a
whlch ls Other than a Certa|n|v ßbe|ongs to a. butthe mu|t|p|es outol
whlchß lorms oneare heterogeneoustothosewhoseone|s a.
1heaxIomolloundatlon thus statesthe lo|| ow|ng. gl ven anv ex|st|ng
mu|tlp|e whatsoever ( thus a mu|t|p|e counted asone |naccordancewith
theldeasolthemu|t|p|eandtheex|stenceolthenameolthevo|di . there
a|wavs be|ongs to |t÷|l. ol course. |t ls notthe name olthevo|d ltse|li
whlchcasenoth|ngwou| dbe|ongto|t÷a mu|t| p|eon theedgeolthevo|d
w|thlnthepresentat|onthatltl s !notherwords. evervnouvoldmu|tlp|e
contalnssome Other.
(
V
ai | (a
=
Øi � (
_
ßi
|
] ÷ a
|
8
Þ
´ a = Øi
l l
1heremarkab|econceptua|connect|onalhrmedhere| sthatoltheOther
andloundatlon. 1h|s new!dea olthe mu|t|p|e stlpu|ates that a non vo|d
set|s lounded | nasmuchasa mu|tlp|ea|wavsbe|ongstoltwh|chl sOther
thanlt. 8el ngOtherthanl t. suchamu|tlp|eguaranteestheset's|mmanent
loundat|on.slnce underneath' thlsloundat|ona|mu| t|p|e. therelsnoth|ng
wh|ch be|ongs to the lnltla| set. 1herelore. be| onglng cannot lnhnlte|v
regress . thls ha|tlng polnt estab|lshes a k.nd olorlglna| hnltude÷sltuated
BEI NG' S PROHI BI TI ON OF THE EVENT
| owerdown÷olanvpresentedmu|tlp|elnregardtothe prlmltlveslgnol
the mu|tlp|e. the slgn E .
1heaxl omolloundatlonl s|heonto|oglca|proposltlonwh| ch statesthat
evervexlstent mu| tlp|e÷besldes the name olthevold÷occursaccordlng
toanlmmanentorlgl n. posltlonedbvtheOtherswhlchbe| ongtolt !tadds
upto the h|storlcltv ol everv mu|tlp|e
Set theorv onto|ogv therebv alnrms. through t he medlatlon ol the
Other. thateventhough presentatlon canbelnnnlte (c Medltatloos l > &
! 4i lt ls a|wavs marked bv nnltude whcn // comcs /o //s or/u/n uere. thls
nnltuJel sthe exlstence ola slte. onthe edge olthe vold. hlstorlcl tv
! now t urn to the crltl ca|examlnatlon ol thls !dea .
> . 1uL AX!OM Oi iOUNuA1! ON! SA ML1AON1OLOC!CAL1uLS!S
Oi ON1OlOCY
1hemu| tlp|esactua| | vcmp/oyc4lncurrentonto|ogv÷who|enumbers. rea|
numbers. comp| exnumbers.lunctlona|spaces. etc. ÷area| | |oundedl nan
evldent manner. wlthout recourse to the axlom ol loundatl on As such.
thl sax. om ( | l ketHeaxlomolrep|acement. ncerta| naspect si l ssurp| usto
thew.rk/numa/hcma//c/cn srequlrements. andsotohlstorlca|onto| ogv.!ts
range ls thus more re|I exlve. or conceptua| 1he axl om lndlcates an
essentla| structure olthe theorv olbelng. rather thanbelng requlredlor
partlcu| ar resu| ts. What l t dec| ares concerns ln partlcu| ar the re|atlon
betweenthesclenceolbelngandthema] orcategorlesolsltuatlonswhlch
c|assl|v belng l n- tota|ltv !ts usage. lor the mostpart. ls meta theoretlca|
4. NA1URL ANu u! S1OkY
Yetone coul d i mmedi atel y ob]ectthatthe effect oltheaxl omolloundatlon
lsactua| | ventlre|vtheopposl te. ll. besldethevol d. evervsetadmlts some
Otherness. andthuspresentsa mu|tlp|ewhlchlstheschema of asltel nthe
presentatlon. thlslsbecause. lntermsolonto|oglca|matrlces. cvc¬s//ua//on
/s h/s|or/ca/. and there are Hl si orlca| mu|tlp|es cvccwhcrc What then
happens tothec|assl ncatlono|oelng l n total ltv'What happens i n partlc
u|ar to stab| e natura| sltuatlons. to ordlna|s'
uerewetouchonnoth|ng| essthan/hc.n/o/ou/ca/4/]fcrcnccbc/wc:nbc/nu
cna bc/nus. between the presentati on o| presentati on-the pure mul ti ­
p|e÷and presentatlon÷the presented mu|tlp|e 1hl s dlllerence comes
187
188
BEI NG AND EVENT
downtothclo||owlng. thcontologlca|sltuatlonorlglna| l vnamcsthcvold
asancxlstentmu|tlp|c. whl|stevcrvothcrsltuatlonconslstson|vlnsolaras
lt cnsurcs thc non-bclonglng ol thc vold. a non-be|onglng contro|led.
moreovcr. bv the statc ol the sltuatlon 1hc rcsu| tl sthat thc onto|oglca|
matrlx ol a natural sltuatlon. whlch ls to sav an ordlnal. l s dchnltc|v
loundcd. butltlsdoncso unlquclv/y /hcvo/d. !nanordlnal. thcOthcr/s
thcnamcol thcvold. andlt a|onc Wcwl||thusal| owthatastablcnatura|
sltuatlon ls ontologlca|lv re|Icctcd as a multlplc whose hlstorlca| or
loundatlona|tcrmlsthcnamcolthcvold.andthata hlstorlca|sltuatlonl s
rct|cctcdbva multlp|ewhlch possesscs lnanvcasco/hcrlound|ngtcrms.
nonvold tcrms.
Lct sturntosomccxamp|es
1akcthc1o.thcsct| Ø. | Øj j . whlchlsanord| na|( Mcdltatlon I 2 i . What
ls the Other ln lt' Ccrtaln|vnot | Øj bccausc Ø bc|ongs to lt. whlch a|so
bclongstothc1o1herclorc.ltmustbcØ.towhlchnothlngbc|ongs. and
whlch thus ccrtalnlv has no clcment ln common wlth the 1o Consc
qucntlv. thc voldloundstheTo
!ngcncra| . /hcvo/da/onc]oundsanord/na/. morcgcncra| | v. |ta|onclounds
a tr+nsltlvc sct ( thl s l s an easv cxcrclsc tlcd to thc dchnltlon ol
transltlvltvi
Nowtakcourear|lcrcxamp|c. thc slnglcton| a| whercalsnonvol d. We
sawthatawasthcschcmaolasltc|n thatsct.andthat| aj wastheschcma
olahlstorlcalsltuatlon ( wlthoncso|cclcmcnt ' i Wchavcan |aj* Ø. 8ut
t hl stlmc thc loundatlonal c| cment ( t hcsltci . whlch l s a. ls nonvol dbv
hvpothesls 1hcschcma| aj . not bclngloundcdbvt hcvold. l st husdlstlnct
lromordlnals. orschcmasolnaturalsltuatlons. whlcharcso/c/yloundcdbv
thcvol d
!nnon-on/o/oµ/:a/sltuatlons. loundatlonvlathcvol dl slmposslb| c On| v
ma/hcma//ca/on/o/oµy admltst hethoughtolt hcsuturc tobelngundcrthc
mark Ø.
iorthchrsttlmc. a gaplsnotlccab|cbctwccnonto|ogvandthcthought
olothcrprcscntatlons. orbc|ngs. ornon onto|oglca|prcscntatlons. a gap
whlchl sductothcpos|tlonolthcvold !ngcncral. whatl snatura|l sstab|c
ornorma|. whatl shlstorlca|contalnssomcmu|tlplcson- the-cdgeolthc
vold !nontologv. howevcr. whatlsnatural lswhatlsloundcdso| c| vbvthe
vold. al | thc rcstschcmatlzcsthc hlstorlca| . Rccoursc to thc voldl swhat
lnstltutcs. lnthcthoughtolthcnaturc/ h|storv coup|e. anon//co-on/o/oµ/:a/
d/]crcncc. !t unlolds ln thc lo||owlngmanncr.
BEI NG' S PROHI BI TI ON OF THE EVENT
a. Asltuatlonbelngl snatura| lll tdoesnotpresentanvslngu| arterm( l l
a| |oll tstermsarenorma| i . andl lnoneolltsterms. conslderedi nturnas
sltuatlons. presentsl ngu| arterms el ther ( ll norma|ltvl s recurrent down
wardsi !tlsa s/ab///no]s/ab/////cs.
- !nthe onto|oglca|sltuatlon. a puremu| tlp|elsnatura|( lsan ordl na| i | l
l t l s lounded bv thevol da|one. and l l evervthlngwhl chbe|ongs to l t l s
equa||vloundedbvthevol da| one( sinceevervthlngwhlchbe|oncstoan
ordlna|l sanordlna| i !tl sa vc/d·]ounda//on o]vo/d-]ounda//ons
b. A sltuatlonbelng ls hlstorlca| ll lt contalns at |east one eventa|.
loundatlona|. onthe edge olthevoldslte
- !ntheonto|oglca| sltuatlon. accordlngtothe axl omolloundatlon. to
everv pure mu|tlp|ethere a/ways be|ongsat |east one Other mu|tlp|e. or
slte. uowever. wewl|| sav that a set lorma|lzesa hlstorlca|sltuatlonl lat
|eastoneOthermu|tlp|ebe| ongsto| twh/ch/sno//hcnamco]/hcvo/d. 1h|s
tlmeltl sthusa slmp|e |oundatlonbvtheother·thanvol d
Sl nce onto|ogv unlque|v admlts lounded mu|tlp|es. whlch contaln
schemasoleventsltes ( thoughthevmavbevoldi . onecou|dcometothe
hastv conc|uslon that lt l s entlre|vorlentated towards the thought ol a
belngol the event Wesha|| see that lt ls qul tethecontrarv whlch ls the
case
¯ . 1uL LVLN18LLONCS1O1uA1WB!Cu- ! S- NO18L!NCOUA 8L!NC
! n the constructlon ol the concept ol the event ( Medltatlon | 7ì the
be|onglng to ltse|l olthe event. orperhaps. rather. the be|onglng ol the
slgnlnerolthe event tolts slgnl hcatlon. p|aved a specl a| ro|e Consl dered
asamu|tlp|e. theeventcontalns. besldesthee|ementsolltss| te. ltse|l.thus
belngpresentedbvthevervpresentatlonthatltl s.
H there exl sted an onto|oglca| lorma| lzatlon ol the event lt wou|d
therelore be necessarv. wlthln the |rameworkol settheorv. to a| | owthe
exlstence. whlch| stosavthecount-as one. ola setsuchthatltbe|onged
to ltse|l. a E a.
!tlsl nthlsmanner. moreover.thatonewou|dlorma|lzetheldeathatthe
eventresu|tslrom an excess- ol- one. anu|tra one. ! nlact. thedm crcnccol
thls set a, alter the axlom olextenslona|ltv. must be estab|lshed vla the
examlnatlon ol lts e|ements. therelore. l l a be|ongs to ltse| l. vla the
examination of a i tsel f. Assuch, a
'
S identity can on|vbespeci ned onthe
baslsola ltse|l 1he seta can on|vberecognlzedlnasmuchas lthasa|readv
189
190
BEI NG AND EVENT
been recognlzed 1h| s tvpe o| se||-antecedence | n | dent| hcatlon | ndlcates
thee||ecto|theu| tra onelnthattheseta.suchthata÷a.lsso|e|v| dentlca|
toltse||lnasmuch as| t w///havc /ccn ldentlca| to | tse| |
Setswhlchbe| oogtot hemse|veswerebaptlzedcx/raord/narysetsbvthe
| oglclanM| rl maoo|| We cou|d thus sav the |o| |owl ng an eventl s onto
|oglca||v|orma| lzed bv anextraord| narvset
We cou|d Putt heax| omo||oundatloolorec| oses.x/raor4/na¬sc/s]rem
anycx/s/cn.c. andru/nsanyposs/////u o]nam/nµ c mu///p/c/c/nµ o]/hccvcn/.
uere we have an esseotla| gesture that bv means ol whlch onto| ogv
dec|ares that the evcnt . snot
Let s suppose thcex| stence o|a seta whlchbe| ongsto| tse| |. a mu|tlp|e
whlchpresentsthepresentatlonthatl tls a÷ a l|th| saexlsts. ltss| ng| eton
| a[ a|so exlsts. because |orm|ng| ntoone |s a genera| operatlon ( c
Med| tatlon 7 i . uowever. thls slng|eton wou|d not obev t he! dea o| the
mu|t| p|e statedbv the ax| om o||oundatlon | a| wou| d have no Otherl n
ltse| | noc/cmcn/o| | a| suchthat| t slntersect| oowlth | a| was vold
!n other words t o | aj . a a|one be| ongs Eowever. a be| ongs to a.
1here|ore. t hel n| ersect|on ol | a[ and | tsunlque e| emeot a/ sno/vo/d. l tls
equa|to a 'a÷| a| 8 » ÷ ai ¡ � (a n | a¦ * ai 1he res u| t ls that | aj l s not
|oundedastheax. omo|loundat| onrequlresl tt o be
Onto|ogvdoesoota| owtheex|stence. orthecoun|| og asooeassets| n
| ts axlomatlc. ol mu| t| p| es whl ch be| ong to themsc| ves 1here | s no
acceptab|eonto| og| ca| matrlxo|the event
What does thl s mean. th| s consequence o| a | aw o| the d| scourse on
belng qua-belng'!tmustbetaken qulte | | tera| | y onto| ogv has nothlngto
savabouttheevent Or.tobemorepreclse. onto|ogvdemonstratesthatthe
eventl s not. l nthesensel nwhlchltlsa theoremo|ont o| ogvthata| | se| |
be|oogl ngcontrad. ct s a |uodamenta| !deao|themo| t . p| e. t he!deawh. ch
prescrlbes the |ouodat . ona| lInltudeolor| gl nlora| | preseotatl on
1heax| omo||oundat . oode| l mltsbel ngbvtheproh| b| t. ono|theevent
!t thus br| ngs |ort h that-wh| ch | s- notbel ng quabe| og as a polnt o|
lmposs| bl|ltv o| . hc dlscourse on be| ng- qua be| ng. aod i t exhl bl ts | ts
slgnl|vlngemb|em t hemu|tlp| esuch as| t presents | tse| |. . ot hebrl | | lance.
| nwhlchbe| nglsabo| | shed. o|themark o|-one
MEDI TATI ON NI NETEEN
Mal l arme
. . or was t heevent|roughtaboutl nvl ewoleverv nu| | resul t'
A cas/o]u/cc .
A poembvMa| | armcalwavshxestheplaceola nal eatorvevent. anevent
to be l nterpreted on the basls ol the traces l t |eaves beh| nd. Poetrv l s no
|onger submltted to act. on. s. nce the meanl ng ( unlvoca| i ol the text
dependsonwhatls dec| aredtohavehappened therel n 1here lsa certa|n
e| ementolthedetect|venove|lntheMallarmcan enlgma. anemptvsal on.
a vase. a dark sea÷wHat ctl me. what catastrophe. what enormous
mlsadventute ls l nd| cated bv t hese clues' Gatdoer Lavl es was qul te
]ustlñed| nca| | l ngoneolhlsbooksMc//crm.aad/hc5o/crUrama. lorllthe
sunsetl sl ndeedanexampl eoloneolthesedelunct eventswhose there
has-been' must be reconstructed ln the heart ol the n|ght. t hen th| s ls
cenera||vbecausethepoem'sstructutelsdrcma//c1heextremecondensa
tl onolngures÷alewob] ects÷al msat lsolat|ng. uponaseverelvrestrlcted
stage. andsuch thatnothlng lshl ddenlromthel nterpteter ( thereaderi . a
svstem ol c| ueswhosep|acement can be unl lI ed ov onehvpothesi sa ' one
astowhathas happened and. o|wh|ch. oueso|cconsequenceaut hori zes
theannouncement olhowtheevent. despl tebel ng abol|shed. wl l | ]l ts
dccorlntheeternltvola pure notl on' . Ma| | armcl sath| nkerolt heevent
dtama. l nthedoublesenseolthestag| ngoll tsappearance dl sappearance
( . wedonot have an ldea o|l t. sole|vinthestat eola g| | mmer. lorl t |s
lmmedl atel v resolved. . ' i . and ol lts l nterpretatlon whlch glves l t the
statusof an acquisit|on |ot ever . The nonbel ng ' t here | s' . the pure and
cancel | edoccurrenceolt hegestute. atepreclselvwhat thoughtproposest o
191
192
BEI NG AND EVENT
render eterna| As lor the rest. rea|ltv ln l ts massivrtv. l t ls mere|v
lmaglnarv. the resu|t ol la|se re|atlons. and l t emp|ovs |ancuage lor
commercla|tasksa|one !lpoetrv lsanessentla| useol|anguage. l tl snot
because lt ls ab|e to devote the |atter to Presence. on the contrarv. lt ls
becauselttralns |anguage totheparadoxlca|lunctlonolmalntalnlng that
whlch÷radlca||vslngu|ar. pureactlon÷wou| dotherwlsela||backlntothe
nu||ltvolp|ace Poetrvlstheste||arassumptlonolthatpure undecldab|e.
agal nstabackgroundolnothlngness. thatlsanactlonolwhlchonecanon|v
knowwhetherl thastakenp|acelnasmuchasone/c/suponltstruth
!nA cas/o]U/cc. . . themetaphorola||eventa| sltesbe| ngontheedge
olthevoldls edlhed onthebaslsola desertedhorlzonanda stormv sea
uere we Have. because thev are reduced to the pure lmmlnence ol the
nothlng÷olunpresentatlon÷what Ma||armc names the eterna|clrcum
stances' ol actlon 1he term wlth whlch Ma| |armc a|wavs deslgnates a
mu|tlp|epresentedln thevlclnltvolunpresentatlonlstheAbvss.whlch.l n
A 6as/ o] U/cc- - - . ls ca| m' . b|anched' . and reluses ln advance anv
departure lrom ltse|l. the wlng' ol lts verv loam la||en back lrom an
lncapacltvtotake ||lght '
1he paradoxol aneventa| - sltel s thatl t canon|vbe recognlzed onthe
baslsolwhatl tdoesnotpresentl nthesltuatlonl nwhlchltlspresented
!ndeed. ltlson|vduetol t lormlngonelrommu|tlp|eswhlcharelnexlstent
l n the sltuatlon that a mu|tlp|e l s slngu|ar. thus subtracted lrom the
guarantee ol the state Ma||arme brl||lant|v presents thls paradox bv
composlng. on the basls ol the slte÷the deserted Ocean÷a phan/om
mu|tlp|e. whlch metaphorlzes the lnexlstence ol whlch the slte l s the
presentatlon. Wlthl nthe scenlc lrame. vou have nothlng apart lrom the
Abvss.theseaandskvbelnglnd|st|ngulshab|e Yetlromthe||atlnc| l ne ol
the skv and the vawnlng deep' ol the waves. the lmace ol a shlp ls
composed. sal|sandhu||. annu||edassoonaslnvoked. suchthatthedesert
ol the slte qul te lnward|v sketches a vesse|' whlch. ltse|l. does not
exlst. belng thehguratlve lnterlorltv olwhlchthe emptv scene lndlcates.
uslng lts resources a|one. the probab|e absence. 1he event wl|| thus not
on|v happen w//h/n the slte. but on the basls ol the provocat|on ol
whateverunpresentabl|ltvlscontal nedlntheslte. theshlp burledl nthe
depths' . and whose abo|lshed p|enltude÷slnce the Ocean a|one ls pre-
sented÷authorlzestheannouncementthattheactlonwl||takep|ace lrom
thebottomola shlpwreck' loreverv event.apart lrombelng|oca|l zedbv
lts slte. lnltlates the |atter's ruln w//h rcµard /o /hc s//ua//on. because lt
retroactlve|v names lts lnner vol d 1he shlpwreck' a|one glves us the
MAllARM
E
a||uslvedebrlslromwh|ch( |nthe one olthe s|tei theundec|dab|emu|t|p|e
ol the event |scomposed.
Consequent|v. thenamcolthe event÷whose ent|reprob|em. asl have
sa|d.||es|nth|nk|ng|tsbe|ong|ngtotheevent|tse|l÷wl||bep|acedonthe
bas|solonep|eceolth|sdebr|s thecapta|nolthesh|pwreckedvesse|. the
master whose arm |s ra|sed above the waves. whose hngers t|ghten
aroundthetwodlcewhosecast|nguponthesurlaceolthesea|satstake
!n th|s hst wh|ch wou|d gr|p |t' . ' l s prepared. works |tse|l up. and
m|ng|es. . . the un|queNumberwh|chcannotbe another´
Whv|stheevent÷suchthat|toccurs|ntheoneolthes|teonthebas|s
ol ' shlpwrecked mu|t|p|es that th|s one so|e|v presents |n the|r one
resu|t÷a cast old|ce here' 8ecauseth|s gesturesvmbo||zesthe eventin
genera|. that |s. that wh|ch |s purelv hazardous. and wh|ch cannot be
|nlerred lrom the s|tuat|on. vetwh|ch| sneverthe|ess a hxed mu|tlp|e. a
number. thatnoth|ngcanmod|lv once |thas|aldout the sum÷ relo|ded
thed|v|s|on÷ol|tsv|s|b| elaces. Acastold|ce] o|nstheemb|emolchance
to that ol necess|tv. the errat|c mu|t|p|e ol the event to the |eg|b|e
retroact|on ol the count. 1he event | n quest|on |n A cas/ o{ U/cc . . . |s
therelore that olthe product|on olanabso|utesvmbo| olthe event. 1he
stakesolcast|ngd|ce lromthebottomola sh|pwreck are those olmaking
aneventoutolthe thoughtolthe event.
Bowever. g| venthattheessenceoltheevent|s tobe undec|dab|e w|th
regard to |ts be|ong|ng to the s| tuat|on. an event whose content ls the
eventnessoltheevent( andth|s|sc|ear|vthecastold|cethrown'|neternal
clrcumstances' i cannot. | nturn. have anvother]orm thanthatol|ndec|
s|on.S|ncethemastermustproducetheabso|uteevent|theone. Ma||arme
savs. wh|chw|||abo||shchance. be|ng theact|ve. ellect|ve. conceptolthe
there| s' i . hemustsuspendthlsproduct|onlromahes|tat|onwh|ch| sltse||
abso|ute. andwh|ch |nd|catesthattheevent|sthatmu|t|p|einrespect to
wh|ch we can ne|ther know nor observe whether l t be|ongs to the
s|tuat|onol|tss|te We sha||neverseethemasterthrowthed|cebecause
ourso|e access. |nthe scene ol act|on. l sto a hesltatlon as eterna| asthe
clrcumstances. "hemaster. . . hesltates . . . ratherthanp|av|ngasa hoar
man|ac the round |n the name ol the waves . . . to not open the hand
c|enchedbevondtheuse|esshead´1op|avtheround' or tonotopenh|s
hand '!nthehrstcase. theessenceoltheevent|s|ostbecause|t|sdcc/dcd
|n an ant|clpatorv manner that |t w||| happen. !n the second case. lts
essence l s a|so |ost. because noth|ng w||| have taken p|ace but p|ace´
8etweenthecance||at|onoltheeventbvtherea||tvol|tsv|s|b|ebe|ong|ng
193
194
BEI NG AND EVENT
tothesltuatlonandthecance||atlonolt heeventbvltstota| lnvlslbl| ltv.the
on| vrepresentab|e hcure olthe concept olthe event l s thestaclngoll ts
undecldabl|l tv.
Accordlng|v. the entlre centra| sectlou olA 6as/o]U/cc orcanlzes a
stupelvlnc serles ol metaphor| ca| trans. atlons around tHe theme ol the
undecldab|e iromthe upralsedarm. wHlch÷perhaps÷ho|dsthe secret
olnumber. a who| elanolana| ocles unlo|ds. accordlnc to the technlque
whlch has a| readv brought lorth the unpresentab|e ol the oceanlc slte
bvsuperlmposlnc upon lt the | mace o| a ghost shlp. ana|ogles | nwhlch.
|ltt|e bv |ltt|e. an equ| va|ence ls obta| ned between throwlnc the dlce
and retalnlnc them. thus a metaphorlca| treatment ol the .onccp/ ol
undecldabl|ltv
1He supremecon] unctlonw| t hprobab| |ltv representedbvthe o|dman
hes| tatl ngtot hrowthedl ceuponthe surlaceolthesea| slnltla||v÷lnan
echo ol t heloamtracesout olwhlcht hesal|s olthe drowneds h| pwere
woven÷translormed.ntoaweddlncve|| ( theweddlngol thesltuatlonand
theevent i . lra| | mater| a| onthepolntolsubmers| on. wh| ch wl||t remb|e/
wl||co||apse . |ltera||vsuckedunderbvthenoth| ncnessolpresentatlonl n
wh| chthe unpresentab|esol t hesltearedlspersed
1Henthlsvell on thebrlnkold|sappearlng. becomesa so|ltarvleather
wh|ch hovers about the cu|l What more beautllu| l mace olthe event.
lmpa|pab|e vet crucl a| . cou|d be lound than th|s whlte leather upon the
sea. wlth recard to wh| ch one cannot reasonab| v declde whether l t wl||
||ee thesltuatlonor bestrewn overlt'
1he leather. at the posslb|e |lmlt ol | ts wanderlnc. ad] usts ltse|l to lts
mar| oepedesta|aslltoa ve| vet hat. andundertH| s headcear÷lnwhlch a
]c4 hesltatlon ( thls rlcld wh| teness i and the sombre gullaw ol the
masslvltv olthe p|aceare] ol oed÷we see. | na mlrac|e of t he text. none
otherthan uam| etemerge. sour lrlnceolplt|a| | s . whlcHl stosav. l nan
exemp|arvmanner. thevervsub] ectolt heatrewHocannotnndacceptab|e
reasons to declde whether or notlt l s appropr| at e. and when. to kl | | the
murdererolhlslather.
1he | ord|vleatheredcresto|theromantlchatwonbvt Heuauethrows
lortH the |astnres olundecldab| |ltv. lt c| ltters t Henshadows . and l nthls
shaJow ln wHlch. aca| n. evervt h| ng r|sks bel uc |ost. a sl(en and a rock
emerce÷poetlctemptatlono| cestureand mass| v| tvolp| ace÷wh| chthls
tlme wl|| vanlsh tocether. ior the l mpatlent termlna| sca| es ol the
temptressse(veloroot Hlngmo(ethancauslnctHerockt o evaporatelnto
mlst . thls |a| se maoor wh| ch pretended to lmpose a | l m| t upon
MALLARME
lnnnltv . Let thls be understood. the unJecldab|e equlva|ence ol the
cesture and the p| ace ls renned to such a polnt wlthln thls scene ol
ana|ocles. throughltssuccesslvetranslormatlons. thatonesupp| ementarv
lmage a|one | s enough to annlhl|ate the corre|atlve lmage. the lmpatlent
cestureolthe Slren s talllnvltlnga throwolthedlce. can on|vcausethe
||mlttothelnnnltvollndeclslon( whl ch lstosav. the|oca|vlslbl|ltvolthe
eventi to dlsappear. and the orlglna| slte to return 1he orlglna| slte
dlsmlssesthetwo terms olthed||emma. glventhat ltwasnotposs| b|eto
estab|lsha stab| edlssvmmetrvbetween thetwo. on thebasl solwhlch the
reasonlora cholcecou|dhavebeenannounced. 1hemvtho|oglca|chance
ol an appea| l s no |onger to be lound upon anv dlscernlb| e rock ol the
sltuatlon. 1hlsstepbackwardslsadmlrab|vstv|lzedbvthereappearanceol
anear| . erlmage. thatoltheleather. whlchthlstlmewl|| burvl tse| llnthe
orlglna|sprav . lts de|lrlum ( thatls. thewagero|belngab| etodeclde an
abso|ute event i havlng advanced to the verv helchts oll tse| l. to a peak
lromwhlch. the undecldab|e essence ol the event ngured. l t la||s awav.
wltheredbvtheldentlca| neutra|ltvolthecu|l . !twl | | nothavebeenab|e.
glventhegu| |tostrewltse|loverlt( castthedlcei ortoescapelt( avoldthe
gesturei . lt w| | | haveexemp|lned the lmposslbl|ltv olratlona| cholce÷ol
the abo|ltlon ol chance÷and. ln thls neutra| ldentl tv. lt wl | | have qulte
slmp|vabo|lshedltse|l.
!n the marglns ol th| s nguratlve deve|opmcnt. Ma| | armc glves hls
abstract |esson. whlch l sannouncedonpace elght. between Bam| et and
theslren. bva mvsterlous l l . 1henlnthpacereso|vesltssuspense !l. .
lt was the number lt wou|d be chance. !lthe event de|lvered the hxed
hnl tude ol the onemu|tlp|e that lt | s. thls wou| d l n no wav ental | one
havlngbeenab| eto ratlona| | vdecldeuponlts re| atlon to thesltuatlon.
The fxity of the event as result-its count- as- one-is carefully detailed
bvMa|| armc l twou|dcometocx/s/cncc. ( ' mlghtl thaveexlstedotherthan
as nal l uc| nat| on i |t would ce enc| osed w. tn|n | ts /im//s ( m| gnt | t nave
begun and mlght l t have ended i . havlng emerged amldst lts own
dlsappearance ( we||lngupasdenled i . and havlngc|osedltse| lwlthln lts
own appearance ( c|osed when shown i . lt wou|d be mu///p/c ( ' mlght lt
have been counted i . vetltwou|d a|so be.oun/c4asonc ( evldenceolthe
sum however | |tt|e a one i !n short. the event wou|d be wlth| n the
sltuatlon. lt wou|d have been presented. 8ut thls presentatlon wou|d
elther engu| l the event wlthln the neutra| reglme ol lndetermlnate
presentatlon ( the l dentlca| neutra|ltv ol the gu| l i . a||owlnc l ts eventa|
essence to escape. or. havlng no graspab|e re|atlon wlth thls reg|me. lt
195
196
BEI NG AND EVENT
wou| dbe worse/ noI morenor| ess/ lndlllerent|vbutasmuchI chance' .
andconsequent|v| twou|d not have represented e|ther. vl at heevent ol
t heevent. t heabso|ute notlon olthe there l s' .
Must we t hen conc|ude. ln a n|hl|lstlc manner. t hat t he there |s l s
lorever un lounded. and that thought. devotlng l tse| l to structures and
essences. | eavesthelnterruptlve vlta|ltvoltheeventouts| de|tsdoma|n'
Mustweconc|udethatthepowerolp|acelssuchthatatthe undecldab|e
polnt olthe outs|dep|ace reason hesltates and cedes ground to lrratlon-
a|ltv' 1hls ls what the tenth page seems to suggest. there we nnd the
dec|aratlon noth|ng wl|| have taken p|ace but p|ace´ 1he memorab|e
cr|sls' ÷thatwou|dhaverepresentedtheabso|uteeventsvmbo|lzedl nthe
castoldlce÷wou|dhavehadtheprlvl|egeolescap|nglromthe|oglcolthe
resu|t. the event wou|d have been rea| lzed l n vlew ol everv resu|t nu||
human' . whlchmeans. theu|tra oneolnumberwou|d havetranscended
the human÷a|| too human÷|aw ol the count as one. whlch stlpu|ates
thatthemu|tlp|e÷becausethe one l snot÷can on|vexl stastheresu|tol
structure 8v the abso|uteness ol a gesture. an auto loundatl ona| |nter
ruptlon wou| d have lus|oned uncertalntv and the count. chance wou| d
have bothalnrmed and abo|lshed |tse|l ln the excessolone. the ste| |ar
b|rth' olaneventl nwhlchtheessenceoltheeventlsdeclphered 8utno
Some commonp|ace p|ashlng' olthe marlne surlace÷the pure slte th|s
tlme| ack|nganv|nterlor|tv. evenghost|v÷ends up d|sperslngtheemptv
act ' Save÷Ma||armcte||sus÷llbvchance. theabso|uteeventhadbeen
ab|etotakep|ace. the |le' olth|sact ( a| lewhlchl sthenc|onola trut hi
wou|dhavecausedt herul nol t he|ndlllerence ol the p|ace. t heperd|-
tion . . . of the i ndi sti nct ' . Si nce the event was not able to engender itself,
| tseemsthatone must recognlzethat the lndlstlnct carrles thedav. that
place | s sovere|gn. tnat noth |ng |s tne true name olwnatnappens. and
thatpoetrv. |anguageturnedtowardstheeterna| nxatlonolwhat comes-
topass. l snotdlst|nctlromcommercla| usages l nwh|ch nameshavethe
vl|elunctlonola|| ow| ngthe lmag|narvolre|atlonstobeexchanged. that
olvalnandprosperous rea|ltv
8ut thls l s not the |ast word Page e|even. opened bv an excepted.
perhapsl nwhlchapromlsemavberead. sudden|vlnscrlbes.bothbevond
anv posslb|e ca|cu|atlon÷thus. ln a structure whlch l s that olthe event
÷and |n a svnthes|s ol evervth|ng antecedent. the ste||ar doub|e ol the
suspendedcastoldlce. the Creat 8ear (theconste||atlon towards the
Septentrlon' i enumerates lts seven stars. and rea|lzes the success|ve
co||lslon astra||v ol a count tota| |n lormatlon' 1o the nothlng ol the
MALLARM
E
prevlous pace responds. outsl de p|ace ( as lar as a p|ace luslons wlth a
bevond i . the essentla| hgure ol number. and thus the concept ol the
event. 1hls event has dehnlte|v occ×rrcd on lts own ( watchlng over /
doubtlng / ro| | l ng / spark|lng and medltatlng i . and lt ls a|so a rcsu//. a
ha|tlncpolnt ( belore ha|tlngat some|astpolnt whlchconsecrateslt ' i .
Bowl s thlsposslb|e'1o understandonemustreca||thata t thevervend
ol the metamorphoses whlch lnscrlbe lndeclslon ( masters arm. vel|.
leather. uam|et. slreni . we donotarrlve atnongesture. but ratheratan
equlva| enceolgesture ( castlngthedlcei andnon gesture ( notcastlngthe
dlce i . 1he leather whlch returned to the orlglna| sprav was thus the
purlhed svmbo| olthe undecldab| e. lt dld not slgollv therenunclatlonol
actlon1hat nothl ng has taken p|acethereloremeansso|e|v that nothlng
4cc/da//cw//h|n/hcs//ua//oncou| dll guretheeventassuch. 8vcauslngthe
p|acetopreval | overtheldeathataneventcou|dbeca|cu|atedthereln.the
poem rea|lzes the essence ol the event ltse|l. whlch l s prec| se|v that ol
belnc. lrom thls po| ntolvlew. |nca|cu|ab| e. 1hepure there ls l sslmu|ta
neous|v chance and number. excess olone and mu|tlp|e. such that the
scenlc presentatlon ol lts belng de|| vers nonbelng a|one. slnce everv
exlstent. lorltse|l. |avs c|alm tothe struct ured necessltv oltheone Asan
un-lounded mu| tlp|e. as se|lbe|onglng. undlvlded slgnature ol ltse|l. the
eventcanon|vbelndlcatedbevondthesltuatlon. despltel tbelngnecessarv
to wagerthat lt hasmanllestedltse|ltherel n
Consequent|v. thecourage requl reJlormalntalnlngthe equl va| enceol
gestmeandnon gesture÷therebvrlsklngabo| l shmentwl thl nthesltels
compensatedbvthesupernumerarvemergenceoltheconste||atlon. whlch
nxes ln the skv ol !deas the eveots excess-of-one.
Olcourse, the Creat8ear÷thls arbltrarvhgure. whlch l sthetota| ol a
lour and a three. andwhi ch thus hasnothlngto do wlththeParousla ol
the supreme count that woul d be symbol i zed, for exampl e, by a doubl e
si x-is ' cold from forget t i ng and di suse' , for the eventness of the event l s
anvthlngbuta warm presence. uowever. t heconste| | atl onl ssubt racti vel y
equlva|ent. on some vacantsuperlors urlace . to anv belnc which wha/
hcppcns shows i tsel f to be capabl e of, and this fxes lor us the task ol
| nterpretlng lt. s| nce lt ls i mpossible for us to wl||lt lntobelnc
8v wav ol consequence. the conc| uslon ol thls prodlglous text÷the
densesttextthere lson the|lmpldseri ousness ola conceptual drama-is a
maxim, of whi ch ! gave another version in mv Ih.or/c du su)c/. Lthl cs. !
said. comes down to the fol l owi ng i mperat ive: ueclJelromthe standpolnt
oltheundeci dabl e. ' Mal l arme wri tes: Lvery thought emltsa cast oldi ce. '
197
198
BEI NG AND EVENT
Onthebasl sthat acastoldlce neverwl | | abo|lsh chance . onemustnot
conc| ude l n nl hl|lsm. | n the use|essness o| actlon. even | ess l n the
management cu| tolrea|ltvandl tsswarmolnctlvere|atl ooshl ps iorl lthe
event| serratlc.andl l. lromthestandpolntols| tuatlons. onecannotdeclde
whetherltexlstsornot. l tl sglventoustobet thatls. to|egls|atewlthout
| aw l n respect to thls ex|stence Clven that undecldabl|ltv | s a rat|ona|
attrlbuteoltheevent. andthesa|vatorvguaranteeollts non-be| ng. there
lsnootherv|gl | ance thanthatolbecomlng. asmuch throughtheanx| etv
olhesltat| onas throuch the courageoltheoutslde p|ace. boththeleather.
whlch hovers about |he gu|l' . and the star. uphlgh perhaps'
Fñk1V
The Event:
Interventi on and Fi del i ty.
Pasca l /Choi ce;
H6l der l i n/Deducti on
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY
The Interventi on : Il l egal choi ce of a name of
the event, l ogi c of the two, tempora l foun dati on
We |eltthequestlonol theeventa t thepolnta t whl ch the sltuatlongave
us no base lor decldlng whether the eventbe|onged to l t 1hls undecl d-
abl|ltvl sanlntrlnslcattrlbuteoltheevent.andltcanbededucedlromthe
mathemel nwhlchtheevent'smu|tlp|e lorml sl nscrlbed !havetracedthe
consequencesoltwoposslb|edeclslons. l ltheeventdoesnotbe|ongtothe
sltuatlon. then. glven that the terms ol lts eventslte are not presented.
noth|ngwl||havetakenp|ace. llltdoesbe|ong. thenltwl||lnterposeltse|l
betweenltse|landthe vold. andthusbedetermlnedasu|traone
Slnce lt ls ol the verv essence ol the event to be a mu|tlp|e whose
be|onglngto the sltuatlon ls undecldab|e. decldlng that lt be|ongs to the
sltuatlon l s a wager. one can on|v hope that thls wager never becomes
|eglt|mate. l nasmuch asanv|egltlmacy relersbacktothestructure olthe
sltuatlon Nodoubt. theconsequencesolthedeclslonwl||becomeknown.
butl twl||notbe posslb|etoreturn backprlortotheeventl norder to tle
those consequencestosome loundedor|gl n As Ma||armc savs. wagerlng
that someth|ng has taken p|ace cannot abo|lsh the chance o! | t havlng
takenp| ace
Moreover. the procedure ol declslon requlres a certal n degree ol
pre|lmlnarvseparatlonlromt hesltuatlon. acoelnclentolunpresentabl|ltv
ior the sltuatlon ltse|l. ln the p|enltude ol mu|t| p|es that l t presents as
resu|tones. cannotprovldethe meanslorsettlng out such a procedure l n
l ts entlretv !l lt cou|d do so. thl swou| d mean that the event was not
undecldab|e thereln
!notherwords.therecannotcx/s/anvregu|atedandnecessarvprocedure
whlchl sadaptedtothedeclslonconcernlngtheeventnessola mu|tlp|e. !n
201
202
BEI NG AND EVENT
partlcu| ar. ! have shownthatthe state ola sl tuatl ondoes notguarantee
anvru|eolthlsorder. becausethe event. happenl ngl na slte÷a mu|tlp|e
ontheedgeolthevold÷lsneverresecuredaspartbvthestate.1herelore
one cannot relertoa supposed /nc/us/on olthe event l n o:derto conc|ude
ln . ts /c/cnµ/nµ
! term |n/cncn//onanvprocedurebvwhlchamu|t| p|elsrecognlzedasan
event
Recognltlon apparent|vlmp| les two thlncs here. whlch are] ol ned ln
the unl c|tv ol the l nt erventlona| gesture llrst. that t He lorm ol the
mu| tlp|el s des| gnated as eventa|. whlcH ls to sav ln conlormltv wlththe
matheme ol the event . thls mu|tlp|e ls sucH tha| lt ls composed lrom
÷|orms a one out o|÷on the onehand. represented e| ements olltsslte.
andonthe other hand. ltse|l Second. thatwlth respectto thls mu|tlp| e.
thusremarkedlnltslorm. ltlsdecl dedthatltlsa termolthesltuatlon. that
lt be|ongs to the |atter An l nterventlon conslsts. l t seems. l n ldentllvlng
that there hasbeen some undecldabl| ltv. andl n decldlngltsbe|onglngto
thesltuatlon.
Eowever. thesecondsenseollnterventloncance|soutthe hrst . iorllthe
essenceol theeventlstobe undecldable. the declslonannu| sl t asevent
irom the standpol nt olthe declslon. vou no |onger have anvthlng other
thana termolthesltuatlon. 1helnterventl on thusappears-aspercelved
bvMa| | armclnhlsmetaphorolthedlsappearlnggesture÷to conslstolan
auto annu| mentolltsownmeanlng Scarce|vhasthedeclslonbeen taken
thanwhatprovokedthedeclslondlsappears lntheunl lormltvolmu|tlp| e-
presentatlon 1hls wou| d be one ol t he paradoxes ol ac|l on. and ltskev
resldes l n decl sl on. what lt ls app| led to÷an a| eatorv exceptlon÷hnds
ltse|l. bv the verv same gesture whlch deslgnates lt. reduced to the
common l ot and submltted to the el|ect ol structure S och actlon wou|d
necessar| |v la. | to rc/a/n the exceptlona| mark olone n whlch l t was
lounded 1h. s. scertal n| voneposslb|eacceptatl onolNl et tsche·maxl mol
the Lterna| Return ol the Same. 1He wl l| to powe.. whlch l s the
l nterpretatlvecapacltvolthedeclslon. wou| dbearwlthlnltse|lacertltude.
thatl tsl ne| uctab| econsequencebethepro|ongedrepetltlonolthe| awsol
thesltuatl on | ts dest lnv wool dbethat ol want lng the0theron| vl nlts
capacltvas a uew sopport lor the Same Mu| t l p| ebelng. broken apart |n
the chance ol an unpresent at l on that an l||egal wl|l al one can lega|lze.
wou| d return. along wlth the |aw ol the count . to l n|| l ct the one resu|t
uponthel | | usorvnove|tvoltheconsequences ! t lswe| | knownwhatklnd
olpesslmlstlcpo| l tl cal concl uslonsandnlhl|lst cult olart aredrawn lrom
THE I NTERVENTI ON
thl seva|uatlonolthewl | | l n moderate ( |etssav non Nazl i Nletzschelsm.
1hemetaphoroltheOvermancanon|vsecure. attheextremepolntolthe
slck|v revenge oltheweakandamldsttheomnlpresence olthelrresent
ment. thedehnltereturnolthePresocratlcrelgnolpower. Man. slckwlth
man. wou|dnndCreatBea| thl ntheeventolhl sowndeath. andhewou| d
decdethatth| seventannouncesthat manlswhatmustbesurpassed . 8ut
thls surpassl ng lsa| sothereturntotheorlg|n tobecured. evenl l ltbeol
onese|l. l smere|vtore l dentllvonese|laccordlngtothelmmanentlorceol
|lle.
!nrea|ltv. theparadoxolthelnterventlonlsmorecomp| exbecausel tl s
lmposslb|etoseparateltstwoaspects recognltlonoltheeventa|lormola
mu|tlp|e. anddecslon wlth respect to lts be|onglng to the sltuatlon
AneventoltheslteX be|ongstoltse|l.c.E c.. Recognlzlnglt as mu|tlp|e
supposesthatlthasa/rcadybeennamed÷lorthlssupernumerarvslgnlner.
c.. to be conslderedas an e|ementol the onemu|tlp|ethatlt l s. 1heact ol
nomlnatlonol the eventls whatconst|tutes|t. notas rea|÷wewl||a| wavs
poslt that thls mu|tlp| e has occurred÷but as susceptlb|e to a declslon
concernlngltsbe|onglngto the sltuatlon. 1heessenceolthe lnterventlon
conslsts÷wlthln the ne| d opened up bv an lnterpretatlve hvpothesls.
whoseprcscn/cdob] ectl stheslte (a mu|tlp|eontheedgeolthevoldì . and
whIchconcernsthe therel s olanevent÷lnnamlngth|s therel s andln
unlo|dlng the consequences ol thls nom| natlon l n the space ol the
sltuatlonto whlchthe sltebe|ongs .
What do we understand here bv nomlnatl on ' Another lorm ol the
questl on wou|d be what resources connected to the sl tuatlon can we
countontop| nthlsparadoxlca|mu| tlp|ethatl sthe event totheslgnlner.
therebvgrantlng ourse|ves the prevlous|v l nexpresslb|e posslbl|ltv ol lts
be|onglngtothesltuatlon'Nopresentedtermolthesltuatloncanlurnlsh
what we requlre. because the ellect ol homonvmv wou|d lmmedlate|v
ellace evervthlng unpresentab|e contalned ln the event. moreover. one
wou|d be l ntroduclng an amblgultv lnto the sltuatlon ln whlch a| |
lnterventlona|capacltvwou|dbeabo|l shed. borcanthesltel tse| lnamethe
event. evenllltservestoclrcumscrlbeandqua|llvl t. iorthes|te/saterm
olthe sltuatlon. andltsbelng on the edgeol- the vold. a| thoughopento
theposslbl|ltvolanevent. ln no wavnecessltates the|atter. 1he Revo| u
tl onol ! 789lscertaln|v French . vetirance lsnotwhat engenderedand
named lts eventness. !t l s much ratherthe case that l t l s the revo|utlon
whlch has slnce retroact| ve| v glven mean| ng÷bv belng lnscrlbed. vla
declslon. thereln÷to that hlstorlca| sltuatloo that we ca|| irance. !n the
203
204
BEI NG AND EVENT
samemanner.theprob| emoltheso|utlonbvrootsolequatlonsolthehlth
degree or more lound ltse|l l n a re|atlve | mpasse around ! 840. thl s
dehned÷| lkea| | theoretlcallmpasses÷aneventa| sltelormathematlcs( lor
onto|ogvi uowever. thl s lmpasse dl d not determlne the conceptua|
revo| utlon ol Lvarlste Ca| ol s. who understood. besl des. wlth a specl a|
acultv. t hat hl s entlre ro|e had been t hat ol obevlng the ln] unctlon
contalned lntheworksolhlspredecessors. slncetherelnonelound l deas
prescrlbedwlthoutthel rauthors' awareness ' Ca| olstherebvremarkedthe
lunctlon ol the vold l n lnterventlon iurthermore. lt ls the theorv ol
Ca| olslan extenslons whlch retroactlve|v asslgned l ts true sense to the
sltuatlonol' so| utlonbv roots'
If, therelore. l t ls~as Ca|ols savs÷the unnotlced ol the slte wh|ch
loundstheeventa|nomlnatlon.onecanthena|lowthatwhatthesltuatlon
proposesas base lor the nomlnatlon ls not what l t presents. but what lt
unpresents .
1he lnltla| operatlon ol an lnterventlon ls to makc a namc ou/o]an
unprcscn/cdc/cmcn/o]/hcs//c/oaua//] /hccvcn/whoscs//c/s/hcs//c. iromthl s
pol ntonwards.thexwhl chl ndexestheeventc.wl| | no|ongerbex, whlch
names the slte. exl stlngtermolthe slìuatlon. but anx÷ XthatX.whlch
l s on the edge olthe vol d. counts as one ln the sltuatlon wlthout thatx
belngltse|lpresented÷orexl stent. or one÷ln thesltuatlon. 1he nameol
theevent ls drawn lrom thevol datthe edgeolwhl chstands the lntra-
sltuatlona|presentatlon ol | tsslte
uowl sthlsposslble'8elore respondlngto thlsquestlon÷aresponseto
be e|aborated over the medltatlons to come÷| ets exp|ore the conse-
quences
a. Onemustnotconlusetheunpresentede|ement l tse| l'÷ltsbe| onglng
to the slte olthe eventase|ement÷and lts lunctlon ol nomlnatlon wlth
respecttotheeventmu|tlp| e. a mu|tlp|etowhlch. moreover. ltbe|oncs . !l
wewrltethe matheme oltheevent ( Medltat|on l 7i .
c. * |x÷ X c.j
we see that ll c. had to be /dcn/mcd wlth an e| ement x ol the slte. the
matheme wou|d be redundant÷c. wou|d slmp|v deslgnate the set ol
( representedi elementsoltheslte. lncludlngltsell 1hementlonolc.wou| d
be super|l uous !t mus t therelore be understood that t he term x has a
doub|elunctl on On the one hand. ltlsx÷ X. unpresentede|ementolthe
presentedoneoltheslte. contal ned lnthevoldattheedgeolwhlchthe
sltestands Ontheotherhand. ltlndexestheeventtothearbltrarlnessol
THE I NTERVENTI ON
the slgnl her. an arbltrarlness. however. that ls llmlted bv onel aw a| one
÷that the name ol the event must emerge lrom the vol d 1he | nter-
ventlona|capacltvl sboundtothl sdoub| elunctlon. andltlsonsuchabasl s
thatthebelonglngoltheeventtothes| tuatl oolsdecl ded 1helnterveotlon
touches the vold. and l s therebv subtracted lrom the | aw ol the count-
asonewhlchru| esthesltuatlon. prec| selvbecause lts l nauguralaxl oml s
nc///cd /o/hconc. /u//o /hc mo As one. the e| ement ol the slte whlch
lndexes the event does oot exlst belng unpresented. What l nduces lts
exlstence ls the declslonbv whlch ltoccursastwo. asltse|labsentandas
supernumerarv name.
/. !tl soodoubtml s| eadl ogtospeakol/hctermx whl ch servesasname
lortheevent uowlndeedcouldlt bedlstloculshed wlthlnthevold'1he
|awolthevoldl sl n dlllerence ( Medltatlon ° i 1he termwhlchservesas
namelortheeventls. l nltsell. anonvmous 1heeventhasthename| essas
ltsname ltl swlthregardtoevervthl ogthathappensthatonecanon|vsav
whatl tlsbv relerrlnglt tolts unkoown So| dler iorl l the term lndexlng
the event was chosen bv the lnterventlon lrom amoogst exlstlng nom
lnatlons÷the | atter relerrlng to terms dlllerentl ab| e wlthln t hesltuatlon
÷onewould have to adml tthatthe count as- oneentlre|v structures the
l oterventl on. !lthlswereso. nothlngwouldhavetaken p|ace. butp| ace
! orespectol thetermwhlchservesaslndexlorthe event a| | that canbe
sald÷despltel t belngthe oneol lts doub|e luoctlon÷lsthatl t belongsto
theslte | tspropernamel sthusthecommon oame be| onglngtotheslte
! t | s anlndlstlngulshab|eol theslte. pro] ectedbvthelnterventloolntothe
twoolthe evental deslgnatl on
c. 1hl soomlnatlonl sessentl a| |v l | | ega|lnthatltcannotconlormtoanv
/aw ol representatl oo ! have shown that the state ol a s| tuatl on÷lts
metastructure÷serves to lorm a ooe out ol anv part l n the space ol
presentatlon Representatlonlsthussecured Cl venamu|tlpleolpresented
multlp|es. ltsname. corre| ateolits ooe. lsanc]]a/ro]/hcs/c/c. 8utsl ncethe
| oterven| l ooextractsthesupernumerarvslgnl herlrom thevoldbordered
on bv the slte. the state | aw ls lnterrupted 1he .ho/cc operated bv the
lnterventlon l s a noo cho. ce lor the state. and thus lor the sltuatlon.
becausenoexlstentru| ecanspecllv/hcunpresentedtermwhlchl stherebv
chosenasoameolthepureeventa| therel s Olcourse. thetermoltheslte
whlchoamestheeventls. llone | lkes. a rcprcscn/a//vcol theslte !tl ssuch
a| | themoresoglveothatltsnamels be|onglngtotheslte uowever. lrom
the perspective ol the si tuati on-or of its state-thi s represeotatl on cao
oeverberecognlzed.Whv'8ecauseno|awol the sltuatlonthusauthorlzes
205
206
BEI NG AND EVENT
the determ| nat| on ol an anonvmous termlor each part. a pure| v l nde-
term| nateterm. st| | | | esstheextens| on olth| s| | |ega| procedure. bvmeans
ol wh|ch each | nc| uded mu|t|p|e wou| d produce÷bv what m| rac|e ol a
cho|ce w| thout ru|es'÷a representat|ve | ack| ng anv other qua| | tv than
thatolbe| ong| ngtoth| smu| t| p| e. tothevo| d| tse| l. suchthat|tsbordersare
s| gna| | ed bv the abso|ute s| ngu| ar| tv ol the s| te 1he cho| ce ol the
representat| vecannot. w| th| nthe s| tuat| on. be a||owed asrepresentat| on
!n contrastto un| versa| sullrage . lor examp|e. wh| chnxes. v|a thestate.
a un| lormprocedurelorthedes| gnat| onolrepresentat| ves. | ntervent|ona|
cho|ce pro] ects | nto s| gn| lv| ng | ndexat| on a term w| th respec| to whlch
noth| ng |n the s| tuat| on. no ru| e wh+tsoever. author|zes | ts d| st|nctlon
lrom anv other
d Such an | nterrupt|on ol the |aw ol representat| on | nherent to everv
s| tuat| on |s ev| dent|v not poss|b|e in | tse| l Consequent|v. t he | nter
vent| ona| cho|ce | son| vellect. veasendanger| ngtheone. !tlson|v]er/hc
cvcn/. thus lor the noml nat . on ol a paradoxlca| mu|t| p|e. that the term
chosen bv the | ntervenor represents the vo| d 1he name subsequent| v
c|rcu|atesw| th| nthesltuat | onaccord| ngtotheregu| atedconsequencesol
the| ntervent| ona| dec| s| onwh| chlnscr| bes|tthere. !t| sneverthenameol
aterm. butoltheevent Onecana| sosavthat| ncontrasttothe| awolthe
count. an| ntervent| onon|vestab|| shestheoneoltheeventasa non one.
g| ven that | ts nom| nat| on÷chosen. | | | ega| . supernumerarv. drawn lrom
thevo| d÷on|vobevsthepr| nc| p| e there|soneness /na|scn//a. !nasmuch
as | t | snamedc.the eveni | sc| ear| v/h/s event. | nasmuch as|ts name| s a
representat|vew| thoutrepresen|at| on. the eventrema| nsanonvmousand
uncerta| n1heexcessolone| sa| sobeneatht heone 1heevent. p| nnedt o
mu| t| p| ebel ng bv the lnterventlona| capac|tv. rema| ns sutured to the
unpresentabl e 1h| s | s beca ose the essence of the ul t ra- one i s the To.
Consldered. not| n|tsmu| t| p| e be| ng. but| n| tspos|t| on. or| tss| tuatlon. an
event | s an /n/crvc/ rather than a term. | t estab| | shes ltse| l. | n the
| nterventl ona| retro+ctlon betweentheemptv anonvm|tvborderedon bv
thes|te. and theadd| t| onola name Moreover. thematheme| nscr|besth| s
or| g| narv sp||t. s| nce | ton| vdeterm| nestheone compos| tlon oltheevent
c.| nasmuch as | t d| st| ngui shesthere|nbetween| tse| land the represented
e| ementso| the s| te÷lrom wh|ch. bes| des. the name or| g| nates
1he event|s u|tra one÷apart|rom || | nterpos| ng| tse| lbetween|tse|land
thevo|d÷becausethemax| m there | s1oness | s lounded upon| t 1he
1otherebv| nvoked| snottheredup|| cat| onoltheoneolthecount. the
THE I NTERVENTI ON
repet|tlon oltheellects olthe |aw ! tls an or| gl narv 1o. an lnterva| ol
suspense. thedlvlded ellect ola declsl on
c !twl | | be observedthatthe. nterventlon. be| ngtherebv asslgnedto a
doub| eborderellect-borderolthevold. borderol thename÷andbelng
the basls ol the named events clrcu| atlon wlthln the sltuatlon. ll lt l s a
declslonconcernlngbe| onglngto thesltuat| on. remalnsundecldab|eltse| l
!tl son|vrecognlzedlnthesltuatl onbvltsconsequences What| sactua| | v
presented l nthe endl se" the name olthe event . 8ut lts support. bel ng
l | | ega|. cannot occurassuchatthe| eve| olpresentatlon !twl|| therelore
a|wavsremalndoubtlu| whethertherehas beenaneventornot. exceptto
thosewholntervene. whodec| deltsbe|onglngtothesl tuatl on What there
wl||beareconsequencesola partlcu|armu| t| p| e. andthev wl||becounted
as one l n the sl tuatl on. and lt wl|| appear as though thev were not
predlctab| e tHereln !n short. there wl | | have been some chance | n the
sltuatlon. however. ltwl||neverbe|egltlmatelorthel ntervenortopretend
thatthechanceorlglnatedln a ruptureolthe|awwhlchltse|laroselrom
a declslon on be|onglng concernlng the envlrons ol a denned s| te Ol
course. one can a|wavs alnrm thatthe undecldab|e has been declded. at
the prlce ol havl ng to aJm| t that lt remalns undecldab| e whether that
declslonontheundecldab|ewastakenbvanvbodvln part| cu| ar. Assuch.
the lntervenor can be both entlre|v accountab|e lorthe regu| atedconse
quencesoltheevent. andentlre|vl ncapab|eolboastlngthatthevp| aveda
declslvero|e .n theeventltse|l !nterventlongeneratesa dlsclp|l ne lt does
notde|| veranv orlgl na| ltv 1here ls nohero olthe event
] ! l we now turn to the state ol the sltuatl on. we see that lt can on| v
resecure the be|onglng ol th| s supernumerarv name. whlch clrcu|ates at
random. attheprlceolpolntlngoutthevervvoldwhoselorec| osurelslts
lunct| on What lndeedarethepar/s olthe event'What ls lnc| udedl nlt'
Boththe e|ements olltsslteandtheeventltse|lbe| ongtothe event 1he
e|ementsoltheslteareunpresented 1heon|v partthattheylormlorthe
statelsthus theslte ltse|l Aslorthesupernumerarv name. c.. hencelorth
c|rcu|atlngduetotheellectolthelnterventlon. ltpossessesthepropertvol
be|onglngto| tse|l. ltsrecognlzab|epartl sthereloreltsownun| cltv. orthe
s|ng|eton | c.| ( Medltatlon7 i . 1hetermsreg| steredbvthe state. guarantor
olthecount - as oneolparts. are ll na||vtheslte. andthelormlng l nto one
ol the name ol the event X and |c.j 1he state thus nxes. alter the
lnterventlon. theterm | X | c.| | as thecanonlca|lormoltheevent \hatl s
at stake l sc| ear|v a 1o | thesl tecounted as one. and a mu|tlp|e lormed
lnto onei . but the prob|em ls that between these two terms /hcrc
207
208
BEI NG AND EVENT
/sno rc/a//on. 1he matheme ol the event. and the | og| c ol lnterventlon.
show that between the slte X and the event l nterpreted as c.there ls a
doub|econnect|on on the one hand. the e| ementsolthesltebe|ongtothe
event. coosldered as mu|tlp| e. whlch l s to sav l n lts bel ng. on the other
hand. the nom| na| lndexx l s chosen as l|| ega| representat|ve wlth|n the
unpresented olthe slte Bowever. thestatecannotknowanvth| ngolthe
| atter. slncethel | | ega| andt heunpresentab|e arepreclse| vwhatltexpe| s.
1he state certaln|v captures that there has been some nove| tv l n the
sltuatlon. l nthelormoltherepresentat|onola1owhl ch] uxtaposesthe
sl te ( a|readv marked outi and the slng| eton ol the event ( put |nto
clrcu| atl oo bv the lnterveotloni . Bowever. what l s therebv ] uxtaposed
remalnsessentla||vunre| ated iromthestandpolntolthestate. thename
hasnodlscernlb|ere|atlontotheslte. 8etweent hetwo/hcrc/sno/h/nµ /u/
/hcvo/d. !notherwords. t he1ocreatedbvtheslteand theeventlormed
lnto one ls. lorthestate. a presentedvet lncoherent mu|tlp| e. 1he event
occurs lorthestateasthebelngolanenlgma Whvls|tnecessarv ( andlt
lsi toreglsterthlscoup|easa partolthesltuat| onwhennc/h/nµ marksout
thel r per|lnence' Whv ls thl s mu| tl p| e. c. c·r/nµ a/ random. ]cund /e /c
csscn//a//yconnc./cd/o|hc rcsµcc/a//cX whl chlsthesl te'1hedangerolthe
count dlslunctlon|nghere | sthatthe representatlon olthe eventb|lnd|v
l nscrlbes lts l nterva||lc essence bv renderlng lt l n state terms. lt ls a
dlsconnectedconnectlon. anlrratlona| coup|e. a one mu|t|p|ewhose one
| s|aw|ess.
Moreover. emp|rlca||v. th| s| sa c|asslcenlgma . Lvervtlmethata slte ls
thetheatreola rea| event . thestate÷lnthepo|ltlca| sense. lorexamp|e÷
recogolzesthata desi gnatl oomustbeloundlorthecoup|eoltheslte ( the
lactorv. tHe street. the un|versltvì and the slng|eton olthe event ( str|ke.
rlot. dlsorderi . but l tcannot succeed l n || xlng the ratlona|ltv olthe ||n¡
1hls ls whv lt lsa |aw olthestatetodetectln tHe anoma| volthls1o÷and
thl sls an avowa| olthe dvs|unct|on olt he count÷t hehando]a s/ranµcr
( the |orelgn agltator. the t errorlst t he perverse prolessori . !t i s not
lmportantwhetherthe ageutsol thestatebe| level nwhatthevsavornot.
what counts | s the necessltv ol the stat ement ior thls metaphor ls ln
rea| ltv that ol the vold ltse|l somethlog unpresented ls a/ wcrk÷th|s ls
what the state ls dec|arlng. ln the end. l o lts deslgnatlon ol an externa|
cause. 1bes t at e bl ocks t he apoar| t| onof t be| mmanence olt hevo| dbvthe
transcendence olthegul | tv
!n t (ut h. the | nterva| | | c structure ol t he event ls proj ected wlth|n a
necessari l y lncoherent stat e excrescence. lhat lt ls lncoherent÷! have
THE I NTERVENTI ON
spoken ol such. t he vold transplres thereln. ln the unthlnkable ] olnt
betweentheheterogeneoustermslromwhlch ltlscomposed 1hatltl san
excrescence÷thls much can be deduced. Remember ( Medltatlon 8ì . an
excrescencelsatermthatl srepresented (bvthestateolthesltuatloni but
not presented (bv the structure ol the sltuatloni !n thls case. what l s
presented ls the event ltse|l. c. and | t a|one 1he representatlve coup|e.
|X|c.l l . heteroc|lte palrlng ol the slte and the lormlngl nto one ol the
event. l s mere|v the mechanlca| el|ect o| the state. whlch makes an
lnventorv ol the parts ol the sltuatl on 1hls coup| e l s not presented
anvwhere Lverveventl sthusglven.onthestatlstsurlaceolthesltuatlon.
asanexcrescence whosestructure lsa 1owlthoutconcept
µ. Underwhatcondltlons ls anlnterventlon posslble' What ls atstake
here lsthe commencement ola |ongcrltlcaltrla| olthe rea|ltv olactlon.
and the loundatlon ol the thesls. there l s some newness ln belng÷an
antagonlstlctheslswlth respectto the maxlm lrom Lcc|eslastes. n/h|/nov/
s×/ so/c .
! mentlonedthatlnterventlonrequlresa kl ndolpre| lmlnarvseparatlon
lrom the lmmedlate |aw 8ecause the relerent olthe lnterventlonls the
vold. such asattested bv the lracture olltsbordcr÷theslte÷andbecause
l tscholce ls | llegal÷representatlve w|thout representatlon÷lt cannotbe
graspedas a one cllect. or structure Yetglventhat what l s a non-one l s
prec| se|v the event ltse|l. there appears to be a clrc|e. !t seems that the
event. aslnterventlona|p|acement l n clrculatlonolltsname. can on|vbe
authorlzed on the basl s ol that other event. equa||v vol d lor structure.
whlch ls thelnterventlonltse|l
1here ls actua||v no other recourse agalnst thls clrc|e than that ol
sp|lttlngthepolntatwhlchltre] olnsltse|l !tlscertalnthattheeventa|one.
a| eatorvhgureolnonbelng. loundstheposslbllltvollnterventlon!tls ] ust
as certa|n that ll no lnterventlon puts l t lnto c| rcu|atlon wlthln the
sltuatlon on the basls ol an extractlon ol e|ements from the slte. then.
|acklnganv belng. radlca||v subtracted lromthe count as one. the event
doesnotexlst !nordertoavoldthlscurlousmlrrorlngoltheeventandthe
lnterventlon÷ol the lact and the lnterpretatlon÷(he poss/////n e] (hc
/n/crvcn|/on m×s/ /ccss/µncd /o /hc conscaucnccs o]ano/hcrcvcn/. lt ls eventa|
recurrencewhlch lounds lnterventlon !n otherwords. therel s no | nter
ventlona|capacltv. constltutlve|orthebe| onglngolaneventa|mu| tlp|eto
a sltuatlon. save wlthln the network ol consequences ol a prevlous|v
dcclded be|onglng An lnterventlon ls what prcscnts an event lcr the
occurrence olanother !tls aneventa|betweentwo
209
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hIs ls to sav that the theorv ol lnterventlon lorms the kerne| ol anv
theorvoltlme. 1lme÷llnotcoextenslvewlthstructure. l l notthescns///c
]orm o] /hc Law-ls lnterventlon | tse|l. thougHt as the gap between two
events . 1he essentla|hlstorlcltvoll nterventlondoesnot reler totlme asa
measurab|eml|leu. !t|sestab|lsheduponlnterventlona|capacltv| nasmuch
asthe|atteron|vseparates| tse|llromthesltuatlonbvgroundlngltse||on
theclrcu|atlon÷whlchhasa| readvbeendeclded÷olaneventa|mu|tlp|e.
1hls ground a|one. comblned wlth the lrecuentatlon ol t he slte. can
lntroducea sul||clentamountolnon belngbetweenthelnterventlonand
thesltuat| onlnorderlorbelngltse| f. quabelng.tobewageredl ntheshape
ol the unpresentab|e and the l||egal that ls. l n the nna| resort. as
lnconslstentmu|tlp|lc| tv.1lmelshere. agaln. the requl remento|the1o.
lorthereto be anevent. one must be ab|e to sltuate onese|lw|thln the
consequences ol another. 1he l nterventlon ls a || ne drawn lrom one
paradoxlca| mu|tlp|e. whlcH ls a| rcadv clrcu|atlng. to the clrcu| atl on ol
another. a |lnewhlchscratches out. !tlsa d/a«ona/olthesltuat| on
210
One lmportant consequence ol eventa| recurrence l s t hat no lnter
ventlon whatsoever can |egltlmate| v operate accordlng to the l dea ol a
prlma| event. or a radlca| beglnnlng. We can term spccu/a//vc /c]//sm anv
thought ol belng whlch bases ltse|l upon the theme ol an abso| ute
commencement. Specu|atlve|eltlsmlmaglnesthatlnterventlonauthorlzes
ltse|lonthe basls olltse|la|one. thatl tbreakswlththe sltuatlon wlthout
anvothersupportthanltsownnegatlvewl| | . 1hlslmaglnarv wagerupon
an abso|ute nove|tv÷to break ln two the hlstorv ol thewor|d ÷lal|s to
recognlze that the rea| olthe condltlons ol posslbl|ltv ollnterventlon l s
a|wavstheclrcu|atlono|ana|readvdecldedevent. !notherwords. l t l sthe
presupposltlon. lmp|lclt or not. that there has a|readv been an lnter
ventl on. Specu| atlve|eltlsm l s lasclnatedbv the eventa| u|traone and l t
be|| eves that l n the | atters name lt can re] ect anv lmmanence to the
structured regl me ol the count as one Cl ven that the structure ol the
u|traonel sthe1o. thelmaglnarvolaradlca| beglnnlng| eadslne|uctab|v
.
ln a| | orders ol thought. to a Manichean hvpostasl s. 1he vlo|ence ol thls
la|sethoughtl sanchoredlnltsrepresentatlonolanlmaglnarv1owhose
tempora|manllestatlonl sslgned.viatheexcessolone. bvtheu|tra oneol
the event. Revo| utlon or Apoca|vpse 1hls thought l s unaware that the
eventltse|lon|vexl sts lnsolaras| tl ssu/m///c4. bvanlntervent|onwhose
posslbl|ltv requlres recurrence÷and thus non commencement÷to the
ru|ed structure ol the sltuatlon. as such. anv nove|tv ls re|at| ve. belng
|eg|b|e so|e|v alter the lact asthe Iazardol anorder What the doctrlne
THE I NTERVENTI ON
oltheeventteachesus lsratherthattheentlreellort| l esl nlo| |owlng the
event sconsequences. notlng| or|lvlng|tsoccurrence 1herel snomorean
ange|lc hera| d ol t he event than there ls a hero 8elng does not
commence
1he rea|dllncu|tvlstobeloundln thelo||owlng theconsequencesolan
event. belng submlttedt ostructure. cannot be dlscerned as such ! have
under|lned thls undecldabl|ltv accordlng to whlch the event l s on|v
poss|b|e ll specla| procedures conserve the eventa| nature ol | ts conse
quences 1h| slswhvlts so| eloundatlon |les ln a d/sc/p/|nc oltl me. whlch
contro|slrombeglnnlngto endtheconsequencesolthe lntroductlon lnto
c|rcu| atlonolthe paradoxlca| mu|tlp|e. andwhlchatanv moment knows
howtodlsceroltsconnectlontochance !wl| |ca||thl sorganlsedcontro|ol
tlme]4c//n.
1o lntervene ls to enact. on the borderol the vold. belng lalthlu|to lts
prev|ousborder
21 1
212
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-ONE
Pascal
1he hl storv ol the Church shou| d. proper|vspeaklng.
be ca||edthehlstorv oltruth
|cnsícs
Lacanusedto savthat ll no re|lgl onweretrue. Chrlstlanltv. neverthe|ess.
was the rel igion which came closest to the question of truth. This remark
canbeunderstoodl nmanvdlllerentwavs ltakel ttomeanthelo||owlng.
l nChrlst|anltvandlnl ta| oneltls saldthatthe essence oltruthsupposes
the eventa| u|tra one. and that re|atlng to truth l s not a matter ol
contemp| atlon÷orlmmobi |eknow|edge÷but ollnterventl on ioratthe
heart olChrlst|anltvthere|sthatevent÷sltuated. exemp|arv÷thatlsthe
deatholthe son olCod on thecross 8vthesametoken. be| l eldoesnot
re|ate centra||v to the belngone ol Cod. to hls lnnnlte power. l ts
lnterventlona| kerne| l s rather the constltutlon ol the meanlng ol that
death. andthe organlzatlon o!a hdelltv tothatmeanlnc. As Pascal savs.
Lxceptl n1esusChrlst.wedonotknowthemeanlngolour|l le. ordeath.
orCod. oroursel ves´
Al|theparametersolthedoctr| neoltheeventarethusdlsposedwlthl n
Chrlstlanltv. amldst. however. the remalns ol an onto|ogv ol presence
÷wlthrespecttowhlch! haveshown. l npartlcu|ar. that| tdlm|nlshesthe
concept ollnnnltv( Medltatlon l ? ì
a . 1he eventa| mu|tlp|e happens l n the specla| slte whlch. lor Cod. l s
human|lle summonedtolts|lmlt. tothepressureoll tsvol d. whlchl sto
savl nthesvmbo|oldeath. andolcrueltortured. palnlu|death. 1heCross
l sthencureolthlssense|essmu| tl p| e.
PASCAL
h
. Named progresslve|v bv the apost|esthe co| | ectlve bodv ol lnter-
ventlon÷as the death ol Cod . thls event be|ongs to ltse|l. because lts
verltab|eeventnessdoesnot| l eln the occurrenceoldeathortorture. but
ln l tbel ng a matterol Cod A| | the concrete epl sodesol the event ( the
l|ogglng.thethors. thewavolthecross. etc i so| e| vconstltutetheu|tra-
one olaneventlnasmuchas Cod. lncarnatedandsullerlng. enduresthem
1helnterventlona|hvpotheslsthatsuchl slndeedthecaselnterposesltse|l
betweenthecommonbana|ltvolthesedetal|s. themse|vesontheedgeol
thevold ( oldeathi . andtheg|orlousunlcltv olthe event
c 1he u|tlmate essence ol the eventa| u|traone l s the 1o. ln the
especla||vstrlklnglormoladlvlslono|thedlvlneOne÷theiatherandthe
Son÷whlch. l n truth. dehnltlve|v rulns anv reco||ectlon ol dlvlne tran-
scendence lntotheslmp|lcltv o| a Presence
d. 1he metastructure ol the sltuatlon. ln partlcu| ar the Roman pub|lc
power.reglstersthls1ol ntheshapeol theheteroc|lte] uxtaposltlonola
s|te( theprovlnceo|Pa|estlneand lts re|lglousphenomenai andaslng|eton
wlthoutlmportance ( theexecutlonolanagltatori . attheverv sametlme.
lt has thepremonltlonthat l n thls mattera voldl sconvokedwhlch wl||
prove a |astlng embarrassment lor the State To lactors testllv to thls
embarrassmentortothe| atentconvlctlonthatmadness|lesthereln hrst.
atthe|eve|o|anecdote. Pl|atekeepshlsdlstance ( |etthese1ewsdea|wlth
thelrown obscurebuslnessi . andsecond. much|aterandat the|eve|ola
document. the lnstructlonsrequestedbv P|lnvtheYoungerlromLmperor
1ta] anconcemlngthetreatmentreservedlorChrlstlans. c|ear|vdeslgnated
as a troub|esomesub] ectlve exceptlon.
c. 1he lnterventlon l s based upon the c|rcu|atlon. wlthln the 1ewlsh
ml|leu. olanotherevent. Adam'sorlglna|sln. olwhlchthedeatholChrl st
l sthe re|av. 1he connectlonbetweenorl gl na| sl nandredemptlon dehnl -
tlve|vloundsthetlmeolChrlstlanltvasatlmeolexl|eandsa|vatl on 1here
lsanessentla|hlstorlcltvtoChrlstlanltvwhlchlstledtotHelntervent|ono!
theapost| esasthep|acement lnto clrcu|atlonoltheevento!thedeathol
Cod. ltse|l relnlorced bv the promlse ol a Messlah wh|ch organlzed the
hde|ltvtothelnltla| exl | e Chrlstlanltvl s structuredlrombeglnnlngtoend
bveven ta|recurrence. moreover. ltpreparesl tse| llorthedlvlnehazardol
the thlrd event. the Last1udgement. |n whlch the rul n olthe terrestla|
sltuatlon wl|| be accomp|lshed. and a new reglme ol exlstence wl|| be
estab|lshed
¡1hlsperlodizedtlmeorganlzesadlagona| o!t hesltuatlon. l nwhlchthe
connectlon to the chance ol the event ol the regu|ated consequences lt
213
214
BEI NG AND EVENT
ental|s remalns dl scernlb|e due to the ellect ol a n /ns///u//ona/ ]dc//n.
Amongst the 1ews. the prophets are the specla| agents ol the dlscernlb|e
1hev lnterpret without cease. w|thln the dense weave ol presented
mu|tlp|es. whatbe| ongstotheconscquenceso|the|apse. whatrendersthe
promi se| eglb| e. andwhatbe|ongsmere| vtotHeevervdavbuslnessolthe
wor| d AmongsttheChrlsti ans. theChurch÷thehrstlnstltuti on| nhuman
hlstorv to pretend to unlversa|ltv÷organlzes |l de|ltv to the Chrlst event.
and exp|lc| t|v des. gnates those who support i l n th| s task as the
la| thlu|
lasca| spartlcu|argen| us| | esl nh| sattemptt orenovateandmalntalnt he
eventa| kerne| ol t he Chrlstian conv|ct|on undert he abso|ute|v modern
andunheardolcondltlonscreatedbvtheadventolthesub] ectolsclence
Pasca| saw qui te c|ear|v that these condlt| ons wou| d end up rul nl ng the
demonstratlveorratlona|edlncethatthemed| eva| iathershade|aborated
as the archltecture olbe|lel. ue l||umlnated the paradox that atthe verv
momentlnwhlchsclencehna|| v|egls|ateduponnaturevlademonstrat|on.
theChrlstlanCodcou|don|vremalnattheceutreols ub] ectlveexperlence
lli tbe|ongedt oanentlre|vdlllerent|og|c. llthe proolsoltheexlstenceol
Cod were abandoned. and ll .he pure eventa| lorce ol lalth were
restltuted. !t wou|d have been posslb| e. lndeed. to be|leve that wlth the
adventolamathematlcsol|nhnltvanda ratlona|mechanlcs. thequestlon
lmposedupontheChrlstlanswasthatoleltherrenovati ngthelrproolsbv
nourlshlng them on the expans|on ol scieoce ( t h| s i s what wl | | be
undertaken ln | he elghteenth centurvbvpeop|e | l keAbbot P|uchc. wlth
thelr apo|ogles lor the m| rac|es of nature. a tradltlon whlch |asted untl |
1el|hard de Chardlni . or. o| comp|ete|vseparatlng thegenres. andestab
|lshlngthat there|| glousspherel sbevondthe reach ol. or lndi llerent to.
the depl oyment o| sci entific thought ( l n lts stri ct |orm. thl s ls Kants
doctrlne. wl ththeradlca|separatlonolthe|acu| tl es. andln lts weaklorm.
ltlsthe supp| ement olsplr|tua| ltv i Pasca| .s a dla | ectlcl anlnsolarashels
sat| shedwlth nelther olthesetwo optlons. 1hehrst appears to Hl m÷and
rlght|vso~to | eadso| e| vtoanabstractCod. asortol u|tra mechanic. | l ke
uescartes Cod ( use|ess and uncertai u i whl ch wl| | become Vo| ta| res
c|ockmaker CoJ. and whlch ls ent| re|v compatlb| e wlth the hatred ol
Chrlstian|tv. 1hesecondoptlondoesnotsatlslvh| sowndesi re. contempo
rary wlththefl ouri shi ng of mathemati cs, |or a uni fed and tota|doctrlne.
l nwhlchthestrlctdi sti nctl ono|orders( reasouandcharltvdonotactua| | v
be| ongtothesamedomaln. andherePasca|antlclpatedKant. a| | thesamei
mustnothlndertheexlstentla| unltvolthe Chrlstlanandthemobl|lzatlon
PASCAL
o| a|| o| h| s capacltles ln tHe re|lglous wl| | a|one. |or the Cod o|
chrlst| ans ls a Cod who lì | | s the heart and sou| o| those whom he
possesses . whomakesthem| ncapab|eo|anvotherendbut h| m 1he
Pasca| | an questlon l sthusnot tHato| a know|edge o|Cod contemporarv
wlth the new stage o| ratlona|ltv What he asks |s thl s whatls lt thatls a
chrlstl an sub] ect todav' And t h| s ls the reason whv Pasca| re centreshls
entlreapo| ogl aaroundavervpreclsepolnt. whatcou| dcause anatHelsta
|lbert| oe. topass|romdlsbe| le|tochrlstl an| tv'Ooewou|dnot be exagger
at |ng| | onesald thatPasca| s modernltv. wHlchlsstl||dlsconcertlngtoday.
| les ln tHe |act tHat he pre|ers. bv a | ong wav. a reso| ute unbe| lever
( athe| sm. proo|o||orceo|thesou| i to a 1esult. to a | ukewarmbe|lever.
ortoa carteslandelst And|orwhatreason. l| not thatthenlhl|lst|lbertlne
appearstohlmtobes| gnl ncantaodmodernlna dl||ereotmannertHanthe
amateurs o|compromlse. whoadap//hcmsc/vcstoboththesocla| authorltv
o| re| | g| on. and to the ruptures | n the edlnce o| ratl ona| l sm ior Pascal
chrlstl anltvstakes ltsexlstence. underthenewcondltlonso|thougHt. not
l nlts ll exlb|e capacltv to malntaln ltse|| l nstl tutl ona| | v ln the heart o|an
overturedcltv. but ln | ts power o|sub] ectlve capture over these tvplca|
representatlves o| the new wor|d that are the sensua| and desperate
materla|lsts !tlstothemthatPasca|addresseshl mse| |wlthtendernessand
subt| etv. havl ng. on the contrarv. on|v a terrl b| v sectarlan scorn |or
com|ortab|echrlstlans. atwhoseservlcehep|aces÷ln!hc|rev/nc/a|Lc//crs.
|or examp| e÷a vlo|ent andtw| st edstv|e. an unbrl d| ed taste |or sarcasm.
andno |ltt|e bad |alth Moreover. what makes lasca| s prose unlque÷to
the polnt o| removlng | t |rom lts tlme aod p|aclng lt c|ose. ln lts |lmpld
rapldltv. to theRlmbaudolA 5cason/nLcl/¯l sa sorto| urgencvlnwhlch
the work on the text ( Pasca| rewrote tHe same passage ten tlmesi ls
ordal ned bv a dehned and hardened lnter|ocutor. l n the anxletv o| not
dolngevervthlng|n hlspowerto coovlnce the|atter Pasca| s stv|elsthus
theu| t| matel n lnterventlona| stv| e 1h| s | mmense wr| tertranscendedh|s
tlme bv means o| hls ml|ltant vocatlon. nowadavs. however. peop|e
pretend that a ml | | tant vocatloo burl esvou l n your tlme. to the po| nt o|
renderlng vou obso|ete overn| ght
1ograspwhatI ho| dtobethevervheart o|Pasca| sprovoca//ononemust
start|romthe|o||owlngparadox.whvdoesthl sopen mlndedsclentlstth| s
entlre| v modern ml nd. abso|ute|v | nslst upon ] ustl |vl ng chrlstl ao| tv bv
what wou| d appear to be lts weakest polot |orpost Ca| l | ean ratl ona|ltv.
t hat i s, t hedoctrlne o| mlrac|es' | sn tthere someth| ngqul te|ltera||v mad
about chooslng. as hls prlvl|eged lnter|ocutor. the nl hl| l st |lbertlne.
21 5
216
BEI NG AND EVENT
tralnedlnCassend|s atomlsmandreaderolLucrecesdlatrlbesagalnstthe
supernatural andthen trvlng to convlnce hlmbva manlaca| recourseto
thehlstorlcltv olml rac|es'
Pasca| . however. ho| dshrm to h| sposl |l onthat a| | olbe| l ellsbasedon
themlrac|es uerelersto Sa|ntAugustl nesdec|aratlonthathewou| dnot
be Chrlstlan wlthoutthe mlrac|es. andstates. asanaxlom. !t wou|d have
beennoslnnottohavebe|levedln1esusChrlstwlthoutthemlrac| es. Stl||
better. a|thoughPasca|exa|tstheChrlstlan CodastheCodolconso|atlon.
heexcommunlcatesthosewho. lnsatlslv|ngthemse|veswlththl sh||lngol
thesou|bvCod. on|vpavattentlontomlrac| es|orthesakeollorma| one
Suchpeop|e. hesavs. dlscredlthls' Chrlst s} mlrac| es Andso. thosewho
reluse to be|leve l n mlrac|es todav on account ol some supposed and
lanc|lu| contradlctlon are not excused And thls crv. uow ! hate those
whoproless t doubt ln mlrac|es '
Lets sav. wlthout proceedlng anv lurther. that the mlrac|e÷||ke Ma|
| armc schance÷ls theemb|em olthepureevent asresource oltruth !ts
lunctlon÷to be | nexcessolprool÷plnpolnts and lactua| l zes theground
lromwhl chthere orlglnatesboththeposslbl| ltv olbe| levlng/n/ru/h. and
Codnotbel ngreducl b| etothl spureob] ect olknow|edgewl thwhlch the
delstsatl sheshlmse|l 1hem| rac| e|s thesvmbo| olanlnterruptlonolthe
| aw|n whlchthe|nterventlona|capacltvlsannounced
Pasca| sdoctrlneonthlspolntlsvervcomp| exbecauseltartl cu| ates. on
the basls ol the Chrlst event. both lts chance and lts recurrence 1he
centra| dl a| ectlcls that olprophecv and the mlrac| e
!nsolarast hedeathol Chr| stcanon|vbelnterpretedasthelncarnatlon
ol Cod wlth respect t or|g| na| s| n÷lor whlch l t lorms the re|av and
sub|atlon÷lts meanlng mustbe |eg|tlmated bv exp|orlng the dlagona| ol
hde|| tv whlch unltes the nrst event ( the|a| |. orlgln ol our mlservi to the
second( redempt| on. asacrue|andhum| |latlngremlnderolourgreatness i
1heprophecles. as! sald. organlzethls| l nk Pasca|e| aborates. lnrespectto
them. an ent| re theorv ol lnterpretatlon 1he eventa| betweentwo that
thev deslgnate lsncccssar//y the p|ace ol an amblgultv. what Pasca| terms
the ob|lgat| onolhgures . Onthe one hand. llChrlstls the event that can
on| vbenamedbvanl nt erventl onloundedupona lalthlu| dlscernmentol
the ellects olsln. then that event must have been predlcted. predlctlon
deslgnatlnc here the l uterpretatlve capacltv ltse| |. transmltted down the
centurlesbv the1ewlsh prophets 0nthe other hand. lorChrlst to be an
event. even the ru| e ol |J de| |tv. whlch orgaolzes the lnterventlon gen
eratlve olmeanlng. must besurpr/scdbv theparadoxolthemu| tlp| e 1he
PASCAL
on|v so|utlon ls that the meanl ng ol the prophecv be slmu|taneous|y
obscure l nthe tlme ollts pronunclatlon. and retroactlve|v c|ear oncethe
Chrlst event lnterpreted bv the be|levlng lnterventlon. estab| lshes lts
truth ilde|ltv. whlch prepares lor the loundatlona| lnterventlon ol the
apost|es. ls most|y enlgmatlc. or doub|e. 1he who|e questlon |les ln
knowlngwhetherornotthev 'theprophecles| have two meanlngs 1he
|ltera| orvu|garmeanlng provl des l mmedlate c|a rltv but essentla| obscu
rltv 1he genulne|vprophetlcmeanlng. l | | umlnated bvthe lnterventlona|
|nterptetatlonolChrlstandthe apost|es. provldesanessent| a| c|ar|tvand
anlmmedlate]µurc. Aclpherwltha doub|emeanlng. onec|ear. andonc
|n wh| ch the meanlng ls sald to be hldden Pasca| l nvented readlnglor
svmptoms 1he prophecles ate contlnua||v obscure l n regard to thelr
splrltua| meanlng. whlch l s on|v revea| ed vla Chrlst but unequa| | v so.
certaln passages can on| v be lnterpreted on the bas| s ol the Chrlstlan
hvpotHesls. and wlthout thls Hvpothesls thelr lunctlonlng. at the vu| gar
| eve| olmeanlng. ls lncoherent andb|zarre
!n countless p|aces the ' true. Chrlstl an| sp|rltua| meanlng ls hlddenbv
anothermeanlngandrevea|ed|n avervlewp|acesthoughneverthe|ess
lnsucha wavthatthe passagesl nwhlch l t l shl ddenareequlvoca|and
can be l nterpreted l n both wavs. whereas the passages |n whlch lt ls
revea| ed are unequlvoca| and can on|v be |nterpreted ln a splrltua|
sense
1hus. wlthln the proohetlc textua| weave ol the O|d 1estament the
Chrlst eventdlsengagesrareunequlvoca|svmptoms. onthebaslsolwhlch.
bv successlve assoclatlons. the genera| coherence ol one ol the two
mean|ngsolprophetlcobscurltvlsl||umlnated÷to the detrlmentolwhat
appearstobeconvevedbvthe hguratlvelnthelormolvu|garevldence
1hls coherence. whlch lounds. lntheluture anterlor. !ewlsh hde|ltvln
t hebetween twoolor|g. na| slnandredemptlon. doesnot. however. a| | ow
the recognltlon o| that whlch. bevondlts truth lunct|on. constl tutes the
vervbel ngolthe Chr| st event. whl ch| sto savthecvcn/ncssolthe event.
themu|tlp|ewhl ch. | nt heslteol| l leanddeath. be| ongstoltsel l Certal n|y.
Chrlst lspredl cted. but the ue-hasbeenpredl cted lson| vdemonstrated
on the basls ol the lnterventlon whlch decldes that thls tortured man.
1esus. lslndeedtheMesslah Cod As soonasthlslnterventlona|declslon|s
taken. everythlngl sc|ear. andthetruthclrcu|atesthroughouttheentlretv
olthesltuatlon. undertheemb|emwhlchnameslt. theCross. uoweverto
take thls declslon. the doub|emean|ngolthe propheclesl snotsulhclent
217
218
BEI NG AND EVENT
Onemust trust onese|l to t He event lrom wh| ch there | s drawn. | n t he
heart ol | ts vo| d÷the scanda|ous death ol Cod wh| ch contradlcts everv
hgure olthe Mess| ah's g|orv÷theprovocat| vename Andwhat supports
thls conhdence cannot bethe c|arltv dlspensed to the doub| e meanl ngol
the1ewlshtext. on thecontrarv. tHe|atterdependsuponthelormer. ! t l s
thusthem|rac|ea| onewhl chattests. throughthebe| l eloneaccords to| t.
thatonesubml tsonese| ltotherea||zedchanceoltheevent. andnottothe
necessltvolpred| ct| on St| | | morels requ| red the m| rac| e| tse| lcannotbe
so strlklng and so ev| dent|v addressed to evervone that subm| sslon to l t
becomes mere|v a necessarv evldence. Pasca| | s concerned to save the
vu|nerabl||tv olthe event. | ts quasl obscur|tv. slnce | tl sprec| se|v on thls
baslsthattheChr| stlansub] ectlstheonewhodec| deslromthestandpolnt
ol undecldabl||tv ( !ncomprehens| b|e that Cod be. lncomprehenslb|e that
henotbe ì . ratherthan the onewho| s crushedbvthepowerole|thera
demonstratlon ( 1he Cod ol theChrlstlansls not a Cod whols mere|vthe
author ol geometrlca| truths' i or some prodlglous occurrence. tHe |atter
belng reserved lor the th| rd event the Last 1udgement. when Cod wl||
appear wlth sucha b|aze 01 |lghtn| ng. andsuch an overthrow o|nature.
thatthedeadw| ||r| seandtheb|| ndestw| ||seeH| mlorthemse|ves !nthe
mlrac|estherelsanlnd| catlonthattheChrlsteventhastakenp|ace. these
mlrac|esare dest|ned. bvthelrmoderatlon. totHosewhose1ew| shhde||tv
|sexertedbevond ltse||. lorCod. w|sh| ngtoappearopen| vto thosewho
seekhlmwltha| | the| rheartandhlddentot hosewholI eelromhl mw|th
a||thelrheart . . tempers theknow|edge olh| mse| l'
!ntervent| on ls therelore a preclse|v ca|lbrat edsub] ect| veoperat| on.
l . Wl th respect to l ts poss/////n. | t depends upon eventa| recurrence.
upon the dlagona| ol hde||tv organ| sedbv the 1ew|sh prophets tHe
slte o| Chrlst ls necessarl|v Pa|estlne. there a|one can the w| tnesses.
the | nvestlgators. and the lntervenors be lound upon whom lt
depends that the paradox| ca| mu|t| p|e be named l ncarnatlon and
deatholCod' .
2 !nterventlon. however. | sneverncccssary. !ort heevent| snot lnthe
sltuat| on t o ver| lv the prophecv. | t | s dlscontl nuous w| th the verv
dlagona| olhde|ltv whlch rel|ectsltsrecurrence !ndeed. thls rel|ec
t| on on| v occurs wlthln a nguratlve amblgultv. | n wh|ch the svmp
tomsthemse|vescanon|vbelso|atedretroact| ve|v. conscaucn//y ///so]
/hccsscncco]/hc]a//h]u//o d/v/dc/hcmsc/vcs AtthetlmeoltheMess|ah.
the peop|e were dlvlded. . . 1he 1ews relused h| m. but not a| | ol
PASCAL
them As a resu|t. thelnterventlonls a|wavstheallalrolanavant
garde 1he splrl tua| embracedthe Messlah. the vu|gar remalnedto
bearw| tnessto hlm
? 1hebe| | elol t helnterven| ng avantgarde bears ontheeventness ol
the event. and lt dcc/dcs the events be|onglng to the sltuatlon.
Mlrac|e namesth| sbe|lel. andso thlsdeclsl on !n part|cu| ar. the|lle
and death ol chr| st÷the event str|ct|v speakl ng÷cannot be |eglt|
mated bv the accomp| | sHment ol propHecles. otherw| se the event
wou|d not lnterrupt the | aw. 1esus chr| st provedthat he was the
MesslaH not bv verllv|ng hl s teacH| ng agalnst Scrlpture and the
prophecles. but a|wavs bv hls mlrac| es uesplte bel ng ratlona| l na
retroactlve sense. the lnterventlona|decls|on ol the apostl es avant
cardewas neverdeduc|b| e
4. uowever. w| thln | he a]/cr· c]]c./ ol the | nterventlon. t he hguratlve
|orm ol tHe prevlous hde||tv ls ent| re| v c|arl hed. startlng lrom the
kevpolntsor svmptoms. or| notherwords. the mosterratlcpartsol
the1ewlsHtext 1He prophecleswere equ|voca| thev are no |onger
so 1He| nterventlonwagersupona dlscont| nultvwlththeprevlous
ll de| | tv so| e| y ln order t o . nsta| | an unequ| voca| cont| nu|tv. | n th|s
sense. | t | stheml norltvs rlskollntetventlonat the slteoltheevent
that. |n the| astresort. prov|desa passage |or]dc//n /o /hc]dc//n.
Pasca| s entlre ob] ectlve ls cul te s| mp|v that the |lbertlne re | ntervene.
and w| th| n the e|lects o| sucH a wager. accede to the coherencv whlch
loundsHlm. Whattheapost|esdl dagalnstthe | aw. | heathelstn| hl | | st( who
possesses the advantage ol not bel ng engaged | n anv conservatlve pact
wlth the wor| di can redo 8v wav ol consequence. the three grand
dlvlslons olthe |cnsícs mavbe c| ear| vdlstlngul sHed
a. A grand ana/y//c ol the modern wor|d. the best known and most
comp|et edi vi si on, buta|sot Hat most liable toca usethecon|us| ono|lasca|
wlth one ol those sourand pess. mlstlc lrencH mora| lsts who lorm the
dal|vbread olh|gh schoo| pH| |osophv 1he reasoo belngthatthetasklsto
getasc|oseasposslb| eto theu| H| | lstsub] ect and tosharew|tH h|m a dark
and d|v| ded vls| on ol exper| ence We have Pasca| s mass | | ne | n these
texts. tHat tHroughwhlcH he co be|ongs to the v| s| onolthewor|dolthe
desperate audtothelrmockerv olthe meagre chronlc|es oltHe evervdav
| magl narv1Hemostnovel resource |orthese maxi ms recltcdovevervbodv
l sthat ol | nvoklng the great modernonto| og| ca| declslon concernlng the
219
220
BEI NG AND EVENT
|nhn|tv ol nature ( cf Med|tat|on l ? i Nobodv | smorepossessed bv the
conv|ct|on that everv s|tuat|on |s |nhn|te than Pasca|. !n a spectacu|ar
overturn|ngolthe or|entat|on olant|qu|tv. hec|ear|v states that|t | sthe
hn|tewh|chrcsu//s~an|mag|narv cutout|nwh|chmanreassuresh|mse|l
÷andthat|t|sthe |nhn|tewh|chstructurespresentat| on. noth|ngcanhx
thehn|tebetweenthetwo|nnn|t|eswh| chbothg|ve|tlormandescape| t '
1h| sconvocat|on olt he|nhn|tv olbe|ng] ust|hes t hehum|||at|on ol the
na/ura/be|ngolman. becauseh|sex|stent|a|hn|tudeon|veverde||vers. |n
regardtothe mu|t|p|es|n wh|chbe|ngpresents|tse|l. the eterna| despa|r
oleverknow|ngthe|rpr|nc|p|eorthe|rend' !tpreparesthewav÷v|athe
med|at|onoltheChr|st event÷lorreasontobeg|venlorth|shum|||atlon
v|a the sa|vat|on olsp|r//ua/be|ng 8ut th|s sp|r|tua|be|ng| s no|ongera
corre|ateolthe |nhn|tes|tuat|onolnature.|t|sa sub] ectthatchar|tv||nks
|nterna||v to d|v|ne |nhn|tv. wh|ch | s ol another order Pasca| thus
s|mu|taneous|v th|nks natura| |nhn|tv. the ' unnxab| e' re|at|v|tv ol the
hn|te. andthe mu|t|p|eh| erarchvolordersol|nhn|tv
/. 1he second d|vls|on | s devoted to an cxcµcs/s ol the Chr|st event.
grasped |n the lour d|mens|ons ol |ntervent|ona| capac|tv. the eventa|
recurrence. wh|ch | s to sav the exam|nat|on ol the O| d 1estament
prophec|es and the doctr|ne ol the|r doub|e meanlng. the Chr|st-event.
w|thwh|ch Pasca|. |n thelamousmvsterv ol1esus' . succeeds|n|dent|lv
|ng.thedoctr|neolm|rac|es.and. theretroact|onwh|chbestowsunequ|v
oca|mean|ng
1h|sexeges|s|s thecentra|po|ntolthe organ|zat|on ol |cnsécs. because
|ta|oneloundsthe trutholChr|st|an|tv.andbecausePasca|'sstrategv|snot
that ol 'prov|ng Cod' . h|s |nterest ||es rather | n un|lv|ng. bv a re
|ntervent|on. the |Ibert|ne w|th the sub] ect|ve hgure ol the Chr|st|an
Moreover. |nh|seves. th|sprocedurea|one|scompatib|ew|ththemodern
s|tuat|on. andespec|a||vw|ththe el!ectsolthe h|stor|ca|dec|s|onconcern
lngthe|nhn|tvolnature
c. 1he th|rd d|vls|on |s an ax/o/cµy. a lorma| doctr|ne ol |nterventlon
Oncetheex|stent|a|m|servolhuman|tvw|th|nthe|nhn|tvols|tuat|ons| s
descr|bed. andonce. lrom the standpo|nt ol the Chr| st event. a coherent
lnterpretat|on | sg|ven |n wh|ch the Chr|st|an sub] ect | s t|ed to the o/hcr
|nhn|tv. that ol the ||v|ng Cod. what rema|ns to be done | s to d|rect|v
addressthe modern ||bert|ne and urge h|m tore|ntervene. lol|ow|ng the
patholChr|standtheapost|es Noth|ng|nlact.noteventhe|nterpretat|ve
|||um|nat|on o! the svmptoms. can render th|s re|ntervent|on necessarv
1he lamous text on the wager÷whose rea| t|t|e | s inhn|te-noth|ng ÷
PASCAL
lndlcatesso|e|vthat. slnce theheartolthetruth| sthattheeventl nwhlch
ltorlgl natesl s undecldab|e. cholce. | nregard tothls event. ls l ne| uctab|e.
Onceanavant gardeollntervenors÷thetrueChrlstlans÷hasdecl dedthat
Chrlstwasthe reasonolthewor|d. voucannotcontl nueasthoughthere
werenocholcetobe made. 1he verltab|eessence ol the wagerls thatone
mustwager. ltl snotthatonceconvlncedolthenecessltvoldolngso. one
chooses lnnoltvovernothlng. that much .s evl dent .
!n ordert opreparet heground Pasca| relers dlrect|v tot heabsence ol
prool and translorms lt. bv a stroke olgenlus. lnto a strengthconcernlng
thecrucla|polnt . onemustchoose. l tl sthrough thelr|ackolproolsthat
thev 'the Chrlstlans} showthat thevare not |acklngln sense´ iorsense.
attrlbuted to the lnterventlon. ls actua||v subtracted lrom the |aw ol
natura| |lghts' . 8etween God and us there ls an lnnnlte chaos whlch
dlvldes us' . Andbecause sense ls so|e|v |eglb|e ln the absence olthe ru|e.
chooslng. accordlngtohlm. lsnotvo|untarv' . thewagerhasa/ways /akcn
p/acc.astrueChrlstlansattest. 1he|lbertlnethushasnogrounds. accordlng
tohlsownpr|nclp|es. lorsavlng. . . . !donotb|amethemlorthelrcholce.
butlormak|nga cholceata|| . . . therlghtthlngtodolsnottowager. ' Be
wou|d have grounds lor savlng such l l there were some examlnab|e
prools÷alwavssuspect÷andllonehadtowageronthelrpertlnence. 8ut
therearenoproolsas|ongas thedec|slonontheChrlst eventhasnotbeen
taken 1he|lbertlnel sat|eastconstralnedtorecognlzethathel srequlred
todecldeon thlspolnt.
Bowever. theweaknessolthe lnterventl ona|| oglc|les l nlts nndlnglts
u|tlmate |lmlt here. l lcholce |s necessarv. lt must be admltted that ! can
dec|are theevent| tse|lnu||andoptlorltsnonbe| onglngtothesltuatlon.
1he|lbertl necana|wavssav !am|orcedtowager. . and! ammadel n
such a wavthat! cannotbe|l eve´ 1helnterventlona|conceptlon oltruth
permltsthe comp|eterelusa|ollts el|ects. 1heavant garde. bvltsexl stence
a|one. lmposes cholce. but not//s cholce
!t ls thus necessarv to return to the consequences. iaced wlth the
|lbertlne. who despalrs ln belng made such that he cannot be| l eve. and
who. bevond the |oglc ol the wager÷the verv |oglc wh|ch ! termed
conndencel nconndence' l n !héor/cdusujc/¯asks Chrlsttoglvehl mstll|
more slgnsolhl swlshes' . there l sno|ongeranvotherresponsethan. so
he has. but vou neg|ect them' . Lvervthlng can lounder on the rock ol
nlhl|lsm thebestonecanhopelorlsthlslugltlvebetween twowhlch|les
between the convlctlon that one mustchoose. and the coherence olthe
unlverseolslgns.theunlversewhlchweceasetoneg|ect÷oncethecholce
221
222
BEI NG AND EVENT
l smade÷andwh| ch we dlscovertobesulhclentlorestab|lshlngthatth|s
cholce wasdehn| te| vthat oltruth.
1here ls a secu| ar irench tradlt|on. runnlng lrom Vo|talre to Va|crv.
whlchregretsthatstichagenlti sas Pasca|. ln the end. wastedhlstlmeand
strengthlnwlshlngtosa|vagetheChrlstlanmumbo] umbo !lon| vhehad
so| e| vdevoted h| mse| lto mathematlcs and t oh| sbr|| | | ant conslderatlons
concern| ncthem. ser| esolthelmaclnatlon÷he exce||ed at such' 1hough
! amrare|v suspected ol harbourlng Chrlstl an zea|. I have never appre
clate1thlsmotlvatednosta|gla lor lasca|thescho| araodmora| l st. !t ls too
c|eartome that. bevondChr|stlanltv. whatlsa| stake herelstheml|ltant
apparatus ol tru| h. the assurance that lt l s l n the | nterpretatlve lnter
vent| onthatltnnds|tssupport. thatltsorlglnls|ound. ntheevent. andthe
wl||todrawou/ltsdla| ect|candtoproposetohumansthatthevconsecrate
thebestolthemse| vestotheessent| a| What!a1ml re morethananvth|ng
| nPasca|l stheellort. am|dstdllhcu|tclrcumstaoces. togoaµa/ns//hc)ow.
not |n the react|ve sense ol the term. but ln ordert | ovent themodern
lorms olan anc|ent convlctlon. rather than lo||ow the wav olthe wor|d.
andadoptthepo.tab| esceptlclsmthatevervtrans| tlona| epochresuscltates
lortheusageolthosesou| stooweaktoho|dtha|there| snoh| storlca|spccd
whlch ls lncompa| . b| ewlth theca|mwl | | | ngoesstochaogethewor|dand
to unlversa| lze | ts lo(m
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-TWO
The For m- mu l ti pl e of Interventi on :
i s t here a bei n g of choi ce?
1herej ect| oubvset theorvo|anvbe|ngolt heeventl s concentrated| nthe
axlom ol loundatlon. 1he | mmedlate lmp|| cat| on appears to be that
|ntervent| oncannotbeoneol settheorvsconceptselther. Bowever. there
| s a mathemat| ca| !dea | n wH|cH one can recogo| ze. wlthout too much
dllncu| tv. tHe| ntervent| ona| ]o·m÷lts current oame. qu| tes|gn| ncant|v. | s
t heaxlomol cho|ce . Moreover. . t was around th| s! deathatoneol the
most severe batt| es ever seeo between matHemat| c| ans was un|eashed.
reachlng| ts lu| | lurv between l 90¯ and l 908 S| nce the con|| | ct bore on
the verv essence ol mathemat| ca| thought. on what can be | eg| tlmate|y
to|erated| nmathemat| cs asa coost| t uentoperat| on. l tseemed toa||owno
other so| ut | on but a sp|lt. I n a certaln sense. th| s | s what Happeoed.
a|though tHe sma| | mlnor| tv termed lntu| tlon| st determlned tHe|r own
d|rectlonaccord|ngtolarvastercons| derat| ons than those| mmedlate|vat
stake| ntheaxl omolcholce. 8ut| sn t thlsa|wavsthecasewlththosesp|lts
wH| ch have a rea| hlstor|ca| |mpact¯ As lor the overwhe| m| ng ma] or|ty
whoeventua| | vcametoadm. t tHe| ncr|m|nat edax| om. thevon| vdid so, ln
thenna|ana|vs| s. lorpragmat| creasons. Overtlme| t becamec|earthatthe
sald axlom. whl|st | mp|v| og statements qu| t e repugnant to | ntu| tl on
÷such as rea| numbers be| ng we|| ordered÷was | ndlspensab| e to the
estab| | shmentolotherstatementswhosed| sappearance wou|dHavebeen
to|erated bvvervlew matHematlc| ans. statemeots both a|gebra| c ( everv
vector|a| space hasa base i and topo|og|ca| ( t Heproduct olanv lam||v ol
compact spaces ls a compact space i . 1hls matter was never comp|ete|v
cleared up. some refned the|r criti que at the prlce o| a sectar| an and
restrlctedvls|onolmathemat|cs. andotherscametoanagreement | norder
223
224
BEI NG AND EVENT
tosavetheessentla|sandcontlnueundertheru| eol prool' bvbenehcla|
consequences
What l satstakel nthe axlom olcholce'!n lts hna|lorm l t poslts that
glven a mu|tlp|e ol mu|tlp|es. there cx/s/s a mu|tlp|e composed ol a
representatlve' ol each nonvold mu| tlp|e whosepresentatlon ls assured
bv the hrst mu|tlp| e ln otherwords. one can choose' an e|ement lrom
each ol the mu|tlp|eswhlch make up a mu|tlp|e. and one can gather
together' thesechosene|ements themu|tlp|eobtalnedl nsuch a manner
l sconslstent. whlchl stosavltexlsts
I lact. the exlstence alhrmed here .s that ol a ]unc//en. one wh|ch
matches up each ola set' s mu|tlples wlth oneoll tse|ements 0nce one
supposestheexlstenceolthlslunctl on. themu|tlp|ewhlch| sl tsresu|ta|so
exlsts here lt l s sulhc| ent to lnvoke the axlom ol rep|acement. !t ls thls
lunctlonwhlchlsca||edthe lunctlonolcholce' 1heaxl omposltsthatlor
everv exlstentmu|tlp|e a. therecorrespondsanexlstentlunctlon] wh|ch
chooses' a representat|vel neacholthemu|tlp|eswh|chmake up a
(Vai( +]| L E a) �]5i E ß¡
Py the axlom ol rep|acement. the lunctlon ol cholce guarantees the
exlstenceolasetycomposedolarepresentatlveoleachnonvol de|ement
ol a (I the vold l t l sobvlous that]cannot choose' anvthl ng lt wou|d
produce the vold agaln. ]( Ø) * Ø. i 1obe|ong to y÷whlch I wl|| term a
dc/cµa//on ola÷means tobe an e|ementol an e|ement ol a thathasbeen
se|ectedbv]
o E Y � ( +ßi |3 E a) 8]Li = 0]
A de|egatlonolamakesaone-mu|tlp|eouto|theone representatlvesol
each olmu|tlp|es outolwhlch a makesa one 1he lunct| onolcho| ce' ]
se|ects a de|egate lrom each mu|tlp|e be|onglng to a. and a|| ol these
de|egates constltute anexlstentde|egatlon÷] ust as everv constltuencvln
ane| ectlonbvma] orltv sendsa deputvto the house olrepresentatlves
Wherel s t heprob|em'
!lthe seta ls]n//c. therelsnoprob|em besldes. thlsl swhv therel sno
prob|emwlthe|ectlonsl nwhlchthenumberolconstltuenc| esl sassured|v
hnlte uowever.ltl sloreseeab|ethatl lthlssetwerelnhnltetherewou|dbe
prob|ems. especla||vconcern|ngwhata ma] or| tvm| ghtbe
1hattherelsnoprob|emlnthe case ola belnghn|te can beshownbv
recurrence one estab|. shes that the lunctlon ol cho| ce cx/s/s w| thl n the
lrameworkolthe!deasolthemu|tlp|ethathavea|readvbeenpresented
THE FORM- MULTI PLE OF INTERVENTI ON
1herelsthusnoneedola supp|ementarv! dea( olanax| omi toguarantee
|ts be|ng.
!l! nowcons|deran|nhn|teset. the!deasolthemu|t|p|edonota||ow
me to estab||sh the genera| ex|stence ol a lunct|on ol cho|ce. and thus
guarantee the belng ol a delegat|on. !ntu|t|ve|v. there |s someth|ng
×n· dc/cµa/a//e|n|nnn|temu|t|p||c|tv.1hereason|sthatalunct|onolcho|ce
operatlnguponan|nhn|tesetmusts|mu|taneous|v choose a representa
t|veloran|nhn|tv ol therepresenteJ . 8utweknowthattheconceptua|
masterv ol | nhn|tv supposes a ru|e oI passage ( Med|tat|on l ? i . !lsuch a
ru|ea||owedthe cens/ruc//on olthelunct|on. we wou|deventua||vbeab|e
toguarantee. | lneedbe. | tsex|stence. lorexample. asthe||m|tola ser|es
olpart|a|lunct|ons. Atagenera||eve|.noth|ngolthesort| sava||ab| e. !t| s
notatal |c|earhowtoproceed| nordertoexp||c|t|vdehnealunct| onwh|ch
se|ects onc representat|ve lrom cach mu|t|p|e olan |nhn|te mu|t|p||c|tv ol
nonvo|dmu|t|p|es. 1he excessolthe | nhn| teoverthenn|te|s man|lested
atapo|ntat wh|chtherepresentat|onolthehrst÷|tsde|egat|on÷appears
tobelmpract|cab|elngenera|. wh||stthatolthesecond. aswehave seen.
|s deduc|b| e. iromthe vears l 890-l 892 onwards. whenpeop|e began to
not|cethat usage hada/rcadybeenmade÷w|thout|tbe| ngexp||c|t÷olthe
ldea of the ex|stence of a lunctlon of cho|ce for |nhn|te mult|ples.
mathemat|c|ans suchasPeanoor8e¡tazz|ob] ectedthatthere wassome
th|ngarb|trarvorunrepresentab|e aboutsuch usage. 8etazz|hada|readv
wr|tten one mustchoose an ob] ectarb|trar||v |n eachol the /n]n//c sets.
wh|chdoesnotseemr|gorous. un|essonew|shestoacceptasa postu|ate
thatsuch a cho|cecanbecarr|edout÷someth|ng. however. wh|chseems
||| - adv| sedtous . A||thetermswh|chweretoorgan|zethecontllcta ||tt|e
|ateron arepresent| nth|sremark. sincethe cho|ce | s arb|trarv' . that ls.
unexp|a|nab|e ln the lorm ol a dehned ru|e ol passage. |t requ|res an
ax|om. wh|ch. not hav|ng anv |ntu|tive va|ue. |s |tse|l arbltrarv. S|xteen
vears |ater. the great irench mathemat|c|an 8ore| wrote that adm|tt|ng
the leg|t|macv ol a non denumerable |nnn|tv ol cho|ce ( success|ve or
s|mu|taneous i appearedtoh|mtobe acomp|ete|vmean|ng|essnot| on
1heobstac|ewas | nlactthelo|l owing. ont heonehand. adm|tt|ng the
cx/s/cn.colalunct|onolcho|ceon|nnn|tesets| snecessarvlora numberol
uselu|i notlundamenta|theorems|na|gebraandana|vs|s. tosavnoth|ng
olsettheorv|tse|l. |nrespectolwh|ch. aswesha||see( Med|tat|on26i . the
ax|om ol cho|ce c|ar|hes both the questlon ol the h| erarchv ol pure
mu|t|p|es. and the quest|on o! the connect|on between be| ng- qua -be|ng
and the natura| lorm ol | ts presentat|on. On the other hand. | t | s
225
226
BEI NG AND EVENT
comp|ete|ylmposslb|e. at the genera||eve| . todc]ncsucha lunctlonorto
l nd|cateltsrea|ltatlon÷evenwhenassumlngtHatoneex| sts. uerewehnd
ourse|vesl nthed| lncu|tposltlonolhav| ngtopostu|atetheexlstence ola
partlcu|artvpe olmu|tlp|e (a lunctloni wlthout thlspostu| atlona||ow| ng
usto exh|blt a slng| ecaseorconstruct a slng|eexamp|e. !nthelrbookon
t he loundatlons olset theorv. iraenke|. 8ar El | | e| and A. Levv| nd| cate
qulte c| ear| y that the axlom ol cho| cethe !dea wh| ch postu|ates the
ex| stence. lorevervmJ|tlp|e.olalunctl onolcholce÷hastodoso| e| vw| th
ex| stence l n genera|. and does not promlse anv lndlv| dua| rea| | zat| on ol
such anassertlon olexlstence.
!nlact. theax| omdoesnotasserttheposs| b| | |ty( wlthsclentlhcresources
aval|ab|eatpresentor| nanvluturei ol:ens/·u://nµa se| ect| on-set 'what
! terma de|egatlon| . thatlstosav. olprov| d|nga ru|ebvwh| chl neach
memberf ola acertalnmemberolf canbenamed . . 1he ' ax| oml ]ust
mal nta| nsthecx/s/cn:cola se|ect|on set.
1he authors term th| s partlcu|arltv ol the axl om lts pure|v exlstent|a|
character
uowever. iraenkel 8ar u| | | e| and Levy are m| staken | n ho| d| ng that
oncethe oure|vex| stentla|character oltheaxlomolcholce |srecogn| zed.
theattackswhosetarcetltlormedwl | | ceasetobeconvl nc| ng. 1hevla| |to
appreclatethatexlstencelsa crucla|questlonloronto|ogv l nthlsrespect.
theaxlomolcho|cerema| nsan!deawh|ch | slundamenta| | yd/ffcrcn/lrom
a||those |o whlch wehaverecogn| zedthe|aws olthepresentatlonolthe
mu|tlp|e qua pure mu| t|p| e.
! sald tHat the axlom ol cholce cou|d be lorma| | zed |n the lo||ow|ng
manner
( Va) ( 3j [ ( Vf) [ I E a & f c 0) �fI) E f) 1
1hewr| t| ngset out|n th| slormu|awoul donl vrequ| re |n add. t. oothatone
st|pu|ate thatf . s thc part. cu| artvpe ol mu| t|p|e termed a |onct|on. th| s
doesnotpose anvprob| em.
1o a| | appearanceswe recogn| ze there| n the | ega| lorm ol the ax| oms
stud|ed | n Med| tat| on ° lo| | ow| ng the suppos| t| on ol the a| readv g| ven
ex|stence ol a mu| tlp|e a, tHe ex|stence ol another mu| t| p| e | s alhrmed
here. the lunctlon ol cholce.] 8ut the slm. |arltv stops there !or l n the
otherax. oms. the tpe of connection between the frst multiple c· idthe second is
cxp/|://. !orexamp| e. tHeax| omol thepowersettel | susthateverve|ement
olp(a) | sa part ola. 1heresu|t. moreover. | sthat the set thusobta| ned|s
un/auc. !or a glven a, p(a) | s a set. ! n a s| m| |ar manner. g| ven a denned
THE FORM- MULTI PLE OF I NTERVENTI ON
propertv T(8i . t hesetole| ementsola wh|chpossesst h| spropertv÷whose
ex|stencel s cuaranteedbvtheaxlomolseparatlon÷|sanxedpartola. !n
the case ol the axlomolcho| ce. theassert|on olexlstence l s much more
evaslve the lunctlon whose ex| stencelsalnrmedl ssubmlttedso| e| vtoan
lntrlns| c condltlon (]Li E o). which does not a||ow us to thlnk that |ts
connect|on to the l nterna| structure ol the mu| tlp|e a cou|d be made
exp|lclt. nor that the lunct| on l s unl que. 1he mu| tlp|e ] l s thus on|v
attachedtotheslncu|ar|tvola bvverv|oosetles. andl tl squltenorma|that
glven the ex| stence ola part|cu| ara, one cannot l n genera|. derlve the
construct|onoladeterm|nedlunctlon { 1heax|omolcho|ce] uxtaposesto
the ex|stence ol a mu|tlp|e the poss|bl||tv ol l ts de|egatlon. wlthout
|nscrlb| nga ru|elorthl sposslb| |ltvthatcou|dbeapp||edtothepart|cu|ar
lormolthelnlt|a|mu|tlp|e1heexlstencewhoseunlversa|ltvl salnrmedbv
thls axlom |s /nd/s//nµu/sha//c | nsolar as the condltlon |t obevs ( chooslnc
representatlves i savs nothlnc to us about the how ol | ts rea| lzatlon As
such. |tl sanexlstencew//hou/.nc.becausewlthoutsuch a rea|lzatlon. the
lunct|on ]remal nssuspendedlromanexl stencethatwedonotknowhow
to present
1helunctlon olcholce | ssubtractedlrom the count. anda| thoughl t| s
dec|ared presentab|e ( s|nce l t ex|st s i . there l s no genera| openlnglorl ts
presentatlon. What l s at stake here | s a presentab| || tv wlthout
presentat|on.
1here|s thusc|ear|va conceptua| enlgmalntheaxl omolcho|ce. thatol
l ts d|llerence lrom the other !deas ol the mu|t|p|e. whlch resl des |n the
verv p|ace |n wh| ch iraenke| 8arBl||e| and Levv saw lnnocence. l ts
pure| vexlstent|a| character lorth|s ' purl tv l s .atherthe|mpur|tv ola
m|x betweentheassert|on ol thepresentab|e ( ex| stencei andthe|nellec-
tua| character ol the presentatlon. the subtractlon lrom the count-
as one
1he hvpothesls ! advance ls the lo| | owlng. w//h/n on/o/oµ+. /hc ax/om o]
cho/cc ]orma//zcs /hc prcd/.a/cs o! /n/crvcn//on. !t | s a questl on ol th| nkl ng
lnterventlon/n//s/c/nµ.thatl s. wlthouttheevent÷weknowonto| ocvhas
nothlnctodowlththe| atter. 1he undecldabl|ltvoltheevent' sbe| onglng
lsa van|shlngpo|ntthat|eavesatracel ntheonto| oglca|!deal nwhlchthe
lnterventlonbe| ngl s |nscrlbed a tracewhlchl s preclse|vtheunass|gnab|e
orquasl non-onecharacterolthelunctlonolcholce !notherwords. the
axlom ol cholce thlnks the lorm ol be|ng ol lnterventlon devold ol anv
event. What l t nnds thereln | s marked bv thl s vol d ln the shape ol the
unconstructlbl|ltv olthelunctl on Onto|ogv dec|ares thatlnterventlon/s.
227
228
BEI NG AND EVENT
andnamesth|sbe|ng cho|ce ( andthese|ect|on.whlchlss|gn|ncant. olthe
word cho| ce' wasent|re|vrat|ona| i . Bowever. onto|ogvcanon| vdoth|sat
thepr|ceolendanger|ngtheone. that| s. |nsuspend|ngth| sbe| nglrom| ts
pure genera||tv. therebv nam|ng. by delau|t. the nonone ol the |nter
vent|on
1he ax|om ol cho|ce subsequent|v commands strateg|ca||v |mportant
resu|ts ol onto|ogv. or mathemat|cs such |s the exerc|se ol deductlve
nde||tvtothe|ntervent|ona|lormnxedtothegenera||tvol|tsbe|ng. 1he
acute awareness on the part ol mathemat|c|ans ol the s|ngu|ar|tv ol the
axlom ol cho|ce |s lnd|cated bv the|r pract|ce ol mark|ng the theorems
wh|chdependuponthe|atter. thusd|st|ngu|shlngthemlromthosewhlch
donot 1herecou|dbenobetter|nd|cat|onolthed/sccrnmen/| nwhlcha||
thezea|olnde||tv| srea||zed. aswesha||see thedlscernmentolthec]]cc/s
ol thesupernumerarvmu|t|p|ewhosebe|ong|ngto thes|tuat|onhasbeen
dec|dedbvan|ntervent|on Save that | nthe case ol onto|ogv. what|s at
stake are the ellects ol the be|ong|ng ola supernumerarv ax|om to the
s|tuat|on ol the !deas ol the mu|t|p|e. an axlom wh|ch /s |ntervent|on
| n|ts-be|ng 1heconl|lctbetweenmathemat|clansatthebeg|nn|ngolthe
centurv was cear|v÷.n the w|der sense÷a po|lt|ca| conl||ct. because lts
stakeswerethoseoladmltt|nga be|ngol|ntervent|on.someth|ngthatno
knownprocedure orlntu|t|on] ust|hed. Mathemat|c. ans÷lt was2erme|o
ontheoccas|on÷hadto|ntervenelor|ntervent|ontobeaddedtotheIdeas
olbe|ng And. g|venthat| tlsthe| awol|ntervent|on. thev soonbecame
mv|ded. 1he verv ones who÷|mp||cltlv÷used thls ax|om dc]ac/o ( || ke
8ore|.Lebesguc.etc i had. |nthel reves. noacceptab|ereasontova|ldate| ts
be|ong|ngdc]urc to the s|tuat|on olonto|ogv. !t was ne| therposslb|e lor
them to avo| dthe lnterventlona|wager. nor to subsequent|v support l ts
va||d|tv w|th|n the retroactlve dlsce:nment ol|ts ellects. One whomade
greatusageoltheaxl om. Ste|nltz. hav|ngestab||shed thedependencvon
the ax|om ol the theorem Lverv ne|d a||ows an a|gebra|c c| osure ( a
genu|ne|v dec|slve theoremi . summar|zed t hedoctr|ne olthe la|thlu| l n
l 9 l 0 | nthelo||ow|ngmanner.
Manvmathemat|c|ansarestl||opposedtotheax|omolchol ceW| ththe
grow|ngrecognlt| on thatthere arc mathemat| ca| quest|ons whlch can-
not be dec|ded w|thout th|s ax|om. res|stance to |t shou|d gradua||v
d|sappear Ontheotherhand. |ntbe|nterestolmethodo| og|ca|pur|tv. |t
mav appearuselu|to avo|dtheabovementlonedaxl om as|ongasthe
THE FORM- MULTI PLE OF I NTERVENTI ON
nature o| t he questlon doesnot requlre l t susage ! have reso|ved t o
c|ear|vmarkl t s| l ml ts
Sustalnlngan lnterventlona|wager. organlzlng onese| |so as to dlscern
ltse||ects. notabuslngthepowero|a supenumerarv !dea andwaltlngon
subsequent declslons |or peop| e to ra||v to the lnltla| declslon. such ls a
reasonab|e eth| cs |or part| sans o| the axlom o| cholce. accord|ng to
>telnltz
Bowever. th| s eth| cs cannot dlsslmu|ate the abruptness o| the lnter
ventlonon| ntervent| onthat| s|orma| lzedbvtheex| stenceo| a|unctlonol
cholce
!n the hrstp|ace. g| venthattheassertlono|the exlstenceo|the|unctlon
o|cholce ls not accompanled bv anvprocedure whlch a||ows. ln general
theactua|exh| b|tlono|onesuch|unctlon. whatlsatstakelsa dec|aratlon
o| the exlstence o| representat| ves÷a de|egat| on÷w| thout anv | aw o|
representatlon. !nthl ssense. the|unctlono|cholcelsessentla||vl | | ega| l n
regardtowhatprescr|beswhethera mu|tlp|ecanbedec|aredexl stent ior
ltsexlstence|sa|nrmeddespltethe|actthatnobe| ngcancometomanl|est.
as a belng. the e|lect|ve and slngu| ar character o| what thls |unctlon
subsumes 1he |unct| on o|cholce lspronouncedas a oc/nµ wh| ch l s not
rea||va be| ng. lt | s thus subtracted |rom the le| bnlzlan |egls|atlon o|the
count as one !t ex| stsou/o]/hcs//ua//on
Second. wha/| schosenbva |unctlono|cholceremal nsunnameab| e We
know that |or everv nonvold mu|tlp|e ß presented bv a mu| tlp|e a the
|unctlonse| ects a representat| ve. a mu|tlp|e whlch be|ongs to ß.]Li E ß
But the l ne||ectua| character o| the cholce÷the|act that one cannot l n
genera| const ruct and name the mu| tl p| ewhl ch the |unctlon o| cholce
l s÷prohlbltsthedonat|ono|anvslngu| arltvwhatsoevertotherepresenta
t|ve]æi . Ihcrc /s a representat| ve. but lt ls |mposs| b|e toknowwh| ch one
|tls. tothepo|ntthatth| srepresentatlvehasnoother| dentltvthan thato|
havl ngtorepresentt heuu| tl p| etowhl chltbe| ongs lnso|aras | tlsl | | egal
the |unctlon o| cho. ce | s a| so anonvmous No proper name | so| ates the
representat| vese| ected bvthelunct| on|romamongsttheotherpresented
mu|t| p|es 1he name o|the representatlve | s |n|acta commonname. to
be|ong to the mu| t| p| e ß and to be | ndlscrlm| nate|v se| ected bv ] . 1he
representatlve | scerta| n|vput| ntoclrcu| atlonw| th| nthes| tuatl on. sl nce!
can a|wavssavthata |unct| on]exl stssuchthat. |or anv g| venß. |tse|ects
an]Li wh|ch be| ongst oß |n otuerwords. |oran exlstentmo| t| p| ea, ! can
dec|are the exlstence o| the set o| representatlves o| the mu|t| p| es whlch
229
230
BEI NG AND EVENT
make upa; t hede|egatloool a. ! subsequeot| vreasononthebaslsolthl s
exlstence 8ut ! cannot. l n genera|. dcs/µnc/c a slng|e one ol these
representatlves. theresu| tbel ngthatthede| egatl onltse|llsamu| tlp|ewl th
lnd|stlnctcontours. !npartlcu| ar. determl ol nghowltd/]]crs lromanother
mu| tlp|e ( bv the axl om ol extensiona|ltvi i s essentl a| l v lmpractlcab|e.
because!wou| dhavetolso|ateat| eastonee|ementwhl chdldnotngure
ln the otoer mu| tlp|e and ! have no guarantee ol success l n such an
enterprl se 1hl stv¡e ol ob| . que l n exteoslona|ltv ol the de| egatlon l ndl -
cates theanonvmltvolprlnclp|eolrepresentatlves.
!t happeos that l n these two characterlstlcs÷l||ega|ltv and anonvm
ltv÷we can lmmedlate|vrecognlze theattrlbutesollnterventl on outsl de
the | aw ol the count. lt has to draw theanonvmousname ol the event
lromthevol d !nthe|ast resort. thekevto thespecla|senseoltheaxlom
olcholce÷andthecontroversvltprovo|ed÷| leslnthelo| | owl ng. lt does
no/ guarantee the exlstence ol mu|tlp|es l o the sltuatlon. but ratherthe
exlstenceolthelnterventlon. grasped. however. l nltspurebelng( thetvpe
olmu|tlp| ethatl tlsi wlthnorelerence| oanvevent 1heaxl omolcholce
lstheonto|oglca|statemeot re|atlvetothepartlcu| arlormolpresentatlon
wh|ch l slnterventlona|actlvltv S| nce ltsuppressestheeventa| Hl storlcltv
ol the l nterventlon. lt ls qu|te understandab| e that l t cannot specllv. ln
genera|. the ooe mu|tlp|e tHat lt | s ( wlth respect ola glven sltuatlon. or.
onto|oglca||v. w|threspecttoasupposedexlstentset i A|| thatltcanspecllv
l s a lorm mu|tlp| e. that ol a lunctlon. whose cx/s/cncc desplte belng
proc|al med. ls genera||v oot rea|lzed l oanv cx/s/cn/. 1he axlom olcholce
te||s us there are some lnterveoìlons 1he exlstentla| markl ng÷that
contalnedlnthe thereare' ÷cannotsurpassltse|ltowardsabe| ng.because
anlnterventlon draws lts s. ogu|arltvlrom /hc/excess olone÷the event
÷whosenonbelngl sdec|aredbvonto|ogv
1he consequenceo|thls emptv stv|lzatlono|thebelng ol| nterventlon
ls that. vla an admlrab|e overturnlng whl ch manllests the power ol
onto|ogv. the u|tlmate e|lect ol thl s axlom ln whlch anonvmltv and
l||ega|ltvglverlsetotheappearanceolthegreatestdlsorder÷aslntultedbv
the mathematlclans÷l s /hcvc¬hc/µh/e] ordc· 1here we have a strlklng
onto|oglca| metaphor ol the theme. now bana|. accordlng to whlch
lmmenserevo| utlonarv dlsordersengenderthe mostrlgldstateorder 1he
axlom o| cbolce ls actual |y requ|red to estab| l sh that every multlp|lclty
a||owsltse|ltobewe|| ordered !notherwords. evervmu|tlp|ea|| owsltse|l
tobe enumerated suchthat. at evervstageolthlsenumeratlon. onecan
dlstlngulsh the e|ement wHlch comes alt er slnce the name numbers
THE FORM- MU LTI PLE OF I NTERVENTI ON
which arc natura| multip|cs ( thc ordina| si providc t hc mcasurc ol anv
cnumcration÷olanvwc| | -ordcring÷iti sñnallvonthcbasisolthcaxiom
ol choicc that cvcrv mu|tip|c a| | ows itsc|f to bc thought according to a
denncdconnectionto the ordcrofnaturc.
1hi sconncctiontothcordcrofnaturcwi | | bcdcmonstratcdi nMcdita
tion 2õ. What i s i mportant hcrc is to grasp :hc clfccts. within thc
ontological tcxt. olthc a- histor. ca| charactcrwhich | s g|vcn to thc lorm-
mu|tiple ol thc i ntervcntion. !l thc !dca olintcrvention÷which is to sav
thc intervcntion on thc bcing ol intervcntion÷sti l | rctains somc ol thc
savagcrv ol i | lcga| itv and anonvmitv. and i f thcsc traits wcrc markcd
cnough lor mathcmaticians÷who havc no conccrn for bcing and thc
cvcnt÷tob| i nd| vquarrclovcrthcm. thcordcrolbci ngrcclaimsthemal l
themotccasi | vgiventhatcvcnts. bci ngthcbasisolrca| intcrvcntions. and
undcci dab|c i n thcirbc| onging. remain outsidcthc |i c| dolonto| ogv. and
so thc purc intcrvcntional lorm÷thc lunction ol choi cc÷hnds itsclf
dc|ivcred. i n thc suspcnse olits cxi stencc. to thc ru| c in which the onc
mu| tip|ci spronounccdi nitsbeing. 1hisi swhvthcapparcntintcrrupt|on
ol thc | aw designatcd bv this axiom immcdiatc|v translorms itsc| l. i n its
princ|pa|cqu. valcntsori nitsconscqucnccs. intothc natura| rigiditvolan
ordcr
1hc most profoundlcsson dc| ivcrcdbv thc axiom ofchoicci sthcrclorc
that it is on thc basis ol thc :eup/c ol the undccidab|c cvent and thc
i ntcrvcnti ona| dccision that timc and historica| novc|tv rcsul t Graspcd |n
thc i so| atcd lorm ol |ts purc bcing. intervcnt on. dcspitc thc i|lcgal
appcarancc it assumcs. |n bcing inclfcctive. ul timatclv lunctions | n thc
serv|cc olordcr. andcvcn. aswc sha| | scc. olhi c.archv.
! notherwords. i ntcrvcntion docs not draw thcforccofa disordcr. ora
dcrcgu| ation ol structurc lrom its bei ng. !t draws such lrom its clhcacv.
whichrcquiresrathcrthe initia|dcrcgu|ation. thci ni ti a| dislunctioningol
thc countwhich is thcparadoxica|cvcnta| mu| ti p| c÷in rcspect to which
cvcrvthingthat is pronounccab|c ol bcing excl udesi tsbci ng
231
232
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-THREE
Fi del i ty, Con necti on
! ca||]dc//nt hes et olprocedureswhlch dlscern. wlth|na sltuat|on. those
mu|tlp| eswhoseex|stencedependsuponthe|ntroductlon|ntoclrcu|at|on
( under the supernumerarv name conlerred bv an lntervent|oni ol an
eventa|multlple !n sum. a hde|ltv | sthe apparatuswh|ch separates out.
wlth|nthesetolpresentedmultlp|cs. thosewh|chdependuponanevent
1o be lalthlu||stogathertogetherandd|stlngu|shthebecom|ng| ega|ola
chance
1he word hdelltv' relers dlrectlv to the amorous re|at|onshlp. but !
wou|d rather sav that lt |s the amorous relat|onsh|p whlch relers. at the
mostsens|t|vepo|ntollnd|v|dua|exper|ence. to thedl a|ect|colbelngand
event. the d|a|ectlc whose tempora| ordlnatlon l s proposed bv hde| |tv
!ndeed. | tl sev|dent that |ove÷whatls ca||ed| ove÷lounds |tse||upon an
lnterventlon. and thus on a nom|natlon. neara vold summoned bv an
encounter. Marlvauxs entlretheatre lsconsecratedtothede|lcatequestlon
ol knowlng who |ntervenes. oncc the ev|dent estab||shment÷vla the
chanceoltheencounteralone÷o|theuneaslnessolanexcesslvemu|t|p|e
hasoccurred Amorous hde|ltv lspreclse|vthe measure to betaken. |n a
return tothe sltuatlonwhose emblem. lor a |ong tlme. was marrlage. of
what subs|sts. dav alter dav. ol the connect|on between the regu|ated
mu|t|p|es ol| lleandthe |ntervent|on lnwh|cH the one o| the encounter
was de|lvered uow. lrom the standpo|nt ol the eventlove. can one
separate out. under the law ol tlme. what organlzes÷bevond |ts slmp|e
occurrence÷thewor/dol|ove' Such lstheemp|ovmentolhdelltv. andl t
l sherethatthea| most lmposslbleagreementola mananda womanw|||
FI DELI TY, CONNECTI ON
be necessarv. an agreement on t he cr|ter|a wh|ch d| st|ngu|sh. am|dst
evervth|ngpresented. the ellects ol|ovelromtheord|narv runolalla|rs
Our usage ol thls o|d word thus ]ust|hed. three pre||mlnarv remarks
mustbe made.
i|rst. a hde||tv | sa|wavspart|cu|ar. |nsolar as lt depends on an event
1herelsno genera|la|thlu|d|spos|t|on i|de||tvmustnotbe understood| n
anvwavasacapacltv. a sub] ectlvequa||tv. ora vlrt ue ilde||tv|sa s|tuated
operat|on wh|ch depends on the exam|nat|on ol s|tuat|ons i|de||tv | s a
lunct|ona| re| at|onto the event
Second. a nde||tv |s not a term mu|t|p|e ol the s| tuat|on. but. ||ke the
count as- one. an operatlon. a structure What a||ows us to eva|uate a
nde||tv|s lts resu|t. thecount as- oneol the regu|atedellects olan event
>tr|ct|v speaklng. hde||tv /s ne/. What exlsts are the group|ngs that |t
const|tuteso|onemu|t|p|eswh|charemarkcd. |nonewavoranother. bv
the eventa| happen|ng
1hlrd. s|ncea hde||tvd|scernsandgroupstogetherpresentedmu|t|p|es.
| tcountsthepartsolas|tuat|on 1heresu|tolla|thlu|procedures| s/nc/udcd
|n the s|tuat|on. Consequent|v. hde||tvoperates|n a certaln sense on the
terra|nolthes/a/c olthesltuatlon A hde||tvcanappear. accord|ngtothe
natureol|tsoperat|ons. |lkeacounterstate. orasub state1here| sa|wavs
someth|nglnst|tut|ona||n a hde||tv. |l|nst|tutlonls understoodhere. | na
verv genera| manner. as what |s lound |n the space olrepresentatlon. ol
the state. ol the countolthe count. as what has to do w|th lnc|us|ons
ratherthanbe|ong| ngs
1hese three remarks. however. shou|dbe |mmed|ate| vqua||hed
i|rst. ll |t | st ruet hat everv hde||tv ls part|cu|ar. lt |s st||| necessarv to
ph||osophlca| |vth|nktheun|versa|]ormoltheprocedureswhlchconst|tute
|t Suppose the |ntroduct|on |nto c|rcu|at|on ( alter the |nterpretat|ve
retroact|onolthelntervent|oni olthes|gn|herolanevent. c.. a procedure
olhde|ltvconslstslnemp|ovlnca certa|ncr|ter|onconcernlngtheconnec
tlon or non connectlon ol anv part|cu|ar presented mu|tl pl e to thls
supernumerarve|ementc..1hepart|cu|ar|tvola hde||tv. apartlrombe|nc
ev|dent|vattachedto the u|tra one that| sthe event (wh|ch| s no|onger
anvth|ngmorelor|tthanoneex|st|ngmu|t|p|eamongsttheothers i . a|so
dependsonthecrlter|onolconnect|onreta|ned In thesames| tuat|on. and
lor the same event. d|llerent cr|ter|a can exlst wh|ch denne d||lerent
hde|ltles. lnasmuch as thelr resu|ts÷mu|t| p|es grouped together due to
the|r connectlon wlth the event÷do not necessarl|v make up ldent|cal
parts( |dentlca|' mean|nghere.partshe|dtobe|dentlca|bvthestateolthe
233
234
BEI NG AND EVENT
sltuatloni Attheemplrlca||evel weknowthatthereare manvmanners
ol belng lalthlu| to an event . Sta||nlsts and 1rotskvlsts both proc|a|med
thelrhde|ltvtotheevento|Octoberl 9 | 7. butthevmassacredeachother.
!ntultlon| stsand settheorvaxlomatlclansboth dec|ared themse|ves lalth
lu| totheevent crl slsolthe|oglca|paradoxesdlscoveredatthebeglnnlng
ol the twentleth centurv. but t he mathematlcs thev deve|oped were
comp| ete|vdlllercnt. 1heconsequencesdrawnlromthechromatlclravlng
ol the tona| svstem bv the serla|lsts and then bv the neo c|asslclsts were
dlametrlca||vopposed. andsoltgoes
What must be retalned and conceptua||y hxed ls that a l| de|ltv l s
con] olnt|vdehnedbva s//ua//on÷that ln whlch t helnterventlons ellects
are |lnked together accord| ng to the |aw ol the count÷bv a partlcu| ar
mu|//p/c÷the event as namedandlntroducedl ntoclrcu|atlon÷andbv a
ru/c o]conncc//on whlch a| |ows one to eva|uate the dependencv ol anv
partlcu|arexlstlngmu|tlp|ewlthrespecttotheevent. glventhatthe|atter s
be|onglngtothesltuatlonhasbeen dec| dedbv the | nterventlon.
irom thls polnt onwards. 1 wl|| wrlte D ( to be read. connected lor a
hde|ltv i lor the crlterlon bv whlch a presented mu|tlp|e ls dec|ared to
depend on the cvent. 1he lorma| slgn D, ln a glven sltuatlon and lor a
partlcu| arevent. relerstodlverseprocedures. Ourcoucernhcrelstolso|ate
anatom. ormlnlma|sequence. oltheoperatlonolll de| ltv.1hewrltlnga D
c.deslgnatessuch an atom !t lndlcatesthatthemu|tlp|ea ls connectedto
the eventc.lor a lIde|l tv. 1he wrltlng - (a D c.i ls a negatlve atom. lt
lndlcatesthat.lora hde| ltv. t hemu|tlp| ea lsconslderedasnon- connected
totheevente.thl smeansthata | sl ndl|lerenttoltschanceoccurrence. as
retroactlve|vnxedbvthel nterventlon Ande| |tv. lnltsrea|belng. l tsnon·
exlstentbelng. | sa chalnolposltlveornegatlveatoms. whlchl stosavthe
reports thatsuch andsuch exlstlngmul ti pl es are orare ootconnected to
the event. lor reasons whlch wl|| gradua| | vbecome cvldent. aod whlch
wl|| || nd thelrful l exerclse | n the medltatlon on truth ( Medltat| on ? l i . !
wl|| termcnau/ganv]n//c serles olatoms olcoonectlon lor a |1de|ltv. At
base. an enqulrv i s a glven÷ll nlte÷state of the la| t|lu| procedure.
1hese conveot| ons | ead us lmmedlate|v to thc second pre|lmlnarv
remarkandt hequa|lncatlon| t ca|| slor Olcourse. hde| ltv. asprocedure. ls
not uowever. at everv moment. an eventa| hde|ltv can be grasped ln a
provi sl onal resul t which is composed of effecti ve enqui ri es i n whl ch lt ls
lnscrlbedwhetherornotmu|tlp|esareconnectedtotheevent. !tlsa| wavs
acceptab|e to poslt that the /c/nµ ol a hde| ltv ls constlttrted lrom the
mu|tlp|eolmul t i pl es thatit |asdlscerned. accordlngtoltsownoperatorol
FI DEli TY, CONNECTI ON
connectlon. as bel ng dependent on the event lrom whl ch l t proceeds.
1hesemu|tlp|esa| wavsmakeup. lromthestandpo|ntolthestate. apartol
the s| tuatlon÷a mu|tlp|e whose one l s a one ol lnc| usl on÷the part
connected to the event One cou|d ca|| thls part ol the sltuatlon the
/ns/an/ancous |c/nµ ol a hde|ltv. We sHa|| note. acaln. that thls l s a state
concept.
Bowever. lt l s qul te lmpreclse to conslder thls state pro] ectlon ol the
procedure as an onto|oglca| loundatlon ol the hde|ltv ltse|l. At anv
moment. the enqu|rles ln wh|ch the provlslona| resu|t ol a hde|ltv ls
lnscrlbedlormahnlteset. Yetth|spolntmustenterlntoadl a|ectlcw| ththe
lundamenta| onto|oglca| declslon that we stud|ed l nMedltatlons l > and
l4. thedec| aratlonthat. | nthe| ast resort. evervsltuatlon l slnhnlte. 1he
comp|etlon olthl sdla| ect| cl na| l | ts nnessewou|d requ| re us to estab|lsh
tHe sense l n whlch everv sltuat| on lnvo|ves. wlth regard to lts be. ng. a
connectlonwlthna/ura/mu|tlp|es. 1he reasonls that. strlct|vspeaklng. we
have wageredthe l nhnltvolbe| ngso|e|vl nregardtomu|tlp|lcltl eswhose
onto|oglca|schemal sanordl na| . thusnatura|mu|tlp|lcltl es. Medltatlon 26
wl|| estab|lsh that everv pure mu|tlp|e. thus everv presentatlon. a||ows
ltse|l. l na preclse sense. tobe numbered bv anordlna|. iorthe moment
ltlsenoughlorustoantlclpateoneconsequenceolthlscorre|atlon. whlch
lsthata| mosta|| sltuat| onsare |nhnlte. !tlo||owsthatthestatepro] ectlon
olahde|ltv÷thegrouplngola hnltenumberolmu|tlp|esconnectedtothe
event÷ls lncommensurab|ewlth the sltuat|on. andthuswlththetl de|ltv
ltse|l. 1houghtas a non exlstentprocedure. a hdelltvl swhatopensupto
tHeµcncra/dlstlnctlonolonemu|tlp|espresentedln the sltuatlon. accord-
lng to whether thev are connected to the event or not. A hde| l tv ls
tHerelore ltse|l. asprocedure. commensurate wlththe sltuatlon. andsolt
lslnhn|tellthesltuatlonlssuch. Nopartlcu|armu| tl p| e| lm| ts. l nprlnclp|e.
the exerc|se ol a hde|ltv Pv consequence. the lnstantaneous state pro-
] ect|on÷wh|ch groups together mu|t| p|es c/rcady d| scerned as connected
to theevent| ntoa part olthesltuatlon÷lson|va grossapproxlmatlonol
what tHe hde|ltv l scapab|e ol. | n truth. |t l squlteuse| ess.
OntHeotherhand. onemustrecocnlzethatth|sl nhn| tecapacltvlsnot
ellect|ve. slnceatanvmoment| tsresu|ta||owsltse|ltobepro] ectedbvthe
state as a hnlte part. One must therelore sav thought l n lts belng÷or
accordlngtobe| ng÷a hde|ltvlsa hnlte e|ementol the state. a represent a-
t|on. thought l n lts nonbelng÷as operatlon÷a hde|ltv l s an l nhn| te
procedure ad] acent to presentatl on. A nde|ltv | s thus a|wavs l n non-
exlstent excess over lts belng Peneath ltse|l. l t exl sts. bevond l tse|l. l t
235
236
BEI NG AND EVENT
lnexl sts. ltcana|wavsbesal dthatltl sana|mostnothlngolthestate. or
that| tl sa quas| evervthlngolthesltuatlon. !lonedetermlnesl tsconcept.
the lamous sowe are nothlng. |et s be evervthlng |nous ncsommcsr/cn.
soyens /ou/| touches upon thls polnt . !n the |ast resort l t means. | et' s be
lalthlu|t ot heeventt hat weare.
1o the u|traone ol the event corresponds the 1o ln whlch the
lntervent|onl sreso|ved. 1othesltuatlon. l nwhlchtheconsequencesolthe
event are at stake. corresponds. lor a nde|ltv. both the one nnlte o| an
ellectlve representatlon. andt he| nnnltv ola vlrtua| presentatlon.
uence mv th|rd pre|lmlnarv remark must be restrlcted l n lts he|d ol
app|lcatlon. !l the resu| t ol a nde|ltv l s statlst l n that l t gathers together
mu|tlp|esconnectedtotheevent. nde|ltvsurpasscsa||theresu|tslnwhlch
ltshnltebel nglssetout (asuege| savs. d. Medltatlon l ° i . 1hethoughtol
nde|ltv as counterstate ( orsub statei ls l tse| |entlre|v approxlmatlve Ol
course. nde|ltvtouchest hestate. lnasmuchasl t l sthoughtaccordlngtothe
categorv olresu|t. uowever. grasped atthebare| eve| olpresentatlon. l t
remalns thl s lnexlstent procedure lor whlch a// presented mu| tl p| es are
aval|ab| e. each capab|e ol occupv|ng the p|ace ol the a on the basls ol
wh|chelthera 0 c.or- (a 0 c.i w| | | belnscrlbedlnanellectlveenqul rvol
thelalthlu|procedure÷accordlngtowhetherthe crlterlon D determlnes
thata malntalnsa marked dependenceon the event ornot.
I rea|ltv. there ls a stl|| more prolound reasonbehlndthe subtractlon
lromthestate. orthedelnstltutlona|lzat|on. o|theconceptolnde|l tv. 1he
state ls an operator ol the count whlch relers back to the lundamenta|
onto|oglca| re|atlons. be|onclng and lnc| uslon. !t guarantees the count-
asone ol paris. thus ol mu|t|p| es whlch are composed ol mu|tlp|es
presented ln the sltuatlon. 1hat a mu| tlp|e. a, l s counted bv the state
essentla||v slgnlnes that every mu|tlp|e ß whlch be|ongs to lt. l s. ltse|l.
presentedlnthesltuatlon. andthatassuch a l sa part o|thesltuatlon | t l s
lnc| udedl nthe|atter. Ande|ltv.ontheotherhand. dlscernstheconnectlon
ol presented mu| tlp|es to a partlcu| ar mu|tlp|e. the event. whlch ls
clrcu|ated wlthln the sltuatlon vla lts l | |ega| name. 1he operator ol
connectlon. D, hasnoa pr/er/tletobe|onglngorlnc| uslon. !tl s. ltse|l. su/
µcncr/s. partlcu|ar to the nde|ltv. and bv consequence attached to the
even ta| slngu| arltv. Lvldent|v. the operator olconnectlon. whlch charac-
terltesa s|ngu|arnde|ltv. canenterlntoa greateror|esserproxlmltvtothe
prlnclpa|onto|oglca|connectlonsolbe|onglngandlnc|uslon. A wpo/oµy ol
nde|ltleswou|dbeattachedtoprecl se|vs .rch proxlmltv. !tsru| ewou|dbe
the lo||owlng. the c| oser a nde|ltv comes. vla lts operator D. to the
FI DEL I TY, CONNECTI ON
onto|og|ca|connectlons÷be|onglngandlnc| uslon. presentatlonandrepre
sentatlon. E and c÷the more sta t| st |t l s. !t ls qu| te certaln thatpos| t| ng
thata mu|tlp|e| s on| vcoonecteJt oanevent/]///c/onµs/o//| sthehelght
o|statlst redundancv ior l n a| | strlctness the eveot ls the so| e prcscn/cd
mu|tlp|e whlch be|ongs to the event wlthl u the sl t uatlon c. E c.. !l the
connect| onolhde| ltv. D, | sldentlca|tobe|onglng. E , whatlol|owsl sthat
the unlque rcsu// olthe || de|ltv ls that part ol the sltuatlon whlch | s the
slng|etoo oltheevent. | c.| . ! nMed|tatlon 20, ! showedthat| tls] ust such
a slng|eton whlch lorms t heconstltut|ve e| ementolthe re|at lon wl thout
conceptolthe statetotheevent. | opassl ng. |et snotethatthespon(anc/s/
thesls ( rough|vspeakl ng the on|v ones whocan take part ln an eventare
those who made l t suchi ls ln rea|ltv the s/a//s/ thesls . 1he more the
operatorolhdelltvlsdlstlngulshedlrombe| ongl ngtotheeventa|mu|tlp|e
ltse|l. themore wemoveawav|romtHlsco| ucldencewlththestateolthe
sltuatlon A non l nstltut| ona| hde| l tv l s a hde|ltv whl ch ls capab| e ol
d| scernlng the marks ol t he eveot at the |urthest polnt lrom the event
ltse|l 1H| stlme. the u|tlmateandtrlvla||lmlt l sconstltutedbva unlversa|
connect | on. whlch wou|d pretend t hat cvc¬ presented mu|tlp|e l s ln lact
dependentontheevent .1hl stvpeo|hde|ltv.t helnverslonolspontane| sm.
| sloral | t hatstl|labso| ute| vstat| st |tsresu| t|sthesl tuat|on | o| tsentl retv.
that ls. t he max| mum part numbereJ bv t he stat e Such a connectl on.
whlch separates oothlng. whl chadmlts no negatlve atoms÷no - (a D c.i
whlch wou| d l oscrlbe t he l nJl l|erence ol a mu| t|p|e to t he eveota|
| rrupt| oo÷lounds a doµmc//:hde| | t v !nthemattero|hde| ltvt oanevent.
the unltv ol belng olspoutane| sm ( on| v the eveot | s connected to | t se| li
aud doematlsm ( everv mu|tlp|e depends on the event i res| des ln the
colncldenceolthel rresu| t swl thspecla||unctlonsolt hestat e. A hde|ltvls
dehnltlve| vdlstloctlromt hestate| |. lnsome manner. l t l s uncss/µnab/c to
adehnedlunctl ooolthes|ate.ll. |romthestandpo| nt olthestate. ltsresult
ls a part| cul ar| v oonsens| ca| part In Med| tatlon >l ! wl | | construct t he
ooto|oglca|scbemao|sucha resu| t . and!w. | | showt hatl tl sa quest| oi¡ ol
a µcncr/.lide|ltv.
1he degree towhlch|l de| | tvl sremoved aslaras posslb|elromthestate
. s thus p| aved out. on thc one ha |ì .l. ln the gap bet ween lts operator ol
connectl oo and be|onglnc ( or lnc| uslooi . and. on the other hand. l o lts
genulne| v separat| ona| capacltv A rea| hde| |tv est ab| l shes dependeocles
whlchfo thestat eare wl . houtcoocept. and| t sp| | ts÷vlasuccesslvefnite
states-t he sl tuat . oni n two. because i t al so di scers a mass of mu| t . o| es
whlcharelndlllerenttotheevent
2 37
238
BEI NG AND EVENT
lt ls at thls polnt moreover. that one can agaln thlnk lI de|ltv as a
counter state what lt does ls organlze. w|/h/n the sltuatl on. another
|egltl macvollnc| uslons. !tbul|ds. accordlngtothelnnnltebecomlngo|the
nnl te and provlslona| resu| ts. a klnd ol o/hcr sl tuatl on. obtal nedbv the
dlvlslon| ntwooltheprlmltlvesltuatlon. 1hlsothersltuatlonlsthatolthe
mu|tlp|es marked bv the event. and lt has a| wavs been temptl ng lor a
nde|ltvtocons| derthe set olthesemu| tlp|es. lnlts provlslona||lgure. as lts
ownbodv. astheactlngellectlvenessoltheevent. asthe/rucsl t uatlon. or
||ock ol|he ialthlu| . 1hl secc|eslastlca|verslon olhde|ltv ( theconnected
mu|tlp|esaretheChurcholtheevent i lsanonto|oglzatlonwhoseerrorhas
been po| nted out. !t ls. neverthe| ess. a necessarv tendencv. that ls. l t
presents another lorm ol the tendencv t be satl sned so| e| v wl th the
pro] ect|ooolanon- exlstent÷anerrl ngprocedure~ontothestatlstsurlace
upon whlch lts resu|tsare |eglb|e.
0ne ol the most prolound questlons ol phl|osophv. and l t can be
recognl zed |n verv dlllerent lorms throughout lts hl storv. ls that ol
knowlngl nwhatmeasure the eventa| constltutlon l tse| l÷the1o olthe
anonvmous vold bordered bv the slte and the name c|rcu| ated bv the
lnterventlon¯prcs:r/|cs the tvpe ol connect|on bv wh| ch a nde| ltv l s
regu| ated. Arethere. lor examp|e. events. andthus l nterventlons. whl ch
are such that the hde| l tv blndlng l tse| l together therel n ls nc:csscr//y
spontanelst or dogmatlc or generlc' And llsuch prescrlptlons exlst. what
ro|edoestheeventa| sltep|av'!sltposslb|ethatthevervnatureoltheslte
ln||uences nde|ltv to eveots plnned to lts centra| vol d' 1he nature ol
Chrlstlanltv has been at stake ln lntermlnab| e debates over whether the
Chr|st event determ|ned. and l n what detal|s. the organlzatlon ol the
Church.Moreover. ltl sopenknow|edgetowhatpol nttheentlretvolthese
debates wereallectedbv the questlon olthe!ewlsh s|te olthls event !n
the same manner. both the democratlc and the repub|lcan ngure olthe
state have a|wavs sought to |egltlmate themse|ves on the basls ol the
maxl msdec|aredl ntherevo| utlonol l 789 Lvenl npuremathematlcs÷ln
the onto|oglca| sltuatlon÷a polnt as obscure and dec| slve as that ol
knowlng whlch branches. whlch parts ol the dlsclp|lne are actlve or
lashlonab|e at a partlcu| ar moment ls geoera||v relerred to the conse
quences. whlch have to be lalthlu||v exp| ored. ola theoretlca| mutat|on.
ltse|l concentrated ln an event- theorem or l n the lrruptlon ol a new
conceptua|apparatus. Phl | osophlca||vspeaklng. the topos olthlsquestlon
ls that o| Wlsdom. or Lthlcs. in thelr re|atlon to a centra| l | |umlnatlon
FI DELI TY, CONNECTI ON
obtalned wlthout conceptatthe endol an | nltlatorv groundwork. what
ever the means mav be ( the P|atonlc ascenslon. Carteslan doubt. the
uusser| | an· .� . . i !tlsa|wavs a matterolknowlngwhetherone can
deduce. lromtheeven ta|:onvcrs/on. theru|esolthe lnhnlte hde|ltv
ior my part. ! w||| ca||sub]c:/ the process ltse|l ol | la| son between the
event (thus the lnterventloni and the procedure ol hde| |tv ( thus lts
operator ol connect| oni !n !h.or/c 4u su]c/÷ln whlch the approach l s
|oglca| and hlstorlca| rather than onto|oglca|÷! loreshadowed some ol
thesecurrent deve|opments One can actua||v recognlze. l nwhat! then
termedsub]c:/·v/za//on. thegroupolconceptsattachedtolnterventlon. and.
ln what ! named sub]c://vc p·o:css. the concepts attached to hde| ltv
uowever. theorderolreasons lsthlstlmethatolaloundatlon. thls|swhv
thecategorvolsub]ect. whlchlnmvprevlousbooklmmedlate|vlo||owed
thee|ucldatlonold| a|ectlca||oglc. arr|ves. ln the strlctest sense. /as/.
Much |lghtwou|dbe shed upon thehlstorvolphl|osophvllone tookas
ones gul dlng thread such a conceptlon ol the sub] ect. at the lurthest
removelromanvpsvcho|ogv÷the sub] ectaswhat deslgnatesthe]un://on
ol an lnterventlon and a ru| e ol lalthlu| connectlon 1he hvpothesls !
propose|s thatevenln the absenceol an exp|lcltconcept ol the sub] ect. a
phl|osophlca| svstem ( except perhaps those ol Arlstot|e and uege| i wl||
a|wavspossess. as lts kevstone. a theoretlca| proposltlon concernlng thls
] unctlon !ntruth. thlslstheprob| emwhlchremalnslorphl|osophv. once
the lamous lnterrogatlon ol belng quabelng has been removed ( to be
treatedwl th| nmathematlcs i
iorthe momentltlsnotposs|b|etogoanvlurtherlnthelnvestlgatlon
olthemodelnwhlchaneventprescrlbes÷ornot÷themannersolbelng
lalthlu| to lt !l. however. we suppose that there l s no rc/a//on between
lnterventlon and hde| l tv. we wl|| have to admlt that the operator ol
connect|on lnlactemergesasasc:ondcvcn/. !lthere ls l ndeeda comp|ete
h|atusbetweenc.. c. rcu|ated lnthes|tuat|onby thelnterventlon. andthe
la|thlu|dlscernment.bvmeansolatomsolthetvpe (a 0 c.ior- (a 0 c.) . ol
whatl sconnectedtolt. thenwewl||havetoacknow|edgethat. apartlrom
the event ltse|l. there ls ano/hcrsupp|ementto the sltuatlonwhlchls the
operator ol hde||tv And thls wl|| be a|| the more true the more rea| the
hde|ltvls. thusthe|essc|osel t lstothestate. the|esslnstltutlona| . !ndeed.
the more dlstant the operator ol connect|on 0 l s lrom the grand onto
|oglca||lalsons. themorel tactsasanlnnovat| on. andthe| esstheresources
o!thes|tuatlonandlts state seem capab| eol dlsslpatlng lts sense
239
240
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-FOUR
Deducti on as Operator of Ontol ogi cal Fi del i ty
!n Medltatlon l 8. ! showed how onto|ogv. the doctrlne ol the pure
mu|tlp|e. prohlbltsthebe|onglngola mu| tlp| etoltse|l. and consequent|v
posltsthattheeventlsnot 1hlsl sthelunctlonoltheaxlomolloundatl on
Assuch. therecannotbeanvlntra onto|oglca|÷lntra mathematlca|÷pro
b| emolhde|l tv. slncethetvpeol paradoxlca|' mu|tlp|ewhlchschematlzes
the event l slorec|osedlromanvclrcu|atlon wlthlntheonto|oglca|sltua
tlon. !twasdecldedoaccan4]ora//thatsuchmu|tlp|eswou|dnot be|ongto
thls sltuatlon ln thls matter onto|ogv remalns lalthlu| to the lmperatlve
lnltla||v lormu| ated bv Parmenldes. one must turn back lrom anv route
thatwou|dauthorlzethepronunclatlon ola belngolnonbel ng.
8ut lrom the l nexlstence ol a mathematlca| conceptol the event one
cannotlnlerthatmathematlca|eventsdonotexlstelther !nlact. ltl sthe
contrarv whlch seems to be the case 1he hlstorlcltv ol mathematlcs
lndlcatesthatthelunctlonoltempora||oundatlononthepartoltheevent
and the . nterventlonhas p|aveda ma]orro|e therel n A great mathema
tlc|anls. l lnothlnge| se. anlntervenoronthebordersola sl tewlthlnthe
mathematlca| sltuatlon lnasmuch as the | atter l s devastated. at great
dangerlortheone. bvtheprecarlousconvocatlonoll tsvold. Moreover. ln
Medltatl on20. ! mentl onedthec|earconsc| enceolhl spartlcu|arlunctlon
lnthlsregardpossessed bvLvarlste Ca|ols. a mathematlca|genl us.
!l no onto|oglca| statement. no theorem. bears upon an event or
ev+|uates the proxlmltv ol l ts e|lects. | l therelore onto | ocv. strlct|v
speaklng. doesnot |egls|ate on nde|ltv. lt l sequa||v true that throughout
the entlre hl storlca| dep|ovment ol onto|ogv there have been event
theorems. andbvconsequence. theensulngoecessltv ol bel nglalthlu| to
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
them 1hl s serves as a sharp remlnder. onto|ogv. the presentatlon ol
presentatlon. l sltse|lpresentedexc|us|ve|vlntlmeasa sltuatlon. andnew
proposltlons are what perlodlze thls presentatlon Olcourse. the mathe-
matlca|text ls lntrlnslca||vega||tarlan. lt does notcategorlzeproposltlons
accordlng to thelr degree ol proxlmltv or connectlon to a proposltlon-
event. to a d/scovcml nwhlcha partlcu| arslte l nthetheoretlca|apparatus
loundltse|llorcedtomaketheunpresentab|eappear Proposltlonsaretrue
orla|se. demonstratedorreluted. anda||olthem. l nthe|astresort. speak
olthepuremu|tlp|e. thusolthelorml nwhl chthe therel s olbel ng- qua-
belnglsrea|lzed. A| | thesame. ltl sasvmptom÷nodoubt supert|uouswlth
respect to the essence ol the text. vet Hagrant÷that the edltors ol
mathematlca| works are a|wavs preoccupled wlth÷preclse|v÷the
categorlzatlon ol propos|tlons. accordlng to a hlerarchv ol lmportance
( lundamenta| theorems. slmp|e theorems. proposltlons. |emmas. etc i .
and.olten.w|ththe| ndlcatlonoltheoccurrenceol aproposltlonbvmeans
ol lts date and the mathematlclan who ls lts author What a|so lorms a
svmptom ls the leroclous quarre||lng over prlorltv. ln whlch mathema
t|cl ans nght over the honour ol havlng been the pr| nclpa| lntervenor
~a|though the ega|ltarlan unlversa||sm ol the text shou| d lead to thls
belng a matter ol lndl llerence÷wlth respect to a partlcu|ar theoretlca|
translormatlon 1he emplrlca| dlsposltlon ol mathematlca| wrltlngs thus
bearsatraceolthelo||owlng. despltebel ngabo| l shedas exp| l cl tresu|ts. l t
lstheeventsolonto|ogvthatdetermlnewhateverthetheoretlca|edlncel s.
atanvpartl cu|armoment
Ll kea p|avwrlghtwho. l ntheknow|edgethatthe|lnesa|oneconst|tute
the stab|erelerenceola perlormance lorthedlrector. desperate|vtrl esto
antlclpate lts everv detal| bv stage lnstructlons whlch descrlbe dccor.
costumes. ages and gestures. the wr|termathematlclan. ln antlclpatlon.
stagesthepuretext÷|nwhlchbelnglspronouncedquabel ng÷bv means
ol l ndlcatlons ol precedence and orlgln ln these lndlcatlons. ln some
manner. a certaln ou/s/dc ol tHe onto|oglca| sltuatlon l s evoked 1hese
proper names. these dates. these appe||atlons are the eventa| stage
lnstructlons ol a textwh|chlorec|osesthe event
1he centra| lnterpretatlon ol these svmptoms concerns~lns|de the
mathematlca|textthlstlme÷theldentlncatlonoltheoperatorsolhde|ltv
bvmeansolwhlchonecaneva|uate whetherproposltlonsarecompatlb|e
wlth. dependenton. orlnuuencedbytheemergenceo!a nevtheorem. a
newaxl omatlc. or newapparatusesollnvestlgatlon. 1hetheslsthat! wl||
241
242
BEI NG AND EVENT
lormu|atelsslmp|e. acduc(/cn÷whlchlstosavtheob||gatlonoldemonstra-
tl on. theprlnclp|eolcoherencv. theru| eollnterconnectlon÷lstbemeans
vl awhl ch. ateachandeverv moment. onto|oglca|hde||tvtotheextrlnslc
eventness ol onto|ocv ls rea||zed. 1he doub|e lmperatlve ls that a new
theorem attest l ts coherencv wlth the sltuatlon ( thus w|th exlstlng
propos|t|onsi÷th|s l s the lmperatlve ol demonstratlon. and that the
consequences drawn lrom lt be themse|ves regu| ated bv an exp|lc|t
|aw÷thls|sthe|mperatlveoldeductlve nde||tv assuch
l 1BL iORML CONCLP1 Oi uLuUC1!0N
uow can thls operator ol nde| l tvwhose usage has been constl tuted bv
mathematlcs. and bv l t a| one. be descrlbed' irom a lorma| perspectlve
÷whlchcamere|atlve|v|atelnthedavl nltscomp|etelorm÷adeduction
l sa chalnolexp||clt proposltlons whlch. start|ng lrom axloms ( |orus. the
!deas ol the mu|tlp|e. and the axloms ol hrst order |oglc wlth equa||tvi .
resu|ts| nthededucedproposltlonvlalntermedlarlessuchthatthepassage
lrom those whlch precede to those whlch |o| | ow conlorms to denned
ru|es
1he p·cscn/a//on ol these ru|es depends on the |oglca| vocabu|arv
emp|oved.butthevarea|wavsldentlca| ln substance !l. lor examp| e. one
admlts as prlmitlve | oglca| slgns. negatlon ~. lmp|lcatlon �. and the
unlversa|quantl nerV÷thesebelngsulnclentlorourneeds÷therearetwo
ru|es
- 5cpara//on. or modusponcns . ll ! have a|readv deducedA � B. and!
havea|sodeducedA. then!conslderthat!havededucedB. 1hatls. notlng
f thelactthat I havea| readvdemonstrateda proposltlon
- A � B
A
- B
- 6cncrc//za//on.! l olsavarl ab| e. and!havededucedaproposltlonolthe
tvpe B'o¦ i n whi ch o i s not quanti fed . n B. ! then consider that ! have
deduced ( V oi B.
modus poncns corresponds t o t he lntultlve l dea ol lmp|lcatl on ll A
ental | sB andA ls true . B musta|sobe true
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
Cenera|lzatlona|socorrespondstothe l ntultlve' l deaoltheunl versa|ltv
ola proposltlon l lA l struelorcnya /npar//cu/ar (because a lsavarlab| ei .
thlsl s because ltl s trueloreverv a.
1heextremepovertv oltheseru|escontrastssharp| vwl ththe rlchness
andcomp| exltvoltheunlverseolmathematlca|demonstratlons 8ut |tls.
altera|ll nconlormltvwlththeonto|oglca|essenceolthlsunlversethat/hc
d/B:u/w o]]dc//w //cs /n //s cxcrc/sc and no/ /n //s :r//cr/on. 1he mu|tlp| es
presented bv onto|ogv are a| | wovenlromthevol d. auc///a//vc/y thev are
qulte lndlstlnct 1hus. the dlscernment ol the deductlve connectlon
betweena proposltlonwhlchconcernsthemto anotherproposltloncou|d
notbrlng extreme|vnumerousand heterogeneous /aws lntop|av Onthe
other hand. ellectlve|v dlstlngulshlngamongstthese qua|ltatlve proxl m
l t| esdemandsextremehnesseandmuch experlence.
1hlsstl||vervlorma| perspectlve can be radlca| l zed Sl nce the ob] ect ol
mathematlcs ls be|ng quabelng. one can expect a qul te exceptlona|
unllormltvamongsttheproposltlonswhlchconstltuteltspresentatlon 1he
apparentpro|lleratlonolconceptua|apparatusesandtheoremsmustlnthe
endrelerbacktosomelndlllerence. thebackgroundolwhlchwou|dbethe
loundatlona| lunctlon olthevol d ueductlve hde| l tv. whlch lncorporates
newproposltlonslntothewarpandweltolthegenera|edlhce. l sdehnlte|v
markedbvmono/on,. oncethepresentatlved| versltvolmu|tlp|eslspurlhed
to thepolnt ol reta| nlng so|e|vlromthe mu| tlp|el tsmu|tlp|lcltv Lmplrl-
ca| | vspeaklng. moreover. lt l s obvlous l n mathematlca|practlcethat the
comp|exltv and subt| etv ol demonstratlons can be broken up lnto brl el
sequences. and once these sequences are | al d out. thev revea| thelr
repetltlveness. lt becomes notlceab|e that thev use a lew trlcks' a|one
drawn lrom a verv restrlcted stock 1he entlre art |les ln the genera|
organlzatlon. l ndemonstratlves/ra/cµy 1actlcs.ontheotherhand. arerlgld
anda|most ske| eta| 8esldes. great mathematlclans olten step rlght over
the detall and÷vl slonar|es ol the event÷head stralght lor the genera|
conceptua| apparatus. |eavlng the ca|cu|atlons to the dlsclp| es 1hls ls
partlcu| ar|vobvlousamocgstlntervenors whenwhatthevlntroduce lnto
c|rcu| atlon ls exp|olted or even proves prob|ematlc lor a | ong tlme alter
them. suchasiermat. uesargues. Ca|ols orRlemann
1he dlsappolntlng lorma| truth l s t hat a| | mathematlca| propos|tlons.
once demonstrated wlthln the axlomatlc lramework. are. ln respect ol
deductlve svntax. cau/va/cn/ Amongst the pure|v |oglca| ax| oms whlch
support the edlnce. therc ls lndeed the tauto|ogv A - ( B- Ai . an o| d
scho|astlc adage whl ch poslts that a true proposltlon ls ental|ed bv anv
243
244
BEI NG AND EVENT
proposition, cxauod//bc/scau//urvcrum. such that if you have the proposi ­
tion A it follows that you also have the proposition (B � A) , where B is any
proposition whatsoever.
Now suppose that you have deduced both proposition A and proposition
B. From Band the tautology B � (A � Bì. you can also draw (A � Bi . But
if ( B�A) and ( A �B) are both true, then this is because A is equivalent
to B: A - B.
This equivalence is a formal marker of the monotony of ontological
fdelity. In the last resort, this monotony is founded upon the latent
uniformity of those multiples that the fdelity evaluates-via proposi ­
tions-in terms of their connection to the inventive irruption.
By no means, however, does this barren formal identity of all proposi­
tions of ontology stand in the way of subtle hierarchies, or even, in the end
( through wily detours ) , of their fundamental non-equivalence.
It must be understood that the strategic resonance of demonstrative
fdelity maintains its tactical rigidity solely as a formal guarantee, and that
the real text only rarely rejoins it. Just as the strict writing of ontology,
founded on the sign of belonging alone, is merely the law in which a
forgetful fecundity takes flight, so logical formali sm and its two operators
of faithful connection¯modus pencns and generalization-rapidly make
way for procedures of identifcation and inference whose range and
consequences are vast. I shall examine two of these procedures in order to
test the gap, particular to ontology, between the uniformity of equiva­
lences and the audacity of inferences: the usage of hypotheses, and
reasoning by the absurd.
2 RLASON!NGV!ABYP01BLS!S
Any student of mathematics knows that in order to demonstrate a
proposition of the type 'A implies B . one can proceed as follows: one
supposes that A is true and one deduces Bfrom it. Note, by the way, that
a proposition 'A �B does not take a position on the truth of A nor on the
truth of B. !t solely prescribes the connection between A and B whereby
one implies the other. As such, one can demonstrate, i n set theory, the
proposltlon. ' If there exlsts a Ramsev cardlna| (a type of verv |arge'
multipl e) , then the set of real constructible numbers ( on ' constructible' see
MeJltatlon 29i l s denumerab|e ( that is, ltbelongs to the smallest type of
infnity, Wo, see Meditation 1 4) . ' However, the proposition ' there exists a
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
Ramscv card|nal ' cannot. |tsclf. bc dcmonstratcd. or at thc vcrv lcast | t
cannotbc|nfcrrcdfromthc!dcaso|thcmu| t| pl csuchas! havcprcscntcd
thcm.1h|sthcorcm. dcmonstratcdbvRowbottom|n l970÷hcrc!g|vcthc
cvcntal|ndcxcs÷thus| nscr|bcsani mplicat|on. ands|mul tancousl vlcavcs
|n suspcnsc thc two ontolog|cal qucst|ons whosc conncction i t sccurcs.
bocs a Ramscv card|na| cx|st'' . and. !s thc sct of rcal construct|b|c
numbcts dcnumcrabl c''
! nwhatmcasurc do thc |n|t|al opcrators of ndclitv÷modusponcns and
gcncralizat| on÷author|zcusto makcthchvpothcs|s' ofapropos|t|onA |n
ordcrtodrawfrom| tthcconscqucncc B. andtoconc|udc | nthc truthof
thc|mpl|cat|onA �B. wh|ch. as! havc] ust said. i nnowav connrms thc
hvpothcs|softhctruthofA'Eavcwcnotthus|llcc|t|matclvpcsscdv/cnon
|c/nµ. |nthcformofanasscrt|on. A, wh|chcoul dqu|tccas|l vbcfalsc. and
vctwhosctruthwc havcmaintai ncd'Wcshall comc acrossth|sproblcm
aga|n÷thatofthcmcd|at|ono|thc|alscinthcfa| thfu|cstabl|shmcntofa
ttuc conncct|on÷but |n a morc acutc form. |n thc cxam|nat|on of
rcason|ngbvthcabsurd. 1o mv cvcs. |ts|gnals thc gapbctwccn thc str|ct
/cwofprcscntati onofontologicalproposit|ons÷thc monotonouscqu|va
lcncc of truc propos|tions÷and thc stratcg|cs of ndcl|tv wh|ch bu| l d
cffcct|vc and tcmporallv ass|gnablc conncct|ons bctwccn thcsc propos|
t| onsfromthc standpo|ntofthccvcntandthc|ntcrvcnt|on. that|s |rom
thc standpo|ntofwhat |s put|nto c|tculat|on. atthc wcak po|nts of thc
prcv|ousapparatus. bvgrcatmathcmat|c|ans.
Of coursc. howcvcr vi s|bl v and stratcc|callv dist|nct thc /onu-ranµc
conncctionsmightbcfromthctacticalmonotonvofthcatomsof| nfcrcncc
(modusponcns and gcncral|zat|oni . thcv must. i na ccrta|n scnsc. bccomc
rcconcilcdto thcm bccausc thc law|s thclaw. lt| s qu|tc clcar hcrc that
ontoloc|cal ñdcl |tv. howcvcr |nvcnt|vc |t mav bc. cannot. |n cva|uat|ng
conncct|ons. |rcakw|ththccountas-oncandt urn itscll|ntoancxccption
to structurc ! n rcspcct o| thc lattcr. i t i s rather a diaconal an cxtrcmc
looscning. anunrccogn|zablc aobrcviat|on.
Forcxamplc. whatdocs| tmcanthatonccan makcthchvpothcs|s' that
apropos|t|onA | struc'1h|samountstosavingthatg|vcnthcs| tuat|on ( thc
ax|oms of thc thcorvi ÷cal| thc l attcr I÷and |ts rulcs of dcduct|on. wc
tcmporar|lvplaccoursclvcs|nthcnct|vcsituat|onwhosc axioms arcthosc
of Iplus thcpropos|t|onA. Lct'scallth|snctivcs| tuat|on I+ A. 1hc rulcs
ofdcduct|onrcma| n|ngunchangcd. wcdcducc. w|th|nthcs|tuat|onI+A.
the proposition B Nothing i s at stake so far but the normal mechani cal run
ofth|ncs. bccauscthcrulcsarcnxcd Wcarc solclvallow|ngoursclvcsthc
24S
246
BEI NG AND EVENT
supp/cmcn/whlch l sthcusagc. wlthln thcdcmonstratlvcscqucncc. o|thc
axl om A
It l s herc that a thcorcm ol log|c lntcrvcncs. cal l cd t hc thcorcm ol
dcductl on . whosc stratcglc valuc l polntcd out clghtccnvcarsago| nLc
:on:cp/dcmodc/c. Baslcallv. thlstheorcmstatcsthatonccthcnormalpurclv
loglcalaxlomsarcadmlttcd. andthcrulesoldcductlonwhlchlmcntloncd.
wc havc thc lollowlng sltuatlon. l l a proposltlon B l s dcduclblc l n thc
theorv!+ A. thcn thc proposltlon ( A � Bi l s dcducl blc| nthcthcorv T
1h|sls sorcgardlcssolwhatthc nctlvcthcorv!+A /swor/h. lt coul dqultc
wcllbclncohcrcnt. 1hlsl swhvl can makcthchvpothcs|s olthctruthol
A. whlch l s to sav supp/cmcn/ the sl tuatl onbv thc nctlon ol a thcorv l n
whl chA| sanaxlom. l nrcturnlamguarantccdthatl nthc truc sltuatlon.
that commandcd bv thc axloms ol I÷thc ldcas ol the multlplc÷thc
proposltlon A lmpl|cs anv proposltlon B dcduclblc l n thc nctlvc
sltuatlon.
0ncolthcmostpowcrlulrcsourccsolontolog|calndclltvl sthuslound
l nthccapacltvtomovctoad] accn|nctlvcsltuatlons. obtalncdbvaxlomatlc
supplcmentatlon. Bowcvcr. ltl sclcarthatonccthcproposltlon. A�Bi ls
lnscrl bcdasa lalthlulconsequcncc olthcsltuatlons axloms. nothlngwlll
rcmaln ol thc mcdlatlng hctlon. ln ordcr to cvaluatc proposltlons. thc
mathcmat|clan ncvcrccascs to haunt lallaclous orlncohercnt unlvcrscs.
Nodoubtthcmathcmat|c|anspcndsmorctl mc|nsuchpl accsthanonthc
cqual pl al nolproposltlonswhosetruth. wl thrcspcct tobc|ng quabc|ng.
rcndcrsthcmcqulvalcnt. vet thcmathematlclanonlvdocs soln ordcrto
cnlargc st|lllurthcrthcsurlacc o|thls plaln.
1hc theorcm ol dcductlon also pcrmlts onc posslblc ldcntlhcat|on ol
what ancvcntal sltc l s l n mathcmatlcs. Lct s agrcc that a proposltlon l s
slngular. or on t hc cdgc o| t hc vold. ll. wlthln a hlstorlcallv structurcd
ma|hematlcalsl tuatlon. ltlmpllcsmanvothcrslgnl !icantpropos. tlons. vct
|tcannot|tscllbcdcduccd|romthc axlomswhlchorgan|zcthcsltuat| on.
ln short. thlsproposltlon ls prcscntcdln ltsconscqucnccs. butno lalthlul
dIsccrnmentmanagcstoconncctlt. SavthatAl sthlsproposltlon. onccan
dcduccallklnds olproposltlons olthctvpcA � B. butnotA ltscll. Notc
tha| ln thc nctlvc sltuatlon I + A all ol thcsc proposltlons B would bc
dcduccd. 1hatls. slnccA l sanaxl omol!+A. andwchavcA �B. modus
poncns authorlzcs the dcductlon ol B ln ! + A. ln thc samc manncr.
cvcrvthlngwhlch ls lmpllcdbvB|n !+A wouldal sobc deduccdthcre| n.
iorllwc havc B � C slnce B l sdcduccd. weal sohavcC agaln due t o
modusponcns. But t hcthcoremoldcduc|longuarantccsl otusthatl l such
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
a c l s dcduccd l n ! + A thc proposltlon A � c l s dcduciblc l n !
Conscqucntlv. thc nctlvcthcorv !+ A dlsposcs ol a consldcrablc supplc
mcntarv rcsourcc ol proposltlons ol thc tvpc A -- C ln whlch c ls a
conscqucncc. ln !+ A. ola proposltlonB suchthatA � B hasltscllbccn
dcmonstratcdl nI Wc canscchowthcproposltlonA appcars llkca klnd
olsourcc. saturatcdwlthposslblc conscqucnccs. l nthcshapc olproposl
tlonsolthctvpcA ÷ xwhlcharc dcduclblc l n T
An cvcnt. namcd bv an lntcrvcntlon. ls thcn. at thc thcorctlca| sltc
lndcxcd bv thc proposltlon A. a ncw apparatus. dcmonstratlvc or axlo
matlc. suchthatA ls hcncclorth clcarlv admlsslblc as a proposltlonolthc
s//ua//on. 1hus. lt ls l n lact a protocol lrom whlch l t ls dc:/dcd that thc
propos| tlonA÷suspcndcduntl| thcnbctwccnltsnon-dcduclbllltvandthc
cxtcnt ol lts cllccts÷bc|ongs to thc ontologlcal s| tuatl on. 1hc l mmcdlatc
rcsu| tductomodusponcns.l sthatal l thcBsanda| l thccslmollcdbvthat
proposltlon A also bccomc part o| thc sltuatlon. An lntcrvcntlon ls
slgnallcd. andthl scanbcsccnl ncvcrv rcalmathcmatlcallnvcntlon. bva
brutalou/pour/nµolncwtcsults. whlchwcrc al l suspcndcd. orlrozcn. lnan
mp|lcatlvc lorm whosc componcnts could not bc scpa·a/cd. 1hcsc
momcnts olndc| l tv arc paroxvsml c. dcductlons arc madc w| thoutccasc.
scparatlonsarc madc. andconncctlonsarcloundwhlch wcrc comp|ctc|v
lncalcu|ablcwlthlnthcprcvlousstatcolallalrs . 1hlsl sbccausca substltu
tlonhas bccnmadc. ln placc ol thc nctlvcandsomctlmcs qul tc slmplv
unnotlccd÷sltuatlonl nwhlchA wason| va hvpothcsls. wcnowhavcan
cvcnta|rcworklngolthccllcctlvc sltuatlon. such thatA hasbccndccldcd
wlthlnit .
? RLASONlNCVlA1BL ABSURD
ucrcagal n. and w|thoutthlnklng. thcapprcntlcc postulatcst hatl nordcr
to provc thc truth olA. onc supposcs that ol nonA. and that dtawlng
|romthlssupposltlonsomcabsurdltv. somccontradlctlonwlthtruthsthat
havc a| rcadvbccn cstabllshcd. oncconcludcsthat ltl sdcnnltc| vA whlch
. srcqulrcd.
ln l t s apparcnt lorm. t hc schcma ol rcasonlng vl a t hc absurdor
apagoglcrcasonlng÷lsldcntlcaltothat olhvpothctlcalrcasonl ng. llnsta|l
mvscll l n thc nct|vc sltuatlon obta|ncd bv thc addlt| on ol thc axlom
nonA and wlthln thls sltuatlon l dcducc proposltlons. uowcvcr. thc
u| tlmatc rcsourcc bch|nd thls artlncc and lts lalthlul lunct|on ol
247
248
BEI NG AND EVENT
conncctlon ls dlllcrcnt. and wc know | hat apagoglc rcasonlng was dls
cusscd at lcngth bv thc lntultlon|st schoo| bclorc bcl ng catcgorlcallv
rc] cctcd. What||csatthchcartolsuchrcslstancc'ltlsthatwhcnrcason|ng
v|athcabsurd. onc supposcs that|tl sthcsamc thlngto dcmonstratcthc
proposltlon A and to dcmonstratc thc ncgat|on ol thc ncgatlon ol A.
Bowcvcr. thcstt|ctcqulva|cnccol A and~~A÷whlchl ho| dt obcd|rcctlv
llnkcd to what ls at stakc ln mathcmatlcs. bclng quabclng ( and not
scnslblc t| mci ÷l s so lar rcmovcd lrom our dl a| cctlcal cxpcrlcncc. lrom
cvctvthlngproc| al mcdbvhlstorvand| l lc. thatontologvl ssl mul tancouslv
vulncrab| cl n thls polnt to thccmp|rlclst and to thc spccu| atlvccrltlquc.
1hl scqulvalcnccl sunacccptablclorbothBumcandBcgc| . Lct scxamlnc
thcdctalls.
1akc thc proposltlon A. sav that I want to cstabllsh thc dcduct|vc
conncct|on÷and thus. ûnal | v. thc cqulva|cncc÷bctwccn lt and proposl
tlonsalrcadvcstabl|shcdwlthlnthcsltuatlon. Ilnstal|mvsc| ll nthcnctlvc
s|tuatlon T + ~A. 1hc stratcgv l s to dcducc a propos|tlon B ln thc l attcr
whlch lorma| | vcontradlcts a proposltlon a| rcadv dcduccdl nT 1hat | sto
sav. I obtaln ln T + ~Aa B such thatlts ncgatlon. ~B. |sal rcadvprovcn ln
T I wl|| hcncc conc| udcthat A l sdcducl||c ln ! (lt l ssald. I w| | | rc]cc/thc
hvpothcsls -A, ln lavour olA) . But whv'
ll. l n ! + -A, l dcducc thc proposltlon B. thc thcorcm ol dcduct|on
assurcs mc thatthc ptoposltlon -A - B ls dcduclblc ln T On thls polnt
thcrc l sno dlllctcncc lrom thc casc olhypothctl calrcason| ng.
Bowcvcr. a|oclca|axlomagalnano| dscho|astlcadagc÷tcrmcdcon/ra
pos///onal!| rmsthatl lapropos | |l onccntal|saproposltlonu. I cannotdcnv
uw| thoutdcnvlngthc cwhlch cntal|s l t. Bcncc thclollow|ngtautologv.
(C � Ui - ¦ -u- -ci
App|lcdto|hcproposltlon ( -A �Bi . whlchI obtalncd ln !onthcbasls
ofthcnct| vcsltuatlonI+ -A andthcthcorcmofdcductl on thlsscho| astlc
tauto|ogyclvcs.
( ~A � B) - ( ~B- ~~Ai
Il( ~A � Bi l sdcduccd. t hcrcsu|t. bvmodusponcns. | sthat ( ~B- ~~Ai
l s deduced. Now rcmcmbcr that B. deduced i n ( !+ -A) , is expl i citly
contradlctorvwlththcpropos| ti on ~Bwhlch | s dcduccd ln T But l l~B| s
dcduccd l n T and so ls ( -B - ~~Ai . thcn. bv modus poncns. - ~A l s a
thcorcm o| T 1h|s |s rccapltu|atcdln 1ab|c 2.
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
F|ct|vcsltuat|on tbcorvT + - A Rca|s|tuat|on ax|omat|zcdthcorv!
bcduct|onolthc propos|t|on- B
bcduct|ono|thcproposlt|onB -- ( - A � B) bythcthcorcmol
dcduct|on
- B � - - A bvcontrapos|tlonand
mocusponcns
- - Abvmo4usponcns
Strlct|vspeaklng. thcproccdurcdc||vcrsthclo||ow|ngrcsu|t |l.lromthe
supp|cmcntarv hypothcsls ~A. ! dcducca proposlt|on wh|ch lslncohcrent
wlth rcgard to somc othcrproposltlonthat hasa|rcadvbccn cstab||shcd.
thcn thc ncgatlon ol thc ncgat|on olA | s dcduclb| c 1o conc|udc l n the
dcduclb|||tv olA. a |ltt|ccxtra|s ncccssarylor examp|c. the |mp||cat|on
-~A� A÷wh|chthclntu|tlon|stsrcluscw| thoutlal | Forthcm. rcason|ng
vlathcabsurddocsnotpcrm|t oncto conc| udcbcvondthctruth ol-¯Ay
whlch ls a propos|tlono|thc s|tuat|onqu|tc d|st|nctlromthe proposlt|on
A. Bcrctworcglmcs olhde|| tvbllurcatc l n|tsc||. thlsls compat|b|c wlth
thcabstractthcorvolndc|ltv.lt| snotguarantccdthatthccvcntprcscr|bcs
thc cr|tcrlon ol conncct|on !n c|ass|ca| |og|c. thc subst| tut|on ol the
proposlt|on A lor thc propos| t| on - ~A ls abso| utc|v |eglt|mat c. lor an
|ntu|t|onlst| t | snot
Mvconv|ctlononthlspo|ntlsthatlntultlonlsmhasmlstakcn the routc
| n trvlng to app|v back onto onto|ogv crltcr|a o| conncctlon wh|ch :om.
Jromc/scwhcrc. and cspccla||vlrom a doctr|nc ol mcnta||vcllcct|vcopcra
tlons ! npart|cu|ar. lntultlonlsm| sa prlsoncrolthecmplrlclstandl || usorv
rcprescntatlon ol mathcmat|ca| ob]c:/s. Bowcvcrcomp|cx a mathcmatlca|
proposltlon m|ghtbc. | l| t ls analnrmatlve propos| t| on l t comcs downto
dcc|ar|ng thc cx| stcncc ola purc |orm o|thc mu| tl p| c A|| thc ob] ccts ol
mathemat|ca| thought÷structurcs. rc|atlons. lunct| ons. ctc ÷arcnothlng
l nthc| astlnstanccbutspeclcsolthcmu|t|p| c 1hc lamous mathcmatlca|
|ntultlon candonomorethancontro|. v/a propos| tl ons. theconncctlon-
mu|tlp|csbctwccnmu| t|p|cs Conscqucnt|v. l lwecons|dcra propos|t|onA
( supposcd alnrmatlvci ln |ts onto |og|ca| esscnce. cvcn ll lt cnvc|ops thc
appcarancc olvcrv s| ngul arre|at|onsandob] ccts. | tt urns out t ohavcno
othcr mcanlng than that ol pos|tlng that a partlcu|ar mu|tlp|c can bc
249
250
BEI NG AND EVENT
cllectlvc|vpostu|atcdas cxlstcntwlthlnthclramcconstltutcdbvthc!dcas
olthcmu|tlp|c. lnc|udlngthccxlstcntla|asscrtlonsrc|atlvetothenamcol
the vold and to the |lmlt ordlna|s ( to l nnnl tc mu| tlp|cs i . Lvcn thc
lmp|lcatlvc proposltlons bc| ong. ln thc |ast rcsort. to such a spcclcs. As
such. Rowbottomsthcorcm. mcntloncdabove. amountstostatl ngthatl n
thc sltuatlon-poss| b|v nctlvc÷constltutcd bv thc !dcas ol thc mu|t|p|c
supp|cmcntcd bv thc proposltlon thcre cxlsts a Ramscv cardlna| . thcrc
cxistsa mu|tlp|ewhlch ls a onctoonc corrcspondcnccbctwccnthc rca|
constructlb| cnumbcrs andthc ordlna| Wo ( sce Mcd| tatlons 26 and 29 on
thcsc conccpt s i . Such a corrcspondcncc. bcl ng a lunctlon. and thus a
partlcu|artvpc ol rc|atlon. /sa mu|tlp| c.
Now. thc ncgatlon ol a proposltlon whlch al|l rms thc cxl stencc ol a
multlp|cls a dcc|aratlonolnon cxlstcncc. 1hc cntlrequcstlonconccrn|ng
thcdoub|encgatlon~~Athuscomcsdowntoknowlngwhatltcou|dmean
todcnvthata mu|tlp|c÷lnthconto|oglca|scnsc÷docsnotcxlst. Wcwl||
agrec that lt ls rcasonab|c to thl nk that thls mcans that |t cxlsts. ll lt l s
admlttcdthaton/o/oµy a//r/b×/cs no o/hcrpropcrn /omu///p/cs /hancx/s/cncc.
bccauscanv propcrtv ls ltsc|la mu|tlp| e. Wc wl||thcrclorc not bcab|eto
dctermlne. bctwccn non- cxlstcnccandcxlstcncc. anvspccl nclntcrmcdl -
arvpropcrtv. whl chwou|dprovldca loundatlon lorthcgapbctwccnthc
ncgatlon ol noncxl stcncc and exlstcncc For thls supposcd propcrtv
wou|dhavctobcprcsentcd. l nturn.asancxlstcntmu|t|p|e. savcl l | twcrc
non- cxlstent. !t l s thus on thc basls ol thc onto|oglca| vocatlon ol
mathcmatlcs that onc can lnlcr. ln mv v|ew. thc | cg| tlmacv ol thc
cqu|va|cncc bctwccn alnrmatlon and doub|c ncgatlon. bctwccn A and
¯¯Ay and bv conscqucncc. thc conc|uslvcncss ol rcasonlng vla thc
absurd.
Lvcn bettcr ! consldcr. l n agrccmcnt wlth Szabo. thc hlstor|an ol
mathcmatlcs. that the usc ol apagoglc rcasonlng slgna|s thc orlglnarv
bc|onglng ol mathcmatlca| dcductlvc hdc|| tv to onto|oglca| conccrns
Szaborcmarksthata tvplca|lormol rcasonlngbvt hcabsurdcanbclound
l nParmcnl dcswlth rcgardtobclngandnonbelng. andhcuscsthlsasan
argumcnt lor p|aclng dcduclb|c mathcmatlcs w| thln an L| catl c n| latlon.
Whatcvcrthc hlstorlca| conncctlonmavbc. thc conccptua| conncctlonl s
convlnclng. For lt ls dcnnltc|v due to l t trcatlng bclng-qua-bclng that
authorlzat|on | sdrawnlnmathcmatlcslorthcti sc olth| saudaclouslorm
olhdc|ltvthatl sapagoglcdcductl on !lthcdc/crm/na//enolthc rclercntwas
carr|cdthes|lghtcstbltlurther. ltwou| d| mmcd| atc|vlorccustoadmltthat
l t | snot|cgltlmatctoldcnt|lvalnrmatlonandthcncgatlonolncgatl on. its
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
purcmu|tlp|e- lndctcrmlnatcncssa| onca||owsthlscrltcrl onolconnectlon
bctwccnproposltlonstobc ma| ntalned
Whatstrlkesmc. l nrcasonlng vla thc absurd. | s rathcrthc advcn/urous
charactcrolthlsproccdurcolndc| ltv.ltslrcedom.thccxtrcmcunccrtalntv
ol thls crltcrlon ol conncctlon !n slmp|e hvpothctlca| rcasonlng. thc
stratcg|cgoa|l sc|car|v nxcd. ilvouwantto dcmonstratca proposltlonol
thctvpcA� B.voulnsta||voursc|llnthcad] accntsltuatlon!+ A. andyou
c//cmp//odcmons/ra/cB. You knowwhcrcvou aregolng. cvcn ll knowlng
howtogcttherclsnotncccssarl|vtrlvlal Morcover. ltl squlteposslb|cthat
T + A. a|though momcntarl|vnctlvc.l sa cohercntapparatus 1hcrclsnot
thcsamcob||gatlontolnhdc|ltv. constltutcdbvpscudodcductlvcconncc
tl ons ln an lncohcrcnt unlvcrsc. a unlvcrsc l n whl chanyproposltlon ls
dcduclb|c Onthccontrarv. l t ls] ustsuchanob|lgatlonthatonevo|untarl|v
assumesl nthccaseolrcasonlngvlathcabsurd iorl l vousupposcthatthe
proposltlon A ls truc÷that lt ls dlsccrnlb|c bv dcductlvc ndc|ltv as a
conscqucncc ol !s prcvlous thcorems÷then thc sltuatlon ! + ~A l s
ccrtaln|v lncohcrcnt. bccauscA l s lnlcrrcd on thc basls ol T and so thl s
sltuatlon contalnsbothA and-A Yctltl slnth| s sl tuatlonthatvoulnsta|l
voursc| l Oncc thcrc. what l s lt thatvou hopc to dcducc' A proposltlon
contradlctlngonc olthoscthatvou havccstab|lshcd 8utwhlch onc'No
mattcr. anvproposltlonwl||do 1hcgoa|olthccxcrclsel sthuslndlstlnct.
andl t | squlteposs|b|cthatvouwl||havctoscarchb|lnd|v. lora |ongtlmc.
bclorca contradl ctlonturnsuplromwhlchthctrutholthcproposltlonA
can bc lnlcrrcd.
1hcrc ls. no doubt. an lmportant dlllcrcncc bctwccn constructlve
rcasonlng andnon-constructlvc orapagoglc rcasonlng 1hc nrst procccds
|rom dcduccdproposltlons vladeduccdproposltlonstowardsthcproposl
tlon that lt has set out to cstab|lsh !t thus tests lalthlu| connectlons
wlthout subtractlng ltse|l lrom the |aws ol prcscntatlon 1hc sccond
| mmcdlatel y lnsta||s thenctlon ola sltuat|on that lt supposes l ncohcrcnt
untl| that lncohcrcncv manllests ltsc|l ln thc random occurrcncc ol a
proposltlonwhlchcontradl ctsana|readvcstab|lshcdrcsu|t .1hlsdll|erence
ls due |css to lts cmp|ovmcnt ol doublc ncgatlon than to lts stratcglc
qua| ltv. whlchconslsts. onthconehand. olanassuranccanda prudcnce
lntcrna|toordcr. and. onthcothcrhand. olanadvcnturouspcrcgr|natlon
through dlsordcr Lct' s not undcrcstlmatc thc paradox that | l cs l n
rlgorous|v dcduc/nµ. thus uslng lalthlu| tactlcs ol conncctlon betwecn
proposltlons. l nthe verv p|ace l nwhlch vou suppose. vla the hvµothesls
~A. thcrclgnollncohcrencv.wh| ch| stosavthcvanltvolsuchtactlcs.1he
251
252
BEI NG AND EVENT
pcdant|c cxcrc|sc ol a ru|c has no othcr usc hcrc than that ol cstab||sh-
|ng÷through thc cnceun/cr w|th a s|ngu|ar contrad|ct|on÷|ts own tota|
|nan|tv 1h|s comb|nat|on ol thc zca| ol ndc|itv w|th thc chancc ol thc
cncountcr. olthcprccls|onolthcru|cwiththcawarcncssolthcnu|||tvol
|tsp|acc ol cxcrc|sc. |s thc most str|k|ng charactcr|st|c olthc proccdurc
Rcason|ng v|a thc absurd |s thc most m///|an/ ol a|| thc conccptua|
proccdurcs olthcsc|cnccolbc|ngquabc|ng
4. 1RiPLL uL1LRMiNA1iON OluLuUC1iVL iiuLLi1Y
1hatdcduct|on÷wh|chconslsts|n|ocat|nga rc:/r/c/cdconncct|onbctwccn
propos|t|ons. and|nthccndthc|rsvntact|ccqu|va|cncc÷bcthccr|tcr|on
ol onto|og|ca| ndc||tv. th|s much. |n a ccrta|n scnsc. could bc provcd a
pr/or/. Oncc thcscpropos|t|onsa||bcaruponprcscntat|on|ngcncra|. and
cnvlsagc thc mu|t|p|c so|c|y |n |ts purc mu|t|p||c|tv÷thus |n |ts vo|d
armaturc÷thcnnoothcrru|cappcarstobcava||ab|clorthc' prox|m|tvol
ncwpropos|t|onsanda|rcadvcstab||shcdpropos|t|ons. savcthatolchcck-
|ng thclr cqu|va|cncc. Whcn a propos|t|on alûrms that a purc mu|t|p|c
cx|sts. |t |sguarantccdthatth|scx|stcncc. bc|ncthatola rcsourcco]bc/nµ.
cannot bc sccurcd at thc pr|cc ol thc non cx|stcncc ol anothcr ol thcsc
rcsourccs. whosc cx|stcncc has bccn a|nrmcd or dcduccd 8clng. qua
bc|ng. docs not pro||lcratc |n onto |og|ca| d|scoursc to thc dctr|mcnt ol
|tsc|l. lor lt |s as |nd|llcrcnt to ||lc as |t l s to dcath it has to bc cqua||v
throughoutthccnt|rcprcscntat|ona|rcsourccolpurcmu|t|p| cs. thcrccan
bcnodcc|arat|onolthccx|stcnccolamu| t|p|ci l|t| snotcqu|va|cnttothc
cx|stcncc olcvcrv othcrmu|t|p| c
1hcupshotola| | th| s|sthat onto|og|ca|ndc| | tywh|chrcma|nscxtcrna|
toontol ogy l tsc|l. bccausc lt conccrns cvcnts o]/hcd/scoursconbclngand
not cvcnts o] bc/nµ. and whlchl s thus. ln a ccrta|n scnsc. on|v a quasl
ndc||tv÷rccclvcscacholthcthrccpossl bl cdctcrm|natlonsolanyndc||tv
i |aldout thc doctrlncolthcsc dctcrm|nat| onsln Mcdltatlon2 ?
- l nonc scnsc. onto|oglcal ndc||tv or dcduct|vc ndc||tv| s doµma//c. il.
|ndccd. itscr|tcr|onolconncct| on|sdcmonstrat|vc cohcrcncv. thcn|t| sto
cvcma|rcadvcstab|lshcdproposltlonthata ncwpropos|tlon|s conncctcd
ill tcontradlctsanvslnc|concolthcm.| tssuppcsltlon mustbcrc] cctcd !n
th|smanncr.thcnamcolthccvcnt ( Rowbottomsthcorcm i lsdcc|arcdto
havc sub] cctcd to lts dcpcndcncy cvcry tcrm ol thc s|tuatl on. cvcrv
proposlt|on olthc dlscoursc
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DEli TY
- inasccondscnsc. howcvcr. onto|oglca|hdc|| tvl s spon/cnc/s/. Whatl n
lactcharactcrlzcsancwthcorcmcannotbcltssvntactlccqulva|cncctoanv
dcmonstratcd proposltlon. il thc |attcr wcrc so. anvonc÷anv mc:h/nc
produclnga dcduclb|c proposltlon. bothl ntcrmlnab|c and valn. wou|d
bccrcdltcdwlththcstatusolanlntcrvcnor.andwcwou|dno|ongcrknow
what a mathcmatlclan was it l s rathcr thc abso|utc sl ncu|arltv ol a
proposltlon. lts lrrcduclb|c powcr. thc manncr ln whlch lt. and lt a|onc.
subordlnatcs prcv|ous| v dlsparatc parts ol thc dlscoursc to ltsc|l that
constltutcs lt as thc clrcu|atlng namc ol an cvcnt ol onto|ogv 1hus
concclvcd.onto|oglca|hdc|ltvattcmptsrathcrtoshowthatagrcatnumbcr
ol proposltlons. l nsolar as thcv arc mcrc|vthc ncw thcorcm' s sccondarv
conscqucnccs. wl||notl ntruthbcab|ctoc|alm:on:cp/uc/cqulva|cncctolt.
cvcn | l thcv do posscss ]ormc/ cqulva|cncc. Conscqucnt|v. thc ' grcat
thcorcm . kcvstonc ol an cntlrc thcorctlca| apparatus. l s on|v tru|v
conncctcdto ltsc|l. 1hls l swhat wl||hc slgna||cd lromthc cxtcrlorbvlts
attachmcnt to thc propcr namc ol thc mathcmatlcl an l ntcrvcnor who
|ntroduccdl tlntoclrcu|atlon. l nthcrcqulrcdlormolltsprool.
- Plna||v. l n a thlrd scnsc. onto|oglca| hdc| ltv l s µcncr/:. Por what l t
attempts to weave, on the basis of inventions, reworkings, calculations,
andlnthcadvcnturous usc olthcabsurd. arc gcncra| andpo|vmorphous
proposltlonssl tuatcdatthc] unctlonoIscvcra|branchcs. andwhoscstatus
| s that ol conccntratlng wlthln thcmsc|vcs. l n a dlagona| to cstab|lshcd
spccla|ltlcs( a|gcbra.topo|ogv.ctc. i . ma/hcmc//:/nltsc|l. 1oabr|||lant. subt|c
butvcrvslngu|arrcsu|t. thcmathcmatlclanwl | |prclcranl nnovatlvcopcn
conccptlon. aconccptua|androgvnc. onthcbaslsolwhlchl tssubsumptlon
ola||sortsolcxtcrna||vdlsparatcproposltlonsmavbctcstcd÷notvlathc
gamc ollorma| cqulva|cncc. but bccausc lt. ln ltsc|l. l sa guardlanolthc
varlancc ol bclng. ol lts prod|ga|ltv in lorms o| thc purc mu|tlp| c Nor
shou|d l t bc a qucstlon ol onc ol thosc proposltlons whosc cxtcnslon ls
ccrtal n| vlmmcnsc. but unlquc|vbccauscthcv posscssthcpovcrtvolhrst
prlnclp|cs. o|thcidcaso|thcmu|tlp|c. |lkcthcaxlomsolsctthcorv. 1hus.
| twl||c/sobc ncccssarvthatthcscproposlt| ons. howcvcrpo|vmorphlc.bc
notconncctcdtomanvothcrs.andthatthcvaccumu|atca scparatlvclorcc
wlth thclr powcr ol gcncra|ltv 1hls l s prcclsc|v what p|accs thc grcat
thcorcms' ÷namcprools ol thcrc havlng bccn. ln somc sltc ol thc dl s
coursc. a convocatlon ol lts possl b| c sl|cncc÷ln a gcncra| or gcncrlc
posltlonwlthrcgardtowhatdcductlvc ndc|ltv cxp|orcs anddlstlngulshcs
amongstthclrcllcctsl nthcmathcmatlca|sltuatlon.
253
254
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hls trlp|c dctcrmlnatlon makes dcductlvc hdc|ltv lnto thc equlvoca|
parcd/µm ol a| | hdc|ltv. prools ol |ovc. ethlca| rlgour. thc cohcrencv ol a
work olart. thcaccordanccolapo|ltlcswlth thc prlnclp|cswhlchlt c|a|ms
asltsown÷thccxlgcncvolsuchahdc|ltvlspropagatcdcvervwhcrc. tobc
commcnsurab|cto the strlct|y lmp|acab| c hdc|ltythatru| csthcdlscoursc
onbclng| tsc|l. 8ut onccanon|v|al|tosatlsly suchancx| gcncv. bccausc
thc lact that lt l s thls tvpe ol conncctlon whlch | s malntalned l n thc
mathcmatlca| text÷dcspltc l t bclng lndlllcrcnt to thc mattcr÷ls somc
thlngwhlchprocccdsdlrcct|vlrombelngltsc|l. Whatoncmust bcab|eto
rcqulrcoloncsc|l.at thcrlghttl me. l srathcrthatcapacltvloradvcntureto
whlch onto|ogytcstlhcs. lnthcheartoll tstransparcnt ratlona||tv. bvl ts
rccourscto thcproccdurc olthcabsurd. a dctourl nwhlchthc extcnslon
olthclrso|ldltvmavbercstltutcdtothcequlva|cnccs. Bcshattcrshl sown
happlncss. hl scxccssolhapplncss. andtothcL|cmcntwhlchmagnlhcdlt.
hcrcnds. butpurcr. what he possesscd
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-FI VE
Hol der l i n
Andnde||tvhas notbccng|vcntooursou| asa va|n prescnt I
Andnotlornoth|ng was |n I Oursou| s|ova|tvnxcd
AtthcSourcc olthcuanubc
1hc tormcnt propcr to Bo|der||n. but a|so what lounds thc u|t|matc
scrcn|tv. thc/nnoccnccolh|spoems. |sthatthcappropr|at|onolPrcsencc|s
mcd|atcd bvan cvcnt. bv a paradox|ca| |||ght lrom thc s|tc to |tse|l. For
Eo|dcr| |n. thcgcncr|cnamc ol thc s|tc |nwh|chthc evcntoccurs|s thc
homc| and Andno wondcr' Yourhomc|and and so|| you arc wa|k|ng. I
Whatvou scck. it|sncar. now comcstomcctvouha| lwav. 1hc homc|and
|sthcs|tchauntcdbvthepoct. andwcknowthcBc|dcggcreanlortuncol
thc max|m poct|ca||vman dwc||s. a|wavs. oncarth.
i takc th|soccasiontodcc|arc that. cv|dent|v. anvcxcgcs|sol Bo|dcr||n
| shcncclorthdcpcndcntonthatolBc|dcggcr 1hecxcgcs|siproposehcrc.
| nrcspcct toa part|cu|arpo|nt. lorms. w|ththc or|cntat|ons nxcd bvthe
mastcr. a sorto|bra| d 1hcrcarc lcwdillcrcnccs|ncmphas|stobclound
| nit.
1hcrc |s a paradox ol thc homc|and. |n Bo|dcr||ns scnse. a paradox
wh|chmakcsancvcnta| s|tcoutol|t. itsohappcnsthatconlorm|tvtothe
prcscntat|onolthcs|tc÷whatBo|dcr||nca||s |carn|ngtomakclrccuscol
whatsnat|vc and nat|ona||n us ÷supposes that wc sharc |n |ts devasta
t|onbvdcparturcandwandcr|ng 1ustas grcatr|vcrshavc. as thc|rbc|ng.
thc |mpctuous brcak|ng apart ol anv obstac|c to thc|r|||ght towards the
p| a|n. and] ustasthcs|tcolthe|rsourcc|sthusthcvo|d÷lrom wh|chwe
arcscparatcd so|c|vbvthccxcess- oloncolthc|re|an ( Ln|gma. bornlrom
255
256
BEI NG AND EVENT
a pure ] ettlng |orth' ' i so the home|and l s nrst what one | eaves. not
becauseone separates onese|l lrom lt but onthe contrarv. through that
superlor hde| l tv whlch |les l n understandlng that the verv bc/nµ ol the
home|and l s that ol escaplng !n the poem 1he 1ournev' Bo|derlln
l ndlcates that hls home|and. Most happv Swabl a' . proposes ltse|l as slte
because there one hears the source sound' and 1he snowv summlt
drenches the earth I Wlth purest water ' 1hls slgn ol a || uvla| escape l s
precl se| vwhat| l nksonetothehome|and !tls lrom resldlng c|ose tol t s
orlgln' that a natlve |ova|tv' exp|lclt|v proceeds. Il de|ltv to the slte l s
therelore. l nessence. nde| l tv to theeventthroughwhl chthesltebelng
bothsource olltse|landescapelromltse|l÷lsmlgratlon. wanderlng. and
the lmmedlate proxlmltv ol the larawav. When÷agaln l n 1he1ournev'
] ustalterhavlngevoked hls natlve|ova|tv' to the Swablan home|and
Bo|der|lncrl esout. 8ut! amboundlorthe Caucasus ' ' . thlsPromethean
lrruptlon. larlromcontradlctlngthende|ltv. lsltsellectlveprocedure. ]ust
as the Rhlne. l n bel ng lmpatlent to | eave uls rega| sou| drove hlm on
towardsAsla'÷rea|lzesl nlactltsownapproprlatenesstoCermanvandto
thepaclncandpaterna| loundatlon ollts cltl es.
Underthesecondltlons. savlngthatthepoetbv hl s departure andhl s
b| l ndvovageb|lndbecausethelree domolthedepart ure eventlorthose
demlgodsthatarepoets andrlvers. conslstsl nsucha]au//. l nthel rsou|
qultenaIve. notknowlngwhcrc thevaregolng' lslalthlu|to thehome-
|and.thathetakesltsmeasure.lsthesameassavlngthatthehome|andhas
remalnedlalthlu|tothewanderer.l nltsmalntenanceolthevervsltelrom
whlch he escaped lrom hlmse|l. l n the poem whlch has thls tlt|e÷1he
Wanderer'ltlswrltten Lova|vouwere. and|ova|remalntothelugltlve
even I Klnd|vasevervouwere. heaven olthe home|and. takemeback '
But reclproca||y l n1he Source ol the Danube' . l t l s wlth respectt othe
poetthat notlornothlngwasl nf Oursou| s| ova| tvnxed' . moreover. ltl s
thepoetwhoguardsthe treasure ltse|l' Sl teand l ntervenor. home| and
andpoetexchangel nthe orlglna|] ettlnglorth' oltheeventthelrru| esol
nde|ltv. and each ls therebv dlsposed to we|come the othet l n thl s
movementolreturnl nwhlchthl ngl smeasuredtothlng÷whenwlndow
panes g|ltter wlth go|d'. and 1here !'m recelved bv the house and the
garden'ssecretlveha| || lghtI Where togetherwlthp|antslond|vmvlather
reared me' ÷measurlng the dlstance atwhlch each thlng malntalns ltse|l
lromthe shadowbroughtoverl tbyltsessent|a|departure
0necan. olcourse. marve|overthl sdistancebel ng l ntrutha prlmltlve
connectlon. Yes.theanclentlsstl||there' !tthrlvesandgrowsrlpe.butno
HOLDERLI N
crcaturc I L|v|ngand|ov|ngthcrccvcrabandons| t shdc||tv. 8ut atamorc
prolound |cvc|. thcrc | s a ] ov |n think|ng that onc ollcrs ndc||tv. that
|nstructcd bv thc ncarbvv|a thc pract|cc. sharcdw|th|t. ol thc larawav.
towardswhlch|twas sourcc.onc lorcvcrcva|uatcsthcvcr|tab|ccsscnccol
what|sthcrc. ' Oh|lghtolvouth. oh]ov| Youarc thc onc I olanc|cntt|mcs.
butwhatpurcrsp|ritvou pourlorth. I Co| dcnlounta|nwc|||ng up lrom
th|sconsccrat|on| Vovaglngw|ththcdcparturc|tsc|l.|ntcrvcnorstruckbv
thc god. thc poct br|ngs back to thc sitc thc scnsc ol |ts prox|m|tv
' ucath|cssCods ' . . . / Outolvouor|g|natcd. w|thvouihavca|sovovagcd.
I You. thc] ovous oncs. vou. n||cd w|th morc know|cdgc. I br|ngback. I
1hcrclorc pass to mc now thc cup that |s h||cd. ovcrt|ow|ng I W|th thc
wc lrom thoscgrapcscrownonwarmh|||solthc Rh|nc. '
As a ccntra| catcgorvol Bo|dcr||n's poctrv. hdc||tv thus dcs|gnatcs thc
poct|ccapac|tv to | nhab|t thc s|tc atthc po|nt ol rcturn. it| s thc sc|cncc
acqu|rcdv|aprox|m|tvtothct|uv|a|. nat|vc. lur|ousuproot|ng÷|nwh|ch
thc |ntcrprctcr had to r|sk h|msc|l÷lrom what const|tutcs thc s|tc. lrom
cvcrvth|ng wh|ch composcs ltstranqu||||ght . itnamcs. atthc mostp|ac| d
po|ntolCcrmanv. drawnlromthcvo| dolth| svcrvp|ac|d|tv. thclorc|gn.
wandcr|ng. ' Caucasl an' vocat|on wh|ch|s|tsparadox|ca| cvcnt.
What authorlzcs thc poct to lntcrprct Ccrmanv |n such a wav. in
accordanccnotw|th|tsd|spos|t|onbutw|th|tscvcnt÷that| s. toth|nkthc
Rh|nc. thls s|ow vovagc I Across thc Ccrman |ands' . accord|ng to l ts
|mp|or|ng. angrvsourcc÷ls a la|thlu| d|agona| traccdlromano/hcrcvcnt
thc Crcckcvcnt.
Bo|dcr||n was ccrta|n| v not thc on|v Ccrman th|nkcr to bc||cvc that
th|nk|ngCcrmanvonthcbas|solthcunlormcdandthcsourccrcquircsa
ndc||tvto thc Crccklormat|on÷pcrhapsst|||lurthcrtothatcruc|alcvcnt
that was |tsdlsappcarancc. thc t| lght olthc Cods . What mustbc undcr
stood| sthatlorhlmthcCrcckrc|atlonbctwccnthccvcntthcsavagcrv
olthcpurcmu|tlp|c. wh|chhcca| | sAsla÷andthcrcgu|atcdc|osurcolthc
sltc l sthc cxact|nvcrsc olthcCcrmanrc|at|on.
in tcxtswhl ch havc sccnmuch commcntarv. Bo|dcr| |ncxprcsscs thc
assvmmctrvbctwccnCrccccandCcrmanvw|thcxtrcmcprcc|s|on.Lvcrv·
th|ng| s sa|d whcn hc wr|tcs thc c|arltv olcxposl t|onl s as pr|mord|a||v
natura| to us as hrc lrom thc skv lor thc Crccks. ' 1hc or|g|narv and
apparcnt dlsposlt|on olthcCrcck wor|d|sCaucas|an. unlormcd. vlo|cnt.
and thcc|osedbcautvol thc 1cmp|cls conqucrcd bv an cxccsso]]o·m. On
t hcothcrhand. thcvlslb|cdlsposltlonolCermanvl st hcpo| lccd!orm. ílat
and sercnc. and what must bc conqucrcd l s thc Asl atl c cvcnt. tcwards
257
258
BEI NG AND EVENT
whlchthcRh|ncwou|dgo. andwhoscart|stlcstv|lzatlonls sacrcdpathos
1hcpoctlclntcrvcnorl snot ont hcsamcbordc·ln CrccccaslnCcrmanv.
sworntonamcthcl||cga|andloundatlona|cvcntas| umlnousc|osurcwlth
thc Crccks. thc poct |s a|so sworn. w|th thc Ccrmans. to dcp|ov thc
mcasurc ol a lurlous Aslatlc lrruptlon /owcrds thc homc|and s ca|m
wc|comc Conscqucnt|v. lor a Crcck. |ntcrprctat|on l s what | s comp|cx.
whl|stlora Ccrmanthcstumb|lngpo|nt| sndc|ltv1hcpoctwl||bca||thc
bcttcrarmcdlorthccxcrclscola Ccrman ndc||tv l lhchasdlsccrncdand
practlscd thc latc ol Crcck lntcrprctatlon howcvcrbrl||lant lt mav havc
bccn. lt was not ab|c to kccp thc Cods. | t asslgncd thcm to too strlct an
cnc|osurc. to thc vu|ncrabl|ltv olan cxccssollorm
A ndc|ltvto thc Crccks. whlch |s dlsposcd /ewards lntcrvcntlon on thc
bordcrsolthcCcrmansltc. docsnotproh|bltbutrathcrrcqul rcsthatonc
knowhowtodlsccrn.amongstthccllcctsolthcCrcckslorma|cxcc||cncc.
thcdcnla|ola loundatlona|cxccssandthclorgctt|ngolthc Aslatlc cvcnt
!t thus rcqulrcs that onc bc morc la|thlu| to thc cvcnta| csscncc ol thc
CrccktruththanthcCrcckartlststhcmsc|vcswcrcab|ctobc 1h|slswhv
Bo|dcr||n cxcrclscs a supcrlor |l dc|ltv bv trans|atlng Sophoc|cs wlthout
sub] cctlnghlmsc|ltothc|awol|ltcrarvcxactltudc 8vnat|ona|conlormltv
andducto ccrtaln lau|ts whlch lt hasa|wavsbccn ab|c to accommodatc.
Crcckart |slorclgntous. ! hopc to glvcthc pub|lc an ldca olltwhlch ls
more |lvc|v than thc usua| . bv acccntlng thc orlcnta| character that |t
a|wavs dlsowncd and bv rcctllvlng. whcrc ncccssarv. lts acsthct|c lau| ts´
Crcccc had thc lorcc to p/c:c thc gods. Ccrmanv musthavc thc lorcc to
ma/n/c/n thcm. onccl tl scnsurcd. bvt hclntcrvcntlonola poctlcRcturn.
thatthcvwl|| dcsccnduponthc Larth aga|n
1hc dlagona| ol ndc||tv upon whlch thc poct lounds h|s l ntcrvcntlon
lntothe Ccrmansltcls thus the abl||tyt o di stinguish, l nthe Greek world,
bctwccnwhatlsconncctcdtothcprlmordla| cvcnt.tothcAslatlcpowcrol
thc gods. and what ls mcrc|y thc go|d dust. c|cgant but valn. ol |cgcnd
When 0n|y as lrom a lunera| pyrc hcncclorth / A go|dcn smokc. thc
|cgcndollt.drllts/ Andg|lmmcrsonaroundourdoubtlnghcadsI Andno
onc knows whats happcnlng to hlm' . onc must rcsort to thc norm ol
ndc|ltvwhosc kccpcr. guard| anolthcCrcckcvcnton thcbordcrs olthc
Ccrman sltc. lsthcpoct Porgood / lndccdarcthc|cgcnds. lorolwhat ls
thc most hlgh / thev arca mcmorv. but st||| is nccdcd/ 1hc onc whowl||
dcclphcr thclr sacrcd mcssagc´
Bcrc agalnwcñndthc conncctlonbctwccnlntcrvcntlona|capacl tvand
ndc|ltv to ano/hcr cvcnt that ! rcmarked l n Pasca| wlth rcgard to thc
H
O
LDERLI N
dcclphcrlngolthcdoublcmcanlngol t hcprophccl cs. 1hcpoctwl||bcablc
to namc thc Ccrman sourcc. and thcn. on lts basls. cstabllsh thc ru|c ol
hdclltvl nwhlchthcpcacc olthcproxlmltvola homcland l swon. |nsolar
ashchasloundthckcvtothcdoublcmcanl ngolthcCrcckworld.|nsolar
as hc l s al rcadv a lalthlul dccrvptor ol sacrcd |cgcnds. 0n occaslon.
Eoldcrllnlsqultcclosctoaprophctlcconccptl onolthlsbond. andthcrcbv
cxposcdtothcdangcrol| maglnlngthatCcrmanv]u/]/sthcCrcckpromlsc
Ecwl||lnglvcvokcs' thcancl cnt/ Slgnhandcddown . whl ch lar. strlklng.
crcatlng. rlngs out ' ' Stlll morc dangcrouslv. hc bccomcs c|atcd w|th thc
thought. What ol thc ch| | drcn o| Cod was lorctol d l n thc songs ol thc
anc|cnts. / Look. wcarc| t. oursc/vcs . / Strlctlv|thascomctruc. lul nl l cd
as| nmcnbva marvcl 8utthls| s onl vthccxp|oratlonolarlsk. ancxccss
ol thc poct|c proccdurc. bccausc thc poct vcrv qulck|v dcclarcs thc
contrarv. . Nothlng. dcspltcwhathappcns. nothlnghasthclorcc/ to
act. lor wc arc hcartl css Boldcr| . na|wavs malntalns thc mcasurc olhls
propcr lunct| on compan| on. lnstructcd bv thc ndclltv (|n thc Crcck
doublc scnsci olthc Ccrmanlccvcnt. hcattcmptstounlold. | nrcturn. lts
|oundatlona| ru|c. ltssustalnab|c ndc|ltv. thc cc|cbratlonolpcacc
I woul d llkc to show how thcse s|gnl ncatlonsarc bound togcthcr ln a
group ol lso|ated | lncs I t ls st| | l a mattcr ol dcbatc amongst cxpcrts
whcthcr thcsc l | ncs shoul d bc attachcd to thc hvmn Mncmosvnc or
rcgardcd as|ndcpcndcnt. butllttlemattcr So.
Rlpcarc. dippcd l nnrc. cookcd
1hclrultsand tr| cdon thc carth. and| t lsl aw.
Prophctlc. thata||must | nsl nuatc wlthln
L|kc scrpcnts. drcamlng on
1hcmounds ol hcavcn And much
As on thc shouldcrsa
Load ol wood mustbc
Rcta| ncd. But cvl|are
1hcpaths. lorcrookcd|v
L|kc stccdsgo thc | mpr|soncd
Ll cmcntsand anclcnt| aws
0l thc carth. Andalwavs
1hcrcl sa vcarnlngthat sccksthc unbound 8ut much
Mustbcrcta| ncd And ndc||tv . snccdcd
259
260
BEI NG AND EVENT
Forward. howcvcr. andbackwc w|||
Not |ook. 8c|u||cdandrockcdas
0na swav|ngsk|ll olthcsca
1hcs| tc|s dcscr|bcd atthc summ|t o|| tsmatur|tv. passcdthroughthc
nrcolPrcscncc 1hcs| gns. ord|narv |nuo|dcr||n. olthcburst|nglorthol
thcmu|t|p|c |nthc ca|mg|orvol|ts numbcr. arc hcrc thc carth andthc
lru|t. Suchaparous|asubm|ts|tsc|ltothcLaw th|smuchmavbc|nlcrrcd
lrom a|| prcscntat|onbc|nga|sothcprcscr|pt|onolthc onc. 8ut a strangc
uncas|ncss allccts th|s Law !t |s | n cxccss ol thc s|mp|c organ|zat|on ol
prcscntat|on| ntwod|llcrcntmanncrs ürstbccausc| t cn] o|nscachth|ng
to|ns|nuatc|tsc|lw|th|n. as|lmatur|tv( thctastcolthclru|tsolthccart hi
concca|cd| t scsscncc. as|lsomctcmptat|onolt hc|atcntvo|dwasatwork
w|th|n. as dc||vcrcd bv thc d|sturb|ng |magc ol thc scrpcnt. and sccond.
bccauscbcvondwhat| scxposcd. thc|aw|s prophct|c' . drcamv. as| lthc
moundsolBcavcn' d| dnot|u| n| |tscxpcctat|on.nor|tspract|cc.A||olth|s
unqucst|onab|v mctaphor|zcs thc s|ngu|ar|tv ol thc Ccrman s|tc. |ts
bordcr|ng upon thcvo|d. thc lactthat|ts tcrrcst|a|p|ac| d|tv|svu| ncrab| c
to a sccond|rrupt|on. thatolthc Caucasus. wh|ch |sdcta| ncd. w|th|n|ts
lam|||ar. bourgco|sprcscntat|on. bv thcmatcrna| Swab| a. Morcovcr. w|th
rcspcct to what should bc bound togcthcr |n |tsc|l and ca|m|v gathcrcd
togcthcr. | t|s so|c|v on thcbas|s ol a la|thlu| cllort that|ts ma|ntcnancc
rcsu| ts. 1hcmatur|tvolthc|ru| ts. onccdcc|phcrcdascndangcr|ngthconc
bv thc poct bccomcs a burdcn. a |oad ol wood' undcr thc dutv ol
ma|nta|n|ng| tscons|stcncv1h|s|sprcc|sc|vwhat| satstakc wh||stCrcccc
accomp||shcs |tsbcing |nthc cxcc||cncc o| lorm bccausc |ts nativc s|tc |s
As|at|candlur|ous. Ccrmanvw|||accompl | sh| tsbc|ng|nasccondndc||tv.
!oundcduponthc storm. bccausc|ts s| tc|s that o!thc go|dcnnc|ds. olthc
rcstra|ncdOcc|dcnt. 1hcdcst|nvo|thcCcrman|aw| stouproo//(sc/lrom
|ts rc|gn ovcr conc| | |atorv mu|t|p||c|t|cs 1hc Ccrman path |cads astrav
( Butcv||arcI 1hcpaths ' i . 1hcgrcatca||towh|chthcpcaccolthccvcn|ng
rcsponds |s thc vcarn|ng that sccks thc unbound' . 1h|s cvcnta| un
b|nd|ng÷th|s crookcdncss ol | mpr|soncd clcmcnts' and anc|cnt |aws'
÷proh|b|tsanv|rcqucntat|onolthc s| tc|n thcassuranccolastra|ghtpath
P|rst scrpcnt ol |ts |ntcrna| tcmptat| on. thc s|tc |s now thc stccd' ol |ts
cx||c 1hc | ncons|stcnt mu|t|p|c dcmands /o bc w|th|n thc vcrv | aw |tsc|l
wh|chrcgu|atcscons|stcncv !na |cttcr. altcrhav|ngdcc|arcdthat naturc
|n mv homc|andmovcsmcpowcr|u| l v' . Boldcr||nc|tcs as thcll rstanchor
H
O
LDERLI N
ol thatcmotlon. thcstorm lromthlsvcrypolntolvlcw. aspowcrand
as ngurc amongthcothcrlorms olthc sky
1hc duty ol thc poct÷ol thc lntcrvcnor÷cannot bc. howcvcr. that ol
purc|y and slmp|y glvlng way to thls stormy dlsposltlon What l s to bc
savcd. .ndc|lnltlvc. l sthcpcaccolthcsltc. muchmustbcrctal ncd Oncc
ltl sundcrstoodthatthcsavourolthcsltcrcsldcsunl quc| yl nl tbclngthc
scrpcntandstccdolltsc|l. andthatltsdcslrc÷l nc| uctab|yrcvca|cdl nsomc
uproot|ng. ln somc dcparturc÷ls notlts bound lorm. butthc unbound.
thc dutyl s thcn to antlc|patcthcsccond]oy. thc conqucrcd | lalson. that
wl||bcglvcn. atthcmostcxtrcmcmomcntolthcuprootlng. bythcopcn
rcturn wlth| n thc sltc. thls tlmc wlth thc prccautlon ol a know|cdgc. a
norm. a capaclty |or malntcnancc and dlsccrnmcnt 1hc lmpcratlvc l s
volccd. ndc|| tyl srcqulrcd Orrathcr. lct scxamlnccachandcvcrythl ngl n
thctransparcnt |lghtthatcomcsaltcrthcstorm.
8ut. and thls ls c|car. ndc|lty cou|d ncvcr bc thc lccb|c wl|| lor
conscrvatlon I havc a| rcady polntcd thls out. thc prophctlc d| sposltlon
whlch on|y sccs l n thc cvcnt and | ts cllccts a vcr| |l catlon. ] ust |lkc thc
canonlca|dlsposlt|onwhlchcn]o| nsthcsltctorcmalnlalthlu|toltspacl nc
natlvltv÷whlch wou| d lorcc thc | aw to not go crookcd|y. to no l ongcr
drcam on thc mounds ol Bcavcn÷|s stcrl|c 1hc lntcrvcnor wl|| on|y
loundhlssccondndc|ltybytrustlnghlmsc|ltothcprcscntolthcstorm. by
abo|lshlnghlmsc|l| nthcvoldl nwhlchhcwl||summonthcnamcolwhat
hasoccurrcd÷thlsnamc. lorBc|dcr|ln. lsl ngcncra|thcrcturnolthcgods
Conscqucnt|v. lt ls ncccssary. lor lt not tobc ln valnthat thc maturlty ol
thc sltc bc dcvastatcdbya drcam ol As| a. that onc nc| thcr |ook lorward
norback. andthatoncbc. asc|oscasposslb|ctothcunptcscntab|c. as/On
a swaylngsk|ll olthcsca Suchlsthclntcrvcnor. suchl soncwhoknows
thathclsrcqulrcdtobclalthlu| ab|ctolrcqucntthcsltc. tosharcthclrults
ol thc carth. but a|so. hc| dbyndc|lty to thc othcr cvcnt. ab|c to dlsccrn
lracturcs. s| ngu| ar| t| cs. thc onthccdgcol thcvo| d wh|ch makcs thc
vacl||at| on ol thc |aw posslb|c. lts dvslunctlon. lts crookcdncss. but a| so.
protcctcd aca| nst thc prophctlc tcmptat| on. aga| nst thc canon| ca| arro-
cancc. buta|so. conndcntln thc cvcnt. ln thc namcthathcbcstowsupon
| t And. nna| | y. thusdcpartcdlromthccarthtothcsca. cmbarkcd. ab|cto
tcstthclrults.toscparatclromthclrappcaranccthc|atcntsavourthatthcy
draw. | nthcluturc antcr|or. lrom thclrdcslrc to not bc bound
261
Fñk1VÌ
Quanti ty a n d Knowl edge.
The Di scer ni bl e (or Constructi bl e) :
Lei bni z/G6dei
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-SI X
The Concept of Quanti ty and the Impasse of
Ontol ogy
1hcthoughtolbc|ngaspurcmu|t|p|corasmu|t|p|c w|thoutonc~mav
appcarto||nkthatthoughttooncolquant|tv.Bcnccthcqucst|on | sbc|ng
|ntr|ns|ca||v quant|nab|c' Or. to bc morc prcc|sc g|vcnthatthc lorm ol
prcscntation|sthcmu|t|p|c. |sthcrcnotanor|g|na|||nkbctwecnwhat| s
prcscnted and quant|tat|vc cxtcns|on' Wc know that lor Kant thc kcv
pr|nc|p|e olwhathctcrmedthc ax|omsol|ntu|t|on rcads Al||ntu| t|ons
arccxtcns|vcmagn|tudcs.inrccogn|z|ng|nthcpurcmu|t|p|cthatwh|ch.
ol|tsprescntat|on.|s|tsbc|ng.arcwcnotpos|t|ng.svmmctr|ca||vtoKants
ax|oms. that cvcrv prcscntat|on | s |ntr|ns|ca||v quant|tat|vc' is cvcrv
mu|t|p|e numcrab|c'
Aga|n.asKantsavs ' thcpurcschcmaols/zc( auan///a//si . . . |snum/cr. . .
Numbcr | s thus noth|ng othcr than thc un|tv ol thc svnthcs|s ol thc
man|lo|d ol an |ntu|t|on wh|ch | s homogcncous | n gcncra|. Oua purc
mu|t|p|e ol mu|t|plcs. thc onto|og|ca| schcma ol prcscntat|on | s a|so
homogencouslorus. And|nasmuchas| t| ssub] cct tothccllcctolonc. | t
|sa| soasvnthcs|solthcman|lo|d. isthcrcthusancsscnt|a|numcros|tvol
be|ng'
Olcoursc. lorus. thcloundat|onola quant|tvolbc|ng cannotbethat
proposcdbvKant lor thc quant|tv olrhc ob] ccts ol|ntu|t|on Kant ñnds
th|sloundat|on|nthctransccndenta|potcntla||tvolt|mcandspacc. wh||st
wc arcattcmpt|ngtomathcmat|ca||vth|nkmu|t|p|cprcscntat|on/rrcspcc
//vc ol t|mc ( wh|ch |s loundcd bv |ntcrvcnt|oni and spacc ( wh|ch |s a
s|ngu|arconstruct|on. rc|at|vctoccrtalntvpes olprcscntat|oni . Whatth|s
cnta||s. morcovcr. l sthatthcvcrvconccpt ols|zc (or olnumbcr i cannot.
lor us. bc that cmp|ovcdbv Kant ior h|m. an cxtcns|vc s|zc | s that | n
265
266
BEI NG AND EVENT
wh|chthe reprcsentat|ono|the partsmakcsposs|b|cthercprcscntatlonol
thcwho|e . Yet! havcsulhclcnt|vins|sted. | npart|cu| ar| nMcd|tat|ons ?.
°and7. ont helactthatthcCantor|anldeao|t hcmu|t|p|e. crvsta|||zed|n
thc s|gn E ol be|onglng. cannot be subsumed undcr the who|e/parts
re|at|on. !t |s not poss|b|c lor thc number ol be|ng÷|l |t cx|ststo bc
thought|romthestandpolntolthlsrc|atl on.
8ut pcrhaps thc mal n obstac|e |s not lound thcrc. 1he obstac|e÷|t
separates us lrom Kant. wlth the cnt|re depth ol the Cantorlan rcvo| u
t|on÷res|des| nthelo||owlng ( Mcd|tat|ons l 1 and 1 4) : thclorm mu|tlp|c
ol presentat|on | s genera||v |nhnlte. 1hat bc|ng |s glvcn as lnhn|te
mu|t|p||c|t|eswou|dsecm to we|gh agalnstltsbe|ngnumcrab|e. !twou|d
rather be |nnumerab| e. As Kant savs. such a concept ol s|zc '|nhn|tv.
whether |t bc spat|a| or tempora| | . |lke that o| a glven |nhn|tv. l s
emp|rlca||v|mposslb|c !nhnltvl s. atbest.a||m|t! deaolexper|ence. butlt
cannotbe oncolthestakesolknow|edge.
1he d|lhcu|tv | s l n lact the lo|lowl ng thc extens|vc or quant|tat|ve
characterolprcsentat|onsupposcs thatcommcnsurab|e mu|tlp||c|t|csarc
p|aced |n re|atlon to one another. !n ordcr to havc thc beg|nn|ngs ol a
know|cdgeolquantltv. oncmustbcab|cto savthatone mu|tlp|c|s | arger
than another 8ut what exact|v does |t mean to sav that one |nhn|te
mu| t|p|e|s |argerthan another' 0l course. one can scehowone |nhn|te
mu| t|p|eprcscn/sanother |n th|s manncr. wo, thc hrstlnhn|te ordlna| ( cl.
Med|tat|on 1 4) , be|ongs÷lor examp|cto lts successor. the mu|tlp|e
wo U { wo} , wh|ch| sobta|ncdbvthcaddlt|onolthename {wo} |tse|ltothe
( hnltei mu|t|p|eswhlchmakcupwoo Bavewcobta|ncda | argcr mu|t|p|e
lor a|| that' ! t has bcen opcn know|edge lor ccntur|es ( Pasca| uscd th|s
polnt lrequent| vi that addlng somethlng hn|te to the lnhnltc does not
changethe|nhn|tequant|tv| loneattemptstodetcrm|ncth|squant|tvas
such. Ca|||co hada|rcadyrcmarkcdthat. strlct|vspeak|ng. thercwercno
more'squarenumbersolthclormn²thanthcrcwcresl mp| cnumbers.
s|ncelorcachwho|enumbcrn.onecancstab|lshacorrcspondencew|th|ts
squaren². Bequ|tew|se|vconc|udedlromthls. morcovcr.thatthenot|ons
ol more and |ess werenotpertlncnttol nhn|tv. orthatlnhn|tctota||t|es
wereno/quantlt| cs.
!ntheend. thcapparent|mpasscolanvonto|og|ca|doctr|neolquantltv
can bc cxprcsscd as lo||ows. thc onto|oglca| schcma ol prcscntatlon
supportedbvthedecls|ononnatura||nhnltv( thereex|stsa| |m|tord|na| i
admlts cx/s/cn/ l nhn|te mu| tlp||c|tlcs. uowcvcr. there seems t obe some
d|lhcu|tv | n undcrstandlng how thc |atter m|ght be comparab|c. or how
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
thcv m|ght bc|ong to a un|tv ol count wh|ch wou| d bc un|lorm|v
app|lcab|c to thcm. 1hcrclorc. bc|ng|snotm gcncra| quant|hab| c
!t wou| d not bc an cxaggcratlon to sav that thc d|sso|utlon ol th| s
|mpassc commandsthc dcstlnvolthought.
l . 1BL0UAN1!1A1!VL COMPAR!SONOI!Ni!N!1L SL1S
0ncolCantorsccntra|l dcaswastoproposcaprotoco|lorthccomparlson
o||nhn|tcmu|tlp|cswhcn ltcomcstothchnltc. wchavca|wavsknown
howtorcsort tothoscpart|cu|arordlna|sthatarcthcmcmbcrs olwo, thc
hn|tcord|na|s. orthc natura|who|cnumbcrs ( c. Mcd|tatlon 1 4) ; that|s.
wckncwhowtocoiin/. 8utwhatcxact|vcou|dcountlngmcanlor|nhnltc
mu|t|p|cs'
What happcncd was that Cantor had thc br|||lant |dca ol trcat|ng
pos|tlvc|vthcrcmarksolCa|||coandlasca|andthoscolthcPortugucsc
1csu|tschoo| bclorcthcm÷ln whlchthcsc authors hadconc| udcd |n thc
|mposslb||ltvollnhnltcnumbcr.Asoltcnhappcns. thc|nvcntloncons|stcd
|nturn|nga paradoxlntoa conccpt. S|nccthcrclsa corrcspondcncc. tcrm
bv tcrm. bctwccnthc who|c numbcrs andthc squarc numbcrs. bctwccn
thcnandthcn². whvnotl ntrcp|d|vpos|tthat| nlactthcrcarc]us/asmany
scuarc numbcrs as numbcrs' 1hc ( |ntu|t|vci obstac|c to such a thcs|s ls
thatsquarcnumbcrslormapar/olnumbcrs|ngcncra|. andl loncsavsthat
thcrc arc ] ust as manv squarcs asthcrc arcnumbcrs. thc o|d Luc|ldcan
max|m thcwho| cl sgrcatcrthanthcpart | sthrcatcncd. 8utthlsl scxact|v
thcpo|nt. bccauscthc sctthcorv doctr|nc o|thcmu|t|p|cdocsnot dchnc
thc mu| t|p|c |t docs not havc to run thc gaunt| ct ol thc lntu|t|on ol thc
who|cand|tsparts. morcovcr. th|s lswhv ltsdoctr|ncolquantltv canbc
tcrmcd ant| - Kant| an. Wcw||| a|| ow. w|thout b|l nk|ng an cvc. that g|vcn
that|tl samattcrollnhnltcmu| tlp|cs. ltl sposs| b|clorwhat| s /n:/udc4( |ikc
scuarc numbcrsln wholcnumbcrsi to bc asnumcrous as that lnwh|ch
lt | s |nc|udcd. lnstcad ol bc|ng an l nsurmountab|c obstac|c lor anv
comparlson ol lnhnltc quantlt|cs. such commcnsurabl||tv wll| bccomc a
part|cu|arpropcrtvolthcscquantlt| cs 1hcrc |s a subvcrs|onhcrclnolthc
o| d lntu|t|on ol quantl tv. that subsumcd bv thc coup|c who|c/parts thls
subvcrslon comp|ctcs thc lnnovat|on ol thought. and thc ruln o| that
lntu|t|on.
Ca|||cos rcmarkorl cntatcd Cantorlnvctanothcrmanncr. | l thcrc arc
as manv squarc numbcrs as numbcrs. thcn thls ls bccausc onc can
267
268
BEI NG AND EVENT
cstab||sha corrcspondcnccbctwccncvcrv who|cn and| tssquarcn
.
• 1h|s
conccptoltcrmlortcrm corrcspondcncc bctwccnamu|t|p|c.bc| t|nhn|tc.
andanothcrmu|t|p|c provldcs thc kcvto a proccdurc olcompar| son. two
mu|t|p|csw|||bcsa|dtobc asnumcrous ( or.aCantor|anconvcnt|on. o]/hc
samcpowcriascachothcr|lthcrccx/s/ssuchacorrcspondcncc.Notcthatthc
conccpt ol quant|tv |s thus rclcrrcd tothat olcx|stcncc. as|s appropr|atc
g|vcnthconto|og|ca|vocat|onolsctthcorv
1hcmathcmat|ca|lorma|lzat|onolthc gcncra||dcaolcorrcspondcncc
|s a lunct|on. A lunct|on ] causcs thc c|cmcnts ol onc mu|t|p|c to
corrcspond to thc c|cmcnts ol anothcr Whcn onc wrltcs]�i * ß. th|s
mcansthatthc c|cmcntß corrcsponds to thc c|cmcnto
Asusp|c|ousrcadcrwou|dob] cctthatwchavc|ntroduccda supp|cmcn-
tarvconccpt.thatollunct|on.wh|chcxcccdsthcpurc mu|t|p|c. andru|ns
thconto|og|ca|homogcnc|tvolsctthcorv.Wc||no. |nlact' A lunct|oncan
qu|tc cas||v bc rcprcscntcd as a purc mu|tlp|c. as cstab||shcd |n
Appcnd|x2. Whcnisav thcrccx|stsalunct|oniammcrc|vsav|ng. thcrc
cxlsts a mu|t|p|c whlch has suchand such charactcr|st|cs . and thc |attcr
canbcdcnncdonthcbas|solthcidcasolthc mu|tlp|ca|onc
1hccsscntla|charactcr|stlcolalunct|on|st hat |tcstab||shcsacorrcspon
dcnccbctwccn an c|cmcnt andonc othcrc|cmcnta/onc. |l i havc](oi = ß
and]�i * y, th|s |s bccauscß |s /hc samc mu//|p/c as y.
ln ordcr to cxhaust thc | dca ol tcrm bv tcrm corrcspondcncc. as | n
Ca||lcos rcmark. i must. howcvcr. |mprovc mv lunct|ona| conccpt ol
corrcspondcncc 1o conc|udc that squarcs arc asnumcrous asnumbcrs.
noton|vmusta squarc corrcspondtocvcrvnumbcr. but. convcrsc|v. lor
cvcrvsquarcthcrcmusta| sobcacorrcspond|ngnumbcr (andonca|onci
0thcrw|sc. I w|||nothavcpract|scdthc comparat|vccxhcus//ono l thc/wo
mu|t|p|cs |n qucst|on. 1h|s |cads us to thc dcñnlt|on ol a oncto onc
lunct|on( oronc-toonccorrcspondcncci . thcloundatlonlorthcquant|ta-
t|vccompar|son olmu|t|p|cs.
äava andßarc twoscts. 1hc lunct|on]ola towardsßw|||bcaonc/eonc
corrcspon4cnccbctwccn o andß |l
- lorcvcrvc|cmcntola, thcrccorrcsponds. v|a] anc| cmcnt olß.
- to two d|llcrcnt c|cmcnts ola corrcspond two dlllcrcnt c|cmcnts ol
f
;
- and. cvcrv c|cmcnt ol ß |s thc corrcspondcnt. bv] ol an c|cmcnt ol
u.
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
!t|sc| earthat|nth| smannerthe use ol/ a||ows us to rep|ace' a//the
e|ementsola w| tha//thee|ementsol3bvsubst|tut|nglorane|ementool
a the](oi olo. un| que. andd|llerentlromanvother. thatcorrespondsto|t.
1heth|rdcond|t|on statesthata//thee|ementsolo aretobeused |n th|s
manner!t|squ|teasulnc|entconceptlorthetaskolth|nk|ngthattheone
mu|t|p|eodoesnotmakeupone more' mu| t|p|ethana, andthata ando
are thus equa| |n number. or |n extens|on. w|th respect to what thev
present
!ltwomu|t|p| esaresuchthatthereex|stsa one to onecorrespondence
betweenthem. |tw|||besa|dthatthevhave/hcsamcpowcr. orthatthevare
extens|ve|vthe same
1h|sconcept|s ||tera| | vthatolthequant|tat|ve|dent|tvoltwo mu|t| p|es.
and|ta| soconcernsthosewh|chare |nnn|te
2 NA1URAL0UAN1!1A1lVL C0RRLIA1L 0FA MUL1!PLL.
CARulNAL!1Y ANu CARu!NALS
We now have at our d|sposa| an ex|stent|a| procedure ol compar|son
betweentwomu|t|p' es. atthe|eastweknowwhat|tmeanswhenwesav
thatthevarethesamequant|tat|ve| v1he stab|e ornatura|mu|t|p|esthat
are ord|na| s thus become comparab|e to anv mu| t|p|e whatsoever 1h|s
comparat|ve reduct| on olthe mu| t| p|e|ngenera|to the ser|esolord|na|s
w||| a||ow us to constructwhat |sessent|a|lor anv thoucht olquant| tv. a
sca|e olmeasure.
Wehaveseen ( Med|tat|on l 2 i thatanord|na|. anonto| og|ca| schemaol
the natura| mu|t|p|e. const|tutes a namenumber |nasmuch as the one
mu|t|p|e that |t |s. tota||v ordered bv the lundamenta| !dea ol pre
sentat|on÷be| ong|ng÷a|sodes| gnatesthe|ongnumerab| echa|nola| | the
prev|ousord|na| s Anord|na||sthusatoo| mu|t|p|e.apotent|a| measur|ng
|nstrument lorthe l ength' olanv set. once|t is guaranteed. bvtheax|om
ol cho|ce÷or ax|om ol abstract |ntervent|on (d. Med| tat|on 22i ÷that
everv mu|t|p|e can be we|| ordered We are go|ng to emp|ov th|s |nstru
menta|va| ueolord|na| s . |ts sub]acentonto|og|ca|s|gn|hcat| on. moreover.
|s thateverv mu| t|p| e can beconnectedtoa natura|mu| t | p| e. or. |n other
words. /c/nµ/sun/vcrsa//y acp/oyc4asna/urc Notthat everv presentat|on|s
natural we know th|s |s not the case÷h| stor|ca| mu| t | p| es ex|st ( see
Med|tat|ons l 6 and 1 7 onthe loundat|on ol th|s d|st| nc|| oni ÷but everv
269
270
BEI NG AND EVENT
mu|tlp|ccanberclcrrcdtonatura|prcscntatlon. lnpartlcu|arwlthrcspcct
tolts numbcr orquantlty.
0nc ol onto|ogv's crucla| statcmcnts ls lndccd thc |o||ow| ng. cvcrv
mu|tlp|c hasthc samc powcrasat|cast oncordlna|. ! nothcrwords. thc
c|ass' lormcd out olthosc mu|tlp|cs whlch havc thc samc quantltvwl||
a|wayscontalnat|castoncordlna| . 1hcrclsno slzc' whlchlssuchthatonc
canootnndancxamp/colltamongstthenatura|mu|tlp|cs. !nothcrwords.
naturccontalnsa| | thlnkab|cordcrsolsl zc.
Eowcvcr. byvlrtueoltheordlna|s propcrtvolmlnlma||ty. l lthcrccxlsts
anordlna| whlch l s attachcd to a ccrtaln c|ass ol mu|tlp|cs accordlng to
thelrslze. thcnthcre cxl sts a sma||cstordlna| olth|stvpe ( ln thcscnscol
thescrlcsolordlna|si . What! mean lsthatamongsta|| thcordlna|ssuch
that a onctoonc corrcspondcncc cxlsts bctwccn thcm. thcrc ls onc ol
them. unl quc. whlchbc|ongstoa||thcothcrs. orwhl chlsE mlnlma|lor
thcpropcrtytohavesuchanlntrlnslcslzc' . 1hl sordlna|wl||cvldcnt|vbc
such thatltwl||bc lmposslb|c lorthcrcto cxlst a oncto- onc corrcspon
dcnccbetwccnlt andan ordlna|sma||erthanl t. !twmmark. amongstthc
ordlna|s. thc]ron(/cr at whlch a ncw ordcr ol lntrl nsl c slzc commcnccs.
1hcsc ordlna|s can bc pcrlcct|v dcnncd. thcy posscss thc propcrtv ol
to|cratlng nooncto onc corrcspondcnccwlthanvolthe ordlna| s whlch
preccdc thcm. As lrontlcrs ol powcr. thcy wl|| bc tcrmed :ar4/na/s 1hc
propcrtvolbc|nga cardlna| canbcwr|ttcn aslo||ows.
car4 zi H
'
a l san ordlna|. andthcre ls no oncto one corrcspondencc
bctwccn a and an ordlna| ß suchthatf E a.
'
Rcmcmbcr. a lunctl on. whlch ls a onctoonc correspondcncc. ls a
rc|atlon. and(husamu/(/p/c( Appendix2 i . 1hlsdchnitlonln nowaydcparts
lromthe gcncra|lramcworkolonto|ocv.
1hc | dca ls thcn to reprcscnt the c|ass ol mu|tlp|cs ol thc samc
slzc÷thoscbctwccnwhlchaoncto onccorrcspondcnccexlsts÷thatls. to
namcanordcrolslze. bvmcansolthccardlna|prcscntl nthatc|ass. 1hcrc
l sa|waysoncolthcm. butthlsl nturn dcpcndsupona crucl a| polntwhlch
wehavc|cltlnsuspcnsc. cvcrv mu|tlp|ehasthcsamcpowcrasat|castonc
ordlna|.andconscqucot|vthcsamcpowcrasthcsma||cstolordlna|solthc
samcpowcras l tthc|attcrl sncccssarl|y a cardl na| . Sl ncc ordlna|s. and
thuscardl na| s. arctota||yordcrcd. wcthcrcbvobtalnameasurl ngsca|clor
lntrlnslcslzc. 1hclurthcrthccardina| namcola typcolslzc (orpoweri l s

p|accd ln thc scrlcs ol ordl na| s. thc hlghcr thls typc wl|| bc. äuch ls thc
prlnclp|eola mcasurlngsca|clorquantltvl npurc mu|tlp|cs. thus. lorthc
quantltatlvc lnstanceolbclng.
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
Wc havc not yct cstab||shcd thc lundamcnta| conncct|oo bctwccn
mu|t|p|cs|ngcncra|andnatura| mu|t|p|cs. thcconncct|onwhichcons|sts
ol thc cx|stcncc lor cach ol thc lormcr ol a rcprcscntat|vc ol thc samc
powcr lrom amongst thc |attcr. that |s. thc lact that natu·c mcasurcs
/c/nµ
For thc rcst ol this book. i wl|| lncrcas|ng|v usc what i ca|| accounts o]
dcmonstrat/on. subst|tutcs lor thc actua| dcmonstrat|ons thcmsc|vcs Mv
mot|vc|scvidcnt. thclurthcrwcp|ungc|ntothconto|og|ca|tcxt.thcmorc
comp||catcd thc stratcgy ol hdc||tv bccomcs. and |t oltcn docs so wcI|
bcyond thc mctaonto|og|ca| or ph||osoph|ca| |ntcrcst that mlght ||c |n
lo||ow|ng |t 1hc account ol thc prool wh|ch conccrns us hcrc |s thc
lo||ow|ng. g|vcn an l ndctcrm|natc mu|t|p|c à. wc cons|dcr a ]unct/on o]
cho/cconp(ài . whosccx|stcncc|sguarantccdlorusbvthcaxl omolcho|cc
( Mcd|tat|on 22i . Wc w||| thcn constru.t an ord|na| such that lt l s | nonc
toonc corrcspondcnccwl thà 1o do th|s wc wl|| hrst cstab|lsh a corrc-
spondcnccbctwccnthc vold sct. thc sma||cstc|cmcntolanvordlna|. and
thcc|cmcnt à.. wh|ch corrcsponds vla thc lunct|on ol cho|cc to à |tsc|l.
1hcn. lorthclo||ow|ng ord|na|÷wh|ch |s | nlact thc numbcr I ÷wc w|||
cstab||sha corrcspondcncc w|th thc c|cmcnt thatthc lunct|on olcho|cc
slng|cs out| nthcpart 'à- à.} . savthc |attcrc|cmcnt |sà . 1hcn. lor thc
lo||owingordina|. a corrcspondcnccw|||bccstab|lshcdw|th thc c|cmcnt
choscn |n thc part ' à - [ à.. àJ| . and so on For an ord|na| a, a
corrcspondcncc|scstab||shcdw|ththcc|cmcnts|ng| cdoutbv thc lunctlon
olcho|cc|nthcpartobta|ncdbvsubtractlnglrom\cvcrvth|ngwhlchhas
a/·cadybccnobtalncd ascorrcspondcntlorthc ord|na|swh|chprcccdc a.
1h|scont|nucsuptot hcpolntol thcrcbclngno|ongcranvth|ng|clt|nà.
that |s. uptothc polnt that what hastobcsubtractcd| s\ |tsc||. such that
thc rcma|ndcr |scmpty. andthclunct|ono|cho|cc canno|ongcrchoosc
anvth|ng Sav that y l s thc ord|na| atwh|ch wc stop ( thc hrst t o whlch
ncth|ngcorrcsponds. lor| ack olanypcss|b|ccholcci itls qultcc|carthat
our corrcspondcncc |s onc-to- onc bctwccn th|s ordlna| y and thc lnlt|a|
mu|t|p|c à. s|ncc a// ol A'S c|cmcnts havc bccn cxhaustcd. and cach
corrcspondstoanord|na|antcr|ortoy. itsohappcnsthat a||thcord|na|s
antcrlortoy
'
| snoth|ngothcr. qua onc- mu|t|p|c. thany |tsc|l OLu
8c|ngt hcsamcslzcasanordlna|. | t |sccrta|nthatt hcmu|tlp|cà| sthc
samcs|zc asa cardl na| ilthc ordlna| y thatwc havc constructcd ls nota
card|na|. th|s|sbccausc |t has thcsamcpowcras anord|na|wh|chprcccdcs
| t Lct' s sc|cct thc E - ml nl ma| ordlna| lrom amongst thc ord|na|s whlch
havc thc samc powcr as y. it |s ccrtaln|v a cardlna| and l t has thc samc
271
272
BEI NG AND EVENT
powcr as y, bccausc whatevcr hast hcsamcpowcr as whatcvcr hasthc
samcpowcr. hasthcsamcpowcras. . . ( I | eavc thc rcsttovoui .
i t | s thusguarantccdthatthccardl na| scanscrvca s amcasur| ngsca|elor
the s|zc ol scts. Lct's notc at th| spolnt that lt | s upon thc | ntcrvcntlona|
ax| om÷thccx. stcnceolthe| | | cga|lunc.| onolcholce. olthcrcprcscntatlvc
w| thouta proccdurcolrcprcscntat|on÷thatth| ssccondv|ctorvolnature
dcpcnds thc vlctorv whlch |l cs | n l ts capac|tv to ]. on an ordercd
sca| c÷thccard| na|s÷thctvpcol|ntrlns| cslzcolmu|t|p|cs. 1hlsdl a|cctlcol
thc l||cgal and thc hc| ght ol ordcr | s charactcrlstlc ol the stv| e ol
onto|ogv
3. 1BL PRO8LLMOiINilNl1L CARDINALS
1hcthcorvolcard| na| s÷andcspccl a| | vthatol | nnn| tccard| na| s. whlch| s
tosavthosccqua| orsupcr|ortoo.÷lormsthcvcrvhcartolsctthcorv. thc
po| nt at wh|ch. hav|ng attal ncd an apparcnt mastcrv. v| a thc namc-
numbcrsthatarcnatura| mu| t| p|cs. olthcquantltvolpurc mu| t| p|cs. thc
mathcmat| clan can Jcp|ov thc tcchnlca| rc||ncmcnt l n wh| ch what hc
guards l s lorgottcn bc| ngquabe|ng An cm. ncnt spccl a| | st l nsct thcorv
wrotc. pract|ca||v spcak| ng. thc most part ol sct thcory |s the studv ol
lntin| tc card| na| s´
1hcparadox | sthatthc | mmcnsc wor|d o|thcsccardl na| s ' pract|ca| | v
docsnotappcar| n worklng mathcmat|cs.thatl s. thcmathcmat| cswhlch
dca|s wlth rca| and comp|cx numbcrs. lunct| ons. a| gcbralc structurcs.
var|ct|cs. d| llcrcntla| gcomctrv. topo| oc| ca| a|gcbra. ctc Andthls l sso lor
an lmportant rcasonwh| ch houscsthcalorcmcntloncd |mpasse olonto| -
ogy: we shal l procccd t i t s encounter.
Ccrta|n rcsu|ts olthc theory ol cardl na|s arc | mmcdlatc
- Lvcrvhnlteord| na| ( cvcrvc|emcntolwo) |s a card| na| . ltlsqul tcc| car
|hatonccannotcstab||shanyonctoonccorrcspondcnccbctwccntwo
d| llcrcnt who|cnumbcrs. 1hcwor|dolthc hnltc | s therclorcarrangcd.
. nrcspcctto|ntrlns|cs| ze. accord|ngtothcsca| colnn| tc ordlna| s. thcrc
arc Wo tvpes ol | ntr| ns| c s|ze. as manv as therc are natma| who| e
oumbers
- 8v t hc samc tokcn. w| thout d| l|l cu| tv. onc can hna| | v extcnd thc
d| st|nct| on hn| tc/ |nt|nlte to mu| t| p| cs | n gcncra| prcv| ous| y | t was
rescrvedlornatura| mu|t| p| csamu| tlp|clsthusl n||n| tc( orhn| tci | llts
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
quan|ltv ls namcd bv a cardlna| cqua| or supcrl or ( or. rcspcctlvc|v.
lnlcrl ori to Woo
- itlsguarantccdthatWo lsltsc|la cardlna|÷thcnrstl nnnltccardlnal . l l
ltwcrcnot such. thcrcwou|dhavctobca onc to onc corrcspondcncc
bctwccn ltand anordlna| sma|lcr than lt. thus bctwccnltanda nnltc
numbcr 1hls lsccrtalnlv lmposs|b|c ( dcmonstratc l t ' i
- 8ut canonc surpass' o.'Arcthcrcl nnn| tcquantltlcsl argcrthanothcr
lnnnltcquantltlcs'Bcrc wc touch upon oncol Cantor' sma] orlnnova-
tlons . thc lnnnltcpro|llcratlon ol 4/]crcn/| nnnltcquantltlcs Notonlvl s
quantltvhcrcnumbcrcdbvacard| na|÷pcrtlncnttolnnnltc- bclng. but
l t dlstlngulshcs. wlthln thc lnnnltc. |argcr' and sma| | cr lnnnltc
quantltlcs 1hc ml| |cnarv spccu|at|vc opposltlon bctwccn thc hn| tc.
quantltatlvc|vvarl cdanddcnumcrab|c. andthclnnnltc. unquantlnab|c
and unlquc. ls succccdcd÷thanks to thc Cantorlan rcvo| utl onbv a
unllormsca|c ol quantltlcswhlchgocs lrom thccmptvmu|tlp|c ( whlch
numbcrs nothl ngi t o an un|lmltcd scrlcs ol l nnnltc cardlna|s. wh|ch
numbcr quantltatlvc|v dlstlnct lnhn|tc mu|tlp|cs Ecncc thc
achlcvcmcnt÷lnthcpro|llcratlonollnnnltlcs÷olthccomp|ctcruln ol
anvbclngolthc 0nc
1hchcart olthl srcvo|utlonl sthcrccogn|tlon ( authorlzcdbvthcidcas
o|thcmu|tlp| c. thcaxl omsolsctthcorvi thatdlstlnctlnnnltcquantlt| csdo
cxlst What |cads to thls rcsu| tls a thcorcmwhosc scopclorthoughtl s
lmmcnsc. Cantor s thcorcm
4 1BL S1A1L Oi A S!10A1i0N!S 0UAN1!1A1!VLLY LARCLR1uAN
1BL Si1UA1iON !1SLLF
!tls qultcnatura|. l na||ordcrs olthought. tohavcthc ldca olcxaml n| ng
thc quantltat|vc rc| atlon. orrc|at| onolpowcr.bctwccna sltuat| onandlts
statc A sltuatlon prcscnts oncmult|p|cs. thc statc rc-prcscnts parts or
compos| tlons ol thosc mu|tlp|cs uocs thc statc prcscnt morc' or | css'
part multlp|cs than thc s| tuatl on prcscnts oncmu|tlp|cs ( or as manv' i '
1hcthcorcmol thcpolntolcxccss ( Mcdltat|on7) a| rcadvlnd| catcslorus
thatthcstatccannotbc/hcsamcmu|tlp|casthcsltuatlonwhoscstatcl t l s
Yctthl sa|tcrltvdocsnot ru|c outthclntrlnslcquantltv÷thccardlna|÷ol
thcstatebclngldcntlca|tothatolthcs| tuatlon.1hcstatcmlghtbcdillcrcnt
wmst rcmalnlng as numcrous' . butnomorc
273
274
BEI NG AND EVENT
Note, however, that in any case the state i s a(/cas(as numerous as the
si tuati on: the cardinal of the set of parts of a set cannot be inferior to that
of the set. This is so because given any element of a set, its singleton i s a
part. and since a singleton ' corresponds' to every presented element. there
are at least as many parts as elements.
The only remaining question is that of knowing whether the cardinal of
the set of parts is equal or superior to that of the initial set. The said
theorem-Cantor's-establishes that it is always superior. The demonstra­
tion uses a resource which establishes its knship to Russell's paradox and
to the theorem of the point of excess. That i s, it involves ' diagonal '
reasoning, which reveals a ' one- more' ( or a remainder) of a procedure
which i s supposed exhaustive, thus ruining the latter'S pretension. It is
possible to say that this procedure i s typical of everything in ontology
which is related to the problem of excess, of 'not-being-according-to-such­
an- instance- of -the- one' .
Suppose that a one-to-one correspondence, f exists between a set a and
the set of its parts, puì . that is, that the state has the same cardinal as the
set ( or more exactly, that they bel ong to the same quantitative class whose
representative is a cardinal ) .
To every c/cmcn(ßof a thus corresponds a par(of a, which is an element
of p�i . Since this part corresponds by fto the element ßwe wilwrite it f() .
To cases can then be distinguished:
- either the element ßi s /nthe part f() which corresponds to it, that is,
f
E f() ;
- or this is not the case: - ( E f() ) .
One can also say that the-supposed-one-to-one correspondence f
between a and p�i ca(cµor/zcsa
'
S elements into two groups, those which are
internal to the part ( or element of p�i i which corresponds to them, and
those which are external to such parts. The axiom of separation guarantees
us the existence of the part of a composed of all the elements which are
f- external : it corresponds to the property ßdoes not belong to f() ' . This
part, because fis a one-to-one correspondence between a and (hcsc(of its
parts, corresponds via f to an element of a that we shall call o ( for
' diagonal ' ) . As such we have: ](oi * 'the set of al l f- external elements of a
'
.
The goal. in which the supposed existence of f is abolished ( here one can
recognize the scope of reasoning via the absurd, d. Meditation 24), i s to
show that this element o is i ncapable of being itself either f- internal or
f- external .
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
If 1 is [- internal. this means that 1 E [(1) . But [(1) is the set of [external
elements, and so 1, if it belongs to [(1) , cannot be [-internal: a contra­
diction.
If 1 is [- external. we have - (1 E [(1) ) , therefore 1 is not one of the
elements which are [external. and so it cannot be [external either:
another contradiction.
The only possible conclusion is therefore that the initial supposition of a
one-to-one correspondence between a and p�) is untenable. The set of
parts cannot have the same cardinal as the initial set. It exceeds the latter
absolutely; it is of a higher quantitative order.
The theorem of the point of excess gives a local response to the question
of the relation between a situation and its state: the state counts at least
one multiple which does not belong to the situation. Consequently, the
state is 4/]crcntfrom the situation whose state it i s. Cantor's theorem, on
the other hand, gives a gl obal response to this questi on: the power of the
state-in terms of pure quantity-is superior to that of the situation. This,
by the way, is what rules out the idea that the state i s merely a ' refl ecti on'
of the situation. It is separated from the situation: this much has already
been shown by the theorem of the point of excess. Now we know that it
dominates i t.
°. FIRST EXAMINATION OF CANTOR' S THEOREM: THE MEASURING
SCALE OF INFINITE MULTIPLES, OR THE SEQUENCE OF ALEPHS
Since the quantity of the set of parts of a set i s superior to that of the set
itself, the problem that we raised earlier is solved: there necessarily exists
at least one cardi nal l arger than Wo (the frst infnite cardinal ) -it i s the
cardinal which numbers the quantity of the mUltiple p�o ) . Quantitatively,
infnity is mUltipl e. This consideration immediately opens up an infnite
scale of distinct infnite quantities.
It i s appropriate to apply the pri nciple of minimality here, which is
characteristic of ordinals ( Meditation 1 2 ) . We have j ust seen that an
ordinal exists which has the property of 'being a cardinal and being
superior to wo
'
( ' superior" means here: which presents, or, to which Wo
belongs, since the order on ordinals is that of belonging) . Therefore, there
exists a sma//cs(ordinal possessing such a property. It is thus the smallest
275
276
BEI NG AND EVENT
cardlna|supcrlortowo, thclnhnltc quantltvwhl chcomcs] ustaltcrwoo !t
wl l | bc wrlttcn W I and ca||cd thcsucccssorcardlna| ol woo Oncc agal n. bv
Cantor'sthcorcm. thcmu|tlplc
Ptd
ls quant|tatlvclvsupcrlorto WI ; thus
a succcssorcardlna|olWI cxl sts. wrlttcnW2, andsoon. A||olthcscl nhnl tc
cardlna|s. wo, WI , W2 . . dcslgnatcdlstlnct. andl ncrcaslng. tvpcsollnhnltc
quantltlcs
1hc succcssor opcratlon÷thc passagc lrom onc cardlna| Wn to thc
cardlna|w" ¬ . | snotthcon|vopcratlonolthcsca|cols| zcs Wca|sohnd
hcrc thc brcach bctwccn thc gcncra| ldca o| succcsslon and that olthc
|lmlt. whlch ls charactcrlstlc ol thc natura| unlvcrsc. ior cxamp|c. l t l s
qu| tc c|cart hat t hcscrlcs wo, WI , W2 • • • w", w., ¬ I . . lsanlnltla|sca|c
ol dlllcrcnt cardlna|s whlch succccd onc anothcr. 8ut consldcr thc sc(
{ wo, WI , W2 - • - w", w" ¬ I . . j. lt exlsts. bccauscltl sobtalncdbvrcp/a./nµ.
ln Wo ( whlch cx| sts i . cvcrv hnltc ordlna| bv thc l nhnltc cardlna| that lt
lndcxcs ( thc lunctlon ol rcp|accmcnt ls qultc slmp| v. n ÷ W., ) .
Conscqucnt|v. thcrc a|so cxlsts thc unl on sct ol thls sct. that l s. W(o)
* U { wo, WI , . , w" . j . ! savthatthlssct W(o) ls a cardlna|. thc hrst//m/(
car4/na/ grcatcr than o.. 1h| s rcsu|ts. |ntultlvc|v. lrom thc lact that thc
c|cmcntsolW(o) , thc dlsscm| natlon olc//thcwo, WI , + • • w., . . cannot
bcp|accdl na onctoonccorrcspondcnccwlthanvw. , l npartlcu|ar. thcrc
arc too manv' ol thcmlorthat. 1hc mu|tlp|c W(o) ls thus quantltatlvc|v
supcrlortoa|| thcmcmbcrsolthcscrlcswo, WI , • • • w" . . . bccauscl t ls
composcd ol a|| thc clcmcnts ol a|| ol thcsc cardlna|s. !t l s thc cardlna|
whlchcomcs]ust altcr' thls scrlcs. thc|lmltolthlsscrlcs ( scttlngoutthls
lntultlon ln a strlctlormlsa goodcxcrclsc lotthc rcadcri .
0nccanobvlous| vcontlnuc. wcwl||havcthc succcssorcardlna|olW,
o
) ,
thatl s . o.
.
, . ands oon 1hcnwccan usct hc|lmltagaln. t hus obtalnlng
W"' O)
(o
)
' !nthlsmanncronc can attalnglgant| cmu|tlp|lcltl cs. suchas
ro
times
(((()I I )�
((1)0) .
lor cxamp|c. whlch do not thcmsc|vcs |lx anv |lmlt to thc ltcratlon ol
proccsscs.
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
1hetruth ls that lor cach ordlna| a therethus corresponds an lnhnlte
cardl na| w," lrom Wo up to the most unrepresentab|e quantltatlve
l nhnltles.
1hls sca|e ol lnhnlte mu|tlp| lcltles÷ca| | ed the sequence ol a|ephs
becausethevare oltennotedbvtheEebrew|ettera| eph ( N ) |o| |owedbv
lndexeslu|h|sthedoub|eproml seolthenumber| ngolthel nhnl tl es. and
o| the lnhnltv ol thelrtvpes thus numbered. !t comp| etesthe Cantorlan
pro] ect ol a tota| dl sseml natlon or dls unl hcat| on o| the concept ol
lnhnltv.
!l the serles ol ordlna|s deslcnates. bevond the hnl te. an l nhn|tv ol
nc/ura/| nhnltles. dlstlngu| shedbvthelact thatthevorderwhatbe|ongsto
them. thenthesequenceola| ephs names anl nhnltvolgenera| l nhnltles.
selzed. wlthout anv order. l n thel r raw dlmenslon. thel r number ol
e| ements. thatls. asthequant| tatlveextenslonolwhatthevpresent. And
slncethesequenceola|ephsls| ndexedbvordlna| s. onecansavthatthere
are as manv tvpes ol quantltatlve lnhnltv as there are natura| l nhnl te
mu| tl p| es.
Bowever. thls asmanv ls l | | usorv. becausel t|lnkstwotota| l tl eswhlch
are not on|v l nconslstent. but lnexlstent 1ust as the set ol a| | ordlna|s
cannotexlst÷whlchl s sald. Na|ure does not exl st÷norcan the setola||
cardl na| s exlst. the abso| ute|v l nhnlte !nhn| tv. the l nhnl tv ola| | lntrlnsl
ca||vthlnkab|el nhnl tl es÷whlch lssa| d. thlstl me. Coddoesnotexlst .
6. SLCONu LXAM!XA1!ON Oi CAN10R S1BLORLM. WuA1
MLASURL i0RLXCLSS'
1hes et ol partsol as et ls morenumerous thant hes et l tse| l. 8ut bvhow
much'Whatls thlsexcess wor/h. andhowcan ltbe measured' sl nce we
dlsposeolacomp|etesca|eolhnltecardlna| s( natura|who|enumbersi and
l nhnltecardlna|s ( a| ephs i . ltmakes sense toask. llone knowsthecardlna|
whlchcorrespondstothequantltatlvec|assola mu|tlp|ea, what cardlna|
correspondstothequantltatlvec|assolthemu| tlp|ep(a) . Weknowthatlt
lssuperlor. that ltcomes alterwards l nthesca| e. 8ut whereexact|v'
!nthehnlte. theprob|emlsslmp| e l la setpossessesn e|ements. theset
olltspartspossesses 2
n
e| ements. whlchl sa dehn|te andca|cu|ab|e who|e
number. 1hlsnnltecomblnatorvexerclselsopentoanvreaderwltha |ltt|e
dexterltv.
277
278
BEI NG AND EVENT
But what happens if the set in question i s infnite? The corresponding
cardinal is then an aleph, say w�. Which i s the aleph which corresponds to
the set of its parts? The diffculty of the problem resides in the fact that
there is certainly one, and one alone. This is the case because cvcmexistent
multiple has the same power as a cardinal, and once the latter i s
determined, it is impossible that the multiple a/sohave the same power as
another cardinal : between two different cardinals no one-to-one corre­
spondence-by defnition-can exist.
The impasse i s the following: within the framework of those Ideas of the
mUltiple which are currently supposed-and many others whose addition
to the latter has been attempted-it i s /mposs//|cto determine where on the
scale of alephs the set of parts of an infnite set is situated. To be more
precise, it is quite coherent with these Ideas to suppose that this place is
' more or l ess' whatever one has agreed to decide upon.
Before giving a more precise expression to this errancy, to this un­
measure of the state of a situation, l et's stop and try to grasp i ts weight. It
signifes t hat however exact the quantitative knowledge of a situation may
be, one cannot, other than by an arbitrary decision, estimate by ' how
much' its state exceeds i t. It is as though the doctrine of the multiple, in the
case of infnite or post- Galilean situations, has to admit two regimes of
presentation which cannot be sutured together within the order of
quantity: the immediate regime, that of elements and belonging ( the
situation and its structure) ; and the second regime, that of parts and
inclusion ( the state) . It is here that the formidable complexity of the
question of the state-in politics, of the State-is revealed. It is articulated
around this hiatus which has been uncovered by ontology in the modality
of impossibility: (hc na(ura/ mcasur/nµ sca/c]er mu///p/cprcscn(a//ons /s no(
appropr/a(c]orrcprcscn(a(/ons.It is not appropriate for them, despite the fact
that they are certainly located upon it. The problem is, they arc un/oo//z
a//c upon i t. This paradoxical intrication of impossibility and certainty
disperses the prospects of any evaluation of the power of the state. That it
is necessary, in the end, to dcc/dcupon this power introduces randomness
into the heart of what can be said of being. Action receives a warning from
ontology: that it endeavours in vain when it attempts to precisely calculate
the state of the situation in which its resources are disposed. Action must
make a wager in this matter, rather than a calculation; and of this wager it
is known-what is called knowledge-that all it can do i s oscillate between
overestimation and underesti mation. The state i s solely commensurable to
the situation by chance.
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
7. COMPLETE ERRANCY OF THE STATE OF A SITUATION:
EASTON' S THEOREM
Let' s set down several conventions for our script. So that we no longer
have to deal with the indexes of alephs, from now on we shaH note a
cardinal by the letters àand 7. We shall use the notation a to indicate the
quantity of the multiple a; that is, the cardinal 7 which has the same power
as a. To indicate that a cardinal A is smaller than a cardinal 7, we shall write
à < 7 ( which in fact signifes: à and 7 are different cardinal s ) , and à E 7.
The impasse of ontology is then stated in the following manner: given a
cardinal à. what is the cardinality of its state, of the set of its parts? What
is the relation between à and p( A) ?
It is this relation which is shown to be rather an un-relation, insofar as
' almost' any relation that is chosen in advance is consistent with the Ideas
of the mUltipl e. Let' s examine the meaning of this ' al most' , and then what
is signifed by the consistency of this choice with the Ideas.
It i s not as though we know no/h/nu about the relation of size between
a mUltiple and its state, between presentation by belonging and repre­
sentation by inclusion. We know that p.-· is larger than a, whatever
multiple a we consider. This absolute quantitative excess of the state over
the situation is the content of Cantor's theorem.
We al so know another relation, whose meaning is clarifed in Appendix
> ( it states that the cofnality of the set of parts i s quantitatively superior to
the set itself) .
To what poi nt do we, in truth. know nothing more, in the framework of
the Ideas of the multiple formulable today? What teaches us here
-extreme science proving itself to be science of ignorance-is Easton's
theorem.
This theorem roughly says the foHowing: given a cardinal à. which i s
either Wo or a successor cardinal. it is coherent with the Ideas of the
multiple to choose, as the val ue of I p\· I -that is, as quantity for the state
whose situation is the multiple-any cardinal 7, provided that it is superior
to à and that i t is a successor cardi nal .
What exactly does thi s impressive theorem mean? ( Its general demon­
stration is beyond the means of this book, but a particul ar example of it i s
treated in Meditation > 6. ì ' Coherent with the Ideas of the multi pl e' means:
/]these Ideas are coherent amongst themselves ( thus, i f mathematics is a
language in which deductive fdelity is genui nely separative, and thus
consistent) , /hcnthey will remain so if you decide that. in your eyes, the
279
280
BEI NG AND EVENT
mu| tlp| c p( \i has as l t s lntrlnslc slzc a partlcular succcssor cardlnal
-÷provldcdthatl tl ssupcrlorto A.
ior cxamp| c. wl thrcspcct to thc sct olparts ol o-÷and Cantor worc
hl msc| l out. taklng hls thought to the vcrv brlnk. ln thc attcmpt to
cstab| l shthatltwascqua| tothcsucccssorolWo . to.. Lastonsthcorcm
savsthat. tl sdcductlvc| vacccptab| ctopos| tthatl tlsW'47, orW(
o
l + 1 8, or
whatcvcr othcr cardl na| as | mmensc as vou | lkc. provldcd that l t ls a
succcssor. Conscqucnt| v. Lastons thcorcm cstab| | shcs thc quasl tota|
crrancv ol thc cxccss ol thc statc ovcr thc sltuatlon. It l s as though.
bctwccnthcstructurcln wh| ch thc lmmcdlacvolbc| ong| ngl sdc|lvcrcd.
and thc mcta sttucturc whl ch counts as onc thc parts and rcgu| atcs thc
lnc|uslons. a chasm opcns. whosc n| | l ng ln dcpcnds so| c| v upon a
conccpt| csscholcc.
Bclng. as pronounccab| c. ls unlalthlu| toltsell. tothcpolntthat lt ls no
longcrposslb| cto dcducc thcva| uc. l n. nnn| tc cxtcnslon. olthccarcput
lntocvcrvprcscntatlonl nt hccountlngasoncoll tsparts 1hcun- mcasurc
olthcstatccauscsancrrancvl nquantltvonthcpartolthcvcrvl nstancc
lrom whlch we cxpcctcd÷prcc| sc|v÷thc guarantcc and nxl tv ol sltua
tlons. 1heopcratorol t hcban| shmcntol t hcvol d. wcnndl t herc |cttlng
thcvoldrcappcarat thcvcrv] olnturcbctwccnltsc| l (thccapturcolparts i
and thc sltuatlon. 1hat lt |s nccessarv to to| cratc thc a| most comp|ctc
arb|trarlncss ola cholcc. that quantltv. thc verv paradlgm ol ob]cctlvltv.
| cadstopurc sub] cctlvltv. such ls whatI wou| dwll|lnglvca| | thc Cantor
Codc| Cohcn Lastonsvmptom. Onto|ogv unvcl|s l nlts lmpassca polntat
wh| ch thought÷unconsclous that l t ls bc| ng ltsc| l whlch convokcs | t
thcrcln÷hasa|wavs hadtodlvldeltsc| l.
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-SEVEN
Ontol ogi cal Desti ny of Or i entat i on i n Thought
älnce | tsvervorlg| ns. |n ant| c| pat| onol lts Cantor|a nground| ng. ph| | oso
phvhas| nterrogatedtheabvsswh| ch separatesnumer| ca|d| scret| on lrom
the geometr|ca| cont| nuum 1h|s abvss |s none other than that whlch
separatesWo, l nnn| tedenumerab|edoma| nol nn|tenumbers. lromtheset
olltspartsp(wo) , theso|esetab|etohxthequant| tvolpo| ntsl nspace 1hat
there ls a mvsterv 01 belng at stake here. | n whlch specu|atlve d| scourse
weaves| tse|llntothemathemat|ca|doctrlneol numberandmeasure. has
beenattestedbvl nnumerab|econceptsandmetaphors !twascerta| n| vnot
c| earthat| nthe| astresortltl sa matterolthere|atl onbetweenan| n|| nl te
set and the set ol | ts parts 8ut lrom P|ato to Busser|. pass| ng bv the
magnlhcentdeve|opmentsolBege| sIoµ/c. thestr| ct|vlnexhaustlb|etheme
ol the d| a| ectlcolthe d| scont| nuousandthe contl nuousoccurs t| me and
t| me aga| n We can now sav that | t l s be| ng | tse| l. t| agrant wlth| n the
| mpasse ol onto|ogv. wh| ch organ|zes the | nexhaustlb| || tv oll ts thought.
g| venthat no measute mavbetakenolthe quantltatlvebondbetweena
sltuatl onandlts state. betweenbe|ong| ngandl nc| usl on Lvervthlng| eads
us to be| | eve that |t | s]or cvcr that thls provocat| on to the concept. thl s
unre|at| on between presentat| on and representat| on. wl|| be open l n
belng S| nce t he contlnuous÷or p(o ) -is a pure errant prlnc|p|e wlth
respect t the denumerab|e÷to o.÷the c|os| ngdown orb|ocklng ol thl s
errancv cou|d requ| re the | ngenultv olknow| edge | ndehn| te|v Such an
actlvltvwou| dnotbe| nva| n. lorthelo|| ow| ng reason. | lthelmposs| b| e
to savolbe| ng| s prec|se|vthequantltatlvebondbetweena mu|t| p|eand
themu|tlp|eof l tsparts. andl lth| sunpronounceab|eunb| ndl ngopcnsup
theperspectlve ol | nhnlte cho| ces. then| tcanbe thoughtthatth| s tlme
281
282
BEI NG AND EVENT
what is at stake i s Being itself, in default of the science of ontology. If the
real i s the impossible, the real of being-Being¯will be precisely what is
detained by the enigma of an anonymity of quantity.
Every particular orientation of thought receives as such its cause from
what it usually does not concer itself with, and which ontology alone
declares in the deductive dignity of the concept: this vanishing Being
which supports the eclipse of being between' presentation and representa­
tion. Ontology establishes its errancy. Metaontol ogy, which serves as an
unconscious framework for every orientation within thought, wishes
either to fx its mirage, or to abandon itself entirely to the j oy of its
disappearance. Thought is nothing other than the desire to fnish with the
exorbitant excess of the state. Nothing will ever allow one to resign oneself
to the innumerabl e parts« Thought occurs for there to be a cessation-even
if it onl y lasts long enough to indicate that it has not actually been
obtained-of the quantitative unmooring of being. It is always a question
of a measure being taken of how much the state exceeds the immediate.
Thought, strictly speaking, is what un- measure, ontologically proven,
cannot satisfy.
Dissatisfaction, the historical law of thought whose cause resides in a
point at which being is no longer cxac//y sayable, arises in each of three
great endeavours to remedy this excess, this I{PL5, which the Greek
tragedians quite rightly made into the major determinant of what happens
to the human creature. Aeschyl us, the greatest amongst them, proposed its
subjective channelling via the immediately political recourse to a new
symbolic order of j ustice. For it is defnitely, in the desire that is thoughty
a question of the innumerable in] ustice of the state: moreover. that one
must respond to the challenge of being by politics is another Greek
inspiration which still reigns over us. The j oint invention of mathematics
and the ' deliberative form' of the State leads, amidst this astonishing
people, to the observation that the saying of being would hardl y make any
sense if one did not immediately draw from the affairs of the City and
historical events whatever is necessary to provide also for the needs of
' that ¯ which - is-not-being' .
The frst endeavour, which I will term alternatively grammarian or
programmatic, holds that the fault at the origin of the un- measure lies in
language. It requires the state to explicitly di stinguish between what can be
legitimately considered as a part of the situation and what, despite forming
' groupings' in the latter, must nevertheless be held as unformed and
ONTOLOGI CAL DESTI NY OF ORI ENTATI ON I N THOUGHT
unnameabl e. In short, it is a question of severely restricting the recogniz­
able dignity of inclusion to what a well - made language will allow to be
named of it. In thi s perspective, the state does not count as one ' al l ' the
parts. What, moreover, i s a part? The state legislates on what it counts, the
meta structure maintains 'reasonable' representations al one in its fel d. The
state is programmed to solely recognize as a part, whose count it ensures,
what the situation' s resources themselves allow to be d|s//nµu|shcd. What­
ever i s not distinguishable by a well- made language is not. The central
principle of this type of thought is thus the Leibnizian principle of
indiscernibles: there cannot exist two things whose difference cannot be
marked. Language assumes the role of a law of being insofar as it will hold
as identical whatever it cannot distinguish. Thereby reduced to counting
only those parts which are commonly nameable, the state, one hopes, will
become adequate to the situation again.
The second endeavour obeys the inverse principl e: it holds that the
excess of the state is only unthinkable because the discernment of parts is
required. What is proposed this time, via the deployment of a doctrine of
indiscernibles, is a demonstration that it is the latter which make up the
essential of the fel d i n which the state operates, and that any authentic
thought must frst forge for itself the means to apprehend the indetermi­
nate, the undifferentiated, and the multiply-si milar. Representation is
interrogated on the side of what it numbers without ever discerning: parts
without borders, random conglomerates. It is maintained that what is
representative of a situation is not what distinctly belongs to it, but what
is evaSively included in it. The entire rational effort i s to dispose of a
matheme of the indiscernible, which brings forth in thought the innumer­
able parts that cannot be named as separate from the crowd of those
which-in the myopic eyes of language-are absolutely identical to them.
Within this orientation, the mystery of excess wil l not be reduced but
rej oined. Its origin will be known, which is that the anonymity of parts is
necessarily beyond the distinction of belongings.
The third endeavour searches to fx a stopping point to errancy by the
thought of a mUltiple whose extension is such that it organizes everything
which precedes it, and therefore sets the representative multiple i n its
place, the state bound to a situation. This time, what is at stake is a logic of
transcendence. One goes straight to the prodigality of being in infnite
presentations. One suspects that the fault of thought lies in its under­
estimation of this power, by bridling it either via language, or by the sale
283
284
BEI NG AND EVENT
rccoursc to thc undlflcrcntlatcd. 1hc correct approach ls rathcrto dlllcr-
cntlate a glgantlc lnhnltv whlch prcscrlbcs a hlcrarchlca| dlsposltlon ln
whlch nothlng wl|l be ab|c to crr anv morc. 1hc cffort thls tlmc. ls to
contal n thc un-mcasurc. not bv rclnlorcing ru| es and prohlbltlng thc
l ndlsccrnlb| e. but dlrcct|v lrom abovc. bv thc conccptua| practlcc ol
possl b| vmaxlma| prcscntatlons. Onchopcsthatthcsetransccndentmul tl
p|lc|tlcs wll| unvcl | thc vcrv |aw ol mu|tlp|c-cxcess. and wl | | propose a
vcrtlglnousclosurc to thought
1hcsc thrcc cndcavours havc thclr corrcspondcnccs l nontologv ltsc|f.
Whv' Bccausc cach ol thcm lmp|lcs that a ccrtaln /ypc o] /c/nµ l s
lntcl|lglb| e. Mathcmatlca| onto|ogv does not constltutc. bv ltsclf. anv
orlcntatlonl nthought. butltmustbccompatlb|cwlthal|olthcm l tmust
dlsccrn and proposc thc mu|tlp|cbclngwhlch thcvhavc nccd ol.
1o thc nrst orlcntatlon corrcsponds thc doctrlne ol cens/ruc////c sets.
crcatcd bv Codcl and rcllncd bv 1cnsen. 1o the sccond orlcntat|on
corrcspondsthcdoctrincolµcncr/cscts. crcatcdbv Cohcn. 1hc corrcspon
dcncc lor thc thl rd ls thc doctrlnc ol /arµc .ard/na/s. to whl ch a| l thc
spccla| lstsolsctthcorv have contrlbutcd. Assuch. ontologvproposcsthc
schema ol adcquatc mu|tlp|cs assu/s/ru./urc o] /c/n« ol each orlcntatl on.
1hc consttuctlblc unlo| ds thc bclng ol conhguratlons of knowlcdgc. 1hc
gcnerlc.wlththeconceptolthclndlsccrnlb|cmu| tlp| e. rcndcrsposslb| cthc
thought ol thc bclng ol a truth. 1hc grand cardlna| s approxlmatc thc
vlrtua| bcingrcqulrcdbvtheo|ogles.
Obvlous| v. the thrce orlcntatlons al so havc thcl rphl | osophlca| corrc
spondcnces. ! namedLclbn|zlorthcnrst 1hc thcorv olthcgcncralwl||l n
Rousscauscarchcsfort hcgencrlcpolntt hat i s t hcanvpo| nt whatsocvcr
l n whlch po|ltlca| authorltv wl|l bc loundcd. A| | of classlca| mctaphvslcs
consplrcs lor thc thlrd orlentatlon. cvcn ln thc mode o| communi st
cschato|ogv.
Butalourthwav. dlsccrn|b|elromMarxonwards. graspcdlromanothcr
pcrspcctlve l n Frcud. |s transvcrsa| to thc threc others . !t ho| ds that thc
/ru/holtheonto|oglcallmpassccannotbesclzcdorthoughtlnlmmancncc
to ontologv ltsc|l. nor to spccu|atlvc mctaonto| ogv. l t asslgns thc un
mcasurcolthcstatctot hch|storla| llmltatlonolbclng. such that. wlthout
know| ngso, phil osophy on| y refects i t to repeat it. Its hypothesi s consists
lnsavlngthatonccan on|v ·cndcr)us//cc| ol nj usticclromthcang|colthc
cvent and lntcrventlon. 1herc l s thus no necd to bc horrll|cd bv an
un blndlng ol bcl ng. bccausc l t ls ln thc undccldablc occurrcncc ol a
ONTOLOGI CAL DESTI NY OF ORI ENTATI ON I N THOUGHT
supctnumctarvnon bci ngt hat cvctvtruthproccdurcotlglnatcs. lnc| uding
that ola ttuth whosc stakcswou| dbc thatvctv un blndlng.
lt statcs. thls lourth wav. that on thc undctsi dc ol onto| ogv. agalnst
bclng. solclv disccrnib|cltomthc | attctpo| ntbvpoi nt (bccausc. globa| l v.
thcv arclncotporatcd. onc ln thcothet. llkethcsut|accola Mobl ussttipì .
thc unptcscntcdproccdurcol thcttuctakcspl acc. thcso| ctcmai ndctlclt
bv mathcmatlca| onto| ogv to whomevcr is sttuck bv thc dcslrc tothlnk.
andlotwhom | s tesctvcd thc namcolSubjcct
285
286
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-EI GHT
Constructi vi st Thought and the Knowl edge of
Bei ng
Undcrthc rcqulsltlonol thc hlatusl nbelng. l t l s tcmptlngt orcducc thc
cxtcnslonof thc statcbv so|c|v to|crating as parts of t hc si tuation thosc
multlplcswhosc nominationls al|owcdbv thc sltuatlonitsc| f. Whatdocs
thc sltuatlon ltsc|f mcan'
Oncoptlonwou| dbctoon| vacccptasanlnc| udcdonc multiplcwhatl s
alrcadv a onc-mu| tlplc ln thc pos|tlon ol bclonging. ! t l s agrccd thatt hc
rcprcscntab|c l sa|wavs al rcadvprescntcd. 1hls orlcntation ls partlcularlv
wcll adaptcd to stablc or natural sltuatlons. bccausc i n thcsc sltuatlons
cvcrv prcscntcd mult|pllcltv l s rcsccurcd ln l ts placc bv thc statc | c.
Mcdltati ons 1 1 and | 2 ì . Lnfortunatclv lt ls unpractlcablc. bccausc l t
amounts to rcpea|ing thc foundatlona| dlflcrcncc of thc stat c. lf rcprc-
scntatlon |s on|va doub|c olprcscntatlon. thcstatc ls usc| css. Morcovcr.
thcthcorcmol thc polntolcxccssshowsthatltlsimposslb|cto abollshal |
dlstancc bctwccn a sltuatlon andl tsstatc.
Howcvcr. ln cvcrv orlcntatlon ol thought of thc constructivist tvpc. a
nosta|gla lor thls so|utlon subsi sts. 1hcrc ls a rccurrcnt thcmc in such
thought . thcvalorlzatlonol cquilibrlum.thcidcathatnaturc is anartlncc
whlchmustbccxprcss|vlmitatcdlni tsnorma|izlngarchitccturc÷ordinals
bcing. as wc know. transltlvc lntrlcatlons. thc distrust of cxccss and
crrancv. and. at thchcart ofthlsframcwork. thcsvstcmaticscarchforthc
doublcfunctlon.forthctcrmwhichcanbc thoughttwiccwithouthaving
to changcp|accor status .
But t hcfundamcntal approachl nwhlch a scvcrc rcstrlctlon ol crrancv
can bc obtai ncd÷without cscaplng thc mlnimal cxccss lmposcd bv thc
statc÷and a maxi mum| cgibl|ltvolthcconccptof part'. ls thatolbaslng
CONSTRUCTI VI ST THOUGHT AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF BEI NG
oncsclf on t hc constraints of | anguagc. ln i t s csscncc. construct|v|st
thought i s a |og|cal grammar. Or. t o bc cxact. it cnsurcs that | anguagc
prcva||s as thc norm for what mav bc acccptablv recognizcd as onc
mul ti p| c amongst rcprcscntations . 1hc spontancous ph||osophv of al |
constructivistthoughti sradical nominal |sm.
What i s undcrstood hcrc bv ' languagc' ' What |s at stakc. i n fact. |s a
mcd|at|onol|ntcriority complctcwith|nt hcsituat|on. Lct's supposcthat
thcprcscntcdmul t| p| csarcon| vprcscntcdi nasmuchasthcvhavcnamcs.
orthat' bcingprcscntcd and 'bc|ng namcd' arc oncand thc samcthing.
What's morc. wc havc at our disposal a wholc arscna| of propcrt|cs. or
|iaison tcrms. which uncqui voca| | v dcs|gnatc that such a namcd th|ng
ma|ntainsw|thanothcrsucha rclationsh|p. orposscssessuch a qua| i hca-
t i on. cons/ruc//v/s//houµh/w///cn/y rc.oµn/zc as par/ auroup/nµ o]p·cscn/c4
mu///p|cs wh|ch havc a p·opcrn /n common. or wh/ch a// ma/n/a/n a 4c]nc4
rc/a//onsh/p /o /c·ms o]/hcs//ua//on wh/ch arc /hcmsc/vcs un/vocady namc4 ll.
for cxamp|e. vou havc a sca|c of sizc at vour disposal. |t makcs scnsc t o
considcr. aspartsofthcsituation. htst. al l thoscmult|plcsofthcs|tuation
wh|chhavcsuch a hxcd s|zc. sccond. al l thosc which arc ' largcr' than a
hxcd . cffcct|vclvnamcdì mul tip| c. ln thcsamcmanncr. if onc savs ' thcre
cx|sts. . ' thismustbcundctstoodassaving. ' thcrccx|stsa tcrmnamcd
i nthcsituation' . and|foncsavs' foral l . . . ' thismust bcundcrstoodas.
' foral| namedtcrms ofthc situation' .
Whvi s|anguagcthcmcdiumof an|ntcrioritvhcrc'Bccausccvcrvpan.
withoutambigu|tv. isass|gnab|ctoancffcctivcmarkingofthc/crmsofthc
situation. lt| soutofthcqucstiontocvokca part ' i ngcncral ' . You havcto
spccifv.
÷ whatpropcrtvorrc|ationof|anguagcvouarcmakinguscof.andvou
must bc ab| c to j ustifv the appl|cation of thesc ptopcrtics and
re|ationstot hetetmsofthesituat|on.
~ whichhxcd( andnamcditcrms÷orparametcrs÷ofthcs|tuationatc
impl i cJ.
lnotherwords. thcconccptofpart| sun4crcon4///on.1hcstatcsimulta-
ncouslvopcratcsa count - as- oncofpartsandcod|hcswhatfallsundcrth|s
count. thus. bcs|desbc|ngthcmastctofrcprcscntationi ngcncra| . thcstatc
| s thc mastcr of languagc. Languagc~ot anv comparablc appatatus of
recogni ti on~|s the l ega| ñ|ter for groupings ofprcscntcd mul tip| cs. lt | s
|nterposedbetweenprcsentationandreptescntat|on.
287
288
BEI NG AND EVENT
lti sc|cathowon| vt hoscpattswh|chatccons/ruc/cdatc coun/cdhctc. ll
thcmult|plca is/nc/u4cdi nthcsi tuat| on |ti son| vonthccond| t|onthat| t
|s possiblc to cstab|ish. lot cxamplc. that i t gtoups togcthct a| l thosc
|mmcd|atclvptcscntcdmul t|p|cswhi chma|nta|na rcl ation÷that|slcg| t
|matc|nthcsituati on÷wi tha mult|plcwhoscbc| ongingtothcs|tuat|oni s
cstabl|shcd. Hctc. thcpatt tcsul t sltom tak|ngi nt oaccount. | nsucccss|vc
stagcs. hxcd mul tiplcs. admiss|b| c tclat|ons. and thcn thc gtoup| ng
togcthctolal l thosctctmswhi chcan bc| |nkcdtothclotmctbvmcansol
thc | attct. 1hus. thctc is alwavs a pctccpt|blc bond bctwccn a patt and
tctms wh| ch atc tccognizablc w|th|n t hc si tuat|on. lt |s th| s bond. th|s
prox/m/n that | ancuagc bu|lds bctwccn ptcscntation and tcptcscntat|on.
whichgtoundsthcconv|ctionthatthcstatcdocsnot cxcccdthcs| tuat|on
bv /oo mu.h. ot that |t tcma|ns commcnsutab| c. l tctm | anguagc ol thc
s| tuati on' thcmcdi umolthi scommcnsurabili tv.Notcthatthclanguagcol
thcs|tuati on|ssubsctvicnttoptcscntation. |nthat|tcannotc| tcanvtcrm.
cvcn | n thc gcnctal scnsc ol t hcrc cx| sts. . . ' whosc bc| ong| ng t o thc
ptcscntat|on cannot bc vcti ncd. ln this mannct. thtough thc mcdi umol
languagc. vct withoutbci ngtcduccdtot hcl at t cti ncl usi onst avsasc/oscas
poss///ctobcl ongi og. 1hcLc|bnizian| dcaola wcl l madcl anguagc' hasno
othct amb| ti on than that ol kccp|ng as t| ght a tci n as poss|b|c on thc
cttancv olpattsbv mcans olthc otdctcd codincat|on ol thcit cxptcss|blc
||nktothcsi tuati onwhoscpatts thcvatc.
Whatthcconsttuct|vistv|si onolbc|ngandprcscntati onhuntsout| sthc
|ndctctm| oatc' . thcunnamcablcpatt. thcconccptl cssl | nk. 1hcamb|guitv
ol|ts tclat|on t othc statc i s thus qu|tc tcmatkabl c On thc onc hand. | n
tcsttict|ng thc statist mctastruct utc' s count as onc to namcabl cpatts. | t
sccmstotcducc| t s powct.vct.ont hcothcthand. i t spccihcs| t s pol|ccand
|nctcascs | ts authotity bv thc conncct|on that | t cstabl| shcs bctwccn
mastctv olthci ncl udcdonc mu| tip| candmastctvo| languagc. Whathas
tobcundctstoodhctc| sthatlotth| soti cntati on| nthought agtoupi ngol
ptcscntcd mul ti p| cs which i s i nd|scctn|b|c in tctms ol an |mmancnt
tclat|on decs no/ cx/s/ Ftom thi s po|nt o| vicw. thc statc |cg|slatcs on
cx|stcncc. What it loscs on thc s|dc ol cxccss | t ga|ns on thc s|dc ol thc
t|ght ovcr bc|ng' . 1h|s gain is al| thc morc apptcc|ablc g|vcn that
nomina||sm. hctci nvcstcd|nthcmcasutcolthcstatc. |s|ttclutab| c. Ftom
thc Ctcck sophists to the Angl o- Saxon logical cmp| r| ci sts ( cvcn to Fou
cau| t i . th|s is what has invat|ab|v madc out ol it thc ctitica|÷ot ant|
ph|losoph|ca|÷philosophv pat cxcc|| cncc. 1o rclut c thc doctt|nc that a
patt ol thc si tuat ion sol clv cxists |l it is consttuctcd on thc bas|s ol
CONSTRUCTI VI ST THOUGHT AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF BEI NG
propcrtlcsandtcrmswhlchar cdlsccrnlb|cl nt hcl anguacc. wouldl tnotbc
ncccssarv t o /nd/cc/c an absolutc| v undlffcrcntlatcd. anonvmous. l ndc
tcrmlnatc part' But how cou|d such a part bc l ndl catcd. l f not bv
æns/ru.//nµthlsvcrvlndlcatlon'1hcnomlnallstl salwavsj ustlncdl nsavlng
that/h|scountcrcxamplc. bccausc lt hasbccnlsolatcd anddcscrlbcd. lsl n
lactancxamplc. Fvcrv cxamp|cl sgrlsttohlsmllll fl tcanbclndlcatcdln
thcproccdurc whlch cxtractslts lnc|uslonon thc basl sofbclonglncs and
languagc 1hc lndlsccrn|blc ls not . 1hls | s thc thcsls wlth whlch nom
lnallsmconstructs|tsfortl ncatlon. andbvmcansofwhlchl tcanrcstrlct. at
l ts | cl surc. anv prctcnslon to unfo| d cxccss ln thc world of l n
dlffcrcnccs.
Furthcrmorc. wlthln thc constructlvlst vlslon ol bclng. and thl s ls a
crucla| polnt. /hcrc /snop/acc]o·ancvcn//o /akcp/acc lt woul dbc tcmptlng
to savthat on thls polntlt colncldcswlthontologv. whlch forccloscs thc
evcnt. thus dcclarlng thc | attcr's bc|onglng to that-whl ch- | s notbclng
quabclng ( Mcdltatlon | 8 ì . Howcvcrth| swoul dbctoo narrow a concl u
slon Constructlvlsm has no nccd to dcc/dc upon thc nonbclng of thc
evcnt.bccausclt docs nothavetoknowanvthlngofthc| attcr' sundccld
abl| ltv Nothlngrcqulrcsa dcclslon wlth rcspcctto a paradoxlca| multlplc
hcrc. !t l s actua| l y of thc vcrv csscncc of contructlvlsm÷thls ls lts /o/a/
lmmancncctothc sltuatlon÷to concclvcnclthcrofsc| f-bc|onglng. nor of
thc supcrnumcrarv. thusl tmalntalnsthc cntlrc dlalcctlcofthc cvcnt and
lntcrventlonoutsldc thought.
1hc orlcntatlon of constructlvlst thought cannot cncounter a mu| tlple
whlch prcscnts ltsclf ln thc vcrv prcscntatlon that lt ls÷and thls l s the
malncharactcrlstlcofthc cvcnta| ultra- one÷forthcsl mpl crcasonthatl f
onc wantcdto construct' thls mu|t|plc. oncwould havc to havc a/rcady
cxamlncdl t 1hlsclrclc.whlchPolncarcrcmarkcdw| thrcspcctto lmprcdl-
catlvc' dchnltlons. brcaks thcproccdurcofconstructlon and thc dcpcnd
cncvonl anguagcLcgltlmatcnomlnatlonl s|mposslbl c. !fvoucannamcthc
multlplc. ltlsbccauscvoudlscernltaccordingtoltsclcmcnts Butllltl san
clcmcntof|tsclf. vouwouldhavchadtohavcprcvlouslvdlsccrncdlt.
Not onlv that. but thc casc of thc purc ultra-onc÷thcmu| tlplc whlch
hasltsclfal oncas clcmcnt÷|cadsformatlonlntoonclntoanlmpassc. duc
tothcwavthcl attcrfunctlonslnthlstvpcofthought. 1hatls. thcslng|cton
of such a multlp|c. whlch ls a part of thc sltuatlon. shoul d lsolatc /hc
multlplcwhlchposscsscsa propcrtvcxpllcltlvformulablcl nthcl anguagc.
But thlsl snotposslbl c. bccauscthcpart thusobtal ncdncccssarl | vhasthc
propcrtvlnqucstlon//sc/] 1hatls. thcslng|cton. j ust|lkcthcmultlplc. has
289
290
BEI NG AND EVENT
the same multiple al one as element. It cannot differentiate i tsel f from the
l atter, neither extensionally, nor by any property. Thi s case of indis­
cernibility between an element (a presentation) and its representative
formati on-into-one cannot be allowed within constructivist thought. It
fails to satisfy the double differentiation of the state: by the count, and by
language. In the case of a natural situation, a multiple can quite easil y be
both element and part: the part represented by the operation of its
forming-into- one is nevertheless absol utely distinct from itself-from this
'itself' named twice, as such, by structure and metastructure. In the case of
the evental ul tra-one, the operation does not operate, and this is quite
enough for contructivist thought to deny any being to what thereby leads
the authority of l anguage into an impasse.
With respect to the supernumerary nomination drawn from the void, in
which the very secret of intervention resides, it absolutely breaks with the
constructivist rules of language: the latter extract the names with which
language supports the recognition of parts solely from the situation
itself.
Unconstructible, the event is not. Inasmuch as it exceeds the immanence
of language to the situation, intervention is unthinkabl e. The constructivist
orientation cdmcsan immanent thought of the situation, w/(hou(dcc/d/nµits
occurrence.
But if there is neither event nor intervention how can the situation
change? The radical nominalism enveloped by the orientation of con­
structivist thought is no way disturbed by having to declare that a situation
does not change. Or rather, what is called ' change' in a situation is nothing
more than the constructive deployment of its parts. The (houµh( of the
situation evolves, because the exploration of the effects of the state brings
to light previously unnoticed but linguistically controll abl e new connec­
tions. !hcsuppor/]or(hc/dca c]chanµc/s/n rca//n (hc /n]n/(yo]/anµuaµc. A
new nomination takes the role of a new multiple, but such novelty i s
relative, since the multiple validated in this manner i s always constructible
on the basis of those that have been recognized.
What then does it mean that there are different situations? I mcans.
purc/y ands/mp/y (ha((hcrcarcd/]crcn(/anµuaµcs Not only in the empirical
sense of ' foreign' languages, but in Wittgenstein's sense of ' language
games ' . Every system of marking and binding constitutes a universe of
constructible mUltiples, a distinct flter between presentation and repre­
sentation. Since language legislates on the cx/s(cncc of parts, it is clearly
within the being itself of presentation that there is difference: certain
CONSTRUCTI VI ST THOUGHT AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF BEI NG
mUltiples can be validated-and t hus exist-according t o one language and
not according to another. The heterogeneity of language games is at the
foundation of a diversity of situations. Being i s deployed multiply, because
its deployment i s solely presented withi n the multiplidty of languages.
In the fnal analysis, the doctrine of the multiple can be reduced to the
double thesis of the infnity of each language ( the reason behind apparent
change) and the heterogeneity of languages ( the reason behind the
diversity of situations) . And since the state i s the master of language, one
must recognize that for the constructivist change and diversity do not
depend upon presentational primordiality, but upon representative func­
tions. The key to mutations and differences resides i n the State. It i s thus
quite possible that being qua being, i s One and Immobile. However,
constructivism prohibits such a declaration since it cannot be constructed
on the basis of controllable parameters and relations withi n the situation.
Such a thesis belongs to the category, as Wittgenstein puts it, of what one
has to ' pass over in silence' because 'we cannot speak of [it] ' . ' Being able
to speak' being understood, of course, i n a constructivist sense.
The orientation of constructivist thought-which responds, even i f
unconsdously, to the challenge represented by the impasse of ontology,
the errancy of excess-forms the substructure of many particular concep­
tions. It i s far from exerdsing its empire solely i n the form of a nominalist
philosophy. In reality, it universally regulates the dominant conceptions.
The prohibition that it lays on random conglomerates, indistinct multiples
and unconstructible forms suits conservation. The non-place of the event
calms thought, and the fact that the intervention i s unthinkable relaxes
action. As such, the constructivist orientation underpins ncoc/ass/c/s/norms
in art, pos///v/s/epistemologies and proµramma//cpolitics.
In the frst case, one considers that the ' language' of an artistic
situation-its particular system of marking and articulation-has reached a
state of perfection which is such that, in wanting to modify it, or break
with it, one would l ose the thread of recognizable construction. The neo­
classidst considers the 'modern' fgures of art as promotions of chaos and
the indistinct . He i s right insofar as within the evental and interventional
passcs i n art ( let' s say non-fgurative painting, atonal music, etc. ) there is
necessarily a period of apparent barbarism, of intrinsic valorization of the
complexities of disorder, of the rejection of repetition and easily di scernible
confgurations . The deeper meaning of this period i s that //hasno/yc//ccn
4cc/4c4cxac//ywha//hcopcra/orc] ]a//h/conncc//on/s ( d. Meditation 2 > ì . At
291
292
BEI NG AND EVENT
th|spoint. thcconstruct|vistor|cntationcommandsus toconhncoursclvcs
÷untilth|s opcratorisstabilizcd÷to the cont|nu|tv olancngcndcr|ngol
parts rcgul atcd bv the prcvi ous languagc. A nco c|ass|c|st |s not a reac-
t|onarv. he| sapartisanolscnsc. !havcshownthati ntcrvcntiona|| l l cgal|tv
onlvgcneratcsscnsc/nthcsituat|onwhcn| t d|sposesola measurc olthc
prox|m|tv bctwccn mult|plcs ol thc s| tuation and thc supernumcrarv
namc olthc cvent ( that |t has placed i n c|rculat|onì . 1h|s new temporal
loundation| sestabl|shcdduringthcpreviouspcriod 1hc obscurc' pcriod
| s that ol thc ovcrl app|ng ol pcr|ods. and it | s true that. d|stributcd | n
hcterogcncouspcr|ods.thchrstartist|cproduct|onsolthcncwcpochonlv
dcl|vcr a shattercd or conluscd scnse. wh|ch |s so|clv percept| blc lor a
transitorv avant garde. 1he ncoc|ass|cist lulhls thc prccious lunct|on ol
thcguardiansh|p ol senscon a globalscal c. He tcst|hcsthatthcrc mus/bc
scnsc Whent hencoc|ass|cistdcclarcshisoppos|t|onto exccss' . | t hasto
bcundcrstoodasa warning. thatnoonecanremovethcmsclvcslromthc
rcqu|s|tion olthc ontolog|cal impassc.
!nthcsecondcasc. onccons|dcrsthatthclanguageolpos|t|vcsc|cncc| s
thc un|quc and dchnitivc wcll-madc' l anguagc. andthat| t hast onamc
thc proccdurcs ol construct|on. as lar as poss|blc. i n cvcrv doma|n ol
exper|cnce. Pos|tivism considcrs that presentat|on |s a mul t| pl col]ac/ua/
multiplcs. whosemarking| scxpcrmental. and thatconstruct|blel|a|sons.
graspcdbvthclanguagc olscicnce. wh|ch isto savina prccisc languagc.
d|scern laws thcrci n. 1hc usc ol thc word law' shows to what po|nt
positivismrcndersscienccamattcrolthcstate. 1hchunt|ngdownolthc
| nd|st|nctthushastwolaccs. Onthe one hand. onc must conhnc oncscll
to contro|lablc lacts. thc posit|v|st matchcs up clucs and tcst|mon|cs.
cxper|mcntsandstat|st|cs. |n ordcrtoguarantecbclong|ngs . Onthcothcr
hand. oncmustwatchovcrthct ransparcncvolthcl anguagc. A largcpart
ol lalscprobl cms' rcsultlromimag|ningthccx|stcnceola mult|plcwhcn
thcproccdurcolitsconstructionundcrthccontrolollanguageandundcr
thcl awollactsiscither| ncomplcteorincohcrent. Undcrthc|nj unct|onol
construct|v|st thought. pos|tivism dcvotes |tsell to t hc | l | rewardcd but
use|ul tasks ol thc svstcmatic marking ol prescntcd mult|plcs. and thc
mcasurablehne t un|ng ollanguagcs.1hepos|t|vistisa proless|onal| nthc
ma|ntcnancc olapparatuscsold|scernmcnt .
I n t he third case, one posits that a political proposi ti on necessarily takes
thclormolaprogrammcwhoscagcntolrcal|zat|on|sthcStatc÷thclattcr
| s obviouslv nonc other than /hc s/a/c o] /hc pe////cc·h/s/e·/c s//ua//en .c.
Mcditat|on9 ì . A programmeisprec|sc|va proccdurelorthcconstruction
CONSTRUCTI VI ST THOUGHT AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF BEI NG
ol part s. po|ltlcal partlcs cndcavour to show how such a procedure i s
compati bl e wi t h the adm| ttcd rul cs ol thc | anguage t hcv share ( thc
| anguagcolpar|lamcntlorexamplci 1hccentrcolgrav|tvolthclntcrmi
nab|e and contrad|ctorv debates over thc posslbl|ltv' ( socl a| . hnancla|.
national . . ì ol measures rccommcndcd bv so and so l l cs i n the con
structlvc charactcr ol thc mu|t|plcs whose discernment l s announccd.
Moreovcr. cvcrvoneproc| almsthatthclropposltlonl snot svstcmatlc' . but
constructlvc . What|sat stake|nthlsquarre|ovcrthcposs| b| e'1heStatc.
1hl s| s|npcrlectconlorm|tvwi t hthcorlcntatlonolconstructlvlstthought.
whi ch rcnders lts dlscoursc statlst i n ordcr t o bcttcr grasp thc
commensurabll l tv betwcen state and situatlon. 1hc programmc÷a con
ccntratc ol thc pol | t | cal propos| t| on÷ls c|carlv a lormul a ol thcl anguage
whlch proposcs a ncw connguratlon dehncd bv strlct l|nks to the
sltuatlon sparamctcrs ( budgctarv. statistlca|. ctc. i andwhlchdccl arcsthe
|attcr .ons/ruc//vc/y rcal | zab|c÷t hat | s. recognlzabl c÷w| thl n thc mcta
structural hc|d olthe Statc
1he programmatlc vis|on occuplcs thc ncccssarv to| c. ln thc nc| d ol
polltlcs. olrclormatorvmoderat| on. ltl sa mcdlat|onolthcStatcl nthatl t
attcmptstolormu| ate. |n an acceptcd| anguagc. whatthe Statcl scapable
ol ! t thusprotcctspeop|e. ln t|mcsolordcr. lromhav| ngtorecogn| zethat
whatthe Statc l s capab|e ol cxcecdsthcvervrcsources olthat |anguagc.
andthat lt wou| dbe more worthwh| l c to examlnc÷vet lt l san arid and
compl ex dcmand÷what thcv. thcpeop|c. arc capablc ollnthc mattcrol
polltlcs and with respect to the surpl us- capacltv ol the State !n lact the
programmat| cvlsion shcltcrs thc cltlzcn lrom po| | t| cs.
l nshort. thcorlentatlonolconstructlvlstthoughtsubsumcsthcrclation
to belng w//h/n /hc4/mcns/on o]know/c4µc 1hc prlnclp|e ol lndlsccrn|b|es.
whlchls| tsccntra|a x| om. comesdowntothclol| owl ng thatwhlchl snot
susceptlb| c to bcing cl asslhcd withln a know|edge ls not Knowl edgc'
dcsignatcs hcrc tHc capacltv to lnscribc contro| | ab| c nomlnatlons ln
|cgltlmate | | a|sons. | n contrast to tbe rad| callsm o| onto|ogv. wblch
suppresses |lalsons | n lavour ol the pure mu| tlp| e (d. Appcndix 2 ì . l t i s
lrom| | al sonsthatcan be rendered cxpllcltln a l anguagethatconstruct|v
| smdrawsthcguarantccolbc|nglorthosconc mu| tlp|eswhosccx| stcnce
| s ratlhcd bv the stat e 1hls is whv. at thc verv polnt at whlch onto| ogv
rcvokes the bond ol know| edgc and lalthlul | v connccts l ts propositlons
togctheronthcbasisoltheparadoxlca|marklngolthevold. constructlvlst
thought advances step bv stcp under the contro| ol lormu|ab| e connec-
tlons. thus propos| ng a know/c4µc o] /c/nµ 1hls |s the reason whv l t can
293
294
BEI NG AND EVENT
hope to dominate any excess, that is, any unreasonable hole within the
tissue of language.
It has to be acknowledged that this is a strong position, and that no-one
can avoid it. Knowledge, with its moderated rule, its policed immanence to
situations and its transmissibility, i s the ordinary regime of the relation to
being under circumstances in which it is not ti me for a new temporal
foundation, and in which the diagonals of fdelity have somewhat deterio­
rated for lack of complete belief in the event they prophesize.
Rather than being a distinct and aggressive agenda, constructivist
thought is the latent philosophy of all human sedimentation; the cumu­
lative strata into which the forgetting of being is poured to the proft of
language and the consensus of recognition it supports.
Knowl edge calms the passion of being: measure taken of excess, it tames
the state, and unfolds the infnity of the situation within the horizon of a
constructive procedure shored up on the al ready- known.
No-one would wish this adventure to be permanent in which improb­
able names emerge from the void. Besides, it is on the basis of the exercise
of knowledge that the surprise and the subj ective motivation of their
improbability emerges.
Even for those who wander on the borders of evental sites, staking their
lives upon the occurrence and the swiftness of intervention, it is, after alL
appropriate to be knowledgeable.
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-NI NE
The Fol di ng of Bei ng and
t he Soverei gnty of Language
1hc impasscof ontologv÷thc quantitativc un- mcasurcofthc sct ol parts
of a sct÷tormcntcd Cantor. ltthrcatcncd hi svcrv dcsirc forfoundatlon.
Accompani cd bv doubt. and with a tclcntlcssncss rccountcd i n lcttcrs÷
lcttcrs spcak|ng. in thc mornlng llght. of a hard night of thought and
calculation÷hcbclicvcdt hat oncshouldbcabl ctoshowt hat thcquantitv
ofa sct ofparts i sthc cardinalwhichcomcsdircctlvaltcrthat ofthc sct
ltsclf.itssucccssor. Hcbc|icvcdcspcciallvthatp/o ) , thcpartsofdcnumcr
ablcinhnitv. thus. al l thcsubsctsconstitutcdfromwholcnumbcrsì . hadto
bc cqual i n quantitv to WI , thc hrst cardinal wh|ch mcasurcs an inhnltc
quantitvsupcriortothcdcnumcrablc. 1hiscquation. writtcnI p/o) I * W
I ,
i s knownundcrthcnamcofthccontinuum hypothesis, bccausct hcmultiplc
p/o) i s thc ontological schcma of thc gcomctr|c or spatlal continuum
bcmonstratingt hccontinuumhvpothcsis. or ( whcn doubthadhimi nits
gripsì rcfuting lt. was Cantor' s tcrminal obscssion. a casc in which thc
individual i sprcv.at apo|ntwhichhcbclicvcstobclocalorcvcntcchnical.
toa challcngcolthoughtwhoscscnsc.stilllcglblctodav. i scxorbi tant . Fot
what wovcandspun thc dcrc|ictionofCantorthc invcntorwasnothing
|cssthanancrrancv ofbcing.
1hccquat| on p/o) * W
I canbccivcn a global scnsc. 1hcgcncralizcd
conti nuum hvpothcsi s holds that. for anv cardinal Wu onc has
p/u) * WS,) . 1hcschvpothcscsradical|ynormalizcthccxccssofthcstatc
bv at tributing a minimal mcasurc to it. Sincc wc know. bv Cantor' s
thcorcm. that I p/o) I in anv casc has t o bc a cardinal supcrlor t o Wo,
dcclar|ng i t cqua| to WS\) , thus. to thc cardinal which follows Wa i n thc
scqucncc ofalcphs. is. strictlvspcaking. the least one can do.
295
296
BEI NG AND EVENT
Faston's thcorcm ( Mcdltatlon 26ì showsthatthcsc hvpothcscs' arcl n
rcal|tv purc dcc|s|ons Nothlng. | n lact. a| l ows thcm to bc vcrl hcd or
rclutcd. sl nccltl scohcrcntwl ththc!dcasolthcmult|pl cthatp(a ) takc
] ust about anvva| ucsupcrlorto wa.
Cantorthushadno chancc lnh|sdcspcratcattcmptsto c|thcrcstabllsh
ortclutcthc contl nuumhvpothcsl s ' 1hcs ub] accntonto| oglca| challcngc
cxcccdcdhlslnncrconvlctlon.
8ut Faston's thcorcmwaspub||shcdln l 970. BctwccnCantor's la||urc
and Fastonthcrc arcK Codcl's rcsu| ts. whlch occutrcd at thc cnd olthc
l 910s. 1hcsc tcsu|ts. thc ontologlca| lorm ol constructlvlst thought.
alrcadv cstab|lshcd that acccptlng thc contl nuum hvpothcsls d|d not. l n
anvmanncr. l mp| vbrcaklngwl thhdc|ltvtothc!dcasolthcmu|tlp| c thls
dcc|slon | s cohcrcnt wlth thc lundamcnta| ax|oms ol thc sclcncc ol thc
purc mu|tlplc
What |s rcmarkablc l s that thc normallzat|on rcprcscntcd bv thc
contlnuumhvpothcsls÷thc mlnlmum ol statc cxccss÷has |ts cohcrcncv
guarantccd solc|v wlthln thc lramcwork ol a doctr|nc ol thc multlp|c
wh|ch cnslavcs thc lattcr's cx|stcncc to thc powcrs ol languagc (on th|s
occas|on. thc lormallzcdlanguagc oll oglcì . !nthlslramcwork. morcovcr.
ltturnsoutthatthcaxlomolcholcclsno|ongcra dcc|slon. bccausc( lrom
bclng an axlom| n2ctmcl o's thcorvì lt hasbccomca la|thlu| lvdcduc|b|c
thcorcm As such. thc construct|vlst or|cntatlon. rctroact|vc| v appllcd to
ontologv on thc basls ol thc | attcr's own lmpasscs. has thc cllcct ol
comlortlng thc axl om ol lntcrvcnt|on. at thc prlcc. onc cou| d sav. ol
robb|ngltollts|ntcrvcnt|onalva| uc. slncc|tbccomcsa ncccssltvlog|cal l v
drawn lrom othcr ax|oms. !t l s no |ongcr ncccssarv to makc an |ntcr
vcnt|onw|thrcspcct to lntcrvcntlon
!t|s qultc undcrstandablcthatwhcn lt camc tonamlngthcvo| untatl| v
rcstrlctcdvcrslonbcopcratcdolthcdoctr|ncoltbcmu|tlplc. Codclchosc
thc cxprcsslon constructlb|c unlvcrsc' . and that thc mu|tlplcs thcrcbv
subm|ttcdto languagc wcrcca||cd constructlblc scts' .
l CONS1RUC1!ON OF1HF CONCFP1 OFCONS1RUC1!BLF SF1
1akc a sct a. 1hc gcncralnotlon ol thc sct olparts ol a, p(a) , dcslgnatcs
cvcrvthlng wblch l s | ncl udcd in a. 1hls l s thc or|g|n ol cxccss Con
struct|vlstontologv undcrtakcsthcrcstr|ct|on olsuch cxccss i tcnvlsagcs
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
onl vadmittincaspar(sola what canbcscparatcdout ( i nthcscnscolthc
axiomolscparatl oni bvptopcrt|cswhicharethcmsclvcsstatcdlncxpl|c| t
lormulaswhoscncl dolappllcat|on.paramctcrs. andquantinctsarcsolc| v
relcrrcd to a | tscll.
Ouantlncrs il. lot cxamplc. ! wantto scparatc out ( and constitute asa
partola) al l thc c| cmcnts8olawhichpossessthc propertv thcrc cxistsa
y such that ß has thc rclation R w|th y'÷( 3yì ' RL. yi I ÷what must bc
undcrstood l s that thc y in question ci tcdbv thc cxistcntial quanti ner.
mustbeanclemcntola. and not] ustanvcxistcntmultip| c. drawnlromt hc
entirc' universc olmultip| cs. ! nothctwords. thcproposltlon ( 3yi ' kL.yì |
mustbcrcad. lnt hccasci nqucstlon. as ( 3yi ' ,E a& RL. yì I .
1hc samcoccurswiththe unlvcrsa|quantincr. !ll wanttoscparatc out
asa part. l ct's sav. all thccl cmcnts8olawhich atc un| vcrsallv' linkcdto
evcrv multiplc bv a rclation÷. Vyi ' RL. yi ] ÷what must bc undcrstood i s
that ( Vyi mcans. lorcvcrvy wh/ch /c/onµs/ oa ( Vyi ' yE a � RL.yi I .
As lar asparametcrs atc concerncd. a paramcteri sa proper namc ol a
multiplc wh| ch appcars ln a lormula 1akc. lot cxamplc. thc lormul a
«(º. 8. i . whcre8 ls a lrcevarlable and8, thenameola spcclncdmultiplc
1hislormul a means' that8cntcrtai nsa dchnitcrel ationwiththcmul tiplc
ß. (a relationwhose scnscls nxcd bvài . ! can thus separate. asa part. al|
thc clemcnts 8 ol a wh| ch cllectivc|v malntain thc relation in qucstion
w|th thc multiplc named bv 8 . . Howcver. ln thc constructivist vision
. which postulatcs a radica| immanencc to thc lnitia| multiplc a) , this
wou| donlvbclcgitlmatei lthcmultlplcdcslgnatedbvß. bc| ongcditscllto
a. For cvcrv nxcd val ue attrlbutcd /n a to thls name 8. ! wlll havc a
part÷in thc consttuctivc scnse÷composcd ol al l thec| cments ol a which
maintain the rclatlon cxprcssed bv thc lormul a à t o this collcague' i n
bclonging to a.
F|nallv. wc wl | l consldcr a 4c]na//c par( ol a to bc a group|ng ol
elcmcnts ol a that can bc separated out bv mcans ol a lormula. 1his
lormula wil| bc sald to bc rcs(r/c(c4 to a. that is. it is a lormul a in which.
therccxists' is understoodas thcrccxlsts|n a' . loral | ' is undcrstood lor
al l clemcntsola' . and all thc namesol scts mustbc intcrpretcd as names
ol c| cmcnts ol a Wc can sec how thc conccpt ol part is hcrcbv scvcrclv
rcstrictcd underthc conccpt ol dcnnablcpart bv thc double authoritv ol
languagc ( thccxistencc olancxplicitscparatinglormu| ai andthc uniquc
rclcrencc to thc initial sct.
Wc wi l l tcrm D(ai ÷ thc set ol dcnnablc parts ol a
'
÷the sct ol parts
whichcanbcconstructcdin thismanncr !ti sobvl ousthat D(ai i sa subsct
297
298
BEI NG AND EVENT
of p�) , of the set of parts in the general sense. The former solely retains
'constructibl e' parts.
The language and the immanence of interpretations flter the concept of
part here: a defnable part of a is indeed named by the formula , ( which
must be satisfed by the elements of the part ) , and articulated on a, i n that
the quantifers and parameters do not import anything which i s external to
a. D(a) is the subset of p�) whose constituents can be discerned and
whose procedure of derivation, of grouping, on the basis of the set a itself,
can be explicitly designated. Inclusion, by means of the logico-i mmanent
flter, is tightened around belonging.
With this instrument, we can propose a hierarchy of being, the con­
structible hierarchy.
The idea is to constitute the void as the ' frs!' level of being and to pass
to the following level by ' extracting' from the previous level all the
constructible parts; that i s, all those defnable by an explicit property of the
language on the previous level. Language thereby progressively enriches
the number of pure multiples admitted into existence without letting
anything escape from its control .
To number the levels, we will make use of the tool of nature: the series
of ordinals. The concept of constructible level will be written L , and an
ordinal index will indicate at what point of the procedure we fnd
ourselves. Ln will signify the ath constructible level . Thus, the frst level is
void. and so we wl posit La * 0, the sign La indicating that the hierarchy
has begun. The second level will be constituted from all the defnable parts
of 0 in La; that is, in 0. In fact, there is only one such part: f 0} . Therefore,
we will posit that L 1 * { 0} . In generaL when one arrives at a level L n, one
' passes' to the level L S,) by taking all the explicitly defnable parts of L r
( and not all the parts in the sense of ontology) . Therefore, L s,) = D( ci .
When one arrives at a limit ordinal. say Wa, it suffces to gather together
everything which is admitted to the previous level s. The union of these
levels i s then taken¡ that is: L r . ,
o
= U L n, for every n E woo Or.
L wa * . { L a, L 1 , • - - L n, Ln + I , • • • } .
The constructible hierarchy i s thus defned via recurrence i n the
following manner:
La * 0
L s,) * D( L n ) when it is a question of a successor ordinal;
La * . Lp when it is a question of a limit ordinal .
p E a
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
What each level of the constructible hierarchy does is normalize a
'distance' from the void, therefore, an increasing complexity. But the only
mUltiples which are admitted into existence are those extracted from the
inferior level by means of constructions which can be articulated in the
formal language, and not ' al l ' the parts, including the undifferentiated, the
unnameable and the indeterminate.
We will say that a multiple y is constructible i f it belongs to one of the
levels of the constructible hierarchy. The property of being a constructible
set will be written L () : L () � ( 3a) [y E L a] , where a is an ordinal .
Note that if y belongs to a level, it necessarily belongs to a successor level
L sf� ( try to demonstrate this, by showing how a limit level i s only ever the
union of all the inferior levels) . Lsf> = U( Lp) , which means that y is a
defnable part of the level Lp. Consequently, for every constructible set
there is an associated formula A, which separates it out within i ts level of
extraction ( here, Lp ) , and possibly parameters, all of which are elements of
this level . The set' s belonging to L, f� , which Signifes its inclusion ( defnable)
in Lp, is constructed on the basis of the tightening ( within the level Lp, and
under the logico- immanent control of a formul a) of inclusion over
belonging. We advance in counted-nameable-steps.
2. THE HYPOTHFSl S OF CONSTRUCTlBlLlTY
At this point. 'being contructible' is merely a possible property for a
multiple. This property can be expressed-by technical means for the
manipulation of the formal language that I cannot reproduce here-in the
language of set theory, the language of ontology, whose specifc and
unique sign i s E . Within the framework of ontology, one could consider
that there are constructible sets and others which are not constructible.
Thus, we would possess a negative criterion of the unnameable or
nondescript mUltiple: it would be a multiple that was not constructible,
and which therefore belonged to what ontology admits as multiple
without belonging to any level of the hierarchy L .
There is, however, an impressive obstacle to such a conception which
would reduce the constructivist restriction to being solely the examination
of a particular property. It so happens that. if it is quite possible to
demonstrate that some sets are constructible, it is impossible to demonstrate
that some sets are not. The argument, in its conceptual scope, is that of
nominalism, and its triumph is guaranteed: i f you demonstrate that such a
299
300
BEI NG AND EVENT
sct i snot constructiblc. it | s bccausc vouwcrc ablc to construct i t. uow
indccdcanonccxplicitlvdcñncsucha multiplcwithout . att hcsamctimc.
showingit to bc constructiblc' Ccrtainlv. wc shal l scc thatthi s apor|a ol
thcindctcrm| natc. olthcind| sccrniblc.canbcc| rcumvcntcd. thatmuch i s
guarantccd÷suchi sthccnti rcpoi ntolthcthoughtolthcgcncr|c. Butnrst
wc mustgi vciti tslull mcasurc.
Fvcrvthingcomcsdownto thc lollowing. thcproposition cvcrvmulti -
plc |s constructibl c' is /rrc]u/a//cwithin thc lramcwork ol thc ldcasolthc
mul tiplcthatwchavcadvanccduptothi spo|nt÷il. olcoursc. thcscldcas
arcthcmsclvcscohcrcnt. 1ohopc to cxhibitbv dcmonstrationa countcr-
cxamplcisthcrclorctohopci nvai n. Onccould. withoutbtcak|ngwiththc
dcductivc ñdclitv olontologv. dccidctosolclvacccptconstructiblc sctsas
cxistcnt.
1hisdcci si onis known in thclitcraturc as thc ax|om ol consttuctibilitv.
lti swrittcn Forcvctvmu|tiplcy, thcrccxists a |cvcl olthcconstructibl c
hicrarchv to which it bclongs' . that is. ( Vyi ( 3ai ' y E . I . whcrc a i s an
ordi nal .
1hcdcmonstrationolthcirrclutablccharactcrolthisdccision÷whichi s
i nnowavcons|dcrcdbvthcma] oritvolmathcmatic| ansasanaxiom. asa
vcritablc ldca' ol thcmultip| c÷is ol a subtlctvwhich is quitc instructivc
vctitstcchnicaldctai | scxcccdthc conccrnsolthisbook. !tisachicvcdbv
mcans olanautol im| tationolthc statcmcnt cvcrvmultiplci sconstruct
iblc' to thc constructiblc unl vcrsc itsell. 1hc approach i s roughlv thc
lollowing.
a. Oncbcgins bvcstablishingthatthc scvcn main axi omsolsct thcorv
( cx|cns|onal | ty. powcrsct ( parts i . uni on. scparation. rcp| accmcnt void.
and i nñnitvi rcmain truc' | l thc notion ol sct i s rcstrictcd to that ol
constructiblc sct. l n othcr words. thc sct ol construct| blc parts ol a
constructlb| c sct ls construct|blc. thc union o| a constructiblc sct is
constructibl c. and so on. 1his amounts to savlng that thc const ructiblc
univcrscisamo4c/olthcscaxiomsi nthatilonc applics thcconstructions
andthcguarantccsolcxistcnccsupportcdbvthcldcasolthcmultiplc. and
il thcir domain ol application i s rcstrictcd to thc constructiblc univctsc.
thcn thc constructiblc i s gcncratcd i n rcturn. I t can al so bc sai d that i n
cons| dcringconstructib| cmult| plcsa/onc. oncstavswithi othclramcwork
olthc ldcas olthc multlplc. bccausc the reali zati on ol these Ideas l nthe
rcstrictcdunivcrsc w||l ncvcrgcncratc anvthingnon- constructibl c.
ltisthctclorcclcari hat anvdcmonstrationdrawnlromthcldcasolthc
multiplc can bc rclativizcd bccausc | t l s possiblc to rcstr|ct l t to a
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
dcmonstrationwhichconccrnsconstructiblcsctsalonc. i tsulnccstoaddto
cach ofthcdcmonstrativc uscs of anaxi omthat| t must bc takcn i nthc
constructiblc scnsc. Whcn vou writc thcrc cxists a' , this mcans thcrc
cxists a constructiblc a' , and so on. Onc thcn scnscs÷though such a
prcmonition is sti l| vaguc÷that it is impossiblc to dcmonstratc thc
cxistcncc of a non constructib|c sct. because thc rclativization of this
dcmonstration woul d morc or lcss amount to maintaining that a con
structib|cnon constructib|csctcxists . thc supposcdcohctcnccofontologv.
which istosavthc val ucolits opcratorofndclitv÷dcduction÷woul dnot
survivc
/. lnlact. onccthcconstructiblcunivcrsc| sdcmonstratcdtobca modcl
o|thcfundamcntalaxioms ofthcdoctrincofthc multi plc. Godcl dircctlv
complctcsthc irrcfutabilitvofthchvpothcsis cvcrvmu| ti plc is construct
iblc bv showing that thisstatcmcnt is truci nthc constructib|c univcrsc.
thati t i sa conscqucncc thcrcinofthc rclativizcd axi oms Commonscnsc
would sav that th|s rcsult | s trivial . i f onc i s insidc thc constructiblc
univcrsc. i ti sguarantccdthatcvcrvmultiplci sconstructiblcthcrcin' But
common scnsc gocs astrav int hcl abvrinth wovcn bvt hcsovcrcigntv of
languacc and t hc lolding ol bcing withi n. 1hc qucsti on hcrc i s t hat ol
cstablishingwhcthcrt hcstatcmcnt ( Va) [ ( :�) (a ÷ .�i | i s a thcorcmol thc
constructiblcunivctsc. l nothcrwords. |]thc quantincrs
( Va) and( 3ßi arc
rcstrictcd to thi s univcrsc ( for cvcrv consttuctib|c a' , and thcrc cxists a
constructiblc ß ì . and |] thc writing 'a ÷ .�÷that is. thc conccp/ of
lcvcl÷canbccxplicitlvptcscntcd as a rcstrictcd]ermu/a. in thc construct
iblc scnsc. /h:nthisstatcmcntwillbcdcduciblcwithinontologv. 1opccp
undcr thc vcil. notc that thc rcl ati vization of thc two quanti ñcrs to thc
constructiblcunivcrscgcncratcs thc lollowing.
( Va) [ ( :y
)
(
a ÷ L
y) ] � ( :�) [ ( :S) (f
E .
·
i &
(
a ÷ L�
) ]
For every Û there exists an ordinal { sti ch that / E L.
which i s construci bl e which i s constructibl e
To stumbling points show up whcn this formul a i scxami ncd.
÷ Onc must bc surc thatthcl cvcl s... canbci ndcxcdbv constructi b| c
ordina| s. lntruth. cvcm ordi na| i s constructibl c. 1hc rcadcr wi l l ñndthc
prool of thc lattcr. which | s quitc intcrcsting. i n Appcndix 4. lt i s
intcrcsting bccausc lor thought it amounts to stating that naturc i s
uni vcrsallvnamcabl c( orconstructiblcì . 1his dcmonstration. whi chi snot
cntirclvtrivial. was al rcadvpatt of Godcl srcsults.
301
302
BEI NG AND EVENT
- One must be sure that writings l i ke a E Ly have a constructible sense;
in other words, that the concept of constructible level i s itself constructibl e.
Thi s wi l l be verifed by showing that the function whi ch matches every
ordinal a to the level La-thus the defnition by recurrence of the levels
L ,,-is not modifed in its results if it is relativized to the constructible
universe. That is, we originally gave this defnition of the constructible
within ontology, and not within the constructible universe. It is not
guaranteed that the levels L" are ' the same' if they are defned within their
own proper empire.
3 . ABSOLUTENESS
It i s quite characteristic that in order t o designate a property or a function
that remains ' the same' within ontology strictly speaking and in its
relativization mathematicians employ the adj ective ' absolute' . This symp­
tom is quite important.
Take a formula ;/) where f is a free variable of the formula ( if there are
any) . We will defne the restriction to the constructible universe of this formula
by using the procedures which served in constructing the concept of
constructibility; that is, by considering that, in ;, a quantifer (3f) means
' there exists a constructible f'-or ( 3f) [ L /) ô . . . ] -a quantifer ( Vf)
means ' for all constructible f'-or ( Vf) [ L /) � . . . ] -and the variable f
is solely authorised to take constructible values. The formula obtained in
this manner will be written ;L /), which reads: ' restriction of the formula
; to the constructible universe' . We previously indicated, for exa
m
ple, that
the restriction to the constructible universe of the axioms of set theory is
deducibl e.
We wi l l say that a formula ;/) is absolute for the constructible universe if i t
can be demonstrated that its restriction is equivalent to itself. for fxed
constructible val ues of variables. In other words, i f we have: L /) � [;/)
H ;L /) ] .
Absoluteness signifes that the formul a, once tested within the construct­
ible universe, has the same truth value as its restriction to that universe. If
the formula i s absolute, its restriction therefore does not restrict its truth,
once one is in a position of i mmanence to the constructible universe. It can
be shown, for example, that the operation ' union' i s absolute for the
constructible universe, in that i f one has L a, then U a * ( U a) L : the union
THE FOLDI NG OF BE I NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
( |nthcgcncralscnsci ofa constructib|ca i s/hcsamc/h/nu. thcsamcbci ng.
as union in thc constructiblc scnsc.
1hc absol utc is hcrc thc cqui valcncc of gcncral truth and rcstrictcd
truth. Absolutc is a prcd|catc of thcsc propositions which stipul atcs that
thcirrcstrictiondocsnot affcct thcir truthval uc.
lf wc rcturn now t o our problcm. thc point i s to cstabl| sh that thc
conccpt of constructiblc hicrarchv is abso|utc for thc constructiblc uni
vcrsc. t hus in a ccrtai n scnsc absolutc foritsclf. 1hatis. L (a) � ¸ .(a) f
.L (a) ) , whcrc L L µi mcansthc.ons/ruc////c.onccp/o]cons/ruc///////y
1o cxaminc thi s point. far morc rigour in thc mani pu| ation of formal
languagcwi l l bcrcquircdthanthatwhich hasbccn introduccduptothi s
point . !twillbcncccssarvt oscrutinizccxactlvwhata rcstrictcdformul ais.
to dccomposc' i tintoclcmcntarvsctopcrations/n]n//cnum/cr( thcGodcl
opcrations' i . andthcntoshowthatcachofthcscopcrat| onsisabsolutcfor
thc constructiblc univcrsc. lt will thcn bc cstab|ishcd that thc function
whichmapsthccorrcspondcncc. t ocachordi nal a, ofthc lcvcl L" is itsclf
absolutc for thc constructib|c univcrsc. Wcwillthcn bc ab| c to conc| udc
that thc statcmcnt cvcrv multiplc is constructib| c . rclat| vi zcd to thc
constructiblc univcrsc. is t ruc. or. that cvcrv constructib| c sct is con
structivclvconstructcd.
1hc hypo/hcs/s that cvcrv sc: i s constructiblc is thus a /hcorcm of thc
constructiblcunivcrsc.
1hccffcctof t hi s infcrcocci s| mmcdiatc.i l thcstatcmcnt cvcrvmul ti plc
is constructib| c i struc i nthc constructiblc univcrsc. onc cannotproducc
anv rcfutationol it in on|ologvpcrsc Sucha rcfutationwould. in fact. bc
rclativizablc . bccausca| l thcax| omsarci . andonc woul dbc ablcto rcfutc.
withi nthcconstructivistunivcrsc. thc rclat| vizationofthat statcmcnt. Yct
thisi snotpossib|cbccausc. onthc contrarv. thatrcl ativizationi sdcduciblc
thcrcin.
1hc dccision to solclv acccptthc cxistcncc of constructio|cmultip| cs is
thuswithoutri sk. !o countcrcxamplc. as ' ongas onccontlncsoncsclfto
thc ldcas of thc multip|c. coul d bc uscd to ruin its rati onalitv. 1hc
hvpothcsis of an ontologv submittcd to languagc÷of an ontologica|
nomina|i sm÷is irrcfutabl c.
Onccmpiri cal aspcctolthcqucstionisthatofcoursc. nomathcmati ci an
couldcvcrcxhi bi ta non constructib|c mu|tiplc. 1hc classi cscts ofactivc
mathcmatics ( whol c numbcrs. rcal and complcx numbcrs. functiona|
spaccs. ctc. i arcall constructib|c.
303
304
BEI NG AND EVENT
lsthiscnoughto convinccsomconcwhoscdcsirc.s not onlvtoadvancc
ontologv ( that is. to bc a mathcmaticiani . but to think ontological
thought' Must onc havc thc wisdom to lold bci ng to thc rcquisitcs ol
lormallanguagc'1hcmathcmatician.whoonlvcvcrencounters construct -
iblcscts. no doubtalso hasthat other latcntdcsi rc. I dctcct its sign in thc
lact that. i n gcncra| . mathcmaticians arc rcluctant to mai ntai n thc
hvpothcsis ol constructibil|tv as an axiom in thc samc scnsc as thc
othcrs÷howcvcr homogcncous it mav bc to thc rcalitv that thcv
manipulatc.
1hcrcasonlorthisisthatthc normalizingcllcctsolthi slol di ngolbcing.
olthissovcrcigntvol| anguagc. arcsuchthatthcvproposca ||attcncdand
corrcctunivcrscinwhi chcxccssi srcduccdtothcstrictcstolmcasurcs. and
i nwhichsituationspcrscvcrci ndcnnitclvinthci rrcgulatcdbci ng Wcshal l
scc. succcssivclv. thati lonc assumcsthat cvcrv multiplc | sconstructiblc.
thccvcnti snot. thci ntcrvcntion| snon i ntcrvcntional (orlcgal ì . andthc
un-mcasurc olthcstatci scxactlvmcasurablc.
4 1BF ABSOLU1F N0N BFlNG OF1BF FVFN1
lnontologvper se, thcnon bcingolthccvcntisa dcc| si on 1o lorccloscthc
cxistcncc ol scts which bclong to thcmsclvcs÷ultra oncs÷a spcci al
axiomi sncccssarv. thcaxiomolloundation( Mcditat| on l 4i 1hcdclimita-
tionolnon-bcing is thc rcsult ol an cxplicit and i naugura| statcmcnt .
With thc hvpothcsis ol constructibilitv. cvcrvthing changcs. 1his timc
onccanactuallydemonstrate thatno ( constructiblci multip|ci scvcntal I
othcr words. thc hvpothcsis ol constructibi|itv rcduccs thc axi om ol
loundati onto thc rankolathcorcm. a laithlul conscqucncc olthc othcr
Idcas olt hc mu| ti p| c.
1akca construct| b|cscta. Supposcthatiti sancl cmcntolitscll. thatwc
havc a E a. 1hcscta, which isconstructiblc. appears in thc hicrarchvata
ccrtain lcvc|. l cts sav Ls() . lt appcars as a dchnab| c part ol thc prcvious
lcvcl . 1huswchavc a e LI But sincc a E a, wc alsohavca E LI, i la isa
partol Li. 1hcrclorc. a hadalready appcarcdat Li whcnwcsupposcdthat
its ürst |cvc| ol appcarancc was L s() . 1bis antcccdcncc t o sc|l is con-
structivc|y impossib| c Wc can scc hcrc bow hi crarcbica| gcncration bars
thc possibilitv ol scllbclonging. Bctwccn cumulativc construction bv
lcvclsandthccvcnt. achoicchastobcmadc. ll. thcrclorc. cvcrvmultiplc
i sconstructibl c. no multiplc| scvcn tal . Wchavcnonccdhcrcolthcaxiom
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
olfoundation. thchvpothcsisofconsttuctibilitvprovidcsforthcdcduciblc
c|imination olanv abnormal ' multiplicitv. ofanvultra- onc.
Withinthcconstructiblcunivcrsc. iti sncccssarv ( andnotdccidcdì that
thccvcntdocsnotcxi st. 1hi si sadiffcrcnccofprincipl c. 1hcintcrvcntional
rccognition of thc cvcnt contravcncs a spccial and pr|mord|al thcsis of
gcncralontologv. ltrefutes, onthc othcrhand. thc vcrv cohcrcncv ofthc
constructiblc uni vcrsc. ln thc ñrst casc. it suspcnds an axiom. ln thc
sccond. it rui nsa ñdclitv. Bctwccn thc hvpothcsis of constructibilitv and
thc cvcnt. again. a choicc has to bc madc. And thc discordancc is
mainta|ncd i n thc vcrv scnsc ol thc word choicc . thc hvpothcsis of
constructibi|itv takcs nomorcaccountolintcrvcntion than | t docsofthc
cvcnt.
° 1BF LFCALlLA1lON OF lN1FRYFN1l 0N
Nomotc than t hcaxiomof loundation is thc ax| om ol choicc an axiom
withinthcconstructiblcunivcrsc. 1hisunhcard oldccision. whichcauscd
suchanuproar. ñndsitscllcquallvrcduccdtobcingnomorcthanancllcct
ol thc othcr ldcas ol thc multiplc. Not onlv can onc dcmonstratc that a
( constructibl cì lunction ol choicc cxists. on al l constructiblc scts. but
lurthcrmorc that thcrc cxists onc such lunction. lorcvcr idcntical and
dcñnablc. whi ch i s capablc of opcrating on anv ( constructiblcì multiplc
whatsocvcr. iti scal lcdau/o/a/choiccluncti on. 1hcillcgalitvolchoicc. thc
anonvmitv ol rcprcscntativcs. thc ungraspablc naturc of dclcgation ( scc
Mcditation 22i arcrcduccdto thcproccdutal un|formitv ofan ordcr.
l havc al rcadv rcvcalcd thc duplicitv of thc axiom of choicc. A wild
proccdurc olrcprcscntativcswithoutanv law olrcprcscntation. i tncvcr
thclcsslcadstothcconccpti onthat all mul tiplcsarc susccptl blctobcing
wcl l - ordcrcd 1hc hcight of disordcris i nvcrtcd into thc hcight ofordcr.
1hissccondaspcct|s ccnttalin thc constructiblcunivcrsc. ln thc lattcr. onc
candi rcctlvdcmonstratc. withoutrccoursctosupplcmcntarvhvpothcscs.
nortoanvwagcronintcrvcntion. thatcvcrvmult|plci swcl l - ordcrcd. Lct s
tracc thc dcvclopmcnt ol this triumph ol ordcr via languagc lt is
worthwhilc glanci ng÷without worrving about completc rigour÷at thc
tcchni qucs olordcr. such as la|d outundcr thc constructivist vision ona
shadowlcss dav.
As it happcns. cvcrvthing. or almost cvcrvthing. is cxtractcd lrom thc
fnite charactcr ol thc cxplicit writings of thc languagc ( the lormul as ì
Fvcrvconstructiblcscti s a dchnablcparto l alcvclL p. 1hclormul aàwhich
305
306
BEI NG AND EVENT
dchncsthc partonlvcontainsañnitcnumbcrolsi gns. ltisthuspossiblcto
rank. orordcr. allthclormulasonthcbasi solthcir l cngth' ( thc| rnumbcr
ol signs i . Onc thcn agrccs. and a bit ol tcchnical ti nkcring sulñccs to
cstablishthisconvcntion. to ordcra//constructiblc multiplcs on thcbasis
ol thc ordcr ol thc lormu| as which dcñnc thcm. ln short. sincc cvcrv
construct|blcmultiplchasanamc (aphrascoralormul awhich dcsignatcs
i t i . thcordcrol namcsinduccsatotalordcrolthcscmultipl cs. Such isthc
powcrolanvdictionarv tocxhibitalistolnamcablcmult| plicitics .1hings
arc. of coursc. a bit morc complicatcd. bccausc onc must a| so takc into
account that it is a/ a ccr/a/n /cvc/. .� that a construct|blc multiplc is
dcnnabl c What will actuallv bc combincd | s thc ordcr ol words. or
lormulas. and thc supposcdordcrprcviouslvobtaincd uponthcclcmcnts
olthclcvcl. �. Xcvcrthclcss. thchcartolthcproccdurc licsi nthclactthat
cvcrvsctofñn| tcphrascs canbcwcl | - ordcrcd.
1hcrcsultisthatcvcrv lcvcl .�|swcll ordcrcd. andthussoi sthccntirc
constructiblc hicrarchv.
1hc axiom olchoicc isnolongcranvthing morc than a sinccurc. givcn
anvconstructi b| cmultip| c. thc lunctionolcho| cc' willonlvhavctosclcct.
lorcxamplc. its smallcst clcmcnt according to thc wc| l ordcrinc i nduccd
bv its inclus| on within thc lcvcl .�. olwhich it is a dcñnablc part. ltis a
unilorm. dctcrm| ncdproccdurc. and. l darc sav. onc withoutchoicc.
Wchavcthusindicatcdthatthccxi stcnccola lunctionolchoicconanv
constructiblc multiplc can bc 4cmons/m/c4 morcovcr. wc arc actuallv
capablc ol constructing or cxhibiting this luncti on. As such. it i s appro
priatcwithin thc construct|blcunivcrsctoabandon thc cxprcssion axiom
ofcho| cc' and to rcplacci twith thcorcm olun| vcrsal wc| l ordcring'
1hcmctathcorcticaladvantagcol thisdcmonstrationi sthati ti sguaran
tccd from now on that thc ax| om of cho|ce |s ( | n gcncra| onto|ogvì
cohcrcntwiththc othcrldcasol thcmultiplc !or il onc couldrclutcit on
t hcbasisofthcsc ldcas. whichi st osavdcmonstratcthccxistcnccol a sct
w|thoutachoicclunction. arc/a//v/zc4vcrsi onolthisdcmonstrationwould
cxist . Onccoulddcmonstratc somcthinglikc. thcrc cxistsa constructiblc
sctwhichdocsnotal|owa constructibl cchoicclunction. ' Butwchavc] ust
shown thc contrarv.
ll ontologvw| thout thc axiom ol choicc is cohcrcnt . |t must alsobcso
wlth thc axiom ol choicc. bccausc in thc rcstrictcd vcrsion ol ontologv
lound i n thc construct|blc univcrsc thc axiom ol choicc i s a laithlul
conscqucncc olthcothcraxioms.
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
1hc |nconvcn|cncc. howcvcr. l i cs | n thc hvpothcs|s ol construct|b|l|tv
solclvdclivcr|ngancccssarvandcxplici t vcrsionol choicc' . Asadcductivc
conscqucncc. thi s ax|om' | oscscvcrvth|ngwh|ch madc it into thclorm
multiplcolintcrvcnt| on. | | | cga| | tv. anonvm|tv. cx| stcnccwithoutcx|stcnt.
lt| snolongcranvthing morc than a lormul a | n which onc can dcc|phcr
thc tota| ordcr to which | anguagc lo|ds bcing. whcn it i s a| | owcd that
languagc |cgislatcs uponwhat is adm|ss|b| cas a oncmu| ti p| c.
6. 1HF!ORMALlLA1lONOFFXCFS3
1hcimpasscol onto|ogvist ranslormcdintoapassagcbvthchvpothcs|sol
construct|bi | itv. Not onlv | st hcintr|ns|c sizc olt hcsct ol parts pcrlcctlv
ñxcd. butit| s a|so. aslhavca| rcadvannounccd.thcsma| | cstpossib|csuch
s|zc. Nor is a dcc|sion|s rcqu|rcdtocndthccxccssivccrrancvol thcstatc.
0nc a:mons/ra/cs that i l w" | s a construct| blc card|nal. thc sct ol i ts
construct|b| cparts has ws . � as |ts cardinal|tv. 1hcgcncra| | zcdcontinuum
hvpothcsis is truc | n the constructiblc univcrsc. 1hc | attcr. and carclu|
hcrc. mustbercadaslo| | ows. .(,, ) � ¸ p(w, )
=
WS(" , ] L ; awrit| nginwhich
cvcrvthing |s rcstrictcd to thcconstructiblcun| vcrsc.
1hist|mc| t wi | l sulñcctoout|incthcdcmonstrationi nordcrtopoi ntout
its obstac|c.
1hc nrst rcmarkt obc madcis that lromnowon. whcnwcspcakola
cardinal W' what must bc undcrstood i s thc ath cons/ruc////: a| cph. 1hc
po|nt| sdclicatc. but|tshcdsa lotoll|ghtuponthe rclati v|sm | nduccdbv
anvconstructivistor|cntat|onolthought . 1hcrcason|sthatthcconccptol
card|nal. |n contrast to that olord|nal /sno/a/so/u/c. What | s a cardi na|
altcrall'lt | sanordi na| suchthattherc| sno onetoonc corrcspondcncc
bctwccn|tandanord|na| whi chprcccdcsi t( asma| | crordina| ì . Buta onc
to-onc corrcspondcnce. | i kc anv rc| ation. i s on| vcvcr a mu| t| p| c. | nthc
constructib| c universc. an ord| na| i s a cardina| | | thcrc docs not cxist.
bctwccn it and a sma|| er ordina| . a cons/ruc////c onc t o onc correspon
dcncc 1hcrclorc. i ti spossiblc. gi vcnanordi na| a, tbat itbca card| na| i n
thcconstruct| b| cun|vcrsc. andnot| nthcunivcrscolonto| ogv. Forthatto
bc thc casc it wou| d su|ñcc that. bctwccna and a sma| | cr ordi na| . thcrc
cx|sts a nonconstructib|c oncto- onc corrcspondcncc. but no construct
iblc oncto onc corrcspondencc
I said i tis possib| c' . lhcsp| ce ol thc mattcris thatth| s i t |s possi b| c' wi ll
ncvcr bc an i t i s s ure' For that i t wou| d bc ncccssarv to show thc
307
BEI NG AND EVENT
existence of a non- constructible set ( the one- to- one correspondence) ,
which i s impossibl e. Possible existence, however, suffces t o de-absolutize
the concept of cardinal . Despite being undemonstrable, there i s a risk
attached to the series of constructible cardinal s: that they be ' more
numerous' than the cardinals in the general sense of ontol ogy. It is possible
that there are cardinals which are created by the constraint of language
and the restriction it operates upon the one-to- one correspondences in
question. This risk i s tightly bound to the followi ng: cardi nality is defned
i n terms of i nexistence (no one-to- one correspondence) . Yet nothing is less
absolute than inexistence.
Let's turn to the account of the proof.
One starts by showing that the intrinsic quantity-the cardinal-of an
infnite level of the constructible hierarchy i s equal to that of its ordinal
index. That is, L
"
* a I . Thi s demonstration is qui te a subtl e exercise
which the skilful reader can attempt on the basis of methods found in
Appendix 4.
Once this resul t i s acquired, the deductive strategy is the following:
Take a cardinal (in the constructible sense) , w .. . What we know is that
Lw" * w" and that Lwsp

* W' I

: two levels whose indexes are two
successive cardinals have these cardinals respectivel y as their cardinality.
Naturally between L .. ..
.
and L ws
l

there is a gigantic crowd of levels; al l
those indexed by the innumerable ordi nal s si tuated ' between' these two
special ordinals that are cardinals, alephs. Thus, between L wo' and Lw" we
have LSlo

' L S( Slol l , . . . , Lwo ¬ W
o
' . . . , L wi' " ' , L won, . . .
What can be said about the parts of the cardi nal ... Naturally, ' part '
must be understood in the constructible sense. There wi l l be parts of Wn
that will be defnable in LSI
"
I , and which wl appear on the following
leveL LS( SI" I I ' then others on the next level. and so on. The fundamental
idea of the demonstration is to establish that a//the constructible parts of
w" will be ' exhausted' before arriving at the level L wsl

' The result will be
that all of these parts are found together in the level L ws(

' which, as we
have seen, conserves what has been previously constructed. If al l of the
constructible parts of w . . are elements of L W
SI
' then p( .. ) in the constructible
sense-if you like, pL (,)-is itself a part of this level. But i f
pL ( .. ) C L ws
.
,

' its cardi nality being at the most equal to that of the set in
which it is induded, we have ( si nce 1 L sl,) = WS!

) : 1 p(,, ) < WSI) . Given
that Cantor's theorem tells us w" < p
�,,
) I , i t i s evident that 1 p� . . i is
necessarily equal to wS! , because 'between' w . . and WS!� there i s no
cardinal .
308
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
Fvcryth|ng. thcrcforc. comcsdowntoshow|ngthata consttuct|blcpart
ol Wa appcars |n thc hicrarchv bclorc thc lcvc| L wsl. ) ' 1hc fundamcntal
|cmmai swrittcn in thc lol | owing manncr. foranvconstructib|cpatt ß of
w", thcrccx| stsanordi na| y such thaty E WS() , with ß E Ly. 1hi slcmma.
thc rock of thc dcmonsttation. i s what l|cs bcvond thc mcans I wish to
cmplovi n th|s book. It al so rcquircs a vcrv closc analysis ol thc lormal
languagc.
Undcr its conditionwcobta|n thc totaldom|nat|onol thc statc' sexccss
which is cxprcsscd in thc fo|lowing lormu| a. I p� i I * WS() ; that is. thc
placcmcnt. i nthcconstructib|cunivcrsc. olthcsctolpartsolana |cph]us/
c]/cr//. accord|ng to thc powcr dcñncdbythc succcssota| cph.
At basc. thc sovcrc|gntv of languagc÷il onc adopts thc constructivist
v|s|on÷produccsthcfol|ow|ngstatcmcnt ( in wh|chl short - citcu|tquanti-
tativc cxplanation. and whosc charm | s cv|dcnt ì . /hc s/a/c succccds /hc
s//ua//on.
7 SCEOLARLY ASCFSlS ANLl1S L!M!1A1lON
1hc long. s|nuous mcdi tation passing through thc scruplcs ol thc con
struct|b|c. thc lorcvcr incomplctablc tcchn|cal conccrn. thc i nccssant
rcturnto what iscxplicit|n languagc. thcwcightcdconncct| onbctwccn
cx|stcnccandgrammar. donotthinkthatwhatmustbcrcadthcrc|nwi th
borcdom|s an uncontro|lcdabandonto lorma|attiñcc. Fvcrvbodvcan scc
thatthcconstructiblcunivcrsc|s÷in|tsrcñncdproccdurccvcnmorcthan
in |ts rcsult÷thc ontolog|cal symbol of know|cdgc. 1hc ambit|on wh|ch
an|matcsth|sgcnrcofthought| stoma|ntainthcmultiplcwith|nthcgrasp
olwhatcanbcwtittcnandvcriñcd. Bc|ngisonlvadm|ttcdtobc|ngw|th|n
thctransparcncvolsignswhich b|ndtogcthcr|tsdcrivationonthcbasisol
what wc havc a| tcadv bccn ablc to . nscribc. What l wishcd to transm|t.
morc than thc gcncra| sp|rit olan ontologv ordaincd to know|cdgc. was
thc asccsis ol its mcans. thc c|ockwotk minutiac ol thc ñltcr it p|accs
bctwccnprcscntat|on and rcprcscntat|on. or bclonging and | ncl usion. or
thc|mmcd|acv ofthcmu| tiplc. andthcconstruction ollcgitimatcgroup
|ngs÷its passagc to statc] ur|sdiction. Nominal|sm rcigns. l statcd. in our
worl d it | s its spontancous phil osophv. 1hc univcrsal va| orization ol
compctcncc' . cvcn |nsidc thc politica|sphcrc. is its bascst product. a| | it
comcs down to l s guaraotccing thc compctcncc ol hcwho | s capab|c ol
nam|ng rcal|tics such as thcv arc. 3ut what i s at stakc hcrc i s a lazv
309
310
BEI NG AND EVENT
nominalism. lor our ti mcs do not cvcn havc thc ti mc lor authcntic
knowlcdgc. 1hccxaltationolcompctcnccisrathcrthcdcsirc÷i nordcrto
dowithout truth÷toglori lv knowlcdgcwithout knowi ng.
ltsnosctothcgrindstoncolbci ng. scholarlvorconstructiblcontologvis.
i ncontrast. ascct| cand rcl cntlcss . 1hcgiganti cl aboutbv mcansolwhi ch
i t rcñncs| anguagcandpasscsthcprcscntati onolprescnt a| i onthroughits
subtlcñltcrs÷a | abourtowhichJcnscn.altcrCodelattachcdhisnamc÷is
propcrlvspcaki ogadmi rablc. 1hcrcwchavcthcc| carcstv|cw÷bccausc it
i s thc most comp| ex and prccisc÷ol what o] bc| og qua bcing can /c
pronouncc4 undct thc condition ol languagc and thc disccrni bl c 1hc
cxaminat|onolthcconscqucnccsolthchvpothcs| so|constructibilitvgivcs
usthcontologica| paradigmolconstructivistthoughtand tcachcs uswhat
thoughtiscapablc ol. 1hcrcsultsarcthcrc. thci rrcprcssi blccxccssolthc
statc ola situat. on nnds itscll. bcncath thc scholarlv cvc which i nstructs
bcing according t | anguagc. rcduccd to a minima| and mcasurablc
quantitativc prc emi ncncc.
Wcalsoknowthcpr| ccto bcpaid÷but i s it onclor knowlcdgc itscll'
÷thcabsolutc and ncccssarvannulmcntolanvthought olthccvcntand
thcrcduction ol tHc |orm- mu|tiplcoli ntcrvcnt| on10 a dcl| nab| cñgurc ol
univcrsalordcr.
1hc rcason bcHi nd this tradc oll. ccrtainlv. is t |at thc constructibl c
uni vcrscisnarrow. !lonccanputitthiswav. itconta| nsthcl castpossiblc
mul ti plcs . lt couots asoncwithparsi monv. rcal l anguagc. disconti nuous.
i saninñnitcpowcr. butitncvcrsurpasscsthcdcnumcrablc.
l sai d that anv dircct cvaluation ol this rcstriction was impossibl c.
Withoutthcpossi bi | itvolcxhibitingatl castoncnon constructib|csctonc
cannot knowtowhatdcgrcc constructivistthoughtdcprivcs usolmul ti
pl cs. orolthc wca| th olbci ng. 1hcsacriñcc dcmandcd Hcrc asthc pricc
ol mcasurc and ordct i s both intuitivclv cnormous and rationa|lv
incalcu| abl c.
uowcvcr. i lthcltamcworkolthcldcasolthcmu| t| ol eiscnlargcdbv:hc
axi omati c admi ss| on o| | atgc multiplcs. ol cardi na| s whosc cxistcncc
cannot bc inlcrrcd lrom thc rcsourccs ol thc c| ass| c axi oms alonc. onc
rcalizcs. lromthisobscrvatorvi nwhichbcingisimmcdi atc| vmagniñcdin
itspowcroli nñnitccxccss. thatthclimitationintroduccd|n thcthough:ol
bcingbvthc hvoothcs| s olconstructibilitv i squi tc s|mplv dtaconi an. and
that thc sacriñcc i s. litcral lv. unmcasurcd. Onc can thus turn to what
l tctmcd i n Mcditation 27 thc third or. cntation ol thought . its cxcrcisc
is to namc mul t|plcs so ttansccndcnt it is cxpcct cd that thcv ordcr
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
whatcvcrpreccdcs thcm. anda|though it oltcn |ai | s i n itsownambition
this oricntation can bc ol somc usc i n ] udging thc rca| cllccts ol thc
constructivistoricntation. Frommvpointolvicw. whichi sncithcrthatol
thc powcr ol|anguagc ( whoscindispcnsab|casccsisl recogn|zci . nor that
oltransccndencc (whoschcroism!rccogni zci . thcrci ssomcp|casurctobc
hadi nsccinghowcach olthcscoricntationsprovidcsa diagnosticlorthc
othcr.
lnAppcndix>. l spcako|thc | argccardina| s' whosccxistcncccannotbc
dcduccdwithinthec|assica|sctthcorvaxi oms. Eowcvcr. bvconñdcnccin
thc prodiga|itv ol prcscntation. onc mav dcc|arc thcir bcing÷savc il. in
invcst|gatinglurthcr. oncñndsthati ndoingsothccohcrcncv ollanguagc
is ruincd. For cxamplc. docs a cardina| cxist which i s both |imit and
rcgu|ar' othcrthan wo? ltcanbcshownthatth. s i sa mattcr oldcci si on.
Such cardina|s arc sai d to bc wcak|v inacccssib|c' . Cardi na| s sai d to bc
strong|vinacccssibl c' havcthcpropcrtvolbcing rcgu|ar' . and. morcovcr.
olbcingsuch thatthcvovcrtakc in intrinsicsizc thc sct olparts ol anv sct
whichi ssma| | crthan thcm. ll1 isinacccssiblc. andi la < -. wc alsohave
p(a) < -. As such. thcsc cardi na| s cannot bc attaincd bv mcans ol thc
rcitcrationol statist cxccss ovcrwhatis inlcriorto thcm.
But thcrc is thc possibi|itv ol dcñning cardinals lar morc gigantic than
thc ñrst strong|vinacccssib| c cardina| . For cxamp|c. thc Mah| o cardinals
arc sti|l l argcr than thc ñrst inacccssiblc cardinal -. which itsc|l has the
propcrtvolbcingthc-thinacccssib|ccardina| ( thus. thc|attcrissuchthat
thc sct olinacccssib|c cardina| s sma|lcr than it has- as i ts cardina|itvi .
1hc thcorv ol | argc cardina| s' has bccn constant|v cnrichcd bv ncw
monstcrs. A||olthcm mustlormthcob] cctolspecial axiomstoguarantcc
thcir existcncc A|| ol thcm attcmpt to constitutc within thc inñnitc an
abvsscomparab| ctothconcwhichdistinguishcsthcñrsti nñni tv. wo, lrom
thc ñnitc mu|tip|cs. Nonc olthcm quitc succccd.
1hcrc i s a | argc varictv ol tcchnica| mcans lor dcñni ng vcrv | argc
cardi nal s. 1hcv can posscss propcrtics ol inacccssibi|itv ( this or that
opcration app|i cd to smal | cr cardina|s docs not a||ow onc to construct
thcmì . but a|so positivc propcrtics. which do not havc an i mmcdiatclv
visib|c rc| at. on w|th intrinsic sizc vet which ncvcrthc| css rcquirc i t. 1hc
c|assic cxamp|c is that ol mcasurab|c cardina|s whosc spcci ñc propcrtv
÷and l wi| l lcavc its mvstcrv i ntact÷is thc lo||owing. a cardina| - |s
mcasurab|cil thcrc cxists on' a non-principal - comp|ctcu|trañltcr. lt|s
c|carthatthisstatemcnti sanasscrtionolcxistcnccandnota proccdurcol
inacccssibi |itv. Onccandcmonstratc. howevcr. tHata mcasurablccardina|
3 1 1
3 12
BEI NG AND EVENT
| saMahlocard|nal . Furthcrmorc.andth|salrcadvthrowssomcl|ghtupon
thclimit|ngcffcct ofthcconstructib|l|tvhvpothcsis. onc can dcmonstratc
( Scott. 1 96 1 ) that i fonc adm|ts this hvpothcs|s. thcrc arcno mcasurablc
card| nal s. 1hc construct|blc un|vcrscdecides, |tscll on thc |mposs|b|l|tvof
bcing of ccrta|n transccndcntal mult|plicitics. lt rcstricts thc inñn|tc
prod|gal|tvofprcscntat|on.
L|vcrscpropcrt|csconccrni ng thc part|tions ofscts alsol cad us tothc
suppos|t|on ofthc cx|stcnccofvcrv l argc card| nal s. 0nccan sccthat thc
s|ngular|tv of a card| nal is. i n short. a propcrtv ol part|t| on. it can bc
d|vidcd | nto a numbcr. smallcr than itsclf. olpi cccs smal l cr than itsclf
( Appcnd|x > ì .
Cons|dcrthcfollowingpropcrtvofpart|ti on. g|vcnacard|nal -.takc. lor
cach who|c numbcr n. thc n- tuplcts of clcmcnts ol -. 1hc sct of thcsc
n tuplctswillbcwr|ttcn '-| ¨. tobcrcad. thcsctwhoscclcmcntsarcal l scts
of thc tvpc |ß. ß-. . . ß. j whcrc ß. ß.. ß. arc n clcmcnts of -. Now
considcrthcun|onofallthc '-].for n �.-.inothcrwords. thcsctmadc
upofall thc nn|tcscr|cs ofclcmcntsof1. Savthatth|s scti sdiv|dcd|nto
two.onthconcsidc. ccrta|nn tuplcts.onthcothcrs| dc. othcrs . Notcthat
th|s partition cuts through cach '-] ¨. for cxamplc. on onc si dc thcrc arc
probablvtr|plctsofclcmcntsof- |�, ß-. ß·j . andonthc othcrs|dc. othcr
tr|plcts |ß I , ß -. ߬j . and so |t gocs for cvcrv n. lt |s said that a subsct.
yC 7, of-| sn- homogeneous forthcpartit|on| fallthcn-tuplctsofclcmcnts
of y arc i n thc samc ha|f. !n this manncr. y |s 2 - homogcncous for thc
part|t|on i fall thcpa|rs |ß. ß-j ÷w|th ß. E Y andß- E yarcinthc samc
half.
I! will bc sa|dthat y C - isglobally homogeneous for thc part|tion | fi t|s
n- homogcncous for al | n. 1his docs not mcan that all thc n- tuplcts. lor
wbatcvcrn, arc |n tbcsamc bal|. It mcans tbat. n bcing ñxcd. forthatn.
thcv arc all | n onc of thc halvcs. For cxamplc. all thc pairs |ß. ß.j of
clcmcntsofy mustbci nthcsamchalf. A|lthctriplcts|ß. ß..ß·j mustalso
bclnthcsamchalf (buti tcoul d bcthcothcrbal lnotthconcl nwhichthc
pairsarc foundi . ctc.
A cardi nal - is a Ramsey cardinal |f. for an;part|tion dcñncd | n th|s
manncr÷that| s. adivisioni ntwoofthcsct . '-| ¨÷thcrccx|stsasubsct
y C -. whosc card|nalitv i s - wh|cb i s g|�
-
b�¡|v homogcncous for thc
partit|on.
1hc | i nk to |ntr|nsic size is not particularlv clcar. Bowcver it can bc
shownthatcvcrvRamscvcardinal|s|nacccss|blc.thati t| sweaklvcompact
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
| anothcrspcci csofmonstcrì . ctc. lnbricl. a Ramscvcardi nal i svcrv l argc
indccd.
ltsohappcnsthatin l 97IRowbottompublishcdthclollowingrcmark
ablc rcsul t. il thcrc cxists a Ramscv cardinal . lorcvcrvcardi nal smallcr
thanit.thcsctolconstructible partsolthiscardinalhasapowcrcqualtothis
cardinal . lnothcrwords. i lT isa Ramscvcardinal. andi lw" < T, wchavc
pL (Wn) = W". lnparticular. wc havcpL �O) * we, wh|chmcansthatthc
sctolconstructiblcpartsolthcdcnumcrablc÷thati s. thcrcalconstructiblc
numbcrs. thcconstructiblccontinuum÷docsnot cxcccdthcdcnumcrablc
|tscll.
1hc rcadcr mav ñnd this quitc surpris|ng. altcr al|. docsn't Cantor's
thcorcm. whosc constructiblc rclativization ccrtainlv cxists. statc that
p�a) > Wa alwavsandcvcrvwhcrc' Ycs. but Rowbottom' sthcorcmi sa
thcorcmof general ontology andnot a thcorcmi mmancntto thcconstruct
|blcunivcrsc. In thc constructiblcunivcrsc. wccvidcnt|vhavcthclol l ow
|ng. 1hcsctolconstructiblcpartsola ( constructibl cì sct hasa powcr ( in
thc constructiblcscnscì supcrior( in thc constructibl cscnscì tothat( i nthc
constructiblcscnsci olthci nitialsct.Withsucha rcstricti onwcdcnni tclv
havc. in thc constructiblc univcrsc. w" < p�,, ) . which mcans. no con­
structible oncto-onccorrcspondcncccxistsbctwccnthcsctolconstructiblc
parts olw" and w" i tscl l.
Rowbottom' s thcorcm. on thc othcr hand. dcals with cardinalitics in
gcncralontologv. lt dcc| arcsthat i lthcrccxi sts a Ramscv cardi na|y thcn
thcrc|sdcñnitclvaonc- t o onccorrcspondcnccbctwccnw" ( inthcgcncral
scnsci andthcsctofitsconstructib|cparts Oncrcsulti nparti culari sthat
thcconstructible WI , whichi sconstructibl vcqualtop�,, ) I , i snot. i ngcncral
ontologvwithRamscvcardi nals. a cardina|in anvmanncr( i nthcgcncral
scnsci .
l l thcpointo l vl cwo l truth. cxcccdingthcstrict |awo l | anguagc i s that
olgcncralonto|ogv. aodi lconhdcncci nthcprodiga| l tvolbclngwcighsin
lavoutoladmittingthccxistcnccola Ramscvcardi oalthcnRowbottoms
thcorcmgrantsusamcasurcolthcsacriñccthatwcarci nvitcdtomakcbv
thc hvpothcsis ol constructlbi|itv. it authorizcs thc cxi stcncc ol no morc
parts than thcrc arc c|cmcnts in thc situation. and lt crcatcs lalsc
cardinals' . Fxccss. thcn. i snotmcasurcdbutcancc| | cd out.
1hcsituation. and thl si squi tccharactcristic olthcposition olknow| -
cdgc. i s i n thc cnd thc lo|lowi ng. Inside thc ru| cs which codilv thc
admission into cxistcncc olmulti p| cswithin thc constructivist vision wc
havcacomplctcandtotallvordcrcduni vcrsc. i nwhichcxccssi smi ni mal
3 1 3
314
BEI NG AND EVENT
andin which t hccvcnt andintcrvcntion arcrcduccd to bcing no morc
than ncccssarv conscqucnccs ol thc si tuation. 0u/s/dc÷that is. lrom a
standpoi nt whcrc no tcstriction upon parts is tolcratcd. whcrc |nclusion
radicallvcxcccdsbc| onging. andwhcrconc assumcsthc cxistcncc olthc
i ndctcrminatc and thc unnamcab| c ( and assumi ng thi s onlv mcans that
thcv arc not prohibitcd. sincc thcv cannot bc shcvi ÷thc constructib|c
univcrscappcarstobconcolanastonishingpovcrtv. i nthati trcduccsthc
lunction ol cxccss to nothing. and onlv manaccs tostagc it bv mcansol
nctivc cardinal s.
1his povcrtv olknowlcdgc÷or t hi sd. gnitv ol proccdurcs. bccausc thc
said povcrtv can on|v bc sccn lrom outsidc. and undcr riskv hvpoth
cscs÷rcsults. in thc nnalanalvsis. lrom itsparticularlawbcing. bcsidcsthc
disccrniblc. that ol thc dccidablc. Knowlcdgc cxcl udcs icnorancc. 1his
tautologvisprolound. it dcsicnatcsthatscholar|vasccsis. andthcunivcrsc
which corrcspondsto| t. i scaptivatcdbvthc dcsirc lordcc| sion. Wchavc
sccn how a positivc dcc|sion was takcn conccrning thc axiom ol choicc
andthc continuumhvpothcsis with thc hvpotncsis ol constructibi |itv. As
A. Lcvvsavs. 1hcaxiomolconstructibi|itvgivcssuchancxactdcscription
olwhat a|| scts arc that onc olthc most proloundopcn probl cms i n sct
thcorv i s to || nda natural statcmcnt ol sct thcorv which docs not rclcr.
dircct|vori ndi rcctlv. tovcrvlargcordinals. . . andwhichis ncithcrprovcd
norrclutcdbvthcaxiomolconstructibi| itv. Furthcrmorc. conccrningthc
thornvqucstionolknowingwhichrcgu|arordinalshavcordon' thavcthc
trccpropcrtv. thcsamcauthornotcs. Noticcthati lwc assumc thcaxiom
ol constructibilitv thcn wc know cxact| v whi ch ordinals havc thc trcc
propcrtv. | t i s tvpica| ol this axiom to dccidc qucstions onc wav or
anothcr. '
Bcvond cvcn thc i ndisccrnib| c. what paticnt know|cdgc dcs|rcs and
scckslromthcstandpointola | ovcolcxact languagc. cvcnatthcpri ccol
a rarclaction olbcing. isthatnothingbcundcci dab| c.
1hc cthic ol knowlcdgc has as i ts maxi m. act and spcak such that
cvcrvthingbcc|car|v dccidab| c.
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY
Lei bni z
Fvcrv cvcnt haspriort oit its conditions. prcrcquisitcs. suitablc
dispositi oos. whosc cxistcnccmakcs upits sulncicntrcason'
|/]/h wr///nµ |n kcsponsc/ec/arkc
!t has oltcn bccn rcmarkcd that Lcibniz s thought was prod| giouslv
modcrn. dcspitc his stubborncrrorconccrni ngmcchanics. his hostilitvto
!cwton. his diplomatic prudcncc with rcgard to cstablishcd powcrs. his
conci | i atorv vo|ubilitv in thc dircction olscholasticism. his tastc lor hnal
causcs' . his rcstoration ol singular lorms or cntclcchics. and his popish
thcologv. !lVoltairc' ssarcasmswcrcablc. lor a ccrtainti mc. to sprcadthc
|dcaola bl issluloptimismimmcdiatclvannullcdbvanvt cmporalcngagc
mcnt. who. today. wouldphi |osophicallvdcsirc Cand| dc' slittlc vcgctab|c
gardcn rathcrthan Lcibniz' s world whcrc cach portion olmattcrcanbc
conccivcd asa gardcn lull olplants. andasa pond lull olnsh' . andwhcrc.
onccmorc. cachbranchola plant. cachmcmbcrolaoanima| cachdrop
of i ts humours, | sst i l l another such garden or pond' ?
What does this paradox dcpcndon. this paradox ol a thought whosc
consciousconscrvativcwilldrivcsit tothcmostradicalant|cipations. and
which. like God crcat| ng monads i n t hc svstcm. lulguratcs' at cvcrv
momcnt w|th i ntrcpid | ntui tions'
1hc thcs. s ! proposc | s that Lcibniz is ablc to dcmonstratc thc most
| mplacablci nventive lrccdomoncchchasµuarcn/ccdthc surcstandmost
control l ed ontol ogi cal foundation-the one whi ch compl etel y accom­
plishcs. down to t he l ast det ai L the constructivist orient at i on.
315
316
BEI NG AND EVENT
l n rcgatd to bci ng in gcncra| Icibniz posits that two principlcs. or
axioms. guarantcc i tssubmission tolanguagc.
1hc nrstprinciplcconccrnsbci ngpossiblc. which. bcsi dcs. is. |nsofaras
i trcsidcsas! dcaint hcinnnitcundcrstandingo|God. 1hi sprincip|c. whlch
rulcsthccsscnccs. i sthatofnon contradi ction. cvcrvthingwhosccontrarv
cnvclopsacontradi ctionposscsscsthcrighttobci nthcmodcofpossibilltv
Bci ngpossiblci sthus subordinatc topurclogic. thcidcal andtransparcnt
languagcwhichIcibn|zworkcd onfromthcaccoftwcntvonwards. 1his
bci ng. which contains÷ductoitsaccordanccwith thcformal princ|plcof
i dcntitv÷an cffcctivc possibil itv. |s ncithcr i ncrt. nor abstract . !t tcnds
towards cxi stcncc. as far as its intrinsic pcrfcction÷whi ch i s to sav i ts
nomi nal cohcrcncc÷author|zcs itto. ln possiblcthi ngs. ori npossibilitv
itscll or csscncc. thcrc i s a ccrtai n urgc for cxistcncc. or. so to spcak. a
strivingtobci ng.Icibniz'slogicismis an ontologicalpostulatc. cvcrvnon
contradi ctorv multiplcdcsi rcs to cxi st.
1hc sccond princip|c conccrns bci ngcxi stcnt. thc worl d. such that
amongstthc var| ouspossiblcmult|plc combinations. it has actuallvbccn
prcscntcd. 1hisprincip|c. whichrulcsovctthcapparcntcontingcncvofthc
thcrc is' . i s thc pri nciplc of sufncicnt rcason. !t statcs that what is
prcscntcdmustbcabl ctobcthoughtaccordingtoa suitablcrcasonforits
prcscntati on. wc can nnd no truc or cxistcnt fact. no truc asscrtion.
withoutthcrcbcinga sufncicntrcasonwhvi t isthusandnotothcrwisc´
WhatIcibnizabsolutclv rc] ccts is chancc÷which hc calls bli ndchancc' .
cxcmp| i ncdforhim. andqui tcrightlv. i nFpi curus' c//namcn÷ifit mcans
an cvcnt whosc scnsc would havc to bc wagcrcd. For anv rcason
conccrning such an cvcnt would bc. in princ|plc. i nsufncicnt. Such an
intcrruption of logical nominations is inadmissi bl c. Not onlv nothing
happcnsw|thoutitbcingpossiblcforsomconcwhoknowsenough thi ngs
togivca rcasonsuf|icicnttodctcrmincwhvitl ssoand notothcrwisc' . but
analvsis can and mustbc pursucd to thc point at which a rcason i s a|so
givcn for thc rcasons thcmsclvcs. Fvcrv timc that wc havc sufncicnt
rcasonsfora singularaction. wcalsohavcrcasonslori tsprcrcquisitcs´A
multlplc.andthcmultiplcinhnitvofmultiplcsfrom whichitis composcd.
canbccircumscribcdandthoughti nthcabsolutcconstructcdlcgitimacvof
thcirbci ng
Bei ng- qua-being is thus doubly subm|ttcd to nomi nati ons and cxpla
nations.
÷ as csscncc. or possib| c. onc can alwavs cxam| nc. in a rcgulatcd
manncr. its logical cohcrcncv. !ts ncccssarv truth' i s such that onc must
LEI BNI Z
nnd its rcason bv analysis. rcsolving i t into simplcr idcas and simplct
truths until wc rcach thc primitivcs . thc primitivcs bcing tautologics.
'identical propositions whosc oppositccontains an cxpl icit contradiction .
÷ ascxistcncc.iti ssuchthat rcsolutioni ntopatticularrcasons isalwavs
possib|c. 1hconlvobstaclc isthat th|s rcsolutioncontinucsi nnnitclv. But
this is mcrclv a mattcr lor thc calculation ol scrl cs. prcscntcdbcing.
innnitclv multiplc. hasits ultimatc rcasonina l i mi t- tcrm. God. which. at
thcvcrvoriginolthi ngs. practiscsaccrtain LivincMathcmatics . andthus
lorms thc rcason ÷in thc scnsc ol calculation÷ ' lor| thc scqucncc or
series ol this mul t. pl i citv ol conti ngcnci cs . Prcscntcd mu|tipl cs arc con
structiblc.bothlocally ( thci r conditions. prcrcquisitcs. andsuitablcdisposi
tions arcncccssar| lvloundi . andglobally ( Godisthcrcasonlorthcirscrics.
accord|ng to a simplc rationa| principlc. which is that ol produc|ng thc
maxi mum olbcingwiththc mini mumolmcans. orlaws i .
Bci ng- i n- totali tv. o r thc world. | s thctcbv lound t o bc i ntrinsically
namcablc. both in itstotalitvandinitsdctail. accordingtoa l awolbcing
thatdcrivcscithcrlromthclanguagcollogic( thcunivcrsalcharactcri sti cì .
orlromlocalcmpirical analvsis. or. nnallv. lrom t hcglobalcal culationol
maxima. God dcsignatcs nothing morc than the place of these laws of the
nameable: heis thcrcalmolctcrnaltruths . lorhcdctainsthcprinc|plcnot
onlvolcxistcncc. butolthcpossiblc. orrathcr. asLcibnizsa|d. olwhat|s
rcalinpossibilitv . thus olthcpossib|casrcgimcolbcing. oras str|vingto
cxistcncc God isthcconstructibilitvolthc constructiblc. thcprogrammc
ol thc World. Lcibniz i s thc principal philosophcr lor whom God | s
|anguagci nitssupposcdcomplction. Godi snothingmorc thanthcbcing
ol thc languagc in which bcing is loldcd. and hc can bc rcso|vcd or
dissolvcd i nto two propositions: thc principlc ol contradiction. and thc
principlc olsulncicnt rcason
But whati ssti l l morcrcmarkablci sthatthccntirc tcgimcol bci ngcan
bcinlcrrcdlromthcconlrontationbctwccnthcsctwoaxiomsandoncsolc
qucst|on. Whv isthcrcsomcthing rathcrthan nothing' For÷as LcibnIz
rcmarks÷nothing issimplcrand casicr than somcthing. !n othcrwords.
Lcibnizproposcstocxtractlaws.orrcasons. lromsituationson the sole basis
of there being some presented mUltiples. ucrcwchavca schcmaintors|on. For
onthc basis ol thcrc bcing somcthing rathct than nothing. it hasalready
bccn inlcrrcd that thcrc is somc bcing in thc purc possiblc. or that logic
dcsircsthcbcingolwhatconlormstoit. Iti s sinccsomcthing rathcrthan
noth|ng cxists' that onc l s |orccd to admit that csscncc in and o| itsc||
strivcslor cxistcncc. Othcrw|sc. wc wou| d havc to conccivc ol an abvss
317
318
BEI NG AND EVENT
w//hou/ rccson bctwccn possibi|itv ( thc | ogica| rcgimc ol bcingi and
cxistcncc ( thc rcgimc ol prcscntationì . which i s prcci sc| v what thc
constructivist oricntationcannotto|cratc.Furthcrmorc.itisonthcbasisol
thcrcbcingsomcthingrathcrthannothingthatthcncccssitvi sinlcrrcdol
rationa| | vaccounti nglor whvthingsshou| dbcsoandnotothcrw| sc' . thus
olcxp| ainingthcsccondrcgimcolbcing. thccontingcncvolprcscntation.
Othcrwiscwcwou| dhavctoconccivcolan abvsswithoutrcasonbctwccn
cxistcncc( thcwor| dolprcscntationi andthcpossib|cincxistcnts. orldcas.
andthisi snottcnab| ccithcr.
1hc qucstion whv is thcrc somcthing rathcrthan nothing'' lunctions
likc a ] unction lor a|| thc constructib| c signihcations ol thc Lcibnizian
univcrsc. 1hcax|omsimposcthc qucstion. and. rcciproca| | v. thccomp|ctc
rcsponsc to thc qucstion÷which supposcs thc axi oms÷va| i dating it
havingbccnposcd. connrmsthcaxiomsthatituscs. 1hcwor|disidcntitv.
cont| nuous| oca| conncctionandconvcrgcnt. orca| cu| ab| c. g| oba| scri cs as
such. itisa rcsu| tolwhathappcnswhcnt hcpurc thcrci s isqucstioncd
with rcgard to thc simp|icitv ol nothi ngncssthc comp| ctcd powcr ol
l anguagci srcvca| cd.
Olthi spowcr.l romwhichnothingthinkab| ccansubtract| tsc| l. thcmost
strik|ng cxampl c lor us is thc princip|c of indi sccrn| b| cs. Whcn Lcibniz
positsthat thcrcarc not. i nnaturc two rcal abso| utcbcings. /n4|sccrn///c
lrom cach othcr' or. in an cvcn strongcr vcrsion. that ' God| w| | | ncvcr
choosc bctwccn indisccrnib| cs' . hc i s acutc| v aware ol thc stakcs. 1hc
indisccrnib|c is thc onto|ogical prcdicatc olan obstac|c lor| anguagc. 1hc
vu|garphi|osophcrs' . withrcgardtowhomLcibnizrcpcatsthatthcvthink
with i ncomp|ctcnotions'~andthusaccordingtoanopcnandbad| vmadc
| anguagc÷arc mistakcnwhcnthcvbc|icvcthatthcrearc dillcrcntthings
on|y bccausc thcv are /wo !l two bcings arc i nd| sccrn|b| c. | anguagc
cannot scparatc thcm. 3cparatlngitsc| llrom rcason. whcthcritbc |ogica|
or sulñcicnt. this purc two' wou| d introducc nothingncss into bcing.
bccausc it wou| dbc impossib| c to dctcrmi nc onc olthctwo-rcmaining
i n- dillcrcnt to thc othcrlor anv thinkab| c | anguagc÷with rcspcctto its
rcason lor bcing. lt wouldbe supcrnumcrarvwith rcgard to thcaxioms.
cllcctivc contingcncv. supcrl| uous i nthc scnsc ol 3artrc' s Nausca. And
sincc God is. i n rca|itv. thc comp| ctc | anguagc. hc cannot to| cratc this
unnamcab| c cxtra. wh| ch amount s to sav| ng that hc cou|d nel thcrhavc
thoughtnorcrcatcd a purc two' i| thcrcwcrctwo indi scernibl cbcings.
God and naturc wou|d act without rcason in trcating thc onc othcrwisc
thanthc othcr' . God cannot to| cratc thc oothingncsswhichi s thc action
L E I BNI Z
thathas nonamc. Eccannotlowcrh|mscllt oaµcndon/h//aµcrcbccauscol
ind|scctnibilitv .
Whv' Bccausc|t is prcci sclvaround thc cxclusion ol thc i ndisccrniblc.
thci ndctcrm|natc. thcur+ prcdicablc. thatthcor|cntationolconstructivist
thoughti sbui| t . | l all di llcrcncc i sattt|butcdonthcbas| sollanguagc and
noton thcbasis olbci ng. prcscn/c4i n d|llcrcncc is i mpossi bl c
Lct snotcthat. i na ccrtainscnsc. thcLci bni zi anthcs| s| struc. l showcd
thatthcl og| colt hcToorig|natcd| nthccvcntandthc|ntcrvcnt|on. and
noti nmultip| cbc|ngassuch ( Mcditation20) . Bvconscqucncc.it| sccrta| n
thatt hcposit|on olt hcpurcTorcquircsanopctationwhich i s- not. and
thatso| clvthcproductionolasupcrnumcrarvnamci niti atcst hcthoughtol
|nd|sccrniblcorgcncrictcrms. But lorLc|bni zthcimpassci sdoublchcrc.
- On thc onc hand. thcrc is no cvcnt. si ncc cvcrvthing wh|ch happcns
i slocallv calculable and c| oballv placcd |n a scr|cs whosc rcason i s God.
Locallv. prcscntati oniscontinuous. anditdocsnottolcratci ntcrruptionor
thc ultra onc. !hcprcscn//sa/ways prcµnan/w//h /hc]u/urc and no g|vcn
statc is natura| | v cxp| ai nab| c savc bv mcans ol that wh|ch | mmcd|atclv
prcccdcdit. lloncdcnicsthis. thcworldwou|dhavch/a/uscs.wh|chwoul d
ovcrtutn thcgrcatpri nc| pl colsulñc|cnt rcason. andwhi ch wou| dobligc
us to havc rccoursc to mi raclcs or to purc chancc in thc cxplanation ol
phcnomcna. G| oballv. thc curvc ol bcing÷thc complctc svstcm ol its
unlathomablc multiplicitv÷ar|scs lrom a nom|nat | on which is ccttainlv
transccndcntal (oritariscslromthccomplctc lancuagc thatisGodi . vct|t
is rcprcscntabl c. ll onc cou| d cxprcss. bv a lormul a ol a supcrior
charactcristic. ancsscntialpropcrtvolthcUn|vcrsc. onc wou|dbcab| cto
rcadt hcrcinwhatthc succcssivc statcs wou| dbc olal l ol|tsparts at anv
ass|gncdtimc.
1hccvcnt| s thuscxc| udcdonthclollowingbasis .thccomplctcl anguagc
is thc /n/cµra/ca/cu|usol multiplc- prcscntation. whi| st a | ocalapproxi ma
tiona| tcadvauthotlzcs l ts4/m·cn//a/ca/cu/es
- Iurthcrmorc. sincc onc s upposcs a comp| ctc | anguagc÷and th|s
hvpothcsis is rcqui rcd loranvconstructivistori cntati on. thc l anguagc ol
Codcl and 1cnscn i s cqua| l v complctc. it is thc ]orma/ l ancuagc ol sct
thcorv÷itcannotmakcanvscnsctospcakola supcrnumcrarvnamc. 1hc
intcrvcnt|on is t hcrclorc not possiblc. lor |l bcing |s cocxtcns|vc with a
complctclanguagc. |t is bccausc|t|ssubmittcdto/n/r/ns/cdcnom|nat|ons.
andnot t oancrrancv l nwhlchl t wou| dbctlcdtoa oamcbvt hccllcctol
awagcr. Lc|bniz s | uciditv onthis mattcr i sbr|ll|ant . llhc huntsout÷lor
319
320
BEI NG AND EVENT
cxamplc÷anvthing which rcscmblcs a doctrinc of atoms ( supposcdlv
indisccrnibl ci . it is inthc cndbccausc atomist nom. nationsarcarbitrarv.
1hc tcxt is admi rablc hcrc. !t obv|ouslv follows from this pcrpctual
substitutionofindi sccrniblcclcmcntsthatinthccorporca| worldthcrccan
bcnowavofdistinguishingbctwccndilfcrcntmomcntarv statcs. Forthc
denomination bv whi ch onc part of mattcr would bc distingui shcd from
anothcr would bc onlv extrinsic. '
Lcibniz s logical nominalism is csscntiallv supcrior (0 thc atomist doc
trinc. bcingandthcnamcarc madctocoinc|dconl yi nsofarasthc namc.
w|thin thc placc of thc complctc languagc namcd God. is thc cffcctivc
construction ofthc thing. !tisnota mattcr ofancxtrinsicsupcrimposition.
butofanontologica| mark.ofalcgalsignaturc.!ndchnitivc. i fthcrcarcno
indisccrniblcs. i f onc must rationallv rcvokc thc indctcrminatc. it i s
bccauscabci ngis internally namcablc. Forthcrcarc ncvcrtwobcingsi n
naturc wlicharcpcrfcct| val ikc. t wobcings inwhi chit isnotpossiblcto
d|scovcr an intcrnal diffcrcncc. that i s. onc foundcd on an |ntrinsic
nomination´
!fvousupposcacomplctclanguagc. vou supposcbvthcsamctokcnthat
thc onc-of-bcing is bcing itsclf. and that thc svmbo| . far lrombcing thc
murdcr of thc thing' . is that which supports and pcrpctuatcs |ts
prcscntation.
Onc of Lcibn|zs grcat strcngths is to havc anchorcd his constructivist
oricntationinwhatisactual| vthcoriginofanvoricntationofthought. thc
problcm of thc continuum. Ec assumcs thc inñnitc divisibilitv of natural
bcingw|thoutconccssion. hcthcncompcnsatcsforandrcstrictsthccxccss
that hc tlus l ibcratcs with|n thc statc of thc world÷within thc natural
situation÷bv thc hvpothcsis of a control of si ngul aritics. bv intrinsic
nominations . 1hiscxactbalanccbctwccnthcmcasurclcssprolifcrationof
parts and thc cxactitudc of languagc offcrs us thc para digm of con
structivistthought at work. On thc onchand. a| thoughimagination onlv
pcrccivcs lcaps aod d| scontinui tics÷thus. thc dcnumcrablc÷within thc
naturalordcrsaodspccics. it mustbcsupposcd. audac| ous| v. thatthcrcis
a rigorous continui tv thcrcin. this supposcs. in tun. that a prccisclv
innumcrablc crowd÷an inñnitv i n rad|cal cxccss of numcration÷of
intcrmcdiarv spccics. or cquivocations' . populatcs what Lcibniz tcrms
rcgions o| intIcxi on or hcichtcninc But on thc othcr hand. this ovcr
ûow|ngofi nñnitv. ifrclcrrcdtothccomplctclanguagc. i scommcnsurablc.
and dominatcd bv a uniqucprinciplc o| progrcssion whi ch intcgratcs its
nominal unitv. sincc all thcdiffcrcntclasscs ofbcings whosc asscmblagc
lEI BNI Z
constitutcs thc univcrsc arc nothinc morc. in thc i dcas ol God÷who
knows thcir csscntial gradations dist|nctlv÷than so manv coordinatcs ol
thc samc curvc. ' 3v thc mcdiation ol languagc. and thc opcrators ol
LivincMathcmatics ' ( scrics. curvc. coordinatcsi .thcconti nuumiswcldcd
to thconc. andlarlrombcingcrrancvandindctcrmination. i ts quantita
tivc cxpansi on cnsurcs thcglorv olthc wcl l - madc lancuagcaccordingto
which Godconstructcdthc maximalunivcrsc.
1hcdownsidcolthi scquilibrium. inwhich i ntrinsi cnominations' hunt
outthc i ndi sccrniblc. i sthati ti sunloundcd. i nthatnovoi dopcratcsthc
suturc ol mul tiplcs to thci r bcing as such. Icibniz hunts down thc vo|d
with thc samc ins| stcncc that hccmplovsi n rcluting atoms. and lorthc
samc tcason. thc void. i l wc supposc i t to bc rcal. i s i ndi sccrni blc. its
dillcrcncc÷as l indicatcd i n Mcditation ¯÷is built oni n- di llcrcncc. 1hc
hcartolthcmattct÷andthisistvpicalolthc supcriornomi nali smwhich
| s constructivism÷is that di llcrcncc i s onto locicallv supcri or to indil
lcrcncc. which Icibnizmctaphorizcsbvdcclaring mattcri smorc pcrlcct
than thc voi d. ' Fchoinc Aristotlc | c. Mcditation 6i . but undcr a lar
strongcr hvpothcs|s ( thatolthc constructivist control oli nñnitvi . Lcibniz
inlactannounccsthatif the void exists, language is incomplete, lorad|llcrcncc
i smissing lromi t i nasmuch asi tallowssomc indillcrcncctobc. lmaginc
a whollv cmptv spacc. Cod could havc placcd somc mattcri ni twithout
dcrogating. i n anv rcspcct. lrom all othcr things. thcrclorc. hc di d so.
thcrclorc. thcrc i sno spaccwhollvcmptv. thcrclorc. al l i slull . '
But i l thcvoid | s notthc rcgrcssivc halting po|ntol naturalbcing. thc
univcrsc i s unloundcd. divisibilitv to inñnitv admits chains olbclonging
w|thout ultimatc tcrms÷cxactlvwhatthcaxiom olloundation ( Mcdi ta
tion 1 8) i sdcsi gncdtoprohibit. 1hi si swhatIci bni zapparcntlv assumcs
whcn hc dcclarcs that cach porti on ol mattcr i s not onlv divisiblc to
i nñnitv . . but i s also actuallv subdividcd without cnd. ' Althouch prc-
scntcdbc|nc| scontrollcd h|chcr up' bvthc intrinsicnominations olthc
intcgral lancuagc. arc wc not cxposcd hcrc to its disscmination without
reason l owcr down' 'Ilonc rc] ccts that thc namc ol thc void i s in somc
manncrthc absolutc or|gin ollanguagc's tclcrcnti al i tv÷andthatas such
prcscntcd multiplcs can bc hicrarchicallv ordctcd on thc basis ol thc|r
distancc lrom thc void' ( scc Mcditation 29i ÷docsn' t onc cnd up bv
dissolving languacc withinthc rcgrcssivci ndi sccrnibilitv olwhati n- con
sists. cndlcsslv. i nsub- mult|plici ti cs'
Lcl bni zconscqucntl vdocsñxha|t|ngpo|nts. Eeadm|tsthat amu|t|tude
can dcrivc i ts rcalitv only lrom true unities' , and that thcrclorc
321
322
BEI NG AND EVENT
thcrccxist atomsolsubstancc. . . absolutclvdcst i t ut col parts' . 1hcscarc
thc lamous monads. bcttcr namcd bv Lcibn|z as mct aphvsical poi nts' .
1hcscpointsdo nothaltthcinñnitcrcgrcssionolt hcmatcrialconti nuum.
thcv consti tutcthc cntirc rcal olt hat continuum andaut horizc. bvthcir
inñnitv. i tbcinginln|tclvd|visibl c. Na/ura/disscmination| sstructurcdbv
a nctworkol sp/r//ua/punctual iticsthatCodconti nuouslv lulguratcs . 1hc
main problcm is obviouslv that ol knowing how thcsc mctaphvsical
points arc disccrniblc. Lctstakcitthatit| snota qucstion olpartsolthc
rcal. but ol absol utclv | ndccomposablc substantial uni ti es. ll. bctwccn
thcm. thcrci snocxtcnsionaldillcrcncc | vi aclcmcntsbcingprcscnti nonc
andnoti nthcothcri . isnti tquitcsimplvan/n{n//cco//cc//ono]ncmcso]/hc
vo/a which is at stakc' ! l onc thinks according t o ontologv. it i s quitc
possiblct osccnomoreinthcLcibnizianconstructionthanananticipat|on
olsctthcoricswithatoms÷thoscwhichdisscminatcthcvoid itscll undcr
a prolilcration ol namcs. and in whosc art iñcc Mostowski and Fracnkcl
willdcmonstratcthcindcpcndcnccoltheaxiomol choicc | bccausc. andit
isintuitivclvrcasonablc. onc cannotwcll ordcrthcsctol atoms. thcvarc
too i dcntical ' t ocachothcr. bcingmcrclvindi llcrcntdi llcrcnccs i . lsi t not
thc casc t hat thcsc mctaphvsical points' . rcqui rcd | n ordcr to lound
disccrnmcnt within thcinñnitcdivisionolprcscntcd-bcing. arc. amongst
thcmsc| vcs. i nd| sccrniblc' ucrc again wc scc a radical constructivist
cntcrprisc at grips with thc lim|ts ol languagc. Lc| bniz will havc to
di stinguish di llcrcnccs bvñgurcs' . which monads arc incapablc ol ( sincc
thcvhavcnopart s i . lromdillcrcnccs bvintcnalqua| i ti csandactions . it
is thc l attcralonc which allow onc t o posit that cach monad is dillcrcnt
lrom cvcrv othcronc. ' 1hc mctaphvsical po| nts' arc thus both quantita-
tivclv void and qualitat| vclv lul l . ll monads wcrc wi thout qual itv. thcv
wouldbci ndisccriblc |rom oncanothcr. sincc thcv a|so do notdillcri n
quantitv . Andsi nccthcpri nci pl colindisccrn blcs is t hc absolutc l awol
anv constructiv| st oricntation. monads must bc qua| i tativclv di sccrniblc
1hisamountst savingt hat thcvarc uniticsof qua| | tv. whichis to sav÷in
mvcvcs÷purcnamcs
1hc circ|ci scloscdhcrc atthc samc timc asthis c| osurc strctchcsand
| i mi t st hcdiscoursc.i li tispossib| cloralanguagct hat issupposcdcomplctc
to domi nat c i nfni ty. it is because the pri mi t i vc uni ti es i n whi ch being
occurs within prcscntation arc thcmsclvcs nomi na| . or constitutc rcal
uni vcrscsolscnsc. indccomposablcanddis] oi nt. 1hcphrascolthcwor|d.
i tssvntax namcdbv God. i swri ttcni nthcsc uni ti cs.
LEI BNI Z
Ycti ti salsopossiblctos avthatsincethc mctaphvsicalpoints'ar csolclv
disccrniblc bv thcir i ntcrnal qualities. thev must bc thought as purc
intcrioritics÷wi tncss the aphori sm. Monads havc no windows' ÷and
conscqucntlv as su|]cc/s Bcing i s a phrascwrittcn i n sub] ccts Bowcvcr.
this sub] cct. which is not split bv anv cx centring ol the Law. andwhosc
dcsircisnotcauscdbvanvob] cct. i si ntruthapurclvlogicalsub] cct. What
appcarstohappen| oiti sonlvthcdcplovmentol| tsqual i tativeprcdicatcs
lt i sa practical tau| ologv. a rcitcrationol i t s di llcrcnce
What wc shoul d scc |n this is thc instancc ol thc sub] cct such that
constructivist thought mccts | ts limit i n bcing unab|c to excccd it a
grammaticalsub] cct. anintcriotitvwhichistautologicalwithrcspccttothc
namcol itscllthatit i s. a sub] cct rcquircdbvthcabscncc olthccvcnt. bv
thc impossibilitv ol intcrvcnti on. and ultimatclv bv thc svstcm ol qual
itativcatoms lt i s dil|lcult to not rccognize therein the s/nµ/c/on. such as
summoncd. lorcxamplc÷lailing the vcritablc sub] cct÷in parliamcntarv
elcctions. the singl cton. ol which wc know that it is not thc prcscntcd
mul tiplc. bu| itsrcprescntationbvthc state Withrcgard towhat i swcak
andconciliatorv in Leibniz' spolitical and moral concl usi ons. onc cannot.
all the same. completclv absolvc thc audacitv and anticipation ol his
mathcmatical and spcculative intcl| cctua| itv Whatcvcr gcni us mav be
manilestcd i n unlol di ng thc constructiblcñgurcol an ordcr. cvcni l this
ordcrbc olbcing| tscll. |hc sub] cctwhoscconccpti sproposedi nthc cnd
i snott hcsub] cct. evasiveandsplit. whichi scapablcolwagcringthetruth.
All it can know i sthclormolitsownFgo
323
Fñk1VI I
The Gener i c: Indi scern i bl e and Truth.
The Event | J. Cohen
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-ONE
The Thought of t he Generi c and Bei ng i n Truth
Wcñndoursclvcshcrcat t hcthrcsholdol adccisivcadvancc. i nwhichthc
conccpt ol thc gcncri c' ÷whi ch ! hold to bc crucial. as ! said in thc
introduction÷wi l l bcdcñncdandarticulatcdi nsucha manncrthat|twill
loundthcvcrvbcingolanv truth
Gcncric' and indisccrniblc' arc conccptswhich arc al mostcquivalcnt.
Whv plav on a svnonvmv' Bccausc indisccrniblc conscrvcs a nccativc
connotation. whichindicatcsuni quclv. vianon disccrnibil itv. thatwhati s
atstakcissubtractcdlromknowlcdgcorlromcxactnomination.1hctcrm
gcncric positivclv dcsignatcs that what docs not a' l ow i tscl l to bc
disccrncdisinrcalitvthcccncraltrutholas|tuation. thctrutholitsbcing.
asconsidcrcdasthc loundationolal l knowlcdgcto comc !ndisccrnibl c'
implicsa ncgation. whichncvcrthclcssrctainsthi scsscntialpoint . a truth
isalwavsthatwhich makcs a holc ina knowlcdgc
What this mcans is that cvctvthinc is at stakc in thc thought ol thc
truth/ knowlcdgc coupl c What this amounts to. in lact. i s thinking thc
rel ation-which l s rather a non- relation-between, on the one hand. a
post- cvcntalfdel i ty, andon thc othcrhand. a ñxcdst at colknowlcdgc. or
what ! tcrm bcl ow thc cncvclopacdi a ol thc si tuati on 1hc kcv to thc
problcm is thc modc in which thc proccdurc olhdclitv traverses cx|stcnt
knowlcdgc. startingatthcsupcrnumcrarvpointwhichisthcnamcolthc
cvcnt 1hc main stagcs ol this thinking÷which is ncccssarilv at its vcrv
limit hcrc÷arc thc lol l owing.
- thc studv ollocal orñnitclorms ola proccdurc ol ñdcl| tv ( cnquir
ics ì .
327
328
BEI NG AND EVENT
- thc d|st|nct|onbctwccn thctruc andthcvcr|d|ca| andthcdcmon
strat|on thatcvcrvtruth |s ncccssar|lv |nñn|tc.
÷ thcqucstion olthc cx|stcncc olthc gcncr|candthus oltruths.
÷ thc cxam|nat|on ol thc manncr |n wh|ch a proccdurc ol truth
subtracts |tscll lrom th|s or that ] ur| sdict|on ol knowlcdgc
( avo|dancci .
÷ andthc dcñn|t|onol a gcncr|cproccdurc ol ñdcl|tv.
l . KXOWLFLGFRFY! 3l1FL
1he or|cntat|on ol construct|v|st thought. and l cmphas|zcd th| s | n
Mcd|tat|on28. | st hconcwh|chnaturallvprcva|ls| ncstabl|shcdsi tuations
bccausc|tmcasurcsbc|ngtolanguagcsuchas|t|s. Wcshallsupposc. lrom
th|s po|nt on. thc cx|stcncc. |n cvcrv s|tuat|on. ol a languagc ol thc
s|tuat|on Know/cdµc| sthccapac|tvtod|sccrnmul t|plcsw|th|nthcs|tuation
wh|ch posscss th|s or that propcrtv. ptopcrtics that can bc l nd|catcd bv
cxpl|c|tphrascsolthcl anguagc. orsctsolphrascs. 1hcrulcolknowlcdgc
| s alwavs a ct|tcr|on ol exact nom|nation. l n thc last analvs|s. thc
const|tut|vc opcrat|ons ol cvcrv doma|n ol knowlcdgc arc d/sccrnmcn/
( such a prcscntcd or th|nkablc mult|p|c posscsscs such and such a
propcrtvì and c/ass/]:a//on (! can group togcthcr. and dcs|gnate bv thc|r
common propcrtv. thosc mult|plcs that ! d|sccrn as hav|ng a namcablc
charactcr|st|ci ncommoni . L|sccrnmcntconccrnsthcconncct|onbctwccn
languagc and prcscntcd orprcscntablc rcalit|cs. lt | s or|entatcd towards
prcscntat| on. Class|ñcat|onconcctnsthcconncct|onbctwccnthclanguagc
and thc parts ol a s| tuat|on. thc mult| plcs o| mult|plcs. lt |s oricntatcd
towards tcprcsentat|on.
Wcshal l pos|tthat d|sccrnmcnt|sloundcduponthccapac|tvto] udgc( to
spcakolpropcrt|cs i . andclass|ñcat|oni sloundcduponthccapacitvtol | nk
] udgcmcnts togcthcr ( to spcak ol partsi . Knowlcdgc | s rcal|zcd as an
cncvclopacd| a. A cncvclopacd|amustbcundcrstoodhcrcasasummat|on
ol] udgcmcntsundcracommondctcrm| nant. Knowlcdgc÷|n|ts|nnumcr
ab|c compartmcntal|zcd and cntanglcd doma|ns÷can thcrclorc bc
thought. w|thrcgardto |tsbc|ng as ass|gn|ng to th|s orthat mul t|plc an
cncvclopacd|c dctcrm|nant bv mcans ol wh|ch thc mu| t|plc hnds |tscll
bc| ong|ng to a sct ol mu|t|p|cs. that ls. to a part. As a gcncta| rulc. a
mul t|plc ( and|ts submu| t|pl csì lallundcrnumcrousdctcrmlnants. 1hcsc
dctcrm|nants arc oltcn ana| vt|callv contrad|ctorv. but th|s |s ol l|ttlc
|mportancc.
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
1hccncvlopacdiacontainsa classiñcationofpartsofthcsituationwhich
group togcthcr tcrms having this or that cxplicit propcrtv. Onc can
dcsignatc' cach of thcsc parts bv thc propcrtv i n qucstion and thcrcbv
dctcrminc i t within thc languagc. lt |s this dcsignation whi ch i s callcd a
dctcrm|nantof thc cncvclopacdia.
Rcmcmbcr that knowlcdgc docs not know of thc cvcnt bccausc thc
namc of thc cvcnt i s supcrnumcrarv. and so i t docs not bclong to thc
languaccofthcsituation. Whcnl savthati tdocsnotbclongtothclattcr.
this is not ncccssarilv in a matcrial scnsc whcrcbv thc namc woul d bc
barbarous. incomprchcnsiblc. or nonli stcd. What qual i ñcs t hcnamcof
t hccvcnt i st hat i t| sdrawnfromt hcvoi d. lti sa mattcrofancvcntal ( or
historical i qualitv. andnot ofa signifvingqual i tv. But cvcni fthcnamcof
thccvcnti svcrvsi mpl c. andit i sdchni tcl vl i stcdi nthc l anguagcof thc
s|tuation. i ti s supcrnumcrarv csnamco]/hc cvcn/. si gnaturcof thc ultra-
onc.andthcrcforc|t is fotccloscdfromknowlcdgc. lt willal sobc sai dthat
thc cvcnt docsnotfall undcranvcncvclopacdi cdctcrminant
2 FNOUlRlFS
Bccausc thc cncvclopacda docs not contai n anv dctcrminant whosc
rcfcrcntial parti sassignablctosomcthinglikc ancvcnt. thcidcntiñcation
of multiplcs conncctcd or unconncctcd to thc supcrnumcrarv namc
( circulatcd bv thc |ntcrvcntioni is a task which cannot bc bascd on thc
cncvclopacdi a. A ñdclitv ( Mcditation2 ? i i snota mattcrofknowlcdgc. lt
is not thc work of an cxpcrt. it i s thc work of a mi litant. Militant
dcsignatcscquallvthcfcvcrishcxplorationofthccffcctsofancwthcorcm.
thc cubist prccipitation of thc Braquc÷Picasso tandcm ( thc cffcct of a
rctroactivc intcrvcntion upon thc Cezannc cvcnt i . thc activitv of Sai nt
Pau|and that of the mi l i tantsofan 0rµan/sa(/onIo//(/qac. 1hcopcratorof
faithfu| conncction dcsi cnatcs ano(hcr modc o] d/sccrnmcn/ onc which.
outsidcknowlcdgcbutwithinthccffcctofanintcrvcnti onal nomination.
cxplorcsconncctionstothc supcrnumcrarv namcofthc cvcnt.
Whcnl rccognizcthata multiplcwhichbclongstothcsituation ( which
iscountcdasoncthcrci i sconncctcd÷ornot÷tothcnamcof thccvcntl
pcrformthc m/n/ma/gcsturcofhdclitv. thc obscrvationofaconncction ( or
non conncctioni . 1hcactualmcaningoft hi sgcsturc÷whichprovidcsthc
foundation of bcincfor the entire process constituted bva fdelity-natu­
ral l vdcpcndsonthc namcofthc cvcnt ( whi ch is itsclfa multlpl ci . on thc
329
330
BEI NG AND EVENT
opcratorollaithlulconncction. onthcmul tiplcthcrcincncountcrcd. and
ñnallvonthcsituation andthcposition olits cvcntal - sitc. ctc. 1hcrcarc
innn|tc nuanccs in thc phcnomcnologv ol thc proccdurc ol ñdcl|tv. But
mv goali snot a phcnomcnologv. it i s a Grcatcr Logic ( to rcma|n w|thin
ucgcl i an tcrminologvi . l will thus pl acc mvsc| l in thc lol lowing abstract
s|tuat|on. /wo valucs alonc arc d|sccrncd via thc opcrator ol ñdcl|tv.
conncct|onandnon- connccti on. 1hisabstractioni slcgitimatcs|nccu///ma-
/c/,as phcnomcno|ogv shows ( and such is thc scnsc ol thc words
convcrs|on' . rallving' . gracc' . convicti on' . cnthusi asm' . pcrsuas|on' .
admirat|on' . accordi ngtothctvpcolcvcnt i ÷amultiplcc|thcri sori s
notwi thi nthcncl dolcllcctscntai| cdbvthcintroductionintoc|rculat|on
ola supcrnumcrarv namc.
1hi s m|nimal gcsturc ol a ñdclitv. ti cd to thc cncoun/cr bctwccn a
mult|plcol thc situat| on and a vcctorolthc opcratorol |i dcl|tv÷andonc
would|magincthishappcns|nitia| lvinthccnvironsolthccvcnt-sitc÷has
onc oltwo mcani ngs. thcrc | s a conncction ( thc multiplc i s wi thi nthc
cllccts olthcsupcrnumcrarv namci ora nonconncction ( it |s notlound
thcrc|ni.
Usinga transparcnta| gcbra. wcwi llnotcx( +) thclact t hatthc mul tiplc
x isrccogni zcdasbcingconncctcdtothcnamcolthccvcnt. andx( -) that
i t |s rccognizcd as non- conncctcd. A rcport o| thc tvpc x( +) or x( -) | s
prccisclvthcmi ni ma| gcsturc olhdclitvthatwc wcrc ta| kingabout .
Wcw|llt crmcnau/ganvñnitcsct olsuch mi ni mal rcports. Ancnqui rv
is thus a ñni tcstatc' olthcproccss olhdclitv 1hcproccss has mil|tatcd'
around an cncountcrcd scri cs olmul tiplcs (XI , X2, . . . x,, ) , anddcplovcd
thcirconncctionsornon- conncctions to thc supcrnumcrarv namc olthc
cvcnt . 1hc a|gcbra ol thc cnqui rv notcs this as. (XI ( +) , X2 ( +) , X3 ( -) , - . -
x,, ( +) ) , lor cxamp| c. 9uch an cnqui rv d| sccrns ( | n mv arb|trarv cxamplci
thatXI andX2 arc takcn up positivclv in thc c||ccts o|thesupcrnumcrarv
namc. thatX3 i s not takcn up. and so on. ln rcal circumstanccs such an
cnquirvwouldalrcadvbcancntitcnctwork olmul tiplesolthcsi tuation.
combincd with thc supcrnumcrarv namc bv thc opcrator. What l am
prcscnt|ng hcrc i s thc ul t| matc scnsc ol thc mattcr. thc ontological
lramcwork. Onccanalsosavthatancnqui rv disccrnstwoñni tcmult|pl cs.
thcñrst. | ct' ssav( XI , X2 - . e i . groupstogcthcrthcprcscntcdmultiplcs. or
tcrms ol thc situation. wb|ch arc conncctcd to thc cvcnt . 1hc sccond.
(X3 . . . i . groupstogctHcrthoscwh|ch arc un conncctcd . As such. ] ust| ikc
knowlcdcc. an cnquirv i s thc con] unctlon o| a d| sccrnmcnt÷such a
multiplc of thc s| tuat | on posscsscs thc propcrt v o| bci ng conncctcd to
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
t hccvcnt ( to| t snamci ÷anda classiñcation÷this. st hcclassolconncctcd
multiplcs. and that i s thc class ol non conncctcd multiplcs. ! t i s thus
lcgitimatc to trcat thc cnquirv. a ñnitc scri cs ol mi ni mal rcports. as thc
veritablebasicuni tolthcproccdurcolñdclitv. bccauscitcombi ncsthconc
oldisccrnmcntwiththcscvcral olc| assincation.ltisthccnqui rvwhichl i cs
behindthc rcscm//anccolthc proccdurc olhdclitv/oa know/c4µc
? 1RU1B ANLVFRlLlCl1Y
Eerc wc ñndoursclvcsconlrontcdwith thc subtlcdi alccticolknowledgcs
and post cvcntal ñdclitv. thc kcrncl ol bcing ol thc knowlcdgc/truth
dialcctic.
First |ct' s notc thc lollowing thc classcs rcsu|ting lrom thc militant
disccrnmcnt ola ñdclitv. such as thosc dctai ncdbv an enquirv. arc]n//c
partsolthc situati on. Phcnomcnologicallv. thismcansthata givcnstatcol
thc proccdurc ol ndclitv÷that is. a hnitc scqucncc ol disccrnmcnts ol
conncct|onornon-conncction÷isrcalizcdintwocl asscs. onc positiveand
onc ncgativc. which rcspcctivclv group thc minima| gcsturcs olthctvpc
x( +i andx( -i . Bowcvcr. cvct,]n//cpar|o]/h:s//ua/|on /s./assmcd/ya/ /cas/
onc know/cdµc. thc tcsults ol an cnquirv co|nc/dc with an cncvclopacdic
dctcrminant . 1hisi s cntailedbvevcrvprcscntcdmultiplcbcinc nameab|c
inthclanguaccolthc situation. Wc knowthat l anguagc allows no holc
w|thin its rclcrcntial spacc. and that as such onc must rccognizc thc
cmpirical value olthcprinciplcoli ndisccrniblcs. strictlvspcaking. thcrcis
nounnamcablc. Fvcni lnominationisevasivc. orbclongstoavervgcncral
dctcrmi nant. likc it s a mountai n' . or it' s a nava| battlc' . nothing i nthc
situationi sradica| | vsubtractcdlrom namcs. 1his. morcovcr. i sthcrcason
whvthcworldi slul|. and. howcvcrstrangc|tmavsccmatñrsti nccrtain
circumstanccs. itcanalwavs bc rightlullv hc|dtobc linguistica|lv]am///ar.
!nprinciplc. a ñni tc sct olprcscntcdmultip| cs can alwavsbccnumcratcd.
!tcanbcthouchtasthcclassol thconewhichhasthisnamc. andthconc
which has that namc. and . . ' . 1hc totalitv ol thcsc di sccrnmcnts
constitutcsancncvc|opacdi cdctermi nant 1hcrclorc. cvcrv]n//c mu|tip|c
olprcscntcdmu| tl p| esi sa partwhlchlalls undcrknowlcdgc. cvcni l this
onlvbcbvitscnumeration.
331
332
BEI NG AND EVENT
0nc coul d ob] cct that i t i s not according to such a pr|nciplc of
classihcation ( cnumcrationi that thc proccdurc of ñdclitv groups togc
thcr÷for cxamplc÷a hnitc scrics ofmultiplcs conncctcd to thc namc of
thc cvcnt. Of coursc. but know/cduc knowsno/h/nµo]/h/s to thc pointthat
onccanalwavsj ustifv savingofsuchorsucha ñnitcgrouping. thatcvcn
i fi t wasactuallv produccdbva hdclitv. itismcrclvthcrc|crcntofa wcll -
known ( or in principlc. knowablci cncvclopacdic rcfcrcnt. 1his is whv I
saidthatthc rcsultso|ancnqui rvncccssarilvcoincidcwithan cncvclopac
dicdctcrminant. Whcrc andhowwi l l thc diffcrcncc bctwccn thcprocc-
durcsbcafhrmcdifthcrcsul t mu|tiplc. |oral l intcnsivcpurposcs. isa/rcady
classihcdbva knowlcdgc'
!n ordcr to clarifv this situation. wc will tcrm |cr/d/ca/ thc following
statcmcnt. which can bc control|cd bva knowlcdgc. Such a part ofthc
situation i s answcrablc to such an cncvclopacdic dctcrminant. ' Wc will
tcrm /ruc thc statcmcnt contro|lcd bv thc proccdurc of hdcli tv. thus
attachcdto thccvcnt andthcintcrvcntion. Such a partofthcsituation
groups togcthcr multiplcs conncctcd (or unconncctcdi to thc supcr-
numcrarvnamcofthccvcnt . ' Whati satstakci nthcprcscntargumcntis
cntirclvboundupi nthcchoiccofthcad] cctivc truc .
For thc momcnt. what wc know is that for a givcn cnquirv. thc
cotrcsponding classcs. pos|tivc and ncgativc bcing hnitc. fall undcr an
cncvclopacdic dctcrminant. Conscqucntlv. thcv validatc a vcridical
statcmcnt.
A|though knowlcdgcdocsnotwanttoknowanvthingofthccvcnt. of
thc i ntcrvcntion. ofthc supcrnumcrarv namc. or of thc opcrator which
ru|csthcndclitv÷allbc| ngingrcdicntsthatarcsupposcdinthcbcingofan
cnquirv÷itncvcrthclcssrcmai nsthccascthatancnqui rvcanno/d/sccm/hc
(rec]rom(hcvc·/d/ca/itstruc rcsulti satthc samctimcal rcadv const| tutcd
asbcloncingto a vcridicalstatcmcnt.
uowcvcr. it| si nnowav|ccauscthcmultiplcswhichhgurci nancnqui rv
(w| ththcirindcxcs+ or÷i fallundcra dctcrmi nantofthc cncvclopacdi a
thatthcvwcrcrc groupcdasconstitutingthctruc rcsul t ofth|s cnquirv.
rathcritwasuni quc|v bccause thcproccdurcof ndclitv cncoun/crcdthcm.
withinthccontcxto|itstcmporali nsistcncc.and militatcd' aroundthcm.
tcst|ng. bv mcans o| thc opcrator of faithfu| connccti on. thcir dcgrcc of
proxi mitv t o the supcrnumcrarv name ol the cvcnt Here we have thc
paradoxofa multiplc÷thc hn|tc rcsultofancnqui rv÷which| srandom.
subtractcd lrom all knowlcdgc. and which wcavcs a diagonal to thc
s| tuation. vctwhich | salrcadvpartofthccncvc| opacdia'srcpcrtorv.!ti sas
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
though knowlcdgc has thc powcr to cllacc thc cvcnt i n i ts supposcd
cllccts. countcd as onc bv a ñdclitv. it trumps thc ñdclitv with a
pcrcmptorv alrcadvcountcd'
1hisi s thc casc. howcvcr. whcn thcsc cllccts arc]n//c. Bcncc a law. ol
considctablcwcight /hc/r×con/yhasachancco]bc/nud/s//nµu/shab/c]rom /hc
vcr/d/ca/whcn|//s/n]n//c.Atruth ( i litcxist si mustbcan inñnitcpartolthc
situation. bccausc for cvcrv ñnitc part onc can al wavs sav that it has
a/rcadybccndisccrncd andclassiñcdbv knowlcdgc.
Onccan sccinwhatscnscitisthc bc|nµoltruthwhichconccrnsus hcrc.
Oualitativclv . or as a rcalitv-i n- situation. a ñnitc rcsult ol an cnquirv i s
quitc distinct lrom a part namcd bv a dctcrminant olt hccncvclopacdia.
bccausc thc proccdurcs which lcad to thc hrst rcmain unknown to thc
sccond. |ti ssolclvaspurc multiplcs. thatis. accordingtothcirbci ng. that
ñnitcpartsarc indistinguishablc. bccausccvcrv oncol thcmlallsundcra
detcrminant. What wc arc looking lor is an ontological dillercntiation
bctwccnthctrucandthcvcridical. thatis. bctwccntruthandknowlcdgc.
1hc cxtcrnal qua| itativc charactcr|zation ol proccdurcs ( cvcnt÷
intcrvcntion֖dclitv on thc onc hand. cxact nomi nation in thc cstab
l i shcdlanguagcon thc othcri docsnotsufñcclorthistaskil thcprcscntcd
multiplcswhich rcsul tarc/hcsamc. 1hcrcquircmcntwi l l thusbcthatthc
onc multiplc ol a truth÷thc rcsult ol truc ] udgcmcnts÷must bc
indiscerniblc and unclassiñablc lor thc cncvclopacdi a. 1his cond| tion
loundsthcdillercnccbctwecnthctrucandthcvcridical/nbc/nu. Wchavc
] ust sccnthatonc condition olthiscondition is that a truthbci nñnitc.
lsthiscondition sulñcicnt' Cettai nl vnot. 0bvi ousl va grcat numbcrol
cncvclopacdic dctcrminants cxi st which dcsignatc i nñni tc parts of thc
situati on. Knowlcdge. sincc thc grcat ontological dccision conccrning
inhnitv ( c. Mcditation l > ì . movcs casilv amongst thc inñnitc classcs ol
multiplcswhichlallundcrancncvclopacdi cdetcrmi nant. Statcmcntssuch
as thcwbolcnumoctslormani nñnitcsct' . or thc| n|initenuanccsolthc
scoti mcntoll ovc' canbchcldw| thoutdilñcultv tobcvcridicali nthisor
thatdomai nolknowlcdgc. 1hatatruthi si nñni tcdocsnotrcndcri tbvthc
samc tokcn indisccrniblc lrom evcrv si ngl c thi ng al rcadv countcd bv
knowl cdgc.
Lcts cxamine thc problcm in its abstract form. Saving that a truth i s
inñnitci ssavingthatitsproccdurc contai nsaninñnitvolcnqui ri cs. Fach
ol thcsc cnqui ri cs conta| ns. in !I nitc numbcr. positivc indications
x( +i ÷that i s. that thc multiplc x i s conncctcd to thc namc ol thc
333
334
BEI NG AND EVENT
cvcnt÷and ncgativc i ndi cations y( -i . 1hc total' proccdurc. t hat is. a
ccrtain inñnitcstatc ol thcñdc| i tv. is thus. in its rcsu| t. composcd oltwo
inhnitcc|asscs thatolmu| t| p| cswitha pos| tivcconocction. sav(Xl , X2, . . .
Xu ) , andthatolmultip| cswitha ncgativcconncction. (Yl , Y2, . . . Yu ) . But
i t isqui t cpossib| cthat thcsctwoclasscsa| wavscoincidcwi t hpartswhich
lal|undcrcncvclopacdicdctcrminants. Adomainolknow| cdgccoul dcxist
lorwhichXl , X2, . . . Xu arcprcci sclvthosc multip|cs thatcanbcdi scctncd
ashaving a commonpropcrtv. a propcrtv which can bccxpl icitlvlormu-
latcdin thc languagcol t hcsituation
VulgarMarxismandvulgarFrcudianismhavcncvcrbccnab| ctoñnda
wav out ol th| s ambi gui tv. 1hc ñrst c| a| mcd that truth was h| storical | v
dcpl ovcdon thcbasi solrcvolutionarvcvcntsbvthcworkingc|ass . 3ut i t
thoughtthcworkingcl assasthcclassolworkcrs . Natural| v. thcwotkcrs' .
intcrmsolpurcmul ti p| cs. |ormcdani n|i nitccl ass. itwasnotthesumtotal
olcmpirica|workcrsthatwasatstakc. Yctth|sdi dnotprcvcntknowlcdgc
( and paradoxicallv Marx|st knowlcdgc itscllì lrom bcing lor cvcr ablc to
considcr thc workcrs ' as lalling undcr an cncvc|opacdi c dctcrm|nant
( sociologicalcconomical. ctc. i . thccvcntashavingnothingtodowiththis
a| wavs-al rcadv-countcd. aod the supposcd truth as bcing mcrc|v a vcr
i d. citvsubmi ttcd tothclanguagcolthcsit uation. Whatismorc. lromthis
standpo| ntthctruthcou| dbcannu| | cd÷thclamous i t'sbccndoncbclorc'
or it' sold lashi oncd'÷bccauscthccncvclopacdia |s alwavsincohcrcnt. lt
was lrom thi s coincidcnce. wh|ch it cla| mcd to assumc wi tHi n itscll÷
bccausc it dcclarcd itscll to bc si mu| tancouslv political truth. combativc
andlaithlul. andknow|cdgcolBistorv. olSocictv÷thatMarxi smcndcdup
dv|ng.bccauscitlol|owcdthcll uctuat| onsolthccncvclopacdia undcrt hc
tr|a| ol thc rc| ation bctwccn |anguagc and thc 3tatc. As lor Amcrican
Ftcudi ani sm. it claimcd to |orm a scction o| psvchological know| edge.
ass| gning truth to cvcrvthi ng which was conncctcd to a stab| c class. thc
adult gcnita| comp|cx' . 1odav this Frcudianism looks likc a statc corpsc.
aod i t was not lor noth. ng that Lacan. i n ordcr to savc ñdclitv to
Frcud÷who had namcd unconsci ous' thc paradoxicalcvcntsolhvstcria
÷hadtoplace thc distinctionbctwccn knowlcdgcandtruthat thcccntrc
o| hi s thought. and scvctc| v scparatc thc discoursc ol thc analvst lrom
whathecal| cd thc discoursc olthcUoi vcrs|tv
ln|in|tv. howcvcrncccssarv. wi | | thusnotbc ab|c t oservc asthc uni quc
ctitcrion lor thc indi sccribi | i tv o| lai th|ul truths Arc wc capablc o|
proposing a su|ncicnt critcrion'
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENE RI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
4. 1hFGFNFR! CPROCFLURF
!lwcconsidcranvdctcrminantolthccncvc| opacdia.thcni t scontradictorv
dctcrm| nant also cxi sts. 1his is cntai| cd bv thc languagc ol thc si tuati on
contai ning ncgati on ( note that thc lol lowing prcrcqui si tc i s introduccd
hcrc. thcrc i s no languagc without ncgation' ì !l wc group a| l thc
multip| cs which havc a ccrtain propcrtv into a class. thcn t hcrc i s
i mmcdi atc| vanothcrdi s] o| ntcl ass. thatolthcmul ti p| cswhichdonothavc
thc propcrtv i n qucstion. ! said prcvi ous| v that a| l thc ñni tc parts ol a
situation arc rcgistcrcd undcr cncvclopacdic classiñcations . ln parti cu| ar.
this inc| udcs thosc ñnitc parts whi ch contain multiplcs ol which somc
bclong to onc class. andothcrsto thccontradi ctotv class ! l xposscsscs a
propcrtv. andydocsnot. thcñnitcpart|x.y| madcup olxandy|st hcob] cct
ola knowlcdgc] ustl i kcanvothcrl¡nitc part. Bowcvcr. . ti si ndi llcrcntto
thc propcrtv bccausc onc ol its tcrms posscsscs i t whilst the othcr docs
not Know| cdgcconsidcrsthat/h/sl| nitcpart. takcoasa wholc. i snot apt
lordisccrnmcntviathcpropcrtv.
Wc shal| sav thata ñnitcpartavo/dsan cncvc| opaedicdctcrminant il i t
contains multiplcs which bclong t o this dctcrminant andot hcrs whi ch
bclong to t hc contradicto|v dctcrmi nant A|l ñni te parts la| | . morcovcr.
undcr an cncvclopacdicdctcrminant . 1hus. a| l ñn| tc parts wh| ch avoid a
dctcrmi nant arc thcmsclvcs dctcrmincd bv a domai n ol knowlcdgc
Avoi dancc is a structurc ol ñni tcknowlcdgc.
Ourgoali sthcntoloundupon thisstructurcolknowlcdgc ( rclcrrcdto
thcñnitc charactcrolthccnqui ri cs i a charact crization of t rut hasi nhni tc
partolthc si tuati on
1hcgcncrali dcais tocoosi dcrt hat a /ru/hµroups /oµc/hcra//|hc/crmso]
/hcs//ua/|on wh/ch arcpos///vc/y conncc/cd /o /hc cvcn/ Whvthi spri v| lcgc ol
positivcconncction. olx( +ì `Bccauscwhati sncgativc|vconnectcddocsno
morc than rcpcat thc prc-cvcnta| s| tuati on From thc standpoint ol t bc
proccdurc olñdcli tv. a t crmcncountcrcdandinvcstigatcd negativclv. an
x( -i . hasno rc| ationwhatsocvcrwi ththcnamc olt hccvcnt. and thus is
it in no wav conccrncd' bv that cvcnt ! t will not cntcr into t hc ncw
mu///p/c that i s a post cvcntal truth. sincc. wi th regard to thc ñdcl i tv. it
t urns out to have noconncctionto thc supcrnumcrarv namc As such. i t
i squitccohcrcntt oconsidcrt hat a truth. ast hctotalrcsu| tola proccdurc
of ñdc| itv. is madc up ol all thc cocount crcd tcrms whicb havc bccn
posi ti vely i nvesti gated; tbat ls. al | tbosc whl ch the opcratorolconncctlon
has dcclarcdtobc linkcd. in onc manncr ora oothcr. t o thcnamc olthc
335
336
BEI NG AND EVENT
cvcnt. 1hcx( -) tcrmsrcma|n/nd/]]crcn/. andsolclvmarkthcrcpctitionof
thc prc cvcnta| ordcr ol thc situation. But lor an inñnitc ttuth thus
conccivcd ( al l tcrms dcclarcdx( +) i n at lcastonc cnquirv ol thc laithful
proccdurci togcnuinclvbca production. a novcltv. iti sncccssarvthatthc
partofthcsituationobtaincdbvgathcringthcx( +) 'sdocsnotcoincidcwith
ancncvclopacdicdctcrminant. Othcrwisc. i nitsbci ng. i t alsowouldrcpcat
aconñgurationthathada/rcadybccnclassiñcdbvknowlcdgc. !twoul dnot
bcgcnuinclvpost cvcntal .
0urproblcmisñnallvt hcfollowing. onwhatconditioncanoncbcsurc
thatthcsct oftcrmsofthcsituationwhicharcpositivclvconncctcdtothc
cvcnt i si n no manncral rcadvclassiñcdwithinthc cncvclopacdia ofthc
situation' Wc cannot dircctlv formulatc this potcntial condition via an
cxamination' olthcinñnitc sct of thcsctcrms. bccauscthisscti salwavs
to comc ( bci ng inñnitci and morcovcr. it is randomlv composcd bv t hc
tra] cctorvolthccnqui rics. atcrmi scnaun/crcdbvthcproccdurc. andthc
ñnitccnqui rvinwhich itñgurcsattcststhati tispositivclvconncctcd.that
it is anx( +i . Ourconditionmust ncccssarilvconccrn /hccnau/r/cs which
makcupthcvcrvfabricolthcproccdurc olñdcl itv.
1hccruci al rcmarkisthcnthcfollowi ng. 1akcancnquirvwhichissuch
that thc tcrms it rcports as positivclvconncctcd to thc cvcnt ( thc hnitc
numbcr ofx( +i s which |l gurc in thc cnquirvi form a hnitc part which
avoids a dctcrminant ol knowlcdgc in thc scnsc of avoidancc dchncd
abovc. 1hcn takc a laithful proccdurc i n which this cnqui rv hgurcs. thc
inñnitctotaloltcrmsconncctcdpositivclvtothccvcntv| athatproccdurc
cannotinanvmanncrcoincidcwiththcdctctminantavo| dcdbvthcx( +)
'
s
ofthc cnqui rv in qucstion.
1hisiscvidcnt . l fthccnquirv| ssuchthatX"
l
( +) , xn
2
( +) , . . . Xn
q
( +) , that
is. al l thc tcrms cncountcrcdbv thc cnquiry whlch arcconncctcdto thc
namcolthccvcnt. form. onccgathcrcdtogcthcr. añnitcpartwhichavoids
a dctcrminant. this mcans that amongst thc Xn thcrc arc tcrms which
bclongto thi sdctcrminant ( whichhavc a propcrtvi andothcrs which do
not( bccauscthcvdonothavcthcpropcrtvi 1hcrcsul tisthatthcinñnitc
class ( Xl , X2, . . . Xn - . . i which totalizcs thc cnquirics according to thc
positivc cannot coincidc with thc class subsumcd bv thc cncvclopacdic
dctcrminant in qucstion. For in thc formcr class. onc ñnds thc Xn , ( +) ,
X
"2
( +)
'
. . . Xnq ( +) ol thccnquirvmcntioncdabovc. sinccal l of thcmwcrc
positivclvinvcstigatcd. 1husthctcarcclcmcntsi nthcclasswhichhavcthc
propcrtvandthcrcarcothcrswhichdonot. lhisclassi sthcrclorcnotthc
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
oncthati sdchncdin thc| anguagc bvthc classihcation al l thcmul tiplcs
disccrncdashavingthispropcrtv' .
For aninhnitcfaithfulproccdurctothusgcncratc as its positivc rcsul t
multiplc÷asthcpost cvcntaltruth÷atotal of( +i 'sconncctcdtothcnamc
olthccvcntwhich ' diagona|izc' a dctcrminant ofthc cncvclopacdia. iti s
sufhcicnt thatwithin thatproccdurc thcrc bc atl castonccnqui rv which
avoids this dctcrminant . 1hc prcscncc of this particul at hnitc cnqui rv i s
cnough to cnsurc that thc lnhnltc faithfu| proccdurc docs not coincidc
wlththc dctcrminanti nqucstion.
!s this a rcasonab|c rcquisltc' Ycs. bccausc thc faithful proccdurc is
random. and in no wav prcdctcrmincd bv knowlcdgc. !ts origin is thc
cvcnt. ofwhichknowlcdgcknowsnothing.anditstcxturc thcopcratorof
faithful conncction. whi ch is i tsc| f a| so a tcmpora| production. 1hc
multiplcscncountcrcdbvthc proccdutcdonotdcpcnduponanvknow|
cdgc. 1hcvrcsu| t fromt hcrandomncssoft hc mi| itant' ttaj cctorvstarting
outfromthccvcnt si tc. 1hcrci snorcason. inanvcasc. fotancnquirvnot
tocxistwhichissuchthatthcmu|tip|cspositivc|vcvaluatcdthcrcinbvthc
opcratoroffaithfu| connccti onforma hnitcpartwhlchavoidsa dctcrmi
nant.thcrcasonbci ngt hatancnquirv. i nltsc|f.hasnothingtodowi thanv
dctcrminant whatsocvcr. !t i s thus cntirc|v rcasonablc that thc faithfu|
proccdutc. i noncolitshnitcstatcs. cncountcrsucha groupot mul tip|cs.
Bvcxtcnsiontothctruc proccdurcoli t susagcwithinknow|cdgc. wcsha| |
savthatancnquirvoft hi stvpc avo/dsthccncvc| opacdic dctcrminant i n
qucsti on. 1hus. i faninhnitcfaithfu|proccdutccontai nsat| castoncnnitc
cnquirv which avoids an cncvc|opacdic dctcrminant. thcn thc lnnnitc
positivctcsu| tofthatproccdurc. thcc|assofx( +i 's i wi l | notcoincidcwith
thatpartofthc situationwhoscknow|cdgcis dcsignatcdbvthis dctcrmi
nant. !n othcr words. t hc propcttv. cxprcsscd l n t hc | anguagc of thc
situationwhlch founds this dctcrmlnant. cannot bc uscd. ln anvcasc. to
d|sccrn thci nnnltcpositlvc tcsult o|thc |aith|u| proccdurc
Wchavcthusc|car|vformu| atcdaconditionforthci nñni tcandpositivc
tcsult of a faithful ptoccdurc ( thc part which tota| lscs thc x( -ì 's i
avoiding÷notco|ncidlngwith÷c dctcrminantof thc cncvc|opacdia . And
thiscondltionconccrns thc cnqu| rics. thc ñn| tcstatcsofthcproccdurc i t
iscnoughthatthcx( +i 's olonccnquirvoft hcptoccdurcforma hni tcsct
which avoids thcdctcrminanti nqucst|on.
Lct ' snowimagincthatthcptoccdurci ssuchthatthccondltionabovci s
satisñcd for ever cncvc|opacdlc dctcrminant. ! n othcr wotds. lor cach
dctcrminant at | cast onc cnqulrv ñgurcs in thc proccdurc whosc x. +i s
337
338
BEI NG AND EVENT
avoi d t hat dctcrminant Ior t hc momcnt ! am not cnqurrrng i nt o t hc
poss/////n ol such a proccdurc. ! am simplv stating t hat /] a laithlul
proccdurc contai ns. lor cvcrv dctcrminant ol thc cncvclopacdi a. an
cnquirvwhichavoidsit. /hcn thcpositivcrcsultolthisproccdurcwi l l not
coincidcwithanypartsubsumablcundcra dctcrmi nant. Assuch. thcclass
olmul tiplcswhicharc conncctcd t othc cvcntwillnotbc dctcrmi ncdbv
anv ol thc propcrtics whi ch can bc lormul atcd i n thc l anguagc ol thc
situati on !twillthusbc/nd/sccrn///candunc/ass/]a//clorknowlcdgc. ! nthis
casc. truth woul dbcirrcduciblc to vcridicitv.
Wc shall thcrclorc sav. e /ru/h /s /hc /n]n/|c pos///vc /o/a/~/hcµa/hcr/nµ
/oµc/hcro]x( + ) '5-o]aproccdurco]¡dc//nwh/ch. ]orca.handcvcmdc/crm/nan/
o]/hccncc/opacd/a. con/a/nsa//cas/cnccnau/mwh/ch avo/ds //.
3uch a proccdurc will bc said to bcµcncr/c( lorthc situationi .
0urtaski s to] ustilv thisword. gcncric÷ando n thi sbasis. thc] ustinca
ti onolthc word truth is inlcrrcd.
° 1EF GFNFR!C ! 31EF BF!NC MUL1!PLF OIA 1RU1E
! l thcrccxistsancvcnt intcrvcntion opcrator- ol- ñdclitvcomplcxwhichis
such thataninnnitcpositivcstatcolthc ñdclitvi sgcncric (inthc scnsc ol
thc dcñnitioni ÷inothcrwords. |la truthcxists÷thcmultipl c rclcrcntol
th|sndclitv ( thconc· |ru/hi | sa par/olthcsituation. thcpartwhi chgroups
togcthcral l olthctcrmspositivclvconncctcdt othcnamcolthccvcnt. al l
thcx( +i s which ||gurcinatlcastonccnquirv olthcproccdurc ( i noncol
its ñnitc statcs i . 1hc lact that thc proccdurc i s gcncric cntails thc non
coincidcncc ol this part with anvthing classi ncd bv an cncvcl opacdic
dctcrmi nant. Cooscqucnt| v. this part is unoamcab| c bv thc rcsourccs o|
thclanguagcolthcsituationalonc . | t l ssubtractcdlromanvknowlcdgc. it
has notbccn alrcadvcountcd bv anv olthc domains olknowlcdgc. nor
wi l | bc. | lthc| anguagcrcmai nsi nthc samcstatc÷orrcmai ns/ha/o]thc
3tatc. 1hispart. i nwhich a truth i nscr|bcs i tsproccdurcasinñnitcrcsul t.
i san /nd/sccrn///co]/hcs//ua//on
Eowcvcr. it is clcarlv a part. it is countcd as onc bv thc statc ol thc
situation. What couldthis onc' bcwhich÷subtractcdlromlanguagc and
consti tutcd|romthcpoloto|t hccvcnt al u| tra onc÷| si ndiscernibl e? 9incc
thispart hasno particular cxprcssiblc propcrtv. i tscntircbcing rcsidcs in
thi s. i t is a part. which i s to sav it i s composcd o| mu|tiplcs c||cctivclv
prcscntcdi nthcsituation. Anindisccrniblc/nc/us/on~andsuch. i nshort. is
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
a truth÷has no othcr p|opcrtv' thanthatol rclcrring to /c|onµ/nµ. 1his
parti sanonvmouslvthatwhichhasnoothcrmarkapartlromarisinglrom
prcscntation. apart lrombcingcomposcdoltcrmswhi ch havc nothingi n
commonthat coul dbc rcmarked. savc bclongingto /h/s si tuati on. which.
strictlvspcak|ng. i sitsbc| ng. qua bcing. But aslorthis propertv' ~/c/nµ.
quitc simplv÷it is clcarthatit |s sharcd bv a// thc tcrms ol thc situation.
and that it i s cocxistcnt with cvcrv part which groups togethcr tcrms .
Conscqucntlv. thc indisccriblc part. bv dcñnition. so|clv posscsscs thc
propcrtics' olanvpartwhatsocvcr.lt|srightlul|vdcclarcdµcncr/c.bccausc.
iloncwishcstoqual i lv it al l onccansavi sthatitsclcmcntscrc 1hcpart
thusbclongstothcsuprcmcgcnrc. thc gcnrcolthc bcingol thc situation
as such÷sincc /n a situation bcing' and bcing countcd as onc i n- thc
s|tuation' arconc andthc samcthing.
lt thcn goes without saving that onc can mai ntai n that such a part i s
attachablc to truth. Forwhatthc laithlul proccdurc thus rc]oins i snonc
othcr than thc truth o] /hc cn//rc s//ua//on insolar as thc scnsc ol thc
indiscctniblci sthatolcxhibiting as onc- multiplc thcvcrvbci ngolwhat
bclongsi nsolaras itbclongs. Fvcrvnamcablcpart. di sccrncdandcl assi ñcd
bv knowl cdgc. rclcrs not to bci ngi n- si tuation as such. but to what
languagc carvcs out thcrcin as rccognizab| c parti cul ari ti cs. 1hc laithlul
proccdurc. prccisclvbccausci toriginatcsi nancvcnti nwhich thcvoidi s
summoncd. andnoti nthccstablishcdrcl at onbctwccnthc| anguagcand
thc statc. disposcs. | nitsi o|initestatcs. olthcbcingolthcsi t uati on. !ti sa
onc- truth ol thc situation. whi lst a dctcrminant ol know|cdgc solclv
spcciñcsvcracitics
1hcdisccrniblc isvcridi cal . But | hcindisccrniblc al onc is t ruc. 1hcrc i s
notruthapartlromthcgcncric bccausconl va laithlulgcncricproccdurc
aimsat thconcolsituati onal being. Alaithlulproccdurchasasitsin|initc
horizon bcing i n- truth.
6 LO1RU1ES FX| S1'
Lvidcntlv. cvervthinghangsonthcpossibilitvolthccxi stcnccola gcncric
proccdurc olñdcli tv. 1his qucstion isboth4c]ac/e and 4c]urc
Uc]a:/o. l considcrthatinthesi tuationa| sphcrcolthc |nd|v|dua/÷such
aspsvchoana|vsis. lorcxamplc. thinksandprcscntsit÷lovc(ilitcxists. but
vari ouscmpiri ca| signs att est that |tdocs i isa generic proccdurc olñde| i tv:
its cvcntis thc cncountcr. its opcratorsarcvariablc. i tsi nñni teproduction
339
340
BEI NG AND EVENT
is indiscernible, and i ts enqutrles are the existential episodes that the
amorous couple intentionally attaches to l ove. Love is thus a- truth ( one­
truth) of the situation. 1 call it ' individual' because it /n/crcsts nconcapart
from the individuals in questi on. Let's note, and this i s crucial. that i t is
thus ]or/hcmthat the one-truth produced by their love is an indiscernible
part of their existence; since the others do not share i n the situation which
1 am speaking of. An- amorous- truth is un- known for those who love each
other: all they do is produce i t.
In 'mixed' situations, in which the means are /nd/v/dua/ but the
transmission and effects concern the collective-it is /n/crcs/cdin them-art
and science constitute networks of faithful procedures: whose events are
the great aesthetic and conceptual transformations; whose operators are
variable (I showed in Meditation 24 that the operator of mathematics,
science of being-qua- being, was deduction; it is not the same as that of
biology or painting) ; whose infnite production i s indiscernible-there is
no 'knowledge' of art, nor is there, and this only seems to be a paradox, a
' knowledge of science' , for science here is //s |n]n//c bc/nµ. which is to say
the procedure of invention, and not the transmissible exposition of its
fragmentary results, which are ]n|/c.and fnally whose enquiries are works
of art and scientifc inventions.
In collective situations-in which the collective becomes interested i n
itself-politics ( if it exists asµcncr/:po////:swhat was called, for a long time,
revolutionary politics, and for which another word must be found today)
is also a procedure of fdelity. Its events are the historical caesura in which
the void of the social is summoned in default of the State; its operators are
variable; its infnite productions are indiscernible ( i n particular, they do
not coincide with anypar/ namccb/c ac:ord/nu /o /hc 5/a/ci . being nothing
more than ' changes' of political subjectivity within the situation; and
fnally its enquiries consist of militant organized activity.
As such, love, art, science and politics generate-in fnitely-truths
concerning situations; truths subtracted from knowledge which are only
counted by the state in the anonymity of their being. All sorts of other
practices-possibly respectable, such as commerce for example, and all the
different forms of the ' service of goods' , which are intricated i n knowledge
to various degrees-do not generate truths. 1 have to say that philosophy
does not generate any truths ei ther, however painful this admission may
be. At best, philosophy is cond///oncdby the faithful procedures of its times.
Philosophy can ai d the procedure which conditions it. precisely because i t
depends on i t: it attaches itself vi a such intermediaries to the foundational
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
cvcnts ol thc t| mcs. vct phi | osophv | tscl l docs not makc up a gcncr|c
proccdurc. lts particul ar lunction i s to arrangc mult|plcs lor a random
cncountcrwith such a ptoccdurc. Eowcvct. whcthcrsuch an cncountcr
takcs placc. and whcthcr thc mult|plcs thus arrangcd turn out to bc
conncctcdtothcsupcrnumcrarvnamcolthccvcnt. docsnotdcpcndupon
philosophv. A philosophv worthv ol thc namc÷thc namc which bcgan
w|th Parmcni dcs÷|s |n anv casc ant|nom|ca| to thc scrv|cc ol coods.
|nasmuch as|tcndcavoursto bc at thc scrvicc oltruths. onc can alwavs
cndcavourtobcatthcscrvicc olsomcth|ncthat oncdocsnotconst|tutc.
Ph|losophv|sthusatthcscrviccolart. olsci cnccandolpol|ti cs. 1hat|t| s
capablcolbci ngatthcscrviccoll ovc| smorcdoubtlu|( onthcothcrhand.
art. a mixcd proccdurc. supports truths ol |ovcì . ln anv casc. thcrc |s no
commcrcial ph|losophv.
As a dc]urc qucst|on. thc cx|stcncc o| |a|th|ul gcncr|c proccdurcs |s a
sc|cnt|nc qucstion. a qucstion ol ontologv. s|ncc |t |s not thc sort ol
qucst|on that can bc trcatcd bv a simplc knowlcdgc. and si ncc thc
i ndisccrn|blcoccursatthcp| acc olthcbc|ncolthcs|tuati on. aua/c/nµ. lt
|smathcmat|cswh| chmust] udccwhcthcritmakcsanvscnsctospcakol
an|nd|sccrniblcparto|anvmu|tiplc. 0lcoursc. mathcmat|cscannotthi nk
aproccdurcoltruth. bccauscmathcmat|cscl|minatcsthccvcnt. But| tcan
dcc|dcwhcthcri t| scompatiblcw|thonto| ogvthatthcrcbctruths . Lcci dcd
atthclcvclollactbvthc cnt|rc h|storv olhumank|nd÷bccausc /hcrcarc
truths÷thcqucst|on ol thc bc|ng oltruth has on|vbccn rcsolvcd at a dc
]arclcvclqu|tc rcccntlv ( | n | 96>. Cohcn' sdiscovcrvi . w|thout. morcovcr.
thc mathcmat|c|ans÷absorbcdasthcvarc bvthc|orgctt|ngolthcdcst|nv
olthc|rd|sc|pl incductothctcchnica|ncccss|tvolitsdcploymcnt÷know-
|nghowtonamcwhatwashappcn|ngthcrc( apoi ntwhcrcthcph|losoph
icalhcl plwas spcak|ngof comcs|ntoplavi . lhavcconsccratcdMcd|tation
>> to th|s mathcmat|cal cvcnt. l havcdclibcratc|vwcakcncdthc cxpl|c|t
||nks bctwccn thcprcscntconccptua|dcvc|opmcntand thc mathcmat|ca|
doctr|nc ol gcncr|c mul tip||c|t|cs i n ordcr to | ct onto|ogv spcak' . cl o
qucntlv. lor . tscll. 1ust as thc s|gn|hcr a|wavs bctravs somcthi ng. thc
tcchnical appcarancc ol Cohcn's di scovcr|cs and thc|r |nvcstmcnt | n a
problcmat|cdoma|nwh|ch |s apparcntlvqu| tcnarrow ( thc modclsol sct
thcorv' i arc|mmcdi atclvcn| i vcncdbvthccho|ccmadcbvthcloundcrsol
th| s doctrinc ol thc word gcncr|c' to dcsignatc thc non- construct|blc
mult|p|cs and cond|t|ons to dcs|gnatc thc |in|tc statcs ol thc proccdurc
( cond|tions' * cnqu|r|cs ' i .
341
342
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hc concl us| onsolmathcmat| cal ontologvarc bothclcarandmcasurcd.
Vcrv roughlv.
a. ll thc i n| tial s| tuation i s dcnumctablc ( |nl¡nitc. but ] ust as wholc
numbcrs arci . thcrc cx| sts a gcncr| cproccdurc.
/. Butthisproccdurc. dcspitcbcing/nc/udc4in thcsi t uation ( i ti sa part
ol it i . docs not /c/onµ to it ( | t is not prcscntcd thcrcin. solclv
rcprcscntcd. it |s an cxcrcsccncc÷c. Mcditation 8i .
:. Eowcvcr. onccan lorcc' a ncwsituationt ocxist÷a gcncriccxtcn
sion ÷which conta| nsthccntirctvol thc o| dsituat | on. andt which
this timc thc gcncric proccdurc bclongs ( lt is both prcscntcd and
rcprcscntcd it | s normal i 1his point ( lorc| ngi i s thc stcp ol thc
Sub] cct ( c. Mcditation > ¯ i .
4 l nthisncws| tuation. | l thc|anguagcrcma| nsthcsamc÷thus. i l thc
primitivcgivcnsolknowlcdgcrcmainstablc÷thcgcncricproccdurc
stillproduccsindisccrnlbili tvBc| ongingtothcsituationthist| mc. thc
gcncrici san intrinsici nd| sccrniblc thcrci n.
If oncattcmptsto] ointogcthcrthccmpi ricalandscicnt| ñcconcl usions.
thclollowinghvpothcsi s canbcmadc. thclactthatagcncricproccdurcol
ñdclitvprogrcsscstoinñnitvcntailsa rcworkingolthcsituation. oncthat.
wh| | st conscrv|ng a| | ol thc old si tuation s multiplcs. prcscnts othcr
mu|tiplcs 1hcul ti matccllcctolancvcntal cacsura. andolani ntcrvcntion
lrom which thc introduction | nto circulation ol a supcrnumcrarv namc
procccds. woul dthusbcthatthctruthola si tuati on. wi ththiscacsuraas
i tsprinciplc.]o·.cs/hcs//ua//en/oa:commeda/c//tocxtcnditsclltothcpoint
at which this truth÷primitivclv no morc than a part. a rcprcscntation
÷attainsbclonging.thcrcbvbccomingaprcscntat| on. 1hctra] cctorvolthc
faithful generic procedure and i ts passage to i nfni ty transform the
ontological statusof atruth.thcvdo sobvchangingthcs| tuation bvlorcc .
anonymous cxcrcsccncc in thc beginning, thc truth wl | l cnd up bcing
norma| l zcd. Bowcvcr. i t would rcma| n subtractcd lrom knowlcdgc i lthc
languagcolthcsituat| onwasnottadica|lvtranslormcd. Notonlvi satruth
indisccrn|blc. buti tsproccdurcrcquircsthatthisi ndisccrnib|litv/c.Atruth
would lorcc thc s| t uation to d| sposc |tscll such that thls truth÷at thc
outset anonymousl y counted as one bv the stat e al one, pure i ndi stinct
cxccssovcrthcprcscntcd mu| t| plcs÷bc ñnal|vrccognizcdasa tcrm. and
as i ntcrnal . A laithlul gcncr| c proccdurc rcndcrs thc indisccrnib|c
i mmancnt.
THE THOUGHT OF THE GE NE RI C AND BE I NG IN TRUTH
Ass uch. artscicnccandpo| iticsdochangcthcworld. notbvwhatthcy
disccrn. butbvwhatthcvindisccrnthcrcin. Andthca| l powcrlulncssola
truthismcrclvthat ol chang| ngwhatis. such thatthisunnamcabl cbci ng
mavbc. which is thc vcrvbcing ol what| s.

343
344
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-TWO
Rousseau
i l. from thcse 'particular| wills. onc takcsawavthc
pluscs andthc minuscs which cancclcachothcrout.
what|s lcft as thcsumofdiffcrcnccs i sthe gcncralwi | l ´
6]/hc 5oc/a/ con/rac/
Lctskccpinmi ndthatRousscau docs not prctcndtorcsolve the famous
problcmthathcposcshi msclf. Mani sbornfrec. andcvcrvwhcrchci sin
chai ns´ lf bv resolution onc undcrstands the cxami nation of thc real
proccdurcs ofpassagc from onc statc ( natural frccdomì to anothcr ( civil
obcdicnccì . Rousscauexprcsslvindcatcsthathcdocsnothavcsuchathis
disposal . uow di d this changc comc about' l do not know´ Bcrc as
clscwhcrchismcthodi stosctasi dcal l thcfactsandtothcrcbvcstablisha
foundation for thc opcrations of thought. lt is a qucstion of cstablishing
underwhat conditions sucha changc is /cµ///ma/c. 3ut legitimacv herc
dcsignatcscxistencc. i n|act. thecxistcncc o|po| itics. Rousscausgoa| i sto
cxamincthcconccptua| prcrcquisitcsofpolitics. tothink/hc/c/nµc]po////a.
1hctruthof that bcingrcsidcs in thc actbv which a pcoplc is a pcoplc .
1hatl cgiti macvbccxistcncc itsc|fi sdemonstratcdbvt hefollowing. thc
cmpiricalrcalitvofStatcsandofcivilobcdicncc docsnotprovci nanvwav
that thcrc i s po|itics. 1his is a part|cularlv strong idca of Rousscau. thc
factual appcarancc ofa sovercign docs not sulñcc for i ttobc possiblcto
spcakofpol itics 1hc mostpartofthema] orStatcs arc a- politica|bccausc
thcvhavccomctothe tcrmoftheirdissolution. ln thcm. thcsocialpact
i sbrokcn Itcanbcobscrvcd that vcrv lcwnationshavclaws´ Politics is
rarc. bccausc thc üdc| itv to what |ounds i t i s prccari ous. and
ROUSSEAU
bccausc thcrc | san |nhcrcntand|ncv|tablcv| ccwh|ch rclcntlcsslvtcnds
to dcstrovthcbodvpol|t|clromthc vcrv momcnt ol|tsb|rth .
lt |s qu|tc conccivablc that |l pol|t|cs. | n| t s bc|ng- mult|plc ( thc bodv
pol|t|c' or pcoplc' ì . | s alwavs on thc cdgc ol |ts own d|ssolut|on. th|s | s
bccausc | t has no structural basc. ll Rousscau lor cvcr cstabl|shcs thc
modcrn conccpt ol pol|t|cs. |t | s bccausc hc pos| ts. | n thc most rad|cal
lash|on.thatpol|t|cs| sa proccdurc wh|ch or|g|natcs| nancvcnt. andnot
|n a structurc supportcdw|th|nbc|ng. Man | s not a po||t|cal an|mal. thc
chancc ol pol|t|cs i s a supcrnatural cvcnt. Such |s thc mcan|ng ol thc
max|m. Onc al wavs hastogobackto a ñrst convcnt|on. ' 1hc soc|alpact
|s not a h|stor|callvprovablc lact. and Rousscaus rclcrcnccs to Grcccc or
Romc mcrclv lorm thc c|ass|cal ornamcnt ol that tcmporal abscncc. 1hc
soc|alpact|sthccvcn/a/]orm thatoncmust supposc| loncw|shcs toth|nk
thc truth ol that a| catorv bc|ng that | s thc bodv pol|t|c l n thc pact. wc
atta|nthc cvcn/ncssolthccvcnt| nwhich anvpol. t|cal proccdurc nnds |ts
ttuth Morcovcr. that noth|ng ncccss|tatcs such a pact | s prcc|sclv what
d|rccts thc polcm|c aga|nst Bobbcs 1o supposc that thc pol|t|cal convcn
t| onrcsultslromthcncccss|tvolhav|ngtocx| tlromawarolal l aga|nstal l
andtothussubord|natc t hccvcnt tothceffects of lorcc. | s to subm|t| ts
cvcntncsstoancxtr|ns|cdctcrm|nat|on. Onthccontrarv. whatoncmust
assumc | s thc supcr||uous' charactcr ol thc or|g|narv social pact. |ts
absolutc nonncccss|tv. thc rat|onal chancc ( wh|ch | srctroact|vclvth|nk
abl cì ol|tsoccurrcncc. Pol|t|csis a crca//on. local andlrag|lc. ol collcct|vc
humanitv.|t|sncvcrthctrcatmcntola v|tal ncccss|tv. Ncccss|tv| salwavs
apo| it|calc|thcrbclorchand ( thcstatcolnaturci . oraltcrwards ( d|ssolvcd
Statci Pol|t|cs. | n its bc|ng. |s solclv commcnsurablc to thc cvcnt that
inst|tutcs |t.
ll wc cxam|nc thc]ormu/a ol thc soc|al pact. that | s. thc statcmcnt bv
which prcv|ouslv d|spcrscd natural |nd|viduals bccomc const| tutcd as a
pcoplc.wcscethatitdisccrosan abso|utc|vnovc|tcrm. ca| | cdthcgcncra|
w||l. Facholusputsh|spcrsonandh|slullpowcri ncommonundcrthc
suprcmc d|rcct|on ol thc gcncral w|ll . ' lt | s th|s tcrm wh|ch has qu|tc
rightlv born thc brunt ol thc cri ti qucs ol Rousscau. s|ncc. |n thc 5oc/a/
cen/rac/.|t|sboth ptcsupposcd and constitutcd Bc|orc thc contract.thcrc
atconlvpart|cul arw|lls. Altcrthccontract.thcpurc rclcrcntolpol |t|cs|s
thc gcncral w|l l But thc contract |tscll art|culatcs thc subm|ss|on ol
part|cu|ar w|l| s to thc gcncra| w|l| . A structurc ol torsion mav bc rccog
n|zcd hcrc. oacc thc gcncral w|ll i s const|tutcd. it so happcns that | t |s
ptcc|sclv //sbc|ngwh|chi s prcsupposcd |n such const|tut|on.
345
346
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hc onl vstandpolnt|romwhich | ightmavbc shcd upon this torsloni s
t hat o| considcring t hcbodvpolitic to bca supcrnumcrarv mul ti pl c. t hc
ultra onco|t hccvcntt hat isthcpact . | ntruth. thcpact i snothingothcr
than/hcsc/]/c/oaµ/nµ e]/hc/odypo////c/o/hcm×///p/c /ha////s. aslounding
cvcnt. Gcncral wiH namcs thc durablc truth o|this scl|bclonging 1hc
bodvpolit|c . . . si ncci t owcsltsbclngsolclvtothcsanctitvo|thccontract.
can ncvcr obllgatc ltscl| . . . to do anvthi ng that dctracts |rom that
prlmi ti vcact. . . 1o violatctheactbvwhlchi t cxistswouldbctoanni hllatc
itscl|. andwhatls nothing produccs nothing. lt i s cl carthat thc bcing o|
politicsor|glnatcs |romani mmancnt rclationtoscl| |t i s not dctracting
|rom thi srclatlon÷pol itlcal l| dcll tv÷that alonc supports thc dcplovmcnt
o|thc trutho|thc pr|mltlvc act . ln sum.
~ thc pact is thc cvcnt whlch. bv chancc supplcmcnts thc statc o|
naturc.
- thcbodvpolitic. orpcoplc. lsthc cvcntalu| t ra oncwhich |ntcrposcs
itsclfbctwccn thc void ( naturc i s thc void|orpolitlcs i anditscl|.
- thc gcncral wlll l s thc opcrator ol l| dclitv whlch dlrccts a gcncrlc
proccdurc.
ltis thclastpoi ntwhlchcontainsall thc difñcultics. What| will arguc
hcrci sthatRousscauclcar|vdcsignatcsthcncccssltv. |oranvtrucpoli tlcs.
to artlculatcitscl|arounda gcncrlc ( i ndlsccrnlbl ci subsct o|thccollcctivc
bodv. but on thc othcr haod. he does not rcsolvc thc qucsti on o| thc
politicalproccdurc i tscl|. bccausc hc pcrsists i nsubmi tti ngi ttothclawo|
numbcr ( to thcma] orltvì .
Wc know that oncc namcd bv thc i ntcrvcntion thc cvcnt |ounds timc
upon an originarv 1o ( Mcditation 20| . Rousscau |ormalizcs thi s poi nt
prccisclv whcn hc posits t hat wl | l l s spl l t bvthc cvcnt- contract . c///zcn
dcs| gnatcs ln cach pcrson hi s or hcr particlpatl on |n t hc sovcrclgntv o|
gcncralwill . whcrcassu/]cc/dcsignatcshl sorhcrsubmissiontothclawso|
thc statc. 1hc mcasurc o|thc duratl on o| politics ls thc lnsistcncc o|thls
1o. 1hcrc i s poli tlcs whcn an i ntcrnallzcd collcctivc opcrator splits
partlcul arwil| s . Asoncmlghthavccxpcctcd. thc1oi sthccsscncco|thc
ultraonc that i s a pcoplc. thc rcal bodv o| politlcs. Obcdi cncc to thc
gcncralwllli sthcmodcl nwhlchclvillibcrtvisrcali zcd. AsRousscausavs.
i nancxttcmcl vtcnsc|otmul a. thcwordssu/]cc/andsovcrc/µnarcl dcnt| cal
corrclativcs. 1his idcntlcalcorrclationdcsignatcsthccltizcnassupporto|
thc gcncric bccoming o|poli tlcs. as a mi litant. in thc strlct scnsc. o|thc
pol|tical causc. thc l attcr dcsignating purelv and simplv thc cx. stcncc o|
ROUSSEAU
politics. ! nthccitizcn ( thcmi litant i . whodividcsthcwillofthci ndi vi dual
i ntotwo. po' iticsisrcalizcdi nasmuchasitisma| mai ncdwi thi nthccvcntal
( contractual i foundati on oftimc.
Rousscausacuitvcxtcndstohispcrccptiontha| thc normofgcncralwill
is cauc//n. 1his i s a fundamcntal point. Gcncral will | s a rcl ationship of
co-bclonging ol thc pcoplc to itsclf. ! t i s thcrcfotc onlv cffcctivc from all
thc pcoplc to al l thc pcopl c !ts forms of maoi fcstation÷laws÷arc. a
rclation. bctwccn thc cntirc ob]cct from onc point of vicw and thc
entirc ob] cct from anothcrpoint of vicw. with no divisionol thc wholc .
Anvdccisionwhoscob] ccti sparticulari sa dccrcc. andnota l aw. ! t i snot
anopcrationofgcncralwill. Gcncralwillncvcrconsi dcrsani ndi vi dual not
a particularaction. !//s/hcrc]orc//cd/e/hc/nd/sccrn///c. Whatitspcaksofin
its dcclarations cannot bc scparatcd out bv statcmcnts of knowlcdgc. A
dcctcc is looodcd uponkoowlcdgc. but a law |s not. a l aw .s conccrncd
solclv with |hc truth. 1his cvi dcntlv rcsults i o thc gcncral will bcing
intrins|callv egalitarian. sincc t cannot takc pcrsons or goods into con
sidcration. 1hislcads inturn t an intrinsicqual i hcationofthc division ol
will. patticu| arwill. tcnds. bv its naturc. to par|i al i tv. and gcncral will to
cqualitv. Rousscauthinks| hccsscntialmodcrnl| nkbctwccnthccxistcncc
of politics aod thc egalitarian norm. Yct it is not quitc cxact to spcak ofa
notm. Asan intrinsicqual i|Icat| ooofgcncralwill. cqualitv/spolitics. such
that. a con/rcr/o. anv i n cgalitarian statcmcnt. whatcvcr it bc. is anti
political . 1hc most rcmarkablc th| ng about thc 5oc/a/ con/rcc/ is that i t
cstablishcs au i nti matc cooncction bctwccn pol itics and cqual itv bv an
articulatcd tccoursc to an cvcntal foundation and a proccdurc of thc
indisccrniblc. !ti sbccauscgcneral willi ndisccrns| tsob] cctandcxcl udcsi t
fromthccncvclopacdiasof knowlcdgcthatiti sordaincdtocqual itv Asfor
this indisccriblc. it rcfcrs back t the cvcntal charactcr ofpol itical crca
t| on.
Iinallv. kousscau rigoroos| v provcs thatgcoeral will cannot bc rcprc
sentcd. not cvcnbv thc Statc. 1hc sovcrcign. which is solclva collcctivc
bcing. can bc rcprcscntcd onlv bv itsclf. powcr can quitc casilv bc
transfcrrcd. but not wi ll . ' 1his di st| nction bctwccnpowcr ( transmi ssiblci
andwill ( unrcprcscntabl ci isvcrvprolound. !t freespoliticslromthc statc.
As a proccdurc fa| thful t thc cvcnt-coniraci poli t | cs cannot tolcratc
delcgat| onorrcprcscntatioo. I t resides cotirclv |o thc collcctivc bciog' of
its ci ti zen- mi l i tants. Indeed, powcr i s i nduced from thc cxistcncc of
politics. i ti s oot thc l attcr s adcquatc manifesta| | on.
347
348
BEI NG AND EVENT
lt i s on t hi s basis. morcovcr. that t wo attributcs of gcncral w| l l arc
inlcrrcdwh|choftcngivcrisctosuspicionsof totalitar|anism' . i t sindivi si -
bilitv. anditsinfallibilitv. Rousscaucannotadmitthclogicofthc division'
or balancc' ofpowcrs. if onc undcrstands bv powcr' thccsscncc of thc
political phcnomcnon. wh|ch Rousscau woul d rathcr namc will. As
gcncricproccdurc.po| |ticsisindccomposablc.andi tisonlvbvdissolvingi t
i ntothc sccondarv mul tiplicitv ofgovcrnmcntal dccrccs that its art|cul a-
tioni ssupposcdlvthought . 1hctraccofthccvcntalultra oncinpoliticsi s
that thcrc is onlv onc such po| it|cs. whi ch no instancc of powcr could
rcptcscnt or fragmcnt. For polit|cs. ultimatclv. i s thc cx|stcncc ol thc
pcopl c. Similarlv. gcncralwill| salwavsupright andal wavstcndstowards
publ|cutilitv' . forwhatcx/crna/normcouldwcuscto] udgcthatthisi snot
thccasc'!fpol |tics rcll cctcd' thcsocialbond. onccould.onthcbas|softhc
thought olthisbond. ask oncsclfwhcthcrthcrcûcct|onwas adcquatc or
not. But s|ncc it i sanintcrvcntional crcation. i t is its own norm ofitsclf.
thc cgalitarian norm. and al l that onc can assumc |s that a po| itical will
wh|chmakcsmistakcs. orcauscsthcunhappincssofa pcoplc. isno/i nfact
a pol|tical÷or gcncral÷w|l| but rathcr a particul ar usurpatorv will .
Graspcd in its csscncc. gcncral will is infalliblc. duc to bc|ng subtractcd
fromanvparticul arknowlcdgc. andductoitrclatingsolclvtothcgcncric
cxistcnccofthcpcoplc.
Rousscau's hostilitv to partics and factions÷and thus to anv form of
parliamcntarv rcprcscntativitv÷|s dcduccdfrom thcgcncri ccharactcr of
politics.1hcma] orax| omisthat inordcrtodcñnitc| vhavcthccxprcssion
of thc gcncral wil| 'thcrc must¦ bc no partial socictv in thc Statc ' A
partialsocictv' is charactcrizcdbybcingdisccrnibl c. or scparablc. as such.
itis notfaithfultothccvcntpact AsRousscaurcmarks. thcoriginalpact
is thc rcsult ofa unanimous conscntmcnt ' . !fthcrc arc opponcnts. thcv
arc purc| v and simp| v cxtcmal to thc bodv po| itic. thcv arc forcigncrs
amongstthcCitizcns' . Forthccvcntalultra- onc cvidcntlvcannottakcthc
formofa ma] oritv' . Fidclitvtothc cvcntrcqu| rcsanv gcnuinc|v polit|cal
dccisiontoconlormtothisonccflcct.thatis. tonotbcsubordinatcdtothc
scparablc and disccrniblc will ofa subsct ofthcpcoplc. Anv subsct cvcn
thatccmcntcdbvthcmostrca| of|ntcrcsts. isapolitica| givcnthati tcan
bc namcd in an cncvc| opacdia. !t i s a mattcr of knowlcdgc. and not of
truth.
ßv thc samc tokcn. it is rulcd out that politics bc rcal|zablc in thc
clcctionofrcprcscntativcssincc willdocsnotadmitofbcingrcprcscntcd. '
1hc dcputics mav havc particul ar cxccutivc funct|ons. but thcv cannot
ROUSSEAU
havcanvlcg|slat|vc lunct|on. bccausc thcdcputi csofthcpcop| c. . . arc
notandcannotbci tsrcprcscntativcs . and anvlawwhi chthcPcoplchas
not ratihcd in pcrson i s nu| | . it i s nota | aw´ 1hcFnglish parliamcntarv
svstcmdocsnot|mprcssRousscau. Accord|ngtoh|m.thcrcis nopol|ticsto
bcloundthcrc|n. Assoonasthcdcputicsarcc|cctcd. thcFng| |shpcoplc | s
cnslavcd. l ti snoth|ng . lfthccritiquc olparliamcntarian | sm i s rad|cal |n
Rousscau. i t|sbccausclarlromcons|dcr|ngi ttobca goodorbadformol
pol|t|cs hc dcn|cs| tanvpo|it|cal bcing.
Whathastobc undcrstood | sthatthcgcncra| wi||. l|kc anvopcratorof
la|thlulconncction.scrvcstocvaluatcthcproximi tv. orconlorm|tv. olth|s
orthatstatcmcnttothccvcnt pact. lti snota mattcrofknow|ngwhcthcr
a statcmcntor|g|natcslromgoodorbadpolit|cs. lromthclcftorthcr|ght.
but of whcthcr |t /s or i s not political . Whcn a law i s proposcd | n thc
lcoplcsasscmb|v. whatthcvarc bcing askcd is not cxactlv whcthcrthcv
approvcthcproposalorrc] cct|t.butwhcthcr|tdocsordocsnotconlorm
tothcgcncralw|l|whi chi sthc|rs´lti squitcrcmarkablcthatlorRousscau
polit|caldcci si onamountstodcci di ngwhcthcrastatcmcnt|spo|it|ca|and
in nowav to knowngwhcthcronci slororagainsti t. 1hcrc i s a radical
dis] unctionhcrc bctwccnpol i ticsand opi n| oo. via which Rousscauantici
patcsthc modcrndoctrincof politicsasmilitantproccdurcrathcrthanas
changcovcrolpowcrbctwccnoncconscnsusolopin|onandanothcr. 1hc
ult|matc loundation of this anticipation | s thc awarcncss that po||ti cs.
bcingthcgcncr|cproccdurcinwh|chthctrutholthcpcoplc|nsists. cannot
rclcr to thc knowlcdgcab|c di sccrnmcnt of thc social or idco|ogical
componcnts of a nat|on. Fvcntal sc|l-bclonging. undcr thc namc ol thc
socia|contract. rcgulatcsgcncral w||l andindo|ngsoitmakcsofita tcrm
subtractcdlromanv such di sccrnmcnt.
Bowcvcr. thcrcarc two rcma|ning d|lñculti cs.
- 1hcrc | s onl v an cvcnt as namcd bv an intcrvcnti on. Who i s thc
intcrvcnor in Rousscau's doctrinc' 1his i s thc qucstion of thc
lcgi slator. andi t | snotancasvonc.
~ llthcpacti sncccssarilvunan|mous. thl s| snotthccascwi ththcvotc
lorsubscqucntlaws. orwiththcdcsignationofmagistratcs . Bowcan
thc gcncr|c charactcrolpol|ticssubsistwhcnunan|mitvlai | s'1h|s|s
Rousscaus |mpassc.
!n thc pcrson of thc lcgis|ator thc gcncr|c unanimitv of thc cvcnt as
graspcd |n | t s mu|t|plcbc|ng invcrts |tscll |nto absolutc s|ngul ar|tv. 1hc
lcgislator|sthconcwho|ntcrvcncsw|th|nthc sitc olanasscmblcdpcoplc
349
350
BEI NG AND EVENT
and namcs. bv consti tuti ona| or loundational laws. thc cvcnt pact . 1hc
supcrnumcrarv oat urc ol this nomi nati on i s inscribcd i n thc lollowing
manncr. 1his olhe 'that ol thc | egi s| ator| . which givcs thc rcpub| i ci t s
consti t ution. has oo p| acc | n its consti tuti on. ' 1hc | cgi s| ator docs not
bc| ong t o thc statc ol nat urc bccausc hc i nt ctvcncs i n t hc loundationa|
cvcntolpolitics. No docshcbc|ongt othcpo| i ti ca| st+tc. bccausc. i t bcing
his ro|c to dcc| arc thc | aws. hc is not submi ttcd t thcm. Ei s action i s
si ngu| arandsuperior' What Rousscauistrvingt oi li nki nt hcmctaphor
olthc quasi divinc charactcrolthclcgis| atoris in lact t hcconvocationol
thcvoi d. thc|cgis| at oristhconcwhodrawslotth. outo|thcnatura| void.
as retroacti vc| v crcatcd bv thc popu| ar asscmb|v. a wisdom i n | cca|
nomi nat i on that is thcn ratiñcd bvt hc sullragc. 1hc | cgi s| at oris t urncd
towardsthccvcnt. andsubtractcdlromitscllccts. Ecwhodraltsthcl aws
has. thcn. orshouldhavcno | cgislativcpowcr ' Not havi nganvpowcr. hc
can onlv lav c| ai mtoaprcviousñdc| itv. thcprcpo| i t ica| ñdc| i tv tot hcgods
ol Naturc. 1hc |cgi s| ator p|accs 'dcci si onsI i n thc mout h ol immorta| s' .
bccausc such i s thc | aw ol anv intcrvcnti on. havi ng t o | av c| ai m to a
prcvi ousñdc| i tvin ordcrto namcwhatisunhcard of io thccvcnt. andso
crcatcnamcs wHicH arc sui tab| c ( as i t happcns. |aws÷to i¡amc a pcoplc
constituti ng itsc| | and an advcnt o|po|it| cs i . Ooc can casi | v rccognizcan
i ntcrvcnti onal avant gardc in thc statcmcnt i n which Rousscau qualincs
thcparadoxoltHc| cgi s| ator Anundcrtaki ngbevondhumanlorcc. andto
cxccut ci t an authoritv that i sni| ' . 1hc |cgis|ator is the one whocnsurcs
that thc collcctivc cvcnt ol thc contract. rccognizcd i n its ul tra onc. is
namcd such that po| i t|cs. lromthatpoint on. cxi sts as ndc| itv orgcncral
w|l l . Ec i sthc ooc who changcsthc collcctivc occurrcncc into a pol i tical
duration. Ec is thc i ntervcnoron thcbordcrs olpopul arasscmbl ics.
What is not yet known |s thccxact naturcof thc oo| | t | ca| proccdurc| n
t hc |ong term. How is gcncra| wi | | rcvca| cd and practi scd' What i s thc
practicc ol mark. ng positivc connccti ons ( po| i ti cal |aws i betwccn thi s or
thatstatcmcnt aod thcnamcolthe cvcntwhich t he| cgi s| ator. supportcd
bvthccontractua|unani mi tvolthcpcop| c. putintocircul ati on'1hisi sthc
prob| cmolthcpo| itical scnse olthc ma]er//y
ln a notc. Rousscau i ndicatcsthclo| | owing Fora wi | | to bc gcncral i t
i s not alwavs ncccssarv t hat it bc unanimous. but i t is ncccssarv t hat a| |
votcsbccountcd. anv|ormalcxc| usi ondcstrovsgcncrali tv. 1hchistorica|
lortunc ol this tvpc ol considcrati on is wc| | known thc lcti shi sm ol
univcrsalsullragc uowcvcr.withrcspcctt othcgcncri ccsscnccolpo| i t ics.
i t docsnottc|l usmuch. apartlromi ndi catingthat an i ndi sccrnib| csubsct
ROUSSEAU
ol thc bodv politic÷and such is thc cx/s//nµ lorm olgcncral wil l÷must
gcnuinclvbca subsctolthi scnt| rc bodv. andnotola ltaction. 1hisi sthc
tracc. at a givcn stagc ol political ñdclitv. ol thc cvcnt itscll bc| ng
unanimous. ora rcl ation ol thc pcoplc to itscllas a whol c.
Furthcral ongRousscauwritcs. thcvotcolthcma] oritvalwavsobligatcs
a|lthcrcst ' . andthctallvolthcvotcsvicldsthcdcclarationolthcgcncral
wil| . What kind olrclation could possiblvcxistbctwccn thc tallvolthc
votcs' and thc gcncral charactct ol thc will' Fvidcntlv. thc sub] accnt
hvpothcsisisthatthcma] oritvolvotcsmatcriallvcxprcsscsanindctcrmi
natc or indisccrniblc subsct ol thc collcctivc bodv. 1hc onlv] usti ncation
kousscau givcs lot such a hvpothcsis is thc svmmctrical dcstruction ol
particul ar w|lls oloppos| tc pctsuasions. 'thc wi'l ol alll is nothing but a
sum olparticularwills. but il. lrom thcsc samcvvl l s. onctakcsawav thc
pluscs and thc minuscs which canccl cach othcr out. what is l clt as thc
sumoldillctcnccsisthcgcncralwil| . ' But itisnot clcat whvthc said sum
ol dillcrcnccs. whi ch supposcdlv dcsignatcs thc indisccrn|blc or non
particular charactcr ol political w| l l shoul d appcat cmpiricallv as a
ma] or|tv. cspcciallv givcn that it is a lcw dillcting voiccs. as wc scc i n
parliamcntarv rcgi mcs. which hnallv dccidc thc outcomc. Whv would
thcscundccidcdsullragcs. whicharci ncxccssolthc mutual anni hilation
olparticularwills. cxprcssthcgcncriccharactcrolpolit| cs. orñdclitvtothc
unanimousloundingcvcnt'
Rousscau sdilñcultvi npass| nglromthcprinciplc ( politicsñndsitstruth
solclv in a gcncric part ol thc pcoplc. cvctv disccmiblc part cxptcsscs a
particul arintcrcsti to thc rcalization ( absolutc ma] oritv is supposcdto bc
anadcquatcsignol thc gcncrici lcadshi mtodist|nguishbctwccn/mpor/an/
dccisions and urµcn/dccisions
Togcncralmax| mscanhc' ptorcgul atcthcscratios onc. thatthcmotc
scr| ous and i mportant thc dclibctations arc. thc ncarcr unani mitv thc
vicw wh.ch prcvails shou|d bc. thc othcr. that the morc rap|dlv thc
busincss at hand has to bc rcsolvcd thc narrowcr should bc thc
prcscribcddillcrcnccinwcightingopinions. indclibcrationswhichhavc
to bc concludcd straightawav. a ma] oritv olonc should sulñcc
Onc can scc thatRousscaudocsnot makcstrictlvabsolutcma]oritv| nto
an absol utc. Ec cnvisagcs dcgrccs. and introduccs what wil l bccomc thc
conccptol quali|lcdma] oritv Wcknowthatcvcntodavma] oriticsoltwo
thirds arc rcqui rcdlorccrtain dccisi ons. likc rcvisions olthc constitution
But thcscnuanccsdcpartlrom thcprinciplcolthc gcncr| ccharactcrolthc
3S1
352
BEI NG AND EVENT
wi l | . For who dcci dcs whcthcr an affai r is i mportant or urgcnt' Andbv
whatma] oritv' lt i sparadoxicalthatthc ( quantitativci cxprcssion ofthc
gcncralwi l l i ssuddcnlv found todcpcnduponthc cmpirical charactctof
thc mattcrs i n qucstion. lndisccrnibilitv is l i mitcd and corruptcd hcrcbv
thcdisccrnibilitvofcascsandbva casuistrvwhi chsupposcsa classincatorv
cncvclopacdia of polit|cal circumstanccs. lfpolitical hdclitvi sbound i nits
modcofpracticctocncvclopacdicdctcrmi nantswhicharc allocatcdtothc
particularitv of si tuations. it l oscs its gcncric charactcr and bccomcs a
tcchni quc for thc cvaluation of circumstanccs Morcovcr. it is d|fncultto
scc howa law÷in Rousscaus scnsc÷couldpo////ca//yorganizc thccffccts
of such a tcchni quc.
1hi s i mpassc i s bcttcr rcvcal cd bv thc cxamination ol a complcxitv
which appcars to bc closclv rclatcd. but which Rousscau managcs to
mastcr. lt i s thc qucstion of thc dcsignation of thc govcmmcnt ( of thc
cxccutivci . Sucha dcsignation.conccrningparticul arpcoplc. cannotbcan
actofthcgcncralwill .1hcparadoxi sthatthcpcoplcmustthusaccomplish
agovcrnmcntalorcxccutivcact ( namingccrtainpcoplci dcspitcthcrcnot
vctbcinga govctnmcnt. Rousscaurcsolvcs this difñcultv bvpositing that
thc pcoplc transforms itscll from bcing sovcrcign ( lcgislativcì into a
dcmocra//ccxccut|vcorgan.sinccdcmocracv. forhi m. isgovcrnmcntbval l .
( 1hi sindicatcs÷] usttoopcna parcnthcs|s÷thatthcfounding contracti s
not dcmoctatic.sinccdcmocracvi saformoft hccxccutivc. 1hccontracti s
aunani mouscollcctivccvcnt. andnotadcmocraticgovcrnmcntaldccrcc. i
1hcrci s thus. whatcvcrthcformofgovcrnmcntbc. a n obligatorvmomcnt
of dcmocracv. that i n whi ch thc pcoplc. bv a suddcn convcrsion of
sovcrcignty into dcmocracy . arc authorircd to takc particular dcc|sions.
likcthcdcsignationofgovcrnmcntpcrsonncl . 1hcqucstionthcnariscsof
how thcsc dccisions arc takcn. But ln th|s casc. no cootradiction cnsucs
fromthcscdccisionsbc| ngtakcnbva ma] oritvolsuffragcs. bccausci ti sa
mattcrofa dccrccandnot a l aw. and so thc willisparti culat. not gcncral .
1hc ob] cctionthatnumbcrrcgulatcsa dccisionwhoscob] cctisdisccrnib|c
( pcoplc. candidatcs. ctc i i snotvalid. bccauscthisdccisioni snotpolitical.
bcinggovctnmcntal . Sinccthcgcncrici snoti nqucstion. thcimpasscofits
ma] oritarianexprcssi onis rcmovcd.
Onthcothcrhand. thci mpassc rcmains i ni tscntirctvwhcnpolitics| s
atstakc. thatis. whcni t i sa qucstionofdccisionswhichrclatcthcpcoplc
to itsclf. and which cngagc thc gcncric naturc of thc proccdurc. its
subtraction from anv cncvclopacdi cdctcrminant. 1hc gcncral will. qual -
i ncdbvindisccrnibilitv÷whichal oncattachcsittothclound| ngcvcntand
ROUSSEAU
inst|tutcs pol | t| cs as truth÷cannot al l ow | tscl l to bc dctcrm|ncd bv
numbcr. Rousscauñnal l vbccomcs soacutclv awarcofth|s thathcallows
thatan/n/crrup//ono]/awsrcqu|rcsthcconccntrat|onofthcgcncralw|ll| n
thcdictatorsh|pofoncal onc. Whcn|t| sa qucst|onof thcsalvat|onofthc
|athcrl and . andthc apparatusoflaws'bccomcsanobstaclc. | t | slcg|t|matc
to namc (but how'i a suprcmc ch|cf who s|lcnccs al l thc l aws . 1hc
sovcrc|gnauthor|tvofthccollcct|vcbodv| sthcnsuspcndcd. notductothc
abscnccofthcgcncralwill. butonthccontrarv.bccausc| t| s not|ndoubt.
for | t|s obvi ousthatthcpcoplc' s forcmost|ntcnt|on |s thatthc Statcnot
pcr|sh´Bcrcaga|nwcñndthcconst|tut|vctorsionthatcons|sts| nthcgoal
ofpol|t|cal w|ll bc|ng pol|t|cs |tsclf. L| ctatorsh|p | s thc adcquatc form of
gcncral w|l| oncc | t prov|dcs thc solc mcans of ma|nta|n|ng pol|t|cs'
cond|t|ons ofcx|stcncc.
Morcovcr. |t| sstr|k|ngthatthcrcqu| rcmcntforad|ctator|al|ntcrrupt|on
of laws cmcrgcs from thc confrontat|on bctwccn thc gcncral w|ll and
cvcnts. 1hc |nûcx|b|l|tv of |aws. wh|ch kccps thcm from bcnd|ng to
cvcnts. can| nsomccascsrcndcrthcmpcrn|c| ous´Onccaga|nwcsccthc
cvcntal ultra-oncstruggl|ngw| ththc ñx|tv of thc opcrators ofhdcl|tv. A
casu|strv|srcqu|rcd. wh|chaloncw|lldctcrm|ncthcmatcr|alformofthc
gcncral wi l l . from unan|m|tv ( rcqu|rcd for thc |n|t|al contracti to thc
d|ctatorsh|pofoncal onc( rcqu|rcdwhcncx/s//nµpol|t|cs| sthrcatcncd| n|ts
bcingi . 1h|s pl ast|c|tv of cxptcss|on rcfcrs back to thc | nd|sccrn|b|l|tv of
polit|calw|ll . lf| twasdctcrm|ncdbvancxpl|c|tstatcmcntofthcs|tuat|on.
pol|t|cs woul d havc a canoni cal fotm. Gcncr|ctruth suspcndcd lrom an
cvcnt. | t | s a part of thc s|tuation wh|ch | s subtractcd from cstabl|shcd
languagc. and|tsform| salcator|c. for| t|ssolclvan/ndcxofcxistcnccand
nota knowlcdgcablcnom|nat|on. !tsproccdurc | ssupportcd un|quclvbv
thczcal ofcit|zcn- m| l|tants. whoscñdcl|tvgcncratcsan| nñn| tctruththat
no form. const|tut|onal ororgan|zat|onal. can adcquatcl vcxprcss.
Rousscau's gcn|us was to havc abstractlv circumscribcd thc naturc of
pol|ticsasgcncr|cproccdurc. Fngagcd. howcvcr. ashcwas| nthcc|assical
approach. wh|ch conccrns thc l cg|t|matc form of sovcrc|gntv. hc con-
s|dcrcd÷a|bc|t w|th paradox|cal prccaut|ons÷that thc ma] or|tv of suf-
fragcswasul t| matcl vthccmpir|calformofth|slcg|t|macy. Ecwasnotablc
tofoundthispo|ntuponthccsscnccofpol|ticsitsclf. andhcbcqucathcsus
t hc follow|ng qucst|on. what |s | t that d/s//nuu/shcs. on thc prcscntablc
surfacc ofthc s|tuat|on. thcpol|t|calproccdurc'
1hc csscncc ol thc mattcr. howcvcr. lics i n ] o| ning polit|cs not to
lcg|t|macv buttotruth÷w|ththcobstaclcthatthoscwhowouldma|nta|n
353
354
BEI NG AND EVENT
thcscprinciplcs wi l l havcsadlvtold thc truth. andwillhavct|attcrcdthc
pcoplc alonc' . kousscau rcmarks. with a touch ol mclancholv rcalism.
truth docs not l cad to lortunc. and thc pcoplc conlcrs no ambassador
ships. prolcssorships orpcnsions '
Unbound lrom powcr. anonvmous. paticnt lorcing ol an i nd| sccrniblc
partolthc situation. politics docsnotcvcn turn vou intothc ambassador
ol a pcop|c. 1hcrcin onc i s thc scrvantol a truth whosc rcccption. in a
translormedwotld. is not such thatvoucantakcadvantagc ol i t. Numbcr
itscll cannot gct itsmcasurc.
Politics| s. lor itscll. its own propcrcnd. i n thc modc ol what i sbc| ng
produccdastrucstatcmcnts÷thoughlorcvcrun- known÷bvthccapacitv
ola collcctivcwll .
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-THREE
The Mathere of the Indi scern i bl e:
| J. Cohen' s strategy
!ti si mpossiblclormathcmatica|ontologvt odisposcola conccptoltruth.
bccauscanvtruthi spost- cvcnta| . andthcparadoxica| mu| ti plcthati sthc
evcnt| sproh|b|tcdlrombcingbvthatontologv.1hcproccssolatruththus
ent|rc|v cscapcs ontologv ln this rcspcct. thc Bci dcggcrcan thcs|s ol an
or|ginarv cobc|onging ol bcing ( as <
u
u,s) and truth (as d)�e€ta, or non
| atcncvi must bc abandoncd 1hc savab| c ol bcing i s d|s] unct lrom thc
savab|coltruth 1h|siswhvphi | osophva| oncthi nkstruth. inwhatiti tsc| l
posscsscs | n thc wav ol subtraction lrom thc subtract|on ol bc|ng. thc
cvcnt. thc ultraonc. thc chancc- drivcn proccdurc anditsgcncr|crcsult
Bowcvcr. il thc thought ol bcinc docs not opcn to anv thought ol
truth÷bccausca truth is not. butcomcs lorth lrom thc standpoint olan
undcc|dablcsuppl emcntat| on÷thcrc| sst i | ' a /c/nµo]/hc/ru/h. wh|ch| sne/
thc truth. prccisclv. it i s thc | attcr' sbcing 1hc ccncric and| nd|sccrnible
multiplc | s /n situation. it i s prcscntcd. dcspitc bcing subtractcd lrom
know|cdgc. 1hccompa//////nol onto|ogvwithtruth |mpl|cs thatthebc|nc
oltruth.asgcncricmu| t| p|i citv. isontological | vthinkablc. cvcni latruthis
not 1hcrclorc.i t a|lcomcsdowntothis . canonto|ogvproduccthcconccpt
ol a gcncric mu| t|plc. which | s to sav an unnamcablc. un- constructiblc.
indiscerniblc mu| ti plc' 1hc rcvo| uti on introduccd bv Cohcn i n l 9õ?
rcsponds i n thc alñrmativc. thcrc cxists an ontolog| cal conccpt ol thc
|ndiscerniblc multipl c. Conscqucnt|v. ontologv | s compatiblc with thc
phil osophvoltruth. ltaa/hor/zcsthccxistcncc olthcrcsul t- multipleolthc
gcncr|cproccdurcsuspcndcdlromthccvcnt. dcspitcitbcingind|sccrniblc
withinthc situationi nwhichi tis i nscribcd. Onto| ogv. altcrhaving bcing
ablc to think. with Godcl. Lcibni z's thought ( constructiblc hicrarchv and
355
356
BEI NG AND EVENT
sovcrcigntyoflanguagci . alsothinks.wi t hCohcn. i t s rcfutation. lt shows
thatthcprinciplcofindisccrniblcs isa voluntarist limitation. andthatthc
indisccrniblc /s.
Ol coursc. onc cannot spcak of a multiplc which is i ndisccrniblc
i n itsclf . Apart lrom thc ldcas ofthc mul tiplctolcrating thc supposition
that cvcrv multiplc is constructiblc ( Mcditation >0i . i ndisccrnibilitv is
ncccssarilv rclativc to a critcrion of thc disccrnibl c. that i s. to a si tuation
andtoa languagc.
Ourstratcgv( andCohcn sinvcntionlitcrallvconsistsolthismovcmcnti
wi l l thusbcthcfollowing. wcshal l i nstal | oursclvcsi na mul t iplcwhichi s
nxcd oncc and for a| | a mul tiplc which is vcrv r|ch i n propcrtics ( i t
rc|lcctsasigniñcantpartofgcncralontologvivct vcrypoori nquantitv( it
is dcnumcrabl c i . 1hc languagcwil| bc that ofsct thcorv. butrcstrictcdto
thcchoscnmultipl c. Wcwilltcrmthismultiplca]undcmcn/a/auas/·comp/c/c
s//uc//on ( thc Amcricans call it a «roundmodc/ì . lnsidc this fundamcntal
situation. wc wil|dcnnca proccdurcforthcapproximationofa supposcd
i ndisccrniblc multiplc. Sincc such a multiplc cannot bc namcd bv anv
phrasc. wcwillbcobligcdtoanticipatcitsnominationbva supplcmcntarv
lcttcr. 1his cxtra signi ncr÷to which. in thc bcginning. nothing which i s
prcscntcd | n thc fundamcntal situation corrcsponds÷is thc ontological
transcription ol thc supcrnumcrary nomination of thc cvcnt. Bowcvcr.
onto|ogy docs not rccognizc any cvcnt. bccausc it lorccloscs sc| f
bcl onging. What stands i n lor an cvcnt wi thout-cvcnt i s thc supcr
numcrarvlcttcritsclf. anditisthusquitccohcrcntthatitdcsignatcnothing.
Luctoaprcdilcct|onwhoscoriginlwi!ll cavcthcrcadcrtodctcrminc. lwill
chooscthcsymbol
±
|orthis| nscription 1hissvmbolwillbcrcad gcncri c
mul t|plc . gcncr| c bci ng thc ad]cctivc rctaincd bv mathcmaticians to
dcsi gnatcthci nd| sccrniblc. thcabsolutclvindctcrminatc. whichi s to sava
mult|plcthatinagivcnsituationsolclvposscsscspropcrti cswhi charcmorc
orlcss common toallthcmu| tipl csofthcsituation. !nthclltcraturc.whatl
notchcrcas
±
isnotcdG ( lorgcncrici .
Givcn that a mul tiplc ± is not namcablc. thc possiblc nl l ing |n of its
abscncc÷thc construction o| its conccpt÷can onl v bc a proccdurc. a
proccdurcwhi ch must opcratc insidc thc domain of thc namcabl c ofthc
lundamcntal situat i on. 1his proccdurc dcsignatcs disccrn| blc multiplcs
which havc a ccrtai n rclation to thc s upposcd | nd| sccniblc. Ecrc wc
rccognizcan intraontologica| vcrsionolthcproccdurc olcnqui ri es. such
as it÷cxploringbyñni tcscqucnccsfaithfulconnecti onsto thcnamcofan
cvcnt÷unl l mi tsitsclfwithinthc indisccrniblcofa truth. But inontologv
THE MATHE ME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
thcrc|snoproccdurc. on| vstructurc. 1hcrc| snota truth. butconstruct|on
ofthcconccptofthcbc|ng multip|cofanytruth.
Wc w|| | thus start from a mu|t|p|c supposcd cx| stcnt /n thc |n|t|a|
s|tuat|on ( thc quasi comp| ctc s|tuationi . that | s. from a mult|plc wh|ch
bclongs to th|s s|tuation. 1h|s mu|t|p|c w|ll funct|on | n two d|lfcrcnt
manncrs | n thc construct|on of thc | nd|sccrn|bl c. On thc onc hand. |ts
c|cmcntsw|||furn|shthc substancc mu|t|p|cofthc|ndisccrn|b|c. bccausc
thc lattcr wil|bc a par/ofthc choscn mul tiplc. 0nthc othcr hand. thcsc
clcmcnts will condit|on thc |nd|sccrn|b|c | n that thcv w||| transm|t
i nformation abouti t. 1h|s mu|tip|c w|llbcboththcbas|cmc/cr/a/lorthc
construction ofthc i ndi sccrn|blc ( whosc clcmcnts w|l| bc cxtractcd from
|ti . and thc p|acc of |ts /n/c///«//////y (bccausc thc condit|ons wh|ch thc
|nd|sccrn|b|cmustobcv|nordcrtobc|nd|sccrn|b| cw|l|bcmatcr|a|izcdbv
ccrta|n structurcs of thc choscn mu|t|plc i . 1hat a mu|t|plc can both
funct|onass|mp|ctcrmofprcscntat|on ( th|stcrmbclongstothc|ndisccrn
ib| ci and asvcctorof|nformati onaboutwhat|tbc|ongsto |s thc kcvtothc
prob| cm. It | s a|so an intc||cctua| /ejos w|th rcspcct to thc conncct|on
bctwccnthcpurcmulti plcandscnsc.
Luctothc|rsccondfunct|on. thc c| cmcntsofthcbascmu|t|plc choscn
ìn thc fundamcntal quasì comp|ctc sìtuatìon wi|l bc cal|cd cend///ons ( for
thc |nd|sccrn|b| c ¡ i .
1hc hopc| s that ccrtain group|ngso f cond|t|ons. condit|ons wh|ch arc
thcmsc|vcscondit|oncd/n/hc/anµua«co]/hcs//ua//on.w|l|makc|tposs|b|c
toth|nkthata mult|plcwh|chcountsthcsccond|t|onsasonc| s|ncapablc.
|tsc|f. ofbcingdl sccrnib|c. Inothcrwords. thccond|tionswi||g|vcusboth
an approx|matc dcscr|pt|on and a compos|t|on onc sufnc|cnt for thc
conc|usi on to bc drawn that thc mu| t|plc thus dcscr|bcd and composcd
cannotbcnamcdor d|sccrncd|nthcor|g|nalquas| comp|ctcs|tuat| on. It
| stoth|s cond|t|oncd mult|p|cthatwc w|l | applvthc svmbo| ¡
Ingcncra| thc , in qucsti on w|||notcvcnbc|ongto thc s|tuation. Just
|ikc thc svmbol attachcd to it. i t w||l bc supcrnumcrarv with|n thc
situation. dcspitc a// of thc conditions which ül| i n i ts i ni ti al abscncc
thcmsclvcsbc|ongingtothcsituation. 1hc|dcai sthcnthatofscc|ngwhat
happcnsif. bvforcc. thi s|nd|sccrn|blc| s addcd or] o|ncd tothcsi tuat|on.
0nc can scc hcrc that. via a rctrogrcss|on tvpica| of onto| ogv. thc
supp|cmcntat|onolbc|ngthat| sthccvcnt (|nnon ontolog|cals|tuat|ons i
comcs afcr t hc s ignifv|ng supp|cmcntat|on. which. i n non- onto|og|ca|
s|tuat|ons. ar|scs from thc |ntctvcnt|on at thc cvcnta| sitc. Onto|ogv w|||
cxp|orchow. froma g|vcn s|tuati on. onccanconstructanothcr s|tuat|on
357
358
BEI NG AND EVENT
bv mcans ol thc addition ol an ind| sccrniblc multiplc ol thc initial
situati on. 1his lormal|zation i s clcarlv that olpolitics. wh|ch. naming an
unprcscntcd olthc si tc on thc basis olthc cvcnt. rcworks thc situat|on
throughitstcnaci ousndclitvtothatnomination. But hcrciti sa cascola
politicswithoutluturc antcrior. a /c/nµ olpolitics.
1hc rcsult. in ontologv. is that thc qucstionisvcrvdclicatc÷ adding thc
| ndisccrniblconcci t hasbccnconditioncd( andnotconstructcdornamcdi .
what docs that mcan' Givcn that vou cannot d|sccrn < within thc
lundamcntalsituation. whatcxplicitproccdurc couldpossiblvaddittothc
multiplc ol that situation' 1hc solution to this problcm consists in
constructing. within thc situation. mult|plcs which lunction as aamcs lor
cvcrv possiblc clcmcnt ol thc situation obtai ncd bv thc addition ol thc
indisccrniblc < Naturallv. i ngcncra|. wc will notknowwh/chmultiplcol
5( ¡i ( lct' s call thc addition suchi | s namcdbvcachnamc. Morcovcr. this
rclcrcntchangcsaccordingtowhcthcrthcindisccrniblci sthisorthat. and
wcdonotknowhowtonamcorthinkthi s thisort hat Butwcwillknow
thatthcrcarcnamcslorall. Wcwi| lthcnpositthat5( ¡ i i sthcsctolvalucs
olthc namcs]o· a]cd supposcd /nd/sccrn///c. 1hc manipulation ol namcs
will allowus to think monvproperties olthcsituation S( ¡ i The properties
willdcpcndon ¡ bcing ind|sccrnibl c orgcncric. 1his i swhv5( ¡ i wi l l bc
tcrmcd a gcncric cxtcnsion ol 5 For a ñxcd sct o| conditions. wc will
spcak. i n an cntirclvgcncralmanner. ol thc gcncric cxtcnsionol5 thc
indisccrniblc lcavcs a tracc i n thc lorm ol ou¡ incapacitv to disccrn an
cxtcnsionobtaincdonthcbasi sola distinct i ndisccrniblc ( thcthoughtol
thi s distinctncss . aswcshal l scc. isscvcrclvl i mi tcdbvthci ndisccrnibilitv
ol thc indisccrn|blcs i .
Whatrcmainstobc sccnishowcxactlvthisprogram is compatiblcwith
thc !dcas ol thc multipl c. thus. how cxactlv÷and thc bcaring ol this
problcm | s crucial÷an ontological conccpt ol thc purc i nd|sccrniblc
mul tiplccxists.
l . FUNLAMFN1AL OUAS! C0MPLF1F S!1UA1!ON
1hc ontological conccpt ol a situation i s an i ndctcrminatc multipl c. 0nc
would supposc. howcvcr. that thc i ntrasituational approximation ol an
indisccrniblcdcmandsqui tccomplcxoperati ons. Surclva simplcmultiplc
THE MATHE ME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
( añnitcmu| tip| c. lorcxamp| ci docsnotproposcthcrcquircdopcrati onal
rcsourccs. northc quant| tv olsctsthatthcscrcsourccsprcsupposc ( si ncc
wc know that an opcration is no morc. in its bci ng. than a particular
mul ti p| ci .
!n truth. thc right situation mustbc as c|osc as possib|c÷w|th no cllort
sparcd÷to thc rcsourccs olontologvitscll. !tmust rc]c:/ thc !dcas olthc
multip|c in thc scnsc that thc axi oms. or at | cast thc most part olthcm.
mustbcvcridica|w| thini t . Whatdocsi tmcanloranax|omtobcvcridical
( or rc||cctcdi i na particu|armultiplc' !t mcans tHat thc rc|ativizat|on to
thismu| tiplcolthclormu| awhichcxprcsscsthc ax| omi svcr| dica| i nthis
multiplc. or. i n thc vocabularv ol Mcditation 29. that th| s lormu| a i s
a|so/u/clort hcmultip| c inqucstion. Lct'sg|vca tvpi ca| cxampl c savthat
5 i s a multip| c and a E 5 an indctcrminatc c|cmcnt ol 5 1hc axi om ol
loundationwi | lbc vcrid|cal i n5 i lthcrc cxists somc Othcr | n 5. i nothcr
words. ilwchavc8E a and8´ a = 0, i t bcingundcrstoodthatthi somust
cxi stloraninhabitant ol5÷inthcunivcrscol5 tocxi st mcans. tobc| ong
to5 Lct'snowsupposcthat5i satransitivcsct( Mcditation l 2 i . 1hismcans
that µ E 5i - µ C 5i . 1hcrclorc. cvcrc| cmcntola i sa| soan clcmcntol
5 Sinccthcaxiomolloundation| struc/nµ:ncra/en/o/oµy. thcrci s ( lorthc
ontologi sti at| castonc8 such tHatß E a andß ´ a = 0. But. ducto thc
transitivitvol5. this 8i sa| soanc| cmcntol5 1hcrclorc. lorani nhabi tant
ol 5. it |s cqua| lvvcridical that thcrccxists a 8 wi th 8 ´ a = 0. 1hc ñnal
rcsul ti sthatwcknowthatatransitivcmultip| c5a|wavsrcl|cctsthcaxi om
olloundati on. From a standpoint i ns| dcsuch a multip| c. thcrcis alwavs
somc 0thcr | n an cxi stcnt mu| ti p| c. whicH i s to sav bc| onging to thc
transitivc situation | nqucsti on.
1hi src|lcctivccapacitv. bvmcansolwhichthc!dcasolthcmultiplcarc
cutdown' toa part|cu| armu| ti p| candloundtobcverid| ca| withinitlrom
anintcrna| po| nt olvicw. | scharactcristicol onto| og|ca| thcorv.
1hc maxi ma| hvpothcs. swc can makc in rcspcct t o this capacitv. lor a
ñxcdmul tiplc 5. is thc lo|l owing
÷ 5vcriñcsa| | thc axiomsolsct thcorvwhichcanbccxprcsscdi nonc
lormu| aa| onc. thatis. cxtcnsi onalitv. uni on. parts. thcvoid. i nnni tv.
choicc. and loundati on.
- 5 vcri ñcsat | casta ñnitcnumbcrolinstanccsolthoscaxi omswhich
can onl v bc cxprcsscd bv an i nñni tc scrics ol lormu| ac. that i s.
scparatlonandrcp|accmcnt( si nccthcrci sactua| | va di stl nctaxi omol
scparation lorcvcrv lormu| a àµi and an axi om olrcp| accmcnt lor
359
360
BEI NG AND EVENT
cvcrv formula \�[i which i ndicatcs that a is rcplaccd bv ß. scc
Mcditation 5 ) ;
- 5i s transitivc ( othcrwisci t wouldbc vcrv casvt ocxit from it. sincc
onccoul dhavca E 5. butßE a and- æE 5i i . Tansitivitvguarantccs
thatwhati sprcscntcdbywhat5prcscnts. isalsoprcscntcdbv5. 1hc
count-as- onci shomogcncousdownwards .
ior rcasons whichwill turn out tobc dccis|vclatcron. wc willadd.
÷ 5 i s| nñnitc. butdcnumcrab|c ( its cardinalitv is wo) .
A multiplc 5 which has thcsc fourpropcrtics willbc sa| dtobc a auas/
comp/c/cs//ua//oa. ln thc litcraturc. it i s dcsignatcd. a littlc abus|vclv as a
mo4c/ of sct thcorv
uocsaquasi complctcsituationcxist' 1hisisaprofoundprob| cm. Such
a situation rc|lccts'alargcpart ofontologvi noncolitstcrmsalonc. thcrc
i samultiplcsuchthatthcldcasofthcmultiplcarcvcridicalthcrcinforthc
mostpart . Wcknowthata totalrc|lcctioni simpossiblc. bccausci t would
amountto saving that wc can ñxw//h/a thcthcorva modcl of al l ofi ts
axi oms. and conscqucntlv. aftcr Codcl's complctcncss thcorcm. that wc
candcmonstratcwithinthcthcorv thcvcrvcohcrcncvofthcthcorv.1hc
thcorcmofi ncomplctcncssbvthcvcrvsamcGödclassurcs usthati fthat
wcrc thc casc thcn thc thcorv would | nfact bc incohcrcnt. anv thcorv
which is suchthat thc statcmcnt thcthcorv is cohcrcnt' mav bc i nfcrrcd
fromitsaxiomsi si ncohcrcnt. 1hccohcrcncvofontologv÷thcv| rtucofits
dcductivc ñdcl itv÷isi ncxccssofwhatcanbc dcmonstratcdbvontologv.
ln Mcditation 35 l w|llshowthatwhati satstakc hcrc isa tors|on which
i s constitutivc of thc sub]cct. thc law of a ñdclitv i s not faithfullv
di sccrnib| c.
ln anvcasc onc can dcmonstratc÷within thc framcwork ofthcorcms
namcdbvthcmathcmaticians ( andrightlvsoi thc thcorcmsofrcûcction
÷that quasi - complctc dcnumcrablc situations cxist. Mathcmaticians
spcak oftransitivc dcnumcrablc modcls of sct thcorv. 1hcsc thcorcms of
rc||cction show thatontologv is capablc of rc|lccting i tsclfasmuch as is
dcsircd ( that is. i t rcllccts as manv axioms as rcqui rcd in ñni tc numbcri
within a dcnumcrablc multiplc Civcn that cvcrv currcn/ thcorcm i s
dcmonstratcdwithanni t cnumbcrofaxioms. t hccurrcntstatcofontologv
allows itsclf tobc rc|l cctcdwithin a dcnumcrablc univcrsc. in thc scnsc
thatal l thcstatcmcntsthatmathcmaticshasdcmonstratcdu ntiltodavarc
vcridical for an i nhabitant of that univcrsc÷and i n thc cvcs of this
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
|nhab|tant. thconl vmult|plcs| ncx|stcnccarc thoscwhi chbclongto hcr
univcrsc.
1hcrcforc. wc can ma|nta|n thatwhatwc know ofbci ngas such÷thc
bc| ngofan indctcrm|natc s|tuat|on÷canal wavsbcprcscntcdw|th|nthc
formofa dcnumcrab| cquas| complctcs|tuation. Nostatcmcnt|s| mmunc
ftom suchprcscntati onw|thrcgardto|tscurrcnt|vcstabl |shcdvcrid|citv.
1hc cntircdcvclopmcntwhichfollowssupposcsthatwchavcchoscna
dcnumcrablc quasi complctc situat|on. lt |s from thc insidc of such a
s|tuat|onthatwc will forcc thc addit|onofan |nd|sccrni bl c.
1hcmai nprccaution|sthatofcarc|ullvd|st|ngu|shi ngwhat| sabsolutc
for5andwhati snot . To charactcr|st|ccxamplcs.
÷ lfa E 5. .a, thcdi sscm|nationo|a, /n|hcscnsco] µcncra/en/o/oµy. al so
bcl ongsto5. 1hisrcsultsfromthccl cmcntsofthcclcmcntsof a ( i n
t hcscnsc of t hcs|tuat|on 5i bc|ng thc samc ast hcclcmcnts of thc
clcmcnts ofa in thcscnscofgcncralontologv. si ncc5| sa trans|t|vc
s|tuati on. G|vcnthatthcaxiomofun|oni ssupposcdvcrid|calin5. a
quasi complctc si tuat|on. thc count as onc of thc cl cmcnts of |ts
clcmcntscxi sts within it. lt |s/hcsamcmu///p/cas . a i nthcscnscof
gcncralontologv. Un|on |sthcrcforc absol utc for5. |nsolaras|fonc
has a E 5. onc has U a E 5.
÷ lncontrast. pµi i snotabsolutcfor5. 1hcrcason|sthatforana E 5.
i ff c a ( i nthcscnscofgcncralontologvi . i ti si nnowavcvidcntthat
ß E 5. that i s. that thc part ß cxi sts for an |nhab|tant of S. 1hc
vcrid|c|tvofthcax|omofthcpowcrsct|n 5 s|gn|hcs solclv thatwhcn
a E 5. thcsctofpartsofa wh/ch/c/onµ/o 5| scountcdasonc| nS. But
fromt hcouts|dc. t hcontolog|stcanquitccas|lvdi sti ngui sha partof
a wh|ch. not cx|st|ng/ n5 ( bccausc|tdocsno| /c/onµ to5i . makcsup
partofpµi |nthcscnscofgcncralontologvw|thoutmak|nguppart
ofpµi i nthcscnscgivcntoi tby an inhabitant of5 By consequence,
poi |snotabso| utcfor5.
Onc can hnd in Appcnd|x ¯ a l|st of tcrms and opcrati ons whosc
absolutcncss can bc dcmonstratcd for a quas| complctc situat|on. 1his
dcmonstrat|on( whichldonotrcproducci |squ|tci ntcrcst|ng.cons|dcring
thcsuspic|ouscharactcr. |nmathcmat|csas|nph|losophv. ofthcconccptof
absolutcncss.
Let' s sol el y retain three results. each revelatory. In a quasi - complete
s|tuat|on. thcfollowing arc absol utc.
361
362
BEI NG AND EVENT
÷ to bc an ordina| ' . in thc lo|lowing scnsc. thc ordi na| s lor an
inhabitant ol 5 arc cxact|vthoscord| na| swh| chbc| ongto 5 i nthc
scnsc olgcncra| onto|ogv.
- W
o
, thc ñrst |imit ord. na| . and thus a|| ol its c| cmcnts as wcll ( thc
ñnitc ordina|sorwho|c numbcrs i .
- thcsctol ¡n//cpartsola, i nthcscnsci nwhichi l a E S. thcsctolñnitc
parts ola i scountcd as onci n5.
0nthcothcrhand p(a) i thcgcncra| scnsc. Wa lora > 0. and I a I ( thc
cardina|itv ola) . arca| | no/abso| utc.
!t i s c| carthat abso|utcncss docs not suit purc quantitv ( cxccpt i l i t i s
ñnitci . nordocsi tsui tthcstatc 1hcrci ssomcthingcvasi vc. orrc|ativc. i n
whati si ntui ti vc| vhcld. howcvcr. to bc thc most ob] cctivc olgivcns. thc
quantitv ol a mu|tip|c. 1h| s providcs a stark contrast w| th thc absolutc
so|iditv ol thc ordina|s. thc rigid| tv ol thc onto|ogical schcma ol natural
mu| ti p| cs.
Naturc. cvcni nñnitc. i sabso| utc. innnitc quantitvi srclativc
2 . 1EF CONLl1! ONS . MA1FR!AL ANL SFNSF
Whatwou| das ct olcondi tions|ook| ikc'Aconditioni samu| tip| c7 ol thc
lundamcnta| situation 5 which i s dcstincd to possib|v bc| ong to thc
i ndi sccrnib| c , ( thclunctionolmatcria| i . and.whatcvcrthccascmavbc.
to transmit somc inlormation' about this indisccrnibl c ( which wi | | bc a
patt ol thc situation 5i Bow can a purc mu| tip|c scrvc as support lor
inlormation' A purc mu| tip|c in itsc|l' is a schcma ol prcscntation i n
general ; i t does not i ndi cate anythi ng apart from what bel ongs to i t .
Asithappcns. wcwi | | notwork÷towardsinlormation. orscnsc÷onthc
mu|tip|c i n- itsc| l ' 1hc notion ol inlormat|on. |ikc that ol a codc. |s
dillcrcnt|a| What wcwi||havcisrathcrthc|o| | owing. acondition72 willbc
hc|dtobcmorcrcstrictivc.ormorcprccisc. o strongcrthanacondition71 ,
il.lorcxamp| c 11 i sinc| udcdwithin7. 1hisisquitcnatura| . sincca|/thc
c| cmcnts ol 71 arc i n 72, and a mu|tip| c dctains nothing apart lrom
belongi ng, onc can sav that72 g|vcs a| | thc inlormation givcn bv 71 pl us
morc. 1hc conccpt ol order is ccntra| hcrc. bccausc it pcrmits us to
di sti ngui shmu|tip|cs which arc richcr' in scnsc than othcrs. cvcni i n
tcrmsolbc| onging. thcvarca| | c|cmcntsolthcsupposcdindisccrnib|c. ,
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BL E: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
Lct susc ancxampl cthatwi | l provc cxtrcmclvusclul in whatlollows .
Supposc that our conditions atc ñnitc scr|cs ol 0s and | 's ( whcrc a i s
actuallv thc multiplc Ø and 1 i s thc multiplc | Ø| . bv absolutcncss÷
Appcndi x¯÷thcscmu| ti p| csccttainlvbclongto5ì . A conditlonwouldbc.
lorcxamplc. <0, 1 , 0>. 1hcsupposcd i ndisccrniblcwi|| bca mu| ti pl cwhosc
c|cmcntsarcal l olthi stvpc. Wcwillhavc. lorcxampl c. <0, 1 , 0> E « . Lct s
supposc that <0, 1 , 0> givcs. morcovcr. inlormation aboutwhat « i s÷asa
multiplc÷apart lrom thc lactthatitbclongsto i t. lt |s surcthatal l ol this
inlormation i s al so conta|ncd i n thc condition <0, 1 , 0. 0>, sincc thc scg
mcnt' <0, 1 , 0>, which coostitutcs thc cnti rctv ol thc hrst condition. is
complctclv rcproJuccd w thin thc condition <0, 1 , 0, 0> in thc samc pl accs
( thc ñrst thrcc i . 1hc l attcr condition givcs. in addition. thc inlormation
( whatcvcr i t might bci transmittcdbvthc lact that thcrc i s a zcro in thc
lourth position.
1hi swi l l bc writtcn <0, 1 , 0> c <0, ]
'
0, 0>. 1hcsccond conditionwi l l bc
thoughttodominatcthchrst. andtomakcthcnat urc olthcindi sccrnib| c
alittlcmorcprcci sc. Suchisthcprinciplcolordcrundcr| vingthcnotionol
inlormati on.
Anothcrrcqui si tccharact crist| clorinlormationisthatthcconditionsbc
compatiblcamongstthcmsclvcs. Withouta critcrionolthccompatiblcand
thcincompatiblc. wcwou| ddonomorcthanblindlvaccumu| atcinlorma -
tion. and nothing would guarantcc thc prcscrvation o l thc ontological
consi stcncvolthcmultiplcinqucstion. Iorthci nd| sccrniblctocxist. ithas
tobccohcrcntwiththcldcasolthc multiplc. Si ncc whatwcarc ai mingat
i s thc dcscription ol an | ndi sccrniblc multiplc. wc cannot tolcratc. i n
rclcrcncc to thc samc poi nt. contradi ctorv inlormati on. 1hus. thc cond|
ti ons<0. 1 > and<0, 1 . 0> arccompatiblc. bccauscthcvsavthcsamcthi ngas
larasthcñrsttwoplaccsatcconccrncd. Onthcothcrhand. t hcconditions
<0, 1 > and<0, 0> arcincompatiblc. bccausconcgivcsinlotmati oncodcdbv
i nthc sccondpl acc thcrc is a J ' , andthc othcrgivcs i n|ormati on codcd.
contradlctori|v. bv i n thc sccond p| acc thcrc i s a 0' . 1hcsc conditions
cannotbcval id |oµc(hcrlorthc samcindiscctnib| c « .
Notcthati l twoconditionsarccompatiblc. i ti sa' wavsbccauscthcvcan
bcpl accd togcthcr . withoutcontradiction. ina strongcrconditionwhich
containsbothol thcm. and which accumulatcs thcirinlormat| on. l nthis
manncr. thc condition <0, 1 , 0, 1 > contains' both thc condition <0, 1 > and
thc condition <0, 1 , 0>: t hc lattcr arc obligatori| v. bv t hat vcrv lact.
compati b| c. lnvcrsc|v. no condit|on cancontal nbotb thc cond|tlon <0, 1 >
and<0, 0> bccauscthcvdivcrgco nthc mark occupvingthcsccondpl acc.
363
364
BEI NG AND EVENT
Such | s thc pr|nc|plc ol compat|b|l|tv undcrlv|ng thc not|on of
|nformat|on.
F|nallv. a cond|t|on |s usclcss |l |t alrcadv prcscr|bcs. |tsclf. a strongcr
cond|t|on. |n othcrwords. |f| tdocs nottolcratc anv al catorv progrcss | n
thc condit|on|ng. 1h|s |dca |s vcrv |mportant bccausc it formal|zcs thc
frccdom of cond|t|oning wh|ch alonc w| l l lcad to an | nd|sccrnibl c. Lct s
takc. for cxamplc. thc cond|t|on <0. | > 1hc cond|tion <0. | . 0> | s a rc|n
forccmcntof thc lattcr ( |t savsboth thc samcth|ngandmorc i . 1hc samc
gocs forthc cond|t|on <0. | . | > Bowcvcr. thcsc two cxtcns|ons of <0. | >
arc |ncompat|blc bctwccn thcmsclvcs bccausc thcv g|vc contrad|ctorv
|nformat|on conccrn|ng thc mark wh|ch occup|cs thc th|rd placc. 1hc
s|tuat|on| s thus thcfollow|ng. thc cond|t|on<0. | >adm|tstwo|ncompat
|blccxtcns|ons. 1hcprogrcss|onolthccond|t|on|ngof,. start|ngfromthc
cond|t|on<0. | >. | snotprcscr|bcdbvth|scond|t|on. ltcoul dbc<0. | . 0>. |t
couldbc<0. | . | >. butthcsccho|ccsdcs|gnatcd|ffcrcnt|nd|sccrn|bl cs 1hc
grow|ng prcc|s|on ofthc cond|t|on|ng |s madc up of rcalcho|ccs. that |s.
cho|ccsbctwccn|ncompat|blc cond|t|ons. Such |s thcpr|nc|plcof cho|cc
undcrlv|ngthc not|on of|nformat|on.
W|thout hav|ng to cntcr|nto thc manncr |n wh|ch a mult|plc actuallv
g|vcs |nformat|on. wc havc dctcrm|ncd thrcc pr|nc|plcs wh|ch arc |ndis
pcnsablc to thc mult|pl c's gcncrat|on of va|uablc |nformat|on Ordcr.
compat|b|l|tv and cho|cc must. |n al l cascs. s/ruc/urc cvcrv sct of
cond|t| ons.
1h| sal | owsustoformal|zcw| thoutdifñcultvwhatasc/o]con4///ons| s. |t
w|llbcwr|ttcnO.
a. A sct O of condit|ons. w|th O E 5. | s a sct ol scts notcd -. -.. • • -
- • • - The i ndiscernible ¡ will have conditions as elements . It wi | l
thusbc apartolO. ' C O. andthcrcforcapartof5. , c 5. Notcthat
bccauscthc s|tuat|on5| strans|tivc. O E 5� ©c 5. and s|ncc-E O.
we also have 1 E 5
/ 1hcrc|sanordcronthcscconditions. thatwcw|llnotcc ( bccausc| n
gcncral |t co|nc|dcs w|th |nclus|on. or . s a var| antof thc lattcri . lf
- C -.. wcw|l|savthatthc cond|t|on -. dom/na/cs thc cond|t|on1,
( i t is an extension of the | attcr. it says morc ì .
c. Tocond|t| onsarccompa///|ci f thcvarcdominated bvthcsamcth|rd
condition. ' '' | scompat|bl cw|th1
'
thusmcansthat. ( +-· i ' -. c 13 &
-. C -·] lf th|s |s not thc casc. thcv arc incompat|bl c.
THE MATHEME OF THE I NOI SCERNI BlE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
d. Fvcrycondi ti oni s domi natcdbytwocondi ti onswh|charci ncompat-
iblcbctwccnthcmsclvcs. ( V1I ) ( :72 ) ( :73 ) [71 C 72 & 71 C 73 & 72 and
73 arc |ncompat|bl c }
Statcmcnta formal|zcsthatcvcrvcondit|on|smatcr|alfor thc |nd|sccrn
|blc. statcmcnt / that wc can d|st|nguish morc ptcc|sc cond|t|ons. statc
mcnt c that thc dcscr|pt|on ol thc | nd|sccrn|blc adm| ts a pr|nc|plc of
cohcrcncy. statcmcnt d that thcrc arc rcal cho|ccs |n thc pursu| t of thc
dcscr|pt|on.
>. CORRFC1SUBSF1 ( ORPAR1i OF1BF SF1 OF CONL!1lONS
1hc cond|t|ons. as ! havcsa| d. havc a doubl c funct|on. matcr| al for an
|nd|sccrn|blc subsct. |nformat|on onthatsubsct. 1hc | ntcrscct|on ofthcsc
twofunct|onscanbcrcad|na statcmcntl|kc11 E , 1h|sstatcmcnt savs'
both that thc cond|t|on 11 | s prcscntcd bv ' and÷samc th|ng rcad
d|ffcrcntlv÷that ± | ssuch that71 bclongsto|t. orcanbclongto|t. wh|ch
| s informat|on about ±. but a m|n|mal ' or atom|c p| ccc of |nformati on.
What|ntcrcstsus| sknow|nghowccrtaincond|t|onscanbcrcgul atcdsuch
that thcv const|tutc a cohcrcnt subsct of thc sct O of condit|ons. 1h|s
collcct|vc' cond|t|on|ng| sd|rcctlvt|cdtothcpr|nci pl csofordcr. compat|
b|l|tv and cho|cc wh|ch structurc thc sct ©. lt suturcs thc luncti on of
matcr|a| to that of |nformation. bccausc |t |nd|catcs what can or must
bclongen /hc/as/so]thccond|t|ons structurc of|nformat| on.
Lcavcas| dcforthcmomcntthci nd|sccrn|blc charactcrofthcpart that
wcwanttocond|ti on. Wcdontnccdthcsupcrnumcrarys|gn ,] ustqui tc
vct. Lcts work out. | n a gcncra| manncr. thc follow|ng. whatcondit|ons
must be imposed upon the conditions frst for them to aim at the one of a
mult|plc. or ata part·of ©. andsccondfor us to bcabl cor not todcc|dc.
ult|matclv. whcthcrth|s ·cx|sts|nthc s|tuat|on'
What| s ccrta|n | sthat|la cond|t|on 71 ñgurcs| nthc cond|t|on|ng ofa
part·ofthc s|tuat|on. and|f12 C 71 (71 dom|natcs72 ) , thccond|t|on72 al so
ñgurcsthcrc|n. bccausccvcrvth|ngthat| tg|vcsusas|nlormat|on onth|s
supposcdmult|plc|s a/rcady|n 7, .
Wcw| l l tcrmcorrc:/sc/a sct ofcond|t| onswh|ch a|m atthconc- mult|p|c
ofa part · of O We havc] ust sccn. and th|s w|l| bc thc frst rul c for a
36S
BEI NG AND EVENT
corrcctsctolconditions. thatila conditionbc| ongstothi ssctthcnal l thc
cond| tionsthatthcñrstconditiondomi natcsa| sobc| ongto i t. 1hcscru| cs
ol corrcctionwi | l bc notcd Rd. Wc havc.
366
Whatwcarcdoi ngistrv|ngtoaxiomatica| ' vchatactcrizc a corrcctpart
olconditions. For thcmomcnt. thc lactthat8 isi ndi sccrnib| cis nottakcn
intoaccounti nanvmanncr.1hcvariab| cosulñccs. loraninhabitantolS.
toconstructthc conccp/ola corrcct sctolconditions.
A conscqucncc olthc ru| c is that Ø. thc emptv sct. bc| ongs to cvcrv
corrcctsct. !ndecd. bcinginthcpositionolun|vcrsa|i nc|usion ( Mcditation
7i . Ø isincludcdi ncvcrvcondition', orisdominatcdbvcvcrvconditi on.
Whatcanbcsa| dolØ'Onccansavthati ti sthcm/n/ma/condition. thconc
which tcachcsusnothingaboutwhatthcsubscto i s. 1his zcro dcgrcc ol
conditioningi sa pi cccolcvcrvcorrcctpartbccauscno characteristicolo
canprcvcntØ|romhguringinit. insolaras nocharactcristicis alñrmcdor
contradictcdbv anvclcmcntolØ ( thcrc arcn' t anv suchc| cmcntsi .
!ti s ccrtainthata corrcctpartmustbc cohcrcnt bccauscitaimsatthc
onc ola multiplc. ltcannot containincompatiblcconditions. Oursccond
ru|c wi | | posit that i l two conditions bc| onc to a corrcct part. thcv arc
compatib| c. thatis. thcvarc dominatcdbvathirdcondition. Butgivcnthat
this third condition accumu|atcs' thc i nlormation containcd in thc ñrst
two.i tisrcasonab| ctopositthati t a|sobc| ongstothecorrcctpart. Ourrulc
bccomcs givcn two conditions ol o. thcrc cxists a cond|tion ol o which
dominatcs botholthcm. 1his isthcsccond ru| c olcorrcction. kd. .
!otc that the conccpt 01 corrcct part. as loundcd bv thc two rulcsRd,
andRd2, i spcrlcctlvc|carloran inhabitantolS 1hc inhabitantsccsthata
cotrcctpartisa ccrtainsubsctol O whichhastoobcvtwo rulcscxprcsscd
i nthc | anguagc olthc situation. Olcoursc. wc sti|l do not know cxact|v
whcthcrcorrcctpartscxistinS lorthatthcywou| dhavctobcpartsol©
which arc known in 5. 1hc lact that O is an c| cmcnt ol thc situation 5
guarantccs. bv transitivitv. that an c/cmcn/ o| © is a| so an c|cmcnt ol S.
howcvcr. it docs not guarantcc that a par/ ol © is automatica| | v such
Ncvcrthc| css. thc÷possib|v cmptv÷conccpt ol a corrcct sct ol conditions
isth| nkab| c in5. lti sa corrcctdehnitionloraninhabitantolS,
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
Whatisnot vct knowni showtodcscribcacorrcctpart whichwouldbc
an/nd/sccrn///cpart of O. and so olS.
4. lNLl SCFRNlBLF OR GFXFRlC SUB3F1
Supposct hat asubsctoolOi scorrcct.whichistosavi tobcvst hcru|csRd,
andRd2 . Whatc| sci sncccssarv forittobcind| sccrniblc. thus forth|soto
bc a ¡'
A sct o i s discctnib|c ]or an /nha|//an/ o] S ( thc fundamcntal quasi
complctc si tuati on· ifthcrccx| sts an cxplicit propcrtv of thc languagc ol
thc si tuati on whi ch namcs it complctclv ln othcr words. an cxp| icit
lormula A(a) must cxist. which i s comprchcnsiblc lor an i nhabitant ol S,
such that bclongto o and havc thcpropcrtvcxprcsscdbvA(a ) ' co|nci dc
a E oH A(a) . A//thcclcmcntsolo havcthcpropcrtvlotmulatcdbvA, and
(hcya/encposscssi t. which mcansthati fa docsne/bclongto0, a docsnot
havc thc propcrty A: - (a E oi H -A\) . Onc can sav. in thi s casc. that A
namcs thc sct 0, or ( Mcditation 3 ) that itscpara/cs i t .
1akca corrcctsc|olconditionsO. lti sa partolO. i tobcvsthcru| csRd,
andRd2 • Motcovcr.i ti sd| sccrniblc. anditcoincidcswi t hwhat i sscparatcd.
withinO. bva lormulaà Wc havc. 1 E oH A(1) . Notcthcnthcfollowing
bv virtuc olthc princip|c d olconditions ( thc princip|c of choicci . cvcrv
conditionis dominatcdbv two |ncompatib|ccond| ti ons. ln particul ar. fora
condition1, E o. wchavctwo dominatingconditions. 1 and13, whicharc
incompatiblc bctwccn thcmsc|vcs . 1hc rulc Rd2 of corrcct parts prohibits
thc two incompatiblc conditionsfrombothbclongingtothcsamccorrcct
part. ltisthctcforcncccssarvthatci thcr12 or13 docsnotbc| ongtoë. Lcts
sav thati t s 12 . Sincc thcpropcrtv A disccrns o. and12 docs not bclongto
0, it lo|lows that 12 docs no/ posscss thc propcrtv cxprcsscd bv A. Wc thus
havc. -A(12
)
'
Wc arrivc at thc lollowing tcsu| t. which is dccisivc for thc chatactcr
ization olanindisccrnib|c. ifa corrcctpart o i s disccrncd bva propcrtvA,
cvcrvc| cmentolo ( cvcrv1 E ëi isdominatcdbva condi ti on12 such that
-A
h
)
·
1o i | | ustratcthispoint. lct 's rctumto thc cxamp| c ofthc l| ni tcscrics ol
! 's and 0s .
1hc propcttv so| clv containing thc mark l ' scparatcs in O thc sct ol
conditions <1 >, <1 , 1 >, <1 , 1 , 1 >, ctc. lt c|carlv disccrns this subsct. lt so
happcns that this subsct is corrcct. it obcvs thc rulc Rd1 ( bccausc cvcrv
367
368
BEI NG AND EVENT
conditiondominatcdbva scricsof | s is itsclfa scrics of | s i . andit obcvs
thc rulc kd- ( bccausc two scrics of | 's arc dominatcd bv a scrics of | 's
which is longcr' than both of thcmi . Wc thus havc an cxamplc of a
disccrnib|c corrcct part .
Now.t hcncgationof t hcdisccrningpropcrtv so| clvcontainingt hcmark
l ' i scxprcsscdas. containingthcmark0 atlcastoncc' . Considcrthcsctof
conditionswhich sati sfvthisncgati on. thcscarcconditionswhich havcat
| castonc0. !tisc| carthatgivcna conditionwhichdocsnothavcanv0 s.
itisalwavsdominatcdbva condItionwhichhasa 0. <| . | . l >i sdominatcd
bv <| . | . | . 0>. !t i s cnough to add 0 to thc cnd. As such. thc disccrnib|c
corrcctpartdcñncdbvallthcscricswh|chon|vcontai n| s' i ssuchthatin
itscx/cr/orinO. dcñncdbvthccontrarvpropcrtv containingatlcastonc0' .
thcrc i s alwavs a conditionwhich dominatcs anv givcn condition i n its
intcrior.
©
A ~ ' onlvhaving1 s
- A * hav| ng
at l castonc0'

'.
bomi nat | on
• 7) * <| . | . |>
Wc can thcrclorc spccifv thc disccrnibi|itvola corrcctpart bvsavi nc. i f
, disccrns thc corrcct part i ( hcrc , i s on| vhavi ng I s i . thcn. for cvcrv
c|cmcnt of / ( hcrc. for cxamp|c. <| . | . | > . thcrc cxists in thc cxtcrior of
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
à÷that is. amongst thc c|cmcnts which vcti|v -, ( hctc. -, | s having at
|cast onc 0' i ÷at| castoncc|cmcnt (hcrc. | otcxampl c <| . | . | . 0> which
dominatcsthc choscnc|cmcnto|o
1hisa| | owsustodcvc|opas/ruc/ura/chatactctizationo|thcdiscctnibi|itv
o|a cottcctpatt. withouttc|ctenccto |anguagc.
Ict'stctm4om/nc//onascto|conditi onssuchthatanvcond|tionoutsidc
thc dominationisdominatcdbvat | castonc conditioninsidcthcdomina-
tion. 1hat is. i| thcdomination is notcd U ( scc diagtami .
- (71 E Ui � ( 3-i ' ¬E Ui 8 (7 1 C -.i ]
1hisaxiomaticdcnnitiono | adominationno | ongctmakcsanvmcntion
o||anguagc oto|ptopcttics | i kc A, ctc.
U
72
71
©
Wc havc] ustsccnthati|a ptopcttvA disccrnsa cortcctsubscto. thcnthc
cond|tionswhi chsatis|v -A ( whi charcnoti noi atca domi nation. ln thc
cxamp|cgivcn. thcscticswhichncgatcthcptopcttv on| vhav| ngI 's' . that
is, al | thc scr|cs which havc at | cast onc 0, |otma domination. and soit
gocs.
369
370
BEI NG AND EVENT
Onc propcrtv ol a corrcct sct � which i s disccrniblc ( bv ,) , is thati ts
cxtcriori nO ( itsclldisccrncdbv-A) isadominati on. £vcmcorrcc/d/sccm///c
sc/ /s /hcrc]orc /o|a//y d|s]o/n/]rom a/ /cas/onc dem/na/|on. that is. lrom thc
dominationconstitutcdbvthcconditionswhichdone/posscssitsdisccrning
propcrtv. !l� i sdi sccrncdbvA, (O- �) , thccxtcriorol�, disccrncdbv-A,
i sa dominati on. Ol coursc. thcintcrscction ol� andolwhatrcmainsi nO
whcn � is rcmovcd |s ncccssarilvcmptv.
Acon/rar/o.i lacorrcctsct� intcrscctscvcrvdominati on÷hasatl castonc
clcmcnt |n common with cvcrv domination÷thcn th|s is dcñnitclv
bccauscitisi nd|sccrn|b| c. othcrwiscitwouldno/intcrscct thcdominat|on
whichcorrcsponds to thcncgationolthcdisccrningpropcrtv. 1hc axio-
maticdcñnitionoladominationi s intrinsic. i tdocsnotmcntion|anguagc.
andi ti s comprchcnsib|c lot an inhabitant ol5. Hcrc wc arc onthc vcrv
brink olposscssinga .onccp/olthcindisccrnib
[
c. onc givcnstrictlv i nthc
languagcolonto| ogv.Wcwil|positthat �mus/intcrscct ( havcatl castonc
clcmcnti ncommonwit hi cvcmdomination.tobcundcrstoodas al l thosc
which cxist |or an i nhabitant ol S. that is. which bclong to thc quasi -
complctcsi tuation S. kcmcmbcrthata dominationis actual | vapar/. U. ol
thc sct ol cond|tions O. Morcovcr. p | Oi i s ne/ abso| utc. 1hus. thcrcarc
pcrhaps dominations which cxist in thc scnsc ol gcncra| ontol ogv. but
wh|ch donotcxi stloran inhabitant ol5. Si ncc indi sccrnibi|itv|s rc|ativc
toS. dom| nation÷whichsupportsitsconccpt÷isal sorclativc. 1hcidcais
that. /n S. thccorrcctpart ¡. intcrscctingcvctvdomination. contains. for
cvcrvpropcrtvsupposcd todisccrnit. onccondition (at | casti whichdocs
notposscssthispropcrtv.!tisthusthccxcmplarvplaccolthcvaguc. olthc
indctcrminatc. such asthclattcri sthinkab|cwithinS. bccausci tsubtracts
itsc|l. i n at |cast onc ol its points. |rom disccrnmcnt bv anv propcrtv
whatsocvcr.
Bcncc thc cap| ta| dcñnition. a .orrcc/sc/ ¡ w/// /cµcncr/.]orS /] ]orany
dom/na//on U wh/ch /c|onµs/e S. wc havcu ¨ 9 " Ø ( thcintcrscction olU
and ¡ is not cmptvi .
1hisdcñnition. dcspitcbcinggivcni nthc| anguagcol gcncralonto|ogv
( bccauscSdocsno/bclongto 5i. ispcr|cctlvintclligiblcloraninhabitantof
S Ecknowswhata domination |s. bccausc what dcñncs| t÷thc lormul a
- (11 E Ui � ( 312 ) ¸ -E Ui & (1I C 12 ) ] ÷conccrnscondi ti ons. whichbclong
to 5. uc knows what a cotrcct set ol condltlons i s. uc undcrstands t hc
phtasc acorrcct sctisgcncric | litintctsccts cvcrv domination ÷itbc|ng
undcrstood that. lor him. cvcrv domination mcans cvcrv domination
bclonging to S . sincc hc quantiñcs /n h/s un/vcrsc. which i s S. !t so
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
happcnsthatth| sphrascdcñncsthcconccptofgcncr|citvforacorrcctpart.
1hisconccpt| sthcrcforcacccss|b| cto aninhab|tantofs. !ti s||tcra|lvthc
conccpt.ins|dcthclundamcnta|situation.olamu|t|plcwh|ch| si nd|sccrn-
iblc in thatsituat|on.
1ogivc somck|ndofbasisforan|ntuit|onofthcgcncric. |ct' sconsidcr
ournnitc scr|cs of | 's and 0's agai n. 1hc propcrtv havingat | cast onc l '
d|sccrnsa dominat|on. bccauscanvscricswh|chonlvhas0's| s dom|natcd
bv a scrics wh|ch has a | (a | i s addcd to thc i ni t|al scrics of 0's i .
Conscqucnt|v. i fa sctof nnitcscricsol0'sand| 's| s gcncric.|ts| ntcrscction
withthis domination i snot void. it containsatlcast onc scr|cs which has
a | . But onccoul dshow. | ncxactlvthcsamcmanncr. that havingat| cast
two| 's or hav|ngatl castfourthousand| 's' al sod|sccrndom|nat|ons( onc
adds as manv | 's as ncccssarv to thc scrics which do not havc cnoughi
Again. thcgcncricsctw|l| ncccssari|vcontainscricswhichhavcthcs|gn|
tw|cc or four thousand timcs. 1hc samc rcmark cou| d bc madc for thc
propcrt|cs hav|ngatlcastonc0' andhavingatlcastfourthousand0's.1hc
gcncr|csctw|ll thcrcforc conta|n scrics carrv|ngthcmark | orthcmark 0
as manv timcs as onc wishcs. Onc could start ovcr with morc comp|cx
propcrtics. such as cnd i na l' ( butnc/. notc. with bcg|nbva | ' . which
docsnotdisccrna dominat|on÷sccforvourscl fi . or cndin tcnbi l ||on| s .
but also. havcatl castscvcntccn 0'sandfortv scvcn | 's' . ct c. 1hcgcncr|c
sct. ob| | gcdtoi ntcrscctcvcrvdom|nationdcnncdbvthcscpropcrt|cs. has
tocontain. forcachpropcrtv.at|castoncscricswh| chposscsscsit. Onccan
grasp hcrc quitc casilv thc root of thc |ndctcrminatcncss. thc indis-
ccrnibilitvof� |tconta|ns al|tt| cb|tofcvcrvthing' . i nthcscnsci nwh|ch
animmcnscnumbcrofpropcrticsarccach supportcdbvat| castonctcrm
( conditioni which bclongs to �. 1hc onlv l|mit hcrc is cons|stcncv. thc
i nd|sccrniblc sct � cannot contain two conditions that two propcrt| cs
rcndcr|ncompat|b|c. | |kc bcgin wi th l' and bcgin with 0' . F| nallv. thc
indi sccrniblc sct on|y posscsscs thc propcrtics ncccssarv to its purc cxi s
tcnccasmultlplci nitsmatcrial( hcrc. thcscri csol0'sand| s i . !tdocsnot
posscssanvparticular. d|sccrnlnc. scparativcpropcrtv. !ti sananonvmous
rcprcscntativcofthcpartsofthcsctofconditi ons. Atbasc. |tssolcpropcrtv
|sthatol cons|sting aspurc mu|t|p|c. orbc|ng. Subtractcdfrom| anguagc.
i tmakcs do w|th |tsbc|ng.
371
372
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-FOUR
The Exi stence of the Indi scerni bl e:
t he power of names
l . !NLANGFR OF!NFX!91FNCF
At thc conc| usion of Mcditation >>. wc disposc of a conccp/ of thc
indisccrnib|c mu| tip| c. But bv what onto|ogica| arcumcnt' shal | wcpass
from thc conccpt to cxistcncc' 1o cxist mcaninc hcrc. / o /c/onµ / o a
situation
Aninhabitantofthc univcrsc5. who hasa conccptofgcncricitv. canask
hcrsc|fthcfol|owingqucsti on. docsthismu|tiplcofconditions. which!can
/h/nk.cxi st'Suchcxistcncc| snotautomatic. lorthcrcasoncvokcdabovc.
p( ©ì notbcingabsolutc. it |squitcposs|blcthat/n5÷cvcnsupposingthat
a corrcct gcncric part cxists ]or /hc on/o/oµ/st¯thcrc docs not cxist anv
subsct ofS corrcspondingto thccritcriaofsuch a pan.
1hcrcsponsctothcinhabitant'squcstion. anditi scxtrcmc| vdisappoint-
inc. i sncgativc. !f , | sa corrcctpartwhich/c/onµsto5 ( bc|ongingto5i s
thconto|ogicalconccptofexi stence lorani nhabi tantolthe uni vcrsc5ì . i t s
cxtcrior l n ©. © ¯ ,. a| so bc|ongs to 5. | or rcasons ol abso| utcncss
( Appcndix ¯ i Unlortunatc|v. this cxtcrior/sa dom/na//on. as wc havc in
factalrcadvsccn. cvcrvconditionwhichbc| ongsto, isdominatcdbvtwo
incompatiblc conditions. thcrci sthusatlcast oncwhi ch i scxtcriorto ,
1hcrcforc©¯ < dominatcs, But , bcinggcncric. shou| dintcrscctcvcrv
dominat| onwh|ch bc|ongsto5. andsointcrscct |tsowncxtcr|or. which is
absurd.
8vconscqucncc. iti s|mpossib|cfor< tobc| ongto5il, i sgcncric For
aninhabitantof5. nogcncri cpart cxists . !tlooks|ikcwchavcfai l cd. and
so c| osc to thc dcstination' Ccrtain|v. wc havc constructcd w//h/n thc
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
fundamcnta| si tuation a conccpt of a gcncric corrcct subsct which is not
distinguishcdbvanvformu| a. andwhich. inthisscnsc. isi ndi sccrnib|clor
an inhabitant of 5. But sincc no gcncric subsct cxists i n this situation.
i ndisccrnibi|itv rcmains an cmptv conccpt. thc indisccrnib|c is w//hou/
/c/nµ. ! n rca|itv. aninhabitant of 5canon| v/c//cvc in thc cxi stcncc of an
i nd|sccrnib| c÷insolar as | fit cxi sts. it is outsidc thc wor| d. 1hc cmp|ov-
mcntola c| carconccpto|thci ndi sccrnib|ccou| dgivcrisctosuch a faith.
with which this conccpt's void o| bcing might bc n| l cd. But cxistcncc
changcs its scnsc hcrc. bccauscit is not ass|gnab|c to thc situation. Must
wc thcnconc|udcthatthcthinkingolanindisccrnib|crcmainsvacant. or
suspcndcdfromthc purc conccpt. ifonc docs not n| | it with a transccn-
dcncc'Forani nhabitantofS. i nanvcasc. itsccmsthatGoda| onccanbc
indisccrnib|c.
2. 0N10I0C!CAI c6|IuLILLAIkL. 1uF! Nb! SCFRN!BIF FX! 91S
1hisimpasscwi|lbcbrokcnbvthc onto|ogist opcrating|romthccxtcrior
ol thc situation. ! ask thc rcadcr to attcnd. with conccntration. to thc
momcntat whichonto|ogvafnrmsitspowcrs. throughthcdominationof
thoughtitpracti scs upon thcpurc mu|tip|c. and thus upon thc conccp/of
situati on.
For thc onto|ogist. thc situation 5 is a mu| tip| c andthi s mu|tip|c has
ptopcrtics. Manv ofthcscptopcrtics arcnot obscrvab|c from i nsi de thc
situation. butarccvidcntfrom thc outsidc. A tvpica| propcrtvofthissort
is thc cardina|itv of thc situat| on. 1o sav. lor cxamp| c. that 5 i s
dcnumcrab| c÷which is what wc positcd at thc vcrv bcginning÷is to
signilv thatthcrci sa onc toonc corrcspondcncc bctwccn 5 and woo But
thls corrcspondcncc ls surc|v not a mu| tlp|c of S. i f on| v bccausc S,
invo|vcdin this vcrv corrcspondcncc. is no/anc|cmcntol 5 1hcrcforc. i t
i son| vfrom a poi ntoutsi dc5thatthccardi na| itv ol5 canbcrcvca| cd.
Now.|romthi scxtcriori nwhichthcmastcrofpurcmu|tip| csrcigns( thc
thoughto|bcing qua bci ng. mathcmatics i . itcanbcsccn÷suchi sthccvc
olGod÷that thcdominationso| O wh|chbclongto5forma dcnumctab|c
sct. 0bv|ous| v' 5isdcnumcrab|c. 1hcdominationswhichbc| ongtoitlorm
a part o|S, a partwhich coul d not exceed the cardi nal i ty of that i n which
it| sinc| udcd. 0nccanthcrcforcspcakofthcdcnumcrab|c|istD, D,. - « •
373
374
BEI NG AND EVENT
L. . . . ofthc dominations of O whi chbc|onct os
Wcshal|thcnconstruct a corrcct gcncricpart inthcfollowincmanncr
( via rccurrcnccì .
- 7O is an indctcrminatc conditi on.
÷ !f7" |s dcnncd. oncoftwothi ncsmust comc to pass.
• cithcr7" E Dn t I , thcdomi nati onofthcrankn + l . lfso. !positthat
• or - (7" E D,, +. ) . 1hcn. bv thc dcñnition of a domination. thcrc
cxistsa 7n+1 E D,,+ I which dominatcs 7". ! thcntakc this7,,+ I .
1his construction givcsnc a scqucncc of cnvcl opcd conditions .
1O C 7J C T2 C . . . C T" C . . .
! dcnnc ±
as thc sct ofconditions dominatcd bvat |cast onc7" ofthc
abovcscqucncc. 1hati s. 7 E
± H [ ( 37, , ) 7 C 7,,]
! thcn notcthat.
a.
±
/sa cor·cc/sc/o]con4///ons
÷ 1his sct obcvs thc rul c R4. . For if 71 E ±. thcrc is 7" such that
71 C 7n. But thcn. 72 C 71 � 72 C 7n, thcrcforc 72 E ± . Fvcrv
condition dominatcd bv a conditionof
±
bcl ongs to
±

- 1his sct obcvs thc rulc R4. . For if 71 E
± and 72 E ±
. wc havc
71 C 7" andm C 7,, ' . Sav |orcxamp|c. thatn < n . Bvconstruction
o| thc scqucncc. wc havc 7" C 7, , ' , thus -. U 72 ) C 7,, ' , and
thcrcforc (1 U 72 ) E ±
Now71 C (71 . m) and72 C (71 U ri .
1hcrcforc.thcrcisclcar|va dominatingcondition| n
±
commont o
71 and72 .
/.
±
/sµcncr/c
!or cvcrv dominationD" bc| ongingto s. a 7n cxists. bvconstruction of
t hescqucncc. a 7" sucht hat 7" E 2 and7n E D". 1hus. l orcverv Dn, wc
havc
±
n Dn " 0.
!orccncra|ontolocvthcrci st husnodoubt t hat agcncricpartofscx/s/s.
1hc ontologistis cvidcnt|vin acrccmcntwith an inhabitant of 5in saving
thatthispar/o]si snotanc/cmcn/of5. !orth|sinhabitant. this mcansthat
i tdocs not cxist. Forthcontologist. this mcanssolclv that ± C sbutthat
-| ± E s
|

!orthc ontologist. civcna quasi complctcsituations. /hcrccx/s/sasu/sc/
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
e]/hcs//ua//on wh/ch/ s/n4/sccrn///cw//h/n /ha/s//ua//on. lti sa l awofbcing
that in cvcrv dcnumcrab|c situation the state counts as onc a part
indiscernib|cwithinthatsi tuation. vet whoscconccptis in ourpossession
thatofa gcncriccorrcct part .
But our|abours arcnot nnishcd vct. Certain|v. an i ndi scernib|e for 5
existsoutside5~butwhercis thc paradox'Whatwc wantis ani ndisccrn
ib|c /n(crna//o as//×a//on. Or. to bcprccisc. a sct which a is | ndiscernible
in a situation. / be|ongsto that situation. Wcwant the sctto cx/s/in thc
vcrv p|acc i nwhich i t i sindiscernib| e.
1hccnti rcqucstion rcsidcs i knowing /owh/:h s//ua//on ´ /c/onµs !ts
l|oatinccxtcrioritvtoS cannotsatisfvus. bccausciti squitcpossiblcthatit
bc| ongs to an as vet unknown cxtcnsion of thc si tuati on. in which. for
examp|c. it wouldbc constructib|c with statcmcnts ofthc si tuation. and
thuscomp|ctc|v disccrnibl c.
1hcmosts| mpl c| dcaforstudvingthi squestion| sthatofadding,tothc
fundamcnta|situat| onS. l nthismanncrwcwou| dhavcancwsituationto
which , woul dbc| ong. 1hcsituation obtaincd bvthcad] unction ofthc
indiscctnib|c wi | | bcca| | ed a µ:ncr/c :x/cns/en of 5. andi twi l l bc writtcn
5( < ) . 1hccxtrcmcdilñcu|tvofthcquestion| icsi nthis addition' havingto
be madc w//h /hcrcsourccs o]5. othcrwsc it would bc unintc|ligib|cfor an
inhabitant of S. Yet. ¯ . , E 5i . How can anv scnsc bc madc of this
cxtension of S vi a a production that brincs forth thc bc| onging of thc
indiscctnib|ewhich 5 inc|udcs' And what cuarantcc isthcrc÷supposing
that we rcso|ve the |atter prob|cm÷that S wi | l be indisccrnib|e in the
gencriccxtcnsion 5( , i '
1hcso| utionconsistsi nmodi|vingandcnrichincnotthcsituationitsclf.
butits|anguagc. soas tobcab|etoname/n5thchvpothctica|c|cmentsof
i tscxtcnsionbvtheindisccrnib|c. thusanticipating÷withoutprcsupposi-
tion of cxistencc÷thc propertics of thc cxtension !n this | anguagc. an
inhabitantof5wil|bcab| etosav !fthcrccxistsagcncnccxtension. thcn
this name. which cxists in 5. dcsignatcs such a thing within i t. 1his
hvpothetical statcmcnt wi|| not posc anv prob|cms for hcr. bccausc she
disposcs of thc conccpt of gcnericitv ( which i s void for herì . From thc
outside thconto|ocistwi||rca|izc thchvpothcsis. becausc hcknows that
a gcncricsctexists . Forh|m. the rcfercnts ofthc namcs which areso|c|v
attic|cs of faith for aninhabitant of 5 wi| | be rca| tcrms. 1hc /oµ/cof thc
devclopmcntwi| lbe thc samc for whocvcrinhab|ts 5 andforus. but thc
on/o/oµ/:a/ s/a/us of thcse infcrenccs wi| l be cnt|rc|v diffcrcnt faith in
375
376
BEI NG AND EVENT
transccndcnccforonc ( bccausc ¡ i s outsidct hcworl d' i . positionofbcing
forthcothcr.
>. 1uF NOM!NA1!ON OF1uF !NL! SCFRN!BIF
1hcstrikingparadoxofourundcrtakingi sthatwcarcgoingtotrvtoncmc
thc vcrv thing which i s impossiblc to d/sccrn. Wc arc scarching for a
lancuagc for thc unnamcablc. !t wil| havc to namc thc |attcr without
namingi t . i twi|linstructits vaguc cxistcnccwithoutspccifvinganvthing
whatsocvcrwithinit. 1hcintra ontolog|ca|rcalizationofthisprogram. its
solc rcsourcc thc mu|tip|c. i s a spcctacularpctformancc.
1hc namcs must bc ab|c to hypo/hc//.a//y dcsignatc. with 5's rcsourccs
a|onc. c|cmcnts of 5( ¡ i ( | t bcing undcrstood that 5( ¡i cxists for thc
cxtcrnal onto|ogist. and incxists for an inhabitant of 5. or is solcl v a
transccndcnta|ob] cctoffaithi . 1hc on|vcx/s/cn/thingswhichtouchupon
5( ,. i n5arcthcconditions. A namcw|llthcrcforccombinca multiplcof
5 with a condition 1hc strictcst' idca would bc to procccd such that a
namcitsclf is madc up ofcoup|cs ofothcrnamcs andconditions.
1hc dcnnition of sucha namc is t hcfollowi ng. a namc i s a multip|c
whoscclcmcntsarcpairsolnamcsandconditi ons. 1hatis; i lUl | sa namc.
(a E u. ì � (a = <U2, 7» , whcrc U2 i sa namc. and 7 a condltl on.
0fcoursc. thcrcadcrcou| dindignant|vpoint outthatthi sdcnnitionis
circu|ar I dcnnca namcbvsupposingthat! knowwhata namc | s. 1hisi s
awc| l knownaporiaamoncst| i ncui sts. howdocsoncdcnnc. forcxampl c.
thcnamc namc' wi thoutstartinc offbv saving that i t i s a namc' Iacan
i sol ated the point of the real in thi s affair l nthe form of athesi s: there i s no
mcta|ancuagc. Wcarcsubmcrgcdi n thcmothcrtonguc ( /c/anµucìwithout
bclng ab|c to contort oursc|vcs to t hc point ol arrivinc at a scparatcd
thought of thi s immcrsl on.
Within thc lramcwork ol ontol ogv. howcvcr. thc circu| aritv can bc
undonc. and dcplovcd as a hl crarchv or stratincation. 1his. morcovcr. is
oncolthcmost profound characteristics of thi s rcgionof thought; italways
strati ñcssuccessive constructi ons start i ng lromthe poi nt of the void.
1hccsscntia|instrumcntolthisstratincdunfo|dingofanapparcntcirclc
i s again found i n thc scrics of ordina| s. Naturc i s thc univcrsal too| for
ordcring÷hcrc. lorthc ordcringolthe names.
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
Wcstartbv dcñningthc c| emcntarv namcs. or namcs of thc nomina|
rankO. 1hcsc namcs arccxclusivc|vcomposcdolpai rs ofthetvpc<0, 7>
whcrc0 is thc mi ni ma| condit|on( wchavesccnhow Ø is acondition. the
onewhichconditionsnothingì . andT isanindctcrminatcconditi on. 1hat
| s. i fµi sa namc ( simp|i|ving mattcrs a littlci .
µiso f the nomi nal rank 0' H ' (y E µ i - Y = <0, 1>
]
Wc thcn supposc thatwc havc succceded in dcñn| ng all t hc namcs of
thcnomina| rank �. where �i san ordi na| sma| | erthananordina|a ( thus.
� E a) . 0urgoal is thcntodchnca nameofthcnom| nal ranka. Wcwi||
positthatsucha nameiscomposcdofpairsofthetvpc</1 , 1> whcrc/1 is
a namc ofa nomina| rank /n]cr/or(o a, and 1 a condit| on.
µi softhcnomina| ranka
'
H ' (E µi � ( = </1 , 1>, 8' /I isofanomina|
rank� smal| crthan a' i |
1hcdeñnitionthcnceasestobc circu|arforthcfo||owingrcason. a name
isa|wavsattachcdtoa nomina|ranknamedbvan ord|nal. | et's sava. Itis
thuscomposcdofpa| rs </, 1>, butwhercµisofa nomina|rankinferiorto
a and thus prcvi ous| v dcl¡ncd. Wc rcdcsccnd' in this manncr until we
rcach thc namcs of thc nominal rank 0, which arc thcmsc|vcs cxp|ic|tlv
dcñned (asetofpairsofthctvpe<0, 1» . 1hcnamcsarc dcp|ovcdstart|ng
fromthc rank 0 via succcssiveconstructionswhich cngagc nothingapart
fromthc matcria| dc||ned | n the prcvious stcps As such. a name of thc
rank 1 wi|lbecomposcdfrompai rs consistingofnamcsofthcrank0 and
conditi ons 3ut thcpai rs ofthe rank0 arc dcñned. 1hercfore. an e| cment
ofa namcofthc rank 1 isa| sodcñncd. itsolc|vconta| nspairs ofthctvpc
< <0, 11 >, 1>, and so on.
0urñrsttask | stoexami ncwhetherthisconcept ofnamcisinte|ligib|e
foran| nhabitantof5. andworkoutwhichnamesare | nthefundamenta|
situat|on. Itisccrtai nthatthcvarcnota| l thcrc ( besi des. i fO |snotcmptv.
thc hicrarchvofnames|s no(a sc(. itinconsists. ] ustlike thc hicrarchvL of
thc constructib|c÷Mcd|tat| on29i .
1o start with. let s notc thatwe cannothope that nomi na| ranks cxist'
in 5 |or ordi na| s wh| ch do not be|ong to 5 >ince 5 i s transitivc and
dcnumerab| e. it so| e| v contains dcnumerab|e ordi na| s. 1hat is. a E 5 �
a C 5.andthccardina|itvofa cannotcxccedthatof5.which.s cqua| towoo
Si ncc bcing an ord| nal ' is abso| ute. wc can speak of thc{rs( ordina| o
377
378
BEI NG AND EVENT
whlch docsnotbcl ongto S. ForanlnhabltantofS. onlvordl nal slnfcrlor
to< cxlst. thcrcforc. rccurrcncconnomlnalranksonlvmakcsscnscupto
andnotlnc|udlng <.
!mmancncctothcfundamcntalsltuatlonS thcrcforcdcnnltclvlmposcs
a substantlal rcstrlctlon upon thc numbcr of namcs whlch cxlst' ln
comparlson to thc namcs whosc cxlstcncc ls afnrmcd bv gcncral
ontologv.
But what mattcrs to us ls whcthcr an l nhabltant of s posscsscs thc
conccptofa namc. suchthat shcrccognlzcsasnamcsal|thcnamcs (lnthc
scnscofgcncralonto|ogvi whlchbclongtohcrsltuatlon. and. rcclprocallv.
docs not baptlzc multlp| cs of hcr sltuatlon namcs' whcn thcv arc not
namcsforccncralontologv÷thatls.forthchlctarchvofnoml na| tanks. ln
short. wcwanttovcrlfvthatthcccnccp/ofnamcl sabsolutc. that bcl nga
namc' /n 5colncldcs wlth bclnga namcwhlchbcl ongs to 5' ln thc scnsc
ofgcncralonto|ogv.
1hcrcsultsofthislnvcstlgatlonatcposltlvc. thcv showthat al|thctcrms
andal l thcopcratlonscngagcdlnthcconccptofnamc( ordlna|s. palrs. scts
of palrs. ctc. i arc absolutc for thc quasl complctc sltuatlon 5. 1hcsc
opcratlons thus spcclfv 'thc samc mu|tlplc'÷|f lt bclongs to S÷for thc
ontologlstas |orthclnhabltantof5.
Wccanthusconsldct.wlthoutfutthcrdctours.thcnamcsofS.ornamcs
whlch cxlst ln 5. whlch bclong to S. O| coursc. S docs not ncccssar| | v
contalnal | thcnamcsofa glvcnranka. Buta| | thcnamcsthat ltcontalns.
andthosca|onc. arcrccognl zcdasnamcsbvthcl nhabltantofS. Fromnow
on. whcnwcspcakofanamc. ltmustbcundcrstoodthatwcatctcfcrrlng
to a namc ln S. !t l s wlth thcsc namcs that wc arc colng to construct a
si tuati on 5( � ) 10 whlchthei ndi scerni bl e � wi ll be| ong. A cascln whlchl t
l s| i tcral l vthc namcthatcrcatcsthcthlng.
4. � RFFFRFN1 OFA NAMF ANL LX1FNS! ONBY 1EF
!NL! SCFRN!8LF
Let's suppose that a generi c part � exi sts. Remember, t hi s supposi ti on i s
a ccrtltudc for thc ontologlst ( lt canbc shown that | f 5 l s dcnumcrab|c.
thcrc cxlsts a gcncrlc part i . and a mattcr of thcologlca| falth for thc
lnhabltantofS ( bccausc � docs notbc|ong1 thc unlvcrscsi

THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
Wcarcgo|ngtoglvcthcnamcsa rc]crcn//a/va/uctl cdtothclndlscernlb|e
¡ 1he goa| l s to havc a name dcslgnatc' a mu|tlplc whlch bclongs to a
sltuatlon ln whlchwc havc forccdthclnd| sccrnlbl c ¡ to addltsc|fto the
fundamcnta|sltuatlon. Wewll|on|vuscnamcsknownln5. Wc wl|lwrlte
R,ai for thc rcfcrcntla| va|uc of a namc such as l nduccd bv the
supposltlon of a gcncrlc part , lt | s at thls polnt that wc start to fu|lv
cmp|ov thc forma| and supcrnumcrarv svmbo| ,
Forc|cmcnts. a namchaspalrsllkc</I , 1>, whcrc /1 ls a namcand1 a
condltl on. 1hcrcfercntlalvalueofanamccan onlvbc dcnncdonthcbasls
of thesc two tvpes of mu| tlp|cs ( namcs and condltlonsi . slncc a purc
mu|tlp|ccan on|vglvcwhatltposscsscs. whlchlsto savwhatbclongstol t .
Wcw| | | uscthcfo|lowlngslmp|cdcnnltlon. thcrcfcrcntla|va| ucofanamc
forasupposedcxlstcntS ls the sctofrcfcrentlalvalucsofthcnamcswhlch
cnterlntoltscomposltlonandwhlcharcpalrcdtoacondltlonwh/ch/c/on«s
/o ¡ Sav. for cxamp| c. thatvouobservcthatthcpalr</I , 1> ls anc|cmcnt
ofthe namc/. lf1 bc|ongs to ¡. /hcnthc rcfcrentla| va|uc of/1 , that ls.
R,a. ì . ls an c|cmcnt ofthc refcrcntla|va| uc of/. 1osummarlzc.
1hlsdcnnltlonls] ustasclrcul arasthcdennltlonofthcnamc. voudcnne
thcrefcrcntla|va| ucof/ bvsupposlngthatvoucandetcrmlncthatof/1 .
1hc clrc|c ls unfo|dcdlnto a hlcrarchv bv thc usc of thc namcs nomlna|
rank. Slnccthcnamcsatcstratlncd. thcdchnltlonofthclrrcfcrcntla|va| uc
can a|so bcstratl hcd.
÷ Fornamcsofthcnoml na| rank0, whlch arccomposcdofpal rs<0, 1>,
wcwl|| poslt.
• R,ai * { 0} , lf thctccxlsts as c|cmcntof/, a palr<0, 1> wlth1 E ¡.
| notherwords. | fthename/ l s conncctcd' t othegcncrlcpartl nthat
onc ol lts constltucnt palrs <0, 1> contalns a cond|tlon wh|ch l s |n
thlspart. Formallv. ( :/) [ <0, 1> E / 8 1 E ¡I H R,ai = {0} .
• R, ai * 0, lfthlslsnotthecasc ( l fnocondltlonappcarlngln thc palrs
whlchconstltutc/ bc| ongs tothc gcncrlcpart i .
Obscrvcthatthcasslgnatlonof valucl s cxp|lcl tanddcpcndsunlquc| von
thcbe|onglngornonbelonglngofcondltlonstothcsupposcdgcnerlcpatt.
Forexamp|c. thenamc{<0, 1>} hasthcrclcrentla|valuc { 0} l |1 belongs
to ¡. and the va|uc 0 | l 7 docsnot bc|ong t o S A|| ofthls l s c|carto an
379
380
BEI NG AND EVENT
lnhabltant of 5. whoposscsscs a conccpt ( voldi of gcncrlcpart. and can
thus lnscribclntclllglb|c lmpllcatlons ofthc gcnrc.
1 E . � R, ,ï = ¦ Øj
whlch arcofthctvpc l f . thcn' . anddonotrcqulrcthata gcncrlcpart
cx/s/s ( forhcr i .
÷ Lct' ssupposcthatthc rcfcrcntlalva| ucofthc namcshasbccndchncd
forallnamcsofanomlnalranki nlcrlorto thcordlnala. 1akcf1 , a namc
ofthc rank a. !tsrcfcrcntla|valucwll| bc dchncd thus.
1hc . - rcfcrcnt ofa namcofthcranka ls thc sct of S rcfcrcnts ofthc
namcswhi chpartlclpatclnitsnomlna|compositlon. llthcvarcpalrcdwi th
a condltlonwhi ch bc|ongsto thcgcncri cpart. 1hlsi sa cortcctdcnni ti on.
bccausccvcrvclcmcntof a namcf1 l s of thctvpc <f2, 1>, and| tmakcs
scnsctoaskwhcthcr1 E S ornot. ! fltdocsbclong. wctakcthcvalucof
f2, whlchls dchncd ( for
. i . slnccf2 l s oflnfcrlornomlna| rank.
Wc wll| thcn constltutc. ln a slng|c stcp. anothct sltuatlon than thc
fundamcntal situatlon bv taklng a|l thc va| ucs of all thc namcs whlch
bc|ong to5 1hlsncwsltuatlonlsconstltutcdonthcbasls olthc namcs. lt
ls thc gcncrlc cxtcnslon of 5 As announccd carhct. l t wlll bc wrlttcn
5( . i
!t| s dcnncd thus 5( ¡ i = | k, aï I f E 5j
lnothcrwords. thcgcncriccxtcnslonbvthci ndi sccrniblc S i sobtalncd
bvtaklng thc . tcfcrcnts of a|| thcnamcswhlch cxlst l n5 !nvcrsc|v. to
bc anclcmcntofthc cxtcnslon' mcans. to bc thc valuc ofa namc of 5
1hlsdchnltlonl scomprchcnslb|cforanlnhabltantof5. lnsofaras. S l s
sol ely a formal symbol desi gnati ng an unknown transcendence; the
conccptofagcncrlcdcscrlptionlsc|carforhcr.thcnamcsl nconsi dcratlon
bclong to 5. and thus thc dchnlt|on vla rccurrcncc of thc rclcrcntla|
functlon R,aï | sltsc|f lntchig|b|c.
1hcrc arc thrcc cruc|al problcmswhich havc not vct bccn consldcrcd
Flrstofa|llsl trcallva mattcrofancx/cns|onof5hcrc'lnothcrwords. do
thc c|cmcnts of5 a|so bclonctothc cxtcnslon 5(S i ' lfnot. l tl sa dls] olnt
p|anctwhlch i sat stakc. andnot an cxtcnslon-thc lndisccrniblchasnot
bccnaddcdto thc fundamcnta| s| tuatlon Ncxt. docsthclndlscctnlb| c S
actual l y belong to thc cxtcnslon'Fi nally, docsit remai n i ndl sccrnibl e. thus
bccomlng. wlthln 5( S ) . an lntrlnslclndl sccrnlblc'
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
¯ . 1HF FUNLAMFN1AL Sl1UA1lON lS A PAR1 OF ANYGFNFRlC
FX1FNSlON. ANL 1HF lNLlSCFRNlBLF ¡ l SAN FLFMLN1 OFANY
GFNFRlC FX1FNSlON
a. canen/ca/namcso]c/cmcn/s o]S
1hc nomlnallst s|ngularltv ol thc gcncrlc cxtcnslon |lcs ln i ts clcmcnts
bclng so/c/y acccssiblc v|a thc|r namcs. 1hls l s onc o| thc rcasons whv
Cohcns lnvcntionl sst|cha fasclnatlngphilosophlcal topos . Bclngmal n
talns thcrcln a rclatlon to thcnamcs which ls all thc morc astonlshlng
glvcnthatcachandcvcrv oncofthcm i sthoughtthcrc lni tspurcbclng.
that ls. as purc multlpl c. For a namc ls no morc thanan clcmcntof thc
fundamcntal sltuatlon. 1hc cxtcnslon S( ¡i . dcspltc cxlsting for ontologv
÷slncc ¡ cxlsts lf thc fundamcntal sltuation ls dcnumcrablc÷thus
appcarstobcanal catorvphantomwthrcspccttowhlch thcsolcccrtltude
llcs lnthc namcs.
lf. lor cxamplc. wc want to show that thc fundamcntal sltuatlon ls
lncludcdl nthcgcncri ccxtcns|on. thatSc S(,i ÷whichal oncguarantccs
thcmcanlngofthewordcxtcnslon÷wc havctoshowthatcvcrvclcmcnt
ofSlsa|soanclcmcntofS( ¡i . Butthcgcncrlccxtcnsloni sproduccdasa
sct ofvalucs÷¡ rcfcrcnts÷o|namcs Whatwchavctoshow. thcrcforc.i s
thatforcvcrv clcmcntofSa namccxlstssuchthatthcval ucofthl snamc
l nthccxtcnslonlsthlsc|cmcntltsclf. 1hctorslonl scvldcnt. savthata E :.
wcwanta namcI suchthatR, ,.i = a. lfsucha I cxl sts. a, thcva| ucofth|s
namc. l sanclcmcnt olthc gcncrlcextcnslon.
Whatwc wouldllkclstohavcth|storsioncx| stgcncral lv that |s. such
thatwccouldsav Foranygcncrlccxtcnsion. thc fundamcntalsltuatlon|s
lncl udcd ln thc cxtcnsion. 1hc problcm |s that thc val uc ol namcs. thc
function R. dcpcnds on thc gcncric part supposcd. bccausc lt ls dl rcctlv
|lnkcd tothc qucstlon ofknowlng whlchcondltlons arc i mpllcd lnl t.
Wccanbvpassthl sobstac|c bv showlng thatforcvcrv c| cmcnt a olS,
thcrccxlstsa namc st| ch that its rclcrcntla|va| uc is a wha/cvcr /hcµcncr/c
par/.
1hlssupposcsthcldcntlncatlonofsomcthlnglnvarlab|cinthcgcncrlcl tv
of a part. lndccd ln corrcct subscts ln gcncral . lt so happcns that this
lnvar|ablc cxlsts. oncc again. itlsthc mlnlma| condlti on. thc condltlonØ.
ltbc|ongs to cvcrvnon voi dcorrcctpart. accordlngtothc rulc Rd. whlch
requlrcsthatl l7 E ¡. anvcondi ti ondomlnatcdbv7 a| sobc| ongsto ¡. But
thccondltlonØl s domlnatcdbvanvconditlonwhatsocvcr. ! t followsthat
381
382
BEI NG AND EVENT
thc rcfcrcnt|al valuc of a nom|nal pa|r of thc tvpc <µ. Ø> |s a/ways.
whatcvcrthc �, thc rcfcrcnt|alva|uc ofµ. bccausc Ø E � ln al | cascs.
Wc w|ll thus usc thc followlng dcñn|tlon forthc canon/ca/ namc of an
clcmcntaofthcfundamcnta|s|tuat|onS th|snamc|scomposcdofal | thc
pa|rs <µæi . Ø>. whcrc µæi |s thc canon|ca| namc ofan clcmcnt of a.
Ecrc aga|nwcnndournowclass|cc|rcu| arltv. thccanon|calnamcofa
|s dcnncdonthcbas|softhccanon|calnamcollts clcmcnts Wcbrcakth|s
c|rclcbvad|rcctrccurrcnccon/c/onµ/nµ. rcmcmbcr|ngthatcvcrvmult|plc
| s wovcn lrom thc vo|d. 1o bc morc prcc|sc ( svstcmat|ca||v wr|t|ng thc
canon|ca|namc of a as µ(aì .
- |f a |s thc cmptvsct. wc w|llposlt. µ( Øi = Ø.
÷ |ngcncral wcwill pos|t . µ(ai = ¦ <µæi . Ø> / ß E aj .
1hccanon|calnamcofa lsthcrclorcthc sct ofordcrcdpa|rsconst|tutcd
bvthccanon|calnamcsofthcclcmcntsofaandbvthcm|n| ma| condlt|on
Ø. 1h|s dcñn|t|on | s corrcct on thc onc hand bccausc µ�i | s clcarlv a
namc. bc|ng composcdofpai rs wh|ch knot toccthcrnamcs and a cond| -
t|on. on thc othcr hand bccausc÷| f ß E a÷thc namc µti has bccn
prcv|ous|v dcñncd. aftcr thc hvpothcs|s of rccurrcncc. Morcovcr. µ�i | s
dcnn| tcl va namc known ln S duc to thc absol utcncss ofthc opcrat|ons
cmp|ovcd.
Now. and th|s | s thc crux of thc affa|r. thc rcfcrcnt|a| valuc of thc
canon|calnamc µ�i |sa |tsc|lwha/cvcr/hcsupposcdµcncr/cper/. Wcalwavs
havcR, a(aì = a. 1hcsccanon|cal namcs|nvariablvnamc thcmult|p|cof
S to wh|chwc havc construct|blv assoc|atcd thcm.
What|n fact |sthc rcfcrcnt| a|valucR, ,�ì o| thc canon|calnamcofa'
Bv thc dcnn|t|onofrcfcrcnt|alvaluc. ands|nccthcclcmcntsofµ(ai arc thc
pa|rs <µti . Ø>. | t | s thc sct of rcfcrcnt|al valucs of thc µ±i s whcn thc
condltlonØbclongsto� . But0 E S whatcvcrtbcgcncrlcpart .1hcrcforc.
R,auì |s cqual tothcsct of rcfcrcnt|al va| ucsofthcµæi . |orß E a. 1hc
hvpothcs|s of rccurrcncc supposcs that for all ß E a wc dcñn|tc|v havc
R,aBi i * ß. ilna|lv. thcrcfcrentlalva| ucofµ(ai lscqualtoal| thcßswh|ch
bclongtoa. thatis. toa |tscll. wh|ch| snonc othcrthanthccount as- onc
ofall|ts clcmcnts.
1hcrccurrcncc| scomp|ctc. foraE S. thcrccx|stsacanonlcalnamcµui
such that thc valuc ofµµi ( | ts rcfercnti |n any gcncr|c cxtcnslon ls thc
mult|plca|tsclf. ßc|ngthc � -rcfcrcntofa namcforanv � - cxtcns|onof5.
cvcrv c|cmcnt of S bclongs to th|s cxtcns|on. 1hcrcforc. S c S( �) ,
whatcvcrthc|nd|sccrn|b|c � . Wcarcthusqu|tcj ust|ncd| nspcak|ngof an
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
cx/cns/en of t hc fundamcntal s|tuat|on. thc lattcr |s |ncludcd | n anv
cxtcns|onbvan | nd|sccrn|blc. whatcvcr |t m|ghtbc.
b. canen/ca/namco]an /nd/sccrn///cpar/
What has not vct bcen shown | s that thc |nd|sccrn|blc bclongs to thc
cxtcns|on ( wc know that |t docs nc/ bclong to 5i . 1hc rcadcr mav bc
aston|shcd bv our pos|ng thc qucst|on of thc cx|stcncc of C w|th|n thc
extcns|on 5( C , g|vcn that |t was actuallv bu| lt÷bv nom|nal
projcct|on÷on the bas|s of , But that C provcs to bc an csscnt|al
opcrator.]or/hccn/o/oµ/s/. ofthcpassagcfrom5to5(C docsnotmcanthat
C ncccssarllvbclongs to 5( , that | s. that | t cx|sts for an |nhab|tant of
S( , lt | s qu|tc poss|blc that thc | nd|sccrn|blc onlv cx|sts |n ccl|psc
bctwccn 5 and5( C , w|thoutthcrcbc|ng C E :( , . wh|chaloncwoul d
test|fvtothc /oca/cx|stcncc ofthc |nd|sccrn|bl c.
1o knowwhcthcrC bclongst o5( ~ ornot.onehast odcmonstratcthat
C hasanamc|n5. Aga| n. thcrcarenoothcrrcsourccstobchadapartfrom
thosc found |n t| nkcr| ng w|th thc namcs ( Kuncn puts | t qu|tc n|cclv as
cook|ng thenamcs ' i .
1hccond|t|ons 1 arc clcmcntsof thc fundamental s|tuat|on. 1hcv thus
havca canon|calnamc1(1) . Lctscons|dcrthcsct. p� = | <p(-i . -> / 1 E O} .
that | s. t hcsct ofal l thcordercd pa|rs const|tutcdbva canon|calnamcof
a cond|t|on. followcd bv that cond|t|on. 1h|s sct |s a namc. bv the
dcñn|t|on of namcs. and |t |s a namc |n 5. wh|ch can bc shown bv
argumcntsofabsolutcncss. What could|ts rcfcrcntbc'lt|sccrta|nlvgo|ng
todcpcndonthcgcncr|cpart ,wh|chdctcrm|ncsthcval ucofthcnamcs .
1akcthcnañxcd C . Bv thc dcñn|t|onofrcfcrcnt|alva| ucR�. p� |s thcsct
ofvalucs ofthcnamcs,.(1) whcn-E C . Butµ(-i bc|nga canon|ca| namc.
|tsvaluc| salwavs-. 1hcrcforc.thcval ucofµ �| sthcsctof-wh|chbclong
to C, that |s. C |tsclf. Wc havc. R�a�i * C . Wccan thcrcforc savthatµ�
|s thc canon|calnameoftbcgcner|cpart.desp|tc| tsvalucdepend| ngqu| te
part|cularlv on C, |nsofar as |t |s cqual to | t. 1hc ¡cd namc o� w| ll
|nvar|ablv dcs|gnatc. |n a gcncr|ccxtcns|on. thc part C from wh|ch thc
cxtcns|on or|g|natcs. We thus ñnd oursclvcs | nposscss|on of a namc for
thc |nd|sccrn|ble. a namc. howcvcr. wh|ch docs not d| sccrn |t' Ior th|s
nom|nat|on| spcrformcdbvan|dcnt|calnamcwhatcverthc|nd|scern|blc
lt | sthc namc of |nd/sccrn/////w. notthc disccrnmcnt of an |nd|sccrn|bl c.
1hc fundamcntal po| nt |s that. hav|ng a ñxcd namc. thc gcncr|c part
a/ways bclongs to thc cxtcns|on. 1h|s | s thc cruc|al rcsul t that wc wcrc
383
384
BEI NG AND EVENT
l ookng for. t hc |nd|sccrn|b|c bclongs t ot hc cxtcns|on obta|ncd on thc
bas|s of |tsclf. 1hc ncws|tuat|on 5(¡ i |s such |hat. on thconc hand. 5 |s
oncof|tsparts. andonthcothcrhand. ¡ |soncof|tsclcmcnts . Wc havc.
throughthcmcd|at|onofthcnamcs.cffcct|vclvcddcdcn/n4/sccrn///c/o/hc
s//uc//on /n wh/ch///s/nd/sccrn///c
6. FXPLORA1!ONOi1EF GLNFRlC FX1FNSl ON
Ecrc wc arc. capablc of spcak|ng' |n 5v/c thc namcs÷of an cnl argcd
s|tuat|on |n wh|ch a gcncr|c mult|plc cx/s/s. Rcmcmbcr thc two funda-
mcntal rcsults ol thc prcv|ous scct| on.
÷ 5 c 5( ± i . | t| s dchn|tc|vancxtcns|on.
-
± E ¯| ±
ï . | t| sa s/r/c/cxtcns|on. bccausc-| ±
E 5i .
1hcrc |ssomcncwncss |n thc s|tuat|on. notablv an| nd|sccrn|blc ofthc
nrst s|tuat| on. But th|s ncwncss docs not prcvcnt 5(
±
ï from shar|ng a
numbcrofcharactcr|st|cs w|th thc fundamcnta|s|tuat|on 5 Lcsp. tcbc|ng
qu|tc d|st|nct from thc lattcr. |n that an |ncx|stcnt |nd|sccrn|blc of that
s|tuat|oncx|stsw|th|n|t. |t|salsovcrvclosc. Oncstr|k|ngcxamp| cofth|s
prox|m|tv. sthatthccxtcns|on5( ±ì docsnotconta|nanvsupplcmcntarv
ord|nal w|th rcspcct to5.
1h|s po|nt |nd|catcs thc prox|m|tv' ol 5(
± ï to s. lt s|gn|ncs that thc
nc/urc/ part of a gcncr|c cxtcns|on rcma|ns that of thc lundamcntal
s|tuat|on. cxtcns|on v|a thc |nd|sccrn|b|c l cavcs thc natural mult|plcs
|nvar|ant. 1hc i nd|sccrn|b|c |s spcc|ncallv thc onto|og|ca| schcma of an
cr/m:/c/opcrator. Andthcart|ncc|shcrc thc|ntra ontolog|caltraccofthc
forccloscd cvcnt. lf thc ord|nals makc up thc most natural part of what
tbcrc | s | nbc|ng. as dctcrm| ncd bv onto|ogv. thcn thc gcncr|c mult|plcs
formwhat|s lcast natura|. what| sthcmost d|stanccdfromthcs/c////nof
bc|nc.
Eowcan|tbcshownthat|nadd|ngthc|nd| sccrn|b|c ± tothcs|tuat|on
5. and |n a| low|ngth|s ± toopcratc|nthc ncw s|tuat|on ( that|s. wcw|l l
alsohavc| n5(
±
ï supplcmcntarv' mult|plcssuch asWo ¨ ¡. orwhatthc
formula ascparatcs| n ¡. ctc. ì . noord|nal|saddcd. that|s. thatthcnatural
partof5|snotaflcctcdbv2 'sbclong|ngto5( ¡ i ' Ofcoursc. onchastousc
thc namcs.
If thcrcwasanord|na|wh| chbclongcdto5|2) w| thoutbclong|ngto5.
thcrcwou|dbc ( pr|nc|p|cofm|n|mal|tv. Mcd|tat|on l2 andAppcnd|x 2i a
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
smallcstord|nalwh|chposscsscdthatpropcrtv.Savthata | sth|sm|n|mum.
|tbclongsto5( , · .| t docsnot bclongto5. but cvcrvord|nalsmallcrthan
|t÷savß ÷ a÷bclongs. |tsclf. to5.
Bccausc a bclongs to 5( ¡ ì . |thasa namc|n5. But | nfact. wc knowof
suchanamc. iorthccl cmcntsofaarcthcord|nalsßwh/:h/c/onµ/o5.1hcv
thcrcforcallhavcacanon|calnamcµ±ì whoscrcfcrcntlalvaluc| sß|tsclf.
Lct' scons|dcrthc namc. µ * | µ±ì . Ø> I ß E a
l
. lthasthc ord|nala as|ts
rcfcrcnt|al valuc. bccausc. givcn that thc m|n|mal cond|t|on Ø alwavs
bclongsto ,. thcvalucofµ|sthcsctofvalucsofthcµ±ì s.wh|ch| stosav
thc sctofß' s. wh|ch |stosav a|tsclf.
What could thc nom|nal rank of th|s namc µ bc' ( Rcmcmbcr thatthc
nom|nal rank |s an ord|nal . i lt dcpcnds on thc nom|nal rank of thc
canon|calnamcsµ3ì . ltsohappcnsthat/hcnom/na/ranko]µ¬ì /ssupcr/or
orcaua//o ß Lct' s show th|s bv rccurrcncc.
- 1hc nom|nal rankofµ( Øì |s Ø bv dcnn|t|on.
÷ Lct's supposc that. for cvcrv ord|nal , ÷ o. wchavc thc propcrtv | n
qucst|on( thcnom|nalrankof µ(ì bc|ngsupcr|ororcqualto,i .Lct sshow
that o also has thls propcrtv. 1hc canon|cal namc µ(oì | s cqual to
{<µ~ì . Ø> / , ÷ o}. lt |mpl|cs | n |ts construct|on all thc namcs µ(ì . and
conscqucntlvl tsnom|na| rank|s supcr|orto thatof allthcscnamcs ( thc
strat|ncdcharactcrofthcdcnn|t|onofnamcs i . lt| sthcrcforcsupcr|ortoal l
t hc ord|nals , bccausc wc supposcd t hat thc nom|nal rank of µ~ì was
supcr|orto,. An ord|nalsupcr|ortoallthcord|nalsy suchthat, ÷ o| sat
l castcqualto o. 1hcrcforc. thcnom| nal rankofµ( oi | sat lcast cqualto ·
1hcrccurrcncc ls complctc
lfwcrcturntothcnamcµ* {<µ±ì . Ø>. I ß÷ a}. wcsccthat | tsnom|nal
rank|s supcr|ortothat of allthccanon|calnamcsµ(ßì . But wc havcj ust
cstabl|shcdthatthc nom| nalrankofa µ±ì | s|tsc|fsupcr|ororcqual toß.
1hcrcforc. µ srank| ssupcr|ororcqual toallthcß s. lt|s conscqucntlvat
l castcqualto a. wh| ch|sthc ord|nalthatcomcsaftcrall thcß's .
But we supposed tbat tbe ordi nal a did ne(bclong to the situati on 5.
1hcrcforc. thcre|sno namc. |n5. ofthc nom|nalranka. 1hc namcJ docs
notbclongto 5. andthusthcord|nala/sno/namcd/n 5 Notbc|ngnamcd
|n5. | tcannotbclongto:( , · bccausc bclong|ngto5( ,· mcansprcc|sclv
bc|ng thc rclcrcntialvaluc ofa namcwh|ch| s| n5 .
1hc ccncr|ccxtcns|ondocsnot conta|nanv ord|nalwh|ch|s notalrcadv
|nthc lundamcnta| s|tuat|on.
On thc othcr hand. a/| thc ord|na|s of 5 arc |n thc gcncr|c cxtcns|on.
|nsofar as 5 c 5( , . 1hcrcforc. thc ord|nals of thc gcncr|c cxtcns|on arc
38S
386
BEI NG AND EVENT
cxact|v /hc samc as thosc ol thc lundamcnta| sltuatlon. ln thc cnd. thc
cxtcnslon l s nc|thcr morc comp|cxnormorc natura| than thc sltuatlon.
1hcaddltlonolanlndlsccrnlb|cmodlncs lt s| |ght|v . prcclsc|vbccauscan
l ndlsccrnlb|cdocsnotaddcxp|lcltlnlormatlontothcsltuatlonl nwhlchlt
l slndlsccrnlb| c
7. lN1RlNSlC ORlN Sl1UA1lON lNDlSCLRNlBlLl1Y
l lndlcatcd ( dcmonstratcdi that ¡÷whlch. lnthccvcs olthconto|oglst. ls
an|ndl sccrnlb|cpart ol5 loranlnhabltantol5÷docsnotcxlstl n5 (lnthc
scnscl nwhlch~ ( ¡ E 5i i . butdocscxlstl n5( ¡ i ( ln thcscnscl nwhlch ¡
E 5( ¡ i i . uocs thls cxlstcntmu|tlp|c÷lor an |nhabltant ol 5( ¡ i÷rcmaln
l ndlsccrnlb|clorthlssamclnhabltant'1hlsqucstlonl scrucla|. bccauscwc
arc |ooklng lor a conccpt ol /n/r|ns/c lndlsccrnlbl|ltv. that ls. a mu|t|p|c
wh|chl scllcctlvclvprcscntcdl na sltuatlon. butradlca| | vsubtractcdlrom
thc|anguagcolthat sltuatlon.
1hcrcsponsclsposltlvc.1hcmu|tlp|c¡ lslndlsccrnlb|clor anlnhabltant
ol5( ¡i . no cxp|lcltlormu|a olthc|anguagc scparatcs lt.
1hc dcmonstratlon wc sha| | glvc ol thls polnt ls ol purc|v | ndlcatlvc
va|uc.
1o sav that ¡. whlch cxlsts ln thc gcncrlc cxtcnslon 5( ¡ i . rcmalns
l ndlsccrnlb|cthcrcln. l stosavthatnolormu|aspcclncsthcmu|tlp|c ' l n
thcunlvcrsc constltutcdbvthatcxtcnslon.
Lctssupposcthc contrarv thcdlsccrnlbl|ltvol¡ Alormul athuscx|sts.
A(1, aI , . . . an ) , wlththcparamctcrsaI , . . . an bc|onglngto5( ¡ i . such that
loranlnhabltantol5( ¡ i l tdc¤ncs thc mu|tlp|c ¡ 1hatl s
1 E ¡ H A(1, aI , . . . an )
8ut lt ls thcn lmposslblc lor thc paramctcrs aI , . . an to bclong to thc
lundamcnta|sltuat| on5 Rcmcmbcr. ' lsapartolO. thcsctolcondltlons.
wh|chbc|ongsto 5 l|thclormu|a\(1, aI , . . . an) wasparamctcrlzcdl n5.
bccausc 5 l s a quasl -comp|ctc sltuatlon and thc axlom ol scparatlon l s
vcr|dlca|ln lt. thl slormu| awou|dscparatcout. loranl nhabl tantol5. thc
part ¡ olthccxl stl ngsctO. 1hcrcsul twou| dbcthat¡ cxlstsl n5 ( bc|ongs
to5i andlsa|sodlsccrnlb|cthcrcln. Butwcknowthat ¡. asagcncrlcpart.
cannotbc|ong to 5
8v conscqucncc. thc n-tup|ct <aI , . . . a,,> bclongs to 5( ¡ i wlthout
bc|onglngto 5 lt l spart olthcsupp/cmcn/am mu|tlp|cs lntroduccdbvthc
nomlnatlon. whlchl sltsc|lloundcdonthcpart ± . lt lscv|dcntthatthcrc
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
l s a clrclc ln thc supposcd dlsccrnlbl||tv ol , t hclormula à(-. a" . . . an)
a/rcadylmp|lcs. lor thc comprchcnslonolthc mu|tlp|csaI , . . . an, thatlt l s
knownwhl chcondl tl onsbc| oncto ¡
1o bc morc cxp|lclt . to sav that l n thc paramctcrs aI , . . . an thcrc arc
somcwhlchbc|oncto5( ¡ i wlthoutbc|onclncto5l stosavthatthcnamcs
/I , . .
/
n, towhlchthcscc| cmcntscorrcspond. arcnota| | canonlca| namcs
ol c|cmcnts ol 5 Yct whl|st a canon|ca| namc docs not dcpcnd ( lor lts
rclcrcntla|va|uci onthcdcscrlptlonundcrconslderatlon ( slnccR,a�ì ì *
a lor whatcvcr ¡ ì . an lndctcrmlnatc namccntlrc|vdcpcnds upon lt. 1hc
lormula whlch supposcd|v dcnncs , l n5( ¡i canbcwrlttcn.
7 E 2 H à,-. R, a. i . . . . R, a i i
lnsolara s a| | thcc|cmcnisol 5 ( ¡ i arcthcva|ucsolnames. But cxact| v. lor
a noncanonlca| namc /n, thc va| uc R" in) dcpcnds dl rect|v on knowlnc
whlchcondltlons. amoncstthosc thatappcarln thc namc
/
n, also appcar
ln thc ccncrlc part. such that wc dcnnc 7 E , on thc basls ol thc
know|cdcc ol 7 E ¡ 1hcrc ls no chancc ol a dcnn| tlon ol thls sort
loundlncthc dlsccrnmcnt ol ¡. lorltprcsupposcssuch
1hus. lor an lnhabltant ol 5. ¡ i . thcrc docs not cxl st anv lntc||lclblc
lormula l n hcr unlvcrsc whlch can bc uscd to dlsccrn ¡ . Althouch thls
mu|tlplc cxlsts ln 5( ¡i . lt | s l ndlsccrnlblc thcrcln. Wc havc obtalncd an
/n·s//ua//on orcxlstcntl nd. sccrnlb| c. ln5( ¡ i . thcrcl sat|castoncmultlp|c
whlchhasabelncbutnonamc 1hcrcsu|tlsdcclslvc. onto|ocvrccocnlzcs
thccxl stcnccol /ns|/ua//on lndlsccrnlb| cs. 1hat ltcal | sthcm ccncrlc÷an
o|d ad] cctlvc uscd bv thc vounc Marx whcn trvlnc to charactcrlzc an
cntlrc|vsubtractlvchuman|tvwhoscbcarcrwasthcpro|ctarlatlsoncol
thosc unconscl ous concc|ts wlth whlch mathcmatlc|ans dccoratc thclr
tcchnlcal dlscoursc.
1hc lndlsccrnlb|c subtracts ltsc|l lrom anv cxp| lclt nomlnatlon ln thc
vcrv sltuatlon whosc opcrator lt ncvcrthc|css | s÷havinc l nduccd i t ln
cxccss ol thc lundamcnta| sltuatlon. | n wh|ch lts |ack | s thoucht. What
mustbcrccocnlzcdthcrcln. whcnltlncxlstslnthchrstsltuatlonundcrthc
supcrnumcrarv slcn 2, l snothlnc|cssthanthcpurc|vlorma|markolthc
cvcntwhoscbclnclswithoutbclnc. andwhenltscxlstcncc l slndlsccrncd
l n thc sccond sltuatlon. nothlnc |css than thc b| l nd rccocnltlon. bv
onto|ocv. ola posslb|cbclncol truth.
387
Fñk1VÌ Ì Ì
Forci ng: Truth and the Subj ect.
Beyond Lacan
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-FI VE
Theory of the Subj ect
l tcrmsu/]cc/anv|oca| connguratlonola gcncrlcproccdurclromwhlcha
truth|s supportcd.
Wlthrcgard tothcmodcrn mctaphvslcsstl | | attachcdto thcconccptol
thcsub]cct l sha| | makcslxprc||mlnarvrcmarks.
a. A sub] cctl snota substancc. llthcwordsubstancchasanvmcanl ng
| t ls that ol dcslgnat|ng a mu|tlp|c countcd as onc ln a sl tuatlon. l
havc cstab|lshcdthat thc part ola sltuatlonconstltutcdbvthctruc
asscmb|agcola gcncrlcproccdurc docsnotla||undcrthc| awolthc
count ol thc sltuatlon. ln a gcncra| manncr. l t l s subtractcd lrom
cvcrv cncvc|opacdl c dctcrmlnant ol thc | anguagc. 1hc lntr|nslc
| ndlsccrnlbl|ltv|nwhlchagcncrlcproccdurclsrcso|vcdru|csoutanv
substantla|ltvolthc sub] cct .
/ A sub] cct ls not a vold polnt clthcr. 1hc propcr namc ol bclng. thc
vold. l s lnhuman. and a sub]cctivc. lt l s an onto|oglca| conccpt.
Morcovcr. i t ls cvldcnt tHat a gcncric proccdurc i s rca| lzcd as
mu|tlp|lcltvandnotaspunctua| l tv.
c A sub] cct l s not. ln anv manncr. thc organlsatlon ol a scnsc ol
cxpcrlcncc. lt ls not a transccndcnta| lunctlon. llthc word cxpcrl
cncc hasanvmcanlng. ltlsthatoldcs|gnatlngprcscntatlonas such.
Bowcvcr a gcncrlc proccdurc. whlch stcmslrom an cvcnta| u|tra-
onc qua| l ncd bv a supcrnumcrarv namc. docs not colncl dc ln anv
wavwlthprcscntatlon. lt ls a| soadvlsab|c todl llcrcntiatctruthand
mcanl ng Agcncrlcproccdurccllcctuatcsthcpostcvcnta|truthola
391
392
BEI NG AND EVENT
sltuatlon. but t hc lndlsccrnlb|c mu|tlp| c that l s a t rut h docs not
dc|lvcranvmcanlng.
4 A sub] cctl snotanlnvarlab|c olprcscntatlon. 1hc sub] cctl srarc. l n
thatt hcgcncrlcprocedurc | s a dlagona| olt hcsl tuatl on. Onccou|d
a|so sav. thc gcncrlcoroccdurc ol a sltuatlon bclng sl ngu| ar. cvcrv
subj cctlsrlgorous|vslngu|at. 1hcstatcmcnt thcrcatcsomcsub] ccts
l sa| catorlc. l t l snotttansltlvc tobclng.
c Lvcrv sub] cct l squa| l 0cd. llonc adm| tsthc tvpo| ogv ol Mcdltatlon
1L thcn onc can sav that t�erc arc somc lndl vl dua| sub]ccts
lnasmuch as therc ls somc |ovc. somc ml xcd sub] ccts l nasmuch as
thctc l s somc art or somc sclcncc. and somc co| | cctlve sub] ccts
lnasmuchasthcrcl ssomcpo||tlcs l na||thls. thcrclsnothlngwhlch
l s a structura| ncccssltv ol sltuatlons. !hc/awdocs no/prcscr//c /hcrc
/c/nµsomcsu/]c./s.
] A sub] cct ls nota rcsu|t÷anv motcthanltls an orlgln. lt |s thc /oca/
statusola proccdutc. a connguratlon lncxccss olthcsltuatlon.
Lct snowturntothcdctal| solt hcsub] cct
l . SUB1LC1lVl2A1lON. lN1LRVLNTlON AND OPLRA1OR Oi lAl1BiUL
CONNLC1l ON
l nMcdltatlon21 l lndlcatcJthccxistcnccola prob|cmo| doub|corlgl ns
conccrnlngthcproccdurcsolndc|ltv. 1hcrclsthcnamcolthcevcnt÷thc
rcsu| tolthclntcrvcntlon÷andthcrcl sthcopcratorollalthlu|conncctlon.
whlch ru|cs thcprocedurc and lnstitutcs thctruth. l nwhatmcasutcdocs
theopcrator depcnd on the namc' lsnt thc emcrgcncc olthc opcratot a
sccond cvcnt' Lct s takc an cxamp| c. |n Chrlstlan|tv. the Church ls that
thtough whlch conncctlons and dlsconncctlons to thc ¨hrl st cvcnt arc
cva|uatcJ. thc|attcrbclngorlglna| | vnamcd dcatholCod (d. Mcdltatlon
2 l i . Aslasca|putsltthcChurchl sthctclorc|ltcta|lv thchl stotvolttuth
slnccl t lsthcopcratorollalthlu|conncctlonandl tsuppottsthc rc|lglous
gcncrlc proccdurc. But what | s thc |lnk bctwecn thc Church and
Chrlst÷orthcdcatholCod'1hlspol ntl slnperpctua| dcbatcand(] ust|lkc
thedcbateonthc|lnkbctwccnthePartyandthcRcvo| ut l oni | thasglvcn
rlsc to a| | thc sp|lts and hercsl es. 1herc ls a|wavs a susplclon that thc
opcratorollalthlu|conncctlonl sltsc|lunlalthlu|tothccvcntoutolwhlch
lthas madc somuch.
THEORY OF THE SUBJ ECT
l tcrmsu/]cc//v/za//on thc cmcrgcncc ol an opcrator. consccutlvc to an
lntcrvcntlona| nomlnatlon. Subj cctlvlzatlon takcs p|acc l n thc lormol a
1o. lt |s dlrcctcdtowards thc lntcrvcntlonon thc bordcrs olthc cvcn ta|
sltc. 8ut lt l s a| sod| rcctcdtowards thc sltuatlon through lts colncldcncc
wlth thc ru|c ol cva| uatlon and proxlmltv whlch lounds thc gcncrlc
proccdurc. Sub] cctlvlzatlon l s lntcrvcntlona| nomlnatlon ]rom /hc s/and
pe/n/o]/hcs//ua//on. that ls. thc ru|c ol thc lntra s| tuatl ona| cllccts olthc
supcrnumcrarv namcs cntrancc lnto clrcu|atlon lt cou|d bc sald that
sub] cctlvlzatlon ls a spcc/c/ coun/. dlstlnct lrom thc count as onc whlch
ordcrs prcscntatlon. ] ust as lt ls lrom thc statc s rcdup|lcatlon. What
sub] cctlvlzatlon counts l swhatcvcrl slalthlu||vconncctcdtothc namcol
thc cvcnt .
Sub] cctlvlzatlon. thc slngu|arconnguratlonola ru| c. subsumcsthc 1o
that ltls undcra propcrnamcs abscnccolslgnl ncatlon. 9al ntlau| lorthc
Church. Lcnln lor thc lartv. Cantor lor onto|ogv. Schocnbcrg lor muslc.
but a|soSlmon. 8crnardorC| al rc. llthcvdcc| arc thcmsc|vcstobcl n|ovc
cachandcvcrv oncolthcma dcslgnatlon. vlathconcola propcrnamc.
ol thc sub] cct|vlzlng sp|ltbctwccn thc namc ol an cvcnt ( dcath ol Cod.
rcvo|utlon. lnnnltc mu| tlp|cs. dcstructlon ol thc tona| svstcm. mcctlngi
andthclnltlatlon ola gcncrlcproccdurc ( Chrlst| an Church. 8o|shcvlsm.
sctthcorv. scr| a|lsm. slngu|ar|ovc i Whatthcpropcrnamcdcslgnatcshcrc
l s that thc sub] cct. as |oca| sltuatcd connguratlon. l s nclthcr thc |ntcr
vcntlonnorthcopcratorolhdc| .tv.butthcadvcntolthclr1o. thatls. thc
lncorpotatlon ol thc cvcnt lnto thc sltuatlon ln thc modc ol a gcncrlc
proccdurc. 1hc abso| utcslngu| arltv. subtractcd lrom scnsc. olthls1wo |s
shownbvthcl n ºlgnlncanccolthcpropcrnamc. Butltl sobvlousthatthls
l n slgnlhcancc l s a| so a rcmlndcr that what was summoncd bv thc
lntcrvcntlona|nomlnatlonwasthcvold.whlchl sltsc|lthcpropcrnamcol
bclng. Sub] cctlvlzatlon ls thc propcr namc |n /hcs//ua//en ol thls gcncra|
propcrnamc. lt l sanoccurrcncc olthcvold
1hc opcnlng of a gcncr| cproccdurc lounds. on lts horlzon. the asscm
b| agcola trut h. Assuch. sub] cctlvlzat| onl sthatthroughwh|ch a truthl s
posslb| c. ltturnsthccvcnt towardsthctrutholthcs| tuatlonlorwhlchthc
cvcntl sancvcnt lta| |owsthccvcn ta|u|tra onctobcp|accd accordlngto
thclndlsccrnlb|c mu|tlp|lcltv ( subtractcdlrom thc crudltc cncvc| opacdl ai
thata truthl s 1hcpropcrnamcthusbcarsthctraccolboththcu| tra onc
andthcmu|tlp|c. bclngthatbvwhlchonchappcnswlthlnthcothcrasthc
gcncrlc tra] cctorv ol a truth. Lcnln ls both thc 0ctobcr rcvo| utlon ( thc
cvcnta|aspcctiandLcnlnlsm.truc mu|tlp|lcltvolrcvo|utlonarvpo| ltlcslor
393
394
BEI NG AND EVENT
a ha|l ccnturv. 1ust as Cantor l s both a madncss wh|ch rcqulrcs thc
thoughtolthcpurcmu| tlp|c. artlcu|atlngthc lnnnltcprodlga|ltvolbclng
qua bclng to lts vold. andthc proccss ol thc comp|ctc rcconstructlon ol
mathcmatlca|dlscurslvltvuptoBourbaklandbcvond. 1hlslsbccauscthc
propcrnamccontalnsboththclntcrvcntlonalnomlnatlonandthcru|col
lalthlul conncctlon.
9ub] cctlvlzatl on. aporctlc knot ola namcln cxccss and an un- known
opcratlon. l s what /raccs. ln thc sltuat|on. thc bccomlng mu|t|p|c ol thc
truc. startlnglromthcnon cxlstcntpolntlnwhlchthccvcntconvokcsthc
vold andlntcrposcs|tsc|lbctwccnthcvoldand ltscll.
2. CBANCL. lROMWB|CBANY1RU1B| SWOVLN. |9 1BL MA1LR
Oi 1BL SUB1LC1
llwc consl dcr thc l oca| status ol a gcncrlcproccdurc. wc notlcc that lt
dcpcndson a slmplccncountcr. Oncc thc namc olthc cvcnt l s nxcd. c..
both thc ml nl mal gcsturcs ol thc lalthlul proccdurc. posltlvc ( c. 0 +i or
ncgatlvc ( -( c. 0 yi i . andthccnqulrlcs. nnltcsctsolsuchgcsturcs. dcpcnd
on thctcrmsolthcsltuatloncncountcrcdbvthc proccdurc. startlngwlth
thc cvcntal sltc. thc | attcr bclng thc placc ol thc nrst cvaluatlons ol
proxlmltv ( thls sltccou|d bc Palcstlnc lorthc nrst Chrlst|ans. orMahlcr s
svmphonlcun|vcrsclor Schocnbcrgi . 1hcopcratorollalthlul conncctlon
dcnnltcly prcscrlbcs whcthcr thls or that tcrm l s | l nkcd or not to thc
supcrnumcrarv namcolthc cvcnt Bowcvcr lt docsnotprcscrlbc l nanv
wavwhcthcrsucha tcrmshouldbc cxaml ncdbclorc. orrathcrthan. anv
othcr. 1hcproccdurelsthusru|cd| nltscllccts. butcntlrclval catorvl nlts
tra] cctory 1hconlvcmplrlca|cvidcncclnthcmattcrl sthatthctra] cctorv
bcclns at thc bordcrs ol thc cvcntal sltc. 1hc rcst l s lawl css 1hcrc ls.
thcrclorc. a ccrtaln chancc whlch ls csscnt| a| to thc coursc ol thc
proccdurc. 1hlschancc /sno//cµ/|/c/n /hcrcsu//o]/hcproccdurc. whlchl sa
truth. becausca truth ls thcldca|asscmb|agc ol al l thc cva|uatlons. lt l s
a :omp/c/cpartolthcsltuat| on. But thcsub] cct docsnotcolncldcwl ththl s
rcsul t. Local | v.thcrcarcon| vl|lcga| cncountcrs. slnccthcrcl snothl ngthat
dctcrmlncs. ncl thcrlnthcnamcolthccvcntnorl nthcopcratorollalthlu|
conncctlon. that such a tcrm bc lnvcstlgatcd at th|s momcnt and ln thls
placc. | lwc ca||thctcrmssubmlttcdtocnqu| rv ata glvcn momcnt olthc
gcncrlcproccdurc/hcma//cro]/hcsu/]c./. thlsmattcr. asmultlplc. docsnot
havc any asslcnablc rc|atlon to thc rulc whlch dlstrlbutcs thc posltlvc
THEORY OF THE SUBJECT
lndexes ( connectlon estab|lshedi and the neaatlve l ndexes ( non-
connect|oni . 1hought l n lts operatlon. the sub] ect l s qua|lnab|e. desplte
belng slngu|ar. lt can be reso|ved lnto a name ( c.i and an operator ( D) .
1houghtl nltsmu|tlp| ebelng. thatl s. a s thetermswhlchappearwlththelr
lndexesl nellectlveenqulrles. thesub] ectl sunqua| lnab|e. l nsolarasthese
terms are arb|trarv wlth regard to the doub|e qua| l ncatlon whlch l s l ts
own.
1helo||owlngob] ectloncou|dbemade.lsald( Medltatlon1 l i thateverv
nnltepresentatlonla| | sunderanencvc|opaedlcdetermlnant . lnthlssense.
everv/oca/ state ola procedure÷thus everv sub] ect÷belng rea| l zed as a
nnlteserlesolnnlteenqulrles. ls an ob] ectolknow|edge. | sn tthl sa tvpe
olqua|l6catlon'Dowenotemp|ovltl nthelormol thepropernamewhen
we speak ol Cantors theorem. orol Schoenbergs |/crro/Lunc/rc' Works
and statements are. ln lact. enqulrlesolcerialn generlc procedures . llthe
sub] ect | s pure|v| oca| . lt ls nnl te. andeven l llts matterl s a|eatorlc. l t l s
domlnatedbva know| edge 1hlslsa c| assl caporl a thatolthennl tude ol
human enterprl ses. A truth a| one ls lnnnlte. vet the subj ect l s not
coextenslvewlthl t. 1hetrutho| Chrlstlanltv÷orolcontempotarvmuslc.
or modern mathematlcs ÷surpasses the hnlte suppott ol those sub
] ectlvlzatlons named Salnt Pau| . Schoenberg or Cantor. and lt does so
evervwhere. despltethelactthatatruthproceedsso| e| vv| atheassemb|age
olthoseenqu|rles. sermons. wotksandstatementsl nwhlchthesenames
are rea|lzed.
1hl sob] ectlon a| |ows us to grasp a| | themorec|ose|vwhatl s at stake
under the name ol sub] ect . Ol course. an enqul rv l s a posslble ob] ect ol
know|edge. Butthe·ca//za//onoltheenqul rv. theenqul rlngoltheenqul rv.
ls notsuch. slncelt ls comp|ete|vdownto chancethatthepartlcu| art erms
e