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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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
any possiblc ontology 2?
2 Plato > I
> 1hcory of thc Purc Multipl e. paradoxcsand
critical dccision >8
1cchnicalNotc. thcconvcntionsofwriting 49
4 1hc Voi d. Propcrnamc of bcing ° 2
° 1hc Mark0 60
l 1hc samc and thc othcr. thc axiom of
cxtcnsionality 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, uniclty. andlorming into
onc
8 1hc Statc, orMctastructurc, andthc)po|ogyof
Bclng ( norma|lty, slngu|arlty, cxcrcsccncc,
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 ty. translt|vc scts l >0
2 Natura| mu| tip| cs. ordina|s l >2
> 1hc p| ayolprcscntation ln natura| mu|tlp| csor
ordina|s
4 U|tlmatc natura| c| cmcnt ( unlquc atom,
¯ An ordina| ls thcnumbcrol thatofwhlch iti s
thcnamc
6 Naturcdocsnotcxist
l > !nnnity. thc othcr. thc ru| candthc Othct
l4 1hc Onto|oglca| ucclslon 1hcrcl ssomc | nhnlty
lnnatura| mu|tip| cs'
I Point olccl ng andoperator olpassagc
2 S ucccsslon and | lmit
> 1hcsccondcxi stcntia| sca|
4 !nhnlty hnal!ydcnncd
¯ 1hcnnltc, insccondp| acc
l ¯ Ecgc|
I The Mathcnc ol | nInìty rcvi sitco
2 uowcanan in|initybcbad'
> 1hc rcturn and thcnomination
4 1hcarcana olquantlty
¯ Ll sj 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 ofhistoricityand
instability ! 84
2 1hc ax|om olfoundation l 8¯
> 1hc ax|om olfoundationis a mctaontological
thcsis ofontology ! 87
4 Naturcand history 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> Fidclity, Conncction 2 >2
24 Lcduction as OpcratorofOntological F| dclity 240
l 1hc forma| conccpt of dcduction 242
2 Rcasoningvi ahypothcsis 244
> Rcasoning via thcabsurd 247
4 1riplc dctcrminationofdcduct|vc ndclity 2 ¯ 2
2 ¯ Eo| dcrlin 2 ¯ ¯
Part VI Quantity and Knowledge. The Discernible
(or Constructible): Leibniz/Godel
26 1hc Conccpt ol Quantityandthc!mpasscof
Onto| ogy 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 quantitativcly 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 crrancy of thc statc of a situation.
Laston's thcorcm 279
27 Onto|ogica|Lcstinyof 0ricntation| n1hought 28I
28 Constructivist1houghtandthc Knowlcdgc of
Bcing 286
29 1hc Fo|ding ofBcingandt hcSovcrcigntyof
Languagc 29¯
I Constructionofthcconccpt of constructibl csct 296
2 1hc hypothcsis of constructibility 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|arly 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 vcridicity > > 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
stratcgy > ¯ ¯
I Fundamcnta| quasi - complctc situation >¯ 8
2 1hc conditions. matcrial and scnsc >62
> Corrcct subsct , orpart , 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|onby thc
ind|scern|b|c >78
¯ 1hc fundamcntal s|tuat|on|s a µart ofany
gcncr| ccxtcns| on, andthc|nd| sccrnib| c 2 | san
elcmcntofanygcnct| 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|bihty >86
Part VIII Forcing: Truth and the Subject. Beyond
Lacan
> ¯ 1hcory ol thc Subj cci >9 l
l Subj cct|v|zat|on: |ntcrvcnt|on andopcraroiof
fa|thfu| conncct|on >92
2 Chancc, fromwh|ch anytruth is wovcn, |s thc
mattcrofthc subj cct >94
> Subj cctandtruth. ind|sccrn|bi|ityand
nom|nat|on >96
4 Ycrac|tyandtruth from thc standpo|nt of thc
fa|thfulprocedurc. forc|ng 400
¯ Subj 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 410
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 Frrancy of cxccss ( J, 420
¯ Abscnt|ngand ma|ntcnancc o||ntt|ns|c
quant|ty 42>
i x
BEI NG AND EVENT
6 Frrancyo| cxccss ( 2; 42 ¯
7 iromthci ndisccrn| b| eto thcundcc|dab|c 426
>7 Lcscartcs/ Lacan 4> l
Appcndixcs
I Pr| ncip|cofminima| | ty |or ordina|s 44l
2 A rc| ation. or a funct|on. is so|clya pure
mu| tiplc 44>
> Ectcrogcnclty of thc cardi na| s. rcgu| ari tyand
singu| arity 448
4 Fvcry ordina| is constructib|c 4¯ >
¯ On absolutcncss 4¯6
6 Pr|mitivcsigns ol |ogic and rccurrcncc on thc
|cngth offormu| as 4¯9
7 iotcingof cqua| | ty fo namcs ofthc nomi na|
rank 0 462
8 Fvcrygcncriccxtcnsion ofa quas| - comp|ctc
situat| onisitsc| fquasi comp|ctc 467
9 Comp|ction ofthcdcmonstrationof ¸ p�o) ¸

(
witIin a gcncriccxtcns|on 47 l
l 0 Abscntlng of a card| na| o o! 5 | n a gcocr| c
cxtcns| on 47>
I I Ncccssary condition for a cardina| to bc
abscntcd | na gcncr| ccxtcnsion 47¯
l 2 Card| na| ityofthcan¡icha| nsof cond| t| ons 477
Notcs 48 l
Llctl onary 498
Author's Preface
Soonitwi | | havcbccntwcntyycarss| ncc!pub| i shcdthi sbooki nFrancc.
At that momcnt ! was quitc awarc of having writtcn a grcat ' book of
ph|losophy !fc|tthat! hadactua|lyachicvcdwhat! hadsctouttodo. Not
w|thoutpridc. ! thought that I had inscribcd my namc i n thc history of
phBosophy. andi nparticu|ar. in thchistoryofthoscphilosophica| systcms
whicharcthcsubj cctofintcrprctationsandcommcntaricsthroughoutthc
ccnturics .
1hat a| most twcnty ycars | atcr thc book i s t obcpublishcd i n Fng| ish.
aftcrhavingbccn pub| isbcd in Portugucsc !ta| i an and Spanish. andj ust
bcforci t is publishcd i n Gcrman. is ccrtain| y not a proof of i mmorta|ity1
ßut cvcn so. itis a proofofconsistcncyand rcsistancc. far morc sothanif
! hadbccnsubj ccttoimmcdiatctranslation÷which can alwaysbca 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 cightics. in fu| |
l ntcl| cctua| rcgrcss| on. What was fashl onab| c was moral phi|osophy dis
guiscdaspo|l tl calphllosophyAnywhcrcyouturncdsouconcwasdcfcnd
i ng human rights. thc rcspcct for thc othcr. and thc rcturn t o Kant.
!nd|gnant protcstswcrc madc about total|tariani sm' and a unitcd front
wasasscmb|cd againstradica| Fvi|. A kindof|| abbyrcactionaryphilosophy
|nsinuatcd itsclf cvcrywhcrc, a companion to thc dissol ution ofburcau
craticsoci a| i sml nt hcUS3R. thcbrcakncckcxpansionoIt hcworldnnancc
markc¡ and thc a|most g|obal para|ysis of a po| . ti ca| thinklng of cman
cipation.
xi
xii
BEING AND EVENT
1hc situation was actuallyquitcparadoxical On onc hand, dominat|ng
pub|icopinion. onchaddcmocracy÷initscntirclycorruptrcprcscntativc
and clcctoral totm÷and trccdom rcduccd to thc trccdom to tradc and
consumc. 1hcscconstitutcdthcabstractunivcrsalityotourcpoch. 1hatis,
thisallianccbctwccnthcmarkctandparliamcntarism÷what ! cal l capi
ta| oparliamcntarism÷tunctioncdasitthcon|ypossiblcdoctrinc, andon
aworldwidcsca| c. Onthcothcrhand, onchadthcwidcsprcadprcscnccot
rclativism Lcclarations wcrc madc tothcctlcct that all culturcswcrcot
thcsamcvaluc, thata| l communit|csgcncratcdvalucs, thatcvcryproduc-
tionotthcimaginarywasart, thatal l scxualpracticcswcrctormsotlovc,
ctc. ln short, thc contcxtcombincdthc violcnt dogmatism otmcrcantilc
dcmocracy withathorouglgoingsccpticismwhichrcduccdthccttcctsot
truthto particu| ar anthropologica| opcrati ons. Conscqucntly, philosophy
was rcduccd to bcing cithcr a laborious j ustihcation ol thc univctsal
chatactcr ot dcmocratic va|ucs. or a linguistic sophistry lcgitimating thc
righttoculturalJcrcncc againstanyunivcrsalistprctcnsiononthcpart
otttuths .
My book, howcvcr. by mcans ot a wcighty dcmonstrativc apparatus,
madctoutathrmationsthatwcntcntirclyagainstthc|l owotthisordinary
phi|osophy.
l . Situations arc nothing morc, in thcir bcing, than purc indittcrcnt
multipliciti cs. Conscqucntly i t is pointlcss to scarch amongst dIfcr
cnccs tor anything that might play a normativc rol c ! t truths cxist,
thcy arc ccrtainly | ndittcrcnt to dit|ctcnccs. Cul tural tclativism
cannotgobcyondthctrivialstatcmcntthatdi ttcrcntsituationscxist.
!t docs not tc| l us anything about what, among thc dittcrcnccs,
lcgltlmatclymattcrs to subj ccts.
2. 1hcstructurc otsituationsdocsnot. in itsc|t, dclivcranytruths. By
conscqucncc. nothing normativc can bc drawn trom t hc simplc
rcal|st cxamination o| thc bccoming ot things. !n particular, thc
victory ot thc markct cconomy ovcr p|anncd cconomics, and thc
progrcssion ot parliamcntarism ( which in tact i s quitc mi nor. and
ottcn ach| cvcd by violcnt and arti|lcial mcans , , do not constitutc
argumcntsi ntavourotoncorthcothcr A truthi ssolclyconstitutcd
by ruptur|ng wlth thcordcrwhich supports it. ncvcras an cttcct ol
thatordcr. l havc namcd thistypcotrupturcwhichopcnsuptruths
thc cvcnt Authcntic philosophy bcgins, not in structural tacts
( cultural. linguistic, constitutional. ctc, , but uni qucly in what takcs
AUTHOR'S PREFACE
pl accandwhatrcmains in thcformofa strictlyincalculablc cmcr
gcncc.
>. Asubj ccti snothingothcrthananactivcñdclitytothccvcntoltruth.
1his mcans that a subj cct is a militant of truth. I philosophically
foundcd thc notion of militant at a timc whcn thc conscnsus was
thatanycngagcmcntofthis typc was archaic. Notonly di dI found
this notion, butI considcrably cnlargcdi t. 1hc militantofa truthi s
not onl y thc pol itical militant working for thc cmancipation of
humanity i n its cntircty 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 any prc-
constitutcdprcdicatcofthcsituationinwhichthattruthi sdcploycd.
i s to bc callcd 'gcncric . I othcrwords, although it i s situatcd in a
world, a truth docs not rctain anything cxprcssiblc from that
situation. A ttuthconccrnscvcryoncinasmuchasiti sa mul t| plicity
thatnoparticularprcdicatccancircumscribc. 1hcinñnitcworkofa
truth is thusthat ola gcncricproccdurc . Andto bc a Subj cct ( and
nota si mpl cindividual animal , 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 inhnityofpurc
multip|cs I took tools trom Cantors sct thcory. 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 snothingothcrthanpurcmultiplicity. iti s|cgitimatctosaythatontology,
thc scicncc ofbcing quabcing. is nothing othcr than mathcmatics itsclf.
1hlslntrusionollormallsmp| accdmcl na paradoxlcalposltion. Itlswc||
known thatfordccadcswc havc livcdinanartincialopposit|onbctwccn
Anglo Amcricanphi|osophy, whichi ssupposcdlyrationalist, bascdonthc
formal analysis of languagc and mathcmatizcd l ogic. and contincntal
philosophy, supposcdly on thc bordcr of |rrationalism, and bascd on a
l|tcrary and poctic scnsc of cxprcssion Quitc rcccntly 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////|q 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/n¡ 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/n¡
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 µh||osoph|ca| conccpt. Of coursc µhi|osoµhy | s not
thcrcby rcduccdtothcro|cofa µassivcrcccµtac| c. | tdocsrcta|na cho|cc
ovcrwh|cI truthµroccdurcs|tnamcsasthc cond|t|ons for|tsconccµtua|
construct|on, and this construct|on must rcma|n cons|stcnt. lh||osoµhy
thusrcma|ns anact|vcµartncr| nthc affa|r.
lt|sthcmu|t|µ||cat|onofµh||osoµhyscond|t|onswh|cha||owsBad|outo
µu||offthcd|fhcu|ttr|ckofafnrm|ngthctasksandscopcofµh||osoµhy÷to
th|nk occurrcnccs of thought |n art, µo| |t|cs, sc|cncc and |ovc÷without
c|rcumscr|b|ng |ts rca|m andass|gning |ta sct ofµropcrobj ccts . |nothcr
words, Bad|oumanagcstorcncwandafhrmthcsµcc|hc|tyofµh| |osoµhy
w|thout un|fying |ts hc|d. truth µroccdurcs cannot bc ass|gncd to any
un|hcdtota||ty,andcannot,|nthc|rµart|cu|ar|ty.bcµrcd|ctcdandthus| | m-
| tcd.
Forcxamµ|c, a|though thcµroµos|t|on mathcmat|cs | s onto|ogy' may
havcthcscope of sµccu|at|vc mctaphys|cs, |t |s non-sµccu|at|vc prcc|sc|y
bccausc |t subj ccts µh| |osoµhy to unforcsccablc non- µh||osoµh|ca| con
stra|nts. thosc|nhcrcnttoaxiomat|zcdsctthcory |n |ts dctcrm|nat|onola
µoss|b|cthoughtof|ncons|stcntmu|t|µ||c|ty. ln Lacan|antcrms, |tsubj ccts
µh||osoµhytothcrca/ofmathcmat|cs,and|ntwoforms. hrst, |nthatofthc
|mµasscs÷suchasRussc| | s paradox÷wh|ch forccd thc ax|omat|zat|onof
sctthcoryanddctcrm|ncd|tsshaµc,andsccond, | nthcformofunµrcdict-
ab|cfuturccvcnts| nthchc|dofmathcmat|csthatmayhavc|mµ||cat|ons
forthc mctaonto|og|calapµaratus sct out|nBc/n¸ andLvcn/.'
Bad|ou s µroµoscd rc|at|on bctwccn µh||osophy and |ts cond|t|ons has
ccrta|n|ygivcnr|sctocontrovcrsy. Uc|cuzc, no|css, obj cctcdthatBad|ou s
µh||osoµhy was dominatcd by 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|ogy attcmµts to
construct philosophical concepts which are parallel to the structures of set
thcory, thcnBad|ou docscngagc|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/o¸y. wha///ndo]on/o/ogy /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///n¸ 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 /hrou¸htheir 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//n¸cnq 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/n¡and
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 |on¸
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 /hcoqo]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/.¸/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/n¸. ' ¯
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/cuzc, . 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/·¡ue/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|·¡uí/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/cs, .
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/¡uc/
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 cc¡a/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 ¸resso 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/n¸/non /c/n¸//hou¸h/( 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///¡uc.
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/q. 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/n¡u/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/n¡. 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 ¡ua
|c/n¡.
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//q
( 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/n¸ma/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///¡ucof |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/n¸
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/¸/na//yscpara/cd
]rom en/o/o¸y. 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/n¸. 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 symp/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/n¸ 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 ]ra¸mcn/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
¸cncr/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 >6, , 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 ¡cncr/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/n¸ 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 hcncccssary passagc through fragmcnts ofmathcmat|cs i s
rcquircd | n ordcr to sc/ c¿ wi thi n a poi nt of cxccss. that symptomat|c
torsion ol bci ng wh|ch i s a truth within thc pcrpctua| | y total wcb of
know|cdgcs. 1hus. |ct | tbc undcrstood. my discoursc is ncvcr cpistcmo-
log|ca| , nor |s it a phi losophyc]mathcmati cs. llthatwcrcthc cascl would
havc discusscd thc grcat modcrn schoo| s of cpistcmo| ogy ( formal|sm.
|ntui ti oni sm. ñni t| sm. ctc. ¡ . 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 ng thus sprcad outand
d|sscctcd. hcrc onc must a||ow mc. without tipp|ng thc cntcrpri sc ovcr
into cpistcmo|ogy ( no morc than that of Bcidcggcrs cntcrprisc |nto a
simplcacsthctics ¡ . 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 sayi ng of bc|ng
occurs. in a tcmpora| cxccss ovcr itsc|f, as a truth÷a|ways art|stic.
scicnt|ñc. po| i tica| oramorous .
lt is a prcscription of thc t| mcs. thc possi bi || ty ofci t|ngmathcmat|cs i s
ducsuch that trut handt hcsubj cctbcthinkab|ci nthci rbcing. Al l owmc
to say that thcsc ci tat|ons. a| l th|ngs consi dcrcd. a rc morc uni vcrsally
acccssiblcand un| voca| than thosc ofthcpocts.
8
1his book. in conform|ty to thc sacrcd mystcry of thc 1rin|ty. is thrcc-
i n onc' . lt i s made up o| th| rty- 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| c, . thcthcmaticautonomyofeach dcvc|opmcnt. and
a mcthodof cxpos| ti on wh|ch avo|ds passi ngby 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 typcsof
mcditati on. Ccrtai n mcdi tat| ons cxposc. l|nk and unfo|d thc organ|c
conccpts ofthc proposcd traj cctory ofthought. Lct's cal l thcm thcpurcly
conceptua| mcd| tati ons. Othermcditations | ntcrpret on a si ngu| arpoint.
tcxtsfromthc grcat historyofph|losophy ( in ordcr. c|cvcn namcs . Plato.
Aristot|c. Spinoza. ucgc| . Ma|larme. Pascal, Bo|dcrlin. Lc|bniz. Rousscau.
LcscartesandLacan, . |ct'sca||thcscthetcxtua|mcd. tations . i| na| |y.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, butdry, torcadon|ythcconccptua| mcditations.
Bowcvcr, thc proof that mathcmatics is onto|ogy i s not cntirc|y
dc|ivcrcdthcrcin, andcvcni fthcintcrconnectiono|manyconccpts
i s cstab|ishcd. thcir actua| origin rcmains obscurc. Morcovcr. thc
pcrtincnccofthisapparatustoatransvcrsa| rcadingofthchistory of
phi| osophy÷whichcou| dbc opposcdtothatofuci dcgger÷is| cft in
suspcnsc.
÷ ! ti sa| mostpossib|cto rcadthctcxtua| mcditationsa|onc, butatthc
priccofa scntimcntofintcrprctativc discontinuity, andwithoutthc
p|acc ofthc i ntcrprctationsbcinggcnuinc| yundcrstandab| c. Such a
rcadngwou| dtransformthisbookintoa co||cctionofcssays, 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| ythc 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|
intcrprctationsonccthcyarcno| ongcrti cdtothc conccptua| body.
1hisbookwou| dbctransformcdintoa c|osc studyand commcntary
ola fcw crucia| fragmcntsofsct thcory.
For philosophyher

tobccomca circu|ationthrough thc rcfcrcntia|÷as
I havcadvanccd÷onc mustmakconc's waythrougha||thcmcditations.
Ccrtain pai rs. howcvcr , conccptua| + tcxtua| , or, conccptua| + mcta
onto|ogica| ; . arc no doubtquitcpractical .
Mathematics hasaparticu| arpowcrtobothfascinatcandhorrifywhich!
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 clcmcntary
familiaritywithforma| |anguagc÷thcpcrtincntprincip|csandconvcntions
arcl ai douti ndctai| inthc tcchnica|notc' whichfol| owsMcditation3.
Convinccd, a| ongwiththccpistcmo|ogists, thata mathcmatica|conccpt
on|ybccomcsi ntc| | |gib|concconccomctogripswithitsusci ndcmonstra
tions, ! havc madca pointofrcconstitutingmanydcmonstrations . I havc
also left some more delicate but instructivc dcductivc passagcs for thc
appcnd|xcs. !n gcncra|. assoon as thc tcchnicality of thc proof ccascs to
19
20
BEI NG AND EVENT
transport thought that is uscful bcyond thc actual proof, l procccd no
furthcrwi ththc dcmonstration. 1hc hvc mathcmatical bulwarks uscd
hcrc arcthcfol|owing.
- 1hcaxiomsofsctthcory, introduccd, cxplaincdandaccompanicdby
a philosophicalcommcntary ( partsl andll, thcnlVandV, . 1hcrci s
rcally no difñcu|ty hcrc foranyonc, savc t hat which cnvclops any
conccntratcd thought.
- 1hcthcory ofordina| numbcrs ( part lll ¡ . 1hc samcappl i cs.
- Afcwindicationsconccrningcardina|numbcrs ( Mcditation26, . lgo
a bitquickcrhcrc, supposingpracticc i ncvcrything whichprcccdcs
this sccti on. Appcndix 4 complctcs thcsc i ndications, morcovcr. i n
mycycs, it is ofgrcat|ntrinsicintcrcst.
- 1hc constructiblc ( Mcditation29;
- 1hcgcncr|candforcing ( Mcditations >>, >4, and> 6i .
1hcsc|asttwocxpositionsarcbothdccisivcandmorcintricatc. But thcy
arcworththccffortandlhavctricdtouscamodcofprcscntationopcnto
all cfforts. Many of thc tcchnical dcta|ls arc placcd i n an appcndix or
passcdovcr.
l havc abandoncd thc systcm of constraining, numbcrcd footnotcs. if
you intcrrupt thc rcadingby a numbcr, whynot put intothc actual tcxt
whatcvcryouarci 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 ctionary of conccpts maybcfound.
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 µ//0//condi ti ons of
a ny possi bl e ontol ogy
Sincc i t s Parmcni dcan organi zati on. ontology 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| | ymu| ti p| c. wha/prcscntsi tsc| fi scsscnti a| l yonc. 1hc rcciprocity
of thc onc and bci ng is ccrtai n| y thc inaugura| axiom of phi | osophy
÷Lci bni z's formu| ati on i s cxcc||cnt. What i s not a bci ng i s not a
b./nµ ÷yct 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| arj oy 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| f¡ asbc| ng'Onthcothcr
hand. i fprcscntati on i s. thcn thc mu| ti p| c ncccssari |y i s. !t lo| | ows that
bcingi s no| ongcrrcci proca|wi ththconcandthusi t i s no| ongcrncccssary
to cons|dcrasoncwha/prcscntsi tsc| f. inasmuch asi t i s . 1hi sconclusi onis
cqual|yunacccptab|ctothoughtbccauscprcscntati oni s on| y|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 | osophyi 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 symbo| i c. that /hcrc /s
0ncncss . Fvcrythi ng turns on mastcringthcgapbctwccnthcprcsupposi
tlon( thatmustbc rcj cctcd, olabci ngolthconcandthcthcsi soli ts thcrc
i s ' . What could thcrcbc. whi ch i snot' Strict|y spcaking. i t i s a| rcadytoo
23
24
BEI NG AND EVENT
much to say 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 ycx| sts as
opcra//on !nothcrwords. thcrc isnoonc, onlythccount- as- onc. 1hconc,
bci ng an opcrat| on, is ncvcr a prcscntation. ! t sHoul d bc takcn qui tc
scriously that thc onc' is a numbcr And yct. cxcept i | wc pythagorizc,
thcrcisno causctopos|tthatbcingquabcingi snumbcr Locs thismcan
that bcing is not mult| plc e| thcr' Strictly spcaking. ycs, bccauscbcing i s
on| ymultiplc | nasmuch as| toccurs i nprcscntation.
!n sum. thcmultip| c| sthcrcgimcofprcscntation,thconc, inrcspcctto
prcscntat| on, is an opcrational rcsul t. bcing |s what prcscnts ( |tscll ¡ . On
thisbas| s. bc| ngisncithcronc ( bccausconlyprcscntationitsc|fispcrtincnt
to thc count- as- onc, , nor mult|plc ( bccause thc mul tiplc is so/c/y thc
rcgimco|prcscntation¡ .
Lct' s n x thc tcrminology. ! tcrm s//×a//on any prcscntcd multiplicity.
Crantcd thc cf|cctivcncss of thc prcscntat|on, a situation i s thc placc of
taking-placc, whatcvcr thc tcrms of thc multiplicity in qucsti on. Fvcry
situationadmitsitsownpart| cularopcratorofthccount - as- onc. 1hisisthc
mostgcncraldcnn| tion ofa s/r×c/×rc. i t i swhatprcscribcs, foraprcscntcd
multiplc. thc rcgimcofitscountas- onc.
Whcnanyth| 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 yct a
numbcr' Onc must not forgct that cvcry situation is structurcd. 1hc
multiplc|srctroactivclylcgiblcthcrcinasan/cr/ortothconc, i nsofarasthc
count - as- one i s al ways a rcs×/t 1hcfact that the one i s anopcrat. onal lows
usto saythat tHcdomain ofthcopcrat|on | snot onc ( forthc onc/sno/, ,
and thatthcrcforc th|sdoma| n |s multiplc. si ncc, w//h/nprcscn/a//on. what
is not one is ncccssarily multiplc !n othcr words, thc count - as onc ( thc
structurci installs thcunivcrsalpcrtincncc o|thc onc/ multiplccouplcfor
anysituation.
What will havc bccn countcd as onc, on thc basis of not having bccn
onc, turns outto bcmultipl c.
!tisthcrcforcalwaysi nthcaftcr-cffcctofthccountthatprcscntationi s
uniquclythinkablcasmul 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 sanothcrwayof putting thi s. t hcmul tiplc i st hcincrtia which
canbc rctroactivclydisccrncdstartingfromthcfactthatthc opcrationof
thccount- as- oncmustcffcctivclyopcratci 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 tcanonlyopcratc. As such i tfounds,
bchind itsopcration, thc statusofprcscntation÷it i softhc ordcrofthc
multiplc.
1hc multiplc cvidcntly splits apari hcrc multiplc i s i ndccd said of
ptcscntation, i nthati ti srctroactivclyapprchcndcd 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 by thc action of
structurc. 1hcrc i s thc multiplicity o| i ncrti a, that of prcscntation, and
thcrc i sal sothcmultiplicity ofcompositionwhi chi sthatofnumbcrand
thc cffcct ofstructurc.
Lct' s agrcc to tcrm thc nrst /ncons/s/cn| mu//|p//c/q and thc sccond
cens/s/cn/mu//|p//c/q.
A situation ( which mcans a structurcdprcscntation, i s, rclativc to thc
samc tcrms, thcir doubl c mul tiplicity. i nconsistcnt and consi stcnt 1his
dualityi scstabl i shcdi nthcdistributionofthccount as onc. inconsistcncy
bcforc and consistcncy a|tcrwards. Structurc i s both what obligcs us to
considcr, viarctroaction. thatprcscntationi sa multiplc ( inconsistcnt , and
whatauthorizcsus. viaanticipation. tocomposcthctcrmsofthcprcscnta
tion asunits of a multiplc ( consistcnt , . lt i sclcar|y rccognizablc thatthis
distribution of obligation and authorization makcs thc onc÷which is
not÷intoa /aw. lti sthcsamcthingtosayofthconcthati ti snot. andto
saythatthconci 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. Ontology, i f i t cxists. i s a
sltuation. Wc immcdiatclynndoursc|vcs caught in a doublc difnculty.
On thc onc hand, a situation i s a prcscntation. Locs this mcan that a
prcscntationofbci ng as such is ncccssary' !t scems rathcrthat bcing' i s
includedi nwhat anyprcscntationpresents Onecannot seehowi t could
bc prcscntcd¡uab:/n¸.
25
26
BEI NG AND EVENT
0n theothcrhand. ifontology÷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/ng | cad us sttaight back i nto thosc
aporiasi nwhich sophistrysoldcrsthcrcciprocityofthc oncandbci ng' !f
theoncisnot. bcingso| clythcopcrationofthc count. mustn' toncadmit
thatbcing/sno|onc'Andi nthiscasc. i s|tnotsubtractcdfromcverycount'
Bcsidcs. this i scxact|y what wc arc saying whcn wc dcclarcithctcrogc
ncoustothcoppositi onofthc onc andthc mu| tiplc
1his may alsobcput asfollows. thcrcisnostructurc ofbcing.
lt i s at thi spoi ntthatthe Grcat1cmptation ariscs. a tcmptati onwhich
philosophical ontologics' . historically. havc not rcsistcd. it consists i n
removing thc obstac|c byposi ngthat ontology isnot actual| ya situation.
1o saythatonto| ogy isnota situationistosignify thatbcingcannotbc
signincdwithinastructurcdmult|p|c. andthatonl yancxpcri cnccsituatcd
beyond 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- suprcmcly-bci ng. | nthcintclligiblc rcgi on. i sforal | that E7EXHVa
T�S ovutaS, bcyondsubstancc . 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 vcry i dca' ity of thc ldca
maintainsitsbeing ( Elva, ) , andwhichthcrcforc. notallowingitsclftobc
knownwithinthcarticu| at| onsolthcplacc. canon| ybcsccn orcontcm
platcdbya gazcwhi chis thc rcsult ofan i nitiatoryj ourncy.
l oftcn come across this path of thought lt i s wc|| known that. at a
con:cp/ua| l cvcl it may bc found in ncgative thco| ogics. for which thc
cxtcriority to s| tuation of bcing is rcvea|cd | n its hctcrogcncity to any
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|terity whi ch i nstitutcs t He Oncof being. torn from t hc multip| e. and
namcable cxclusivcly as absolutc Othcr. From thc poi nt of vi ew of
cxpcr/cncc. thispathconsccratcsitsclftomystica|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¯ beingy thus
the annu|mcnt of al l funct|ons olt hccount of One. Fina| | y. in tcrms of
/an¡uagc. 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 sprccisclywhat
callsmctorc]asctoccdconwhatcontradictsi tthroughandthrough. !will
maintain. andi ti sthcwagcrofthisbook. thaton/c/o¸y/sas//aa//on. ! will
thus havc to tcsolvc thc two maj or difncultics cnsuing from this option
÷thatofthcprcscntationwithinwhichbcingquabcingcanbcrationally
spokcnofandthatofthccountas onc÷rathcrthanmakingthcmvanish
inthcpromiscofancxccption. !f! succccdi nthistask. !wi l lrcfutc. point
by point. thc conscqucnccs of what ! will namc. from hcrc on. thc
ontolog|csofprcscncc÷forprcscnccisthccxactcontraryofprcscntati on.
cenccp/aa//y. it i s wi thi n thc posi ti vc tcgimc of prcdication. and cvcn of
formalization. that ! will tcstify to thc cxistcncc of an ontology 1hc
cxpcr/cn.c will bc onc of dcduct|vc invcntion. whcrc thc rcsult. far from
bcing thc absolutc singularity of saintlincss. wil| bc fully transmissiblc
withinknowlcdgc. Finally. thc /an¸aa¸c. rcpcalinganypocm. willposscss
thcpotcntialofwhatFrcgcnamcdidcography.1ogcthcrthccnscmblcwill
opposc÷to thc tcmptation of prcscncc÷thc rigour of thc subtractivc. i n
whichbcingi ssai dsol clyasthatwhichcannotbcsupposcdonthcbasisof
anyprcscnccorcxpcri 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
constraincdtobcsayablc. forhumanity. 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
paradoxcsofontologyasa situation 0fcoursc. i t coul dbc saidthatcvcn
abookofthissizci snotcxccssivcforrcsolvingsuchparadoxcs. farfromi t .
!nanycasc. l ct usbcgin.
!f thcrccannotbcaprcscntat|ono]bcingbccauscbcingoccurs in cvcry
ptcscntation÷andthisi swhyit docsnotprcscnt//scq¯thcn thcrc is onc
solution lcft |or us. that thc ontological s|tuation bc /hc prcscn/a//on o]
prcscn/a|/on. !f. i nfact. thi si sthecasc. thcnitisquitcpossiblcthatwhati s
atstakcinsucha situationisbcingquabcing. insolarasnoacccsstobcing
i soffcrcdto us cxccptprcscntations. At thcvcry | cast. a situation whosc
27
28
BEI NG AND EVENT
prcscntativcmultiplcisthat ofprcscntationitsclfcoul dconstitutcthcplacc
fromwhichal l possiblc acccss tobcingis graspcd.
Butwhatdocsi tmcanto saythata prcscntationi sthcprcscntationof
prcscntation'ls thiscvcnconccivablc'
1hconlyprcdicatcwc havcapplicdtoprcscntationsofari sthatolthc
multipl c. ! fthconcisnotrcciprocalwithbcing, thcmultiplc, howcvcr, i s
rcciprocal withprcscntation, i nits constitutivcspl i tintoinconsistcntand
consistcntmultiplicity. Ofcoursc. i na structurcdsituation÷andthcyarc
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 onc, . Prcscntation i n gcncral i s morc latcnt on thc sidc of
inconsistcnt multiplicity. 1hc l attcr allows, within thc rctroaction of thc
count,a kindofincrtirrcducibilityofthcprcscntcd multiplctoappcat, an
irrcducibility of thc domain of thc prcscntcd- multiplc for which thc
opcrationofthc count occurs.
0n this basis thc following thcsis may bc infcrrcd. il an ontology 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. ontology
can bc solcly/hc/hcoqo]/ncons/s/cn/ma///p//c|//cs assuch. As such mcans
thatwhatisprcscntcdi nthc ontologicalsituationisthcmultip|cwithout
anyothcrprcdicatcthanitsmultiplicity.Ontology,insofarasitcxists, must
ncccssarilybcthcscicncc 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| ty÷thc onc i s onl y thcrc as a rcsul t. 1o composc thc
multiplcaccordingtothconcolal aw÷ola structurc÷isccrtainlytolosc
bcing. i| bcing i s solcly in situation as prcscntation of prcscntation in
gcncra|thatis, ofthcmultiplcquamultiplc,subtractcdfromthconcinits
bcing.
For the multiplc to bc prcscntcd, is it not ncccssarythatitbc inscr|bcd
i nthc vcry law itscllthat thc onc/sno/' And thatthcrcforc, in a ccrtain
manncr, thc multiplc÷dcspitc its dcst|ny bcing that of constituting thc
pl acc i n whichthc onc opcratcs (thc thcrc is of thcrc is 0ncncss' , ÷bc
itsell without onc' !t is such which is glimpscd i n thc inconsistcnt
dimcnsion olthc multiplc ofanysituation.
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 mposcdbythlsdlf|i cu|tymaybc summarizcd
l ntwo thcscs. prcrcquisltcs foranyposslblcontol ogy
1 . 1hcmultiplcfromwhichontologymakcsupltssituatloniscomposcd
so|cly ol multiplicit|cs . 1hcrc ls no onc ! n otlcr words. cvcry
multlplcisa mu| tlp|c ofmultiples.
2. 1hccount- as oncisnomorcthanthcsystcm ofcondltionsthrough
whichthcmu| tip| c can bcrccognlzcdas mu|tlpl c.
Mind thlssccondrcquircmcnti scxtrcmc. Whatitactuallymcanslsthat
what ontology counts as onc i s not a multlp|c i n thc scnsc in which
ontologywoul 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 ogywoulddlctatcthccondltlonsundcrwhi ch a mu///p/cmadc
up a mu| tip| c. No. What is rcqulrcd is that thc opcrational structurc of
ontologydiscernthcmultip|cwithouthavlngtomakca oncoutofl t. and
thcrcforcwi thoutposscsslngadcnnltlonofthcmu| ti pl c. 1hccount-asonc
must stipulatc that cvcrything it | cgislatcs on is mu| tl p| i city of mul tl
pllcltics. and it must prohibit anythlng 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 any manncr. bc
cxpllclt .ltcannotstatc ! onl yacccptpurcmultipllci ty' . bccausconcwould
thcnhavctohavcthccritcria. thcdcnnltlon, ofwhatpurc mu| tipllc|tyls.
Oncwouldthuscountit asoncandbclngwou| dbc l ost agaln. slncc thc
prcscntatlonwouldccasctobcprcscntatlonofprcscntat| on. 1hcprcscrl p
tlon ls thcrcforc tota|ly imp|lclt. !t opcratcs such that it l s onl y cvcr a
mattcrofpuremultip|cs. yct thcrcls nodcnncdconccptofthcmu| ti pl cto
becncountcrcdanywhcre.
Whatls a law whoscobj cctsarc lmpliclt'Aprcscriptionwhi chdoesnot
namc÷ln itsvcry opcratlon÷tlatalonctowhichittolcratcsappllcatlon'
ltlscvldcnt|ya systcm 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 by tbclr compositlon. i t so happcns that t hcre l s a
dc]ac/oprohibltlonofcvcrycomposltionln whlch thc ru|cls btokcnanda
29
30
BEI NG AND EVENT
dc]ac/o prcscriptiono| cvcrythingwhich con|ormstothcru| c. Ancxp|icit
dcnnition o| wha/anaxiom systcm counts asonc, orcountsasi tsobj cct
oncs, isncvcrcncountcrcd.
lti sc| carthat on|yanaxi omsystcmcan 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 why an onto| ogy procccds to | nvcrt thc
consistcncy i nconsistcncy dyadwi 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| tiplicity. But thc c||cct o| thc ax| om systcm i s that o|
makingt hc| att crcons| st. asaninscribcddcp|oymcnt, howcvcr| mp| icit, o|
purcmu| tiplicity, prcscntat|ono|prcscntati on.1hi saxiomatictrans|orma
tion i nt o consistcncy avoids composition accord|ng to t hc onc. lt i s
thcrc|orcabsolutc| yspccinc. 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 thcrcby i n consists is noth| ng othcr than /mpurc
multip|icity. that is, thc multiplicity which, composablc according to thc
onc, or thc particu|ar ( plgs, stars, gods . . . ,, in any non- ontological
prcscntation÷anyprcscntationi nwhichthcprcscntcdi snotprcscntation
itscl|÷consi stsaccordingtoa dcnncdstruct urc. 1oacccdcaxiomati cal|yto
thcprcscntationo|thcirprcscntation, thcscconsistcntmultiplcso|partic
u|arprcscntations, onccpuri ncdo|al l particu| arity÷thussc| zcdbc|orcthc
count - as onco|thcs| tuat| oni nwhichthcyarcprcscntcd÷must nolongcr
posscssany othcrconsistcncythanthat o| thcirpurcmultip| icity. thati s,
thci rmodc o| | nconsistcncy wi thi nsituati ons. !t is thcrclorc ccrtai nthat
thci rpri mi ti vcconsistcncy isproh/b//cdby thcaxi om systcm, whi ch| s to
say i t is ontologica| | y l nconsistcnt. wh| lst thcir i nconsistcncy ( thcir purc
prcscntativc mu| tip|ici t y, is au/hor/zcd as onto|ogica||y consistcnt.
0nto| ogy, axi omsystcm o|thcpart| cu| arincons| stcncyo| multiplicitics,
scizcs thc i n- itsc|l o|thc mu| tiplc by lorming lnto consistcncy al l i ncon
sistcncy a nd|ormingi nto inconsistcncya| | consistcncy. ! t thcrcby dccon
structs any 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 anyacccss.
THEORY OF THE PURE MULTI PLE
ß÷wh|ch | sa part o|a÷whoseelementsva| | datet he|otmul aa¸¡ 8ut | s
there an a' 1he ax| om says noth|ng o| th| s. | t |s on| y a med| at|on by
language|rom ( supposed¡ ex|stence to ( |mp| | ed¡ ex|stence
What 2ermelo proposes as tHe language mult|pl e ex| stence knot no
longerst|pu| atesthatonthebas| so|language theex| stenceola mul t| pl e
| s|n|erred. butratherthat' anguageseparatesout. w| th| na supposedg| ven
ex| stence ( w| th| n some a| ready presented mu|t|ple¡ . the ex| stence o| a
sub- mu|t| ple
Language cannot | nduce ex|stence. solelya spl|tw| th| o ex| stence
2ermelo sax| om|sthere|oremater|al|st| nthat| t breaksw| ththengure
o| | deali ngu| stery÷whose pr|ce |s the paradox o| excess÷|n wh| ch the
ex|stent|al presentat|on o| the mult|p|e | s d| rectly | n|erred |rom a wel l -
constructed| anguage 1heax| omre-establ|shest hat | t| ssol e| yw| t h| nthe
presuppos|t|on o| ex|stence that language operates÷separates÷andthat
what| tthereby| nduces| ntermso|cons| stentmult|pl|c| ty| ssupported| n
|ts be|ng. | n an ant|c| patory manner. by a presentat|on wh| ch | s al ready
there 1he ex|stence- mult|ple ant|c|pates what l anguage retroact|vely
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 by Lacan may be
remarkedthere| n. that o|therea| ( there| s¡ andthato| thcsymbol| c( there
are some d| st| nct| ons ¡
1he|ormal st|gmatao| thea/rccdyo| a count. | ntheax| omo| separat|on.
| s|ound| ntheun|versal|tyo| the|n|t|a|quant| ñer( the|i rstcount - as - one¡ .
wh|ch subord|natestheex|stent|alquant| ner( theseparat. ngcount - as one
o| language¡
1here|ore.| t | s not essent| allythed| mens| ono | setswh| ch| s restr|ctedby
2ermelo. but rather the presentat|ve pretens|ons o| language ! sa|d that
Russell' sparadoxcouldbe| nterpretedasanexcesso| themult| pleoverthe
capac| tyo|languaget opresent|t w|thout|a' l | ng apart One coul dj ust as
wel l saythat| t | sl anguagewh| ch| sexcess|ve| nthat| t| sab| etopronounce
propert|essuchas- (< E o¡ ÷| 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|ng. | n ot her words. the
ruptureo|languageshowsthatnoth|ngcanaccedetocons| stentpresenta
t|on| nsuch a manner
1he ax| omo|separat| ontakesa standw| th| nontology÷| tspos| t| oncan
besummar|zedqu| tes| mpl y thet heoryo|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
prcscntation, i si nfcrtcd. Bcingmus t bcalrcady thcrc. s omcpurcmultiplc.
asmul tiplc of mu| tiplcs. must bc prcscntcd in ordcr for thc rulc to thcn
scparatcsomcconsistcntmu| tiplicity. itsclfprcscntcdsubscqucntlybythc
gcsturcofthc initialprcscntation
uowcvcr. a crucialqucstionrcmainsunanswcrcd. if. within thc framc
workof axiomaticprcscntation. i t i snot ont hcbasisoflanguagcthatthc
cx|stcncc ofthc mu| tiplci scnsurcd÷that i s. onthcbasisofthcprcscnta
tionthatt hcthcoryprcscnts÷thcnwhcrcist hcabsolutc| yi nitialpointof
bc|ng' Which ini ti a| multiplc has i t s cxistcncc cnsurcd such t hat t hc
scparatingfunctionoflanguagccanopcratc thcrci n'
1hisisthcwho| cprob|cmofthcsubttactivcsut urcofsctthcorytobcing
quabcing. ! t isaproblcmthat|anguagccannotavoid, andtowhichi t |cads
usby 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 .hcory 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|ollowingpropcrty , or thcrcdocs
notcxistanytcrmwhichhasthc|ollowingpropcrty , or i|thisstatcmcnt
istruc, thcnthis othcrstatcmcnt i s a| sotrue: 1hefundamental pri nciple
is that thc |ormulations |or al| and thcrc cxists only a||cct tcrms
( individua| s, andncvcrpropcrtics. !nshort, thcstricturcisthatpropcrtics
arcnotcapablc, inturn, o|posscssingpropcttics ( thi swould carryusinto
a sccond-ordcrlogic, .
1hcgtaphicrcalizationo|thcscrcqu|sitcsisaccomplishcdbythc nxation
ol nvc typcs o| sign. variablcs ( which inscribc individual s , , logical con
ncctors ( ncgation, conj unction, disj unction, implicationandcquivalcncc, ,
quantincrs( univcrsal . |oral l ' , and cxistcntia| . thctccxists , , ptopcrt|csor
rclations ( thcrc wil l onl ybctwo o|thcsc|or us. equality andbclonging, ,
andpunctuations ( parcnthcscs, braccs, a ndsquarc brackcts ,
÷ 1hc variablcs|orindvidua| s ( |orus, multiplcso r scts , 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 ncr, and3 ( cxistcn
ti a| quantincr, 1hcyarca| wayslollowcd bya 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. - ( ncgation, , - ( i mp| i ca
ti on, . o r ( di sj uncti on, . 8 ( conj uncti on, . H ( cquiva|cncc, .
- 1hc rc|ations arc = ( cqua| i ty; and E ( bc|ong| ng, . 1hcy a| ways | 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 ( , . braccs ¦ j . and
squarc brackcts ¸ j
Atormu| ai sanasscmb|agco|signswhichobcysru| cso|corrcct|on 1hcsc
ru|cs can bc str| ct|y dcnncd. but thcy 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 ß, - - ( 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 byt hc| cttcrà.
0ncvery |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||y. ß cxistcntia| |y, . 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 ß, 8
i
E a) ] ]
!trcadsi ntuiti vc| y. Fora| | a, thc cqua| i tyo|ßanda is cquiva|cnttothc
|actthatthcrccxi stsa , such that y bc|ongstoß andy a| sobc|ongst oa. '
!nthis|ormu| aa and, arcquantincdbut ßi slrcc. 1hc|ormu| ai nqucstion
cxprcsscs a prepcrj o| ß, namc|y thc |act that bc| ng cquiva|cnt to ß is
cquiva|cnt to such and such ( to what i s cxprcsscd by thc piecc o| thc
|ormu| a. ( 3y)
[
¸ E ß, 8 ¸ E a) ] ) . Wc wi | | o|tcnwritcà(a, |ora |ormu| ai n
whlch a i s a lrcc varlab| c !ntuitivc|y. this mcans that thc |ormu| a à
cxprcsscs a propcrty o| thc variab|c a. l|thcrc arc two |rcc var| ab|cs. onc
writcsà(a. ß, . wh|chcxprcsscsarc|ati onbctwccnthc|rccvariab|csa andß.
iorcxamp| c. thc|ormu| a( V,, ¸ ¸E a) or¸E 5, | . wHi chrcads a| | ,bclong
ci thcrtoa ortoß. ortobotho|thcm ( thc| og| ca| or| snotcxc| usi vc, . nxcs
a particu| arrc|ationbctwccn a anJß.
Wcwi | | a| | owoursc|vcs. aswcgoa| ong. to4c{ncsupp| cmcntarysi gnson
thc basis o| pr| m| t|vc signs. For that i t wi | | bc ncccssary 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
,, ¸ ¸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 ßlsmcre| yan
abbrcvlatlon|ora|ormu|a\(o. ß, wrlttcnunl quc| ywl thprimltlvcsl gns. and
i nwhlch a andß arc frccvar| ab|cs .
In the bodyof the tcxtthcrcadl ng ofthc |ormu| asshou| d not poseany
problcms. morcovct. thcy wl|| a|ways 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 any 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|stcncy ( thccompos|t|ono|oncs; and|ncons|stcncy ( thc
|ncrt|ao|thcdoma|n; . Eowcvct. | ncons|stcncy|snotactuallyptcscntcdas
such s|ncc al l ptcscntat|on|sundcrthcl awolthccount . !ncons|stcncyas
purc mu|t|plc|s solclythcptcsuppos|t|onthatpr|ort othc countthconc
| s not. Yct what | s cxpl|c| t |n any 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| sthctcby
not only the regime olstructured presentati on but also the regime olthe
poss|blco|ptcscntat|on|tscl|. Ina non ontolog|cal ( t husnon mathcmat
|cal;s|tuat|on, thc mult|plc|sposs|blconly|nso|aras |t |s cxpl|c|tlyordcrcd
bythclaw accord|ngtothc onco|thccount . Ins|dcthc s|tuat|on thcrci s
nograspablc|ncons|stcncywh|chwoul dbcsubttactcd|romthccountand
thus a struct urcd. Any 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|ly| dcnt|ncsbc|ngw|thwhat|sptcscntabl c, thuswlththc
poss|b|l|tyo|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 , that, | nsldcwhat
a s|tuatlon cstabl|shcs as a form of know| cdgc, bc|ng i s bclng ln thc
poss|b|l| ty of thc onc. !t |s Lclbn| z's thcs|s ( What | s not a bc| ng | s not a
bc/nµ' , wh|ch lltcral|y govcrns thc immancncc of a sltuat| on and |ts
horlzon ofvcrlty. !t| sa thcsls of thc |aw.
1hlsthcsls cxposcs ustothcfo| | ow| ngdi fncu| ty | f, l nthcl mmancnccof
as|tuat| on, ltsi ncons|stcncydocsnotcomcto|lght, ncvcrthc|css, |tscount
as- oncbclnganopcrat| onltsc|f| ndlcatcsthatthconcl sarcsult . !nsofaras
thc onc ls a rcsu| t. by ncccss|ty somcth| ng' of thc multlp| c docs not
absol utc|ycolnc| 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|ways a| rcady structurcd such that thcrc | s on| y 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|oycd|sdlsccrn|blcasopcrat| on. Andalthoughthcrcl sncvcranyth|ng
othcr÷|n a sltuatlon÷/han thc rcsult ( cvcryth| ng, | n thc s|tuat|on, ls
countcd, . what thcrcby rcsu| tsmarks out, bcforcthc opcratlon, a must
bccountcd. !t ls thc | attcr wh| ch causcs thc structurcd prcscntatlon to
wavcrtowards thcphantomof| nconslstcncy.
Ofcoursc, |t rcma|nsccrtal nthatth| sphantom÷whlch, onthcbasls of
thcfactthatbcl ng oncrcsu| ts, subt|y unhlngcs thc onc from bclng | nthc
vcry m| dst of thc sltuatlonal thcsls that only thc onc ls÷cannot | n any
manncr bc prcscntcd ltsclf, bccausc thc rcg|mc of prcscntatlon | s con
s|stcntmu|tlpllc| ty, thcrcsult ol thccount.
Byconscqucncc, sl ncc cvcrythlngi scountcd, yctg| vcnthat thconcof
thc count, obllgcd to bc a rcsult, lcavcs a phantom rcmalndcr÷of thc
mu|tlplcnotorlg|na|lybc|ng| nthcformofthconc÷onchastoal|owthat
lnsldcthcs|tuat|onthcpurcorlnconslstcntmu|tlp|clsbothcxc| udcdfrom
cvcryth|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, thatthcbcingofconslstcncy ls |nconslstcncy.
1o put |t morc clcar|y, oncc thc cnt|rcty of a sltuatlon ls subj cct to thc
law of thc onc and conslstcncy, lt l s ncccssary, from thc standpo|nt of
lmmancncctothcs|tuatlon, thatthcpurc multlp|c, abso|utc|y unprcscnt
ablc accordlng to thc count. bc nc/h/nµ. 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 ( truc, thcs|s thcrc
|s oncncss' andthc ( fa| sc, 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 ( true, thcs| s l nconsl stcncylsnoth|ng' .
andt hc , fa| sc, structura| l st or|cga|lst thcsl s l ncons| stcncy l snot . '
! t l s qul tc truc that prl or to thc count there l s nothlng bccausc
cverythlng l scount cd. Yctth| sbclng nothl ng÷whcrcln rcsldcsthci||cga|
l nconslstcncy 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| ybeassumcdthatthcc||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
thlslswhy. 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| udcdwhlchmay
bcposltlvc|y|ocatcdasaslgnorrea|o|purcmu| tl p| lclty. | sanlmpassc÷an
l | | usl on÷o| thought as l t l s ol practlcc. A sl tuatl on ncvcr proposcs
anythlng other than mu|tlp|es wovcn lrom ones. and thc | aw o| |aws ls
that nothlng l | ml ts the c||ccto|thccount
Andyct 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 conslstcncy and
lnconsl stcncy as what-wl | | havcbccn- prcscn| cd
Natura||y lt wou| dbcpol nt|cssto sct o|| ln scarch o| the nothl ng. Yct l t
mustbc sal dthatthl sls cxact|ywhatpoctry cxhaustsl tsc| fdol ng. thl sl s
wbatrcnderspoetry. evcnat t bemostsovere| gnpo| n| ol | t sclar| ty. cvcn| n
| t s percmptorya||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 tlsbccauscpoetrypropagatest hcldea
ofanl ntul tl ono|thenothlngl nwhl ch bcl ngwou|d rcsl dcwhcn thcrc l s
not cvcnthcsl tc|orsuch l ntul tlon÷thcy ca|| |t Naturc÷bccausc every
th|ng is conslstcnt . 1hc on| y thlng we can alll rm l s thls. cvcry 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|y mcanonc
thlng. that l t had bcen countcd as one. Yct cvcrythl ng whlch has bccn
countcdls wl thl nthcconslstcncy 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 inconsistcncy.
By 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 ncccssary that thc opcration of thc count-
asonc opcrat c. 1husi tcomcsdownto cxact|ythcsamct hingt osaythat
thcnothing|sthcopcration ofthc count÷which. assourccofthconc. is
not itsc|fcountcd÷andto saythat 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 transparcncy of thc opcration thanks to which
thcrc | s oncncss. 1hc noth| ng i s as much that of structurc. thus ol
consistcncy. as that of thc pure mu|tiplc. thus ol inconsistcncy. !t i s said
withgoodrcasonthatnothingissubtractcdfromprcscntation. bccauscit
is onthcbas|s ofthclattcr' sdoublcj 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' . rccognizing its cxtrcmc difnculty for thought
Whatisat stakci sanunprcscntab|cyctncccssaryngurcwhichdcsignatcs
thc gap bctwccn thc rcsult onc of prcscntation and that on thc basis ol
which'thcrcisprcscntat| on. that| s. thcnon- tcrmofanytota|ity. thcnon
onc ol any 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 dalrcady
bcincxactt ospcako|thisnothingasapointbccauscitisncithcr|oca|nor
g|obal . butscattcrcd a| | ovcr. nowhcrc andcvcrywhcrc it issuchthat no
cncountcrwou| d authorizc | ttobc hcld asprcscntab| c.
! tcrm vo/4ofa situation t his sut urc to | tsbci ng Morcovcr. [ statcthat
cvcry 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
! say voi d' rathcrthan nothi ng . bccauscthc nothi ng' i s thcnamc of
thcvoi dcorrclativctothc¸/o/a/clfcctolstructurc ( cvcq/h/n¸i s countcd, .
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 by thcsc namcs. i s ncithcr local nor global . 1hc namc ! havc
choscn. thc voiJ, i ndicatcs prcciscly that nothi ng i s prcscntcd, no tcrm.
anJalsothatthedcsignati on ofthat nothingoccurs cmptily' , i tdocsnot
locatc i t structura| | y.
1hc vo| d is thc namc of bci ng÷ol i nconsi stcncy÷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|clyas
thccrrancy ofthc nothi ng.
!ti scsscntialtorcmcmbcrthatnotcrmwi thi nasi tuati ondcsignatcsthc
voiJ, andthati nthisscnscAristot|cqu| tcright|ydcclarcsinthc|hys/csthat
thcvoidi snot. i loncundcrstanJsby 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 say of thc
vo|J, non onc anJ unsubstanti a| that iti s.
! will cstabli sh |atcr on ( McJi tation l 7, that f ort hcvoi d to bccomc
loca| izablcatthc|cvclolprcscntat| on. andthuslora ccrtaintypco|intra
si tuational assumpti on of bci ng qua bc| ng to occur, a dyslunction 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| cmcntary prcrcqui si tc lor onto|ogica|
Jiscoursc,| fi tcx|sts, anJi |i tis÷as!mai nta| n÷asi tuati on( thcmathcmat
i ca| situation, . ! havcalrcadycstab|i shcJ
a that ontology is ncccssar| | y prcscntation o| prcscntati on. thus
thcory of thc purc mu| ti p| c without- onc. thcory of thc multi plc o|
mu| t| p| cs.
THE VOI D: PROPER NAME OF BEI NG
/. thati t sstructurccanonlybcthatof animpl| citcount, thcrcforcthat
ol an axi omati c prcscntati on, without a conccpt-onc of i ts tcrms
( wi thouta conccptofthcmultiplc, .
Wc can now add that /hc sc/c /c·m ]rom wh/ch on|o/o¸y s compos///ons
w//hou/conccp/wcavc/hcmsc/vcs/s ncccssar//y|hcvo|d.
Lct's cstablish thi s poi nt. lf ontology is thc parti cular si tuati on which
prcscntsprcscntation, it mustalsoptcscntthc law ofal l prcscntation÷thc
crrancy of thc void, thc unprcscntablc as non- cncountcr. Ontology wil|
only prcscnt prcscntation i nasmuch as i t providcs a thcory of thc prc
scntativcsuturctobcing, which, spcakingvcridical l y, fromthcstandpoint
of any prcscntation, i s thc vo|d i n which thc otiginary i nconsistcncy i s
subtractcd from thc count. Ontology i s thcrcforc rcqui rcd to proposc a
thcoryof thc voi d
But if it is thcory ofthc voi d, ontology. in a certai n scnsc. can on/ybc
thcory of thc voi d. 1hat i s, i fonc supposcd that ontol ogy axi omatically
prcscntcd othcr tcrms than thc voi d÷irrcspcctivc of whatcvcr obstaclc
thcrc may 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 altcrity. !f thc void i s thcmatizcd, i t must bc
accordi ng to thc prcscntation of i ts crrancy, and not i n rcgard to somc
singularity, ncccssarily full, whi ch would di sti ngui sh |t as onc w|thin a
Jiffcrcntiating count. 1he onlysolution is lor a//of thc tcrms to bc voi d
such that thcy arc composcd from thc voi d alonc. 1hc voi d is thus
distr|butcd cvcrywhcrc, and cvcrything that | s distinguishcd by thc
implicitcountofpurc multipliciticsi sa modality- 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 ontology i s thc thcory of thc purc
mul ti pl c, what cxactl y coul d bc composcd by mcans of i ts prcscntat|vc
axiom systcm' What cx/s/cn| i s scizcd upon by thc !dcas of thc multiplc
whosc axioms i nsti tutc thc |cg|slating acti on upon thc multip|c qua
multiplc' Ccrtainlynotthconc, whichi snot. Fvcrymul ti pl ci s composcd
of mu|tiplcs. 1his is thc hrstontologicallaw. Butwhcrc to start' What is
thcabsolutc|yoriginalexistcnt| alposition, thchrstcount. i fi t cannotbca
hrst cne' 1hcrc is no qucsti on about i t. thc ñrst' prcscntcd multiplicity
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 sncccssary. thcrca 0cr.thattucaxlomaticru| csolc|yauthorizc
compositions onthc basi s ol thi s mu| ti p| c o|nothing. wh|ch i s t o sayon
thcbasis of thcvoi d.
1hi rdapproach. What onto|ogythcorizcsi sthci nconsi stcntmu| t ip|c of
anysi tuat| on. thati s. thcmu|ti p| csubtractcd|romanyparticu| ar|aw. from
anycount as onc÷thc a struct mcd mu| tip| c. 1hc ptopcr modc i n which
inconsistcncywandcrswi 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| ypri marythcmco|onto| ogyi s
thcrc|orc thc voi d÷thc Grcck atomi sts Lcmocritus and hi s succcssors.
c|car|y undcrstood this÷but it i s a|so its hna| thcmc÷thi s was not thcir
vicw÷bccausc in thc | ast rcsort, all inconsistcncy i s unprcscntab| c. thus
void. !| thcrc arc atoms . thcy arc not. as thc matcri ali sts of anti quity
bc|lcvcd. a sccondprlncip|co|bcing. thconca|tcrthcvoi d. butcomposi
tionso|thcvoi di tsc| f.ru| cdbyt hci dca| |awsolthcmo|tip|cwhoscaxi om
systcml s| ai dout byontology.
Onto|ogy. t hcrc|orc. can on|y count thcvoi dascx| stcnt. 1his statcmcnt
announccs that onto|ogy dcp| oys thc ru|cd ordcr÷thc consistcncy÷o|
what i s nothingothcr than thc suturcto-bcl ng of any si tuati on. thc /ha/
wh/.h prcscntsi tsc| f. i nsofarasi nconsistcncyassi gnsi t to so|c|ybci ngthc
unprcscntablc olanyprcscntativcconsi stcncy.
!tappcarsthatinthiswayamaj orprob| cmi srcso|vcd. ! saidthati |bcing
i sprcscntcdaspurcmu|tip|c( somctimcs!shortcnthi spcri|ous|ybysaying
bci ng i s multiplc, . bcing ¡ua /c/n¡. strict|y spcaking. i s ncithcr onc nor
mu| t i p| c. Onto|ogy. 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 stosaythcpurcmu| 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/n¸ l nthcformofthcmu| ti p| c. no
morc than i n |hc form of thc onc 1his way onto|ogy statcs that
prcscntation i s ccrtain|y 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 ogyi sasi tuati on. andthus
evctyth| 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 ynti ntothe| ntta
situationa| opposition o| thc onc and thc mul tipl c. Nami ng thc voi d as
multip|ci sthconl ysol uti onl c|t bynotbc| ngablctonamcitasonc. givcn
that ont o|ogysctsoutasi tsmaj orpr| nci p| e thc |ol | ow| ng. thc onc| s not.
but any sttuctutc. cvcn thc ax| omatic sttuct ute of ontol ogy. cstab|ishcs
thatthctc atcuni qucl yoncsand 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| y to posi t that thc voi d i s
mul ti p| c. that | t is thc ntst mu|tip|c. thc vcty bcing |tom whi ch any
mu| ti p| c ptcscntat| on. whcnptcscntcd. is wovcn andnumbcrcd.
Natutal | y. bccausc thcvoid | si nd| scctn| b| casa t ctm ( bccausc it| s not
onc, . | 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 anythi 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| ogy. howcvct thc un prcscntab|c occurs within a
ptcscntativc fotcing wh| ch disposcs it as thc nothi ng |tom which cvcty
thing ptocceds. 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 any | 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/ng which i s numbetcd by
| t .
Onto|ogy commcnccs. i nc| uctably. once t hc |cgislativc ! dcas of thc
multi p| e ate un|ol dcd. by the pute uttetancc of the atbi ttari ncss o| a
propcrname. 1hisname. thi ssi gn. indcxcd tothcvoi d. i s. |n a scnscthat
willalways 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 ogy÷which is tosayofthc ma/hcma//ca/thcory of
thc multiplc, orsct thcory÷canonlybcprcscntcd, in conformitywiththc
rcqui sitionofthcconccpt ( Mcdi tat|on l , , asasystcmofaxi oms. 1hcgrand
!dcasofthcmulti p| carcthusi nauguralstatcmcntsconccrningvariablcsa,
ß. y, ctc . in rcspcct ofwhich i ti s implicit|y agrccd that thcy dcnotcpurc
multiplcs. 1hi s prcscntationcxcludcsanycxpl| 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 nthiscconomyo|prcscntationthcsi gnthat
thc ñrst pri nci p| cs ol bci ng . as Aristot|c sai d. arc as fcw as thcy arc
cruci al .
Amongst thcsc statcmcnts, onc alonc, strictly spcaking. i s cxistcnt|al.
that is, its task is to di rcctly i nscribc an cxistcncc. and not to rcgulatc a
constructionwh. ch prcsupposcsthcrca| rcadyhc| nga prcscntcd mu| ti plc.
As onc mi ght havc gucsscd, thi sstatcmcnt conccrnsthc voi d.
!nordcrtothi nkthcsi ngu| arityofthi scxi stcnti a| statcmcntonthcvoid,
lct s ñrst rap| d| y situatc thc pr|ncipa| !dcas of thc mul ti p| c, thosc with a
strictlyopcrat| ona| va| uc.
l . 1BFSAMFANL1BF O1HFR 1BFAX! 0V OFFX1FKS!ONAL!1Y
1hcax| omofcx|cnsi ona| i typositsthattwo scts arc cqua| ( | dcntica| , if thc
multi plcs of whi ch thcy arc thc mu| ti plc, thc mu| ti p| cs whosc sct
thcorcticalcountasoncthcycnsurc. 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 ary, which di sti ngui shcsbctwccn
clcmcnts' and scts , a vocabulary which conccals that thcrc arc only
mul tiplcs, thc axi om says. two scts arc i dcnt| cal if thcy havc thc samc
clcmcnts . ' But wc know that cl cmcnt ' docs not dcsi gnatc anythi ng
i ntri ns| c. all i tind|catcsi sthata mul t iplcy
i sprcscnt cdbythcprcscntati on
ofanothcrmultiplc, a, whi chiswri ttcn, e a. 1hcaxi omofcxtcns| onali ty
thusamountstosayi ng. | |every mult|plcprescntcdi ntheprescnta| i onol
a |sprcscntcdi nthatof
{
, and|hci nvcrsc, thcnthcsctwomul t| pl cs a and
ß, arc thcsamc
1hc logical arch| tccturc of thc axi om conccrns thc univcrsal i ty ofthc
asscrtionandnott hcrccurrcncc ofthcsamc. !t| ndi catcsthatif, |orcvcry
mul ti pl cy, it is cqui val cntandt husi ndiffcrcnt to afñrmt hat i t bcl ongsto
a ortoa|ñrmthati tbcl ongstoß, thcna andßarc| nd| sti ngui shabl candcan
bc comp| ctcly substi tutcd |or cach othcr. 1he /dcn//j of mul t iplcs | s
|oundcd on thc /nd/]]crcncc o|bclonging. 1hi s | swri t t cn.
(
\y) [ ( E a
)
H
(
E
{) ]

(
-=ß,
1hc di |fcrcntial mark| ng o| t hc two scts dcpcnds on what bclongs to
thcir prcscn|ati ons . But thc what ' i s always a mul | | pl c. 1hat such a
multiplc, sayy, 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 thß, cntai l st hat a andß arc coun| cd as diffcrcnt .
1hi spurcly cxtcnsi onal charactcr of t hc rcgimc of thc samc and thc
othcrisinhercnt |othcnat urco|sctthcory, bci ng thcory 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| ity 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 ty, docsnottcl l us .n anymannerwhcthcranythingcxi sts. Al
lt docs is fx, lor any possib|y 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 ty. and o| |oundatlon
whosccsscntlal mct a ont ologlcallmportanccwl|lbcsct out | atcron÷lour
other c| asslc' axl omsconstl tutca sccond catcgory. al l bcing o|t hc|orm
1akc anyscta whlchls supposcdcxi stcnt . 1hercthenex| st sa secondsct
ß. constructcd on thc basis o| a. in such a manncr. ' 1hesc axloms arc
cqua| l ycompatlb| c wlth thc non- exlstcncc o|anyth. ngwhatsocvcr. wlth
absolutcnonprescnta| l on. bccausethcysol el yi ndl cateanexlstenccundcr
thc condltion ol anothcr cxlstcncc 1he purc|y condltlonal charactcr o|
cxlstcncc | sagaln markcd by thclogicalstructurc o|thcscaxloms. whlch
arcallo|thctypc |oralla. thcrccxistsßsuchthati thasa dcnncd rclat|on
t oa ' 1hc loral | a' cvldcntlyslgnl 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 yspcaklng. thlsmcanst hat thepte]÷thclnltlal
quantincr÷o|thcscaxlomslsolthctype |ora| l . . . therc cxlsts. . . such
that. . . that ls. ( V a, ( 3f) [ . . . ] . ! t ls clcar, on thc othcr hand. that an
axi om whlch a||| rmcd an uncond|tioncd cx| stcncc would bc o|thc typc
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 y
a. The axiom of tle powerset (the set of subsets)
1hlsaxloma|nrmsthat glvcna sct thcsubsctso| thatsctcanbc count ed
as onc. thcyarca 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 ¡ areal soprcscntedbythci ni tlal multlplea. w//hou//hc/nvcrsc
/c/n¡ncccssar//y/ruc ( ot hcrwiscwcwoul dcndupwithcxtcnsi ona| l dcnti ty
agaln¡ 1hel ogl cal structurco|thisaxlomlsnot oncolequl va| cncebutonc
o| impllcation. 1hc setß | s a subsctof a÷thl slswrlttcnß c a÷l|. when,
ls an clcmento|ß. thati s. ,E ß. ltls t hcnal soel cmcnt o| a, t hus, e a. ! n
otherwords, ßc a÷whlchreads' f l sl ncl udcdl na'÷lsanabbrcvlat i ono|
t hc|ormul a. ( V,¡ ¸ (, e ß¡ � ¸ 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/on¸/n¸ ( e ) and /nc/us/on ( c) .
For thc momcnt |t ls cnough to know that the axl om o| tHcpowcrsct
guarantccsthatµasctcx|sts. /hcn anothcrsetalsocxlststhatcountsasonc
all thc subscts ol tHc nrst !n morc conccptual l anguagc l| a mul t| pl c l s
prcscntcd. thcnanothcrmultlp' clsalsoprcscntcdwhosctcrms( clcmcnts ¡
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 lnternallydlsscmlnatethcmultlplcsout
ol whlch a multlp|c makcs tHc onc o| the rcsult' 1h. s opcratlon l s thc
lnvcrse o| thatguarantccd by 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 ¡ o| al l thc
posslblc compos///onsall thc lncl uslons÷ol what ma| ntal nswlth a glvcn
sct thcrclatlono|bc| onglng. Can! systcmatlcally 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| onj ust as thcrc ls onc o|composl t| on'
h
. !sthcrea halt| ngpolnt÷g| venthatthcproccss o| dlsscml nat| on. as
wc havcj ust sccn. appcars tocontlnucto l n|i nlty'
1hc sccond qucst|on i s vcryproloond and thc rcason lor this depth ls
obvlous !ts obj 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.by
thcax| omo|thcvold. a llttlc|urthcron. andthcnbythccxamlnatlono|
thc ax| om ol|oundatl on. l nMcdltat| on 1 8.
The frst questi on is decided here by 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 ¡ .
Lsi ngthc mctaphoro| clcmcnts÷itscl|a pcrpctual l y risky substanti al
ization o|t hc rclation o| bclonging÷thc axi om i s phrascd as such. |or
cvcry 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 ncdby dccomposing into
mu|tiplcsthc multip| cswhichbclongtoit, thusby ×ncoua//n¸ -
(
'
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 vcry csscncc o| what a multiplc
uni ncs' ÷multiplcs÷and that this i s cxhibitcd by uni |yi 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 homogcncityo| bci ngi s supposcd hcncc|orth onthc
basisthatU a, whichdisscminatcsthci ni ti al onc multiplcandthcncounts
as onc what i s thcrcby disscminatcd. is no morc orl css a mult|plc itscl|
than thc initial sct. 1ust |ikcthcpowcrsct. thc uni on sct docsnoti nany
wayrcmovcus|romtHcconccpt lcssrcign o|thcmultipl c. Ncithcrlowcr
down, nor highcr up. whcthcr onc dispcrscs o gathcrs togcthcr, thc
thcorydocsnotcncountcrany thi ng' whichi shctcrogcncoustothcpurc
multiplc. Ontology announccs hcrci n ncithcr Onc. nor Al l nor Atom.
so|c| ythcuni|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|rcplaccmcntsays thc |ollowing. i |
youhavcasctandyourcp|acci tsclcmcntsbyothcrc| cmcots. youobtain
a sct.
!n its mcta ontological |ormul ati on. thc axi om o| rcplaccmcnt says
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 by onc, o| ncw
mu|tip| cs |or thc mu|tip|cs prcscntcd by 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 by giving thc consistcncy o| bcing onc mu|tip|c to somcmu| ti
p|cs, i twi | | a| soopcratc l| thcsc mu|tip|csarcrcp|accd, tcrmbytcrm, by
othcrs. 1hls ls cquiva|cntto saylngthat/hccons/s|cnço]a mu|//p/c docs no|
4cpcndupon/hcpar|/cu/armu///p/cswhescmu///p/c///s. Changc thcmu|tip|cs
and thc onc consistcncy÷wh|ch i s a rcsu|t÷rcmai ns, as | ong as you
opcratc. howcvcr. yoursubstltutlonmu|tip|cbymu| tip|c.
What sct thcory a|nrms hcrc, puri|ying 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 asCantoruscdtosay, . u| timatcstructurcd
hgurc o| prcscntati on, mainta| ns itsc|| as such, cvcn | | cvcrythlng |rom
whichit i s composcd l srcp|accd.
Onccan sccj usthowl ars ct thcorytakcsi t s vocationo|prcscntlngthc
purc mu| tip|ca| onc. tothcpolntatwhichthccount as- oncorgani zcdby
itsaxiomsystcminstltutcsitsopcrationa|pcrmancncconthcthcmco|thc
bond mu|tlp|c i n ltsc||, dcvo. d o| any spccincation o| what i t bi nds
togcthcr.
1hc mul tlp|c i sgcnuinc|y prcscntcd as|orm mu|tip|c, invarlant i n any
substltutlon which a||ccts its tcrms. ! mcan. invariant i nthat i t ls a|ways
disposcd ln thc oncbond olthcmu|tip| c.
Morc thananyothcraxi 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 ty. scparati on. subscts
or un| on docs thc axiom o| rcp|accmcnt l nducc thc cxi stcncc o| any
mu|tip| c whatsocvcr.
1hc axiom o| cxtcnslona|l ty nxcs thc rcgimc o| thc samc and thc
othcr
1hcpowerset and the uni on- set regulate i nternal composi ti ons ( subsets)
anddlsscmlnati ons ( unlon, such that thcy 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|ormityo|prcscnta-
ti onasmu| tlplc.
1hcaxlomo|scparatlonsubordlnatcsthccapacltyo|| anguagctoprcscnt
multip| cstothc|acto|thcrc al rcadybclngprcscntatl 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 systcm o| !dcas
undcr whosc | aw any prcscntatlon. as |orm o| bci ng. | cts l tscl | bc
prcscntcd. bclonglng ( unlquc pr| mitlvc ldca ultlmatc slgnl|| cr o| prc
scntcd-bcing¡ . di||crcncc. i nc| uslon. disscmlnatlon. thc| anguagc/cxlstcncc
coup| c. and substl tuti on.
Wc dc|i nitclyhavc thc cntlrc matcrla| |or an ontologyhcrc. Savc that
nonco|thcsclnauguralstatcmcntsln whlch thc |aw o|!dcaslsgivcnhas
yctdccldcdthcqucstl on !s thcrcsomcthlngrathcrthannothlng''
1 1uL V0l L. SUB1RAC1!VF SU1URL1O BLl NC
At thl spol ntthc axlomatlc dcclslon ls pari lcu| ar| y rlsky. What privi| cgc
cou| d a multiplcposscss such that it bc dcslgnatcdasthc mu| tlplc whosc
cxistcncc| slnaugurallya|nrmcd'Morcovcr. l|ltls/hcmul tlp|c|romwhich
al l thc othcrs rcsu| t by composltions ln con|ormitywlththc !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| ynrst multiplc.
alrcadybclng thc rcsult o|a composltlon'
1hls qucstlon ls nonc othcr than tha t o| thc s ut ure-tn-bei ng of a
thcory÷aslomatlca| |yprcscntcd÷o|prcscntatl on. 1hccxlstcntla|lndcxto
bc|ound |s thatbywhl chthc | cglslatlvc systcmo|!dcas÷whlch cnsurcs
that noth ng a||ccts thc purlty o| thc mu| i lp|c÷proposcs l i sc| | as thc
lnscrlbcd dcp| oymcnto|bclug quabclng
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/n¸ l n partlcu| ar. consc
qucnt| y. 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 by 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/aq cho/cc o]a propcr naoc. /hc unp·cscn/a//c a/onc as cx/s/cn/. on its
basisthe!deaswll|subsequent|ycausealladmi ssi bl elormsolpresentat|on
to proceed.
! nthelrameworkolsettheorywhati s presentedi smulti pleolmult|ples.
thelormolpresentati onitsell. lorth| sreason. theunpresentabl ecanonly
hgure within language aswhati s multiple olne/h/n¸.
Let s al so note t hi s po|nt t he di llcrence between two multi ples. as
regulated by the axi om ol extens|onali ty. can onl y be marked by those
mul tiplesthatactua| | ybelongt 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 ly negat|ve becauseno
poss|bil|ty÷nomu| ti p| e÷cani ndi catethat| ti son//sbasl sthatexistencei s
alnrmed. 1hlsrequi rementthattheabsolutelyi ni t|alex| stencebethatola
negat|onshowsthatbeingis denni telysuturedtothe!deasolthemulti ple
ln thesubtracti vemode. Eere begins the expulslon 01 any presentilying
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
quently. 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 any
ex|stence accordi ng to belongi ng. 1h| sstatementwi l l saysomethi 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 ly contradi ct|ng lts own
c| arity÷itsays ·here exi stsa set whichhasnoel ement . a point atwhlch
thesubtractlve olbelngcausesthe| ntuitive d|st|nctlonbetweene| ements
andsetstobreakdown
!n |ts metaontologlcallormulationtheaxi omsays . 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
( thcrcby dcclaring that bcing invcsts thc !deas ¡ , and conti nue with a
ncgation ol cxi stcncc ( thcrcby unµrcscntingbcing¡ , which wi l | bcaron
bclonging ( thcrcby unprcscnting bcing as multiplc si ncc thc i dea ol thc
multip|c is E ) . Ecnccthclo|lowing ( ncgationis writtcn - , .
( Jß¡ ¸- ( 3a) ( E ß¡ [
1hisrcads thcrccxists ßsuchthatthcrcdocsnotcxistanya whichbclongs
to it.
Now, i n what scnse was ! ablc to say that this ß whosc cxistcnce is
alnrmcdhcrc, andwhichi sthus nolongcra 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| | y di sti ngui shbctwccn thc onc and un/./j. !lthc onc i s so|cly thc
i mp| i ci tcllcct. wi thout bcing, olthc count, thus olthc axi omati c!dcas,
thcnthcrci snorcasonwhyuni citycannotbcanattributcofthcmultip| c.
!t i ndicatcs so|c|y that a mu|tip|c i s dil|crcnt lrom any othcr. !t canbc
contro| lcdbyuse olt hcaxiomolextcnsiona|ity. Howcvcr. t hcnu| l scti s
incxtcnsib|c, i n- di l|crcnt . Eowcan! cvcnthinki t sunicitywhcnnothing
bc|ongs toi tthat would scrvc asa marko|its di|lcrencc' 1hc mathcma
ticians say in gencral qui tc |ight handedly, that thc voi d sct is uni quc
altcr thc axiomo| cxtcnsiona|ity' Yctthi s i s toprocccdas i l two' voids
canbc idcntincdlikc two somcth|ug s' , which i s to saytwo multiplcs ol
muhip| cs, whi | st thc |aw ol dlllcrcncc is conccptua| | y, i l not lorma| l y.
inadcquateto thcm. 1hc truthis ratherthls. thc unicity o| thcvoi dseti s
immcdiatcbccauscnothingdl|lcrcntiatcsit. not bccausci tsdillcrencc can
bc attcstcd. An i rrcmcdiab|c unicity bascd on i n dillcrencc is hcrein
substitutcdlorunl ci tybascdon 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 mysc|l. w|thin thc lramcwork olthc onto|ogica|
thcoryolthcmu| ti p| c, totheriskolovcrthrowingthercgimco|thcsamc
and thc othcr, and so to hav/n¸ /o]ounddt]]crcncc on somc/h/n¸ o/hcr/han
bc/on¸/n¸Yctanysuchproccdurci scquiva| cnttorcstoringthc bclngo|thc
onc. 1hat i s, thcsc' voids, bcing incxtcnsible, arc indistinguishab| c as
THE MARK 0
mult|ples . 1hey woul d therefore have to be d|fferentiated as ones. by
meansofan entlrelynewprlnc|p| e But. the one isnot. andthus! cannot
assumethatbelngvoi d| sa property. a specl es. ora commonname. 1here
are not several voids. there l s onl y one voi d. rather than slghlfy|ng the
presentati onoftheone. thlssi gn| ll estheun|cityoltheunpresentablesuch
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/¡uc
Saylngthatthenul l set|s un| quelsequi valenttosayi ngthatltsmark| s
apropername. Belngthusl nveststhe!deasofthepresentatlonofthepure
mult|plei ntheform ofunic|tyslgnal | edbyapropername.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|rcustomaryal phabets:nelthera Creek.
nora Lati n. nora Coth|cletter. butanold Scandinavianletter. 0, embl em
of the voi d. zero alfected by the barr|ng of sense. As | f they were dul l y
awarethat| nprocl ai mlngthatthevoi dal onei s÷becausei tal onel n ex|sts
fromthe multlpl e. andbecause the!deasolthemultlp| eonl yl i veon the
basis ol what l s subtracted from them÷they 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. yet
opposlngtothel atter' spromlseofthe One. and ofPresence. the| rrevoca
b|lltyofun presentationandthe unbelngoftheone. themathematlc|ans
had to shel ter the|r own audac| ty behlnd the character of a forgotten
language.
69
70
MEDI TATI ON SI X
Ar i stot l e
Absurd ( out ol place, ( to suppose, thatthe po|nt| s vo| d. '
!hys/cs, Book! V
Foral mostthreecentur|es| t waspossib|et obel|evethattheexper|menta-
t|onolrat|onalphysi cshadrenderedAristotle srelutat|onoltheex|stence
olthevo|dobsolete. iascal s lamousl ea|letNcwLxpcr/mcn/sconccrn/n¸ /hc
lo/d. the title alone be|ng | nadm|ss|b|e |n Ar|stotl es system. 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|on8, . Ar|stotle. |n threedi llerentp|aces. exposeshi sargumentto the
poss|bi l |tyoltheexperimentalproduct|onolacounterexampl eonthepart
olposi ti vescience. F|rst. heexplic|tlydec| aresthat|ti stheprov|nceolthe
physi c|sttotheor|zeon the vo| d. Second. h|s ownapproachc|tesexper|
mentssucb asthato|µ| unglnga woodcncube| ntowaterand compar|ng
|tsellectstothoseolthesamecubesupposedempty.i|nal ly. h|sconcl us|on
|s entirely negat|ve. the vo|d has no conce|vab|e type ol bei ng neither
separable nori nseparable (OVTE oXWpiOTOV OUTE KEXWPW/EVOV
)
.
Eowever, thanksto thel|ghtshedonth|smatterbyEei deggerandsome
others. we can no longer be sat|shed today with this manner ol dealing
w|th the quest|on. Upon a close examinat|on. one has to accord that
Ar|stot|e leavesatleastoncpossibilityopen thatthevoidbeanothername
lor matterconce|ved as matter (� ;>" f TaL aVTT) ' espec| al | y matterasthe
conccpt olthepotent| a| be|ngolthel|ght and thc hcavy. 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 ty i mmanent to natural movement wh| ch carries the
l | ght upwards and the heavy downwards. 1he vo| d wou| dbe the latent
i n- d|llerenceolthenatura| di llerentiat|onolmovements. such astheyare
prescr|bed bythequal i nedbe| ng÷||ghtorheavy÷olbod| es. ! nth|ssense
therewoul d denn| telybea 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
curytubes | 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 demonstrationwhosekeyresides ent|rely
|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 payattenti 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| category.
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 phys| clst |n Ar|stot| es sense i s |n no way the
archaeologi cal lorm olthe modern physicist. ue onl y appears to be such
duetotheretroact|vei | l us| onengenderedby theGa| i l eanrevo| uti on. For
Ar|stot| e. aphys|c|ststudi esnature. wh|chi s tosaythatreg|onolbe|ng ( we
w|ll say. that type ol si tuation; | nwh|ch the concepts ol movement and
rest are pertinent. Betterst| | | . thatw|th wh|ch the theoreti cal thought ol
thephyslcist 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 physl cal s| tuatl on. Provoked
movements , Arlstotle terms them v| ol ent , and thus. i n a certa| nsense.
everyth|ngwhich can beproducedvi athearti lI ce olanexperl ment. vi aa
techni cal apparatus. are exc| udedlromthephyslca| 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. Phys|csattempts
to th|nkthethere- i solmovementasa ngureolthe natural comi ngtobe
of be| ng. physl cssetsl tse' lt helo| l owl ngquest l on whyl sthere movement
ratherthan absolu|e | mmob| | | ty' Nature|sthepti nci p| e ( dpx�) , the cause
71
72
BEING AND EVENT
µ/-/a, , of scll mov|ng and of bc|ng at- rcst, wh|ch tcs|dc pr|mord|ally | n
bc|ng movcdorbc|ng- at rcst. andth|s | nandfor |tsclf,aJaò¬, andnot
by accidcnt. Noth|ng hcrcin i s capablc of cxcl ud| ng Pascal or1orr| ccl l | 's
vo| d÷notbcingdctcrm|ncd as csscnti a| | ybclong|ngtowhat | s prcscntcd
| n|tsnatural orig|nal|ty÷frombc|ngani n cxistcntwithrcgardtonaturc.
a physi cal nonbci ng ( |n Aristotlc s scnsc, . 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. sclyw|th
rcspcct to thc cx|stcncc of thc vo|d, dcc|arcd that | f on thc bas|s ol a
hypothcs|s somcth|ng follows wh|ch |s contrary to onc phcnomcnon
al onc, that i s sufñci cntproofof its falsity. ' 1o th|s rui n of a conccptual
systcmbythcun|c|tyofthcfact÷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|tyof
phys|cal rcfutation÷in thc modcrn scnsc÷|s barrcd to us, and consc
qucntly wc havc to d|scovct thc onto| og|cal wcakpoi ntof thc apparatus
|ns|dcwh|chAr|stotlccauses thcvo|d to abso| utcly| n- cxi st.
Ar|stotlc h|msc| fdi sm|sscsanontologica| facil|ty wh|ch | ssymmctr|cal .
| n a ccrta|n scnsc, to thc fac|l|ty of cxpcr|mcntat| on. !fthcl att crpr|dcs
|tsc|fonproduc|ngancmpty spacc, thcformcr÷| mputcdto Mc||ssos and
Parmcn|dcs÷contcntsi tscllwithrcj 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|ghtly÷nrst onc must thinkthc corrcl at|on ol
thcvo|dand phys| cal ' prcscntation. orthcrcl at| onbctwccnthcvo|dand
movcmcnt. 1hcvo| d | n |tsc| f' i sl|tcral | yunthi nkab| candthus|rrcfutabl c.
!nasmuchas thc qucsti on01 thcvo|dbc' ongst ot hcthcory ofnaturc. i ti s
ont hcbas|sof|tssupposcdd|spos|t|onw|thinsclf mov|ngt hat t hccr|t|quc
must commcncc !n my | anguagc thc void must be exami ncd /n
s/tuct/on.
1hc Ar|stotcl |anconccptofa natura| situati on|splacc. Placcl tsclfdocs
notcxist. | ti swhatcnvclopsanycx|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|chthcbody( thcbci ng, whoscplacc| t|s. movcs .
ARI STOTLE
Fvcryp|accist hat ol abody.andwhat tcst|ncstoth|s| st hat | foncrcmovcs
a bodylrom |tsplacc. i ttcndstorcturn tothatplacc. 1hc qucst|on ofthc
cx|stcncc ofthcvo|dthus comcsdowntothatof|tsfunct|on|nrcsµcctto
sclf moving. thc po| ar|ty ofwh|ch | spl acc.
1hc a|m ofAristotl cs ñrstmaj ordcmonstration | stocstabl |shthat thc
vol dcxcl udcsmovcmcnt. andthat|tthuscxcludcsitscllfrombc|ng- qua
bc|nggraspcd| n|tsnatural prcscntation.1hcdcmonstrat|on. whi ch|svcry
clfcct|vc. cmploys. oncaftcrthcothcr. thcconccptsofdiffcrcncc. unl |ml t
cdncss( orinhn|ty, . andincommcnsurability. 1hctc | sgtcatprofundityin
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 crrancyof thcvo|d.
|tssubtractivcontologicalfunctionand|tsinconsistcncyw|thrcgardtoany
prcscntcd mul t|pl c.
a |nd/]]crcncc. Anymovcmcnt graspcdi ni tsnatural bc| ngtcquircsthc
d|ffcrcntl atl onofplacc. thcplacc thats|tuatcsthcbodywh| 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 by Atistotlc÷arc countcd asonc accord|ngto thc naturalncss of
thc|rloca| dcst|nation. Yctthcvoid. whichnamcsincons|stcncy. i s pr|or
tothccount asonc. !tcannotsupport d|ffctcncc (c. Mcd|tation ¯ onthc
mathcmat|cs of this po|nt , . and conscqucntl y lorb|ds movcmcnt. 1hc
d|lcmma l s thc fo|low|ng F| thcr thcrc is no natura| transport ( <opa)
anywhcrc. foranybcing. 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|ty 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| ty. andwc shal| scc ( in Mcd|tat| ons l 1 and l 4 forcxamp| c, that
hc| scnt|rc|ycorrcctonthlspo| nt thcvo|d| sthcpo|ntofbc|ngof|nñn|ty
Ar|stotlcmakcs this po|nt accotdingtothc subtract|vc ofbc|ng. bypos|ng
that| n d| ffcrcncc|scommontothcvo|dand|nñn|tyasspcc|csofboththc
noth|ng andnonbc|ng Eowcoul dthcrcbc natural movcmcntlf. ducto
thc vo|d andi nñnlty. 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,, . ¥ett hcvo| dseemstobea non be|ngand
a privati on (aTEPYot, ) . '
Eowever. what| si nnni ty. or moreexact |y. 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,) . 1osaythatthevo|d
i s|ntr|nsica| | y|nnni te i s equiva|ent to saying 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| | yas 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 | y transported t o i nnni ty (Ei, Q7EtpOV dVUYKY
<EpeaBat ) , si nce no d| llerence wou| d di ctate t hei r coming to a ha| t . 1he
phys| ca| exacti tude ol t h| s remark ( |n tHe moder sense , | s an ontologi
ca|÷thus physica|÷| mpossi bi | |ty |n |ts Ar|stote| |an sense !t i nd|cates
so|e|y that the hypothes|s ol a natura| bei ng ol the vo| d | mmed|ate|y
exceedsthe | nherent | | m| t ola nyellectivepresentat|on.
- Second. giventhatthe|nd| llerenceolthevoi dcannotdeterm|neany
natural d| rect | onlormovement. the| atterwou| dbe exp| osi ve . whi chi sto
say mu| t| di rect|ona| . t ransport wou| d take p| ace everywhere (7oVTY, .
Eere aga| n t he vo|d exceeds the a|ways or/cn|a|cd character o l natura|
d| sposit|on. !t ru|ns t hetopo| ogyol si t uat | ons
÷F|na|| y. | l wesupposethat| t | sa bodys /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 sgoa| 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 thereby enta|||ng | ts own mob| | | ty 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| og| ca| t heorem ( d. Med| tat| on ¯ , ÷and consequent | y lrom pre
supposing i tse| las the dest| nation ol i tsnat ura| bei ng.
1o mym|nd. theensemb|eo| theseremarks| sent|telycoherent . !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|ty. | t| s a| sothe
case that i ts event a| occurrence proceeds exp| osi ve| y . or everywhere .
w|t h| n a s| tuat|on. nna| | y. it |s exact t hat t he vo| d pursues i ts own
part| cul ar t ra]ectory÷once unbound lrom the errancy | n wh| ch |t |s
con|| ned|ythestat e Lv|dent| y.wemustt here|oreconc| udewi thAr|stot|e
ARI STOTLE
that t he vold /s no/. |f by bel ng we understand the l|mlted order of
presentat|on. and|n partlcul arwhat l snatutal ofsuch order.
c. |nmcasurc. Fvery movement | s measurable | n relat|on to another
accord|ngtoltsspeed. Or, asArlstotlesays, therelsalwaysaproport|on, a
rat|o ('"yos) between onemovement and another, | nasmuch as they 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 actually what! wlll establ|shbyllnklngnat ural s|t uat|onsto
the concept of ordlnal multlpl|clty ( Medltat|ons I I and 1 2 ) . 1here |s a
reclprocltybetweennature ( 'aL s) andproport|on. or reason (,"yos) . One
el ement wh|ch contr|butes to thls rec|proclty 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 oanyothermovement, |tw||ltendtowatds|nhnltespeed.
Arlstotle says 1hevol dbears no rat|o to theful l , such thatne|therdoes
movement ¸ | nthevo|d| . Eereaga| ntheconceptual medlat|onl saccom
p|lshedsubtract|vely, wh|chl stosaybymeansofthenoth|ng 1herel sno
ratlo l n whlch the vol d |s exceeded by bod|es, j 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.
Phys|cs ( l n the modern sense, must not l ead us astray here. What
Ar|stotlelslnvlt|ngustoth| nklst hefol l owlng. everyreferencetothevold
produces anexcessover the count as one, an|rruptlon of |ncons|stency,
wh|chpropagates÷metaphys|cally÷w|thlnthe s|tuat|on at lnnnltespeed
1hevo|d|sthus|ncompat|blew| ththeslow¬rder| nwh|cheverysltuat|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
measured, whlchthus leads Ar|stotle to reluseany 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 by Ar|stotle to those
part|sans ofthevo| d thathe sets out t orefute÷dec| ares that the same
be| ng( uan/, perta|nstoavo| d, 10 fullness. andtopl ace. butthesamebe|ng
( uan/, does not belong to them when they are consldered from the
75
76
BEI NG AND EVENT
standpo|nt of bc|ng ( e|rc, . !f onc allows that placc can bc thought as
s|tuat|on|ngcncralwh|ch|stosaynotasancx|stcncc ( amul t|plc, , but as
thc s| tc of cx|st|ng such that |t c|rcumscrlbcs cvcry cx|st|ng tcrm. thcn
Ar|stotlc' s statcmcnt dcs|gnatcs |dcnt|ty to thc s|tuat|on ofboth fullncss
( thatofancffcct|vcmult|p|c, . andofthcvol d ( thcnonprcscntcd, . Buti t
al so dcslgnatcs thc|r non |dcnt|ty oncc thcsc thrcc namcs÷thc vo|d.
fullncss. andplacc÷arc ass|gncdtothc|rdl ffcrcnccaccor4/n¸10 /c/n¸. ! t | s
thus | mag| nab| c that a s|tuat|on. concc|vcd as a structurcd mult|pl|city.
s|multancouslybrlngs about cons|stcntmu| t|pl|c|ty , fullncs s , . lncons|stcnt
mult|pllc|ty (thc vo|d, . and |tsclf ( placc, . accord|ng to an |mmcdiatc
|dcnt|tywh|ch| sthatofbc| ng- | n total|ty. 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 maj 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|stcncy÷and
pl acc. bcl ngasthc non cxlstl ng- | im|tol|tsbclng÷bordcrofthc mult|plc
bythc onc.
1hcsccondformula|sArlstotl csconccsslontothoscwhoarcabsolutcly
(1VTWS) conv|nccdofthcrolcofthcvo|dascauscoftransport . Ecallows
thatonc couldadm|tthcvo|d l s thcmattcrofthc hcavyand 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
subj cct - support (TO VTOK€LVOV, . whoscncccssl ty| scstabllshcdbyAr|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 ybc|ng. whl chlor Ar| stotl ccan only
bc a spccl ñablc tcrm. a somcth|ng (TO ToD€ Tt ) . Lct' s say that fa|||ng
prcscntat| onl nthccons| stcncyofa mult|plc. thcvo|dl sthc| atcntcrrancy
of thc belng of prcscntatl on. Ar|stotlc cxpll cl tly attr|butcs thl s crrancy of
bc|ng÷on thc undcrs|dc andat thc l|m| t ol |ts prcscntcd cons|stcncy÷to
mattcr wbcn hc says that matter | s ccrta|n| y a nonbclng. but solcly by
acc|dcnt �aTa aU/{€G
T
KOS ) , and cspcci al | y÷| 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|ty that Aristotle rej ects. and th|s | s
wherewepartlromhi m thatthcvoid. once| ti sunl ocal i zabl e( or outsi de
situat|on , . must bc thought as a pute po/n/. We know that thi s is the
genui ncontologicalsolutionbecause (d. Med|tati on5 ) theemptyset. such
thatitexistssolelyby|tsname. Ø. can howeverbe qual i nedas un| que. and
thuscannotbe represented asspaceotextens| on. butratheraspunctual
ity. 1hc vo|d | s the unpresentable po/n/ o] /c/ng ol any presentation
Aristotlc nrm| yd|smi ssessucha hypothesis ' :orov O' El � aTlYfT KEVOV' ,
absurd( outol pl acc, t hat t hepo|ntbcvoid 1hereasonl orth| sdi sm|ssal
i sthatit| s unthinkablelothimtocompletelyseparatethequest|onolthe
voidlromthatolplace ! lthevo|disnot.i ti sbecauseonecannotthi nkan
emptyplace Asheexplai ns. |lonesupposedthe punctuality olthevoid.
th|spointwoul dhaveto bea p|acei nwhichthercwasthe extens| onola
tangiblebody 1he | n extensionola point does not make any placelor a
voi d !t is prec|selyherethat Ar| stotl es acute thoughtencounters itsown
po|ntolimpossibi l i ty. that it |s necessary tothink. underthe nameolthe
void. the outsi depl ace on thc basis ol which any pl ace÷any situa
t|on÷mai ntai ns |tscll with respect to i ts being 1hat the without pl ace
( a1orov) si gn| nestheabsurdcausesonetolorgetthatthepoint. preci sel yi 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 manyrcspectssctthcory forms a typc olfoundational interruption of
thclabyrinthincdi sputcsovcrthcmultiplc. Forccnturies, phi | osophyhas
cmpl oyedtwo di alectical coupl es i n its thought ol prcscntcd-bcing, and
thci rconj uncti onproducedal l sortso|abysscs, the couplcsbci ngthconc
and the multiplc and thc part and thc whol c. !t woul d not bc an
cxaggcration to saythatthccntircty of spcculativc ontologyi stakcnup
wi thcxam|nations of thc connections anddisconncctionsbctwccnUnity
and1otality. !thasbccnsofromthcverybcginningsofmctaphysics, sincc
iti spossiblctoshowthatllatoesscntiallyhasthcOncprcvailovcrthcAll
whilstAristot|cmadc thcoppositcchoicc.
Sctthcory 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 ncithcrsupportcdbythccxistcnccof
thc one nor unfol dcd as an organi c total i ty. 1he mu| t| pl c consi sts from
beingwithoutonc, ormultiplcofmultiplcs, andthccatcgoricsofAristot|c
( orKant ¡ , Unityand1otality, cannot hclp usgrasp it.
Ncvcrthclcss, sct thcory distlnguishcs two possiblc rclations bctwccn
multip| es. 1hcrc i s thc origi nary rclation, /c/on¡/n¸. 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 ngß c a, whlchreadsß i si ncl udedi na, orß i s
a subsetofa, si gni ñesthateverymul tiplewh| ch belongstoß al sobelongs
to a: (
v
,i ¸ ¸ e ß, � ,, e al
l
0necannotunderesti mate the conceptual i mportanceofthedi stinction
betweenbelongingandi nclusi on. 1hi sdistinction directs. stepbystep. the
entire thought of quantity and nnally what ! wil| term later the great
orientati ons of thought. prescribed by bei ng i tsel f. 1he meani ng of thi s
d|stinction must thusbei mmediatelyclari ñed.
First ol al l . note that a multlple i snot thought d|fferently accordingt o
whetherit supportsoneort heotheroltheserelati ons. ! f! say ßbelongs
to a
'
, themu| tiplea is exactly thesame. a multipleofmul ti ples. aswhen
! say ' y i s i ncl uded in a. ' !t i s entirely | rrelevant to believe that a i s ñrst
thoughtas0ne (orsetolelements, . andthenthoughtasWhole ( orsetof
parts , . Symmetri cally. norcan the set whichbelongs. orthe set whi ch is
i ncl uded. be qual i tatively di sti ngui shed on the basis of their relationa|
position. 0f course. ! will sayifßbelongs toa it i sanelement ofa, andif
,i sincl udedi na i t i sasubsetola. Butthesedetermi nations÷elementand
subset÷do not allow one to think anything | ntri nsi c. ! n every case. the
el ementßandthesubset, arepuremulti ples. Whatvari esi sthe| rposition
alonewith regardtothemultiplea. !n onecase ( thecasee , . themultiple
fallsunderthecount as onewhi ch i s t he othermul ti pl e. !ntheothercase
, thecasec), everyelementpresentedbytheñrstmulti ple| salsopresented
by|hesecond. 8utbei ng- multiplerema|nscompletelyunallectedbythese
d| sti nctions ofrelativeposi ti on.
1hepower-setaxi om al so helps toclari fythe ontologi calneutrali ty 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 presented, 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
length,÷afñrms. i sthatbetweene andc therei s atl eastthecorrel ati on
thatal l the multi ples/nc/udcdin asupposedlyexistinga /c/on¸to a ß. that
i s. theylorm a set. a multi ple counted as one.
(
Va
) ( 3ß, ¸ (
v
,, ¸ (, e
()
H ( C a
) l l
Givena, thesetßwhoseexlstencei s afñrmedhere. thesetofsubsetsof
a, willbewrlttenp
(
a) . 0ne can thus also write.
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
[ y
e p(a, ] 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| rcady 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 any 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 ß, � (y
E a, ] . 1h|s amounts to say|ng
that cvcn |f lor commod|ty 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 solcly thc rclat| on of
bclonging.
1hc sctp(a, ofal l thc subsctsofthcscta|sa mu//|p/ccsscn//a//yd/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|ng, andsomctl mcsast hcwholc
of|tsparts( |ncl us|on, . 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(a, . whosc cx|s-
tencc÷oncc that of a |s supposcd÷is solcly guaran|ccd by a spcc|al
ontolog|cal!dca thcpowcr- sctax|om 1hcgapbctwccn a ( whi chcounts-
as- onc thc bclong|ngs. or clcmcnts, and p(, ( wh|ch counts - as onc thc
|nclus|ons. orsubscts , | s. aswcshaHsec. thcpo|nt| nwhi chthc|mpasscof
bc|ng rcs|dcs
F|na| l y. bclong|ngand|nclus|on. w|thrcgardtothcmul t|plc a. conccrn
twod|st|nctopcratorsofcount|ng.andnottwod|lfcrcntwayst 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(a, .
forms a onc outof al l the mult|plcs |ncl udcd| na, but thi ssccondcount.
dcsp|tcbc|ngrclatcdtoa, | sabsolutclydi 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 ncccssity of thi s rcdupl i cat| on or
83
84
BEI NG AND EVENT
rcquircmcnt÷countcringthcdangcrofthcvoid÷thatcvcrycount- as- onc
bc doublcd by a count of thc count, that cvcry structurc cal l upon a
mctastructurc. As always, thc mathcmatica| axiomsystcm docsnotthink
this ncccssity. rathcr, itdcc/dcs it.
Eowcvcr, thcrc i s an immcdiatc conscqucncc ofthis dccision. thc¸ap
bctwccn structurc and mctastructurc, bctwccn clcmcnt and subsct,
bctwccnbclongingandi nc|usion, isapcrmancntqucstionforthought, an
i ntcllcctual provocation ofbcing. l said that a and pµ; wcrc distinct. !n
what mcasurc' With what cffccts' 1his point, apparcntly tcchnical , will
lcadus a| lthcwaytothc Subj cctandto truth. Whati ssurc, inanycasc,
i sthatnomultiplcacancoinci dcwiththcsctofitssubscts. Bclongingand
inclusion. inthc ordcrofbeing cxistcnt, arc |rrcducibly disj unct . 1his, as
wcshal l scc, i sdcmons/ra/caby mathcmaticalontology.
2 . 1HF 1HFORFM 0F1HF POlN1 OF FXCFSS
1hcqucstionhcrci sthatofcstablishingthatgivcnaprcscntcdmultiplcthc
onc- multiplccomposcdfromitssubscts, whosccxistcnccisguarantccdby
thcpowct-sct axiom, i scsscntially l argcr thanthcinitialmultipl c. 1hisi s
a crucial ontological thcorcm, which lcadstoa rcalimpassc. it is litcrally
impossiblctoassigna mcasurc tothissupcri orityinsizc. 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 sctncccssarily 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
thcpropcrtyofnot being clcmcnts ofthcmsclvcs . that is, which donot
prcscntthcmsclvcs asmu| tiplcsi nthc oncprcscntation that thcy arc
!n short, wc hnd hcrc, again, thc basis of Russcll

s paradox ( H.
Mcditation 1 , . 1hcsc mu|t|plcs ß thcrcforc ñrst posscss thc propcrty of
bel onging to a, ç E a) , and second the property of not bel onging to
thcmsc|vcs, - ( E ß; .
Lcts tcrm thc multipliciticswhichposscssthc propcrtyof not bclonging
to thcmsclvcs ( -( E ß; , erd/naq multipl | citics, and for rcasons madc
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
clcarl n Mcdltatlon l 7, thoscwhl chbcl ongto thcmsclvcs ç E ß¡ cvcn/a/
multlplicltl cs.
1akc allthccl cmcntso|a whl charc ordlnary. 1hc rcsu| tlsobvl ousl ya
subsct ofa, thc ordlnary' subsct. 1hls subsct ls a mul tlplc whlchwc can
cally. Aslmplcconvcntlon÷oncwhlchlwllluscoftcn÷lsthatofwrltlng.
¦ ß/ . . . j todcslgnatcthcmu| tlplcmadcupofal l thcß'swhlchhavcthls
orthatpropcrty.1hus. forcxamplc. y, thcsctofallordlnaryclcmcntsofa,
canbcwrlttcn. y * ¦ ß/ ßE a 8 - 1 E ß¡ j . Oncc wc supposc that a cxlsts.
y alsocxlsts. bythcaxlomofscparatlon( c] Mcdltatlon> , . l scparatc' lna
a| l thc µ's whlchhavc thc propcrty ofbclngordlnary. ! thcrcby obtalnan
cx/s//n¸part of a. Ict's tcrmt hl spart t hcord/naqsu/sc/ofa.
Slncc y l s /nc/udcd l n a, ¸ C a) , y /c/on¸s to thc sct of subscts of a,
¸ E pµ, , .
But.o n thcothcrhand. y docsno/bclongtoa ltsclf. !fy dl dbc| ongtoa,
thatls. l fwc hady E a, thcnoncoftwo thlngs woul dcomctopass. Flthcr
y lsordlnary. -¸E y), andi tthusbclongsto thcordlnary 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 hcordlnarysubscty, lthastobcordlnary.1hi scqul val cnccfor
y of ¸ E y), thc cvcnta| and - ¸ E y) , thc ordl nary. | s a formal
contradlctl on. !tob|lgcsustorcj cct thclnltlalhypothcsl s. thus. y docsnot
bclongto a.
Conscqucntly. thcrc ls a| ways÷whatcvcr a ls÷at lcast onc clcmcnt
( hcrc y) ofpø¡ whlch ls not ancl cmcnt ofa. 1h| s l sto say. no mu///p/c /s
ccpa//c o]]orm/n¸aonc o×/o]cvcq/h/n¸ // /nc/udcs. 1hc statcmcnt lf ß ls
/nc/udc4l na, thcnß/c/on¡stoa' lsfalscfora| | a. lnclusloni s lnlrrcmcdlablc
cxccss ofbclonglng. ! npartlcular. thc lncl udcd subsct madc up ofall thc
ordlnary clcmcntso|a sctcons|ltutcsa dchnltlvcpolntofcxccssovcrthc
sct l nqucstlon. !tncvcrbclongs to thc lattcr.
1hc lmmancnt rcsourccs of a prcscntcd mu| tlplc÷lf th|s conccpt ls
cxtcndcd to lts subscts÷thus surpass thc capaclty 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 ncccssary 1hc cxlstcncc of thl s othcr
count.thlsothcronc multlplc÷towhlchthlstlmcthcmultlplcslncludcd
ln thc hrstmultlplcwi l l |olcratc bclonglng÷ls prcclsclywhat lsstatcdln
thcpowcr sct axlom.
Oncc thls axloml s admlttcd. onc| s rc¡u/rcd to thl nk t hcgap 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 0 olthe
emptyset'1hi si sa typi cal ontological questlon. establ l shtheellectupon
a pointolbelng ( andtheonlyoncwehaveaval l abl ci s0) ola conceptual
di stinctioni ntroducedbyan!dea ( an axi om,
0ne might expect there tob e no ellcct sl nce thevold does notprcsent
anythi ng !t seems logical to suppose that the void does not l nclude
anythingei ther. nothavi nganyelements.howcoul di thaveasubset'1hi s
supposi tl oni swrong. 1hevoi dmaintalnswi ththeconceptoli ncl usi ontwo
relationsthat are essenti al l ynewwith respect tothcnul lityoll tsrelati on
withbelongi ng
- thevoid ls a subset olanysct. i ti s unl vcrsally 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 ng, t o
a cruci a| conceptual disti nctlon ( bel ong|ngandl nc| usl on,
1henrstpropertytesti|l estothcomnipresencco l thevo|d. !trcveal sthc
errancyolthevoidi nal l prcsentation. thevold. t whl chnothingbelongs.
l sby thl svery lact i ncludedi ncvcrythi ng
0ne can i ntultlvely grasp the ontological pertl ncnce ol thi s theorcm.
wh| chstates 1Hevoldsetlsa subsetol any set supposedexi stent´Forll
thevoid is the unpresentab| epolntolbcing. whoseunl cityoli nexi stence
i smarkedby tHe exl stentpropername 0, thcn no multlple. bymeans ol
i ts cxistence. can prevent this i nexistent lrom placing itsell within it On
thebasi soleve|yth| ogwhlcH | snotpresentab| e|t | sl nlerrcd tHatthevoid
i spresentcdcverywhcrel nitslack. not. however. astheone-ol-i ts uni ci ty.
as | mmedi ate mu| tl ple counted by thc onc multlple. but as /nc/us|on.
becausesubsetsare theveryplacei nwhicha mul tl pl eolnothing cancrr.
j 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 ndellty 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/sosc¡u//ur¡uod|/bc/ 1hisis not
surprising i l wc remcmber that the axi om ol the empty set states. i n
substance. thattherecxi stsa negation ( there cxi st sa setlorwhi ch tonot
belongtol t' | sa uni versalattri butc. anattri butcoleverymultlplc, Onthe
THE POI NT OF EXCESS
basi sol th| strucncgativc statcmcnt. i l| t | sdcni cdi nturn÷il | t is la|sc|y
supposcd that a multiplc bc| ongs to thc void÷onc ncccssari|y i nlcts
anything. and i n patticu|ar. that this mu| t| p| c supposcd| y capab| c ol
bc|ongingtothc void. isccrta| u| ycapab| colbc|ongingtoanyothcrsct. ! n
othcrwords. t hcabsurd chimcra÷oti dcawithoutbcing÷olan c| cmcnt
olthc voi d | mplics thatth| s c|cmcnt÷radica| | ynon prcscntcd olcoursc
÷wou| d. i l| twcrcprcscntcd. |canclcmcntolany sctwhatsocvcr. Ecncc
thc statcmcnt !l thc void ptcscnts a mu | t| p| c a, thcn any mu| | | p| c �
whatsocvcr a| soptcscnts that a. ' Onc can a| so say that a mu| t| p| cwhich
wouldbc| ongtothcvoidwou| dbcthatu| tta- nothing. thatultravo| dwith
tcgardto which no cxi stencc mu|tip|c cou|d opposc itbcing ptcscntcdby
itscll. 3incc cvcrybc| ongingwhichissupposcd lorthcvoidiscxtcndcdto
cvcty mu| t| p| c. wc do not nccd anything morc to concl udc thc void is
|ndccd | nc| udcdi ncvctyth| ng
1hi sargumcnt maybclorma||yprcscntcd | nthclo|lowingmanucr.
1akc thc |og|ca| tauto| ogy -A - ( A - B) whi ch is thc princ| p| c
mcntioncdabovci nLatin ilastatcmcntA isla|sc ( | l ! havcnon A, andil
!alnrmthc| attcr( il!pos|tA, . thcnitlo|lowsthatanything( anystatcmcnt
B whatsocvct, is ttuc.
Lct scons| dctt helo| | owi ngvariation ( orpart| cul atcasc, o|t hi s|auto|
ogy -(a E 0) - [ ( E 0) - (a E ,) ) in wh| ch a and , arc any mu|tiplcs
whatsocvcrsupposcd givcn. 1h| s vatiation | s itscll a logica| tauto| ogy !ts
antcccdcnt. -(a E 0). i s axiomat| ca|| y ttuc. bccausc no a can bc| ong to
thc cmpty sct. 1hcrclorc its conscqucnt. ¸ (o E Ø, - (a E ,) ) , | s cqual | y
ttuc Sincc a and , atc indcicrminatc lrcc vati abl cs. ! can makc my
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 hcvcrydcnn| t| onolthctc|at| onol| nc| usion
bctwccn 0 and,, thc tc|ation0 c ,?
Conscqucnt|y. my lormu| a amounts to thc lol|owing ( V,) [ 0 c ,) ,
which rcads. as prcdictcd ol any supposcd gi ven mu|tiplc ,, 0 |s a
subsct .
1hc vo| d |s thusc|carly| n a pos| tion olun| vcrsa| inc| us| on
!t i s on th. s vcry 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. cvcry
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 complctcly cn|gmat|c. 1h|s | s bccausc
|ntu|t|vcly. andgu|dcdbythcdcnc|cntvocabulary wh|chshodd||yd|stln-
gu|shcs. v|a thc vaguc |magc of bc|ng|ns|dc' , bctwccn bclong|ng and
|nclus|on, | t sccms asthoughwc havc, byth|slnclus|on, nl l cd thcvo|d
w|thsomcth| ng. Butth|s| snotthccasc. 0nlybe|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|ty thc statcmcnt Ø c Ø solcly announccs that cvcrythlng wh|ch | s
prcscntcd, | ncl ud| ngthcpropcrnamcofthcunprcscntablc, formsa subsct
of|tsclf, thc max|mal subsct. 1h|srcdupl|cat|onof|dcnt|tyby|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 cascs, . 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, j( Ø, . Structurc ofthcnoth|ng,
thc namc of thc vo|d calls upon a mctastructurc wh|ch counts |ts
subscts.
1hcsctofsubscts ofthcvo| d| sthcscttowh| chcvcryth|ng /nc/udc4| n
thc vo| d /c/on¸s. But only thc vo| d | s |ncludcd |n thc vo|d. Ø C Ø.
1hcrcforc. j( Ø, . 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/n¸bclongstothcvo|d. not
cvcnthcvo|d|tsclf. ltwould alrcadybccxccssivcforthcvo|dtohavcan
clcmcnt . 0nccoul dobj 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|nly, thcnamcofthcvo|dcanbc/nc/udcd|nthcvo|d,
wh|chamountstosay|ngthat,|nthcs|tuat|on, lt| scqualtothcvo|d, s|ncc
thc unprcscntablc |s solclyprcscntcdby|tsnamc. Yct, cqua| to |ts namc,
thcvo|d cannotmakc a onc outof|tsnamcw|thout d| ffcrcnt|at|ng |tsclf
from |tscllandthusbccom|nga nonvo| d.
Conscqucntly. thcsctofsubsctsofthcvo| disthcnon- cmptysctwhosc
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
of,thcmarkcdsctsbctwccnthcbraccs. lntotal,thcclcmcntsofth|ssctarc
prcc|scly ß, , ß,, ctc. S| ncc j( Øi has as |ts un|quc clcmcnt Ø, th|s
THE POINT OF EXCESS
g|vcs us. j( Ø; * ¦ Øj , wh|ch cv|dcntly |mpl|cs Ø E j( Ø; .
Eowcvcr, | cts cxam|ncth|s ncw sct closcly, j( Ø; , oursccondcx|stcnt
mult|plc| nthc gcncalog|cal framcworkolthc sct- thcoryax|omat|c. lt| s
wr|ttcn ¦ ئ , andØ| s|tssol cclcmcnt. nnc. Butnrstofall, what| ss|gn|ñcd
by thcvo|d bc|nganclcmcntofa mult|plc'Wcundcrstoodthat Øwasa
subsct of any 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 ¦ ئ . Locsn' t
th|s |nfr|ngcthc rulc accord|ng to wh|chbclong|ng and |nclus|on cannot
co|nc|dc'Sccondly, andmorc scr|ously. th|smult|plc ¦Øj hasas|tsun|quc
clcmcnt thc namc- of-thcvo|d, Ø. Thcrcforc, wouldnt th|s bc, qu|tc
s|mply. /hconcwhosc vcrybc|ngwccla|mcd to call |nto qucst|on'
1hcrc| sas|mplcrcsponsctothcñrstqucst|on Thcvo|ddocsnothavc
any clcmcnt. |t | s thus unprcscntablc, and wc arc conccrncd w|th |ts
propcr namc alonc, wh|ch prcscnts bc|ng | n |ts lack. !t | s not thc vo|d
wh|chbcl ongs to thc sct ¦ ئ , bccausc thc vo|d bclongs to no prcscntcd
mult|plc, bc|ngthc bc|ng|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|gn|ncs that thcrc |s ancxccss of|ncl us|onovcr
bclong|ng. that|t|s|mposs|blcthatcvcrypartofa mu|t|plc bclongsto |t
0nthcothcrhand. | t| s|nnowayrulcdoutthatcvcryth|ngwh|chbclongs
to a mult|plc| salso|ncludcd|n| t. 1hc|mpl|cat|vc d|ssymmctrytravcls| n
oncd|rcct|onal onc. Thcstatcmcnt( Va; ¸ µc ß, - µE ß; [ | sccrta|nlyfalsc
foranymul t|plcß ( thcorcmofthcpo|ntofcxccss ; . Eowcvcrthc |nvcrsc
statcmcnt. ( Va; ¸µ E ß, - (a C ß, ] , canbctruc, forccrta| nmult|plcs. lt| s
part|cularlytrucforthcsct¦ ئ . bccausc| tsun|qucclcmcnt, Ø, | sal soonc
of |ts subscts, Ø bc|ng un|vcrsally |ncludcd. 1hcrc is no paradox hcrc.
rathcra s|ngul arpropcrty 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|nglcs|gnihcr onc .1hcir
d|ffcrcnt|at|on÷a task |n wh|ch mathcmat|cal ontology provcs to bc a
89
90
BEI NG AND EVENT
powcrlultool÷scrvcst oclar|lya numbcrol spcculat|vc, and| npart|cular,
Hcgcl|an, apor| as
Ihc oncas such, as ! sa|d, |s not lt| s always 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
thcory, what ! count as onc undcr thc namc ol a sct a, | s mult|plc
ol-mult|pl cs. !t |sthusncccssarytodist|ngu|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|ncdsolclyby 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|onolanyprcscntcdmul t|plc.
thus a propcr namc lor thc unprcscntabl c. 1hc nct|vc onc- cllcct occurs
whcn, v|a a shortcut whosc dangcr hasalrcady bccn mcnt|oncd, ! al low
mysclltosay thatØ| s thcvo| d' , thcrcbyass|gn|ngthcprcd| catcolthc onc
tothcsuturc-tobc|ngthat |sthc namc, and prcscnt|ngthc unprcscntablc
as sach. 1hc mathcmat|cal thcory |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 anyth|ng, | 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/q. |t |s not a bc|ng, buta prcd|catcolthc mult|pl c !tbclongs
tothcrcg|mcolthcsamc anJthcothcr, suchas|tslaw| s|nst|tutcd byany
structurc. A mult|plc|sun|quc|nasmuchas|t|s othcrthananyothcr. 1hc
thcolog|ans, bcs|dcs, alrcady kncw that thc thcs|s God |s Onc' | s qu|tc
dillcrcnt lrom thc thcs|s Cod |s un|quc ' ln Chr|st|an thcology. |or
cxamplc, thctr|pl|c|tyolthcpcrsonolGod| s|ntcrnaltothcd|alcct|colthc
Onc, but|tncvcrallcc|sh|sun|c|ty ( mono- thc|sm, . 1hus, thcnamc olthc
vo|d bc|ng un|quc, oncc |t |s rctroact|vcly gcncratcd as a- namc lor thc
mult|pl c-o|- noth|ng, docsnotslgnl|y|nanymanncrthat thcvo|d| sonc '
!t solcly s|gn|ncs that. g|vcn that thc vo|d, unprcscntablc' , | s solcly
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|nally, |t |s a|ways poss|blc to count as onc an alrcady countcd onc
multlplc. that |s. to appl ythccountto 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.
any 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 by wh|ch thc law i ndcnni tcly subm| ts to |tscll
thconcwhich| tproduces, count|ngitasonc mult|plc, !tcrm]orm/a¸ /n/c
onc Form| ng| nto-onc | s not rca//y d|st|nct lrom thc count - as onc. | t | s
rathcra moda|ityol thc l attcrwh|ch onccan usc to dcscribc thc count
as one app|ying 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 ways
rcma|ns a mult|ple, cvcn bci ta mu|t|plcof namcs.
! can thus considcrthatthc sct { 0} , wh| ch counts as- onc thc rcsul t ol
thc or|g|nary 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|ybybc|ngthcstructuralscal
ofthc mul t|p| c. Furthcrmorc, { 0} | sa mult|plc, a sct. lt so happcns that
whatbclongs to it, 0, i sun|quc, that s al l . But uni c|tyi snot thc onc.
Notc that oncc thc ex| stcncc ol ( 0}-the lormi ng i nto-onc ol Ø÷|s
guarantecdvia t he power set ax| omappl| edtot heoameo|thc voi d, thcn
thcopcrati ooollormi ng|nto ooei suni lorm|yapp| |cab|ctoany mult|plc
alrcady supposcd cx|stent . !t | s herc that thc value ol thc axiom of
rcplaccmcntbccomcs cv|dcnt (c. Mcd|tat|on ¯ , !n substancc th| s ax|om
statcsthat| la mu|tiplc ex| sts, thcnthcrcalsocx|ststhemu|tiplc obta|ncd
by rcplacingcach olthc c|cments olthc nrst byothcrcxi st|ng mult|plcs.
Conscqucnt|y, |l| n{ 0} , wh|chcx| sts, ! rcp|acc' 0 bythcsupposcdcx|stcnt
sct 0, ! gct { oj ; 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 tiplcloranytermby tcrmsubsti tuti onolwhatbc|ongsto
| t.
vethusf nd ourse| ves| nposscss| ono|ourll rst der| ved| aww| t H| nthe
lramcwork olaxi omat|csct thcory. i lthc mu| ti p| c 0 exists ( i s prcscntcd, ,
thcnt hcmu| ti p| c ( o} 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 - ( o} , | sthclormi ngi nto oncol thcmult|ple
0; thc|attcra| rcadybci ngthconc- mult|plcwhichrcsultslroma count . Wc
willtcrmthemu| ti p| c( o} , rcsu| t oncol thelorming into- onc, thcs|n¸/c/on
ol o.
1hcsct ( 0} is thussi mpl ythenrsts|ngleton.
91
92
BEING AND EVENT
1o concludc, lctsnotcthatbccauscformlng-| nto- onc| salawappl|cablc
toanycx|st|ngmult|p|c, andthcs|nglcton ¦Øj cx|sts, thclattcrs form| ng-
| nto-onc, wh| ch|stosaythcform|ng- |nto-oncofthcformlng-| nto-oncof
Ø, al socx|sts. ¦ Øj � ¦ ¸ Øj j . 1h|sslnglctonofthcs|nglctonofthcvo|dhas,
l|kccvcrys|nglcton, oncsolcclcmcnt. Howcvcr, th|sclcmcnt| snotØ, but
¦Øj, andthcsctwoscts, accord|ngtothcax|omofcxtcnslon, arcd|ffcrcnt .
lndccd, Ø|s anclcmcntof¦ Øj rathcrthanbcl ng an clcmcntofØ. Flna|ly,
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 by thc comblncd cffcct of thc powcr-sct
ax|om÷bccauscthcnamcofthcvo|dl sapartofltsclf÷andform|ng-| nto
onc.
1hc ldcasthcrcbyauthorlzc that startlngfromoncs|mplcpropcrnamc
alonc÷that, subtract|vc, of bc|ng÷thc complcx propcr namcs d|ffcr-
cnt|atcthcmsclvcs, thankstowh|chonc|smarkcd out. thatonthcbas|sof
wh|chthcprcscntatlon ofan|nnn|tyofmult|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 consistency olthc mult|plc amounts t the lollow|ng. thc
vo|d,which| sthcnamcol|ncons|stcncy|nthcsi tuati on( undcrthclawol
thccountas onc; , cannot, |nitscll, bcprcsentcdornxed. WhatHeldeggcr
namcs thc care o| bci ng, whlch | s thc ccstasy ol bc| ogs, coul d also bc
tcrmcdthcs|tuati ooal anxi ctyolthe vo|d, orthenccessi tyolward|ngotl
thc vo|d. 1hc apparcot so| |d|ty ol thc world ol prcscntati on | s mcrcly a
rcsultolthcaction olstructurc, cvcn|l no/h/n¸ |s outsi dcsucha resul t . !t
isnccessarytoproh| bi tthatcatastrophcolprcscntationwhi chwoul dbc|ts
encountcr w|th |ts own void, thc prcsentati ona| occurrcncc ol |ncon
s|stcncy assuch, orthc ru|n ol thc 0nc.
Fv|dentlythe guarantec olcons|stency ( thc thcre i s Oncncss' ; cannot
rcly on structurc or thc count- as onc alonc to c|rcumscr|bc andproh|bit
thccrrancyolthcvoid|rom]/n¸i tsell,andbcing, onthcbas| solth|svery
lact. as prcscntat|on ol thc unprcscntablc, thc ru|n ol cvcry donat|on ol
bei ng and the fgure subj acent to Chaos. The fundamental reason behi nd
th|s|nsulñc|ency | sthatsomcth/n¸. w| th| nprcscntati oo, escapcsthccount.
th|ssometh|ng|sooth| ngothcrthanthccounti tsel l. 1hc thcrci sOncncss'
| sapurcoperat|ona|rcsu|t, wh|chtransparcntlyrcvcalsthcveryopcrat|on
lromwh|chthc rcsult resu|ts. !t|s thusposs|blc that, subtractcd lromthc
count, and by 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, /t /s ncccsscq thct struc/urc /c structurcd. that the thcrc |s
Oncness bc val|d lor thc count as-one. 1hc cons|stcncy ol prcsentat|on
93
94
BEI NG AND EVENT
t husrcquircsthata| | structutcbcdcub/ed byamctastructurcwhichsccurcs
thc lormcragainst any nxation olthc void.
1hc thcs|s that a| | prcscntation i s structurcd twicc may appcar to bc
comp|ctc|yapr/er/ But whatitamountst o. i nt hccnd. i ssomcthingthat
cach and cvcrybody obscrvcs. and which i s phi|osophica| | y astonishing
thc bcingolprcscntati on is inconsistcntmu|tip|icity. but dcspitcthis. it i s
ncvcrchaoti c. A| | ! amsaying i st hi s iti sont hcbasi solChaosnot bcing
thclormolthcdonati onolbcingthatoncisob|| gcdtothinkthatthcrci s
arcdup|icationolthccountasonc. 1hcprohibitionolanyprcscntationol
thc voi d can on|y bc i mmcd| atc and constant | l this van| sh| ng poi nt ol
consistcnt mu| t| p| i ci ty÷which is prccisc| y its consi stcncy as opcrationa|
rcsu| t÷| s. i n turn, stoppcd up. or closcd. by a countasonc ol thc
opctation itsc|l. a count olthc count. a mctastructurc
! wouldaddthat thc invcstigation olany cllcctivcsituation ( anyrcgion
olstructurcdprcscntation, . whcthcritbc natuta| orhi storica| rcvca| sthc
rca| opcrati on ol thc sccond count. 0n this point. concrctc ana|ysis
convcrgcswiththcphi|osoph| ca|thcmc a| | si tuati onsarcstructurcdtwicc.
1hisa| somcans thcrc is a|waysbothprcscntati on and rcprcscntati on. 1o
thinkthispoint |s toth|nk thc rcqui sitcsol thc crrancy ol thc voi d. ol thc
non prcscntationol| nconsistcncy. andolthcdangcr thatbci ngqua bc|ng
rcprcscnts. haun//n¸ prcscntation.
1hcanx|ctyolthcvoid. othcrwiscknownasthccarcolbc| ng. canthus
bc rccognizcd. in a| | prcscntation. i n thc lol|owi ng thc structurc ol thc
count i srcdup| icatcd in ordcrto vcrilyitsc|l. to vouch that its cllccts. lor
thc cntirc duration ol| ts cxcrcisc. arc comp|ctc. and to unccasing|ybring
thc onc i nto bcing within thc un cncountcrab|c dangcr olthc voi d. Any
opctationolthccount as onc ( ol tcrms, isi nsomc manncr doub|cdbya
count ol thc count. which guarantccs. at cvcry momcnt. that thc gap
octwccn thc cous| st cnt mu| t| pl c ( sucb t hat |t rcsults. composcd ol oncs ,
and thc |nconsistcnt mul t| plc ( which |s solcly tbc prcsupposition ol thc
vo|d. anddocsnotprcscntanythi ng, i svcritablynu| | . !t thus cnsurcsthat
thcrci snopossibi l | ty olthatdisastcrolprcscntationcvcroccurringwhich
wou|dbcthcprcscntati ona| occurtcncc. |n torsion. o|thcstructurc sown
void.
1hcstructurcolstructurcisrcsponsib|clorcstab| i sbi ng. |ndangcrolthc
vo| d tbat |t | s un| vcrsally attcstcd that. |n tbe s| tuat | on. tbc onc |s. !ts
ncccssityrcsidcscntirc|y i nthcpoint that. givcn that thc onc i snot. itis
on| yonthcbasisolitsopcrationa|charactcr. cxhi bi tcdby|tsdoub|c. that
thc onc- cllcct can dcp|oy thc guarantccolits own veracity. 1hisvcrac|ty
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
i s litcrallyt hcncti ona| i zingofthccountvi at hci magi narybcingconfcttcd
uponi t by i tundctgoi ng i nturn. thc opcration ola count .
Whatisi nduccdbyt hecrtancy oft hcvoidi st hat st ruct ure÷thcplace
of risk duc to its purc opcrat|onal transparcncy and duc to thc doubt
occasioncd. as lor thc one. by i t having to opcratc upon thc multiple
÷must. i ntutn. be strict|y nxedwithin thc onc.
Any otdi nary si | uat | on thus contains a structurc. both sccondary and
suprcmc, bymeansolwhi chthccount - asoncthatstructorcsthcsituation
isi nturncountcd as one. 1hcguatantccthatthconc|s i sthuscomplctcd
by thc followi ng that ltom which its bci ng procccds÷t hc count÷|s. ! s
mcans i s onc' . gi venthatthclawofa structurcdprcscntati ondi ctatcsthc
tcciprocityol bcing and onc thcrcin. bymcansofthcconsistcncyofthc
mul ti p| c.
Luc to a mctaphori ca| afnnity with po| i ti cs that w| | | bc expl ai ncd i n
Mcditation 9, I wi | | hcrci naftcttcrmstatceJthcs/tuat/on thatbymcans ol
whichthc structutc ola si tuati on÷ofanysttucturcd prcscntationwhat
socvcr÷iscountcdasonc. wh. chi stosaythconcol thcone cffcctitsclf.
ot what Ecgc| ca||s thc Onc- Onc
Whatcxact|yisthcoperationaldomainofthc 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/n¸ i t as thc count of thc count al onc i s not
sufncicntci thct. ottathct. i tmustbcaccotdcdthat the|attctcanso|clybc
a nnal rcsult oft heopctationsolthc statc. A sttucture i s prcci scly 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 mplyrc-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 say t oelo||owing.
thc void÷whosc spcctre must bc cxotciscd by dec| ati ng that structutal
|ntcgrity |s intcgra| . by 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 , . noris i t possiblc fori ttobcthcwho|e ( si ncc it i sprccisclythc
noth| ngolthi s wbo| c, !lthere i s a risk of the voi d, i t i s nci tbcra | oca| risk
( inthcscnseola tcrm, noti sita globa|tisk (in thcscnseofthcstructural
95
96
BEI NG AND EVENT
|ntcgral|ty ofthcs|tuat|on; . What| s thcrc, bcingnc| thcrlocal norglobal,
whichcoul ddcl|m|tthcdoma|nofopcrat|onforthcsccondandsuprcmc
count as onc, thccountthatdcñncsthcstatcofthcs|tuat|on'lntu| t|vcly,
oncwouldrcspondthatthcrc arc par/sofa situat|on. bc|ngnc|thcrpo|nts
northcwhol c.
Yct, conccptually 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|vcly a
mu|t|plcwh|chwouldbc composcd. |nturn,ofsuchmult|pl|c|t| cs. A part
would gcncratc compos|t|ons out of thc vcry mul t|pl|citi cs that thc
structurccomposcsundcrthc s|gn ofthc onc. A part i sa sub- mult|plc.
Butwcmustbc vcrycarclulhcrc. c|thcrth|s ncw mul tiplc, wh|ch|sa
sub mult|plc, couldform a onc |n thc scnscofstructurc, andso |ntruth| t
wouldmcrcl ybc a tcrm. a composcdtcrm, grantcd, butthcnsoarcthcy
al l . 1hatth|stcrmbccomposcdofal rcadycomposcdmult|plcs, andthatal l
ofth|sbcscalcdbythc onc, |sthcord|nary cflcct ofstructurc. Or, onthc
othcrhand, th|s ncw mult|plcmaynotforma onc. conscqucntly, | nthc
s|tuat|on, |twoul dpurcl yands| mp|ynotcxi st
In the i nterest of simpliying thought l et' s directly import sct theory
catcgor|cs ( Mcd|tation 7 , . Lct's say that a consistcntmult|pl|c|ty, countcd
as onc, /c/on¸s 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. Onlywhatbclongstothc
s|tuat|on is prcscntcd !f what |s | ncludcd |s prcscntcd, it |s bccausc | t
bclongs. !nvcrsc|y, |fasub- mult|plcdocsnotbclongtothcs|tuat|on. | tcan
dcñn|tclybc sa|dtobcabstractly |ncludcd' inthc l attcr. |t| snot, infact,
prcscntcd.
Apparcntly, c| thcra sub- mult|p|c, bccausc it |s countcd- as- onc | n thc
s|tuatlon, | son|yatcrm,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 vcry 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 crrancy 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 cvcryth|ng found within | t that |s
composcdfromcompos|t| ons. 0urcnt|rcart|ñccisbascdonthcdi st|nct|on
bctwccnbclongingand|nclus|on. Butwhynotposcthatanycompos|t|on
of cons|stcnt multipl|c|t|cs | s, | n turn, consistcnt. wh|ch | s to say grantcd
onc cx|stcncc|nthcs|tuat|on'Andthatbyconscqucncc|nclus|on|mpl|cs
bclonging'
For thc ñrst t|mc wc havc to cmploy hcrc an on/c/o¸/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 purcthcoryofthc
multiplc, orsctthcory, | t| sformallyimpossibl c, whatcvcrthcs|tuationbc.
for cvcg/h/n¡ wh|ch is inc| udcd ( cvcry subsct; 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|mplystatcs.
thcrcarcalwayssub- 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
voidmayrcccivcthclatcntformofbci ng. bccauscthcrcarcalwaysparts
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|mmcdiatcly. 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|scly, givcn a situat|on whosc structurc dclivcrs consistcnt onc
mul t|pl cs, thcrc | s always a mcta structurc÷thc statc of thc si tuat|on
÷whichcountsasonc any composit|onofthcsccons|stcntmul tiplicit|cs.
Whati s/nc/udcd| na situation/c/on¸s toits statc. 1hcbrcach is thcrcby
rcpa|rcd v|a whi ch thc crrancy of thc void could havc ñxcd itsclf to thc
multiplc. i n the i nconsi stent mode of a non- counted part . Lvcry part
rccc|vcs thcscal of thc onc from thc statc
97
98
BEI NG AND EVENT
By thc samc tokcn, |t | s truc, as]ne/ rcsu//. that thc nrst count, thc
structurc, | scountcdbythcstatc. ! t| scv|dcntthatamongstal l thc parts'
thcrc | s thc total part' , wh|ch |s to say thc complctc sct of cvcryth|ng
gcncratcd by thc |n|t|al structurc | n tcrms of cons|stcnt mult|p||c|t|cs. of
cvcryth|ng |t counts as onc !f thc statc structurcs thc cnt|rc mult|plc of
parts, thcn th|stotal|ty alsobclongs to | t. 1hc complctcncss ofthc |n|t|al
onc-cffcct | s thus dcnn|tcly |n turn. countcd as onc by thc statc | nthc
formof|ts cffcct|vc wholc
1hc statcofa s|tuat| on|sthcr|postctothcvo|dobta|ncdbythccount
asonc of |ts parts . 1h|s r|postc | s apparcntly complctc, s|ncc | t both
numbcrswhatthc nrststructurcal|owsto| ncx|st ( supcrnumcraryparts,
thccxccss of|nclus|onovcrbclonging, and, nnally, |tgcncratcsthc Onc
Onc by 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|tyolthc onc, thcstatcofthcs|tuat|onproposcs a
clausc of closurc and sccur|ty. 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, yct
wh|ch bclong to thc statc's onc cffcct. thc rcason bc|ng that thc lattcr |s
fundamcntally d|st|nct from any of thc |n|t|al structurc's cffccts. ! n an
ord|nary s|tuat|on, spcc|al opcrators would thus ccrta|nly bc rcqu|rcd,
charactcr|st|c ofthc statc. opcrators capablc of y|cld|ng thc onc ofthosc
partswh|charcsubtractcdfromthc s|tuat|on's count- as onc.
On thc othcr hand, thc statc | s al ways that o] a s|tuat|on. what | t
presents, under the s|gn o|the one, as consistent multiplicities, is i n turn
solc|ycomposcdof what thc s|tuat|on prcscnts. s|ncc what | s /nc/udc4 | s
composcdofonc-mult|plcswh| ch/c/on¡
As such, thc statc of a s| tuat|on can c|thcr bc sa| d to bc scparatc ( or
transccndcnt , ortobcattachcd( or|mmancnt, 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| sby mcans ofthc statc thatstructurcdprcscntat|on |s
furn|shcd w|th a nct|onal /c/n¡. 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|ty ofthc onc
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
1hcdcgrccofconncctionbctwccnthcnativcstructurcofasituationand
itsstatistmctastructurcisvariabl c. 1hisqucstionofa¸api s thckcytothc
analysis ofbcing, ofthctypology 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 by thc mctastructurc, or statc of thc
situation, thcniti sappropriatctosaythatitis rcprcscn/cd 1hismcansthat
itbclongstothcsituation ( prcscntation; , andthatiti scquallyincludcdin
thcsituation ( rcprcscntation; . lt i sa tcrm- part. !nvcrscly, thc thcorcmol
thc po|nt ofcxccssi ndicatcs thatthcrcarcincludcd ( rcprcscntcd; multi
plcs which arc notprcscntcd ( whichdonot bclong; . 1hcsc multip|csarc
parts and not tcrms. Fi nally, thcrc arc prcscntcd tcrms which arc not
rcprcscntcd, bccausc thcy do not constitutc a part of thc si tuation, but
solclyoncofitsimmcdiatc tcrms.
! willcallnorma/a tcrm which isbothprcscntcdandrcprcscntcd. ! w|||
callcxcrcsccnccatcrmwhichisrcprcscntcdbutnotprcscotcd. iinally, !w|ll
tcrms/n¸u/a·a tcrm which i sprcscntcdbut not rcprcscntcd.
! t hasalwaysbccnknownthatthcinvcst|gationofbc| ngs ( thus, ofwhat
is prcscntcd; passes by thc ñltcr of thc prcscntation/rcprcscntation dia
lcctic. ! n our |ogic÷bascd dircctly on a hypo|hcsis conccrning bcing
÷normality, singularity and cxcrcsccncc, l|nkcd to thc gap bctwccn
structurcandmctastructurc, orbctwccnbc|ongingand|nclusion, formthc
dccisivcconccpts o|a typologyofthc donations ofbci ng.
Normalityconsists| nthcrc-securingofthcoriginaryoncbythcstatco|
thcsituation i n wh| ch thatoncis prcscntcd. Notcthat a normal tcrmis
found both i n prcscntation ( it bc|ongs ; and in rcprcscntation ( it is
includcd; .
Singul artcrmsarcsubj ccttothconc- c|fcct, butthcycannotb c graspcd
as parts bccausc thcy arc composcd, asmultiplcs, of c|cmcnts wh|ch arc
not acccptcd by thc count !n othcrwords. a singul artcrm |s dcñnitclya
onc- multiplcofthe situation, but it is i ndccomposab| c' | nasmuchaswhat
|ti scomposcdof. orat lcastpartofthclattcr. i snotpresentcdanywhcrc
|n thcsituation|n ascpa·a/cmanncr 1histcrm, unifyi ngingrcdicntswhich
arc not ncccssarily thcmsclvcs tcrms, cannot bc considcrcd a part.
Althoughi tbclongstoit thistcrmcannotbcinc| udcdinthcsituat| on. As
such, anindccomposablctcrmwillnotbcrc- sccurcdbythcstatc. Forthc
statc, not bcing a part, this tcrm is actually not onc, dcspitc it bcing
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 dircctly vcri ñcd by thc statc. !ts
99
100
BEI NG AND EVENT
cx|stcncc| sonl yvcr|ñcd|nasmuchas|t|s carr|cd bypartsthatcxcccd| t.
1hcstatcw| l l nothavc to rcg|stcrth| stcrm as onc-of-thc- statc.
F|nally, 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 typcs 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, andby
cxtcns|on. oft hcncccss|tyof| t spowcrfort hcprotcct|onoft hconcfrom
anyñxat|on- w|th|n- thc-mu|t|plc ofthc vo| d. 1hcsc thrcctypcs structurc
what |s csscnt|a|ly at stakc | n a s|tuat|on. 1hcy arc thc most pr|m|t|vc
conccpts of anycxpcr|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|ogy'lt|scv|dcntthatasa thcoryolprcscntat|on| tmust
also prov|Jc a thcory of thc statc. wh|ch |s to say, 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 only
would purc mu|t|plcs bc prcscntcdthcrc|n, but also rcprcscntcd. consc
qucntlythcrcwouldbc a rupturc, oranordcr. bctwccna hrst spcc|cs of
mult|plcs, thoscprcscntcdby thcthcory. and a sccond spcc| cs' , thc sub-
mult|p|csof thc ñrstspcc|cs,whoscax|omat| ccountwouldbc cnsurcdby
thc statc ol thc ontolog|cal s|tuatlonal onc, lts t hcorct|cal mctastructurc.
Morc |mportant|y, 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|rcctly by thc thcory. Or rathcr.
thcrcwou|dbcnoax|omsystcms,oncforclcmcntsandoncforparts,onc
ofbclong|ng ( è ; , andthc othcrof|nclus|on ( c) . 1h|s would ccrta|nlybc
|nadcquatcs| nccthcvcrystakcofthcthcory | sthcax| omat| cprcscntat|on
olthc mult|plc ofmul t|plcs asthcan/¡acgcncrallorm olprcscntatlon
I othcrwords, |t |s | nconcc|vablc thatthc |mpl|c|t prcscntat| on ofthc
mult|plcbythcontolog|cal ax|omsystcm|mply,|nfact,twod| sj o|ntax|om
systcms, thatofstructurcdprcscntat|on, andthatofthc statc.
THE STATE, OR METASTRUCTURE, AND THE TYPOLOGY OF BEI NG
1o put | t d|llcrcntly, ontology cannot havc |ts own cxcrcsccnccs÷
mult|pl cs that arc rcprcscntcd w//hou/ cvcr hav/n¸ /ccn prcscn/cd as
mu///p/cs¯bccauscwhat ontology prcscntsls prcscntat|on.
Bywayolconscqucncc, ontology|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//n¸ /han/ha/o]/c/on¸/n¡. Th|s| sthc
samc as say|ng that ontology must procccd on thc bas|s that thc count-
as-oncola mult|pl c's subscts, whatcvcrthatmult|plcmaybc, | sonl ycvcr
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| stosay,
|ncx|stcnt 1h|s |s what|s s|gn|ncd ( Mcd|tat|on 7i by thccx|stcncc olthc
sctolsubsctsbc|nganax|omoranldca,]us///kc/hco/hcrs. al l |tg|vcsus| s
a multlplc
1hcpr|cctobcpa|d|s clcar. |nontology, thc statc' s ant| -vo| d' funct|ons
arcnotguarantccd lnpart|cular, notonly|s|tposs|blcthatthcnxat|onof
thcvo|doccursomcwhcrcw|th|nthcparts, but|t| s|ncv|tabl c. Thcvo|d|s
ncccssar|ly, |nthcontolog|calapparatus, thcsubsctparcxccllcncc, bccausc
noth|ngthcrc|ncancnsurc|tscxpulslonbyspcc|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 sctthcory thcvo|d|s un|vcrsally| ncl udcd.
1hclntcgralrcallzation, onthcpartolontology, olthcnon-bc|ngolthc
onc lcads to thc |ncx|stcncc ol a statc ol thc s|tuat|on that |t |s. thcrcby
|nlcct|ng|nclus|onw|ththcvo|d, altcral rcadyhav|ngsubj 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|osophy Mathcmatics Philosophy 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
g|vcn sct a. !t| s
counts asonc
mu|tiplc
multiplcs. or
wri ttcn. p(a) .
compos| tion ol a.
su|scts. orparts
Lvcry c|emcnt
|t | s thcnsaid
olthc situat| on
olp(a) isa
t Hat ß bc|ongs to
!t rccounts thc
subsct ( Lngl | sh
a. 1h| s| swr| ttcn
tcrms olthc
tcrmino|ogy, or
ß E a.
situat|on
a part ( ircnch
inasmuchas
tcrminology, ol
thcy arc
the sct a.
1obclongt
- E is thc sign ol
prcscntcd by
such sub
a s| tuati on'
bc|ong| ng It | s mult|plcs
means tobc
tHe lundamcntal
prcscntcdby
s| gn ol sci
- 1o be |nc|udcd
- 1obc a subsct
that situat|on.
theory !ta| l ows
| na sit uation'
(o a part, i s
to|concolthe
onetoth|nkt hc
mcans. to be
sa| d y is
clcmcnts |t
puremu| |ip|c
cocntcd |y 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|gn
thus cquiva|ent
olincl us|on !t | s
8c|ong| ngis torcprcscntat| on
a dcr|vcd s| gn !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|chbclongs 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
thcs/dco]thcs/tuat/en.
- representati on, count of the count metastructure, i ncl usi on, subset
and part are enthcs/dc o]thcstatco]thcs/tuct/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 cvcry structurcd prcscntat|on supposcs a
mctastructurc,tcrmcdthc statcotthc s|tuat|on. !putforwardancmp|rical
argumcnt |n support of th|s thcs|s. that cvcry cffcct|vcl y prcscntcd
mult|pl|cityrcvcals|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 ö l 2 , 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|tytocmploythcthrcccatcgor|csofprcscntcd-bc|ng. normal|ty,
s|ngular|ty, andcxcrcsccncc.
0nc ofthc grcat advanccs of Marx|sm was no doubt | t hav|ng undcr-
stood that thc 3tatc, |n csscncc, docs not cntcrta| nany rclationship with
ind|v|duals. thc d|alcct|c of |ts cx|stcncc docs not rclatc thc onc of
author|tyto a mult| p| c ofsubj ccts
!n itself. th|swasnota ncw |dca. Ar|stotlc had al rcadypoi 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|ty, andwh|chmakcspol|t|cs|ntosuchastrangcdomaln÷|nwh|chthc
patholog|cal ( tyrann|cs, ol|garch|cs and dcmocrac|cs; rcgularly 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 thoughty
that Ar|stotlc hcsitatcs. not know|ng how |t m|ght bc supprcsscd, hc
hcs|tatcsbcforcdcclar|ng|tcnt|rcly natural ' , s|nccwhathcmostdcs|rcsto
scc rcal|zcd i s thc cxtcns| on÷anJ, rat|onally, thc un|vcrsal|ty÷of thc
THE STATE OF THE HI STORI CAL- SOCI AL SI TUATI ON
m|ddlc class. Hcthus clcarly 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|tyof/hcpo////ca/bccausc
thcstatc,| n|tsconcrctcdcst|ny, dcñncs|tsc|fl cssbythcbal anccdplaccof
c|t|zcnsthanbythcgrcatmasscs÷thcpartswh|charcoltcnpart| cs÷both
cmp|r|caland| n llux, thatarc const|tutcdbythc r|ch andthc poor.
Marx|stthoughtrc|atcsthc Statcd| rcctlytosub-mult|p| csrathcrthanto
tcrmsofthcs|tuat|on. ltpos| tsthatthccount- as- onccnsurcdbythcStatc
|snotor|g|nallythatofthcmult|plcof|nd|v|duals, butthatofthcmult|plc
ofclasscsof| nd|v|dua| s. Fvcn| toncabandonsthctcrm| nologyofclasscs,
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 always 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|fy | n any way that
thcStatc| sdc]ncdbythccocrc|vc | ntcrcst' that| td|rcctsatth| s| nd|v| dual ,
orat| nd| v| dual s| ngcncral . 1h| s| s thcundcrly|ng mcan| ngthat mustbc
confcrrcduponthcvul garMarx|st| dcathat thcStatc| salwaysthc Statc
ofthcrul|ngclass´1hc|ntcrprctat|onlproposcofth|s| dca| sthatthcStatc
solclycxcrc|scs|tsdom|nat|onaccordingtoal awdcst|ncdtoform- oncout
ofthcpar/so|a s| tuat| on. morcovcr. thcrol cofthc Statc | stoqual|ty, onc
by onc, cach of thc compos|t|ons of compos|t|ons ol mult|plcs whosc
gcncra|cons|stcncy, | nrcspcctof/crms. | ssccurcdbythcs|tuat|on, that|s,
by a h|stor|calprcscntat|onwh| ch| s alrcady' structurcd.
1hc Statc|ss| mp|ythc ncccssarymctastructurcofcvcryh|stor|co-soc|al
s|tuat|on, wh|ch| stosaythclawthatguarantccsthatthcrc| s 0ncncss, not
|n thc |mmcd|acy of soc|cty÷that |s always prov| dcd for by a non- statc
structurc÷but amongst thc set of |ts subscts . !t | s th|s onc- cffcct that
Marx|sm dcs|gnatcs whcn | t says that thc 3tatc| s thc Statc ofthcrul|ng
class' . !fth|sformula| ssupposcdtos|gn|fythatthc Statc| san| nstrumcnt
posscsscd' by 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 y| cl d thc onc
amongst thc complcx parts ot h| stor|co- soc|al prcscntat| on÷|s always a
structurc,and| nasmuchas |t |s clcarlyncccssarythat thcrcbe a l awofthc
count,andthusaan/]orm/qo]c]]cc/.Atthcvcrylcast, thctcrm rul|ngclass'
105
106
BEI NG AND EVENT
dcs|gnatcs t hi s un|form|ty, whatcvcr t hc scmant|c pcrt|ncncc of t hc
cxprcssion mightbc.
1hcrc | s anothcr advantagc to thc Marx|st statcmcnt |f i t | s graspcd
purcly 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/ways 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|mcofpropcrty, thcconccntrat|onofcap|ta|ctc. 1osayo|thcStatc
that| t| sthato]thcbourgcois|chasthcadvantagco|undcrl|ningthatthc
Statcrcprcscntssomcth|ngthathasalrcadybccnh|stor|callyandsocially
prcscntcd. 1h|s rc-prcscntation cv|dcntly has nothing to do with thc
charactcr ofgovcrnmcnt as constitut|onal|y 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 ||y|ngthcmaccord|ngtothclawwh|chi t|s. thcStatc
|s always dcnncd by thc rcprcscntat|on÷according t o thc mult|plcs of
mult|plcstowh|chthcybclong, thus, accord|ngtothc| rbclong|ngtowhat
|s /ac/udcd |n thc s|tuation÷of thc tcrms prcscntcd by thc s|tuat|on. Of
coursc, thcMarx|ststatcmcnti s|artoorcstr|ctivc.| tdocsnotcnt|rclygrasp
thc Statc as statc (of thc s|tuation; . 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 by thc Statc, thc lattcr |s always consccratcd to rc- prcscnt|ng
prcscntati on. thc Statc |s thus thc structurc of thc h| stori co-soc|al struc
turc, thcguarantcc thatthconcrcsults/ ncvcg/h/n¡.
lt thcn bccomcs cv|dcnt why thc Statc | s both absolutcly t| cd to
histor|co socialprcscntat|on andyctal soscparatcd |rom | t.
The State | s ti ed to prcscntatlon ln that thc parts, whosc onc lt
constructs, arcsolclymultip| cso|multip|csalreadycountcd as oncbythc
structurcsofthcs|tuat| on. Fromth|spo|nto|v|cw, thc Statc i shistorically
l|nkcdtosocicty|nthc vcrymovcmcnto|prcscntati on. 1hc Statc, solcly
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 tbybcl ngthc statc o]/hcs//ua/·on. i sfarmorc
structuralandpermancntthanthccocrc|vc |uncti on. Onthcothcrhand,
bccausc thcparts ofsocictycxcccd|tstcrmsoncvcrys|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 guarantcc o| thc
un|vcrsal rclnforccmcnt o| thconc÷|s ncccssarlly a scparatc apparatus .
L|kc thc statc o|anys|tuat|on whatsocvcr, thc Statc ofa h|stor|co-soclal
s|tuat|onl s subj cct to thcthcorcm ofthc po|nt olcxccss ( Mcd|tatlon 7 ; .
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|fy ltscl| w|th thc or|g|nal structurc
wh|ch |ays out thc conslstcncy o| prcscntat|on. whlch | s to say 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|nly, by numbcr|ng.
manag|ng and ordcrlng subscts. thc Statc rc- prcscnts tcrms wh|ch arc
a|rcady structurcd by thc capltallstlc naturc of soclcty 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
formsthcvcrymodcl nwh| chthc onc can bcrclnforccd l nthc counto|
parts. If, for cxamp|c. an|ndlvldual| s dcaltwlth' bythc Statc, whatcvcr
thccascmaybc. this|ndlv|duali s notcountcdasoncas h| m' or hcrsclf.
wh|ch solcly mcans. as that mult|plc wh|ch has rccclvcd thc onc ln thc
structurlng lmmcd|acy o|thc sltuat|on. 1h|s lndlvldual l s cons|dcrcdas a
sa/sc/.thatls÷to|mportamathcmatlcal( ontolog|cal ; conccpt( c. Mcd|ta
t|on ¯ ; ÷asthcs|ng|ctonofhlmorhcrscl| NotasAntolncLombaslc÷thc
propcr namc of an |nnnltc mult|plc÷but as ¦Anto|nc Lombaslc¦, an
lnd|ffcrcnt ngurc of un|c| ty. constitutcd by thc form|ng-i nto onc o| thc
namc
1hc votcr' . |or cxamplc. ls not thc subj 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 always
÷pat|cntly or |mpatlcntly÷subj cct to thls cl cmcntary cocrc|on, to thls
a|omolconstraintwhlchconstltutcsthcposs|b|l|tyo| cvcryothcrtypc o|
constra|nt, |ncludlng |nlli ctcd dcath Thls cocrclon conslsts l n not bc|ng
hcldtobcsomconcwhobclongstosoc|cty,butassomconcwhol s/n:/udcd
wlth|nsoc|cty. 1hc Statcls|undamcntally|ndl|fcrcnttobcl onglngyctl tls
constantlyconccrncdwlth |ncluslon Anyconslstcntsubsct|sl mmcd|atcly
countcd and consldcrcd by thc Statc. |or bcttcr or worsc. bccausc |t | s
mattcrlorrcprcscntatl on. Onthcothcrhand, dcspl tcthcprotcstat| onsand
dcclarat|onstothccontrary, |tlsalwayscvi dcntthatl nthccnd. whcnl t l s
107
108
BEI NG AND EVENT
a mattcrofpcoplc' s/|ves÷wh|ch| stosay, ofthcmult|plcwhosconcthcy
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 ys|sprogrcss|vcly
cxposcs |tsclfto a fatal amb|gu|ty. Grantcd, Fngcls and Lcn|n dcnn|t|vcly
undcrl|ncd thc scparatc charactcr of thc Statc. morcovcr thcy showcd
÷and thcy wcrc corrcct÷that cocrc|on | s rcc|procal with scparat|on.
Conscqucntly, lorthcmthccsscnccofthcStatc |snnal l y|tsburcaucrat|c
and m| l|tary mach|ncry. that |s, thc structural v|s|b|l|ty of |ts cxcess ovcr
socal |mmcd|acy. |ts charactcr of bc|ng monstrously 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 typcs of rclat|on to thc
s|tuat|onal|ntcgr|tyofthconc-cffcct ( tak|ngbothbclong|ngand|nclus|on
|ntocons|dcrat|on; . normal| ty( tobcprcscntcdandrcprcscntcd; . s|ngular
|ty ( tobcprcscntcdbutnot rcprcscntcd; . cxcrcsccncc ( to bcrcprcscntcd
butnotprcscntcd; . Obv|ously what rcma|ns |s thc vo|d, wh|ch|s nc|thcr
presented nor represented.
Fngclsqu|tcclcarlyrcmarkss|gnsofcxcrcsccncc| nthcStatcs burcau
crat|c andm|l|tary mach|ncry. Thcrc | s no doubt that suchparts of thc
s|tuat|on arc rc-prcscntcd rathcr than prcscntcd. Th|s | s bccausc thcy
thcmsclvcshavctodow|ththcopcratorofrcprcscntat|on. Prcc|scly' Thc
amb|valcncc | nthc c|ass|c Marx|st analys|s |s conccntratcd |n onc po|nt.
th|nking÷s|ncc|t|ssolclylromthcstandpo|ntofthc Statcthatthcrcarc
cxcrcsccnccs÷that thc Statc //sc/]| s an cxcrcsccncc. Byconscqucncc, as
pol| t|calprogrammc, thcMarx|stproposcs thc rcvolut|onary supprcss|on
o|thc 9tatc. thus thccnd olrcprcscntat|onandthcun|vcrsal|tyo|s|mplc
prcscntati on.
What|s thc sourcc ofth| sambivalcncc' Whatmustbcrccallcdhcrc| s
thatforFngclsthcscparat|onofthcStatcdocsnotrcsul td|rcctlyfromthc
s|mplc cx|stcncc of classcs ( parts, . | 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 thcvcry cons|stcncy of h|stor|calprcscnta
t|on. By conscqucncc, |f thc monopoly 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 carcfully sortcd bccauscthcy
conta|napro|oundi dca. /hc5/a/c/sno|]oundcdupon/hcscc/a//cnd. wh/ch//
wou/dcxprcss. /u/ra/hcr upon un //nd/nµ. wh/ch //proh///|s. Or, to bc morc
prcc|sc, thc scparation of thc Statc is lcss a rcsult of thc cons|stcncy of
prcscntat|on than of thc dangcr of incons|stcncy. 1h|s idca gocs back to
Hobbcs of coursc ( thc war ot al l aga|nst al l ncccss|tatcs an absolutc
transccndcntalauthor|ty; and|t| sfundamcntallycorrcct| nthcfollow|ng
form. | f, | na s|tuat|on ( histor|cal ornot ; , | ti sncccssary that thc partsbc
countcd by 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 scµarat|on of thc Statc pursucs thc
|ntcgral|ty of thc onc cffcct bcyond thc tcrms wh|ch bclong to thc
s|tuat|on, to thc po|nt of thc mastcry, which | t cnsurcs, of /n:/udcd
mult|plcs. sothatthcvo| dandthcgapbctwccnthccountandthc countcd
do notbccomc |dcntinab|c, so that thc |ncons|stcncy that cons|stcncy /s
docsnot comc to pass .
!t |s not for noth|ng that govcrnmcnts, whcn an cmblcm of thci rvo|d
wandcrs about÷gcncrally, an incons|stcnt or r|ot|ng crowd÷proh|b|t
gathcrings ol morc than thrcc pcopl c' , wh|ch |s to say thcy cxpl|c|tly
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 cxactly what Fngc|s sa|d. roughly spcak|ng, for
Fngcls, us| ngMcd|tat|on8'stcrm|nology, thcbourgco|s|c| sanorma| tcrm
( it | sprcscntcd cconom|callyandsoc|aIly, andrc-prcscntcdbythc Statc; ,
thcpro|ctariati sa singulartcrm ( iti s prcscntcdbutnotrcprcscntcd; , 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 saythc cnd ofparts, andthusofanyncccss|ty
to controlthc|rcxccss.
Notc that fromth|s po|nt ofvicw, commun|sm would in rcal|tybc thc
unl|m|tcdrcg|mc ofthc|nd|v| dual .
Atbasc, thcclass|calMarxlstdcscriptlono|thc 3tatc| s|ormal l ycorrcct.
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 crrancy of thc voi d, and thc i rrcmcdiab| c
cxccssofi ncl usionovcrbc| onging. whichncccssitatcthcrc- sccuringolthc
onc andthcstructuring ofstructurc÷arc hc|dby Lngc|s tobcparticu|ar
iticsofprcscntation. andofwhat| snumbcrcdthcrci n 1hcvoidisrcduccd
to thc non- rcprcscntation of thc prolctariat, thus. unprcscntability i s
rcduccdtoa moda| ityofnon rcprcscntation. thcscparatccountofpartsi s
rcduccdtothcnon- uni vcrsa|ityofbourgcois| ntcrcsts. tothcprcscntativc
sp| | t bctwccn norma| i ty and singu|ar| ty. and, nnal l y. hc rcduccs thc
machincry of thc countasonc t o an cxcrcsccncc bccausc hc docs not
undcrstandthatthccxccsswhichi ttrcatsisinc| uctab| c, foriti sa thcorcm
of|ci ng
1hcconscqucnccolthcscthcscsi sthatpo|iticscanbcdcnncdthcrci nas
an assau| tagainstthc Statc whatcvcrthc modc ofthat assau| tmightbc.
pcaccfu|orvio|cnt !t sufnccs' forsuchanassaulttomobi|izcthcsi ngu| ar
mu| ti p| cs against thc norma| mu| tip|cs by argui ng that cxcrcsccncc i s
into|crab|c Bowcvcr. ifthcgovcrnmcntandcvcn thc matcria| substancc
ofthc Statc apparat uscan|c ovcrturncdordcstroycd. cvcn i l i nccrtain
circumstanccsitispol itica| | yuscfu|todoso. oncmustnot|oscsightofthc
factthatthc Statc assuch÷whichi stosaythcrc sccuringofthconcovcr
thc mu| ti p| c of parts ( or partics¡ ÷cannot bc so cas| | y attackcd or
dcstroycd Scarcc| y|lvcycarsaftcrthcOctobcrRcvo| ut i on.Lcni n. rcadyto
dic. dcspai rcdovcr thc obsccnc permancncc of thc Stat c Mao hi msc| f.
morcph|cgmaticandmorcadvcnturous. dcc|arcd÷aftcrtwcnty nvcycars
inpowcrandtcnycarsofthcCu| tura| Rcvo|utionslcroci oust umu|t÷that
notmuch had changcd aftcra| l
1his is bccausc cvcn if thc routc of politica| changc÷and ! mcan thc
routc of thc radica| dispcnsation of j usticc÷is a|ways bordcrcd by thc
State, i t cannot i n any way l et itself be gui ded by thcl atter, for the 9tatel s
prccisc|y nonpol i ti ca| . i nso|ar as i t cannot changc, savc hands. and| t i s
wcl| known that thcrc i s|itt|c stratcgicsigni|lcationi nsuch a changc
!t i s notantagoni smwhich l | csat thc origin of t hc Statc. bccausc onc
cannot think thcdi alccticolthcvoi dandcxccssasantagonism Nodoubt
po||tics itsc|f must originatc i n thc vcry samc p| acc as thc statc. in that
dial ccti c 8ut thi s i sccrtain|ynotin ordcrtoscizcthc Statcnortodoub|c
thc 9tatc' s cflcct On thc contrary. pol ltics stakcs | t s cxistcncc on its
capacity to cstabl | sh a rc|ation to both thc void and cxccss which i s
csscntia| | y 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 by thc cvcnt, tor it is only
whcn grappling w| th thc cvcnt ( scc Mcditation l 7 , that thc Statc b|inds
itsclftoitsownmastcry. 1hcrcthcacti vistconstructsthcmcanstosound,
ifonlytoraninstant 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
Qa/c¡u/dcst/nUcocstor a| | s| tu at| ons havc thc samc statc.
Lth|cs. Book!
Spinoza|sacutc|yawarcthatprcscntcdmu| t| p| cs. wh| chhcca||s singular
things ( ·css|n¸u/arcs, . arcgcncra|lymu|tiplcsolmu| t| plcs. A composition
ol mu| t| p| c indiv| dua| s (p|ura /nd/v/dua, is actua| l y onc and thc samc
singul ar th|ng providcd that thcsc ind| v| dua| s contributc to onc uniquc
act|on. that | s. | nso|arasthcysimu|tancous|ycausca un| quccllcct ( un/us
c¡cctuscausa, !nothcrwords. lorSpinoza. thccount as oncol a mult| p| c.
structurc. /scausa//q. A combinationolmu|t| p|csisa onc-mu|t|plcinsolar
as|t| sthconcola causa|acti on. Structurcisrctroactivc|y|cgib|c. thconc
olthccllcctva| | datcsthconcmu| tip|colthccausc. 1hcti mcol|nccrtitudc
wi th rcspcct to th| s |cgibi|ity distinguishcs i ndi vi dua| s. whosc mult|pl c.
supposcd incons| stcnt. rccc| vcsthc sca| ol consistcncy oncc thc uni ty ol
thei r effect i s regi stered. The inconsistency, or di sj uncti on, of i ndi vi dual s is
thcnrccc| vcdasthccons| sicncy olthcs|ngu| arthing. one andthcsamc
!n Latin. inconsistcncy |s p/ura /nd/v/dua. cons| stcncy |s rcs s/n¡u/arcs
between the two, t he COllnt - as- one, whi ch is the un|use[c:/usccasc.or unc
act|o
1hcprob|cm w|th th| s doctrinc i s that it |s circular !l| n lact [ can only
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| rcadydi sposcolacritcrionolsuch
unic|ty. What| sth|s un| quccllcct ' `Nodoubt| t| sacomp|cxolindividua| s
inturn÷inordcrtoattcst|tsonc. i nordcrtosaythat|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 lnconslstcncy of lndlvlduals and thc conslstcncy of thc
slngularthlng. lnsofarasthcopcratorofthccountwhlchartlculatcsthcm,
causallty, can onlybcvouchcdfor. l nturn, by the countofthc cffcct.
What ls surprlslng ls that Splnoza docs not ln any way appcar to bc
pcrturbcd by thls lmpassc. What ! would llkc tolntcrprcthcrc ls not so
much thc apparcnt dlfnculty as thc fact that lt l s not onc for Splnoza
hlmscll. ! nmy cycs, thckcy to thcproblcmls thataccordIng to hls own
fundamcntal loglc /hc :oun/csonc /n /hc /as/ rcsor/ /s assurcd |y /hc
mc/as/r×c/urc.bythcstatcofthcsltuatlon, whlchhecallsGodorSubstancc
Splnoza rcprcscnts thc most radlcal attcmpt cvcr ln ontology to ldcntlfy
structurc and mctastructurc, to asslgn thc onc-cflcct dircctlyto thc statc,
andto| n dlstlngulshbclonglngandlnclusl on Bythcsamc token, itlsclcar
that thls ls thc phl l osophy pcr cx:c//cncc whi ch ]orcc/oscs /hc vo/4 My
lntcntlonlstocstabllshthatthl sforcclosurcfalls, andthatthcvold, whosc
mctastructuralordlvinc closurc shouldcnsurc thatl trcmalnsl n cxlstcnt
andunthlnkablc, l swcllandtrulynamcdandplaccdbySplnozaundcrthc
conccptof/n]n//cmodc Onccouldalsosaythatthclnnnltcmodciswhcrc
Splnoza dcslgnatcs. dcspitc hlmsclf÷and thus wlth thc hlghcst uncon
sclousawarcncss olhlstask÷thcpolnt ( cxcludcdcvcrywhcrc by hlm¡ at
whl chonc canno| ongcravol dthc supposltlon ofa Subjcct.
1ostartwl th, thc csscntlal l dcntlty of bclonglng andl ncl usl on can bc
dlrcctlydcduccdfromthcprcsupposltlonsofthcdchnlt|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 say thc oncl nnnltyofthc unlquc substancc÷whosc othcr namc ls
Cod÷or an lmmancnt modlncatlon of God hlmsclf, whlch |s to say an
cffcctofsubstancc, ancffcctwhosccntlrcbcl ngissubstanccl tscl f Splnoza
says. Codl sthclmmancnt, notthctransltlvc, causcofallthlngs . ' Athlng
ls thus a modc of Cod, a thlng ncccssarllybclongs to thcsc l nhnltlcs ln
lnnnltc modcs' ( /n{n//a |n]n///s mod/s, whlch fol l ow' dlvinc naturc. I
othcr words, Qu/c¡a/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 ! fyoucomblncscvcralthlngs÷scvcral
lndlvlduals÷accordlng to thc causal count - as onc for cxamplc ( on thc
basls ofthc onc ofthclrcffcct ¡ . you wlll onl ycvcr 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 j ust as thcy arc. which i s to say an i ntcrna| affccti on . an
i mmancnt and parti a| cffcct Lvcrything that bc| ongs i s i nc| udcd and
cvcrythi ng that i s inc| udcd bclongs. 1hc absolutcncss of thc suprcmc
count. ofthcdi vi ncstatc. cntai | sthatcvcryth|ngprcscntcdi srcprcscntcd
and rcciprocal|y. /ccausc pr:scn/a/|on an4 rcpr:scn/a//on arc /hc semc /h/n¸.
Sincc to bc|ongto God and to cxi st arcsynonymous. thccountofparts
i s sccurcd bythc vcry movcmcnt which sccurcs thc count of tcrms, and
which i sthci ncxhausti b| c|mmancntproductivity of substancc.
Locsthi smcanthatSpinozadocsnotdi sti ngui shsi tuati ons. thatthcrci s
onlyoncsi tuati on`Notcxact|y !lGod| suni quc. andi f bci ngi s uniqucly
God. thc/dcn/µca//onofGod unfo|ds ani nñnityofi ntcl | cctuallyscparab| c
si tuati onsthatSpi nozatcrmsthcattributcsofsubstancc.1hcattributcsarc
substanccitsc|f.i nasmuchasi ta||owsitsc|ftobci dcnti ncdi nan| nnnityof
di flcrcnt manncrs. Wc must di stingui sh hcrc bctwccn bci ng quabcing
( thcsubstanti ali tyofsubstancc¡ . andwhatthoughtisablctoconccivcofas
constituting thc diffcrcntiab|c i dcntity÷Spi noza says. thc csscncc÷of
bcing. whichis p|ura| . Anattributc consi sts ol whatthc | ntcll cct ( /n/c//cc
/us, pcrccivcs of a substancc. as consti tuti ng its csscncc . ! wou| d say thc
fo||owing. thc onc- ofbcingi s thinkab|cthroughthcmu| ti pl i ci tyofsi 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|yi dcnti |i ab| c. Godlsi ndccd a substanccconsi sti ng of
i nnni tc attributcs' . othcrwisci twould again bcncccssary that di ffcrcnccs
bc cxtcrna|ly 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 ( co¸//a//o, and thosc undcr thc attributc of cxtcnsion
( cx/cns/o, 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 structurally ( that is, i n tcrms of thc statc¡
uni quc. 0rdoc/conncx/o /dccrum /4cm cs|. aco·doc/cenncx/e rcrum. i tbcing
SPI NOZA
undcrstoodthat thing' ( rcs, dcsignatcshcrcancxistcnt÷a modc÷ofthc
s|tuation cxtcnsi on , and that idca ( /dca, 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 immcdiacy ofsituations ( attributcs, to i tscl f 1hispar/thatis
ahuman,bodyandsoul, intcrscctstwoscparablctypcsofmul ti plc, cx/cns/o
and co¸//a//o. and thus is apparcntly includcd in thcir uni on ln rcality i t
bclongs solcly to thc modal rcgimc, bccausc thc suprcmc metastructurc
dircctlyguarantccsthccount as oncofcvcrythi ngwhi chcxists, whatcvcr
its situation maybc
Fromthcscprcsupposit|onsthcrcimmcdiatclyfollowsthcforcclosurcof
thc void On onc hand, thc voi d cannot /c/on¸ to a si tuati on bccausc it
wouldhavctobccountcdasoncthcrcin, yctthcopcratorofthccounti s
causality 1he voi d, wh|ch docs not contain any i ndi vi dual , cannot
contributctoanyactionwhoscrcsultwouldbca 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 by i ts statc, its
mctastructurc ln rcality, thc mctastructurc i s e/so causal i ty. thi s timc
undcrstood as thc immancnt production of thc divinc substancc lt i s
impossiblcforthcvoi dto bc subsumcdundcrthi scount ( of thc count , ,
which i s idcntical t o the count itsclf 1hc void can thus nci thcr bc
prcscntednorcancxcccdprcscntationi nthcmodcofthcstatistcount lt
isnci thcrprcscntablc ( bc| onging, nor unprcscntablc ( point olcxccss ,
Yct this dcductivc forccl osurc o f thc void docs not succccd÷far from
it÷in thc cradication ofanypossibilityofits crrancy i nsomcwcakpoint
orabandoncdj oi ntolthc Spinozistsystcm. Putitthisway 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, thcnthcrcisapparcntlynomcasurcbctwccnthccountand
i ts resul t because God i s ' absol utely infnit e' . lobe more preci se, does not
causali ty÷bymcansofwhichthconcofthcthi ngi srccognizcdi nthconc
1 1 S
116
BEI NG AND EVENT
of |ts cffcct÷r| sk | nt roducing thc void of a mcasurab|c non- rclation
bctwccn | ts inhnitc origin and thc nnitudc of thc onc-cffcct' Spinoza
pos|ts that thc know|cdgc of thc cffcct dcpcnds on, and cnvclops, thc
knowl cdgc of thc causc´ !si tconccivab|cthat thc know|cdgc of a nnitc
thing cnvc|op thc knowlcdgc of an | nnni tc causc' Woul d | t not bc
ncccssary totravcrscthcvoi d ofan abso|utclossofrca|itybctwecncausc
and cffcct i f onc | s innnitc and thc othcr nn| tc' A voi d, moreovcr, that
wou|d ncccssar||ybci mmancnt, sincc a nnitc thing i sa modality of Cod
hlmsclf' !t sccms that thc exccss ofthc causal sourcc rccmcrgcs 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 . !nnnity woul dthcrclorc
dcs|gnatc thc stat| st cxccss ovcr thc prcscntativc bc| onging of slngular
nnitcthings Andthccorrclatc,inc| uctab|cbccauscthcvoidi sthcultimatc
foundation of that cxccss, | s that thc vold wou| d bc thc crrancy of thc
incommcnsurab| | |tybctwccnthcl nnnitc andthc nnitc.
Spinozacatcgorical|yafnrmsthat, bcyond substanccandmodcs, noth-
i ngi sgi vcn( n//da/ar, ´ Attributcsarc actuallynot givcn' , thcynamcthc
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 stigmata of a sp| | t in prcscntation bctwccn
substantialbcing-qua-bcingand its nnitc immancnt production
1o dcal wi th this rc- cmcrgcncc of thc unqua| | hablc void, and to
maintainthc cntirclyafnrmativcframc ofhi s onto|ogy, Sp| noza i sl cdto
posit that /hccoap/c sa/s/an:c/modcs, wh/ch dc/:rm/ncs a// dona//on o] /c/n¸.
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|lycannot
occuronthcbasisofthcrcbcinga hni tudcofsubstancc, s|nccthclattcris
absolutcly i nnn| tc' by dcnnition. 1hcrc i s on|y 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 ngul ar ñnite
thing can only bc anothcr singular nnitc thing, and a con/rar/o. a
( supposcd, innni tcth|ngcanonlyproduccthcinñnitc 1hccffcctivccausal
liaisonbcingthuscxcmptcdfromthc abyssbctwccn 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/cs, thcn runsasfollows
Lstablish that cvcrything which fo|lows lrom thc absolutcnature of
any of Gods attr|butcs . is | nnnltc´ 1hls amounts to saying that il an
effcct ( thus a modc, rcsults di rcctly from thc i nnn| ty of God, such as
SPI NOZA
idcntincd i n a prcscntat|vc situation ( an attributc, . thcn that cflcct is
ncccssarily | nnni tc !t is animmcdiatc innnitc modc.
- Lstablishthatcvcrythingwhich|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 tyolacausc. whcthcr
i t bc dircctlysubstantial oral rcady modal. sol cl y cngcndcrs i nnni ty. Wc
thcrc|orc avoid thc l oss o| cquali ty. 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 yfo|lows
- 1hc count as onc o|a singularthingonthcbasiso| |ts supposcdnnitc
cllcctimmcd| atclydcs| gnatcs| t asbcingnn|tcitscl|. for| | | t wcrci nhni tc.
its c||cct. aswc havc sccn. woul dalso havc tobe such. ! nthc structurcd
prcsentation olsi ngularthingsthcrcis 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 ybccstabl | 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
cntirclydisconncctcd |romthe prcscntcd worldol singular things '
1hcqucstioni sthato| knowingi nwhichscnscthcsci nnn| tcmodcscx/s/
! n|act. vcrycar|y on. thcrcwcrc a numbcro|curi ouspcoplc who askcd
Spinozacxactlywhatthcsc|nnnitcmodcswcrc. notab|yaccrtai nSchul| cr.
a Gcrman corrcspondcnt. who. in his lcttcr o| 2 ¯ Jul y l 67¯. bcggcd
117
118
BEI NG AND EVENT
thc vcrywiscandpcnctratingphi|osophcrBaruchdcSpinozatogivchim
cxamp|cs ofthingsproduccdimmcdiatclyby God, andthingsproduccd
mcdiatc| ybyaninnnitcmodincati on . Fourdays|atcr, Spinozarcp|icdto
him that i n thc ordcr of thought ( in our tcrms, i n thc si tuati on. or
attributc, thought ¡ thc cxamp| c of an immcdiatc innnitc modc was
abso|utc|y innnitc undcrstanding , and in thc ordcr ofcxtcnsion, movc
mcnt and rcst . As for mcdiatc inhnitc modcs, Spinoza on| y citcs onc,
without spccifying itsattributc ( whichonc can imaginctobc cxtcnsion, .
!tis thc hgurcofthccntirc univcrsc (]ac/cs /o//us un/vcrs/, .
1hroughoutthccntirctyofhiswork, Spinozawi|lnotsayanythingmorc
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
hicrarchyofbodics. ordcrcdaccordingtothccomp|cxityofcachbodyasa
mu| tip|c. !f this hicrarchy is cxtcnJcd to innnity ( /n /n]n//um, . thcn it is
possib|ctoconccivcthat thcwho|cofNaturcis oncsol c!ndividua| ( /e/am
Na/uram unumcssc|nd/v/du×m, whoscparts, that is, al| bodics, varyin an
innnity of modcs, w| thout any 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/cnusco¸//cnd/
mo4us, . which isdctcrmincdbyanothcrctcrna|modc ofthought, andthis
againbyanothcr, andsoon,toi nhnity, sothata| l togcthcr. thcyconstitutc
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. 1hcyarciso|atcd. 1hcytcndtoprcscntNaturcasthc
innnitc immobi|c totality of singu|ar moving things, anJ thc divinc
Undcrstandingasthc i nnnitc tota|ity olparticu| armi nds.
1hcqucsti onwhichthcncmcrgcs. anditi saninsistcntonc, i sthatolthc
cxistcnccofthcsctota|iti cs. 1hcproblcmi sthatthcprinciplcolthc1otality
which is obtaincd by addition /n /n]n//um has nothing to do with thc
princip|c of thc Onc by which substancc guarantccs, in rad|cal statist
cxccss, howcvcr immancnt. thc count of cvcry singu| arthi ng.
Spinoza i s vcry c| car on thc options avai|ab|c for cstablishing an
cxistcncc. ln his | cttcr to thcvcrywi scyoung man Simon dc Vri cs of
March l 66>. hc distinguishcs two of thcm. corrcsponding to thc two
instanccsolthcdonationolbcing. substancc ( anditsattr| butivc| dcntihca
tions , 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| carlystatcs. 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
originary. 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 thcy are modcs. the correctapproach i s to
cxpcriencc ottcstthcircxistcncc. Howcvcr. i t i sccrtainthatwc havc no
cxpcrienccolmovcmcntorrestas/n]n//cmedcs( wcsolclyhavecxpcricncc
ot particul ar nnitc things in movcmcnt or at rcst , , nor do wc havc
cxpcriencc ot Naturc i n totality or¡ac/cs |o//us an/vcrs/. which radicalIy
cxcccds our singular idcas. nor. ot coursc. do wchavc cxpcricncc otthc
absolutclyinhnitcundcrstanding. orthctotality o|minds. wh|chi sstrictly
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 ntotality. or ot thc gathcring otmi nds. to
exist. thcn thcsc cntitics would nolongcrbc modal but substanti al 1hcy
wouldbc. atbcst. idcntincationsolsubstancc. situations. 1hcywouldnot
bcgivcn. but wouldconstitutcthcplaccsoldonation. whichi stosaythc
attributcs . ln rcality. i t woul d not bc possiblc to di st| ngui sh Naturc i n
totality tromt hcattri bute cxtcnsion' . northc divinc undcrstandingtrom
thc atttibutc thought ' .
Wchavcthusrcachcdthctollowingimpassc. i nordcrtoavoidanydircct
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 substantiality docs notproducc. i nitsclt.
anything apart trom innnitc modcs But i t i s imposs| blc to j usti|y thc
existcncc ot cvcn onc otthcsc modcs . lti sthusncccssaryto posc cithcr
that thcsc inñnitc modcs cxist. butarcinacccssiblctoboth thought and
experiencc. or that thcy do not cxist. 1hc ñrst possioility crcatcs an
undcrworld oti n|i ni tcthings. an intelligiblcplacewhich i stotallyunprc
scntablc. thus. a void]orus ( lor ours|tuation, . in thc scnscthat thc only
cxistcncc' towhichwccantcst|tyi nrclationtothispl acci sthatolanamc.
innnitcmodc' . 1hesccondpossibilitydircctlycreatcsa void. i nthcscnsc
inwhichthcproototthccausalrccutrcnccotthennite÷thcproototthc
homogcncity and consistcncy 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 tcdonlyinasmuchasiii srequircdbythcproot. 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| ty | t
scrvcdt olound.
Sp|noza undcrtook thc ontolog|ca| crad|cat| on ol thc vo|d by thc
appropr|atc mcans olanabso|utcun|tyolthes|tuat|on ( ol prcscntat|on¡
and | ts statc ( tcprcsentat|on¡ . ! w|ll dcs|gnatc as nc/u·c/ ( or ord|nal ¡
mult|pl|c|t|cs thosc that |ncarnatc. in a g|vcn s|tuat|on. thc max|mum |n
th|scqu|l|br|umolbclong|ngand|nclus|on( Mcd| tati on l l , . 1hcscnatural
mu| t|plcsarcthoscwhosctermsarcal l normc/( H. Mcdi tat| on8¡ . wh|ch|s
t osayrcprcscntcd|nthcvcryplaceolthc|rprescntat|on. Accord|ngt oth|s
dcñn|t|on. cvcqt crm.lorSp|noza.| snatural. thclamous ucus. s/vcNc/arc
| s cnt|rcly loundcd. 8ut thc rul c lor th| s loundat|on h| ts a snag. thc
ncccss|ty ol hav|ng to convokc a vo|d tcrm. whosc namc w|thout a
tcst| nablc rclcrent ( |nnn|te modc' ¡ |nscr|bcs crrancy |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|ng¡ . you attcmpt t oannul cxccss andrcducc | t to a un| ty olthc
prcscntat|vcax|s. youw|llnotbcablct oavo|dthccrtancyolthcvo|d.you
will have to place i ts name.
Ncccssary. 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| abyss bctwccn thc |nhn|tc and thc nn|tc.
Howcvcr. |t only docs so |n bc|ng thc tcchn|ca| namc ol thc abyss . thc
s|gn|ñcr |nnn| tc modc' organ|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 theory. |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|dcggcrcxplicitlydcclarcsthat<
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|tly ot | ts non- latcncy ( L\�eEta) . Naturc i s not a rcg|on ot bc| ng. a
rcgistcrotbc| ng- | n- total| ty. !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 obj cct|vity nor thc
givcn.butrathcrthcg| tt. thcgcsturcotopcn|ngupwhichuntolds| tsown
limitasthati nwh|chi trcsidcswithoutlim| tation. Bci ng| s thcopcn| ngup
wh| ch holds sway. <
u
o, ,' . !t would not bc cxccss|vc to say that <
u
o's
dcsignatcs bc| ngprcscnt accord|ng to thc ottcrcd csscncc ot its auto-
prcscntation. andthatnaturc| sthcrctorcbcingitscltsuchasi tsproxi mi ty
and its un- vcil| ng arc mainta| ncd by an ontology ot prcscncc. Naturc'
mcans. prcscnti||cation otprcscncc. ottcr|ng otwhat | s vc| l cd.
Otcoursc. thcword naturc' . cspccially| 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 says ' <
u
o's i s thc rcma| ning- thcrc- i n- |tscl t' ' But thc torgctting.
123
124
BEI NG AND EVENT
undcrthcword naturc' , olcvcryth|ng dctaincd i nthcword<UG' S i nthc
scnsc ol com|ng lorth and thc opcn, is lar morc ancicnt than what is
dcclarcdi nphysics' initsCalil canscnsc Orrathcr . thc natural ' obj cctiv-
|tywh|chphysics t akcsas|tsdomainwasonlypossiblconthcbasisolthc
mctaphysical 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 dcstiny o| bcing, ol proposing an
i ntcrprctation ol<UG'S as tOEa' . But in turn, thc ! dca, i n llato' s scnsc, can
also onlybcundcrstoodon/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 visibility]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 saythc loss o|cvcrythingthcrcis
olprcscncc andnon l atcncy ( 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 analyscs, i t is to undcrl|nc thc
lollow|ng, whichi nmycycs|slundamcntal . thctraj cctoryolthclorgctting
which lounds ' obj ecti ve' naturc, subm|ttcd tomathemat| ca| ! deas, as|oss
olopcninglorth, ol<UatS, consistsñnally| nsubstitutinglacklorprcscncc,
subtraction lor pro- positi on. From thc momcnt whcn bcing as !dca was
promotcd t o thc rank of vcritablc cntity÷whcn thc cvidcnt laçadc' ol
what appcars was promotcd to thc rank ol appcari ng÷ ¸what was]
prcviousl ydominant, ¸was] dcgradcd to what Plato calls thc I� OV, what
in truth should not bc ' Appcaring, rcprcsscd or comprcsscd by thc
cvi dcncc ol thc ,Ua, ccascs to bc undcrstood as opcni ng lorthi nto
prcscncc, andbccomcs, on thc contrary, that wh|ch, lorcvcr unworthy
÷bccausc unlormcd÷ol thc idcal parad|gm, must bc ñgurcd as /ack o]
/c/n¸ What appcars, thc phcnomcnon, |s no l ongcr <UG'S, thc holding
NATURE: POEM OR MATHE ME?
sway otthatwHich opcns torth . . what appcars |s mc·c appcarancc. it is
actua| | y an | | | us| on. which is to saya 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 nary 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|y. lrom l| ato to Ca| | l co÷and
Cantot÷thc mathcmat| cal !dca
1hc llatonic mc/hcmc must bc thought hcrc prcciscly as a d/spos///on
which i s scparatcd trom and lorgcttul ot thc prcpl atoni cpocm. ot larmc
nidcs' pocm Fromthcvcrybcg| nningoth| sanalysis. Hci dcggcrmarksthat
thcauthcnticthoughtotbcingas<vaLS andthc namingtorccotthcword'
arclinkcdto thcgrcatpoctryolthcCrccks' .Bcundcrlincsthat lorlindar
'uG consti tutcs thc tundamcnta| dctcrmination ot bcingthcrc ' Morc
gcncrally. thcworkotatt. -·,.,| nthc Crcckscnsc. i stoundcd onnaturc
as<vms: !nthc workotartconsidcrcdas appcaring.whatcomcstoappcar
is thchol ding sway otthcopcninglorth. 'VaLS. '
lt is thus c|cat that at th|s point two d| rcct | ons. two oricntations
commandthccntirc dcst|nyolthoughtinthcWcst. Onc. bascdonnaturc
in its original Crcck scnsc. wclcomcs÷in poctry÷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 disj 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
mctaphysical closurc. thc nrststcp ot thclorgctting.
What!proposcisnotanovcrturningbutano/hcrdispositionotthcsctwo
oricnt ati ons. ! wi|ling|yadm| t that abso|utc|yori g| nary thought occurs in
pocticsandi nthclcttingbcolappcaring. 1h|sisprovcnbytHcimmcmot
i a| charactct olthc pocm andpoctry. andbyi tscstablishcdand constant
suturc to thc thcmc ot naturc. Howcvcr. this i mmcmotiality tcstincs
againstthccvcn tal cmcrgcncc olphilosophy in Crcccc. Ontologystrictly
spcaking.asnat| vcngurcotWcstcrnphi| osophy. isnot. andcannotbc. thc
arriva| ot thc pocm | n its attcmpt to namc. in brazcn powcr and
coruscati on. appcaring asthccomi ngtorth olbc| ng. ornon- latcncy 1hc
lattcr| sbothlarmorcancicnt. andwi thrcgardtoitsor|ginalsitcs. tarmorc
multiplc ( China. !ndia. Lgypt. . . , . What const i tutcd thc Crcck cvcnt i s
125
126
BEI NG AND EVENT
rathcrt hcsccon4oricntation. whichthinksbcingsubtractivelyi t hcmodc
otanidcaloraxiomaticthought .1hcparticularinvcntionotthcCrccksi s
thatbci ngi scxprcssiblconcca decision otthoughtsubtractsi t |romany
instanccotprcsencc.
1hc Crccks did not invcnt thc pocm. kathct. thcy/n/crrup/cd thc pocm
with thc mathcmc. !n doing so. i n thc cxcrc|sc ot dcduction. which is
ñdc|itytobcingsuchasnamcdbythcvoid (c. Mcditation24, . thcCrceks
opcncdup thc inñnitepossibilityot anontologicaltext.
Nordi dthcCtccks. andcspcciallylarmcnidesandllato. thinkbci ngas
CUat< or nature. whatcvcr dccis|vc importancc thi s word may havc
posscsscd tor thcm. Rathcr. thcy originally un//cd thc thought ol bc|ng
tromitspocticcnchainmcnttonaturalappcar|ng. 1hcadvcntotthc!dca
dcsignatcsthisunchai ni ngotonto|ogy and thcopcningotitsi nnni tc tcxt
as thc historicity ot mathcmatical dcducti ons. For thc punctual, ccstatic
andrcpctitivcñgurcolthcpocmthcysubstitutedthci nnovatoryaccumu-
lat| onotthc mathcmc For prcscncc. whichdemandsan initiatoryrcturn.
thcy substitutcd thc subtractivc. thc void mul tiplc. which commands a
transmissiblc thinking
Ctantcd. thc pocm. intcrruptcd by thc Crcek cvent. has ncvcrthc|ess
ncver ccascd. 1hc Wcstcrn conñguration ol thought combincs thc
accumulativc inñnity ot subtractivc ontology and thc poctic thcmc ot
natural prcscncc. !tsscansionisnot thatota torgctting. butrathcrthatot
asupp/cmcn/. itsc|tinthctormolacacsuraandanintcrruption.1hcradical
changc introduccd by 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 many Cermans÷to bc a nostalgia
anda loss. whcreasitismcrclythcpcrmancntplayi nduccdi nthoughtby
thc unrc|cntingnovc|ty olthc mathcmc. Mathematicalontology÷l abour
ot thc tcxt and ol invcntivc rcason÷rctroactivcly constitutcd poctic
uttcranccasanauroraltcmptation. asnostalgiatorprescnccandrcst. 1his
nostalgia. latcntthcrcattcri n cvery grcat poctic cntcrprisc. i s not woven
trom thc |orgctting o| bcing. on thc contraty. it i s wovcn ttom thc
pronunciation ol bcing i n its subtraction by mathcmatics i n its cltott ot
thought . 1hc vicorious mathcmat|cal cnunciation cntai l s thc bclict that
thc pocm says 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 cmpty suturc to thc dcmonstrativc tcxt . 1hc pocm
cntrustsitsellnostalgicallytonaturcsolclybccausci twasonccinterruptcd
NATURE: POEM OR MATHE ME?
by thc mathcmc. and thc bcl ng whosc prcscncc |t pursucs |s solcly thc
lmpossl b| c]///n¡ /n o| thc vold, such as aml dst thc arcana o| thc purc
mult|plc, mathcmatlcs|ndcñnltclydlsccrnsthcrclnwhatcan. |n truth, bc
subtractlvclypronounccd 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|
ontology' ltshouldbcundcrstoodthatthlsl sanontologlcalqucstl on and
has nothlng to do w|th physlcs, wh|chcstabl|shcsthc laws |or partlcular
domalnso|prcscntat|on( mattcr , 1hcqucstloncanal sobc|ormulatcdas
lollows . l s thcrc a pcrtlncnt conccpt o| naturc l n thc doctrlnc o| thc
multlplc' lsthcrcanycausctospcako| natural ' mul t| pl|c|t|cs'
Paradoxl cally, 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 constancy, thc
stabl lltyo|whathas opcncd |ortho|ltscl |' . Naturc | sthc rcmal nl ngthcrc
o| thc stabl c . 1hc constancy 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( am, and//s/( arc,arcal l dcr|vcd|romthc
Sanscrlt/huor/hc×1hcEcl dcggcrcanscnsco|th|sanccstryl s tocomcto
standand rcma|n stand|ng o|ltscl |'
1hus, bcl ng, thoughtas 'vats, ls thc stab||ltyo|mal ntalnl ng l tscl| thcrc.
thc constancy, 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 say
that a purc multlplc l s natural l |l t attcsts, l n lts |orm mult|plc ltscl|. a
part|cular con sl stcncy, 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 typology o| thc
multlplc' l dl stl ngul shcd, |n structurcd prcscntat|on, normal tcrms ( prc
scntcd and rcprcscntcd, |rom slngular tcrms (prcscntcd but not rcprc
scntcd, andexcrcsccnccs ( rcprcscntcdbutnot prcscntcd, ( Mcdl tat| on8 ,
Alrcady, l t l s poss|blct othlnkthatnctma//qwhlchbalanccsprcscntat|on
( bclonglng, andrcprcscntatlon( lnclus|on, , andwh|chsymmctrlzcsstruc
turc ( what l s prcscntcd l n prcscntatlon, and mctastructurc ( what ls
countcdasoncbythcstatco|thcsl tuatl on, ÷prov|dcsa pcrt|ncntconccpt
o|cqul ll brl um, o|stabl l lty, ando|rcma|nlngthcrc l n l tscl|. Forusstabl l|ty
ncccssarlly dcrlvcs |rom thc count as onc, bccausc all conslstcncy 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, by thc sl tuatl on and by i ts statc¯
Xormal|ty, 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 bythc 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|ctcdbys|ngu|ar|ti cs. whlcharcprcscnt cdbythemultl p| eln qucstlonbut
not rcprcscntcd. 1o thoroughly th|nk i hrough thc stablc cons|stcncy 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 , arealso|nc| udcd, rcprcscntcd, . morcovcr. al l
thcmult|plcswh|ch makcupt hcsc mult|plcsarcalsonormal. and soon
A naturalprcscntcd mult|p|c ( a natura| sl tuat|on, |s thc rccurrcnt |orm
mu|tlplc o|a spcc|a| cqu|l|bri umbctwccnbclong|ngand l ncl us|on. struc
turc andmctastructurc. On|y thls cqul | ibr|umsccurcs and rc sccurcsthc
cons|stcncy o| thc mu|t|plc. Natura|ncss |s thc l ntr|ns|c normallty o| a
s|tuat|on.
Wc shal | thus say 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
prcscntcdbyl tstcrmmult|p|cs arc a| sonormal Schcmatl cally, ||N|sthc
s|tuat|on l n qucst|on. cvcry clcmcnt olN |s also a sub mu| t|plc o| N !n
ontologyth|sw|llbcwr|ttcnassuch. whcnonchasnE N( bcl ong|ng, . onc
al sohasnc N( |ncl usi on, . !nturn, thcmult|plcnl salsoanatural s|tuat|on.
|nthat| |n E n. thcn cqua|ly 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 hemo¸cnc/j of natura| mul ti ­
p| cs. 1hat | s, || wc pos|t rcclproclty bctwccn naturc and normal l ty. 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| ycontrad|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| | y 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 ayrathcr bc|ngcon
s|sts maxl ma| ly as natural mult|pl|c|ty. wh|ch |s to say as homogcncous
normal|ty. Forthcnon ve|l|ngwhoscprox|m|ty| slost, wc subst|tutcth|s
aura lcss propos|t|on. naturc |swhat| sr|gorously 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
Sctthcory, consldcrcdasanadcquatcthl nkl ngofthcpure mult| plc, orof
thc prcsentatlon of prcsentatlon, ]orma//zcs any sl tuatl on whatsocvcr
| nsofar as l t rcllccts thc lattcr's bc|ng as such. that l s, thc multlp|c of
mu|tlplcswhlchmakcsupanyprcscntatlon. !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|ty.
The hcart ofthc qucstlonllcs ln there sccurlngpcrformcdby thcstatc
!tls on thcbaslsofthlsrc sccurlng. andthuson thc baslsofthc dl sj unctl on
bctwccn prcscntatlon and rcprcscntatlon, that ! catcgorlzcd tcrms as
slngular, norma|, orcxcrcsccnt,anddcnncdnatural sl tuat|ons ( cvcryterm
l snormal . and thc tcrms ol thctcrmsarcalso normal , .
Lo thcsc !dcas of thc multlplc, thc axl oms of sctthcory, al low us to
|ormallzc, andthusto thl nk, th|s conccpt'
l . THE CONCEPT OF NORMALITY: TRANSITIVE SETS
1o dctcrmlnc thc ccntral conccpt of normallty onc must start from thc
follow|ng a mu|tlplca lsnormal| fcvcryc/cmcn/ßo|th|ssct| salsoasu/sc/.
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MUlI PLES
t hat | s, ß E a � ß C a.
Onc can scc that a | s consldcrcd hcrc as t hc s|tuatl on |n wh| ch ß | 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. by
prcscntat|on and by 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 thatcvcryth|ngwhlchbcl ongsto
lt ] E a) ls a| so l ncl udcd|n it ç c a, .
l nordcr nott oovcrbutdcn ourtcrmlnology. andoncc l t| sundctstood
thatthccoup| cbclong|ng/|nclus|ondocsno/co|ncldcwlththccouplcOnc/
All ( d. onthi spol ntthctabl c|ol | ow|ngMcdltatlon8, , |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(a, . 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 play a |undamcntal rolc |n sct thcory. 1hl s ls bccausc
ttanslt|vltyl sina ccrtal nmanncr/hcmax/m×mcor·c/a//on /c/wccn /c/on¸/n¸
and/nc/us/on lttcllsus that cvcrythl ngwh|chbclongs|s|ncludcd. ' 1hanks
tothcthcorcmo|thcpo|nto|cxccsswcknowthatthclnvcrscpropos|tlon
woul ddcs|gnatcanlmposslblllty. l tl snotposslblc|orcvcryth|ngwh|ch| s
| ncl udcd to bcl ong 1rans|t|vlty, 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 cvcry 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| ydcpcndcntupont hccxl stcnccof thcnamc
o|thc vold, thc solc cxl stcntla| asscrt|on whlch has so |ar ñgurcd | n thc
axl omso|sctthcory, orthc!dcaso|thcmultl plc !cstabl l shcd( Mcd|tat|on
7, 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(a, cxl sts. d. Mcdltat|on ¯ , . Whatwoul dthcparts
o|p( Ø, 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| vcrsallyl ncludcd ln cvcrymult|plc
(Ø ls a part o|cvcry sct. c| Mcdltat|on 7 , !t ls cvldcnt that therc are no
othcrparts 1hc mul tl p| cp¦ Ø, . 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. wchavcthcontologlcalschcmao|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 , 1hcrc|orcthcs|n¸/c/ono|Ø.thatls.thcpartolthc1owhl chhasØ
as |ts soleclcmcnt. ls clcarlyl ncludcd ln thc1o
Conscqucntly.thctwoclemcntso|theToarcalsotwopartso|thcTo
and thc1ol stransltlvc l nso|aras |t makcs a onc solclyouto|mul tlplcs
that arc al so parts 1hc mathematl cal conccpt ol trans|t|vlty. whlch
|ormal|zes normal|ty or stabl c mult|pl lclty. ls thcrc|orc th|nkabl c. Morc
over. |tsubsumcscxl stl ngmu| tlplcs ( whosccxl stcncc |s dcduccd|romthc
ax|oms,
2. NA1URAL MUL1!PLFS. 0RL!NALS
1hcrc l s bcttcr to comc Not only 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 |ty.
1o|ormal|zcthc naturalcharactcrofa s|tuat|on not on|y |s ltncccssary
thatapurcmu| tl p| cbctransl t | vc. buta|sothatall of l tsc| cmcntsturnout
tobctransl tl vc 1hl sl stransl tl vlty'srccurrcncc l owcrdown whlchrulcs
thenaturalcqul ll br|umo|asl tuatl on. slnccsucha s|tuatl on l snormaland
cveryth|ng wh| ch l tprcscnts ls cqually 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. docsnotprcscntanyclcmcnt
and conscqucntly÷and |t |s hcrc that thc d| ||crcncc accord|ng to |nd||
|crcncc. charactcr|st|co|thevold. rcallycomcslntoplay÷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 propcrty w| l l bc ca| lcd an ord/na/. 1he To i s an
ordlna| . An ordinal ontologlcal | y rc|lccts thc mu| ti pl cbcl ng o| natural
sltuatlons . And. o|coursc. ordlna| splay a dcc|slvcrolcl nsctthcorv. Onc
o|thclrmalnpropcrtlcsi sthatcvcqmu///p/cwh/ch /c/on¡s/o/hcm/sa/soan
ord/na/, whlchls thc lawo|bclng o|ourdeñnltlon o|Naturc. cvcrythlng
wh|ch bclongs to a natural sltuation can a|so bc consldcrcd as a natural
sltuatlon. Ectc wchavc loundthe homogcnclty o|naturc agaln.
Lct' sdcmonstratc thlspolntj ust |or |un.
1akc a, an ordl nal . !| ß e a, it |¡ rst |oll ows thatß ls transitivc. bccausc
cvcryc| cmcnto|anordi nallstransitlvc. !tthcn|ollowsthatßC a, bccausc
a lstransi tlvc. andthusevcrythlngwh|ch /c/on¡s/ol tl sal so /nc/udc4/nl t.
ßutl|ß |slncludcdl na, bythcdcñnltlonollncluslon. cvcry clcmcnto|ß
bclongs to a. 1hcrc|orc. (y e ß, - (y e o, . But |l y bclongs to a, |t ls
transltlvcbccausc a ls an ordlnal . Flnally. evcryclcmcnt o| ß is transitlvc.
andglvcnthatß ltscl|| stranslt|vc. ßmustbc anordinal .
Anordlnalls thusamultlplco|multlplcswhlcharcthcmsclvcsordi nals .
1hls conccpt lltcrallyprov|dcs the backbonc o| a| l ontology. bccausc it l s
thcvcryconccpt olNaturc.
1hc doctrlnco|Naturc. |romthestandpoi nto|thcthoughto|bc|ng qua
bclng. | sthusaccompllshedlnthcthcoryolord|nal s. !tl srcmarkab|cthat
dcsp|tcCantor'scrcatlvcenthuslasmlorordlnals. slncch|stimcthcyhavc
not bcen consldcrcd by mathcmatlcians as much morc than a curloslty
w|thoutmaj orconscqucncc. 1hls |s becauscmodcrn ontology. unllkcthat
o| thc Anclcnts. docs not attcmpt to lay out thc archltccturc o| bclng
ln totalityl nal l i tsdctal l . 1hc|cwwhodcvotcthcmsclvestothlslabyrlnth
arc special|sts whosc prcsuppos| ti ons conccrnlng onto- l ogy. the llnk
bctwccn languagc and thc sayablc o| bcing. arc partlcul ar| y rcstrlctlvc.
notably÷and ! w| l l rcturn to thi s÷onc ñnds thcrc|n thc tcnants of
cons/ru.//////j. whlch l s concc|vcd as a programmc |or thc complctc
mastcry o| thc conncctlon bctwccn |ormal languagc and thc multi plcs
whosccxi stcnce lstolcratcd.
Onco|thc|mportantcharactcristlcso|ordlnalsi sthat thci rdcñni ti onls
lntrlnslc.orstructural . !|yousaythata 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|ty. thclr
homogcncity,that| s. aswesha| lscc. thclrimmancntordcr. Or. tobcmorc
prcclsc. thc|undamcntalrc| atlono|thcthoughto|thcmul tl p| c. bclonging
( e , . connccts a|l natura| multlplcs togcthcr l na spcc|nc manncr. Natural
133
134
BEI NG AND EVENT
mu|tiplcsarcunivcrsa||yintricatcdvi at hcsigninwhich ontologyconcen
trates prcscntation. 0r rathcr. natura| consistcncy÷to spcak | i kc Bc| -
dcggcr÷is t hc ho|ding sway' , throughout t hc cntircty 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, quantlty, andthoughtl ngencral~dcmandsour
cntrancc| ntothcwcbo|inlcrcnce.
> . 1EF PLAY 0F PRFSFN1A1!0NlX NA1URALMUL1!PLFS 0R
0RL!NALS
Considcra naturalmu| tiplc. a. 1akc anelcmcntß olthatmultiplc, ß E a.
Sincc a i snormal ( transitivc, , bythc dcñnition o|natura| multip|cs, thc
clcmcntßis also a part, and thus wc havcß c a. 1hc rcsulti sthat cvcry
clcmcnto| ß is alsoan clcment o| a. Lcts notc, morcovcr. thatductothc
homogcncity ol naturc, cvcry clcmcnt o| an ordinal i s an ordinal ( scc
abovc, . Wc attainthc|ollowlngrcsul t. llanordl nal ß i sanclcmcnto|an
ord| na| a, andi|anordi nal y isancl cmcnto|thcordi na| ß, thcny isalso
anclcmcnto|a: ¸ç E a) ö ( E ß, ] � ( E a) .
0nccan thcrc|orcsay thatbc|onging transmitsitscl| |roman ordina|to
any 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. Mctaphorically, a ccll o| a
complcxorganismand thcconstitucntso|thatccllarc constitucntso|that
organismj ust asnaturallyas itsvlsiblc |unctiona| parts arc.
Sot hat natural | anguagcml ghtgui dcus÷and dcspitc t hcdangcrthat
intultionprcscnts|orsubtractivcontology÷wc shalladoptthcconvcnt|on
o|sayingthatanordinalßissma//cr/hananordinala i | onchasßE a. Notc
that l n thc casc o|a bcl ng di||crcnt t f, sma| | crthan causcsbc| onglng
andinclusiontocoincldchcrc.byvirtuco|thc transitivityo|a, i|f E a, onc
also has ßC a, and sothc c| cmcnt ß iscquallya part. 1hat anordinalbc
smal|crthananothcrordina| mcansind| ||crcntlythat 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 thcy touch upon thc qucst|on o| thc cvcnt. wc shall
study 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·. yct th|s ordcr. and such | s thc |oundat|on o|
natural homogcnc|ty. | s noth|ng othcr than thc ordcr o| prcscntat|on.
markcdbythc 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
propcrty. accord|ng to thls ordcr
1hls qucst|on comcs down to know|ng whcthcr. glvcn a propcrty '
cxprcsscd |n thclanguagc o| sct thcory. such or such mult|plc
nrst. posscsscst hcsal dpropcrty.
÷ sccond. glvcn a rclat|on o| ordcr. | s such that no multlplc wh|ch |s
smallcr' accordlngto that rclat|on. hasthc sal dpropcrty.
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
propcrty ' | tscl |. but nomultl plcwh| chbclongstol t posscsscsthclattcr
propcrty. !t can bc sa|d that such a mult|plc | s E m|n|mal |or thc
propcrty.
Ontology cstabl|shcs thc |ollow|ng thcorcm. g|vcn a propcrty '. |] an
ord|nalposscsscsl t. /henthcrccxlstsanordl nalwh|ch|sE m|nl mal |orthat
propcrty. This connecti on between the ontological schema for nature and
m|n|mal|ty 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 propcrty | s
attcstcd |or at lcast onc natural mul t|plc. thcnthcrcw|llal wayscx|st an
a///ma/cnatural clcmcnt w|th thls propcrty. Forcvcrypropcrty 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| maybcsubsumcdundcrthcpropcrty.
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
solcly ln Mcdltatlon 1 8. 1hc csscntlal po|nt to rctaln ls thc ptl nclp|c o|
ml nl mall ty. whatcvcr ls accuratc|y thought about an ordl na| . thcrc wi l |
al ways bc anothcr ordi na| such that thls thought can bc mi nl mal|y'
appllcdto l t. andsuch thatno sma| | crordina| ( thusnootdina|bc| onglng
tothc|attcrordlnal , i spcrt| ncnt to thatthought. 1hcrcl sa haltlngpoint.
/owcrdown. |orcvcrynatura| dctcrml natl on 1hl scan bc wrlttcn.
I(a) - ( 3ß, ¸ ( Vß, ô ¸ E / - - ( V,, |
!n thl s |ormu| a. thc ordl na| ß i s thc natura| mi nl mal va| l dat| on o| thc
propcrty V. Natural stabl | i ty is cmbodlcd by thc atomic stopplng polnt
that l t llnks to any cxpll c| t charactcrizatl on. !n thls scnsc. all natura|
conslstcncy i satomlc
1hcprlnci p| co|mi ni ma|ltylcadsustothcthcmco|thc¸cncra/connc.//on
o|a| | natura|mu| tl p| cs. Forthc hrsttlmc wcthusmccta¸|o/a/ontologlcal
dctcrminatl on. oncwhi ch saysthatcvctynatura| mu|tlp|ci sconncctcdto
cvcry 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 kcy polnt ls that in |act thcrc l s
a/ways, bctwccnt wodl||crcnt ordlnals. t hcrc| atl ono|bc| ongl ng. ! | a and
ßatctwoordl nalssuchthata o ß. t hcnclthcra E ßorßE a. Fvcryordina|
l sa portlon o|anothcrordlna| (bccausc a E / - a C ßbythc ttansltlvlty
o|ordina| s, savc l | thc sccond ls a portlono|thc nrst.
Wcsawthatthconto|ogi calschcma o|naturalmul ti p| cswascsscntla|ly
homogcncous. |nso|atascvcrymu|tlp|cwhosccount as onclsguarantccd
by 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 cvcry ordlnal i s bound to cvcry othcr ordlna| by
bc|onglng. l t l s ncccssary to thlnk that mu| t| plcbcl ng prcscnts notIlng
scpcra//cwithl nnatural sltuatl ons Fvcrythingthati sprcscntcd. bywayo|
thcmultl p| c. l nsucha sl tuatl on. | s clthcr contal ncdwlthln thcprcscnta
tlono|othcrmcltlplcs. orcontai nsthcmwl thl ni tsownprcscntatl on. 1hi s
maj orontologlca|prlnclp|ccanbcstatcdas|o|| ows. Naturcdocsnotknow
anyi ndcpcndcncc ! ntcrmsof thcpurcmu|tiplc. andthusaccordi ngtoits
bclng. thc natuta|wot|drcqulrcscachtcrmtolnscrlbcthcothcrs. ortobc
lnscrlbcdbythcm. Naturcisthusuni vcrsa||y.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 astrophyslcal tcrm hcrc. |t |s an ontolog|cal mct
aphor,
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|lty Normallty (or transl tlv|ty, . ordcr ml nlmal|ty and total
conncct|onthusshowthcmsclvcstobcorganlcconccptso|naturalbc|ng
Any rcadcr who l s dl scouragcd by dcmonstrat|ons such as thc |ollow|ng
cantakc thc tcs ult asg|vcn and procccd toscct|on |our
Supposcthattwoordl na| s. a andß. howcvcrd|||crcntthcyarc. sharcthc
ptopcrty o| no/ bcl ng bound' by thc rclat|on o| bclongl ng. Nc|thcr onc
bclongstothcothcr. - (u e ß, ö - (ße a) ö- (a = ß, .Tootdl nalsthcncx|st.
say , and 0, wh|ch arc e m|nl mal |or th|s propcrty. 1o bc prcc|sc. th|s
mcans.
- thatthcord|nal,l se m|n|mal|orthcpropcrty thcrccx|stsanotd|nal
a such that - (a e ,, ö -¸ e a) ö -µ = ,, ' . or. thcrc cxl sts an otd|nal
d|sconncctcd|rom thcord|nal |nqucst|on' .
- that. suchane· ml nl mal ,bc|nghxcd. 0 |se- m|nl ma| |orthcpropcrty.
- (0 e ,, ö - ¸e 0) ö - (0 = ,,
Eow arc th|s, andthls0 s|tuatcd' |n rclatlon to cach othcr, glvcnthat
thcyarceml nl ma| |orthcsupposcdpropctty o|4/sconncc//onw|thrcgard
tothctclatlono|bclonglng'! wl l l showthat. atallcvcnts. onc| s/nc/u4cd
|nthcothcr. that0 C ,. 1hlscomcsdowntocstabl|sh|ngthatcvcryclcmcnt
o|0 |sanclcmcnto|, 1h|s|swhcrcm|n|mal|tycomcs| ntop| ay Bccausc
o |s e- m|n|mal |or t hcd|sconncct|on wlth,. l t|o| lowsthat oncc/cmcn/o|
o |s |tscl| actually conncctcd 1hus. l | , e 0, , l s conncctcd to ,. wh|ch
mcans c|thcr
- that , e ,, but thl s | s l mposs|blc bccausc e | s a rclatlon o| ordcr
bctwccnotd|nals. andlrom,e , and, e 0, wc woul dgct, e o. wh|ch
|s |orb|ddcnby thc dl sconncctlon o|, and0;
- orthat , = ,, whi ch | s mctby the same obj ecti on si nce i f , e o. , e o
whlch cannot be al lowcd,
- orthat , e ,. 1hls l sthc only so| utl on 1hcrc|orc. (, e 0) - (, e ,, .
wh|chclcatlymcansthat0 |sa parto|, ( cvcryc' cmcnto|0 | sanclcmcnt
o|,,
Notc. morcovcr. that 0 C , l s a s/r/c/ |nc| us|on. bccausc 0 and, arc
cxcl udcd |rom bcl ng cqual by thc|r d|sconncct| on. ! thcrc|orc havc thc
right to consider an el ement of the difference between S and ,. si nce that
dl ||crcncc |snotcmpty Say7 | s thatclcmcnt. l havc 7 e Y ô -{- e o)
137
138
BEI NG AND EVENT
Slncc y l sE ml nl mal | orthc propcrty thcrc cxlsts anordlnal whlch l s
dlsconncctcd |rom thc ordlnal undcr consldcrat|on' . cvcq ordlnal l s
conncctcd t oanclcmcnto| y ( othcrwlsc. y woul dnot bcE m| nl mal |or
that propcrty, . 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 ddcnby thc dl sconncctl ono|3 ö y;
~ or3 = T. samc obj cctlon.
- or T E 3. whlch ls |orbl ddcn by thc chol cc o| T outsl dc 3.
1hlst l mcwchavcrcachcdanl mpassc. Allt hchypothcscsarcunwork
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 ( UNlQUF A1OM,
lhc |act that bclonglng. bctwccn ordlnals. l s a tota| ordcr complctcs thc
prlnclplco|ml nl mal l ty÷thc atomlsm o| ultlmatc natural clcmcntswhlch
posscss a glvcnpropcrty !thappcnsthatan ultlmatc clcment. E mlnl mal
|orthc propcrty ' l sñna| lyun/¡ac.
1akc anordlnala whl chposscssesa propcrtyc andwhl ch l sE mlnl mal
|orthatpropcrty. l|wc consldcranyothcrordi nal ß, dl ||crcnt|roma. wc
knowthatl tl sconncctcd to a bybcl onglng. 1hus . clthcr a E ß. andß÷l |
l t has thcpropcrty÷is not E mlnlma| lori t. bccauscß containsa. which
posscsscsthcpropcrty ln qucstlon. or. ß E a. andthcnß docs notposscss
thc propcrty. becausc a l s E ml nl mal lt |ollows that a l s thc un/¡uc
E ml nl mal ordl nal|orthatpropcrty.
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
1hl s rcmark has wl dc ranglng conscqucnccs. bccausc l t authorlzcs
us÷|ora naturalpropcrty. whlchsul ts naturalmultl plcs÷to spcako| |hc
unl quc ordlnal whlch ls thc smallcst' clcment |ot whlch thc propcrty l s
approprl atc. Wc arc thusnowablct ol dcntl ly an atom |orcvcrynatural
propcrty.
1hc ontologlcal schcma o| natural mu| tl plcs clarl hcs our constant
tcndcncy÷prescntl nphyslcsasl t l s clscwhcrc÷todctcrml ncthcconccpt
olthc ultl matc constl tucnt capablc ol bcarlng' an cxpllclt propcrty. 1hc
unlclty o| bc|ng o| thc ml nl mum l s thc |oundatlon o| thc conccptual
unl cltyo|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 say 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|y ordcrcd by 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 ß C . - - - « E u
"-�
All thc clcmcnts al lgned accordlng to bclonglng arc al so thosc whlch
makcupthcmultlplca. 1hc slgnlñer a dcslgnatcsthc|ntcrruptl on. atthc
rank a, o| a chaln o| bclongl ng. an lntcrruptlon whl ch l s al so thc
rcasscmblagc l na multlplc o|all thcmultl plcsordcrcdl n thc chal n. Onc
canthussaythatthcrcarcaclcmcntsl 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 vcry 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|vocity|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 ontolog|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|ty. 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 cvcry
prcscntcdorprcscntablcnaturalmult|p| ic|ty.1hcsctofa|lthcord|nals÷of
all thc namc-numbcrs÷denncs, |n the framcwork of thc ldeas of thc
mult|plc, thc ontolog|cal substructurc of Naturc
Eowcvcr, a ncw thcorcm of ontology dcclarcs i hat such a sct |s not
compatiblcw|ththcaxiomsof themultiplc, and could notbcadmittcdas
cx|stcntw|thinthcframcolonto-logy Xaturchasnosayablcbc. ng. 1hcrc
arconlysomc natural bc|ngs .
Lct' s supposc thc cx|stcnce ofa multiplc whichmakcsa onc out of al |
thcord|nals, andsayt 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
conscqucntlybe| 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 thcrcbysat|sncsthe dcnni t|onoford|nal s . Bc| nganordina|
0, thcsupposcd sctolal l ordinals, must bclongto |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. Onccouldsay. cveryth|ng( wh|ch
THE ONTOLOGI CAL SCHEMA OF NATURAL MULTI PLES
| snatural , | s( bclongs , i nevcryth|ng, savct hat thcrc| s nocvcrything. 1hc
homogcnc|tyofthcontologlcalschcmaofnaturalprcscntat|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||ity ofd|v|nc|nñn|tyw|th thc csscntially ñn|tc onto| ogyof
thc Grccks, | nparticularthat ofAr|stot| c, | s t hcpo|nt atwh|chli ghtmay
bcshcduponthcqucst|onofwhcthcr|tmakcsanyscnsc, andwhatscnsc
|npart|cul ar,tosaythatbc|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 vcry 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 crarchy, 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|atcly and
rad|callyrupturc w|thCrcckñn|t|sm 1Hcthoughtofbc|ngassuch| snot
fundamcntallyaffcctcd by a transccndcnccwh|ch |s h|crarchically rcprc
scntablc as bcyond÷yct dcduc|blcfrom÷thcnaturalworl d 1hc poss|b| l
|ty of such continu|ty |n thc or|cntat|on of onto|og|cal d|scourse i s
cvidcntly foundcd on thc follow|ng. |n thc mctaphys|cal agc of thought,
wh|chfuscsthcqucst|onofbcingtothatofthcsuprcmcbc|ng, thc|nñn|ty
of thc God-bc|ng can bcbascd on a th| nk|ng |n wh|ch bc|ng, qua bc|ng,
rcma|ns csscnt| a| | y ñnitc. bivinc |nñnity so|cly dcs|gnatcs thc transccn
dcnt rcg| on' olbc|ng-| n- totalitywhcrc|nwcno/on¸crknow|nwhatscnsc
thc csscnt|al ñn|tudc ofbc|ng |sman|fcstcd 1hc | n- ñn|tc| sthc punctual
limit tothccxcrcisc ofourthoughto)ñn|tc-bc|ng With|nthcframcwork
I NFI NI TY: THE OTHER, THE RULE, AND THE OTHE R
ol whatHcidcggcrnamcsontothcology ( thc mctaphys|cal dcpcndcncy of
thcthoughtofbcingonthcsuprcmcly-bc|ng, , thcd| ffcrcnccbctwccnthc
|nnn|tc and thc nn|tc÷a di ffcrcncc amongst bc|ngs or on//ca/ d|ffcr
cncc÷strictly spcak|ng, docs not dcc|arc anyth|ng about bcing as such,
andcanconscrvcthcdcsignofCrccknnitudc pcrlcctly. 1hatthc|nhnitc/
nnitccouplc|s non-pcrt|ncnt w|th|n thc spaccofon/o/o¸/ca/ d|ffcrcncc | s
nnally thc kcyto thc compat|b|l|ty of a thcology of thc |nnn|tc wi th an
ontologyofthcnn|tc. 1hccoup| c|nnnitcnn|tcd/s|r//u/csbc|ng- i n- totality
with|n thc unshakcn framcwork of substantialism, wh| ch ngurcs bcing,
whcthcti tisdivincornatural. as.60£ n, singularcsscncc, thinkablcsolcly
accord|ng to thc afnrmat|vc d|spos|t|onof|ts limit.
1hcinnnitcGodofmcd|cvalCht|stian|ty/s, quabcing, csscnt|allyhnitc.
1h|s |s cv|dcntly thc rcason why thcrc |s no unbr|dgcablc abyss 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| lyl| nkcdtonatura|cx|stcncc, bctwccn
thc rc|gn of movcmcnt÷propcr to natural substanccs sa| d to bc nn|tc
÷and that of immobility÷God |s thc i mmob|lc suprcmc movcr÷wh|ch
charactcr|zcs|nnnitcsubstancc.Atth|spointwcshoul dnotcthatwhcnhc
wasonthcpointofrccogniz|ngthc|nnn|tyolcrcatcdNaturcitsc|f, undcr
thccffcctofthcGal | l cocvcnt, Lcscartcsalsohadtochan¸cproe]s astothc
cx|stcncc ofCod.
1hc cffcctivc |nnn|ty ol bc|ng cannot bc rccogn|zcd accotd|ng to thc
un|quc mctaphys|cal punctual|ty ofthc substant|al innn|ty ofa suprcmc
bc|ng 1hcthcsisofthc innnityofbcingi sncccssar|lypost Christi an, or, if
youlikc, post Galilcan. lt| sh|storicallylinkcdtothcontologicaladvcntof
amathcmat|csofthcinnnitc, whosc|nt|matcconncctionw|ththcsubj cct
ofScicncc÷thc void ofthc Cog| to~tuinsthc Grcck l|m|t and| n- d| sposcs
thc suprcmacy ofthc bcing| nwh|chthc nn|tc ontolog|cal csscncc ofthc
i nñn|tci tsc| fwasnamcd God.
1hc conscqucncc|s that thc tad|cal|ty ofany thcs|s on thc|nnn|tcdocs
not÷paradox| cally÷conccrn GodbutrathcrNaturc. 1hc audac|ty of thc
modcrns ccrta|nly d|d not rcsidc |n thc|r |ntroduct|on of thcconccpt of
|nnn|ty,forthclattcthadlongsinccbccnadaptcdtoGrcckthoughtbythc
Judco- Christian foundation. 1hc|raudac|ty lay |n cx- ccntr|ng thc usc ol
th|sconccpt,|nrcdircct|ng| tfrom| t�funct|onofd|str|butingthcrcg|onsof
be|ng | ntota|i tytowards 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 nnnityolnaturci smorcovcronlysupcrncia|lyathcsi s
conccrningthcworld÷orthc Univcrsc. For world' cans|il l bcconcc|vcd
asa bci ng-ofthc- onc. andassuch. asshownbyKanti nthccosmological
antinomy. i | mcrcly constitutcs an l | l usory impassc. 1hc spcculativc
possibilityofChrist| anitywasanattcmpttothinki n¦| nityasanattributcof
theOnc-bcingwhilstuni vcrsal|yguardiogontologicalnni 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|tancouslyturn thc innnitc ( God, into a
bcing, turn |hc nn| tc ( Naturc, into a bc| ng, and maintain a nnitc
ontologicalsubstructurci nbothcascs. 1hisambigu. tyof|hcnni tc, which
ontically dcsignatcs crcaturcs and ontologically dcsignatcs bcing. God
incl udcd hasitssourcci nagcsturcofPrcscnccwhi chguarantcesthatthc
Onci s. !lthcinnnityofNaturcsolclydcsignatcsthc i nnni tyofthcworld
orthc i nnn| tc univcrsc' i nwhichKoyrcsawthcmodcrnrupturc, 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|ologywouldpcrsis|within
this avatar. and ont. cal innnity would fall lrom its transccndcntal and
pctsonalstatusi nfavourof a cosmological spacing÷wi thout, foral l that,
opcninguptoa radical sta|cmcnt on thccssenti al i nnnity ofbci ng.
What must thcrcforc bc undcrstood | s that thc innnity of naturc only
dcsignatcs thci nnnity ofthc One-wor| d imaginari|y. !tsrcal scnsc÷sincc
the onc | snot÷conccrnsthc purcmul |iplc. which i sto sayprescntati on.
!f. hi stor|cal|y. cvcni na manncrorigina| lymisrccognizcd, thc conccptof
i nhni tywasonl yrcvol utionaryi nthoughtonccitwasdcclarcdtoapp| yto
Naturc. thi s i sbccausccveryoncfclt t aat what was touchcd upon thcrc
wasthcontothcologlcalcdili.ci tscll. spccl ñcal|yi 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 totality, bctwccnGod
andcrcatcdNaturc. 1hcmcan| ngolt h strcmorwasthcrcopcnl ng olthc
on|ologicalquesti oni tsclf, ascanbcsceni nphilosophyfromLcscartesto
Kan| . anabsolutclyncwanxictyinfcctcd|hchnitistconv| cti on. lf.aftcrall,
i nl¡ni tyis natural, i f| ti snotthcncgat|vc namcofthcsuprcmcbcing. thc
sign of an cxceptlon i n whlch a hl crarchical punctual ity 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 hypothcsis, 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|µlcs. that thc |ntcllcctual
rcvolution ol thc s|xtccnth and scvcntccnth ccntur|cs provokcd. l n
thought. thc r|sky rcopcn|ng of thc |ntcrrogatlon of bc|ng. and thc
|rrcvcrs|blcabandonofthc Grcck d|spos|t|on.
ln |ts mostabstractform. thc rccogn|t|onofthc | nnnltyofbc|ng|s nrst
ofal l thcrccogn|t|onofthc| nnn|tyols|tuatlons. thcsupposlt|onthatthc
count-as- oncconccrns| nhn|tcmult|p||c|tlcs What, howcvcr. lsan|nnn|tc
mult|pl|c|ty' ln a ccrta|nscnsc÷and! w|ll rcvcalwhy÷thcqucst|on has
notyctbccncnt|rclydcaltwlthtoday Morcovcr. | t| sthcµerfcctcxamplc
ofan|ntr|ns|cal l yontol ogical÷mathcmat|cal÷qucsti on. 1hcrc| sno|nfra
mathcmatlcal conccpt of i nnn|ty. only vaguc |magcs of thc vcry largc' .
Conscqucntly. not only ls| t ncccssaryt o afnrm thatbc|ng| s | nnn|tc but
that // a/onc | s. or rathcr. that |nnn|tc |s a prcd|catc wh|ch | s solcly
appropr|atc to bcl ng quabc|ng. lf. lndccd. |t |s only | nmathcmat|cs that
oncnnds un|vocal conccptuallzat|ons of thc lnnnltc. th|s l s bccausc th|s
conccptis on|ysu|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 vcry po|nt
whcrc. in CrcckondthcnCrcco- Chrlstianthoughtancsscntla|aµµroµr|a
t|on ofbc|ngas nn|tc was bascd÷innn|tybc|ngthc onticattr|butc of thc
d| v|ncd|ffcrcncc÷|t| sonthccontraryofbc|ngassuchandofltaloncthat
lnnn|tyls 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|ly. thcmathcmat|calontologlzat|onofthc
|nnn|tcscparatcsltabsolutclyfromthconc. wh| ch| snot. lfpurcmult|plcs
arcwhatmustbcrccognl zcdas|nnn|tc. |tlsrul cdoutthatthcrcbcsomc
onc-|nnn|ty.1hcrcw|llncccssarllybcsomc|nnn|tcmult|plcs. But what| s
morcprofoundst|ll| sthatthcrc|snol ongcranyguarantccthatwcwlllbc
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|ty would lcad us back to thc soprcmcly-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/q. 1hc ontolog|zatlon
ol|nnnlty. bcs|dcsabol|shl ngthconc-lnnnltc. also abol|shcs thcunlc|tyof
145
146
BEI NG AND EVENT
innn|ty. what it proposcs |s thc vcrtigo of an inhn|ty 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|tyofprcscntation' 'By mcans' wcundcrstand
mcthodsv|a which |nnn|ty would occur w|thinthcthinkablc w//hou//hc
mcd/a//ono]/hc onc. Ar|stotlc alrcady rccognizcd that thc i dca of inñnity
( for him. thc arEtpOV, thc un l i m|t cd, rcqui rcs an intcllcctual opcratorof
passagc. Forhi m. innn|ty' wasbci ngsuch thati tcoul dnotbccxhaustcd
bythcpioccss|onofthought. gi vcna possi blcmcthodofcxhausti on. 1his
ncccssari|ymcansthatbctwccnoncstagcofthcproccdurc,whatcvcr|t|s,
anJ thc goal÷that i s. thc supposcd l|mit of thc bci ng undcr con
sidcrat|on÷thcrc always cxists sti |l morc' ( cncorc, . 1hc phys|cal cmbodi
mcnt ( cn corps, oft hcbc|ng | s hcrc t hc stillmorc' of t hcproccdurc, at
whatcvct stagc i t maybc of thc attcmptcd cxhausti on. Aristotlc dcnicd
thatsuchas|tuati onwasrcalizablcforthcobvi ousrcasonthatthcalrcady
thcrcofthcbci ngundcrcons|dcrationincludcdthcd|spositionofitslim|t.
FotAristotl c. thcsingular alrcady' ofanindctcrminatcbc| ngcxcludcsany
invariantorctcrnal rcdupl|cati on ofthc stillmorc .
This dialectic of the alrcady' andthc st|ll morc' | s ccntral . l t amountsto
thcfollowing. lora proccdurcofcxhaustionwhichconcctnsa multip|cto
havc any mcaning, |t i sncccssary thatthat mu| tip|c bc prcscntcd. But i f
thc lattcr is alrcady cffcct|vc|y prcscntcd. how can thc travcrsal of |ts
prcscntat|on rcqul rc i t bcl nga| ways stl | l tocomc'
1hcontologyofi nhni ty÷wh|ch| stosayofthc|nhn|tcmultip|c. andnot
ofthc transccndcnt 0nc÷nna| lyrcqui rcsthrcc clcmcnts.
a. an alrcady' . 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 ncccssary sincc |ts
fa|lurc to travcrsc thc cnt|rcty ol a mult|plc will rcvcal thc lattcr's
innnity.
c. thcrcportofthcinvariantcx|stcncc÷onthcbasisofthcalrcady. and
accordlngtothcrulc,t thcrul c's stil l morc'÷ofa tcrmstil l not yct
travcrscd.
Butth|si snotsufnc|cnt. Suchasi tuat|onw|| lonlyrcvcalthcimpotcncc
ofthc rulc. itw|llnotrcvcal/hccx/s/cncco]acausco{/h/s/mpo/cn:c. What| s
thcrcforc ncccssary 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 alrcady' , 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 y poss|b|l|ty | s that thc
rulc÷whosc cvcry proccdural stagc would gcncratc thc nn|tc. howcvcr
numcrousthcywcrc÷bc|tsclfcmp|r|cally |ncapablcofrcach|ngthcl|m|t.
lfthccxhaust|on. rathcrthanbc|ng cmp|r|cal. | s onc ofpr|nciplc. thcnit
|sncccssary 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| sbyfai | i ngtocomplctcly
travcrsc| tthatthcrulc qualincs|tas|nnni tc. !t| sthusncccssary that|tbc
ptcscntcd clscwhcrc' . asthcplacc ofthc rul c's |mpotcncc.
Lct' sputth|sd|ffcrcntly. 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 y havc bccn thc mcdiat|on
bctwccn its othcr ( thc nrst tcrm, and thc othcr tcrm to comc. Only thc
absolutcly|n|t|al alrcady' was|n- diffcrcnt. accordingtothcrul c. towhat
ptcccdcd | t. Eowcvcr. th|s |n|t| al alrcady' |s rcttoact|vcl y al|gncd w|th
whatfollowsit. s|ncc. statt|ng outfrom|t. thc rulc hadalrcadyfound|ts
st|l l -onc-morc' . Al of thcsc tcrmsarc on thc cdgc of sti l l - yct - an othcr'
andthis| swhatmakcscachofthcscothcrsimothcsamcas|tsothct. 1hc
rulc rcstr|cts thc othcr to | ts | dcnt|ty 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 -yct- an- othcr' . amu| ti plcsuchthatal l ofthc
othcrs arc conta|ncd w|th|n |t. l causc tHc advcnt. not of st|l| - yct
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 rcachcdby thc rulc. would |ntcrrupt |ts cxcrci sc lt | s
clcarlyi nthcpos|t|on of //m//forthctul c.
A |nñn|tcmultiplc| st husaprcscntcdmult|plcwh|ch| ssucht hat arulc
ofpassagcmaybccorrclatcdto|t. forwh|ch|t|ss| mul tancouslythcplacc
of cxcrc|sc and l|mi t. lnñn|ty |s thc Othcr on thc bas|s of whi ch thcrc
i s÷bctwccnthcnx|tyolthcal rcadyandthcrcpct|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|ty |s doublc. What |s rcqu|rcd |s boththc
bc|ng-al ready- 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|ty from thc |mag|nary of thc onc| nnn|ty, wh|ch
was pos|tcd | na s|ng|c gcsturc.
P|nally. | nnn|ty 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|ty, thc
or|g|n.thcotheraodthc Othcrarc] o| ned. 1hercfcrra| ofthcothcrtothc
Othcroccurs| ntwomodcs thatofplacc ( cvcryothcri sprcscntcdbythc
Othcr. asthcsamewh|chbelongsto| t, . andthatof| i m| t( thcOthcr| snonc
ofthosc othcrswhosetraversal| sauthor|zcdby the rulc, .
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|rclytravcrscdbya rulc÷thuswhatcvcr. |napo|nt. subsumcs|tsOthcr
asanother÷thcn|t| sclcarthat|nnn|tycannotbc|nlcrrcdfrom|t.bccausc
|nnn|ty rcqu| res that thc 0thcr or|g|natc from clsewhcre than any rulc
conccrn|ngthcothcrs.
Ecnccthcfo||ow|ngcrucl al statcmcnt. thcthes| softhci nnn|tyofbe|ng
| s ncccssar|ly an onto| og|caldcc|s|on. wh|ch| sto say anax|om. W|thout
such a dec| si oo | t w| | l rcma|nforcvcrposs|blc forbeing to bc esscnt|ally
ñn|tc.
And th|s|sprec| sc|ywhat was dcc|dcdby thc mcoofthcs|xtccnthand
scvcntccnthccot ur|cswhcnthcypos|tcdthatnaturc |s| nnn|tc.ltwasnot
poss|ble, |nanymanncr,¡odcduccth|spo| ntonthebas|sofobscrvat|ons,
of ncw astronomi cal tclcscopcs, etc. What |t took was a purc couragc of
thought, a volunt ary|nc|s|on|ntothc÷ctcrnallydelcndablc÷mcchanism
ofontolog|ca| hn|t|sm.
By conscqueoce, ontol ogy, l|m|tcd hlstor|a| | y, must bcar a tracc of thc
fol|owlng. thc on|ygcnu|nclyathcolog|cal form ol thc statcment on thc
|nhn|tyofbc|ngconccrncdnaturc.
! statcd ( Meditation l l , that na/ura/ mu|t|p||c| t es ( or ord|nal s , wcrc
thosc wh| ch reahzcd thc max|mum cqu|l|bri um betwccn bclong|ng ( thc
rcg|mc of thc count-as-one, and|nclus|on ( t uereg|mc ofthc statc; . 1hc
ontolog|caldec| sionconccrn|ng|nñn|tycanthcnbcs| mp|yphrascdas. an
|nhn|tcnatura| mult| pl|c|ty cx|sts .
1h|sstatementcareful l y avoids any reference to Naturc. |nwh|ch|t|sst i l l
toocasyto rcadthcsubst|tut|vc rc|gn ofthc cosmo|og|calonc, aftcrthc
ccntur| cs-l ongrc|gn ofthcd|vine onc-|nñn|ty. !tso| cl ypostulatcsthatat
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 may d|sappo|nt. |nasmuch as t hcadjcct|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. atany momcnt ol |ts cxcrc|sc. thcrc | salways still - yct-anothcr .
yctthc rulc | s suchthat |t |s not anyofthcscothcrs. |n sp|tc ofthcm al l
bclong|ng to | t.
1h| sstatcmcntmayappcarprudcnt. | nasmuchas| tsol cl yant|cipatcsthc
cx|stcncc. | nanyattcstablcs|tuat|on. ofonc| nnn| tcmulti pl c. !tw|llbcthc
taskofontologytocstabl|shthat|fthcrc|sonc. thcnthcrc arcothcrs. and
thc Othcrofthoscothcrs. and so on.
1h| sstatcmcntmayappcarrcstr|ct|vc andpcr| l ous. | nasmuchas| tonl y
dcl|vcrsa conccptol|nnn|ty. Aga|n. |tw| l l bcthctaskofontologytoptovc
that|fthcrccx|stsan|nnnitcmult|plc thcnothcrs cx|st. wh|ch. accord|ng
to a prcc|sc norm. arc |ncommcnsurablc to| t.
lt|sbythcscmcansthatthchistor|caldcc|s|ontomainta|nthcposs|blc
|nnn|ty of bc|ng | s structurcd. 1h|s |nnn|ty÷oncc subtractcd from thc
cmp|rc of thc onc. and thcrcforc |n dcfau|¡ of any onto|ogy ol Prc-
scncc÷prol|fcratcs bcyond cvcryth|ng tolcratcd by rcprcscntat|on. and
dcs|gnatcs÷byamcmorablc|nvcrs|onofthcantcr|oragcofthought÷thc
nn|tc |tsclf asbc|ng thc cxccpt|on. Solcly 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 ytravcrscdand
cnc|rclcdbythcomn|prcscncc of|nnn|ty.
At thc vcry lcast. onc consolat|on rcma|ns. that of d|scovcr|ng that
noth|ng actuallyobl|gcs human|ty 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|ty ofthcdcc|s|ononthcbe|ngof| nñnlty| slnscr|bcd | nthcthcs|s
naturc |s |nñn|tc ( and not | n thc thcs|s Cod |s i nñn| tc , . For thcsc
rcasons, anax|omon|nñn|tywouldlog|callybcwr|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|nhnity|nt hcpos|t|onofl t sbc|ng÷as| ongast hcnot|onof
|nhn|tyhasnotbccntransformcd| ntoaprcd|cat|vcformulawr|ttcn|nsct
thcory languagc and compat|blc w| ththc alrcady rccc|vcd ldcas of thc
mult|pl c.
Oncopt|on| s forb|ddcntous, thc opt|on of dcñn|ngnatural|nñn|tyas
thc /o/a//j 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.byconscqucncc, | tdocsnotcx| st.
Onc mustacknow|cdgc, a| ongwl thKant, thata cosmolog|cal conccpt|on
of thc Wholc or thc 1otallty | s | nadm|ss|bl c lf |ntin|ty cx|sts, |t must bc
undcrthc catcgory of oncorof scvcra|natura| bclngs, not undcrthat of
thc Crand 1otal|ty' ln thcmattcr of|nnn|ty. 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|ty 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
fundamcntally 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|tyofnaturalbc|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|ty l|cs. thc
d|scont|nu| ty 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 by thc h| stor|co
conccptual|nvcst|gat|on of thcnot|onof|nñn|ty ( Mcd|tat|on l > , .
l . POlN1OF BFlNGANL OPFRA1OR OFPASSACF
lnordcrtoth|nk thc cx|stcnccof|nhn|tyl sa|dthat thrccclcmcnts wcrc
ncccssary. 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 absolutcly|n|t|alpo|ntolbc|ngforontology|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
only 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|ty w|th thc con
struct|vc ldcas÷thc othcrax|omsofthc thcory.
A rulcofpassagcfornatural mult|plcs must allow us. onthc bas|s ofØ.
to ccasclcssly construct othcrcx| st| ng ord|nals÷to al ways say st|ll onc
morc÷that |s, to construct othcr trans|t|vc scts whosc cl cmcnts arc
cqually 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 , . that |s, thc mult|plc [ Ø, [ Z] ] , whosc clcmcnts arc thc vo|d and |ts
singl eton. The ax|omolrcplaccmcntsaysthatonce this 1o cx|ststhen |t
|s thc casc that cvcry sct obta|ncd by rcplac|ng |ts clcmcnts by othcr
( supposcdcx|stcnti clcmcntscx|sts ( Mcd|tat|on ¯ , . 1h|s| showwcsccurc
thc abstract conccpt of thc 1o |f a and ß cx|st. thcn thc sct [ a, ß] al so
cx|sts, ofwh|chaandßarcthcsolcclcmcnts( |nthccx|st|ng1o,lrcplacc
o w|th a, and [ Ø] w|thµ, . 1h| s sct, [a, ß], w|llbc callcd thcpa/rofa and
ß lt| sthc form|ng-| nto two of a and ß.
lt|sonthcbas|softh|spa|rthatwc shalldcñncthcclass|copcrat|onof
thcun. onoftwoscts, a U ß÷tbcclcmcntsolthcunion arcthoscofaand
thosc of ß ] o|ncd togcthcr . 1akc thc pa| r [ a, ß]. 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. ß} ex|sts. t hen| t sun| on
. { a. ß]a| soex|sts. as|tse| cments|t hasthee|ementsofthee| emems of
thepai r. that|s. theelementsolaandß. 1h|s|sprec|selywHatwewanted.
Wew| l | t hus pos|t that a U ß i s a canon|ca| formul ati on for . [ a. ß] .
Moreoverwe have] ustseenthat |f a and ß ex|st. then a . ß al so ex| sts.
Ourru| eofpassagew|l| thenbe the lol|owi og. a - a . [ a} .
1h|sru| e produces' . ont hebasi sol a g| 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| yptoduce 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] by
v|rtueoltHeaxi omofextensi onal|ty1heydi lferbyonemu| ti p| e. wh|ch| s
preci se| ya itsell.
!nwha| follows. wesha| lwri te a . [o] i n t helorm5(a, . 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(a, arecertai nl yal 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�, i s composed precise| yof thee| ementsof at which one
addsa.
Ont heotherhand. 5(a, i- |tsellal sottansi t|ve. 1ake ß E 5(a ,
- e|t HerßE a . a ndconsequentlyßc a ( becausea| s transiti ve, . 8ut s|nce
5(a, = a . [a]. |t | sclearthat ac 5[ a] . S| nceapart ola part |salsoa part.
wehave ß c 5(a, .
÷ orß = a. andthusß c S�, because a c 5�,
So, every mu|t|ple whl ch bc/on¸s to 5�, is a| so /nc/udcdln i t 1herefore.
S(a, |s transit|ve.
Asatrans|t|vemult| p| ewaoseelementsarctrans|t|ve. 5(a, | sanord|nal
(as |ong as a |s ,
THE ONTOLOGI CAL DECI SI ON ON I NF I NI TY
Morcovcr. thcrc|saprcc|scscnsci nsay|ogthat5(a) |s/hcsucccssorofa,
or thc ordina|÷thc sti | | onc morc÷which comcs immcdiatcly aftcr a.
Xoothcrordinalßcanactua| | ybc p|accd bctwccn' a and5(a ) . Accord|ng
to wh| chlawolplaccmcnt' 1o thatofbc| ongi ng 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 ß E 5(a) ' s | gn|ncs.
÷ ci t hcrßE a, wh|chcxcludcsa E ß. bccauscbc|onging. asa rclationof
ordcrbctwccn ordi nals. i s traositivc. andlromf E a and a E ß onc can
drawµ E ß which| s|mpossiblc.
- orßE { a]. wh|chamountst ß" a, a bcingthc uniqucc| cmcntofthc
singlcton { a] . 8ut ß = a obvi ously cxc|udcs a E ß. aga|n duc to thc
prohibit|on on scllbclongi ng
!n cach casc it is impossiblcto i nscrt ß bctwccn a and 5(a) . 1hc rulc of
succcssionisthcrclorcuoivoca| !tal|owsustopasslromoncordi nalto/hc
uni quc ordi oal which lol|ows it according to thc total rclation ol ordcr.
bclongi ng.
On thc basi s ol thc i ni ti al poi nt of bc|ng. Ø, wc construct. |n thc
followingmanncr. thc scqucncc ofcx/s//n¸ ordina| s ( si occ Ø cxi sts ,
n timcs
,-
0, 5(0) , 5( 5(0) ) , " " 5( 5( . . . ( 5( 0) ) ) ' "
,
r . . .
Ouri ntuitionwoul drcadi | ytcl|us thatwc havcdcnni tcly produccd a n
innnityof ordinals hcrc and t hus dccidcdi nlavourof a natural i ntl nity.
Yctth|s woul dbctosuccumbto thci magi oary prcst|gc of1ota||ty. Allthc
classical phi | osophcrs rccognizcd thatv|a th|s rcpctit|on ofthc cffcct ofa
rulc. l onlycvcrobta|n thc i ndcñnitc ol samc othcrs. and not an cx|st|ng
i nnnity. On thc onc hand. ccch of thc ord|nals thus obta| ocd i s in an
i ntuitivc scnsc. manifcstly ñn| tc. 8ci ngthc nth succcssor ofthc namc of
thc void. i t has n clcmcnts. a| | wovcn lrom thc vo|d alonc vi a thc
rcitcrationof lormi ng i nto- onc (asrcqui rcdbyontol ogy, d. Mcdi tati on4, .
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 according to thc sti ll ooc morc to comc. according to
which i tsbci ng othcr is rctroactivcly 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 ty l s | nacccss|b| c. 1hcrc i s ao
abysshcrc that solcly a dccision will allowustobr|dgc.
153
154
BEI NG AND EVENT
2. SUCCLSSlONANLLlMl1
Aongst thosc ord|nals whosc cx|stcncc | s foundcd by thc scqucncc
constructcdv|athc rulc ofsucccss|on, Ø |sthc nrstto d|st|ngu| sh|tsclf. |t
| scxccpt|onal|nal l rcgards, j ustas| t|sforontology| n|tscnt|rcty. W|th|n
thcscqucnccthc ord|nalswh|chd|ffcrfromØ arcallsucccssors olanothcr
ord|nal . lna gcncralmanncr, onccan saythatanord|nala |sa succcssor
ord|nal÷wh|ch wc w|ll notc 5cu¡ ÷|f thcrc cx|sts an ord|nal ß wh|ch a
succccds. 5cu, - ( 3ß,
¸
a * 5ç, | .
1hcrccanbcn o doubtaboutthccx| stcnccolsucccssorord|nalsbccausc
l havcj 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|ty w|ll bc playcd out |s that of thc
cx|stcncc of non·succcssoror4/na/s. Wc w|ll say that an ord|nal a |s a //m//
ord/na/. wr|ttcn |/mø, , |f|t docs not succccd anyord|nal ß.
//m(a¡ - -5cø, - -( 3ß¡ ¸
a * 5ç, |
1hc |ntcrnal structurcof a l|m|tord|nal÷suppos|ng thatonccx|sts÷|s
csscnt|ally d|ffcrcnt from that of a succcssor ord|nal . 1h|s |s whcrc wc
cncountcra qual|tat|vcd| scont| nu| ty|nthchomogcncousun|vcrscofthc
ontolog|calsubstructurcofnaturalmult|p|cs .1hcwa¸crof|nnn|tyt urnson
th|s d|scont|nu|ty. 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, | fßE a (a supposcd
asl|m|tord|nal , , onccannothavca E 5(d¡ , s|ncca would thcnbc|nscrtcd
bctwccn f and 5ç, , and wc cstabl|shcd th|s to bc |mposs|blc abovc.
Furthcrmorc, wc cannothavc5ç, = a, bccausca, bc|nga l|m|tord|nal |s
not thcsucccssorol any ord|nal . 9|nccbclong|ng|sa totalrclat|onolordcr
bctwccnord|nals, thc|mposs|b|l|tyofa E 5ç, andofa * 5ç, |mposcsthat
5ç, E a.
1hcrcsul tofthcsccons|dcrat|ons| sthatbctwccnal|m|tord|na|andthc
ord|nalßwh|chbclongsto|t,an|nnn|ty (|nthc|ntu|t|vcscnsc, oford|nals
|nscrt thcmsclvcs. 1hat|s, |fßE a, anda |sl|m|t, 5ç, E a and5( 5ç, , E a,
andso on. 1hc l|m|t ord|nal |s clcarly 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 softhcform5], .
thatl s. ß . ¦ þ, thcnß. whlchbclongstoa, l st hcl argcstofal | t hcord|nals
whlchmakc up a ( accord|ngto thctclat|on ofbclonglng, . Wchavc sccn
that no ordlnalcan bc lnscrtcdbctwccnßand 5], . 1hc ord|nalß ls thus.
absolutcly. thc maxlmum multlplc conta|ncd ln 5], . Bowcvcr, no max
| mumtcrm ofth|stypc 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 strlctly
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 by
such an ord|nal ls opcn' ln that lts lntcrnal ordcr docs not conta|n any
max| mumtcrm. anyclosurc. !tlsthcl|mltordl nal l tscl fwhl chdom|natcs
suchanordcr, butltonlydocssofromthccxtcrlor. notbclonglngtoltsclf.
|t cx slsts lrom thc scqucnccwhoscllmltlt l s.
1hc |dcntlñablc d|scontlnu|ty bctwccn succcssor ordlnals and l|mlt
ord|nals ñnallycomcs downto thcfo|low|ng.thc ñrstarc dctcrm| ncdon
thcbas|solthcun/¡ucordlnalwhlchthcysuccccd. whllstthcsccond. bc|ng
thc vcry placc of succcsslon, can only bc lndlcatcd bcyond a ñn|shcd'
scqucncc÷though unñn|shab| c accordlng to thc rulc÷of ord|nals prc
v|ous|ypasscdthrough. 1hc succcssorordlnalhasa /oca/statuswlthrcgard
toordlnalssmallcrthanlt ( smallcrthan' , lct srccal| mcans. wh|chbclong
tolt.slnccl tlsbclonglngwh|chtotallyordcrsthcordlnal s , . !ndccd, lt| sthc
succcssorofonc o|thcsc ordlnal s. 1hc |lm|t ordlna| on thccontrary, has
a ¸/obc/status. slncc nonc ofthc ordlnals smallcr than lt l s any 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 on, cx slsts. Wlthrcgardtoa scqucnccoford|nalssuch
asthoscwcarcmovlngthrough. l npass|ngvlasucccsslonlromanord|nal
to thc fo||ow|ng ord|nal a l|m|t ordlnal ls what stamps lnto ck s|stcncc,
bcyondthc 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, stcpbystcp. !nthc |imit ordina| thcp/cccofaltcrlty (all thctcrms
of thc scqucncc bcl ong to | t, and thc po/n/ of thc Othcr ( l ts namc, a,
dcsignatcs an ordinal situatcd bcyond al l thosc whlch ñgurc i n thc
scqucncc, arc fuscd togcthcr. 1his l s why 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. thcvoid, andarulcofpassagc
( hcrc. succcsslon, i s, litcral ly. thc gcncralconccptofi nñnity.
> . 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 ay up ti | l now ( cxtcnslonality, parts,
scparatlon, rcplaccmcntandvoid, , cvcni fwcaddthcldca offoundation
( Mcditation l 8 , andthatofchoicc ( Mcd|tation22, . arcpcrfcctlycompat-
iblcwlththcincxistcncco| suchanordinal . Ccrtainly.wchavcrccognlzcd
thccxistcnccofascqucnccofordinalswhoscinltlalpointolcxi stcnccisØ
and whosc travcrsal cannot bc complctcd via thc rulc of succcsslon.
Eowcvcr, strictlyspcaking, itisnot thcscqucnccwhichcxlsts, but cachof
lts ( ñnltc, tcrms. Only an absolutcly 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 inhnity at thc lcvcl of thc
ontological schcma of natural multlplcs. and whlch thus formal i zcs thc
hlstorical gcsturc of thc scvcntccnth ccntury physicists. i s statcd qultc
simpl y. thcrccxistsa l imi tordinal . 1his thcrc cxists , thcñrstpronounccd
by us sincc thc asscrtion ofthc cxistcncc of thc namc of thc vo|d, ls thc
sccond cxlstcntlal sca| in which thc | nhnlty 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|y comb|nat|ons of thc vo|d
w|th|tsclf. as tcgu| atcdbythcax|oms . Ftomth|spo|ntofv|cw, |nhn|ty |s
not|nanywaya sccondspcc|es ofbc|ngwh|chwou| dbcwovcntogcthct
w|ththccffectsofthcvo|d !nthe| anguageofthcGtceks. oncwou|dsay
thata|thoughthcteatctwocx|stcnt|a|ax|oms. thetcatenottwoPt|nc|p|cs
( thcvo| dand|nñn|ty, . 1hc ||m|totd|na|| son|ysccondat||y cx|stcnt . on
thesuppos|t| onthat. a| teady. 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|on, . wh||stØ summonsbc|ngassuchto
onto|og|calptescntat|on Lcc|d|ngwhcthcra | |mItotd|na|cx|stsconcctns
thcpowcrofbc|ngtathetthan|tsbc|ng !nñn|tydocsnot|n|t|atcadoctt|ne
ofm|xtutc. |nwh|chbc|ngwou|dtcsu|t. |nsun. ftomthcd|a| cct|ca|p| ay
oftwohctctogcncousforms. 1hctc|son| ythcvo| 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||ydes|gnatcd by Mallatmc as lat as a place fuscsw|tha
bcyond Ands|nce. ln onto|ogy. toex|st|s to bc a one mul t|p| e, thc fotm
oftccogn|t|on ofa p| acc wh|ch| s also a beyondwou| dbc thc adj unct|on
ofa mult|p|e. anotd|nal.
Bcthatas|tmay. wchcvcno/yc/dc]ncd/n¡n/q.Al|m|totd|na| cx|sts. that
much| sg|ven. Lvenso. wc cannotmakc thc conccptof |nñn|ty andthat
ofa | |m|totd|na|co|nc|dc. conscquently. notcanwc |dcnt|fy 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||ty of the
passagc to |nñn|ty .
!ft hedcc/s|onconcetn|ngt hc| nñn|tyofnatuta| bc|ngdocsbcatuponthe
||m|t otd|na|. thcn thc dc]n///cn suppottcdby thls dcc|s|on |s nccessat||y
qu|tc d|ffetent. A lutthcrptoolthatt hctcal. wh|ch |s(0 saythc obstac|c.
of thought |s tatc| y that of ñnd|ng a cottect dchni t|on. thc |attct tathct
lollowsftomthcs|ngu|arandccccntt|cpo|ntatwh|ch| tbecamcncccssaty
towagcruponscnsc. cvcnwhcnitsdircctl i nkto thcl nitial problcmwas
not appatcnt . 1hc |aw of thc hazatdous dctout thctcby summons the
157
158
BEI NG AND EVENT
subj ccttoa strlctlylncalculabledlstanccfroml t sobj ect. 1hl sl swhytherc
l sno Method.
! nMcdltatlon l 2 ! lndlcateda ma]orptopcrtyofordl nal s. mlnlmallty. l f
thcrc cxlsts an ordlnal whlch posscsscs a gl ven propcrty. thcre cxl sts a
unlqucordl nalwhlchls E mlnlmal for thlspropcrty ( thatls. such thatno
ordl nal bc|onglngtolthasthcsaldpropcrty, . !thappcnsthat tobca llmlt
ordlnal ' l sapropcrty.whlch| scxpresscd÷approprlatel y÷lnaformul a+(,
wltha frcevarlabl c. Morcover. t hcaxlom thcrc cxlstsa llmltordl nal ' tells
usprcclsc|y that at lcast one cxlstcnt ordlnalposscsscs thls propcrty. By
conscqucncc. a unlquc ordlnal cxlsts whlch l s E mlnlmal for thc sald
propcrty. 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 lnnnlty. l tl s. slncc thc
Grceks. thc cxcmpl ary 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 by thc dcclslon
conccrnlngthclnnnltyofbelng. !tcarrlcsoutthatdeclslonl ntheformof
a spcclncd pure multlplc. 1hc structutal faul t whlch opposcs. wlthln
natural homogcnclty. thc orderofsucccssors ( hl erarchlcal andclosed, to
thatol|imits ( opcn. andsca|cdby an cx sistcnt , . hnds lts/ordcrin Woo
1hcdcnnltlonoflnhnltyiscstab| lshcduponthlsbordcr. Wewll lsaythat
anord/na//s/n]n//c/]///swo, or/]Wo bc/ongs/o// Wcwlllsaythatcnord/na/
/s]n//c /]/|/c/ongs/owoo
1hcnamcofthc dlstrlbutlon and dlvlslon olthcnnl tcandthel nnn| tc.
l nrespccttonatural multlples. l sthercfotcwoo 1hcmathcmcofl nnnlty. l n
thcnaturalorder. supposcssol cl ythatWo l sspeclncdbythemlnlmalltyof
thc| lmlt÷whlchdcnncsaun/¡ucordlnalandj ustlncsthcusagcofapropcr
name.
//m�a, ô |
V
a, , ¸ |a E wo, ö |a
=
0) ) - 5c|a, } .
slnce thc followlng dennltlons of |n] ( lnnnltc, and I/n ( hnltc, arc pro
posed.
|n]ø, H ¸ |a * wo, or �o E a, } ,
I/nø, H |aE wo, .
whctwo prescntsare nat ural nnltemultlpl cs. Lvcrythlngwh/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
anythlng.
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 Amongstñnltcscts.
howcvcr. al| arc succcssors cxccpt 0. 1hccrucla| opcrator of dlsj unctlon
wlthlnnaturalprcscntation ( llmlt/ succcssor, l sthcrcfotc notrcstltutcd|n
thcdcnncddlsj unctlon ( lnñnltc/ ñnltc, .
1hccxccptlonalstatusofWo shouldbctakcnlntoaccountlnthlsmattcr
uuctoltsmlnlmal| ty. lt|sthconlylnñnltcordlnaltowhichnoothcrllmlt
ordlna| bclongs. As for thc othcr lnhnltc ordlna|s. Wo at lcast bclongs to
thcm. Wo docsnotbclongtoltself. 1husbctwccnthcñnltc ordlnals÷thosc
whlchbclongto o.÷and Wo ltsclf. thcrc l sanabyss wlthout mcdlatlon.
1hls ls onc of thc most profound problcms of thc doctrlnc of the
multlplc÷known undcrthc namc ofthcthcory of l argc cardlnals ÷that
of knowlng whcthcr such an abyss 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 lnñnlty.
¯ 1EL F!N!1F. !NSFC0NL PLACF
In thc ordcrof cx/s/cncc thc ñnltc l s prlmary. 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 sccondary. !t ls solcly undcr thc
tctroactlvcclfcctolthccxlstcnccofthcllm|tordlnalWo thatwcqua|lfythc
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|a, � |a E o,, . suspcndsthecrltcrlaofnnltudefromthcdcclslon
on cxlstcncc whlch strlkcs the llmlt ordlnal s. !fthc Grccks wcrc ablc to
| dcntlfyñnltudcwlthbcing. | ti sbccausc that wh.ch ls. ln thc abscncc ofa
dcclslon on | nñnlty. ls foundto bc ñnl tc. 1hc csscncc ofthcñnltcls thus
solclymultlpl cbclngassuch. 0nccthchlstorlcaldcclslontobrlnglnñnlte
natutal multlplcs into belng i stakcn. thc nnltc | s qua| l ñcd as a rcg/on ol
bclng. a mlnor form ol thc |attcr's prcsencc. it thcn follows that the
conccptofñnl tudccanon|ybcfu| lye|ucldatcdonthcbaslsofthclntlmate
naturcoflnhnlty. 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 clcmcntary
immancncc ol what bcl ongs to o,÷nnitc ordi nal s. 1hc strcngth of
ari thmctlc lics i n its calcu| atory dominatlon. whlch i s obtai ncd by 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 only l n
dccldlngthatthcrci sonlythcscri csofothcrswi thi nthcsi |colthcOthcr.
andthatcvcryrcpctitionsupposcsthc polntatwhich,i ntcrruptingitsclli n
anabyss, itsummonsbcyondltscllt hcnamco|t hconc- mul ti p| ct hat iti s.
!nñnltyi sthatnamc.
MEDI TATI ON FI FTEEN
Hegel
!nnnlty | s | nltsc|fthcothcrof thcbcl ng othcrvo| d.
Ihc 5./cncc e]Lo¸/.
1hc ontologlcal lmpassc propcr to Ecgcl ls fundamcntally ccntrcd ln hl s
holdlngthatthcrc| sabcl ngofthcOnc. or. morcprccisc|y.thatprcscn/a//on
¡cncra/css/ru./urc, that thc purcmultlplcdctalnsin ltscllthc count as- onc
0nccoul da| sosaythatBcgc| docsnotccasctowrltc thcl ndl|fcrenccol
t hc othcr and the Othcr. ! n dolng so. he rcnounccs thc posslblllty ol
ontologybclnga sltuatlon 1hlslsrcvcalcdbyt woconscqucnccswhlchact
asproof
÷ Slnccl tlsl nnnl ty whlchartlculatcsthcothcr. thcrulc and thcOthcr.
|t ls calculab|cthatthclmpassecmcrgc aroundthlsconccpt 1hc d| sj unc
tl onbetwccnthcothcrandtheOthcr÷whlchEcgcl trlcstocllmlnatc÷r
cappcars ln hls tcxt i n thc gulsc ol two dcvclopmcnts whlch arc both
dlsj o|ntandldcntlcal ( quallty and quantlty, .
- 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 by a gi gant | c remark on mathematical
| nnnlty. 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 lnnnlty l t l scsscnt| al to rcmark
161
162
BEI NG AND EVENT
thatthc ñnltc lsnotsurpasscdbya 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//, , startlng polnt of thc cntlrc dl alcctlc. and
surpasslng( h/naus¸chcnu/cr| . ! t lscasyt rccognlzcthcrclnboththclnltlal
polnt of bclng and thc opcrator of passagc. or what ! a|so tctmcd thc
alrcady' and thc stl|l morc' ( d. Mcd|tatlon | > , . !t would not bc an
cxaggcrat|on to say that al l of Ecgcl can bc found | n thc foll owlng. thc
stll l morc' lslmmancnttothc a| rcady' . cvcrythlngthatls, lsalrcady stl|l
morc' .
Somcthlng'÷a purc prcscntcd tcrm÷ls dctcrm| natc lor Ecgcl only
lnsofar as lt can bc thought as othcr than an othcr. 1hc cxtcrlor|ty of
bclng othcrls thc propcrlntcrlorltyofthc somcthlng. ' 1h|s slgnlñcs that
thc|awofthccountas onclsthatthctcrmcountcdposscsscs/n//sc/]thc
mark othcrolltsbclng. Orrathcr thconclsonlysaldofbclnglnasmuch
asbclngl sltsownpropcrnon bclng. l swhat lt l snot. ForEcgcl. thcrc l s
anldcntltylnbccomlngofthc thcrcl s' ( purcprcscntat| on, andthc thcrc
l soncncss ( structurc, . whoscmcd/a//on/s/hc/n/cr/or/jo]/hcnc¸a/|vc.Ecgcl
posltsthat somcthlng' mustdctalnthcmarkolltsownldcntlty. 1hcrcsult
ls thatcvcrypolnt of bclng |s bctwccn' ltsclfand ltsmark. Lctcrmlnatc
ncss comcs down to thc followl ng. ln ordcr to found thc Samc lt l s
ncccssary that thcrc bc somc Othcrwl thl n thc othcr. !nnnl ty orlglnatcs
thcrcl n.
1hc analytlc hcrc l svcrysubtlc !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 dctalnlng lts markothcr ln lntcr| orl ty÷lt l s what lt
lsn' t÷thcnthcbclngofthlspolnt. asonc thlng. l stocrossthatl lmlt. 1hc
l|mlt. wh|chconstltutcsthcdctcrm| nat|onofthcsomcthlng. butsuchthat
lt lsdctcrmlncdatthcsamctlmcaslts nonbclng. lsa lrontlcr. '
1hc passagcfromthc purcllmlt( crcnzc, tothcfrontlcr ( 5chran/c, forms
thc tcsourcc ofanlnñnlty d| rcctlyrc¡u/·cdbythc polnt ofbclng
1o sayofa thlngthatl tl smarkcdlnltsclfasonchastwoscnscs. forthc
thlnglnstant| ybccomcsboththcgapbctwccnltsbclngandthconc of lts-
bclng. On onc sldcofthlsgap. ltls clcarlylt. thcthlng. whlch ls onc. and
thusllmltcdby what| snotl t. 1hcrcwc havcthcstat| crcsu|t ofmarklng.
crcnzc, thc llml t. But on thcothcrsldc ofthcgap. thconcofthc thlngl 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 dynamlcrcsul tol thc marklng. bccauscthc
thlng. ncccssarl|y. passcs bcyond |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 by t hc crosslng of nonbclng, which l s to s ay by passlng
throughthclrontlcr. 1hcprofoundrootofthls movcmcntl sthatthconc,
lf l t marks bclng /n //sc/] ls surpasscdby thc bclng that lt marks. Hcgcl
posscsscs a profound l ntultlon of thc count as- onc bclng a law. But
bccauschcwants, atanyprlcc,thlslawtobca lawo]/c/n¸, hctransforms
lt lnto duty. 1hc bclngofthc-onc conslsts l n hav/n¸ thc frontlcr /o bc
passcdbcyond. 1hcthlnglsdctcrmlnatcncsslnasmuchasl 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( dctcrmlnatcncss, l srcallzedascrosslngthcfrontlcr. Butbythc
samctokcn,i tlspurchavlng to bc ltsbclngl sthelmpcratlvctosurpasslts
onc. 1hcpolntofbclng, alwaysdi scctnlbl c, posscsscsthconclnltself. and
soltdltcctlyentallsthcsurpasslngofscllandthusthcd| alcct|coftheñnltc
and thc lnñnltc 1hc conccpt of the ñnlte l s l nauguratcd, l n gcncral, ln
havlngtobc. and, atthcsamctlmc, thcactoftransgrcsslngi t. thcl nñnltc
ls born. Eavlngtobc contalns what prcsents ltsclf as progrcss towards
l nñnlty.'
At thls polnt, thc csscncc of thc Ecgcllan thcsls on lnñnlty ls thc
lollow|ng thc polnt of bclng, slncc lt ls always lntrlnslcally dlsccrnlblc.
¡cncra/csoutofltsclfthcopcratoroflnñnlty. thatl s, thcsurpasslng, whlch
comblncs, as docs any opcrator of thls gcnrc, thc stcp furthcr ( thc stlll
morc, ÷hcre, thc |rontler÷and thc automatlsm of rcpctltlon÷hcrc, the
havlng to be.
! na subtractlvcontologyltlstolcrablc. andcven rcqulrcd, thatthcrcbc
somc cxterlorlty, some cxtrlnslc- ness, slncc thc countas onc l s not
|nfcrrcdfromlnconslstcntprcscntatlon. !nthcHcgcllandoctrlnc, whlchls
agcncratlvcontology, cvcrythlnglslntrlns|c, slnccbclng- othcrl sthconc
ofbelng, andcverythlngpossessesan l dcntlñcatory markl ntheshapc o|
thc lntcrlorlty of nonbelng. 1he rcsult l s that, lor s ubtract| vc ontology,
| nñnlty ls a dcc/s/on ( of ontology, . whllst for Hcgel lt ls a /aw. On thc basls
thatthcbclng of thc onelslntcrnaltobclngl ngcnera| , l tfollows÷lnthe
Ecgellan analysls÷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. lnñnlty 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 bclngonc 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 tyate wc dca| lng 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 passlngbcyond,
bclng a dltcct dctlvatlvc of t hcpolnt of bclng ( dctetmlnatcncss , . But l s
thctcso|c|yonel nñn| ty hctc' !sn' tthcteso|c|yt hcrcpc////on oft hcñnltc.
undct the |aw of thc onc' |n what ! ca| | cd thc mathcmc of l nhnlty. thc
tcpetltlon of the tctm as samc- othct ls not yct lnñnlty. !ot thctc to bc
ln|lnlty,l tl snccessatyfottheOthctp/acctocxlstlnwhichthcothctlnslsts.
! ca| | cd thls tcqulsltc that of thc sccond cxlstcntla| sca| , vla whlch thc
lnlt| a| polntofbclnglsconvokcdtolnsctlbcltstcpctltlonwlthlnthcp|acc
ofthcOthct So|c|ythlssccoadcxlstcnccmctltsthcnamcoflnñnlty. Now.
l tlsc|cathow Bcgcl undctthc hypothcslsofa ñxcdandlntctna|l dcntlty
ofthc somcthl ng' . cngcndcrsthcopctatotofpassagc. Buthowcanhc/cap
ftom thls to thcgathctlngtogcthctofthccomp| ctcpassagc'
1hlsdlfñcu|tylscvldcnt|yoncthatBcgc|lsqultcawatcof. Fothlm. thc
havc- to bc. otptogtcsstolnñnlty, lsmctc|ya mcdloctcttansltlon. whlch
hcca||s÷qultcsymptomatlca| l y÷thcbad lnñnlty.!ndccd. onccsutpasslng
l sanlntctna| | awofthcpolnt ofbclng. thc lnñnltywhlch 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|ythcvoldlnwhlchthc tcpctltlonofthc
ñnltc opctatcs. Fach stcpfutthct convokcs thc vold l n whlch lt tcpcats
ltsc|f. !nthlsvo|d, whatl sltthatcmctgcs' . . thlsncw|lmltl sltsc|fon|y
somcthlngtopassovctotbcyond. Assuch. thcvold. thcnothlng. cmctgcs
agaln. but thls dctctm| natlon canbc poscdln lt, a ncw |lmlt. andso on/o
/n]n/j.
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 monotonyofa bot|ng
andfotcvctldcntlca|tcpctltlon' . 1hlsbotcdomlsthatofthcbadln|lnlty. It
tcqultcsahlghctduty thatthcpasslngbcyondbcpasscdbeyond. thatthc
| aw of tcpctltlon bc ¸/o/a/|y afñtmcd. ln shott. that thc Othct comc
fotth.
HEGEl
But thls tlmc t hc task l s of t hc grcatcst dlfñculty. Aftcr a| | t hc bad
lnñnltylsbadductothcvcrysamcthlngwhlchmakcsltgoodl nHcgcllan
tcrms. ltdocsnotbrcakthcontologlcallmmancncc ofthconc. bcttcrstlll.
lt dcrlvcs from thc l attct. !ts l|mltcd or ñnltc charactcr or| glnatcs l n lts
bclng solcly dcñncd locally. by thc stlll morc of thls alrcady that ls
dctcrmlnatcncss. Howcvcr. thls localstatus cnsutcs thc grasp ofthc onc.
slncca tcrmlsalwayslocallycountcdordlsccrncd. Locsn tthcpassagcto
thcglobal. andthustothc goodl nl| nlty . lmposca dlsj unctlvc dcclslonln
whlchthcbclngofthconcwlllfaltcr'1hcBcgcllanartlñcclsatl tsapogcc
hcrc.
>. 1EF RF1URX ANL 1EFNOMlNA1!ON
Sl nccltlsncccssarytorcsolvcthl sprobl cmwlthoutundolngthcdla|cctlcal
contlnulty. wc wll| now t urn. wlth Bcgcl. to thc somcthlng . Bcyond lts
bclng. ltsbc| ngonc. lts llmlt | ts frontlcr. and ñnally thc havlngtobc l n
whl chltl nsl sts. what rcsourccs docsl tdlsposc ofwhl chwoul daut horlzc
us. lnpasslngbcyondpasslngbcyond. toconqucr thcnon-vol dplcnltudc
ofa globallnñnlty' Ecgel s strokc ofgcnlus. l fltlsnotrathcra mattcrof
suprcmc dcxtcrlty. l s to abruptly rcturn to putc prcscntat| on. towards
|nconslstcncy as such. and to dcclarc that what constltutcs the good
lnñnltylsthcprcscnccofthcbad. 1hatthcbadln||nltylsc]]cc//vclsprcclscly
what | ts badncss cannot account fot. Bcyond rcpcatlng ltsc|f. thc somc
thlng dctalns. ln cxccss of that rcpctltlon. thc csscntlal and prcscntablc
capacltyto rcpcatltsc|f.
1hc obj cctlvc. orbadlnñnlty ls thc rcpctltlvc oscl l l atl on. thc tltcsomc
cncountcr of thc ñnltc ln havl ngtobc and thc lnhnltc as vold. 1hc
vcrltablc lnhnlty ls subj cctlvc l n that lt l sthc vlrtual l ty contalncd ln thc
purcprcscnccofthcñnltc.1hcobj cctlv|tyofobjcctlvcrcpctlt| onl sthusan
afñrmatlvclnñnlty. aprcscncc. 1hcunltyofthcñnltcandthclnñnltc. . .
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/ng rcpcc/s //sc¡ 1hcgood lnñnlty l s ñnally thc fol|owing.
thc rcpctltlonal of rcpct| tlon. as otherofthcvold. ! nlI nltyls . . . 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|ty. 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| ty. obj cct|vc proccss. transccndcncc ( hav|ngtobc, .
rcprcscntat|on,
- thcgood |nnn|ty. subj cct|vc virtual|ty. 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
ofontology. purc prcscncc andthe vold.
Whathasnotyctbccncxpla|ncd| swhyprcsenccorvlrtual|typcrs|sts|n
bclngcallcd l nnnlty' hcrc. cvcnl nthcworldofthc¸ood|nnnlty.W|ththc
bad |nnn|ty. thc t|c to thc mathcmc |s clcar. thc |n|t|al po|nt of bc|ng
( dctcrm|natcncss, and thc opcrator of rcpctitlon , pass|ng- bcyond, arc
both rccogn|zab|c. But whatabout thcgood'
!n rcallty. 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 othcr, .
/. But s|ncc|tmustbc|ntr|ns|ca|lyd|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| stopassbcyond( tobcas
to havctobc, .
d. 1hc pass|ngbcyond. 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 rcdeploys |ts |lm|t. thcn passcs bcyond lt agaln as lront|cr, .
1h|s ls thcbad|nnn|ty.
c. 1h|s rcpct|t|on i sprcscnt. 1hcpurcprcscnccofsomcthi ngdctalns÷
v|rtua||y÷prcscncc andthc|awofrcpct|t|on. !t |s thcg|obalolthat
ofwhichthc| oca|lscach osci | | atlonofthet| n|tc ( dctcrminatcness , /
| nñn|tc ( vol d, a|ternat|on.
] 1onamcth|sv|rtual|ty! mustdraw|hcnamc]rom/hcvo/d, s|ncc purc
prcscnccasrclat|ontosclfls. atth|spolnt. thcvoldltsclf. G|vcnthat
HEGEL
thcvoldlst hctranshnltcpol arltyof thcbadl nnnlty, l t| sncccssary
that thls namebc. l nñnlty, thc good l nñnlty
!nñn|ty l s thcrcforc thc contractlon ln vlrtual lty of rcpct|tlon ln thc
prcsenccofthatwhlch rcpeatsltscl f. a contractlonnamcd lnñnlty' onthc
baslsolthcvoldlnwhlchthc repctltloncxhaustsl tscl f. 1hcgoodlnñnlty
l s the namc of whattransplrcs wlthlnthc rcpcatablc of thcbad. a namc
drawn|romthcvoldbordcrcdbywhatlsccrtalnlya tlrcsomcproccss,but,
onccthcl attcrl strcatcdasprcsencc, wcalsoknowthatltmustbcdcclarcd
subj cctlvclylnñnlte.
!t scems that thc dl alcct|c oflnñnlty ls thoroughl y complctc. On what
baslsthcn docslt startal | ovcragaln'
4 1BF ARCANA OF ÇUAN1!1Y
!nñnlty was spllt lnto bad and good. But hcrc lt ls spllt agaln lnto
qual ltatlvcl nñnlty( whoscprlnclplcwchavej uststudl cd, andquantltatlvc
lnñn| ty.
1hckcytothlsturnstllcrcsldcslnthc mazc ofthc Onc. lfl tl sncccssary
totakeup thc qucstlonoflnnn| tyagaln, ltlsbccauscthebcl ngofthconc
docsnot opcratc l nthc samc manncr lnquantltyaslnqual lty. Or rathcr.
thc polnt ofbclng÷dctcrmlnatcncss÷ls constructcd quantltatlvcly ln an
|nvcrse manncrtoltsqual ltatlvc structurc.
!havcal rcadylndlcatcdthat. atthccndofthchrstdlalcctlc,thcthlngno
|ongcrhad anyrcl atlonsavctoltsclf. !nthcgoodlnnnlty, 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 y //s dc/crm/nc/cncss /s /nd/¡crcn/ Lct's undcrstand thls as
statingthatthc quantltatlvc Onc lsthcbclngofthc purc One, whlchdocs
not dlffcr from anything. !t ls not that lt l s lndlsccrn|bl c. /| /s d/s:crn///c
am/ds/cvcq/h/n¸. /y/c/n¡ /hc /nd/sccrn///c o]/hc 6nc
What founds quantlty, what dlscerns lt. ls l lterall y thc lndlffcrencc of
dlffcrcncc, thc anonymous Onc. Butlfquantltatlvcbel ng-oncl swlthout
dlffcrencc, l t l sclcarlybecauseltsllmltlsnota l|mlt. bccause cvcry 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 . Only, 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 ptollfcratlng thc
samc as sclf outsldc of sclf thc0nc. whosc llmlt l s lmmcdlately a non
llmlt. tcallzcs ltscl f l nthcmultlpllclty cxtctnal to scl l whlch has as lts
ptlnclplcotun| tythc lndlflctcnt Onc' .
0nccan now gtasp thc dlffctence betwccn thc movcmcnts l n whlch
qualltatlvc and quantltatlve lnñnlty atc tcspcctlvely genctated. !f thc
cssentlal tlmc of thc qualltatlvc somcthlng ls |hc /n/ro]cc//cn o]a//cr/j (thc
llmltthctcby becomlng ltontl et, . that olthcquantltatlvc somcthlngl s|hc
cx|crna//zc//on o] /dcn||j. ! n thc ||tst casc. thc onc plays wlth bclng. thc
betwccntwo ln whlch the duty l s to pass bcyond thc ftontlet. !n thc
sccondcasc. theOncmakcsltsclflntomul tlpl c Oncs. aunltywhoscteposc
l les ln sptcadlng ltsclf bcyond ltsclf. Çuallty ls l nl| nl tc accotdlng to a
dlalcctlc of /dca//]ca||oa, ln whlch the onc ptocecds from thc othct.
Quantlty ls lnñnltc accotdlng 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 say thatthe opctatots atcnotthc samc ln qua| lty andquantlty. 1hc
opctatot of qualltatlve lnñnlty ls passlng-bcyond. 1hc quantltatlvc opct
ator ls dupllcat| on. Onc tc poslts thc somethlng ( stl | l motc, . thc othct
lmposcs |t ( always , . !nquallty. whatlstcpcatcdls that thc othetbethat
lntctlotwhlchhastoctosslts| lmlt. ! nquantlty.whatl stcpeatcdlsthatthc
samc bc that cxtctlotwhlchhas to ptollfctatc
Onccrucla| conscqucnccofthcscdlffetcnccsls that thcgoodquantlta
tlvcl nñnltycannotbcputcptcscncc.lntetlotvittual lty.thcsubj cctlvc.1hc
tcason l s that thc same of thc quantltatlve 0nc also ptollfctatcs lns|dc
ltsclf. !f. outsldcltsclf. ltlslnccssantlynumbct( thcl nñnltc| ylatge, . lns|dc
itsclfi ttcmal nsextctna| . ltlsthcinñnltc|ysmall . 1hcdlsscmlnatlonofthc
Onelnltselfbalanccsltsptol. fetatlon.1hetclsnoptcscncc| nlntctlotltyof
the quant|tatl ve. Lvctywhcrc thc samc dlsposcs thc llmlt. bccause lt ls
lndllfctcnt. Numbct. theotganlzationofquant|tatlvc | nnnlty. sccmstobc
unlvctsallybad.
Onccconftontcdwlththlslmpasscconcctnlngptcscncc , andfot usthls
l s a j oyfu| slght÷numbct | mposlng thc dangct ol thc subttactlvc. of
un prcscncc, . uegcl proposcsthclollowlngllnc olso| utl on: thlnklngthat
thc | ndlffctcnt l.mlt ñnally produccs somc tcal dlffetcncc 1hc ttuc÷ot
good÷quantltatlvc lnhnltywlllbc|hc]orm/n¸ |n/o·d/¡crcncco]/n4/¡crcncc
Onc can. fotcxamplc. thlnkthat the lnñnltyolnumoct. bcyond the Onc
HEGEL
which prollfcratcs and composcs th|s or that numbcr. l s that of /c/n¸ a
numbct. Çuantltatlvc l nnnltyls quant|tyquaquant|ty. thc prol|lcrator ol
ptolifcrat|on. whlch ls to say. qultc s|mply. thc quallty of quantlty. thc
quant|tatlvc such as dlsccrncd qual|tatlvc|y from any othcr
dctcrm|natlon.
But ln my cycs thls docsn' t work. Whatcxactly docsn t work' !t s thc
nom|natlon. [ havc no quarrcl wlth thcrc bc|ng a qua| ltatlvc csscncc of
quant|ty. but why namc lt l n||n|ty' '1hc namc su|ts qual|tativc i nñnlty
/ccausc//was drawn]rom/hcvo/4. andthcvold wasc| carly thc transnnltc
polarltyofthcptoccss. !nnumcrlcalprollfctat|onthcrc|snovoldbccausc
thccxtcr|orolthcOnc/sltslntcrlor. thcputc lawwhlchcauscsthcsamc-
asthc 0nc to ptol |fcratc 1hc tad|cal abscncc of thc othcr. lndlffctcncc.
rcndcrs| l lcgltlmatchcrcanydcclaratlonthatthccsscnccofñnltcnumbcr.
lts numcrlclty. |s l nhnltc.
!n othcr words. uc¸c/{a//s /o /n/crvcnc on num/cr Hc la|ls bccausc thc
nominal cqulvalcncc hc proposcs bctwccnthc purc prcscncc ofpasslng-
bcyond |n thc vo|d ( thc good qual|tatlvc |nñnlty, and thc qual ltat|vc
conccptof quantlty ( thc good quantltat|vc lnnnlty, l s a tr|ck. an lllusory
sccncofthcspcculatlvcthcatrc. 1hcrel snosymmctrybctwccnthcsamc
and thc othcr. bctwccn proli fctatlon and ldcntlncatlon. Howcvcr hcrolc
thc cflort. it ls /n/crrup/cd dc{ac/o by thc cxtcrior|ty |tsclf of thc purc
mult|ple. Mathcmatlcsoccurshercasdlscontlnu|tywl thl nthcdlalcctic. ! t
ls t h| s lcsson t hat Hcgcl wlshcs to mask by suturlng undcr t hc samc
tcrm÷lnñnlty÷two dlsj olnt dlscurslvc ordcrs.
5 . u! SJUNC1!ON
!t ls at th|s polnt that thc Hcgc|lan cntcrprlsccncountcrs. as|ts rcal. thc
lmposslbllityofpurcdlsj unct|on. Onthcbasi softhcvcrysamcprcmi scsas
Hcgcl. oncmustrccognlzcthat|hcrcpct|t|onofthcOnc| nnumbcrcannot
at|sc from thc i ntcti orltyolthcncgat|vc. What Hegclcannot think l sthc
d|ffcrcnccbctwccnthcsamcandthcsamc. thatls. thcpurcpos|tlonoftwo
lcttcrs. !n thc qua|ltatlvc. cvctythlng orlg|natcs in thc lmpurlty 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. suchthatany
numbctl sboth dlsj olntfromanyothcrandcomposcd ftomthc same. ! f| t
is i nñni tythat i s desi red, nothi ngcan saveus here lrommakinga decision
which. | n onc go. dlsj olns thc placc of thc Othcr from any lnslstcncc of
169
170
BEI NG AND EVENT
samc othcrs . !n wlsh|ng to malntaln thccontlnulty ofthcdlalcctlc rlght
through thc vcrychlcancsofthcpurcmul tlplc, andto makc thc cnt|rcty
procccd from thc polnt ofbclng alonc. Ecgcl cannot rcj oin lnñnlty. Onc
cannotforcvcrdlspcnsc with thcsccond cxlstcntlal scal
Llsmlsscd |rom rcprcscntation and cxpcrlcncc. t hcdlsj olnlng dcc|s|on
makcsltsrcturnlnthctcxtitsclf. bya splltbctwccntwodialcctlcs. quallty
andquantlty. so slmilarthatthconlythingwhlchfrccsusfromhavlngto
fathom thcabyssofthclrtwinhood. andthusdiscovcrthcparadox ofthclr
non- k| ndrcdnaturc. lsthatfragllcvcrbalfootbrl dgcthrownfromoncsl dc
tothcothcr. lnñnity .
1hc good quantltativc l nñn|ty' l s a propcrly Ecgcllan hal!uclnat|on. ! t
was on thc basls of a complctcly dl|fcrcnt psychosls. l n whlch Cod
l nconslsts. that Cantorhadto cxtract thc mcans for lcgltimatclynamlng
thc inñnltc mu| tlp| lcitlcs÷at thc prlcc. howcvcr, ol trans|crrlng to thcm
thcvcrypro| lfcratlonthatEcgcllmaglncdonccouldrcducc (ltbclngbad,
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
CuidedbyCantor' 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 one,
of presentation. nature. stable and homogeneous form of the standing
there of the multiple, and. |n|Inity. which decides the expansion of the
naturalmultiplebeyond |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
immedlately conc|udethat it isa question o|nonbei ng.
! t l s striking that |or Beidegger thatwhichi s not-being qua being i s
distingui shed by its negai ive counter position to art. For hi m. it is <um,
whoseopeni ng forth i s set to workby the work of art and by it alone.
1hrough the work o| art we know that everythlng el se which appears'
÷apart from appearing |tse|f. which is nature÷is only connrmed and
accessib|e asnot counting. asa nothing' . 1henothing|s thussingledout
by 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 sway of <UOL,. 1he nothing is the
i nert byproduct o|appearing. thenon-natura| whose culmination. dur
ingtheepocho|nihilism. is|oundi ntheerasureo|anynatura| appearing
underthevi o|entandabstract reigno|modern technology.
! 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| ytl cdeve|opedl nMedl tatl on8 what
are lnltla||y opposed to norma| mu|tlp|lcltles ( whlch are presented and
represented, 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 theyare e|ementsbutnot subsets.
1hatapresentedmu|tlp|el snotatthesametl measubsetolthesltuatlon
necessarl| y 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 by the state. !n other words. the necessary and
sulnclentcondltl onlora mu|tlp|etobebothpresentedandrepresentedls
thata| | o|ltsterms. lnturn. bepresented. uerel sanlmage( whlchl ntruth
lsmere|yapproxlmate, . a laml| yolpeop|e l sa presentedmu|tlp|e olthe
socla|sltuatlon(lnthesensethatthey|lvetogetherlnthesameapartment.
orgoonho|ldaytogether. etc , . andltlsa|soarepresentedmu|tlp|e. apart.
ln the sense that cach ol lts members ls reglsteredby the reglstry olnce.
possessesirench natlona|lty. andsoon !l. however. oneolthemembers
olthelaml|y.physlca||ytledtolt. lsnot reglsteredandremalnsc|andestlne,
andduetothlslactnevergoesouta|one. oron|yl ndlsgulse. andsoon. l t
canbesaldthatthls|aml|y. despltebel ngpresented. l snotrepresented. !t
l sthuss/n¸u/ar.!nlact. oneolthemembers o|thepresentedmu| tl p| ethat
thls laml| yls. remalns. hlmse|l. unpresentedw//h/n /hcs//ua//on.
1hl sl sbecauseatermcanon| ybepresentedl na sltuatlonbya mu|tlp|e
towhlchl tbelongs. wlthoutdlrectlybelngltsel!a mu|tlpleo!thesltoatlon.
1h|stermla||sunderthe count as oneolpresentatlon (becauseltdoes so
accordlngto the onemu|tlp|etowhlch ltbe|ongs , . butlt |s notseparate|y
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. hlstory,
as an omnlpresence olslngu| arlty÷] ust as we havethoughtnature as an
omn| presence o! norma| lty 1he lorm mu|tlp|e o! hlstorlclty l s what| l es
entlre|y wlthln the lnstabl||ty 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|yabnorma|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| sosayol
such a mu|t| p| e that lt | s on |hc cd¸c o] /hc vo/d. or{ounda|/ona/ ( these
deslgnatlons w||| be exp| alned,
1o emp|oythe| mageusedabove,l t wou| dbe acaseo l a concretelam||y,
c// ol whose members were c|andestlne or non dec|ared, and wh| ch
presents ltse|l ( manllests | tse|l pub|lc|y, un/quc/y ln the group lorm ol
laml|youtlngs !nshort,suchamu|tlp|elsso| e| ypresentedasthemu| tl p| e-
that -l t l s Noneol| tstermsarecountedasoneassuch. on| ythemu| tlp|e
olthese termslormsa one
!tbecomesc| earerwhyaneventa| 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|y 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/n¸. 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|stency( | tsone mu| t| p| e,belng
composed so| e| y lrom what, wlth respect to the sltuat| on, l n- conslsts
Wlthln the s| tuatlon, th| s mu|tlp|e | s, but /ha/ oJwh/ch lt .s mu|tlp| e l s
not
1hat an eventa| (or on the edge ol the vol d, s| te can be sald to be
loundat| ona| | sc| ar| hedpreclse|ybysucha mu|tlp| ebe| ngm| nl ma| lorthe
ellectolthe count 1h| smu|tlp|e canthen natura||y enterl nto conslstent
comblnatlons | t can, | n turn, /c/on¸ to mu| tl p| es countedas one ln the
situatlon 8ut be| ngpure| ypresentedsuch 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
thatonecansaythat| nregardtostructure, |tl sanondecomposab| eterm
!tlo||owsthateventa|s| tesb| ockthelnnnlteregressl ooolcomb| natlonsol
mu|tlp| es Slnce they are on the edge ol the vold, onecannot th| nk the
uoders|de olthe| rpresentedbe| ng !tl stherelorecorrect tosaythatsltes
]oundthe s| tuat| on becaosetheyaretheabso| ute|yprlmary termsthereln.
they| nterrupt questlonlng accord| ngtocomblnatoryor|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|lclty, l s neltHer lntrlnslc nor abso| ute A mu|tlp|e cou|d
qulte easl|y be slngu|ar l n one sltuatlon ( l ts e|ements are not presented
t Hereln, a|though lt |s, yet norma| l n another sltuatl on ( lts e| ements
happen to be presented ln thls new sltuatlon, !n contrast, a natura|
mu| tlp|e, whlchl s norma| and a| | olwhose terms are norma|, conserves
thesequa|ltleswhereverl tappears Nature l sabso|ute, hlstorlcltyre|at| ve
One ol the proloundcharacterlstlcs olslngu|arltlesls thattheycan a|ways
be norma//zcd as ls shown, moreover. by soclo po|ltlca| Blstory. any
eventa|slte can. l ntheend. undergoa statenorma|lzatlon Bowever, | t ls
lmposslb|etoslngu| arlzenatura|normallty !loneadmltsthatlorthereto
be hlstorlclty even ta| sltes are necessary, then the lo| | ow| ng observatlon
canbemade. hlstorycanbenatura|lzed, butnaturecannotbehlstorlclzed
1herelsa strlklngdlssymmetryhere, wHlchprohlblts÷outsldet helrame
workoltHeonto|oglca|thoughtolthepuremu|tlp|e÷anyunl tybetween
nature andhlstory
!n other words, the nc¸a/|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 , A mu|tlp|e l sa slteso| e| y/ns//u. !ncontrast, a natura| sltuat| on,
norma|lzlnga| | olltsterms, | sdennab|elntrlns| ca||y,andevenl lltbecomes
a sub sltuatlon (a sub mu|t|p| e, 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| sltuatlonsls¸/o|a/. Onecanmalntaln
thatthereareon|ysltepo/n/sy lnsldea s| tuatlon, |nwhlchcertalnmu|tlp|es
( but not otHers , 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 theslstHatBlstorydoesnot 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/j ol certaln
mu|tlp|es, but we cannot tHlnk a Blstory 1he practlca|÷po| ltlca |÷conse
quences ol th. s conceptlon are cons| derab| e. because they set out a
dll|erentl a| topo|ogy 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|clty'
Not exact|y !t l s obvlous that not a|| thlnkab|e sltuatlons necessar||y
contaln eventa| sltes 1hls remark |eads toa typo|ogy olsltuatlons, whlch
wou|d prov|de the startlng polnt ol what, lor Beldegger, wou| d be a
doctrlne,notol the belngolbelngs, butratherolbelngs l ntota|lty' !wl||
|eaveltlor|ater. l ta|onewou|dbecapab|eolputtlngsomeorderlnto the
c|asslncatlonolknow|edges, 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 many 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 ( nature, norolactlon ( hlstory,
! wl termsltuat| onsl nwhlcha t |eastoneeventa| slte occursh/s|or/ca/.
! have chosenthe term hlstorlca| l nopposltlonto the lntrlnslcstabl|ltyol
natura| sltuatlons ! wou|d l nslst upon the lact that hlstorlclty l s a |oca|
crlterlon. one (at |east, ol the mu|tlp|es that the sltuatlon counts and
presentsl sa slte, whlchlstosaylt|ssuchthatnoneolltspropere|ements
(the mu|tlp|es lrom wh|ch ltlorms a onemu|t|p|e, are presented | nthe
s|tuatlon A hlstorlca|sltuatlon|stherelore,l nat|eastoneolltspolnts, on
theedge olthevol d
Blstorlclty ls thus presentatlon at the punctua| | lmlts ol lts bel ng I
opposltlon to Beldegger, ! ho|dthat lt ls by wayolhlstorlca| | oca|ltatlon
thatbe|ngcomes lorth wlthl npresentatlveproxl mlty, becausesomethlng
ls subtracted lrom representatlon, or lrom the state Nature, structura|
stabl|lty, equ||lbrlum ol presentatlon and representatlon, l s rather that
lrom whlch belngthere weaves thegreatest ob|lvl on Compact excessol
presenceandthecount, natureburl eslnconslstencyandturnsawaylrom
the vold Nature ls too g|obal too normal to open up to the eventa|
convocatlonolltsbel ng !tlsso| e|yl nthepolntolhlstory, 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| | ylnterna|totheana|ytlcolthemu|tlp|e. Lventhoughltcana|ways
be |oca//zcd wlthln presentatlon, lt l s not, as such, presented, nor l s lt
presentab| e. !tl s÷notbelng÷supernumerary.
Crdlnarl|y, conceptua|constructlon ls reservedlorstructureswhl|stthe
eventl sre] ectedlntothepureemplrlcltyolwhat happens. Mymethodls
thelnverse. 1hecount as onel slnmyeyestheevldenceolpresentatlon.
!t ls the event whlchbe| ongsto conceptua| constructlon. l n the doub|e
sensethatltcanon|ybe/hoa¸h/byantlclpatlngltsabstractlorm,andl tcan
on|y be rcvca/cd l n the retroactlon ol an lnterventlona| practlce whlch ls
ltse| l entlre|y thoughtthrough.
An event cana|waysbe |oca|lzed. What does thlsmean' ilrst, thatno
eventl mmedlate|yconcernsa sltuatlonl nltsentlrety. Aneventl sa|ways
l n a polnt ol a sltuatlon, whlch means that lt concerns' a mu|t| p|e
presentedl nthe sltuatlon, whateverthe word concern may mean lt l s
posslb|e to characterlze ln a genera| mannerthetype olmu| tlp| ethatan
event cou/d concern' wlthln an lndetermlnate sltuatlon As one mlght
have guessed, lt l sa matterolwhat ! named above an eventa| slte ( ora
loundatlona|slte, oraslteonthe edgeolthe vold, . Wesha||posltonceand
lora| | thatthere areno natura| events. nor are there neutra| events !n
natura|orneutra|sltuatlons, thereareso|e|y]cc/s.1hedl st|nctlonbetween
alactandan event| sbased, |nthelastinstance, onthed| st| nct| onbetween
natura|orneutra|sltuatlons, thecrlterlaolwhlchareg|oba|, andhlstorlca|
sltuatlons, thecrlterlonolwhlch(theexlstenceola slte, l s| oca| . 1hereare
eventsunlque| yl nsltuatlonswhlchpresentat| eastones|te. 1heeventls
THE MATHEME OF THE EVENT
attached. ln l ts very defn|tlon, to thep|ace, to the polnt, l n whlch the
hlstorlcltyolthesltuatlonlsconcentrated Lveryeventhasa sltewhlchcan
beslngu|ar|zedl na hlstorlca| sltuatlon
1he slte deslgnates the |oca| type ol the mu|tlp|lclty concerned' by 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|entlhclmpasse, wlththe
necess|ty ol the event |tse|l |s the cross ol determlnlst or g|oba|lzlng
thought 1he sltels on|yevera cond/|/on o]bc/n¸ 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|y opens up the
posslbl|lty olanevent !t ls a| ways posslb|e that no event actua| | y occur
>trlct|y speaklng. a slte ls on|y eventa| ' lnsolar as l t l s retroactlve|y
qua|lhedassuchbytheoccurrenceolanevent uowever.wedoknowone
ollts onto|oglca| characterlst| cs, re|ated to the lorm olpresentatl on lt ls
a| waysanaonorma|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 | uxuryhere Saythat5
ls the sltuat|on, andX ÷ 5 ,Xbe|ongsto5, Xls presentedby5, theeventa|
slte 1he event wl|| be wrltten c, ( to be read event ol the sl te X) . My
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|y 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|y s|ngu|ar mu|t|p|e ol that
s|tuat|on.
!w| | | respondtothehrstquest|onw|than| mage. 1akethesyntagm' the
irench Revo|ut|on' . What shou|d be understood by these words' One
cou|dcerta|n|ysaythattheevent theirenchRevo|ut|on' lormsaoneout
oleveryth|ngwh|chmakesup|tss|te. that|s, irancebetween I 789and,
|et' s say, ! 794. 1hereyou' || 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/¸na/s ( banknotes ; , the
theatre, theMarsc///a/sc. etc 1heh|stor|anendsup|nc|ud|ng |ntheevent
' the irenchRevo|ut|on' everyth|ngde||veredby the epoch astraces and
lacts 1h|sapproach, however÷wh|ch|sthe|nventory ol a||thee|ements
olthe s|te÷may 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|y 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' ; , 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|ngsuchbyh|stor|ca|retroact|on,|sno|ess, |n
|tse|l.supernumerarytotheso|enumber|ngolthetermsol|tss|te, desplte
|t present|ng such a number|ng 1he event |s thus c|ear|y the mu|t|p|e
wh|chbothpresents|ts ent|re s|te, and, bymeans 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|ycorrespondsw|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|my entlre edlhce. iorlt so happens
thatl t ls lmposslb|e÷atthlspolnt÷to respond to thls slmp|e questlon !l
thereexlstsanevent, //s|c/on¸/n¸/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,,
lsnecessarl|ysupernumerary to the slte. uoes ltcorrespondto a mu|tlp|e
e||ectlve|y presented l nthe sltuatlon' Andwhatl sthlsmul tlp|e'
Let sexamlnecarelu|lythemathemec,¦xI xE X c,¦ . SlnceX, theslte.
lsontHeedgeo|thevold, ltse| ementsx. l nanycase, areno/presentedln
thesltuatlon. on| yXltse||l s( thus, lorexamp|e, tHepeasants arecertal n| y
presented lntheirenchsltuatlono| I 789÷I 790, butnot/hoscpeasantso|
theCreatiearwhoselzedcast|es , . !|onewlshestoverl|ythattheeventls
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|lty ls thus
evldent l t ls due to the clrcularlty o| the questlon. !n order to verl|y
whetheran eventls presented ln a s|tuatlon, ltls hrst necessarytoverl|y
whether l t ls presented as an element ol ltsel| 1o know whether the
French Revolutlon l s real|y an event l n irench hlstory. we must hrst
estab|lsh that lt l s dehnlte|y a term |mmanent to ltse||. !n the |o|lowlng
chapterwesha||seethaton|yan/n/crprc/a//vc /n/crcn//encandec|aretHat
anevent/spresentedl nasltuat|on. asthearrlvallnbelngolnonbelng, the
arrlva| amldst the vlslb|e olthe lnvls|b| e.
iorthemomentwecanonl yexamlnetheconsequencesoltwoposslb|e
Hypotheses, hypotheses separated ln lact by 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/n¸u/a· mul tl pl e (ln the
sltuatlon to whlchwe supposel tbe|ongs, . ! | l twas actua| l ynormal 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 , . therelore, cannotbe
thoughtl nstateterms, lntermso|partsoltHesltuatlon.1hestatedoesnot
countanyevent.
181
182
BEI NG AND EVENT
uowever. /]/hccvcn|bc/on¸s /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|yltse|l !nourhypothesls, the eventb|ocksl ts
/o/a|slngu|arlzat|onby thebe|onglngol|tsslgnlnerto themu|tl p|ethatlt
l s !notherwords, anevent| snot( doesnotcolncldew|th, 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 by| tse| l 1hls | s whatwe
wl | | ca| | belng u|tra one Why 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/on¸s /o |hcs//aa//on:omcsdown /o say/n¸ /ha/ ///s
conccp/ua//yd/s//n¸u/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|y presents | he e| ements ol lts slte. whl ch are not presented | n the
s| tuatlon !l| tl snotpresentedthere el ther, no/a/n¸| s presentedbyl t. lrom
thestandpo|ntolthe s| tuat| on 1heresu|tl sthat. | nasmuchasthe slgn| ner
c, adds| tse| l , v|a somemysterlousoperatlonw| thln theborder| andsola
slte, to a s| tuatl onwh| chdoes not present lt, on/y /hc vo/dcanposslb|ybe
subsumedonder| t. becauseno prescntab|emu| t| p| erespondstot heca||ol
such a name Aud |n lact, |l you start pos| ngtHatthe !renchRevo| ut| on
| smere|ya pure word, you wl||have nodllncu| t y| udcmens/ra//n¸. glven
the| nnn| tyolpresented andnon-presentedlacts, thatno/h/n¸olsuchsort
evertookp| ace
1herelore elthertheevent| slnt hes| tuatloo. and|t rupturestheslte s
be| ng on the edge ol the vo| d byl nterpos| ng| tse| lbetweenltse| landthe
vo|d. or. |t ls not ln the s|tuat|on. and |ts power olnom| natlon | s so|e|y
addressed | l | t|s addressed to somcth| ng . tothevo| d |tse|l
1he undec| dab| | | ty 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| oy. |n t he| nter| orexterlorol a hlstorlca| sl tuatl on. lna torslon
olltsorder. the be|og olnon belng, name|y, cx/s//n¸.
!t ls at thls very po| nt that the lnterpretat| ve | nt ervcot| on has to both
detalnanddec| de 8ythedec| aratlonolthebe| ong| ngoltheeventtothe
sl tuatlonl tbars the vo| ds | rruptl on 8ut tHls |s on|y i n ordert lorcethe
sl t uat lon ltse|l t o cooless |ts own vo|d. and t o t hercby |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| , schema ol a natura| sltuatlon l s an
ordlna| ( Medltatlon l 2 , . 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 , ' 1he
examlnatlon ol thls questlon |eads to surpr|slng resu|ts. such as the
lo||owlng onthe onehand. lna certaln sense. cvcqpure mu|tlp|e. every
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|ogyl tse| l , . ontheotherhand. theeventl slorbldden. onto|ogyre] ects
l tas that whl ch l s notbelng- qua belng Wesha||reglsteronceagalnthat
thevold÷thepropernameolbel ng÷subtractlve|ysupportscontradlctory
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 symmetry
between nature and hlstory ends wlth thls lndl|lerence ol the vol d.
onto|ogyadml tsa comp|ete Joctrlne o|norma| ornatura| mu|tlp|es÷the
theory o|ordl na| s÷yet l tdoes notadm| ta doctrl neol the event. and so.
strlct|yspeaklng. l tdoesnot admlt historlclty Wlththe event wehavethe
nrstconceptcx/c·na/tothene|do|mathematlca| ontology uere, asa|ways.
onto|ogy decldesbymeansola 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|o,lca| corre|ates o| norma|
mu|tlp|es | n translt|ve sets ( every e|ement l s a|so a subset. be|onglog
BEI NG' S PROHI BI TI ON OF THE EVENT
| mp||cs|nc|us|on; . B|stor|c|ty, | ncontrast,|sloundcdonslngu|ar|ty,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÷ a, , . 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 by ¦ aj . ! n lact. ¦ aj has on|y a as an c|cmcnt. !t so
happcnsthata |snotanc| cmcntol|tsc|l. 1hcrclorc ¦aj. whlchprcscntsa
a|onc, ccrta|n|ydocsnot prcscntanyothcrc| cmcntol a. bccauscthcyarc
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 ¦ , canbc cxprcsscd
| n thc lo||owlng manncr÷whlch causcs thc vold to appcar thc lntcr
scct|on ol¦ aj ( thcs|tuatlon, anda (thc sltc; lsvold, bccausc ¦aj docsnot
prcscntanyc|cmcntola 1hcc|cmcntabc|nga s|tclor¦aj mcansthatthc
vo|d a|onc namcswhat| scommon to a and ¦ aj . ¦aj ´ a = 0.
Ccncra||yspcak|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|y 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 dthatß]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|ogy. An ldca ol thc mu|tlp|c ( anaxl om, , l ntroduccd
rathcrtardl|y by 2crmc|o, an axlom qultc propcr|y namcd thc axlom ol
loundatlon, poscs thatlnlactcvcrypurcmu|tlp|clsh|storlca| orconta|ns
at|castoncsltc. Accordlngtothlsaxi om, wlthlnancxlstlngoncmu|tlp|c.
thcrca|wayscxlstsa mu|tlp|cprcscntcdbyltsuch 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. andsaythatf lsane| ementola, ]÷a, . ! 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
manneranyolthe mu|tlp|es thatf presents.
1hlss|gn| hesthatßandahavenecommonc/cmcn/. nomu|t|p|epresented
by the one mu|t|p|e a |s presented by f, desplte ß |tse|l, as one, be|ng
presented by 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|y be
namedbythepropernameolthevo|d a ´ ß* Ø
1hi s re|atlon ol tota| dls] unctlon |s a concept ol a| terlty. 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,becauseltsaysthatnoe|ementbe|onglngtoonebe|ongstothe
otherAsmu| tlp|es, theyhaveno/h/n¸todow|thoneanother, theyaretwo
abso| ute|yheterogeneous presentat|ons, and thls l swhy thls re|atlon÷ol
nonre| at|on÷can on|y be thought under the s|gn|ner ol be|ng (ol the
vo|d, , wh|ch lnd|cates that the mu|t|p|es ln quest|on have noth|ng |n
commonapartlrom/c/n¸ mu|tlp|es. !nshort, theaxlomolextens|ona|lty
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|y ßbe|ongs to a. butthe mu|t|p|es outol
whlchß lorms oneare heterogeneoustothosewhoseone|s a.
1heaxIomolloundatlon thus statesthe lo|| ow|ng. gl ven any ex|st|ng
mu|tlp|e whatsoever ( thus a mu|t|p|e counted asone |naccordancewith
theldeasolthemu|t|p|eandtheex|stenceolthenameolthevo|d, , there
a|ways 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. everynouvoldmu|tlp|e
contalnssome Other.
(
V
a, , (a
=
Ø, � (
_
ß,
|
] ÷ a
|
ö
Þ
´ a = Ø,
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|waysbe|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|y
regress . thls ha|tlng polnt estab|lshes a k.nd olorlglna| hnltude÷sltuated
BEI NG' S PROHI BI TI ON OF THE EVENT
| owerdown÷olanypresentedmu|tlp|elnregardtothe prlmltlveslgnol
the mu|tlp|e, the slgn E .
1heaxl omolloundatlonl s|heonto|oglca|proposltlonwh| ch statesthat
everyexlstent mu| tlp|e÷besldes the name olthevold÷occursaccordlng
toanlmmanentorlgl n. posltlonedbytheOtherswhlchbe| ongtolt !tadds
upto the h|storlclty ol every mu|tlp|e
Set theory onto|ogy thereby alnrms, through t he medlatlon ol the
Other, thateventhough presentatlon canbelnnnlte (c Medltatloos l > &
! 4, lt ls a|ways marked by nnltude whcn // comcs /o |/s or/¸/n uere, thls
nnltuJel sthe exlstence ola slte, onthe edge olthe vold. hlstorlcl ty
! 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| | ycmp/oyc4lncurrentonto|ogy÷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 s, l ssurp| usto
thew.rk/n¸ma/hcma//c/cn srequlrements, andsotohlstorlca|onto| ogy.!ts
range ls thus more re|I exlve. or conceptua| 1he axl om lndlcates an
essentla| structure olthe theory olbelng, rather thanbelng requlredlor
partlcu| ar resu| ts. What l t dec| ares concerns ln partlcu| ar the re|atlon
betweenthesclenceolbelngandthema] orcategorlesolsltuatlonswhlch
c|assl|y belng l n- tota|lty !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| | yentlre|ytheopposl te. ll, besldethevol d, everysetadmlts some
Otherness, andthuspresentsa mu|tlp|ewhlchlstheschema of asltel nthe
presentatlon, thlslsbecause, lntermsolonto|oglca|matrlces, cvcqs//ua//on
/s h/s|or/ca/. and there are Hl si orlca| mu|tlp|es cvcqwhcrc What then
happens tothec|assl ncatlono|oelng l n total lty'What happens i n partlc
u|ar to stab| e natura| sltuatlons, to ordlna|s'
uerewetouchonnoth|ng| essthan/hc.n/o/o¸/ca/4/]fcrcnccbc/wc:nbc/n¸
cna bc/n¸s. 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 ynamcsthcvold
asancxlstentmu|tlp|c, whl|stevcryothcrsltuatlonconslstson|ylnsolaras
lt cnsurcs thc non-bclonglng ol thc vold, a non-be|onglng contro|led,
moreovcr, by the statc ol the sltuatlon 1hc rcsu| tl sthat thc onto|oglca|
matrlx ol a natural sltuatlon, whlch ls to say an ordlnal, l s dchnltc|y
loundcd, butltlsdoncso unlqucly/y /hcvo/d. !nanordlnal, thcOthcr/s
thcnamcol thcvold, andlt a|onc Wcwl||thusal| owthatastablcnatura|
sltuatlon ls ontologlca|ly re|Icctcd as a multlplc whose hlstorlca| or
loundatlona|tcrmlsthcnamcolthcvold,andthata hlstorlca|sltuatlonl s
rct|cctcdbya multlp|ewhlch possesscs lnanycasco/hcrlound|ngtcrms,
nonvold tcrms.
Lct sturntosomccxamp|es
1akcthc1o,thcsct¦ Ø. ¦ Øj j . whlchlsanord| na|( Mcdltatlon I 2 , . What
ls the Other ln lt' Ccrtaln|ynot ¦ Øj bccausc Ø bc|ongs to lt, whlch a|so
bclongstothc1o1herclorc,ltmustbcØ.towhlchnothlngbc|ongs, and
whlch thus ccrtalnly has no clcment ln common wlth the 1o Consc
qucntly, thc voldloundstheTo
!ngcncra| , /hcvo/da/onc]oundsanord/na/. morcgcncra| | y, |ta|onclounds
a tr+nsltlvc sct ( thl s l s an easy cxcrclsc tlcd to thc dchnltlon ol
transltlvlty,
Nowtakcourear|lcrcxamp|c, thc slnglcton¦ aj whercalsnonvol d. We
sawthatawasthcschcmaolasltc|n thatsct,andthat¦ aj wastheschcma
olahlstorlcalsltuatlon ( wlthoncso|cclcmcnt ' , Wchavcan ¦aj* Ø. 8ut
t hl stlmc thc loundatlonal c| cment ( t hcsltc, , whlch l s a. ls nonvol dby
hypothesls 1hcschcma¦ aj . not bclngloundcdbyt hcvold, l st husdlstlnct
lromordlnals, orschcmasolnaturalsltuatlons, whlcharcso/c/yloundcdby
thcvol d
!nnon-on/o/o¸/:a/sltuatlons, loundatlonvlathcvol dl slmposslb| c On| y
ma/hcma//ca/on/o/o¸y admltst hethoughtolt hcsuturc tobelngundcrthc
mark Ø.
iorthchrsttlmc, a gaplsnotlccab|cbctwccnonto|ogyandthcthought
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 !nontology. howevcr, whatlsnatural lswhatlsloundcdso| c| ybythe
vold. al | thc rcstschcmatlzcsthc hlstorlca| . Rccoursc to thc voldl swhat
lnstltutcs, lnthcthoughtolthcnaturc/ h|story coup|e, anon//co-on/o/o¸/:a/
d/¡crcncc. !t unlolds ln thc lo||owlngmanncr.
BEI NG' S PROHI BI TI ON OF THE EVENT
a. Asltuatlonbelngl snatura| lll tdoesnotpresentanyslngu| arterm( l l
a| |oll tstermsarenorma| , . andl lnoneolltsterms, conslderedi nturnas
sltuatlons. presentsl ngu| arterms el ther ( ll norma|ltyl s recurrent down
wards, !tlsa s/ab///jo]s/ab/////cs.
- !nthe onto|oglca|sltuatlon. a puremu| tlp|elsnatura|( lsan ordl na| , | l
l t l s lounded by thevol da|one, and l l everythlngwhl chbe|ongs to l t l s
equa||yloundedbythevol da| one( sinceeverythlngwhlchbe|ongstoan
ordlna|l sanordlna| , !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
every pure mu|tlp|ethere a/ways be|ongsat |east one Other mu|tlp|e, or
slte. uowever. wewl|| say that a set lorma|lzesa hlstorlca|sltuatlonl lat
|eastoneOthermu|tlp|ebe| ongsto| twh/ch/sno//hcnamco]/hcvo/d. 1h|s
tlmeltl sthusa slmp|e |oundatlonbytheother·thanvol d
Sl nce onto|ogy unlque|y admlts lounded mu|tlp|es, whlch contaln
schemasoleventsltes ( thoughtheymaybevold, . onecou|dcometothe
hasty conc|uslon that lt l s entlre|yorlentated towards the thought ol a
belngol the event Wesha|| see that lt ls qul tethecontrary whlch ls the
case
¯ . 1uL LVLN18LLONCS1O1uA1WB!Cu- ! S- NO18L!NCQUA 8L!NC
! n the constructlon ol the concept ol the event ( Medltatlon | 7; the
be|onglng to ltse|l olthe event. orµerhaps, rather, the be|onglng ol the
slgnlnerolthe event tolts slgnl hcatlon, p|ayed a specl a| ro|e Consl dered
asamu|tlp|e. theeventcontalns. besldesthee|ementsolltss| te, ltse|l,thus
belngpresentedbytheverypresentatlonthatltl s.
H there exl sted an onto|oglca| lorma| lzatlon ol the event lt wou|d
therelore be necessary. wlthln the |rameworkol settheory. to a| | owthe
exlstence. whlch| stosaythecount-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, thedq crcnccol
thls set a, alter the axlom olextenslona|lty, 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|ybespeci ned onthe
baslsola ltse|l 1he seta can on|yberecognlzedlnasmuchas lthasa|ready
189
190
BEI NG AND EVENT
been recognlzed 1h| s type o| se||-antecedence | n | dent| hcatlon | ndlcates
thee||ecto|theu| tra onelnthattheseta.suchthata÷a.lsso|e|y| dentlca|
toltse||lnasmuch as| t w///havc /ccn ldentlca| to | tse| |
Setswhlchbe| oogtot hemse|veswerebaptlzedcx/raord/narysetsbythe
| oglclanM| rl maoo|| We cou|d thus say the |o| |owl ng an eventl s onto
|oglca||y|orma| lzed by anextraord| naryset
We cou|d Putt heax| omo||oundatloolorec| oses.x/raor4/naqsc/s]rem
anycx/s/cn.c. andru/nsanyposs/////j o]nam/n¸ c mu///p/c/c/n¸ o]/hccvcn/.
uere we have an esseotla| gesture that by means ol whlch onto| ogy
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 , . uowever. thls slng|eton wou|d not obey t he! dea o| the
mu|t| p|e statedby the ax| om o||oundatlon ¦ a, wou| d have no Otherl n
ltse| | noc/cmcn/o| ¦ aj suchthat| t slntersect| oowlth ¦ aj 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÷¦ aj ö ( ÷ a, ¡ � (a n ¦ a¦ * a, 1he res u| t ls that ¦ aj l s not
|oundedastheax. omo|loundat| onrequlresl tt o be
Onto|ogydoesoota| 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| ogy has nothlngto
sayabouttheevent Or,tobemorepreclse. onto|ogydemonstratesthatthe
eventl s not, l nthesensel nwhlchltlsa theoremo|ont o| ogythata| | 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 ngbytheproh| b| t. ono|theevent
!t thus br| ngs |ort h that-wh| ch | s- notbel ng quabe| og as a polnt o|
lmposs| bl|lty o| . hc dlscourse on be| ng- qua be| ng, aod i t exhl bl ts | ts
slgnl|ylngemb|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 ewolevery nu| | resul t'
A cas/o]u/cc .
A poembyMa| | armcalwayshxestheplaceola nal eatoryevent. anevent
to be l nterpreted on the basls ol the traces l t |eaves beh| nd. Poetry l s no
|onger submltted to act. on. s. nce the meanl ng ( unlvoca| , ol the text
dependsonwhatls dec| aredtohavehappened therel n 1here lsa certa|n
e| ementolthedetect|venove|lntheMallarmcan enlgma. anemptysal on.
a vase. a dark sea÷wHat ctl me. what catastrophe. what enormous
mlsadventute ls l nd| cated by t hese clues' Gatdoer Lavl es was qul te
justlñed| 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
genera||ybecausethepoem'sstructutelsdrcma//c1heextremecondensa
tl onolngures÷alewobj ects÷al msat lsolat|ng. uponaseverelyrestrlcted
stage. andsuch thatnothlng lshl ddenlromthel nterpteter ( thereader, . a
system ol c| ueswhosep|acement can be unl lI ed oy onehypothesi sa ' one
astowhathas happened and. o|wh|ch. oueso|cconsequenceaut hori zes
theannouncement olhowtheevent. despl tebel ng abol|shed. wl l | ]l ts
dccorlntheeternltyola pure notl on' . Ma| | armcl sath| nkerolt heevent
dtama, l nthedoublesenseolthestag| ngoll tsappearance dl sappearance
( . wedonot have an ldea o|l t. sole|yinthestat eola g| | mmer. lorl t |s
lmmedl atel y resolved. . ' , . 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. atepreclselywhat thoughtproposest o
191
192
BEI NG AND EVENT
render eterna| As lor the rest, rea|lty ln l ts massivrty, l t ls mere|y
lmaglnary, the resu|t ol la|se re|atlons, and l t emp|oys |anguage lor
commercla|tasksa|one !lpoetry lsanessentla| useol|anguage, l tl snot
because lt ls ab|e to devote the |atter to Presence. on the contrary. lt ls
becauselttralns |anguage totheparadoxlca|lunctlonolmalntalnlng that
whlch÷radlca||yslngu|ar, pureactlon÷wou| dotherwlsela||backlntothe
nu||ltyolp|ace Poetrylstheste||arassumptlonolthatpure undecldab|e,
agal nstabackgroundolnothlngness, thatlsanactlonolwhlchonecanon|y
knowwhetherl thastakenp|acelnasmuchasone/c/suponltstruth
!nA cas/o]U/cc. . , themetaphorola||eventa| sltesbe| ngontheedge
olthevoldls edlhed onthebaslsola desertedhorlzonanda stormy sea
uere we Have, because they 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|ways deslgnates a
mu|tlp|epresentedln thevlclnltyolunpresentatlonlstheAbyss,whlch.l n
A 6as/ o] U/cc- - - , ls ca| m' , b|anched' , and reluses ln advance any
departure lrom ltse|l. the wlng' ol lts very loam la||en back lrom an
lncapacltytotake ||lght '
1he paradoxol aneventa| - sltel s thatl t canon|ybe recognlzed onthe
baslsolwhatl tdoesnotpresentl nthesltuatlonl nwhlchltlspresented
!ndeed, ltlson|yduetol 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|y presents thls paradox by
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, you have nothlng apart lrom the
Abyss,theseaandskybelnglnd|st|ngulshab|e Yetlromthe||atlnc| l ne ol
the sky and the yawnlng deep' ol the waves, the lmage ol a shlp ls
composed. sal|sandhu||, annu||edassoonaslnvoked, suchthatthedesert
ol the slte qul te lnward|y sketches a vesse|' whlch, ltse|l. does not
exlst, belng thehguratlve lnterlorlty olwhlchthe empty scene lndlcates,
uslng lts resources a|one, the probab|e absence. 1he event wl|| thus not
on|y happen w//h/n the slte, but on the basls ol the provocat|on ol
whateverunpresentabl|ltylscontal 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' lorevery event,apart lrombelng|oca|l zedby
lts slte, lnltlates the |atter's ruln w//h rc¸ard /o /hc s//ua//on. because lt
retroactlve|y names lts lnner vol d 1he shlpwreck' a|one glves us the
MAllARM
E
a||uslvedebrlslromwh|ch( |nthe one olthe s|te; theundec|dab|emu|t|p|e
ol the event |scomposed.
Consequent|y, 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´
Why|stheevent÷suchthat|toccurs|ntheoneolthes|teonthebas|s
ol ' shlpwrecked mu|t|p|es that th|s one so|e|y presents |n the|r one
resu|t÷a cast old|ce here' 8ecauseth|s gesturesymbo||zesthe eventin
genera|. that |s, that wh|ch |s purely hazardous, and wh|ch cannot be
|nlerred lrom the s|tuat|on, yetwh|ch| sneverthe|ess a hxed mu|tlp|e, a
number, thatnoth|ngcanmod|ly 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|ty. 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|utesymbo| 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|ythecastold|cethrown'|neternal
clrcumstances' , cannot. | nturn, have anyother]orm thanthatol|ndec|
s|on.S|ncethemastermustproducetheabso|uteevent(theone, Ma||arme
says, wh|chw|||abo||shchance, be|ng theact|ve, ellect|ve, conceptolthe
there| s' , , 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|ay|ngasa hoar
man|ac the round |n the name ol the waves . . . to not open the hand
c|enchedbeyondtheuse|esshead´1op|aytheround' or tonotopenh|s
hand '!nthehrstcase, theessenceoltheevent|s|ostbecause|t|sdcc/dcd
|n an ant|clpatory 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|onoltheeventbytherea||tyol|tsv|s|b|ebe|ong|ng
193
194
BEI NG AND EVENT
tothesltuatlonandthecance||atlonolt heeventbyltstota| lnvlslbl| lty,the
on| yrepresentab|e hgure olthe concept olthe event l s thestaglngoll ts
undecldabl|l ty.
Accordlng|y, the entlre centra| sectlou olA 6as/o]U/cc organlzes a
stupelylng serles ol metaphor| ca| trans. atlons around tHe theme ol the
undecldab|e iromthe upralsedarm, wHlch÷perhaps÷ho|dsthe secret
olnumber, a who| elanolana| ogles unlo|ds, accordlng to the technlque
whlch has a| ready brought lorth the unpresentab|e ol the oceanlc slte
bysuperlmposlng upon lt the | mage o| a ghost shlp. ana|ogles | nwhlch,
|ltt|e by |ltt|e, an equ| va|ence ls obta| ned between throwlng the dlce
and retalnlng them. thus a metaphorlca| treatment ol the .onccp/ ol
undecldabl|lty
1He supremecon] unctlonw| t hprobab| |lty representedbythe o|dman
hes| tatl ngtot hrowthedl ceuponthe surlaceolthesea| slnltla||y÷lnan
echo ol t heloamtracesout olwhlcht hesal|s olthe drowneds h| pwere
woven÷translormed.ntoaweddlngve|| ( theweddlngol thesltuatlonand
theevent i , lra| | mater| a| onthepolntolsubmers| on. wh| ch wl||t remb|e/
wl||co||apse , |ltera||ysuckedunderbythenoth| ngnessolpresentatlonl n
wh| chthe unpresentab|esol t hesltearedlspersed
1Henthlsvell on thebrlnkold|sappearlng, becomesa so|ltaryleather
wh|ch hovers about the gu|l What more beautllu| l mage olthe event,
lmpa|pab|e yet crucl a| . cou|d be lound than th|s whlte leather upon the
sea, wlth regard to wh| ch one cannot reasonab| y declde whether l t wl||
||ee thesltuatlonor bestrewn overlt'
1he leather. at the posslb|e |lmlt ol | ts wanderlng, ad] usts ltse|l to lts
mar| oepedesta|aslltoa ve| vet hat. andundertH| s headgear÷lnwhlch a
]c4 hesltatlon ( thls rlgld wh| teness , and the sombre gullaw ol the
masslvlty olthe p|aceare] ol oed÷we see, | na mlrac|e of t he text. none
otherthan uam| etemerge, sour lrlnceolplt|a| | s . whlcHl stosay, l nan
exemp|arymanner, theverysub] ectolt heatrewHocannotnndacceptab|e
reasons to declde whether or notlt l s appropr| at e, and when, to kl | | the
murdererolhlslather.
1he | ord|yleatheredcresto|theromantlchatwonbyt Heuauethrows
lortH the |astnres olundecldab| |lty, lt g| ltters t Henshadows , and l nthls
shaJow ln wHlch, aga| n. everyt h| ng r|sks bel ug |ost, a slren and a rock
emerge÷poetlctemptatlono| gestureand mass| v| tyolp| ace÷wh| chthls
tlme wl|| vanlsh together. ior the l mpatlent termlna| sca| es ol the
temptressserveloroot HlngmorethancauslngtHerockt o evaporatelnto
mlst , thls |a| se maoor wh| ch pretended to lmpose a | l m| t upon
MALLARME
lnnnlty . Let thls be understood. the unJecldab|e equlva|ence ol the
gesture and the p| ace ls renned to such a polnt wlthln thls scene ol
ana|ogles, throughltssuccesslvetranslormatlons, thatonesupp| ementary
lmage a|one | s enough to annlhl|ate the corre|atlve lmage. the lmpatlent
gestureolthe Slren s talllnvltlnga throwolthedlce, can on|ycausethe
||mlttothelnnnltyollndeclslon( whl ch lstosay, the|oca|vlslbl|ltyolthe
event, to dlsappear, and the orlglna| slte to return 1he orlglna| slte
dlsmlssesthetwo terms olthed||emma, glventhat ltwasnotposs| b|eto
estab|lsha stab| edlssymmetrybetween thetwo, on thebasl solwhlch the
reasonlora cholcecou|dhavebeenannounced. 1hemytho|oglca|chance
ol an appea| l s no |onger to be lound upon any dlscernlb| e rock ol the
sltuatlon. 1hlsstepbackwardslsadmlrab|ysty|lzedbythereappearanceol
anear| . erlmage, thatoltheleather, whlchthlstlmewl|| buryl tse| llnthe
orlglna|spray , lts de|lrlum ( thatls, thewagero|belngab| etodeclde an
abso|ute event , havlng advanced to the very helghts oll tse| l, to a peak
lromwhlch, the undecldab|e essence ol the event ngured, l t la||s away,
wltheredbytheldentlca| neutra|ltyolthegu|l . !twl | | nothavebeenab|e,
glventhegu| |tostrewltse|loverlt( castthedlce, ortoescapelt( avoldthe
gesture, . lt w| | | haveexemp|lned the lmposslbl|lty olratlona| cholce÷ol
the abo|ltlon ol chance÷and, ln thls neutra| ldentl ty, lt wl | | have qulte
slmp|yabo|lshedltse|l.
!n the marglns ol th| s nguratlve deve|opmcnt, Ma| | armc glves hls
abstract |esson, whlch l sannouncedonpage elght, between Bam| et and
theslren, bya mysterlous l l . 1henlnthpagereso|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 way ental | one
havlngbeenab| eto ratlona| | ydecldeuponlts re| atlon to thesltuatlon.
The fxity of the event as result-its count- as- one-is carefully detailed
byMa|| armc l twou|dcometocx/s/cncc. ( ' mlghtl thaveexlstedotherthan
as nal l uc| nat| on , |t would ce enc| osed w. tn|n | ts /im//s ( m| gnt | t nave
begun and mlght l t have ended , . havlng emerged amldst lts own
dlsappearance ( we||lngupasdenled , , and havlngc|osedltse| lwlthln lts
own appearance ( c|osed when shown , , lt wou|d be mu///p/c ( ' mlght lt
have been counted , . yetltwou|d a|so be.oun/c4asonc ( evldenceolthe
sum however | |tt|e a one , !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|lty ol the gu| l , , a||owlng 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|ybutasmuchI chance' ,
andconsequent|y| 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|ltyoltheeventouts| de|tsdoma|n'
Mustweconc|udethatthepowerolp|acelssuchthatatthe undecldab|e
polnt olthe outs|dep|ace reason hesltates and cedes ground to lrratlon-
a|lty' 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|uteeventsymbo|lzedl nthe
castoldlce÷wou|dhavehadtheprlvl|egeolescap|nglromthe|oglcolthe
resu|t. the event wou|d have been rea| lzed l n vlew ol every 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|yexl stastheresu|tol
structure 8y the abso|uteness ol a gesture, an auto loundatl ona| |nter
ruptlon wou| d have lus|oned uncertalnty 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|ngany|nterlor|ty, evenghost|y÷ends up d|sperslngtheempty
act ' Save÷Ma||armcte||sus÷llbychance, theabso|uteeventhadbeen
ab|etotakep|ace, the |le' olth|sact ( a| lewhlchl sthenc|onola trut h,
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 theday, that
place | s sovere|gn, tnat noth |ng |s tne true name olwnatnappens, and
thatpoetry, |anguageturnedtowardstheeterna| nxatlonolwhat comes-
topass, l snotdlst|nctlromcommercla| usages l nwh|ch nameshavethe
vl|elunctlonola|| ow| ngthe lmag|naryolre|atlonstobeexchanged, that
olvalnandprosperous rea|lty
8ut thls l s not the |ast word Page e|even. opened by an excepted,
perhapsl nwhlchapromlsemayberead, sudden|ylnscrlbes,bothbeyond
any posslb|e ca|cu|atlon÷thus, ln a structure whlch l s that olthe event
÷and |n a synthes|s ol everyth|ng antecedent, the ste||ar doub|e ol the
suspendedcastoldlce. the Creat 8ear (theconste||atlon towards the
Septentrlon' , enumerates lts seven stars, and rea|lzes the success|ve
co||lslon astra||y ol a count tota| |n lormatlon' 1o the nothlng ol the
MALLARM
E
prevlous page responds. outsl de p|ace ( as lar as a p|ace luslons wlth a
beyond , . the essentla| hgure ol number. and thus the concept ol the
event. 1hls event has dehnlte|y occ×rrcd on lts own ( watchlng over /
doubtlng / ro| | l ng / spark|lng and medltatlng , . and lt ls a|so a rcsu//. a
ha|tlngpolnt ( belore ha|tlngat some|astpolnt whlchconsecrateslt ' , .
Bowl s thlsposslb|e'1o understandonemustreca||thata t theveryend
ol the metamorphoses whlch lnscrlbe lndeclslon ( masters arm. vel|.
leather. uam|et. slren, . we donotarrlve atnongesture. but ratheratan
equlva| enceolgesture ( castlngthedlce, andnon gesture ( notcastlngthe
dlce , . 1he leather whlch returned to the orlglna| spray was thus the
purlhed symbo| olthe undecldab| e. lt dld not slgolly therenunclatlonol
actlon1hat nothl ng has taken p|acethereloremeansso|e|y that nothlng
4cc/da/|cw//h|n/hcs//ua//oncou| dll guretheeventassuch. 8ycauslngthe
p|acetopreval | overtheldeathataneventcou|dbeca|cu|atedthereln.the
poem rea|lzes the essence ol the event ltse|l. whlch l s prec| se|y that ol
belng. lrom thls po| ntolvlew. |nca|cu|ab| e. 1hepure there ls l sslmu|ta
neous|y chance and number. excess olone and mu|tlp|e. such that the
scenlc presentatlon ol lts belng de|| vers nonbelng a|one. slnce every
exlstent. lorltse|l. |ays c|alm tothe struct ured necesslty oltheone Asan
un-lounded mu| tlp|e. as se|lbe|onglng. undlvlded slgnature ol ltse|l. the
eventcanon|ybelndlcatedbeyondthesltuatlon. despltel tbelngnecessary
to wagerthat lt hasmanllestedltse|ltherel n
Consequent|y. thecourage requl reJlormalntalnlngthe equl va| enceol
gestmeandnon gesture÷therebyrlsklngabo| l shmentwl thl nthesltels
compensatedbythesupernumeraryemergenceoltheconste||atlon. whlch
nxes ln the sky ol !deas the eveots excess-of-one.
Olcourse, the Creat8ear÷thls arbltraryhgure. 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
anythlngbuta warm presence. uowever. t heconste| | atl onl ssubt racti vel y
equlva|ent. on some vacantsuperlors urlace . to any belng 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 lntobelng
8y way 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 my 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|ltyandl 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|lty | s a rat|ona|
attrlbuteoltheevent. andthesa|vatoryguaranteeollts non-be| ng, there
lsnootherv|gl | ance thanthatolbecomlng, asmuch throughtheanx| ety
olhesltat| onas through 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|ltyl 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 very 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|y hope that thls wager never becomes
|eglt|mate, l nasmuch asany|egltlmacy relersbacktothestructure olthe
sltuatlon Nodoubt, theconsequencesolthedeclslonwl||becomeknown,
butl twl||notbe posslb|etoreturn backprlortotheeventl norder to tle
those consequencestosome loundedor|gl n As Ma||armc says, 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|lmlnaryseparatlonlromt hesltuatlon, acoelnclentolunpresentabl|lty
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 entlrety !l lt cou|d do so. thl swou| d mean that the event was not
undecldab|e thereln
!notherwords,therecannotcx/s/anyregu|atedandnecessaryprocedure
whlchl sadaptedtothedeclslonconcernlngtheeventnessola mu|tlp|e. !n
201
202
BEI NG AND EVENT
partlcu| ar. ! have shownthatthe state ola sl tuatl ondoes notguarantee
anyru|eolthlsorder. becausethe event. happenl ngl na slte÷a mu|tlp|e
ontheedgeolthevold÷lsneverresecuredaspartbythestate.1herelore
one cannot relertoa supposed /nc/us/on olthe event l n o:derto conc|ude
ln . ts /c/cn¸/n¸
! term |n/cncn//onanyprocedurebywhlchamu|t| p|elsrecognlzedasan
event
Recognltlon apparent|ylmp| les two thlngs here. whlch are] ol ned ln
the unl c|ty ol the l nt erventlona| gesture llrst. that t He lorm ol the
mu| tlp|el s des| gnated as eventa|. whlcH ls to say ln conlormlty 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 ldentllylng
that there hasbeen some undecldabl| lty. andl n decldlngltsbe|onglngto
thesltuatlon.
Eowever. thesecondsenseollnterventloncance|soutthe hrst . iorllthe
essenceol theeventlstobe undecldable. the declslonannu| sl t asevent
irom the standpol nt olthe declslon. you no |onger have anythlng other
thana termolthesltuatlon. 1helnterventl on thusappears-aspercelved
byMa| | armclnhlsmetaphorolthedlsappearlnggesture÷to conslstolan
auto annu| mentolltsownmeanlng Scarce|yhasthedeclslonbeen taken
thanwhatprovokedthedeclslondlsappears lntheunl lormltyolmu|tlp| e-
presentatlon 1hls wou| d be one ol t he paradoxes ol ac|l on. and ltskey
resldes l n decl sl on. what lt ls app| led to÷an a| eatory exceptlon÷hnds
ltse|l. by the very 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| |y la. | to rc/a/n the exceptlona| mark olone n whlch l t was
lounded 1h. s. scertal n| yoneposslb|eacceptatl onolNl et tsche·maxl mol
the Lterna| Return ol the Same. 1He wl l| to powe.. whlch l s the
l nterpretatlvecapacltyolthedeclslon. wou| dbearwlthlnltse|lacertltude.
thatl tsl ne| uctab| econsequencebethepro|ongedrepetltlonolthe| awsol
thesltuatl on | ts dest lny wool dbethat ol want lng the0theron| yl nlts
capacltyas 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 | | usorynove|tyoltheconsequences ! t lswe| | knownwhatklnd
olpesslmlstlcpo| l tl cal concl uslonsandnlhl|lst cult olart aredrawn lrom
THE I NTERVENTI ON
thl seva|uatlonolthewl | | l n moderate ( |etssay non Nazl , Nletzschelsm.
1hemetaphoroltheOvermancanon|ysecure. attheextremepolntolthe
slck|y 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|ytore l dentllyonese|laccordlngtothelmmanentlorceol
|lle.
!nrea|lty, 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÷lorthlssupernumeraryslgnlner.
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| ways
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 by an lnterpretatlve hypothesls.
whoseprcscn/cdob] ectl stheslte (a mu|tlp|eontheedgeolthevold, . 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 by 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.
therebygrantlng ourse|ves the prevlous|y l nexpresslb|e posslbl|lty ol lts
be|onglngtothesltuatlon'Nopresentedtermolthesltuatloncanlurnlsh
what we requlre. because the ellect ol homonymy wou|d lmmedlate|y
ellace everythlng unpresentab|e contalned ln the event. moreover. one
wou|d be l ntroduclng an amblgulty lnto the sltuatlon ln whlch a| |
lnterventlona|capacltywou|dbeabo|l shed. borcanthesltel tse| lnamethe
event. evenllltservestoclrcumscrlbeandqua|llyl t. iorthes|te/saterm
olthe sltuatlon. andltsbelng on the edgeol- the vold. a| thoughopento
theposslbl|ltyolanevent. ln no waynecessltates the|atter. 1he Revo| u
tl onol ! 789lscertaln|y French . yetirance lsnotwhat engenderedand
named lts eventness. !t l s much ratherthe case that l t l s the revo|utlon
whlch has slnce retroact| ve| y glven mean| ng÷by belng lnscrlbed. vla
declslon. thereln÷to that hlstorlca| sltuatloo that we ca|| irance. !n the
203
204
BEI NG AND EVENT
samemanner,theprob| emoltheso|utlonbyrootsolequatlonsolthehlth
degree or more lound ltse|l l n a re|atlve | mpasse around ! 840. thl s
dehned÷| lkea| | theoretlcallmpasses÷aneventa| sltelormathematlcs( lor
onto|ogy( 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|
aculty, t hat hl s entlre ro|e had been t hat ol obeylng the ln] unctlon
contalned lntheworksolhlspredecessors, slncetherelnonelound l deas
prescrlbedwlthoutthel rauthors' awareness ' Ca| olstherebyremarkedthe
lunctlon ol the vold l n lnterventlon iurthermore, lt ls the theory ol
Ca| olslan extenslons whlch retroactlve|y asslgned l ts true sense to the
sltuatlonol' so| utlonby roots'
If, therelore, l t ls~as Ca|ols says÷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/o¡ua//¡ /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|ongs . !l
wewrltethe matheme oltheevent ( Medltat|on l 7, .
c, * ¦x÷ X c.j
we see that ll c, had to be /dcn/µcd wlth an e| ement x ol the slte. the
matheme wou|d be redundant÷c, wou|d slmp|y deslgnate the set ol
( represented, 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 by onel aw a| one
÷that the name ol the event must emerge lrom the vol d 1he | nter-
ventlona|capacltyl sboundtothl sdoub| elunctlon. andltlsonsuchabasl s
thatthebelonglngoltheeventtothes| tuatl oolsdecl ded 1helnterveotlon
touches the vold. and l s thereby subtracted lrom the | aw ol the count-
asonewhlchru| esthesltuatlon. prec| selybecause 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 declslonby whlch ltoccursastwo. asltse|labsentandas
supernumerary name.
/. !tl soodoubtml s| eadl ogtospeakol/hctermx whl ch servesasname
lortheevent uowlndeedcouldlt bedlstlogulshed wlthlnthevold'1he
|awolthevoldl sl n dlllerence ( Medltatlon ° , 1he termwhlchservesas
namelortheeventls. l nltsell. anonymous 1heeventhasthename| essas
ltsname ltl swlthregardtoeverythl ogthathappensthatonecanon|ysay
whatl tlsby relerrlnglt tolts unkoown So| dler iorl l the term lndexlng
the event was chosen by 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|y 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] ectedbythelnterventloolntothe
twoolthe evental deslgnatl on
c. 1hl soomlnatlonl sessentl a| |y l | | ega|lnthatltcannotconlormtoany
/aw ol representatl oo ! have shown that the state ol a s| tuatl on÷lts
metastructure÷serves to lorm a ooe out ol any 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 ooextractsthesupernumeraryslgnl herlrom thevoldbordered
on by the slte. the state | aw ls lnterrupted 1he .ho/cc operated by the
lnterventlon l s a noo cho. ce lor the state. and thus lor the sltuatlon.
becausenoexlstentru| ecanspeclly/hcunpresentedtermwhlchl sthereby
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.Why'8ecauseno|awol the sltuatlonthusauthorlzes
205
206
BEI NG AND EVENT
the determ| nat| on ol an anonymous termlor each part, a pure| y l nde-
term| nateterm. st| | | | esstheextens| on olth| s| | |ega| procedure, bymeans
ol wh|ch each | nc| uded mu|t|p|e wou| d produce÷by what m| rac|e ol a
cho|ce w| thout ru|es'÷a representat|ve | ack| ng any other qua| | ty than
thatolbe| ong| ngtoth| smu| t| p| e. tothevo| d| tse| l, suchthat|tsbordersare
s| gna| | ed by the abso|ute s| ngu| ar| ty 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| ly| 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 any other
d Such an | nterrupt|on ol the |aw ol representat| on | nherent to every
s| tuat| on |s ev| dent|y not poss|b|e in | tse| l Consequent|y, t he | nter
vent| ona| cho|ce | son| yellect. veasendanger| ngtheone. !tlson|y]er/hc
cvcn/. thus lor the noml nat . on ol a paradoxlca| mu|t| p|e, that the term
chosen by the | ntervenor represents the vo| d 1he name subsequent| y
c|rcu|atesw| th| nthesltuat | onaccord| ngtotheregu| atedconsequencesol
the| ntervent| ona| dec| s| onwh| chlnscr| bes|tthere. !t| sneverthenameol
aterm, butoltheevent Onecana| sosaythat| ncontrasttothe| awolthe
count, an| ntervent| onon|yestab|| shestheoneoltheeventasa non one,
g| ven that | ts nom| nat| on÷chosen, | | | ega| , supernumerary, drawn lrom
thevo| d÷on|yobeysthepr| nc| p| e there|soneness /na|scn//a. !nasmuch
as | t | snamedc,the eveni | sc| ear| y/h/s event. | nasmuch as|ts name| s a
representat|vew| thoutrepresen|at| on, the eventrema| nsanonymousand
uncerta| n1heexcessolone| sa| sobeneatht heone 1heevent, p| nnedt o
mu| t| p| ebel ng by the lnterventlona| capac|ty, 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 betweentheempty anonym|tyborderedon by
thes|te, and theadd| t| onola name Moreover, thematheme| nscr|besth| s
or| g| nary sp||t, s| nce | ton| ydeterm| 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
1othereby| nvoked| snottheredup|| cat| onoltheoneolthecount, the
THE I NTERVENTI ON
repet|tlon oltheellects olthe |aw ! tls an or| gl nary 1o. an lnterva| ol
suspense. thedlvlded ellect ola declsl on
c !twl | | be observedthatthe. nterventlon. be| ngthereby 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|yrecognlzedlnthesltuatl onbyltsconsequences What| sactua| | y
presented l nthe endl se" the name olthe event . 8ut lts support. bel ng
l | | ega|. cannot occurassuchatthe| eve| olpresentatlon !twl|| therelore
a|waysremalndoubtlu| whethertherehas beenaneventornot. exceptto
thosewholntervene. whodec| deltsbe|onglngtothesl tuatl on What there
wl||beareconsequencesola partlcu|armu| t| p| e. andthey wl||becounted
as one l n the sl tuatl on. and lt wl|| appear as though they 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|ways alnrm thatthe undecldab|e has been declded. at
the prlce ol havl ng to aJm| t that lt remalns undecldab| e whether that
declslonontheundecldab|ewastakenbyanybodyln part| cu| ar. Assuch.
the lntervenor can be both entlre|y accountab|e lorthe regu| atedconse
quencesoltheevent. andentlre|yl ncapab|eolboastlngthattheyp| ayeda
declslvero|e .n theeventltse|l !nterventlongeneratesa dlsclp|l ne lt does
notde|| verany orlgl na| lty 1here ls nohero olthe event
] ! l we now turn to the state ol the sltuatl on. we see that lt can on| y
resecure the be|onglng ol th| s supernumerary name. whlch clrcu|ates at
random, attheprlceolpolntlngouttheveryvoldwhoselorec| osurelslts
lunct| on What lndeedarethepar/s olthe event'What ls lnc| udedl nlt'
Boththe e|ements olltsslteandtheeventltse|lbe| ongtothe event 1he
e|ementsoltheslteareunpresented 1heon|y partthattheylormlorthe
statelsthus theslte ltse|l Aslorthesupernumerary name. c,. hencelorth
c|rcu|atlngduetotheellectolthelnterventlon. ltpossessesthepropertyol
be|onglngto| tse|l. ltsrecognlzab|epartl sthereloreltsownun| clty. orthe
s|ng|eton ¦ c.j ( Medltatlon7 , . 1hetermsreg| steredbythe state. guarantor
olthecount - as oneolparts. are ll na||ytheslte. andthelormlng l nto one
ol the name ol the event X and ¦c,j 1he state thus nxes. alter the
lnterventlon. theterm ¦ X ¦ c,j j as thecanonlca|lormoltheevent \hatl s
at stake l sc| ear|y a 1o ( thesl tecounted as one. and a mu|tlp|e lormed
lnto one, . 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 say 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, thestatecannotknowanyth| ngolthe
| atter, slncethel | | ega| andt heunpresentab|e arepreclse| ywhatltexpe| s.
1he state certaln|y captures that there has been some nove| ty l n the
sltuatlon, l nthelormoltherepresentat|onola1owhl ch] uxtaposesthe
sl te ( a|ready marked out, and the slng| eton ol the event ( put |nto
clrcu| atl oo by the lnterveotlon, . Bowever, what l s thereby ] uxtaposed
remalnsessentla||yunre| ated iromthestandpolntolthestate, thename
hasnodlscernlb|ere|atlontotheslte. 8etweent hetwo/hcrc/sno/h/n¸ /u/
/hcvo/d. !notherwords, t he1ocreatedbytheslteand theeventlormed
lnto one ls, lorthestate, a presentedyet lncoherent mu|tlp| e. 1he event
occurs lorthestateasthebelngolanenlgma Whyls|tnecessary ( andlt
ls, toreglsterthlscoup|easa partolthesltuat| onwhennc/h/n¸ marksout
thel r per|lnence' Why ls thl s mu| tl p| e, c. c·r/n¸ 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|y
l nscrlbes lts l nterva||lc essence by 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||y, th| s| sa c|asslcenlgma . Lverytlmethata slte ls
thetheatreola rea| event . thestate÷lnthepo|ltlca| sense, lorexamp|e÷
recogolzesthata desi gnatl oomustbeloundlorthecoup|eoltheslte ( the
lactory, tHe street, the un|verslty, and the slng|eton olthe event ( str|ke,
rlot. dlsorder, . but l tcannot succeed l n || xlng the ratlona|lty olthe ||n¡
1hls ls why lt lsa |aw olthestatetodetectln tHe anoma| yolthls1o÷and
thl sls an avowa| olthe dys|unct|on olt he count÷t hehando]a s/ran¸cr
( the |orelgn agltator. the t errorlst t he perverse prolessor, . !t i s not
lmportantwhetherthe ageutsol thestatebe| level nwhattheysayornot,
what counts | s the necesslty ol the stat ement ior thls metaphor ls ln
rea| lty 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 appar| t| onof t be| mmanence olt hevo| dbythe
transcendence olthegul | ty
!n t rut 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 j olnt
betweentheheterogeneoustermslromwhlch ltlscomposed 1hatltl san
excrescence÷thls much can be deduced. Remember ( Medltatlon 8; , an
excrescencelsatermthatl srepresented (bythestateolthesltuatlon, but
not presented (by the structure ol the sltuatlon, !n thls case. what l s
presented ls the event ltse|l. c, and | t a|one 1he representatlve coup|e.
¦X¦c,¦ ¦ . heteroc|lte palrlng ol the slte and the lormlngl nto one ol the
event. l s mere|y the mechanlca| el|ect o| the state. whlch makes an
lnventory ol the parts ol the sltuatl on 1hls coup| e l s not presented
anywhere Lveryeventl sthusglven.onthestatlstsurlaceolthesltuatlon.
asanexcrescence whosestructure lsa 1owlthoutconcept
¸. Underwhatcondltlons ls anlnterventlon posslble' What ls atstake
here lsthe commencement ola |ongcrltlcaltrla| olthe rea|lty 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| lmlnaryseparatlon
lrom the lmmedlate |aw 8ecause the relerent olthe lnterventlonls the
vold. such asattested by 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|y the event ltse|l. there appears to be a clrc|e. !t seems that the
event. aslnterventlona|p|acement l n clrculatlonolltsname, can on|ybe
authorlzed on the basl s ol that other event. equa||y vol d lor structure,
whlch ls thelnterventlonltse|l
1here ls actua||y no other recourse agalnst thls clrc|e than that ol
sp|lttlngthepolntatwhlchltre] olnsltse|l !tlscertalnthattheeventa|one.
a| eatoryhgureolnonbelng. loundstheposslbllltyollnterventlon!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.
|acklngany belng. radlca||y subtracted lromthe count as one, the event
doesnotexlst !nordertoavoldthlscurlousmlrrorlngoltheeventandthe
lnterventlon÷ol the lact and the lnterpretatlon÷/he poss/////j e] /hc
/n/crvcn|/on m×s/ /ccss/¸ncd /o /hc consc¡ucnccs o]ano/hcrcvcn/. lt ls eventa|
recurrencewhlch lounds lnterventlon !n otherwords. therel s no | nter
ventlona|capaclty, constltutlve|orthebe| onglngolaneventa|mu| tlp|eto
a sltuatlon. save wlthln the network ol consequences ol a prevlous|y
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 say that the theory ol lnterventlon lorms the kerne| ol any
theoryoltlme. 1lme÷llnotcoextenslvewlthstructure, l l notthescns///c
]orm o] /hc Law-ls lnterventlon | tse|l, thougHt as the gap between two
events . 1he essentla|hlstorlcltyoll nterventlondoesnot reler totlme asa
measurab|eml|leu. !t|sestab|lsheduponlnterventlona|capaclty| nasmuch
asthe|atteron|yseparates| tse|llromthesltuatlonbygroundlngltse||on
theclrcu|atlon÷whlchhasa| readybeendeclded÷olaneventa|mu|tlp|e.
1hls ground a|one, comblned wlth the lreçuentatlon 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| ty.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| rcady clrcu|atlng, to the clrcu| atl on ol
another, a |lnewhlchscratches out. !tlsa d/agona/olthesltuat| on
210
One lmportant consequence ol eventa| recurrence l s t hat no lnter
ventlon whatsoever can |egltlmate| y operate accordlng to the l dea ol a
prlma| event, or a radlca| beglnnlng. We can term spccu/a//vc /c]//sm any
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
anyothersupportthanltsownnegatlvewl| | . 1hlslmaglnary wagerupon
an abso|ute nove|ty÷to break ln two the hlstory ol thewor|d ÷lal|s to
recognlze that the rea| olthe condltlons ol posslbl|lty ollnterventlon l s
a|waystheclrcu|atlono|ana|readydecldedevent. !notherwords, l t l sthe
presupposltlon, lmp|lclt or not, that there has a|ready been an lnter
ventl on. Specu| atlve|eltlsm l s lasclnatedby the eventa| u|traone and l t
be|| eves that l n the | atters name lt can re] ect any lmmanence to the
structured regl me ol the count as one Cl ven that the structure ol the
u|traonel sthe1o, thelmaglnaryolaradlca| beglnnlng| eadslne|uctab|y
.
ln a| | orders ol thought, to a Manichean hypostasl s. 1he vlo|ence ol thls
la|sethoughtl sanchoredlnltsrepresentatlonolanlmaglnary1owhose
tempora|manllestatlonl sslgned,viatheexcessolone, bytheu|tra oneol
the event, Revo| utlon or Apoca|ypse 1hls thought l s unaware that the
eventltse|lon|yexl sts lnsolaras| tl ssu/m///c4. byanlntervent|onwhose
posslbl|lty requlres recurrence÷and thus non commencement÷to the
ru|ed structure ol the sltuatlon. as such, any nove|ty ls re|at| ve, belng
|eg|b|e so|e|y alter the lact asthe Iazardol anorder What the doctrlne
THE I NTERVENTI ON
oltheeventteachesus lsratherthattheentlreellort| l esl nlo| |owlng the
event sconsequences. notlng| or|lylng|tsoccurrence 1herel snomorean
ange|lc hera| d ol t he event than there ls a hero 8elng does not
commence
1he rea|dllncu|tylstobeloundln thelo||owlng theconsequencesolan
event. belng submlttedt ostructure. cannot be dlscerned as such ! have
under|lned thls undecldabl|lty accordlng to whlch the event l s on|y
poss|b|e ll specla| procedures conserve the eventa| nature ol | ts conse
quences 1h| slswhylts so| eloundatlon |les ln a d/sc/p/|nc oltl me. whlch
contro|slrombeglnnlngto endtheconsequencesolthe lntroductlon lnto
c|rcu| atlonolthe paradoxlca| mu|tlp|e. andwhlchatany moment knows
howtodlsceroltsconnectlontochance !wl| |ca||thl sorganlsedcontro|ol
tlme]4c//j.
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 story ol the Church shou| d, proper|yspeaklng.
be ca||edthehlstory oltruth
|cnsícs
Lacanusedto saythat ll no re|lgl onweretrue. Chrlstlanlty. neverthe|ess.
was the rel igion which came closest to the question of truth. This remark
canbeunderstoodl nmanydlllerentways ltakel ttomeanthelo||owlng.
l nChrlst|anltyandlnl 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|anltythere|sthatevent÷sltuated, exemp|ary÷thatlsthe
deatholthe son olCod on thecross 8ythesametoken, be| l eldoesnot
re|ate centra||y 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 hdellty tothatmeanlng. As Pascal says.
Lxceptl n1esusChrlst,wedonotknowthemeanlngolour|l le, ordeath.
orCod, oroursel ves´
Al|theparametersolthedoctr| neoltheeventarethusdlsposedwlthl n
Chrlstlanlty. amldst. however. the remalns ol an onto|ogy ol presence
÷wlthrespecttowhlch! haveshown. l npartlcu|ar. that| tdlm|nlshesthe
concept ollnnnlty( Medltatlon l ? ;
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
sayl nthesymbo|oldeath, andolcrueltortured, palnlu|death. 1heCross
l sthengureolthlssense|essmu| tl p| e.
PASCAL
h
. Named progresslve|y by the apost|esthe co| | ectlve body 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, thewayolthecross, etc , so| e| yconstltutetheu|tra-
one olaneventlnasmuchas Cod, lncarnatedandsullerlng, enduresthem
1helnterventlona|hypotheslsthatsuchl slndeedthecaselnterposesltse|l
betweenthecommonbana|ltyolthesedetal|s. themse|vesontheedgeol
thevold ( oldeath, . andtheg|orlousunlclty olthe event
c 1he u|tlmate essence ol the eventa| u|traone l s the 1o, ln the
especla||ystrlklnglormoladlvlslono|thedlvlneOne÷theiatherandthe
Son÷whlch, l n truth, dehnltlve|y rulns any reco||ectlon ol dlvlne tran-
scendence lntotheslmp|lclty 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|lglousphenomena, andaslng|eton
wlthoutlmportance ( theexecutlonolanagltator, . atthevery sametlme,
lt has thepremonltlonthat l n thls mattera voldl sconvokedwhlch wl||
prove a |astlng embarrassment lor the State To lactors testlly to thls
embarrassmentortothe| atentconvlctlonthatmadness|lesthereln hrst.
atthe|eve|o|anecdote, Pl|atekeepshlsdlstance ( |etthese1ewsdea|wlth
thelrown obscurebuslness, . andsecond, much|aterandat the|eve|ola
document, the lnstructlonsrequestedby P|lnytheYoungerlromLmperor
1ta] anconcemlngthetreatmentreservedlorChrlstlans, c|ear|ydeslgnated
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|ay. 1he connectlonbetweenorl gl na| sl nandredemptlon dehnl -
tlve|yloundsthetlmeolChrlstlanltyasatlmeolexl|eandsa|vatl on 1here
lsanessentla|hlstorlcltytoChrlstlanltywhlchlstledtotHelntervent|ono!
theapost| esasthep|acement lnto clrcu|atlonoltheevento!thedeathol
Cod. ltse|l relnlorced by the promlse ol a Messlah wh|ch organlzed the
hde|ltytothelnltla| exl | e Chrlstlanltyl s structuredlrombeglnnlngtoend
byeven 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//j.
Amongst the 1ews, the prophets are the specla| agents ol the dlscernlb|e
1hey lnterpret without cease. w|thln the dense weave ol presented
mu|tlp|es. whatbe| ongstotheconscquenceso|the|apse, whatrendersthe
promi se| eglb| e. andwhatbe|ongsmere| ytotHeeverydaybuslnessolthe
wor| d AmongsttheChrlsti ans. theChurch÷thehrstlnstltuti on| nhuman
hlstory to pretend to unlversa|lty÷organlzes |l de|lty to the Chrlst event.
and exp|lc| t|y 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|y modern
andunheardolcondltlonscreatedbytheadventolthesub] ectolsclence
Pasca| saw qui te c|ear|y 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 very
momentlnwhlchsclencehna|| y|egls|ateduponnaturevlademonstrat|on.
theChrlstlanCodcou|don|yremalnattheceutreols ub] ectlveexperlence
lli tbe|ongedt oanentlre|ydlllerent|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|nhnltyanda ratlona|mechanlcs, thequestlon
lmposedupontheChrlstlanswasthatoleltherrenovati ngthelrproolsby
nourlshlng them on the expans|on ol scieoce ( t h| s i s what wl | | be
undertaken ln | he elghteenth centurybypeop|e | l keAbbot P|uchc, wlth
thelr apo|ogles lor the m| rac|es of nature. a tradltlon whlch |asted untl |
1el|hard de Chardln, . or. o| comp|ete|yseparatlng thegenres. andestab
|lshlngthat there|| glousspherel sbeyondthe 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| lty ) Pasca| .s a dla | ectlcl anlnsolarashels
sat| shedwlth nelther olthesetwo optlons. 1hehrst appears to Hl m÷and
rlght|yso~to | eadso| e| ytoanabstractCod, asortol u|tra mechanic. | l ke
uescartes Cod ( use|ess and uncertai u , whl ch wl| | become Vo| ta| res
c|ockmaker CoJ. and whlch ls ent| re|y compatlb| e wlth the hatred ol
Chrlstian|ty. 1hesecondoptlondoesnotsatlslyh| sowndesi re. contempo
rary wlththefl ouri shi ng of mathemati cs, |or a uni fed and tota|doctrlne.
l nwhlchthestrlctdi sti nctl ono|orders( reasouandcharltydonotactua| | y
be| ongtothesamedomaln. andherePasca|antlclpatedKant. a| | thesame,
mustnothlndertheexlstentla| unltyolthe 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|anyotherendbut h| m 1he
Pasca| | an questlon l sthusnot tHato| a know|edge o|Cod contemporary
wlth the new stage o| ratlona|lty What he asks |s thl s whatls lt thatls a
chrlstl an sub] ect today' And t h| s ls the reason why Pasca| re centreshls
entlreapo| ogl aaroundaverypreclsepolnt. whatcou| dcause anatHelsta
|lbert| oe. topass|romdlsbe| le|tochrlstl an| ty'Ooewou|dnot be exagger
at |ng| | onesald thatPasca| s modernlty. wHlchlsstl||dlsconcertlngtoday.
| les ln tHe |act tHat he pre|ers. by a | ong way. a reso| ute unbe| lever
( athe| sm. proo|o||orceo|thesou| , 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| authorlty
o| re| | g| on. and to the ruptures | n the edlnce o| ratl ona| l sm ior Pascal
chrlstl anltystakes ltsexlstence. underthenewcondltlonso|thougHt. not
l nlts ll exlb|e capaclty to malntaln ltse|| l nstl tutl ona| | y ln the heart o|an
overturedclty. but ln | ts power o|sub] ectlve capture over these typlca|
representatlves o| the new wor|d that are the sensua| and desperate
materla|lsts !tlstothemthatPasca|addresseshl mse| |wlthtendernessand
subt| ety. havl ng. on the contrary. on|y a terrl b| y sectarlan scorn |or
com|ortab|echrlstlans. atwhoseservlcehep|aces÷ln!hc|rev/nc/a|Lc//crs.
|or examp| e÷a vlo|ent andtw| st edsty|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
rapldlty. to theRlmbaudolA 5cason/nHcl/¯l sa sorto| urgencylnwhlch
the work on the text ( Pasca| rewrote tHe same passage ten tlmes, ls
ordal ned by a dehned and hardened lnter|ocutor. l n the anxlety o| not
dolngeverythlng|n hlspowerto coovlnce the|atter Pasca| s sty|elsthus
theu| t| matel n lnterventlona| sty| e 1h| s | mmense wr| tertranscendedh|s
tlme by means o| hls ml|ltant vocatlon. nowadays. however. peop|e
pretend that a ml | | tant vocatloo burl esyou l n your tlme. to the po| nt o|
renderlng you obso|ete overn| ght
1ograspwhatI ho| dtobetheveryheart o|Pasca| sprovoca//ononemust
start|romthe|o||owlngparadox.whydoesthl sopen mlndedsclentlstth| s
entlre| y modern ml nd. abso|ute|y | nslst upon ] ustl |yl ng chrlstl ao| ty by
what wou| d appear to be lts weakest polot |orpost Ca| l | ean ratl ona|lty.
t hat i s, t hedoctrlne o| mlrac|es' | sn tthere someth| ngqul te|ltera||y 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 trylng to convlnce hlmbya manlaca| recourseto
thehlstorlclty 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, lnsatlsly|ngthemse|veswlththl sh||lngol
thesou|byCod, on|ypayattentlontomlrac| es|orthesakeollorma| one
Suchpeop|e, hesays, dlscredlthls¸ Chrlst s[ mlrac| es Andso. thosewho
reluse to be|leve l n mlrac|es today on account ol some supposed and
lanc|lu| contradlctlon are not excused And thls cry. uow ! hate those
whoproless t doubt ln mlrac|es '
Lets say, wlthout proceedlng any 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| lty olbe| levlng/n/ru/h. and
Codnotbel ngreducl b| etothl spureob] ect olknow|edgewl thwhlch the
delstsatl sheshlmse|l 1hem| rac| e|s thesymbo| olanlnterruptlonolthe
| aw|n whlchthe|nterventlona|capacltylsannounced
Pasca| sdoctrlneonthlspolntlsverycomp| exbecauseltartl cu| ates, on
the basls ol the Chrlst event. both lts chance and lts recurrence 1he
centra| dl a| ectlcls that olprophecy and the mlrac| e
!nsolarast hedeathol Chr| stcanon|ybelnterpretedasthelncarnatlon
ol Cod wlth respect t or|g| na| s| n÷lor whlch l t lorms the re|ay and
sub|atlon÷lts meanlng mustbe |eg|tlmated by exp|orlng the dlagona| ol
hde|| ty whlch unltes the nrst event ( the|a| |, orlgln ol our mlsery, to the
second( redempt| on, asacrue|andhum| |latlngremlnderolourgreatness ,
1heprophecles, as! sald. organlzethls| l nk Pasca|e| aborates, lnrespectto
them, an ent| re theory ol lnterpretatlon 1he eventa| betweentwo that
they deslgnate lsncccssar//y the p|ace ol an amblgulty. what Pasca| terms
the ob|lgat| onolhgures . Onthe one hand, llChrlstls the event that can
on| ybenamedbyanl nt erventl onloundedupona lalthlu| dlscernmentol
the ellects olsln. then that event must have been predlcted, predlctlon
deslgnatlng here the l uterpretatlve capaclty ltse| |. transmltted down the
centurlesby the1ewlsh prophets 0nthe other hand. lorChrlst to be an
event, even the ru| e ol |J de| |ty, whlch orgaolzes the lnterventlon gen
eratlve olmeanlng, must besurpr/scdby theparadoxolthemu| tlp| e 1he
PASCAL
on|y so|utlon ls that the meanl ng ol the prophecy be slmu|taneous|y
obscure l nthe tlme ollts pronunclatlon, and retroactlve|y c|ear oncethe
Chrlst event lnterpreted by the be|levlng lnterventlon, estab| lshes lts
truth ilde|lty, whlch prepares lor the loundatlona| lnterventlon ol the
apost|es, ls most|y enlgmatlc. or doub|e. 1he who|e questlon |les ln
knowlngwhetherornotthey ¸theprophecles| have two meanlngs 1he
|ltera| orvu|garmeanlng provl des l mmedlate c|a rlty but essentla| obscu
rlty 1he genulne|yprophetlcmeanlng, l | | umlnated bythe lnterventlona|
|nterptetatlonolChrlstandthe apost|es, provldesanessent| a| c|ar|tyand
anlmmedlate]¸urc. Aclpherwltha doub|emeanlng. onec|ear, andonc
|n wh| ch the meanlng ls sald to be hldden Pasca| l nvented readlnglor
symptoms 1he prophecles ate contlnua||y obscure l n regard to thelr
splrltua| meanlng, whlch l s on|y revea| ed vla Chrlst but unequa| | y so.
certaln passages can on| y be lnterpreted on the bas| s ol the Chrlstlan
hypotHesls, and wlthout thls Hypothesls thelr lunctlonlng, at the vu| gar
| eve| olmeanlng, ls lncoherent andb|zarre
!n countless p|aces the ¸ true, Chrlstl an| sp|rltua| meanlng ls hlddenby
anothermeanlngandrevea|ed|n averylewp|acesthoughneverthe|ess
lnsucha waythatthe passagesl nwhlch l t l shl ddenareequlvoca|and
can be l nterpreted l n both ways, whereas the passages |n whlch lt ls
revea| ed are unequlvoca| and can on|y be |nterpreted ln a splrltua|
sense
1hus, wlthln the prophetlc textua| weave ol the O|d 1estament the
Chrlst eventdlsengagesrareunequlvoca|symptoms, onthebaslsolwhlch,
by successlve assoclatlons, the genera| coherence ol one ol the two
mean|ngsolprophetlcobscurltylsl||umlnated÷to the detrlmentolwhat
appearstobeconveyedbythe hguratlvelnthelormolvu|garevldence
1hls coherence, whlch lounds, lntheluture anterlor, !ewlsh hde|ltyln
t hebetween twoolor|g. na| slnandredemptlon, doesnot. however, a| | ow
the recognltlon o| that whlch, beyondlts truth lunct|on, constl tutes the
verybel ngolthe Chr| st event. whl ch| sto saythecvcn/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| ydemonstrated
on the basls ol the lnterventlon whlch decldes that thls tortured man,
1esus, lslndeedtheMesslah Cod As soonasthlslnterventlona|declslon|s
taken. everythlngl sc|ear, andthetruthclrcu|atesthroughouttheentlrety
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 every
hgure olthe Mess| ah's g|ory÷theprovocat| vename Andwhat supports
thls conhdence cannot bethe c|arlty dlspensed to the doub| e meanl ngol
the1ewlshtext. on thecontrary. tHe|atterdependsuponthelormer. ! t l s
thusthem|rac|ea| onewhl chattests, throughthebe| l eloneaccords to| t.
thatonesubml tsonese| ltotherea||zedchanceoltheevent. andnottothe
necessltyolpred| ct| on St| | | morels requ| red the m| rac| e| tse| lcannotbe
so strlklng and so ev| dent|y addressed to everyone that subm| sslon to l t
becomes mere|y a necessary evldence. Pasca| | s concerned to save the
vu|nerabl||ty olthe event. | ts quasl obscur|ty, slnce | tl sprec| se|y on thls
baslsthattheChr| stlansub] ectlstheonewhodec| deslromthestandpolnt
ol undecldabl||ty ( !ncomprehens| b|e that Cod be, lncomprehenslb|e that
henotbe , . ratherthan the onewho| s crushedbythepowerole|thera
demonstratlon ( 1he Cod ol theChrlstlansls not a Cod whols mere|ythe
author ol geometrlca| truths' , 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, bythelrmoderatlon, totHosewhose1ew| shhde||ty
|sexertedbeyond ltse||, lorCod, w|sh| ngtoappearopen| yto thosewho
seekhlmwltha| | the| rheartandhlddentot hosewholI eelromhl mw|th
a||thelrheart . . tempers theknow|edge olh| mse| l'
!ntervent| on ls therelore a preclse|y ca|lbrat edsub] ect| veoperat| on.
l . Wl th respect to l ts poss/////j. | t depends upon eventa| recurrence,
upon the dlagona| ol hde||ty organ| sedby the 1ew|sh prophets tHe
slte o| Chrlst ls necessarl|y 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| ly the prophecy. | t | s dlscontl nuous w| th the very
dlagona| olhde|lty whlch rel|ectsltsrecurrence !ndeed, thls rel|ec
t| on on| y occurs wlthln a nguratlve amblgulty, | n wh|ch the symp
tomsthemse|vescanon|ybelso|atedretroact| ve|y. consc¡ucn//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|waystheallalrolanavant
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|y speakl ng÷cannot be |eglt|
mated by the accomp| | sHment ol propHecles, otherw| se the event
wou|d not lnterrupt the | aw. 1esus chr| st provedthat he was the
MesslaH not by verlly|ng hl s teacH| ng agalnst Scrlpture and the
prophecles. but a|ways by hls mlrac| es uesplte bel ng ratlona| l na
retroactlve sense, the lnterventlona|decls|on ol the apostl es avant
,ardewas neverdeduc|b| e
4. uowever, w| thln | he a]|cr· c]]c./ ol the | nterventlon. t he hguratlve
|orm ol tHe prevlous hde||ty ls ent| re| y c|arl hed. startlng lrom the
keypolntsor symptoms. or| notherwords. the mosterratlcpartsol
the1ewlsHtext 1He prophecleswere equ|voca| they are no |onger
so 1He| nterventlonwagersupona dlscont| nultywlththeprevlous
ll de| | ty so| e| y ln order t o . nsta| | an unequ| voca| cont| nu|ty. | n th|s
sense, | t | stheml norltys rlskollntetventlonat the slteoltheevent
that. |n the| astresort. prov|desa passage |or]dc//j /o /hc]dc//j.
Pasca| s entlre ob] ectlve ls çul te s| mp|y that the |lbertlne re | ntervene.
and w| th| n the e|lects o| sucH a wager. accede to the coherency whlch
loundsHlm. Whattheapost|esdl dagalnstthe | aw, | heathelstn| hl | | st( who
possesses the advantage ol not bel ng engaged | n any conservatlve pact
wlth the wor| d, can redo 8y way ol consequence. the three grand
dlvlslons olthe |cnsícs maybe c| ear| ydlstlngul 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|ybread olh|gh schoo| pH| |osophy 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 audtothelrmockery olthe meagre chronlc|es oltHe everyday
| magl nary1Hemostnovel resource |orthese maxi ms recltcdoyeverybody
l sthat ol | nvoklng the great modernonto| og| ca| declslon concernlng the
219
220
BEI NG AND EVENT
|nhn|ty ol nature ( cf Med|tat|on l ? , Nobody | smorepossessed by the
conv|ct|on that every s|tuat|on |s |nhn|te than Pasca|. !n a spectacu|ar
overturn|ngolthe or|entat|on olant|qu|ty, hec|ear|y states that|t | sthe
hn|tewh|chrcsu//s~an|mag|nary 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|ty olbe|ng] ust|hes t hehum|||at|on ol the
na/ura/be|ngolman, becauseh|sex|stent|a|hn|tudeon|yeverde||vers, |n
regardtothe mu|t|p|es|n wh|chbe|ngpresents|tse|l, the eterna| despa|r
oleverknow|ngthe|rpr|nc|p|eorthe|rend' !tpreparestheway÷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|ty||nks
|nterna||y to d|v|ne |nhn|ty, wh|ch | s ol another order Pasca| thus
s|mu|taneous|y th|nks natura| |nhn|ty, the ' unnxab| e' re|at|v|ty ol the
hn|te, andthe mu|t|p|eh| erarchyolordersol|nhn|ty
/. 1he second d|vls|on | s devoted to an cxc¸cs/s ol the Chr|st event,
grasped |n the lour d|mens|ons ol |ntervent|ona| capac|ty. the eventa|
recurrence, wh|ch | s to say 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 thelamousmystery ol1esus' , succeeds|n|dent|ly
|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|ty,andbecausePasca|'sstrategy|snot
that ol 'prov|ng Cod' . h|s |nterest ||es rather | n un|ly|ng, by a re
|ntervent|on, the |Ibert|ne w|th the sub] ect|ve hgure ol the Chr|st|an
Moreover, |nh|seyes, th|sprocedurea|one|scompatib|ew|ththemodern
s|tuat|on, andespec|a||yw|ththe el!ectsolthe h|stor|ca|dec|s|onconcern
lngthe|nhn|tyolnature
c. 1he th|rd d|vls|on |s an ax/o/c¸y. a lorma| doctr|ne ol |nterventlon
Oncetheex|stent|a|m|seryolhuman|tyw|th|nthe|nhn|tyols|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|ty, that ol the ||v|ng Cod, what rema|ns to be done | s to d|rect|y
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 symptoms, can render th|s re|ntervent|on necessary
1he lamous text on the wager÷whose rea| t|t|e | s inhn|te-noth|ng ÷
PASCAL
lndlcatesso|e|ythat. 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, youcannotcontl nueasthoughthere
werenocholcetobe made. 1he verltab|eessence ol the wagerls thatone
mustwager. ltl snotthatonceconvlncedolthenecessltyoldolngso, one
chooses lnnoltyovernothlng. that much .s evl dent .
!n ordert opreparet heground Pasca| relers dlrect|y tot heabsence ol
prool and translorms lt. by a stroke olgenlus, lnto a strengthconcernlng
thecrucla|polnt . onemustchoose. l tl sthrough thelr|ackolproolsthat
they ¸the Chrlstlans} showthat theyare not |acklngln sense´ iorsense,
attrlbuted to the lnterventlon, ls actua||y subtracted lrom the |aw ol
natura| |lghts' . 8etween God and us there ls an lnnnlte chaos whlch
dlvldes us' . Andbecause sense ls so|e|y |eglb|e ln the absence olthe ru|e,
chooslng, accordlngtohlm, lsnotvo|untary' . thewagerhasa/ways /akcn
p/acc.astrueChrlstlansattest. 1he|lbertlnethushasnogrounds, accordlng
tohlsownpr|nclp|es, lorsaylng. . . . !donotb|amethemlorthelrcholce,
butlormak|nga cholceata|| . . . therlghtthlngtodolsnottowager. ' Be
wou|d have grounds lor saylng such l l there were some examlnab|e
prools÷alwayssuspect÷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 necessary, lt must be admltted that ! can
dec|are theevent| tse|lnu||andoptlorltsnonbe| onglngtothesltuatlon.
1he|lbertl necana|wayssay !am|orcedtowager. . and! ammadel n
such a waythat! cannotbe|l eve´ 1helnterventlona|conceptlon oltruth
permltsthe comp|eterelusa|ollts el|ects. 1heavant garde, byltsexl stence
a|one, lmposes cholce. but not//s cholce
!t ls thus necessary to return to the consequences. iaced wlth the
|lbertlne, who despalrs ln belng made such that he cannot be| l eve, and
who, beyond the |oglc ol the wager÷the very |oglc wh|ch ! termed
conndencel nconndence' l n !héor/cdusujc/¯asks Chrlsttoglvehl mstll|
more slgnsolhl swlshes' , there l sno|ongeranyotherresponsethan, so
he has. but you neg|ect them' . Lverythlng 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| ythat oltruth.
1here ls a secu| ar irench tradlt|on, runnlng lrom Vo|talre to Va|cry,
whlchregretsthatstichagenlti sas Pasca|. ln the end, wastedhlstlmeand
strengthlnwlshlngtosa|vagetheChrlstlanmumbo] umbo !lon| yhehad
so| e| ydevoted h| mse| lto mathematlcs and t oh| sbr|| | | ant conslderatlons
concern| ngthem. ser| esolthelmaglnatlon÷he exce||ed at such' 1hough
! amrare|y suspected ol harbourlng Chrlstl an zea|, I have never appre
clate1thlsmotlvatednosta|gla lor lasca|thescho| araodmora| l st. !t ls too
c|eartome that. beyondChr|stlanlty, 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|candtoproposetohumansthattheyconsecrate
thebestolthemse| vestotheessent| a| What!a1ml re morethananyth|ng
| nPasca|l stheellort. am|dstdllhcu|tclrcumstaoces, togoa¸a/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 way olthe wor|d,
andadoptthepo.tab| esceptlclsmthateverytrans| tlona| epochresuscltates
lortheusageolthosesou| stooweaktoho|dtha|there| snoh| storlca|spccd
whlch ls lncompa| . b| ewlth theca|mwl | | | ngoesstochaogethewor|dand
to unlversa| lze | ts lorm
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| oubyset theoryo|anybe|ngolt heeventl s concentrated| nthe
axlom ol loundatlon. 1he | mmedlate lmp|| cat| on appears to be that
|ntervent| oncannotbeoneol settheorysconceptselther. Bowever, there
| s a mathemat| ca| !dea | n wH|cH one can recogo| ze. wlthout too much
dllncu| ty. tHe| ntervent| ona| ]o·m÷lts current oame. qu| tes|gn| ncant|y, | 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| | lury between l 90¯ and l 908 S| nce the con|| | ct bore on
the very 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| ty termed lntu| tlon| st determlned tHe|r own
d|rectlonaccord|ngtolarvastercons| derat| ons than those| mmedlate|yat
stake| ntheaxl omolcholce. 8ut| sn t thlsa|waysthecasewlththosesp|lts
wH| ch have a rea| hlstor|ca| |mpact¯ As lor the overwhe| m| ng ma] or|ty
whoeventua| | ycametoadm. t tHe| ncr|m|nat edax| om, theyon| ydid so, ln
thenna|ana|ys| s. lorpragmat| creasons. Overtlme| t becamec|earthatthe
sald axlom, whl|st | mp|y| 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 byverylew matHematlc| ans. statemeots both a|gebra| c ( every
vector|a| space hasa base , and topo|og|ca| ( t Heproduct olany lam||y ol
compact spaces ls a compact space , . 1hls matter was never comp|ete|y
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' bybenehcla|
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
by 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 stosayltexlsts
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
every exlstentmu|tlp|e a, therecorrespondsanexlstentlunctlon] wh|ch
chooses' a representat|vel neacholthemu|tlp|eswh|chmake up a
(Va,( 3¡, ç E a) �{¡, E ß¡
Py the axlom ol rep|acement, the lunctlon ol cholce guarantees the
exlstenceolaset,composedolarepresentatlveoleachnonvol de|ement
ol a (I the vold l t l sobvlous that]cannot choose' anythl ng lt wou|d
produce the vold agaln, ]( Ø) * Ø. , 1obe|ong to ,÷whlch I wl|| term a
dc/c¸a//on ola÷means tobe an e|ementol an e|ement ol a thathasbeen
se|ectedby]
o E Y � ( 3ß, ,ç E a) ö]ç, = 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 every constltuencyln
ane| ectlonbyma] orlty sendsa deputyto the house olrepresentatlves
Wherel s t heprob|em'
!lthe seta ls]n//c. therelsnoprob|em besldes, thlsl swhy therel sno
prob|emwlthe|ectlonsl nwhlchthenumberolconstltuenc| esl sassured|y
hnlte uowever,ltl sloreseeab|ethatl lthlssetwerelnhnltetherewou|dbe
prob|ems, especla||yconcern|ngwhata ma] or| tym| ghtbe
1hattherelsnoprob|emlnthe case ola belnghn|te can beshownby
recurrence one estab|. shes that the lunctlon ol cho| ce cx/s/s w| thl n the
lrameworkolthe!deasolthemu|tlp|ethathavea|readybeenpresented
THE FORM- MULTI PLE OF INTERVENTI ON
1herelsthusnoneedola supp|ementary! dea( olanax| om, 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|y, there |s someth|ng
×n· dc/c¸a/a//e|n|nnn|temu|t|p||c|ty.1hereason|sthatalunct|onolcho|ce
operatlnguponan|nhn|tesetmusts|mu|taneous|y choose a representa
t|veloran|nhn|ty ol therepresenteJ . 8utweknowthattheconceptua|
mastery ol | nhn|ty supposes a ru|e oI passage ( Med|tat|on l ? , . !lsuch a
ru|ea||owedthe cens/ruc|/on olthelunct|on, we wou|deventua||ybeab|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|ydehnealunct| onwh|ch
se|ects onc representat|ve lrom cach mu|t|p|e olan |nhn|te mu|t|p||c|ty 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 years 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|traryorunrepresentab|e aboutsuch usage. 8etazz|hada|ready
wr|tten one mustchoose an ob] ectarb|trar||y |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|trary' , 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 any |ntu|tive va|ue, |s |tse|l arbltrary. S|xteen
years |ater, the great irench mathemat|c|an 8ore| wrote that adm|tt|ng
the leg|t|macy ol a non denumerable |nnn|ty ol cho|ce ( success|ve or
s|mu|taneous , appearedtoh|mtobe acomp|ete|ymean|ng|essnot| on
1heobstac|ewas | nlactthelo|l owing. ont heonehand, adm|tt|ng the
cx/s/cn.colalunct|onolcho|ceon|nnn|tesets| snecessarylora numberol
uselu|i notlundamenta|theorems|na|gebraandana|ys|s, tosaynoth|ng
olsettheory|tse|l. |nrespectolwh|ch, aswesha||see( Med|tat|on26, , the
ax|om ol cho|ce c|ar|hes both the questlon ol the h| erarchy 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|artype olmu|tlp|e (a lunctlon, wlthout thlspostu| atlona||ow| ng
usto exh|blt a slng| ecaseorconstruct a slng|eexamp|e. !nthelrbookon
t he loundatlons olset theory. iraenke|. 8ar El | | e| and A. Levy| nd| cate
qulte c| ear| y that the axlom ol cho| cethe !dea wh| ch postu|ates the
ex| stence. loreverymJ|tlp|e,olalunctl onolcholce÷hastodoso| e| yw| th
ex| stence l n genera|. and does not promlse any lndlv| dua| rea| | zat| on ol
such anassertlon olexlstence.
!nlact. theax| omdoesnotasserttheposs| b| | |ty( wlthsclentlhcresources
aval|ab|eatpresentor| nanyluture, ol:ens/·u://n¸a se| ect| on-set ¸what
! terma de|egatlon¦ . thatlstosay. olprov| d|nga ru|ebywh| chl neach
memberf ola acertalnmemberolf canbenamed . . 1he ¸ ax| om¡ ]ust
mal nta| nsthecx/s/cn:cola se|ect|on set.
1he authors term th| s partlcu|arlty ol the axl om lts pure|y exlstent|a|
character
uowever. iraenkel 8ar u| | | e| and Levy are m| staken | n ho| d| ng that
oncethe pure|yex| stentla|character oltheaxlomolcholce |srecogn| zed.
theattackswhosetargetltlormedwl | | ceasetobeconvl nc| ng. 1heyla| |to
appreclatethatexlstencelsa crucla|questlonloronto|ogy 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 yrequ| re |n add. t. oothatone
st|pu|ate thatf . s thc part. cu| artype ol mu| t|p|e termed a |onct|on. th| s
doesnotpose anyprob| 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| ready 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. |arlty 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 | susthateverye|ement
olp(a) | sa part ola. 1heresu|t. moreover. | sthat the set thusobta| ned|s
un/çuc. !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
property T(ß, , t hesetole| ementsola wh|chpossesst h| sproperty÷whose
ex|stencel s guaranteedbytheaxlomolseparatlon÷|sanxedpartola. !n
the case ol the axlomolcho| ce, theassert|on olexlstence l s much more
evaslve the lunctlon whose ex| stencelsalnrmedl ssubmlttedso| e| ytoan
lntrlns| c condltlon (]¡, E ß), 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|y
attachedtotheslngu|ar|tyola byvery|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||ty ol l ts de|egatlon. wlthout
|nscrlb| nga ru|elorthl sposslb| |ltythatcou|dbeapp||edtothepart|cu|ar
lormolthelnlt|a|mu|tlp|e1heexlstencewhoseunlversa|ltyl salnrmedby
thls axlom |s /nd/s//n¸u/sha//c | nsolar as the condltlon |t obeys ( chooslng
representatlves , says nothlng 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 , , there l s no genera| openlnglorl ts
presentatlon. What l s at stake here | s a presentab| || ty wlthout
presentat|on.
1here|s thusc|ear|ya conceptua| enlgmalntheaxl omolcho|ce. thatol
l ts d|llerence lrom the other !deas ol the mu|t|p|e, whlch resl des |n the
very p|ace |n wh| ch iraenke| 8arBl||e| and Levy saw lnnocence. l ts
pure| yexlstent|a| character lorth|s ' purl ty l s .atherthe|mpur|ty ola
m|x betweentheassert|on ol thepresentab|e ( ex| stence, andthe|nellec-
tua| character ol the presentatlon, the subtractlon lrom the count-
as one
1he hypothesls ! advance ls the lo| | owlng. w//h/n on/o/o¸¸. /hc ax/om o]
cho/cc ]orma//zcs /hc prcd/.a/cs oJ /n/crvcn//on. !t | s a questl on ol th| nkl ng
lnterventlon/n//s/c/n¸.thatl s, wlthouttheevent÷weknowonto| ogyhas
nothlngtodowlththe| atter. 1he undecldabl|ltyoltheevent' sbe| onglng
lsa van|shlngpo|ntthat|eavesatracel ntheonto| oglca|!deal nwhlchthe
lnterventlonbe| ngl s |nscrlbed a tracewhlchl s preclse|ytheunass|gnab|e
orquasl non-onecharacterolthelunctlonolcholce !notherwords, the
axlom ol cholce thlnks the lorm ol be|ng ol lnterventlon devold ol any
event. What l t nnds thereln | s marked by thl s vol d ln the shape ol the
unconstructlbl|lty olthelunctl on Onto|ogy 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|yrat|ona| , . Bowever, onto|ogycanon| ydoth|sat
thepr|ceolendanger|ngtheone. that| s. |nsuspend|ngth| sbe| nglrom| ts
pure genera||ty. thereby nam|ng. by delau|t. the nonone ol the |nter
vent|on
1he ax|om ol cho|ce subsequent|y commands strateg|ca||y |mportant
resu|ts ol onto|ogy. or mathemat|cs such |s the exerc|se ol deductlve
nde||tytothe|ntervent|ona|lormnxedtothegenera||tyol|tsbe|ng. 1he
acute awareness on the part ol mathemat|c|ans ol the s|ngu|ar|ty ol the
axlom ol cho|ce |s lnd|cated by 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||ty| srea||zed. aswesha||see thedlscernmentolthec]]cc/s
ol thesupernumerarymu|t|p|ewhosebe|ong|ngto thes|tuat|onhasbeen
dec|dedbyan|ntervent|on Save that | nthe case ol onto|ogy. what|s at
stake are the ellects ol the be|ong|ng ola supernumerary 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
century was cear|y÷.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. they soonbecame
mv|ded. 1he very ones who÷|mp||cltly÷used thls ax|om dc]ac/o ( || ke
8ore|.Lebesguc.etc ; had. |nthel reyes. noacceptab|ereasontova|ldate| ts
be|ong|ngdc]urc to the s|tuat|on olonto|ogy. !t was ne| therposslb|e lor
them to avo| dthe lnterventlona|wager. nor to subsequent|y support l ts
va||d|ty w|th|n the retroactlve dlsce:nment ol|ts ellects. One whomade
greatusageoltheaxl om. Ste|nltz. hav|ngestab||shed thedependencyon
the ax|om ol the theorem Lvery ne|d a||ows an a|gebra|c c| osure ( a
genu|ne|y dec|slve theorem( . summar|zed t hedoctr|ne olthe la|thlu| l n
l 9 l 0 | nthelo||ow|ngmanner.
Manymathemat|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||y
d|sappear Ontheotherhand. |ntbe|nterestolmethodo| og|ca|pur|ty. |t
may 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|ymarkl t s| l ml ts
Sustalnlngan lnterventlona|wager. organlzlng onese| |so as to dlscern
ltse||ects. notabuslngthepowero|a supenumerary !dea andwaltlngon
subsequent declslons |or peop| e to ra||y 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| lzedbytheex| stenceo| a|unctlonol
cholce
!n the hrstp|ace. g| venthattheassertlono|the exlstenceo|the|unctlon
o|cholce ls not accompanled by anyprocedure 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 any | aw o|
representatlon. !nthl ssense. the|unctlono|cholcelsessentla||yl | | 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/n¸ wh| ch l s not
rea||ya 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/| schosenbya |unctlono|cholceremal nsunnameab| e We
know that |or every nonvold mu|tlp|e ß presented by a mu| tlp|e a the
|unctlonse| ects a representat| ve. a mu|tlp|e whlch be|ongs to ß.]ç, 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|anyslngu| arltywhatsoevertotherepresenta
t|ve]ç, . Ihcrc /s a representat| ve. but lt ls |mposs| b|e toknowwh| ch one
|tls. tothepo|ntthatth| srepresentatlvehasnoother| dentltythan thato|
havl ngtorepresentt heuu| tl p| etowhl chltbe| ongs lnso|aras | tlsl | | egal
the |unctlon o| cho. ce | s a| so anonymous No proper name | so| ates the
representat| vese| ected bythelunct| 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|y se| ected by ] . 1he
representatlve | scerta| n|yput| ntoclrcu| atlonw| th| nthes| tuatl on. sl nce!
can a|wayssaythata |unct| on]exl stssuchthat. |or any g| venß. |tse|ects
an]ç, 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| yreasononthebaslsolthl s
exlstence 8ut ! cannot, l n genera|, dcs/¸nc/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 ( by the axl om ol extensiona|lty, i s essentl a| l y 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 sty¡e ol ob| . que l n exteoslona|lty ol the de| egatlon l ndl -
cates theanonymltyolprlnclp|eolrepresentatlves.
!t happeos that l n these two characterlstlcs÷l||ega|lty and anonym
lty÷we can lmmedlate|yrecognlze theattrlbutesollnterventl on outsl de
the | aw ol the count, lt has to draw theanonymousname ol the event
lromthevol d !nthe|ast resort. thekeyto thespecla|senseoltheaxlom
olcholce÷andthecontroversyltprovo|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( thetype
olmu|tlp| ethatl tls, wlthnorelerence| oanyevent 1heaxl omolcholce
lstheonto|oglca|statemeot re|atlvetothepartlcu| arlormolpresentatlon
wh|ch l slnterventlona|actlvlty S| nce ltsuppressestheeventa| Hl storlclty
ol the l nterventlon, lt ls qu|te understandab| e that l t cannot speclly. ln
genera|, the ooe mu|tlp|e tHat lt | s ( wlth respect ola glven sltuatlon, or,
onto|oglca||y, w|threspecttoasupposedexlstentset , A|| thatltcanspeclly
l s a lorm mu|tlp| e. that ol a lunctlon, whose cx/s/cncc desplte belng
proc|al med, ls genera||y oot rea|lzed l oany 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|arltylrom /hc/excess olone÷the event
÷whosenonbelngl sdec|aredbyonto|ogy
1he consequenceo|thls empty sty|lzatlono|thebelng ol| nterventlon
ls that, vla an admlrab|e overturnlng whl ch manllests the power ol
onto|ogy, the u|tlmate e|lect ol thl s axlom ln whlch anonymlty and
l||ega|ltyglverlsetotheappearanceolthegreatestdlsorder÷aslntultedby
the mathematlclans÷l s /hcvcqhc/¸h/e] ordc· 1here we have a strlklng
onto|oglca| metaphor ol the theme, now bana|, accordlng to whlch
lmmenserevo| utlonary dlsordersengenderthe mostrlgldstateorder 1he
axlom o| cbolce ls actual |y requ|red to estab| l sh that every multlp|lclty
a||owsltse|ltobewe|| ordered !notherwords. everymu|tlp|ea|| owsltse|l
tobe enumerated suchthat, at everystageolthlsenumeratlon, 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| s, providc t hc mcasurc ol any
cnumcration÷olanywc| | -ordcring÷iti sñnallyonthcbasisolthcaxiom
ol choicc that cvcry 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 say
thc intervcntion on thc bcing ol intervcntion÷sti l | rctains somc ol thc
savagcry ol i | lcga| ity and anonymity. and i f thcsc traits wcrc markcd
cnough lor mathcmaticians÷who havc no conccrn for bcing and thc
cvcnt÷tob| i nd| yquarrclovcrthcm. thcordcrolbci ngrcclaimsthemal l
themotccasi | ygiventhatcvcnts. bci ngthcbasisolrca| intcrvcntions. and
undcci dab|c i n thcirbc| onging. remain outsidcthc |i c| dolonto| ogy. 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 swhythcapparcntintcrrupt|on
ol thc | aw designatcd by this axiom immcdiatc|y translorms itsc| l. i n its
princ|pa|cqu. valcntsori nitsconscqucnccs. intothc natura| rigidityolan
ordcr
1hc most profoundlcsson dc| ivcrcdby 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|ty 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 timatcly lunctions | n thc
serv|cc olordcr. andcvcn. aswc sha| | scc. olhi c.archy.
! notherwords. i ntcrvcntion docs not draw thcforccofa disordcr. ora
dcrcgu| ation ol structurc lrom its bei ng. !t draws such lrom its clhcacy.
whichrcquiresrathcrthe initia|dcrcgu|ation. thci ni ti a| dislunctioningol
thc countwhich is thcparadoxica|cvcnta| mu| ti p| c÷in rcspect to which
cvcrythingthat 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//qt hes et olprocedureswhlch dlscern, wlth|na sltuat|on, those
mu|tlp| eswhoseex|stencedependsuponthe|ntroductlon|ntoclrcu|at|on
( under the supernumerary name conlerred by an lntervent|on, ol an
eventa|multlple !n sum, a hde|lty | sthe apparatuswh|ch separates out,
wlth|nthesetolpresentedmultlp|cs, thosewh|chdependuponanevent
1o be lalthlu||stogathertogetherandd|stlngu|shthebecom|ng| ega|ola
chance
1he word hdellty' relers dlrectly to the amorous re|at|onshlp, but !
wou|d rather say 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 by hde| |ty
!ndeed, | tl sev|dent that |ove÷whatls ca||ed| ove÷lounds |tse||upon an
lnterventlon, and thus on a nom|natlon, neara vold summoned by 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|lty lsµreclse|ythe measure to betaken, |n a
return tothe sltuatlonwhose emblem, lor a |ong tlme, was marrlage. of
what subs|sts, day alter day, 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÷beyond |ts slmp|e
occurrence÷thewor/dol|ove' Such lstheemp|oymentolhdellty, andl t
l sherethatthea| most lmposslbleagreementola mananda womanw|||
FI DELI TY, CONNECTI ON
be necessary, an agreement on t he cr|ter|a wh|ch d| st|ngu|sh, am|dst
everyth|ngpresented, the ellects ol|ovelromtheord|nary runolalla|rs
Our usage ol thls o|d word thus ]ust|hed, three pre||mlnary remarks
mustbe made.
i|rst, a hde||ty | sa|wayspart|cu|ar, |nsolar as lt depends on an event
1herelsno genera|la|thlu|d|spos|t|on i|de||tymustnotbe understood| n
anywayasacapaclty, a sub] ectlvequa||ty, ora vlrt ue ilde||ty|sa s|tuated
operat|on wh|ch depends on the exam|nat|on ol s|tuat|ons i|de||ty | s a
lunct|ona| re| at|onto the event
Second, a nde||ty |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||ty|s lts resu|t. thecount as- oneol the regu|atedellects olan event
>tr|ct|y speaklng, hde||ty /s ne/. What exlsts are the group|ngs that |t
const|tuteso|onemu|t|p|eswh|charemarkcd, |nonewayoranother, by
the eventa| happen|ng
1hlrd, s|ncea hde||tyd|scernsandgroupstogetherpresentedmu|t|p|es,
| tcountsthepartsolas|tuat|on 1heresu|tolla|thlu|procedures| s/nc/udcd
|n the s|tuat|on. Consequent|y, hde||tyoperates|n a certaln sense on the
terra|nolthes/a/c olthesltuatlon A hde||tycanappear, accord|ngtothe
natureol|tsoperat|ons, |lkeacounterstate, orasub state1here| sa|ways
someth|nglnst|tut|ona||n a hde||ty, |l|nst|tutlonls understoodhere, | na
very 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| yqua||hed
i|rst. ll |t | st ruet hat every hde||ty ls part|cu|ar, lt |s st||| necessary to
ph||osophlca| |yth|nktheun|versa|]ormoltheprocedureswhlchconst|tute
|t Suppose the |ntroduct|on |nto c|rcu|at|on ( alter the |nterpretat|ve
retroact|onolthelntervent|on, olthes|gn|herolanevent, c.. a procedure
olhde|ltyconslstslnemp|oylnga certa|ncr|ter|onconcernlngtheconnec
tlon or non connectlon ol any part|cu|ar presented mu|tl pl e to thls
supernumerarye|ementc,.1hepart|cu|ar|tyola hde||ty, apartlrombe|ng
ev|dent|yattachedto the u|tra one that| sthe event (wh|ch| s no|onger
anyth|ngmorelor|tthanoneex|st|ngmu|t|p|eamongsttheothers , , 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|y make up ldent|cal
parts( |dentlca|' mean|nghere.partshe|dtobe|dentlca|bythestateolthe
233
234
BEI NG AND EVENT
sltuatlon, Attheemplrlca||evel weknowthatthereare manymanners
ol belng lalthlu| to an event . Sta||nlsts and 1rotskylsts both proc|a|med
thelrhde|ltytotheevento|Octoberl 9 | 7. buttheymassacredeachother.
!ntultlon| stsand settheoryaxlomatlclansboth dec|ared themse|ves lalth
lu| totheevent crl slsolthe|oglca|paradoxesdlscoveredatthebeglnnlng
ol the twentleth century, but t he mathematlcs they deve|oped were
comp| ete|ydlllercnt. 1heconsequencesdrawnlromthechromatlclraylng
ol the tona| system by the serla|lsts and then by the neo c|asslclsts were
dlametrlca||yopposed, andsoltgoes
What must be retalned and conceptua||y hxed ls that a l| de|lty l s
con] olnt|ydehnedbya s//ua//on÷that ln whlch t helnterventlons ellects
are |lnked together accord| ng to the |aw ol the count÷by a partlcu| ar
mu|//p/c÷the event as namedandlntroducedl ntoclrcu|atlon÷andby a
ru/c o]conncc//on whlch a| |ows one to eva|uate the dependency ol any
partlcu|arexlstlngmu|tlp|ewlthrespecttotheevent. glventhatthe|atter s
be|onglngtothesltuatlonhasbeen dec| dedby the | nterventlon.
irom thls polnt onwards, 1 wl|| wrlte D ( to be read. connected lor a
hde|lty , lor the crlterlon by 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| lty.1hewrltlnga D
c,deslgnatessuch an atom !t lndlcatesthatthemu|tlp|ea ls connectedto
the eventc,lor a lIde|l ty. 1he wrltlng - (a D c,, ls a negatlve atom. lt
lndlcatesthat,lora hde| lty, t hemu|tlp| ea lsconslderedasnon- connected
totheevente.thl smeansthata | sl ndl|lerenttoltschanceoccurrence, as
retroactlve|ynxedbythel nterventlon Ande| |ty, lnltsrea|belng, l tsnon·
exlstentbelng, | sa chalnolposltlveornegatlveatoms, whlchl stosaythe
reports thatsuch andsuch exlstlngmul ti pl es are orare ootconnected to
the event. lor reasons whlch wl|| gradua| | ybecome cvldent. aod whlch
wl|| || nd thelrful l exerclse | n the medltatlon on truth ( Medltat| on ? l , . !
wl|| termcn¡u/gany]n//c serles olatoms olcoonectlon lor a |1de|lty. At
base, an enqulry i s a glven÷ll nlte÷state of the la| t|lu| procedure.
1hese conveot| ons | ead us lmmedlate|y to thc second pre|lmlnary
remarkandt hequa|lncatlon| t ca|| slor Olcourse, hde| lty, asprocedure, ls
not uowever. at every moment, an eventa| hde|lty 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| ways
acceptab|e to poslt that the /c/n¡ ol a hde| lty 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| waysmakeup, 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/n¸ ol a hde|lty. We sHa|| note, agaln, 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|lty ltse|l. At any
moment. the enqu|rles ln wh|ch the provlslona| resu|t ol a hde|lty 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. everysltuatlon 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 every sltuat| on lnvo|ves. wlth regard to lts be. ng. a
connectlonwlthna|ura/mu|tlp|es. 1he reasonls that. strlct|yspeaklng, we
have wageredthe l nhnltyolbe| ngso|e|yl nregardtomu|tlp|lcltl eswhose
onto|oglca|schemal sanordl na| . thusnatura|mu|tlp|lcltl es. Medltatlon 26
wl|| estab|lsh that every pure mu|tlp|e, thus every presentatlon. a||ows
ltse|l. l na preclse sense. tobe numbered by anordlna|. iorthe moment
ltlsenoughlorustoantlclpateoneconsequenceolthlscorre|atlon. whlch
lsthata| mosta|| sltuat| onsare |nhnlte. !tlo||owsthatthestatepro] ectlon
olahde|lty÷thegrouplngola hnltenumberolmu|tlp|esconnectedtothe
event÷ls lncommensurab|ewlth the sltuat|on. andthuswlththetl de|lty
ltse|l. 1houghtas a non exlstentprocedure, a hdelltyl swhatopensupto
tHe¸cncra/dlstlnctlonolonemu|tlp|espresentedln the sltuatlon, accord-
lng to whether they are connected to the event or not. A hde| l ty 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|lty Py 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|ya grossapproxlmatlonol
what tHe hde|lty l scapab|e ol, | n truth, |t l squlteuse| ess.
OntHeotherhand. onemustrecognlzethatth|sl nhn| tecapacltylsnot
ellect|ve, slnceatanymoment| tsresu|ta||owsltse|ltobepro] ectedbythe
state as a hnlte part. One must therelore say thought l n lts belng÷or
accordlngtobe| ng÷a hde|ltylsa hnlte e|ementol the state, a represent a-
t|on, thought l n lts nonbelng÷as operatlon÷a hde|lty l s an l nhn| te
procedure ad] acent to presentatl on. A nde|lty | s thus a|ways l n non-
exlstent excess over lts belng Peneath ltse|l. l t exl sts, beyond l tse|l. l t
235
236
BEI NG AND EVENT
lnexl sts. ltcana|waysbesal dthatltl sana|mostnothlngolthestate. or
that| tl sa quas| everythlngolthesltuatlon. !lonedetermlnesl tsconcept.
the lamous sowe are nothlng. |et s be everythlng ¸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|lty. both the one nnlte o| an
ellectlve representatlon. andt he| nnnlty ola vlrtua| presentatlon.
uence my th|rd pre|lmlnary remark must be restrlcted l n lts he|d ol
app|lcatlon. !l the resu| t ol a nde|lty l s statlst l n that l t gathers together
mu|tlp|esconnectedtotheevent. nde|ltysurpasscsa||theresu|tslnwhlch
ltshnltebel nglssetout (asuege| says. d. Medltatlon l ° , . 1hethoughtol
nde|lty as counterstate ( orsub state, ls l tse| |entlre|y approxlmatlve Ol
course. nde|ltytouchest hestate. lnasmuchasl t l sthoughtaccordlngtothe
category 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 occupy|ng the p|ace ol the a on the basls ol
wh|chelthera 0 c,or- (a 0 c,, w| | | belnscrlbedlnanellectlveenqul ryol
thelalthlu|procedure÷accordlngtowhetherthe crlterlon D determlnes
thata malntalnsa marked dependenceon the event ornot.
I rea|lty. there ls a stl|| more prolound reasonbehlndthe subtractlon
lromthestate. orthedelnstltutlona|lzat|on. o|theconceptolnde|l ty. 1he
state ls an operator ol the count whlch relers back to the lundamenta|
onto|oglca| re|atlons. be|onçlng 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 by the state
essentla||y 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|lty.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/
¸cncr/s. partlcu|ar to the nde|lty. and by consequence attached to the
even ta| slngu| arlty. Lvldent|y. the operator olconnectlon. whlch charac-
terltesa s|ngu|arnde|lty. canenterlntoa greateror|esserproxlmltytothe
prlnclpa|onto|oglca|connectlonsolbe|onglngandlnc|uslon. A jpo/o¸y ol
nde|ltleswou|dbeattachedtoprecl se|ys .rch proxlmlty. !tsru| ewou|dbe
the lo||owlng. the c| oser a nde|lty 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| ycoonecteJt oanevent/]///c/on¸s/o//| sthehelght
o|statlst redundancy 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| lty, D, | sldentlca|tobe|onglng, E , whatlol|owsl sthat
the unlque rcsu// olthe || de|lty 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|yspeakl ng the on|y ones whocan take part ln an eventare
those who made l t such, ls ln rea|lty the s/a//s/ thesls . 1he more the
operatorolhdelltylsdlstlngulshedlrombe| ongl ngtotheeventa|mu|tlp|e
ltse|l. themore wemoveaway|romtHlsco| ucldencewlththestateolthe
sltuatlon A non l nstltut| ona| hde| l ty l s a hde|lty 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 sconstltutedbya unlversa|
connect | on, whlch wou|d pretend t hat cvcq presented mu|tlp|e l s ln lact
dependentontheevent .1hl stypeo|hde|lty,t helnverslonolspontane| sm,
| sloral | t hatstl|labso| ute| ystat| st |tsresu| t|sthesl tuat|on | o| tsentl rety,
that ls, t he max| mum part numbereJ by t he stat e Such a connectl on,
whlch separates oothlng, whl chadmlts no negatlve atoms÷no - (a D c,,
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 do¸mc//:hde| | t y !nthemattero|hde| ltyt oanevent,
the unlty ol belng olspoutane| sm ( on| y the eveot | s connected to | t se| l,
aud do,matlsm ( every mu|tlp|e depends on the event , res| des ln the
colncldenceolthel rresu| t swl thspecla||unctlonsolt hestat e. A hde|ltyls
dehnltlve| ydlstloctlromt hestate| |. lnsome manner. l t l s uncss/¸nab/c to
adehnedlunctl ooolthes|ate.ll. |romthestandpo| nt olthestate, ltsresult
ls a part| cul ar| y 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 ¸cncr/.lide|lty.
1he degree towhlch|l de| | tyl sremoved aslaras posslb|elromthestate
. s thus p| ayed out. on thc one ha |ì .l, ln the gap bet ween lts operator ol
connectl oo and be|ongln, ( or lnc| usloo, , and, on the other hand. l o lts
genulne| y separat| ona| capaclty A rea| hde| |ty 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 . p| es
whlcharelndlllerenttotheevent
2 37
238
BEI NG AND EVENT
lt ls at thls polnt moreover. that one can agaln thlnk lI de|lty as a
counter state what lt does ls organlze. w|/h/n the sltuatl on. another
|egltl macyollnc| uslons. !tbul|ds. accordlngtothelnnnltebecomlngo|the
nnl te and provlslona| resu| ts. a klnd ol o/hcr sl tuatl on, obtal nedby the
dlvlslon| ntwooltheprlmltlvesltuatlon. 1hlsothersltuatlonlsthatolthe
mu|tlp|es marked by the event. and lt has a| ways been temptl ng lor a
nde|ltytocons| derthe set olthesemu| tlp|es. lnlts provlslona||lgure. as lts
ownbody. astheactlngellectlvenessoltheevent. asthe/rucsl t uatlon. or
||ock ol|he ialthlu| . 1hl secc|eslastlca|verslon olhde|lty ( theconnected
mu|tlp|esaretheChurcholtheevent , lsanonto|oglzatlonwhoseerrorhas
been po| nted out. !t ls. neverthe| ess. a necessary tendency. that ls. l t
presents another lorm ol the tendency t be satl sned so| e| y 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|osophy. and l t can be
recognl zed |n very dlllerent lorms throughout lts hl story. ls that ol
knowlngl nwhatmeasure the eventa| constltutlon l tse| l÷the1o olthe
anonymous vold bordered by the slte and the name c|rcu| ated by the
lnterventlon¯prcs:r/|cs the type ol connect|on by wh| ch a nde| lty l s
regu| ated. Arethere. lor examp|e. events, andthus l nterventlons. whl ch
are such that the hde| l ty blndlng l tse| l together therel n ls nc:csscr//y
spontanelst or dogmatlc or generlc' And llsuch prescrlptlons exlst. what
ro|edoestheeventa| sltep|ay'!sltposslb|ethattheverynatureoltheslte
ln||uences nde|lty to eveots plnned to lts centra| vol d' 1he nature ol
Chrlstlanlty 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 nttheentlretyolthese
debates wereallectedby the questlon olthe!ewlsh s|te olthls event !n
the same manner. both the democratlc and the repub|lcan ngure olthe
state have a|ways 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||y relerred to the conse
quences. whlch have to be lalthlu||y 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||yspeaklng. 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 | nltlatory groundwork, what
ever the means may be ( the P|atonlc ascenslon, Carteslan doubt, the
uusser| | an· ,� . . , !tlsa|ways a matterolknowlngwhetherone can
deduce, lromtheeven ta|:onvcrs/on, theru|esolthe lnhnlte hde|lty
ior my part, ! w||| ca||sub]c:/ the process ltse|l ol | la| son between the
event (thus the lnterventlon, and the procedure ol hde| |ty ( thus lts
operator ol connect| on, !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||y 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| lty
uowever, theorderolreasons lsthlstlmethatolaloundatlon. thls|swhy
thecategoryolsub]ect, whlchlnmyprevlousbooklmmedlate|ylo||owed
thee|ucldatlonold| a|ectlca||oglc. arr|ves, ln the strlctest sense, /as/.
Much |lghtwou|dbe shed upon thehlstoryolphl|osophyllone tookas
ones gul dlng thread such a conceptlon ol the subj ect, at the lurthest
removelromanypsycho|ogy÷the sub] ectaswhat deslgnatesthe]un://on
ol an lnterventlon and a ru| e ol lalthlu| connectlon 1he hypothesls !
propose|s thatevenln the absenceol an exp|lcltconcept ol the subj ect, a
phl|osophlca| system ( except perhaps those ol Arlstot|e and uege| ( wl||
a|wayspossess, as lts keystone, a theoretlca| proposltlon concernlng thls
j unctlon !ntruth, thlslstheprob| emwhlchremalnslorphl|osophy, once
the lamous lnterrogatlon ol belng quabelng has been removed ( to be
treatedwl th| nmathematlcs ,
iorthe momentltlsnotposs|b|etogoanylurtherlnthelnvestlgatlon
olthemodelnwhlchaneventprescrlbes÷ornot÷themannersolbelng
lalthlu| to lt !l, however. we suppose that there l s no rc/a//on between
lnterventlon and hde| l ty, 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,bymeansolatomsolthetype (a 0 c,,or- (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||ty And thls wl|| be a|| the more true the more rea| the
hde|ltyls, 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|ogy. the doctrlne ol the pure
mu|tlp|e, prohlbltsthebe|onglngola mu| tlp| etoltse|l. and consequent|y
posltsthattheeventlsnot 1hlsl sthelunctlonoltheaxlomolloundatl on
Assuch, therecannotbeanylntra onto|oglca|÷lntra mathematlca|÷pro
b| emolhde|l ty. slncethetypeol paradoxlca|' mu|tlp|ewhlchschematlzes
the event l slorec|osedlromanyclrcu|atlon wlthlntheonto|oglca|sltua
tlon. !twasdecldedoaccan4]ora//thatsuchmu|tlp|eswou|dnot be|ongto
thls sltuatlon ln thls matter onto|ogy remalns lalthlu| to the lmperatlve
lnltla||y lormu| ated by Parmenldes. one must turn back lrom any route
thatwou|dauthorlzethepronunclatlon ola belngolnonbel ng.
8ut lrom the l nexlstence ol a mathematlca| conceptol the event one
cannotlnlerthatmathematlca|eventsdonotexlstelther !nlact. ltl sthe
contrary whlch seems to be the case 1he hlstorlclty ol mathematlcs
lndlcatesthatthelunctlonoltempora||oundatlononthepartoltheevent
and the . nterventlonhas p|ayeda 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, bytheprecarlousconvocatlonoll tsvold. Moreover, ln
Medltatl on20. ! mentl onedthec|earconsc| enceolhl spartlcu|arlunctlon
lnthlsregardpossessed byLvarlste Ca|ols, a mathematlca|genl us.
!l no onto|oglca| statement. no theorem, bears upon an event or
ev+|uates the proxlmlty ol l ts e|lects. | l therelore onto | ogy, strlct|y
speaklng. doesnot |egls|ate on nde|lty, lt l sequa||y true that throughout
the entlre hl storlca| dep|oyment ol onto|ogy there have been event
theorems, andbyconsequence, theensulngoecesslty ol bel nglalthlu| to
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DELI TY
them 1hl s serves as a sharp remlnder. onto|ogy, the presentatlon ol
presentatlon, l sltse|lpresentedexc|us|ve|ylntlmeasa sltuatlon, andnew
proposltlons are what perlodlze thls presentatlon Olcourse, the mathe-
matlca|text ls lntrlnslca||yega||tarlan. lt does notcategorlzeproposltlons
accordlng to thelr degree ol proxlmlty or connectlon to a proposltlon-
event, to a d/scovcql 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 sasymptom÷nodoubt supert|uouswlth
respect to the essence ol the text, yet Hagrant÷that the edltors ol
mathematlca| works are a|ways preoccupled wlth÷preclse|y÷the
categorlzatlon ol propos|tlons, accordlng to a hlerarchy ol lmportance
( lundamenta| theorems, slmp|e theorems, proposltlons, |emmas, etc , ,
and,olten,w|ththe| ndlcatlonoltheoccurrenceol aproposltlonbymeans
ol lts date and the mathematlclan who ls lts author What a|so lorms a
symptom ls the leroclous quarre||lng over prlorlty, 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|ogythatdetermlnewhateverthetheoretlca|edlncel s,
atanypartl cu|armoment
Ll kea p|aywrlghtwho, l ntheknow|edgethatthe|lnesa|oneconst|tute
the stab|erelerenceola perlormance lorthedlrector. desperate|ytrl esto
antlclpate lts every detal| by stage lnstructlons whlch descrlbe dccor,
costumes, ages and gestures, the wr|termathematlclan, ln antlclpatlon,
stagesthepuretext÷|nwhlchbelnglspronouncedquabel ng÷by 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 symptoms concerns~lns|de the
mathematlca|textthlstlme÷theldentlncatlonoltheoperatorsolhde|lty
bymeansolwhlchonecaneva|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÷whlchlstosaytheob||gatlonoldemonstra-
tl on, theprlnclp|eolcoherency, theru| eollnterconnectlon÷lstbemeans
vl awhl ch, ateachandevery moment, onto|oglca|hde||tytotheextrlnslc
eventness ol onto|ogy ls rea||zed. 1he doub|e lmperatlve ls that a new
theorem attest l ts coherency wlth the sltuatlon ( thus w|th exlstlng
propos|t|ons,÷th|s l s the lmperatlve ol demonstratlon. and that the
consequences drawn lrom lt be themse|ves regu| ated by an exp|lc|t
|aw÷thls|sthe|mperatlveoldeductlve nde||ty assuch
l 1BL iORML CONCLP1 Oi uLuUC1!0N
uow can thls operator ol nde| l tywhose usage has been constl tuted by
mathematlcs. and by l t a| one, be descrlbed' irom a lorma| perspectlve
÷whlchcamere|atlve|y|atelnthedayl 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||ty, ,
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|ary
emp|oyed,buttheyarea|waysldentlca| 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|ready deducedA � B. and!
havea|sodeducedA. then!conslderthat!havededucedB. 1hatls, notlng
f thelactthat I havea| readydemonstrateda proposltlon
- A � B
A
- B
- 6cncrc//za//on.! l olsavarl ab| e. and!havededucedaproposltlonolthe
type B¸o¦ i n whi ch o i s not quanti fed . n B. ! then consider that ! have
deduced ( V o, 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|lty
ola proposltlon l lA l struelorcnya /npar//cu/ar (because a lsavarlab| e, ,
thlsl s because ltl s truelorevery a.
1heextremepoverty oltheseru|escontrastssharp| ywl ththe rlchness
andcomp| exltyoltheunlverseolmathematlca|demonstratlons 8ut |tls.
altera|ll nconlormltywlththeonto|oglca|essenceolthlsunlversethat/hc
d/¡:u/j o]]dc//j //cs /n //s cxcrc/sc and no/ /n //s :r//cr/on. 1he mu|tlp| es
presented by onto|ogy are a| | wovenlromthevol d. ¡uc///a//vc/y they are
qulte lndlstlnct 1hus. the dlscernment ol the deductlve connectlon
betweena proposltlonwhlchconcernsthemto anotherproposltloncou|d
notbrlng extreme|ynumerousand heterogeneous /aws lntop|ay Onthe
other hand. ellectlve|y dlstlngulshlngamongstthese qua|ltatlve proxl m
l t| esdemandsextremehnesseandmuch experlence.
1hlsstl||verylorma| perspectlve can be radlca| l zed Sl nce the ob] ect ol
mathematlcs ls be|ng quabelng. one can expect a qul te exceptlona|
unllormltyamongsttheproposltlonswhlchconstltuteltspresentatlon 1he
apparentpro|lleratlonolconceptua|apparatusesandtheoremsmustlnthe
endrelerbacktosomelndlllerence. thebackgroundolwhlchwou|dbethe
loundatlona| lunctlon olthevol d ueductlve hde| l ty. whlch lncorporates
newproposltlonslntothewarpandweltolthegenera|edlhce. l sdehnlte|y
markedbymono/ony. oncethepresentatlved| versltyolmu|tlp|eslspurlhed
to thepolnt ol reta| nlng so|e|ylromthe mu| tlp|el tsmu|tlp|lclty Lmplrl-
ca| | yspeaklng. moreover. lt l s obvlous l n mathematlca|practlcethat the
comp|exlty and subt| ety ol demonstratlons can be broken up lnto brl el
sequences. and once these sequences are | al d out. they revea| thelr
repetltlveness. lt becomes notlceab|e that they use a lew trlcks' a|one
drawn lrom a very restrlcted stock 1he entlre art |les ln the genera|
organlzatlon. l ndemonstratlves/ra/c¸y 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|yobvlousamocgstlntervenors whenwhattheylntroduce 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 syntax. c¡u/va/cn/ Amongst the pure|y |oglca| ax| oms whlch
support the edlnce. therc ls lndeed the tauto|ogy A - ( B- A, . an o| d
scho|astlc adage whl ch poslts that a true proposltlon ls ental|ed by any
243
244
BEI NG AND EVENT
proposition, cx¡uod//bc/sc¡u//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 � B, . 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 Ramsey cardlna| (a type of very |arge'
multipl e) , then the set of real constructible numbers ( on ' constructible' see
MeJltatlon 29, 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
Ramscy card|nal ' cannot, |tsclf, bc dcmonstratcd. or at thc vcry lcast | t
cannotbc|nfcrrcdfromthc!dcaso|thcmu| t| pl csuchas! havcprcscntcd
thcm.1h|sthcorcm. dcmonstratcdbyRowbottom|n l970÷hcrc!g|vcthc
cvcntal|ndcxcs÷thus| nscr|bcsani mplicat|on, ands|mul tancousl ylcavcs
|n suspcnsc thc two ontolog|cal qucst|ons whosc conncction i t sccurcs.
bocs a Ramscy card|na| cx|st'' , and, !s thc sct of rcal construct|b|c
numbcts dcnumcrabl c''
! nwhatmcasurc do thc |n|t|al opcrators of ndclity÷modusponcns and
gcncralizat| on÷author|zcusto makcthchypothcs|s' ofapropos|t|onA |n
ordcrtodrawfrom| tthcconscqucncc B. andtoconc|udc | nthc truthof
thc|mpl|cat|onA �B. wh|ch, as! havcj ust said, i nnoway connrms thc
hypothcs|softhctruthofA'Eavcwcnotthus|llcg|t|matclypcsscdv/cnon
|c/n¸, |nthcformofanasscrt|on, A, wh|chcoul dqu|tccas|l ybcfalsc, and
yctwhosctruthwc 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|ngbythcabsurd. 1o my cycs, |ts|gnals thc gapbctwccn thc str|ct
/cwofprcscntati onofontologicalproposit|ons÷thc monotonouscqu|va
lcncc of truc propos|tions÷and thc stratcg|cs of ndcl|ty wh|ch bu| l d
cffcct|vc and tcmporally 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, bygrcatmathcmat|c|ans.
Of coursc, howcvcr vi s|bl y and stratcg|cally dist|nct thc /on¸-ran¸c
conncctionsmightbcfromthctacticalmonotonyofthcatomsof| nfcrcncc
(modusponcns and gcncral|zat|on, , thcy must, i na ccrta|n scnsc, bccomc
rcconcilcdto thcm bccausc thc law|s thclaw. lt| s qu|tc clcar hcrc that
ontolog|cal ñdcl |ty, howcvcr |nvcnt|vc |t may 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 diagonal an cxtrcmc
looscning, anunrccogn|zablc aobrcviat|on.
Forcxamplc, whatdocs| tmcanthatonccan makcthchypothcs|s' that
apropos|t|onA | struc'1h|samountstosayingthatg|vcnthcs| tuat|on ( thc
ax|oms of thc thcory, ÷cal| thc l attcr I÷and |ts rulcs of dcduct|on, wc
tcmporar|lyplaccoursclvcs|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|ngs, bccauscthcrulcsarcnxcd Wcarc solclyallow|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 clghtccnycarsago| nLc
:on:cp/dcmodc/c. Baslcally. thlstheorcmstatcsthatonccthcnormalpurcly
loglcalaxlomsarcadmlttcd, andthcrulesoldcductlonwhlchlmcntloncd,
wc havc thc lollowlng sltuatlon. l l a proposltlon B l s dcduclblc l n thc
theory!+ A, thcn thc proposltlon ( A � B, l s dcducl blc| nthcthcory T
1h|sls sorcgardlcssolwhatthc nctlvcthcory!+A /swor|h. lt coul dqultc
wcllbclncohcrcnt. 1hlsl swhyl can makcthchypothcs|s olthctruthol
A, whlch l s to say supp/cmcn/ the sl tuatl onby thc nctlon ol a thcory l n
whl chA| sanaxlom. l nrcturnlamguarantccdthatl nthc truc sltuatlon,
that commandcd by thc axloms ol I÷thc ldcas ol the multlplc÷thc
proposltlon A lmpl|cs any proposltlon B dcduclblc l n thc nctlvc
sltuatlon.
0ncolthcmostpowcrlulrcsourccsolontolog|calndclltyl sthuslound
l nthccapacltytomovctoad] accn|nctlvcsltuatlons, obtalncdbyaxlomatlc
supplcmentatlon. Bowcvcr, ltl sclcarthatonccthcproposltlon, A�B, 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. yet thcmathematlclanonlydocs 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 hlstorlcally structurcd
ma|hematlcalsl tuatlon, ltlmpllcsmanyothcrslgnl !icantpropos. tlons, yct
|tcannot|tscllbcdcduccd|romthc axlomswhlchorgan|zcthcsltuat| on.
ln short, thlsproposltlon ls prcscntcdln ltsconscqucnccs, butno lalthlul
dIsccrnmentmanagcstoconncctlt. SaythatAl sthlsproposltlon. onccan
dcduccallklnds olproposltlons olthctypcA � 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,
cvcrythlngwhlch ls lmpllcdbyB|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 !
Conscqucntly. thc nctlvcthcory !+ A dlsposcs ol a consldcrablc supplc
mcntary rcsourcc ol proposltlons ol thc typc 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
tlonsolthctypcA ÷ xwhlcharc dcduclblc l n T
An cvcnt. namcd by an lntcrvcntlon. ls thcn. at thc thcorctlca| sltc
lndcxcd by thc proposltlon A, a ncw apparatus. dcmonstratlvc or axlo
matlc. suchthatA ls hcncclorth clcarly 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-dcduclbllltyandthc
cxtcnt ol lts cllccts÷bc|ongs to thc ontologlcal s| tuatl on. 1hc l mmcdlatc
rcsu| tductomodusponcns,l sthatal l thcBsanda| l thccslmpllcdbythat
proposltlon A also bccomc part o| thc sltuatlon. An lntcrvcntlon ls
slgnallcd. andthl scanbcsccnl ncvcry rcalmathcmatlcallnvcntlon. bya
brutalou/pour/n¸olncwtcsults. whlchwcrc al l suspcndcd. orlrozcn. lnan
mp|lcatlvc lorm whosc componcnts could not bc scpa·a/cd. 1hcsc
momcnts olndc| l ty arc paroxysml c. dcductlons arc madc w| thoutccasc,
scparatlonsarc madc. andconncctlonsarcloundwhlch wcrc comp|ctc|y
lncalcu|ablcwlthlnthcprcvlousstatcolallalrs . 1hlsl sbccausca substltu
tlonhas bccnmadc. ln placc ol thc nctlvcandsomctlmcs qul tc slmply
unnotlccd÷sltuatlonl nwhlchA wason| ya hypothcsls. 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
|romthlssupposltlonsomcabsurdlty, somccontradlctlonwlthtruthsthat
havc a| rcadybccn cstabllshcd, oncconcludcsthat ltl sdcnnltc| yA whlch
. srcqulrcd.
ln l t s apparcnt lorm. t hc schcma ol rcasonlng vl a t hc absurdor
apagoglcrcasonlng÷lsldcntlcaltothat olhypothctlcalrcasonl ng. llnsta|l
myscll l n thc nct|vc sltuatlon obta|ncd by 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 by thc lntultlon|st schoo| bclorc bcl ng catcgorlcally
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|rcctly
llnkcd to what ls at stakc ln mathcmatlcs. bclng quabclng ( and not
scnslblc t| mc, ÷l s so lar rcmovcd lrom our dl a| cctlcal cxpcrlcncc. lrom
cvctythlngproc| al mcdbyhlstoryand| l lc. thatontologyl ssl mul tancously
vulncrab| cl n thls polnt to thccmp|rlclst and to thc spccu| atlvccrltlquc.
1hl scqulvalcnccl sunacccptablclorbothBumcandBcgc| . Lct scxamlnc
thcdctalls.
1akc thc proposltlon A. say that I want to cstabllsh thc dcduct|vc
conncct|on÷and thus. ûnal | y. thc cqulva|cncc÷bctwccn lt and proposl
tlonsalrcadycstabl|shcdwlthlnthcsltuatlon. Ilnstal|mysc| ll nthcnctlvc
s|tuatlon T + ~A. 1hc stratcgy l s to dcducc a propos|tlon B ln thc l attcr
whlch lorma| | ycontradlcts a proposltlon a| rcady dcduccdl nT 1hat | sto
say. I obtaln ln T + ~Aa B such thatlts ncgatlon. ~B. |sal rcadyprovcn ln
T I wl|| hcncc conc| udcthat A l sdcducl||c ln ! (lt l ssald. I w| | | rc]cc/thc
hypothcsls -A, ln lavour olA) . But why'
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|oglca|axlomagalnano| dscho|astlcadagc÷tcrmcdcon/ra
pos///onal!| rmsthatl lapropos | |l onccntal|saproposltlonu. I cannotdcny
uw| thoutdcnylngthc cwhlch cntal|s l t. Bcncc thclollow|ngtautology.
(C � U, - ¦ -u- -c,
App|lcdto|hcproposltlon ( -A �B, . whlchI obtalncd ln !onthcbasls
ofthcnct| vcsltuatlonI+ -A andthcthcorcmofdcductl on thlsscho| astlc
tauto|ogyglvcs.
( ~A � B) - ( ~B- ~~A,
Il( ~A � B, l sdcduccd. t hcrcsu|t. bymodusponcns. | sthat ( ~B- ~~A,
l s deduced. Now rcmcmbcr that B. deduced i n ( !+ -A) , is expl i citly
contradlctorywlththcpropos| ti on ~Bwhlch | s dcduccd ln T But l l~B| s
dcduccd l n T and so ls ( -B - ~~A, . thcn. by 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 tbcoryT + - A Rca|s|tuat|on ax|omat|zcdthcory!
bcduct|onolthc propos|t|on- B
bcduct|ono|thcproposlt|onB -- ( - A � B) bythcthcorcmol
dcduct|on
- B � - - A bycontrapos|tlonand
mocusponcns
- - Abymo4usponcns
Strlct|yspeaklng. thcproccdurcdc||vcrsthclo||ow|ngrcsu|t |l.lromthe
supp|cmcntary hypothcsls ~A. ! dcducca proposlt|on wh|ch lslncohcrent
wlth rcgard to somc othcrproposltlonthat hasa|rcadybccn cstab||shcd.
thcn thc ncgatlon ol thc ncgat|on olA | s dcduclb| c 1o conc|udc l n the
dcduclb|||ty 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| udcbcyondthctruth ol-¯Ay
whlch ls a propos|tlono|thc s|tuat|onqu|tc d|st|nctlromthe proposlt|on
A. Bcrctworcglmcs olhde|| tybllurcatc l n|tsc||. thlsls compat|b|c wlth
thcabstractthcoryolndc|lty.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|y |eglt|mat c. lor an
|ntu|t|onlst| t | snot
Myconv|ctlononthlspo|ntlsthatlntultlonlsmhasmlstakcn the routc
| n trylng to app|y back onto onto|ogy crltcr|a o| conncctlon wh|ch :om.
Jromc|scwhcrc. and cspccla||ylrom a doctr|nc ol mcnta||ycllcct|vcopcra
tlons ! npart|cu|ar. lntultlonlsm| sa prlsoncrolthecmplrlclstandl || usory
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|y. l lwecons|dcra propos|t|onA
( supposcd alnrmatlvc, ln |ts onto |og|ca| esscnce. cvcn ll lt cnvc|ops thc
appcarancc olvcry 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|ypostu|atcdas cxlstcntwlthlnthclramcconstltutcdbythc!dcas
olthcmu|tlp|c. lnc|udlngthccxlstcntla|asscrtlonsrc|atlvetothenamcol
the vold and to the |lmlt ordlna|s ( to l nnnl tc mu| tlp|cs , . 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|y nctlvc÷constltutcd by thc !dcas ol thc mu|t|p|c
supp|cmcntcd by thc proposltlon thcre cxlsts a Ramscy 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 , . Such a corrcspondcncc. bcl ng a lunctlon. and thus a
partlcu|artypc 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
todcnythata 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/o¸y a//r/b×/cs no o/hcrpropcrq /omu///p/cs /hancx/s/cncc,
bccauscany propcrty ls ltsc|la mu|tlp| e. Wc wl||thcrclorc not bcab|eto
dctermlne. bctwccn non- cxlstcnccandcxlstcncc. anyspccl nclntcrmcdl -
arypropcrty, whl chwou|dprovldca loundatlon lorthcgapbctwccnthc
ncgatlon ol noncxl stcncc and exlstcncc For thls supposcd propcrty
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 my v|ew. thc | cg| tlmacy ol thc
cqu|va|cncc bctwccn alnrmatlon and doub|c ncgatlon. bctwccn A and
¯¯A¿ and by 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 orlglnary
bc|onglng ol mathcmatlca| dcductlvc hdc|| ty to onto|oglca| conccrns
Szaborcmarksthata typlca|lormol rcasonlngbyt hcabsurdcanbclound
l nParmcnl dcswlth rcgardtobclngandnonbelng. andhcuscsthlsasan
argumcnt lor p|aclng dcduclb|c mathcmatlcs w| thln an L| catl c n| latlon.
Whatcvcrthc hlstorlca| conncctlonmaybc. thc conccptua| conncctlonl s
convlnclng. For lt ls dcnnltc|y due to l t trcatlng bclng-qua-bclng that
authorlzat|on | sdrawnlnmathcmatlcslorthcti sc olth| saudaclouslorm
olhdc|ltythatl sapagoglcdcductl on !lthcdc/crm/na//enolthc rclercntwas
carr|cdthes|lghtcstbltlurther. ltwou| d| mmcd| atc|ylorccustoadmltthat
l t | snot|cgltlmatctoldcnt|lyalnrmatlonandthcncgatlonolncgatl 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| lty.ltslrcedom.thccxtrcmcunccrtalnty
ol thls crltcrlon ol conncctlon !n slmp|e hypothctlca| rcasonlng. thc
stratcg|cgoa|l sc|car|y nxcd. ilyouwantto dcmonstratca proposltlonol
thctypcA� B.youlnsta||yoursc|llnthcad] accntsltuatlon!+ A. andyou
c//cmp//odcmons/ra/cB. You knowwhcrcyou aregolng. cvcn ll knowlng
howtogcttherclsnotncccssarl|ytrlvlal Morcover. ltl squlteposslb|cthat
T + A. a|though momcntarl|ynctlvc.l sa cohercntapparatus 1hcrclsnot
thcsamcob||gatlontolnhdc|lty. constltutcdbypscudodcductlvcconncc
tl ons ln an lncohcrcnt unlvcrsc. a unlvcrsc l n whl chanyproposltlon ls
dcduclb|c Onthccontrary. l t ls] ustsuchanob|lgatlonthatonevo|untarl|y
assumesl nthccaseolrcasonlngvlathcabsurd iorl l yousupposcthatthe
proposltlon A ls truc÷that lt ls dlsccrnlb|c by dcductlvc ndc|lty as a
conscqucncc ol !s prcvlous thcorems÷then thc sltuatlon ! + ~A l s
ccrtaln|y lncohcrcnt. bccauscA l s lnlcrrcd on thc basls ol T and so thl s
sltuatlon contalnsbothA and-A Yctltl slnth| s sl tuatlonthatyoulnsta|l
yoursc| l Oncc thcrc. what l s lt thatyou hopc to dcducc' A proposltlon
contradlctlngonc olthoscthatyou havccstab|lshcd 8utwhlch onc'No
mattcr. anyproposltlonwl||do 1hcgoa|olthccxcrclsel sthuslndlstlnct.
andl t | squlteposs|b|cthatyouwl||havctoscarchb|lnd|y. 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 lncohcrcncy manllests ltsc|l ln thc random occurrcncc ol a
proposltlonwhlchcontradl ctsana|readycstab|lshcdrcsu|t .1hlsdll|erence
ls due |css to lts cmp|oymcnt ol doublc ncgatlon than to lts stratcglc
qua| lty. whlchconslsts. onthconehand. olanassuranccanda prudcnce
lntcrna|toordcr. and. onthcothcrhand. olanadvcnturouspcrcgr|natlon
through dlsordcr Lct' s not undcrcstlmatc thc paradox that | l cs l n
rlgorous|y dcduc/n¸. thus uslng lalthlu| tactlcs ol conncctlon betwecn
proposltlons. l nthe very p|ace l nwhlch you suppose. vla the hyµothesls
~A, thcrclgnollncohcrency.wh| ch| stosaythcvanltyolsuchtactlcs.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|ty 1h|s comb|nat|on ol thc zca| ol ndc|ity w|th thc chancc ol thc
cncountcr, olthcprccls|onolthcru|cwiththcawarcncssolthcnu|||tyol
|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|rsyntact|ccqu|va|cncc÷bcthccr|tcr|on
ol onto|og|ca| ndc||ty, 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|ty÷thus |n |ts vo|d
armaturc÷thcnnoothcrru|cappcarstobcava||ab|clorthc' prox|m|tyol
ncwpropos|t|onsanda|rcadycstab||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|nçthatola rcsourcco]bc/n¸.
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||y
throughoutthccnt|rcprcscntat|ona|rcsourccolpurcmu|t|p| cs. thcrccan
bcnodcc|arat|onolthccx|stcnccolamu| t|p|ci l|t| snotcqu|va|cnttothc
cx|stcncc olcvcry 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/n¸, and whlchl s thus, ln a ccrta|n scnsc, on|y a quasl
ndc||ty÷rccclvcscacholthcthrccpossl bl cdctcrm|natlonsolanyndc||ty
i |aldout thc doctrlncolthcsc dctcrm|nat| onsln Mcdltatlon2 ?
- l nonc scnsc, onto|oglcal ndc||ty or dcduct|vc ndc||ty| s do¸ma//c. il,
|ndccd, itscr|tcr|onolconncct| on|sdcmonstrat|vc cohcrcncy, thcn|t| sto
cvcqa|rcadycstab|lshcdproposltlonthata ncwpropos|tlon|s conncctcd
ill tcontradlctsanyslng|concolthcm,| tssuppcsltlon mustbcrc] cctcd !n
th|smanncr,thcnamcolthccvcnt ( Rowbottomsthcorcm , lsdcc|arcdto
havc sub] cctcd to lts dcpcndcncy cvcry tcrm ol thc s|tuatl on. cvcry
proposlt|on olthc dlscoursc
DEDUCTI ON AS OPERATOR OF ONTOLOGI CAL FI DEli TY
- inasccondscnsc. howcvcr. onto|oglca|hdc|| tyl s spon/cnc/s/. Whatl n
lactcharactcrlzcsancwthcorcmcannotbcltssyntactlccqulva|cncctoany
dcmonstratcd proposltlon. il thc |attcr wcrc so. anyonc÷any 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 ngu|arlty ol a
proposltlon. lts lrrcduclb|c powcr. thc manncr ln whlch lt. and lt a|onc.
subordlnatcs prcv|ous| y dlsparatc parts ol thc dlscoursc to ltsc|l that
constltutcs lt as thc clrcu|atlng namc ol an cvcnt ol onto|ogy 1hus
concclvcd.onto|oglca|hdc|ltyattcmptsrathcrtoshowthatagrcatnumbcr
ol proposltlons. l nsolar as thcy arc mcrc|ythc ncw thcorcm' s sccondary
conscqucnccs. wl||notl ntruthbcab|ctoc|alm:on:cp/uc/cqulva|cncctolt.
cvcn | l thcy do posscss ]ormc/ cqulva|cncc. Conscqucnt|y. thc ' grcat
thcorcm . kcystonc ol an cntlrc thcorctlca| apparatus. l s on|y tru|y
conncctcdto ltsc|l. 1hls l swhat wl||hc slgna||cd lromthc cxtcrlorbylts
attachmcnt to thc propcr namc ol thc mathcmatlcl an l ntcrvcnor who
|ntroduccdl tlntoclrcu|atlon. l nthcrcqulrcdlormolltsprool.
- Plna||y. l n a thlrd scnsc. onto|oglca| hdc| lty l s ¸cncr/:. Por what l t
attempts to weave, on the basis of inventions, reworkings, calculations,
andlnthcadvcnturous usc olthcabsurd. arc gcncra| andpo|ymorphous
proposltlonssl tuatcdatthc] unctlonoIscvcra|branchcs. andwhoscstatus
| s that ol conccntratlng wlthln thcmsc|vcs. l n a dlagona| to cstab|lshcd
spccla|ltlcs( a|gcbra.topo|ogy.ctc. , . ma/hcmc//:/jltsc|l. 1oabr|||lant. subt|c
butvcryslngu|arrcsu|t. thcmathcmatlclanwl | |prclcranl nnovatlvcopcn
conccptlon. aconccptua|androgync. onthcbaslsolwhlchl tssubsumptlon
ola||sortsolcxtcrna||ydlsparatcproposltlonsmaybctcstcd÷notvlathc
gamc ollorma| cqulva|cncc. but bccausc lt. ln ltsc|l. l sa guardlanolthc
varlancc ol bclng. ol lts prod|ga|lty 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| ylmmcnsc. but unlquc|ybccauscthcy posscssthcpovcrtyolhrst
prlnclp|cs. o|thcidcaso|thcmu|tlp|c. |lkcthcaxlomsolsctthcory. 1hus.
| twl||c/sobc ncccssarythatthcscproposlt| ons. howcvcrpo|ymorphlc.bc
notconncctcdtomanyothcrs.andthatthcyaccumu|atca scparatlvclorcc
wlth thclr powcr ol gcncra|lty 1hls l s prcclsc|y 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|lty cxp|orcs anddlstlngulshcs
amongstthclrcllcctsl nthcmathcmatlca|sltuatlon.
253
254
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hls trlp|c dctcrmlnatlon makes dcductlvc hdc|lty lnto thc equlvoca|
parcd/¸m ol a| | hdc|lty. prools ol |ovc. ethlca| rlgour. thc cohcrency ol a
work olart. thcaccordanccolapo|ltlcswlth thc prlnclp|cswhlchlt c|a|ms
asltsown÷thccxlgcncyolsuchahdc|ltylspropagatcdcverywhcrc. tobc
commcnsurab|cto the strlct|y lmp|acab| c hdc|ltythatru| csthcdlscoursc
onbclng| tsc|l. 8ut onccanon|y|al|tosatlsly suchancx| gcncy. bccausc
thc lact that lt l s thls type ol conncctlon whlch | s malntalned l n thc
mathcmatlca| text÷dcspltc l t bclng lndlllcrcnt to thc mattcr÷ls somc
thlngwhlchprocccdsdlrcct|ylrombelngltsc|l. Whatoncmust bcab|eto
rcqulrcoloncsc|l,at thcrlghttl me. l srathcrthatcapacltyloradvcntureto
whlch onto|ogytcstlhcs. lnthcheartoll tstransparcnt ratlona||ty, byl ts
rccourscto thcproccdurc olthcabsurd. a dctourl nwhlchthc extcnslon
olthclrso|ldltymaybercstltutcdtothcequlva|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||tyhas notbccng|vcntooursou| asa va|n prescnt I
Andnotlornoth|ng was |n I Oursou| s|oya|tynxcd
AtthcSourcc olthcuanubc
1hc tormcnt propcr to Bo|der||n. but a|so what lounds thc u|t|matc
scrcn|ty. thc/nnoccnccolh|spoems. |sthatthcappropr|at|onolPrcsencc|s
mcd|atcd byan cvcnt. by 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
Whatyou scck. it|sncar, now comcstomcctyouha| lway. 1hc homc|and
|sthcs|tchauntcdbythepoct. andwcknowthcBc|dcggcreanlortuncol
thc max|m poct|ca||yman dwc||s. a|ways. oncarth.
i takc th|soccasiontodcc|arc that. cv|dent|y. anycxcgcs|sol Bo|dcr||n
| shcncclorthdcpcndcntonthatolBc|dcggcr 1hecxcgcs|siproposehcrc.
| nrcspcct toa part|cu|arpo|nt. lorms. w|ththc or|cntat|ons nxcd bythe
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|tytothe
prcscntat|onolthcs|tc÷whatBo|dcr||nca||s |carn|ngtomakclrccuscol
whatsnat|vc and nat|ona||n us ÷supposes that wc sharc |n |ts devasta
t|onbydcparturcandwandcr|ng 1ustas grcatr|vcrshavc. as thc|rbc|ng.
thc |mpctuous brcak|ng apart ol any obstac|c to thc|r|||ght towards the
p| a|n. and] ustasthcs|tcolthe|rsourcc|sthusthcvo|d÷lrom wh|chwe
arcscparatcd so|c|ybythccxcess- oloncolthc|re|an ( Ln|gma. bornlrom
255
256
BEI NG AND EVENT
a pure ] ettlng |orth' ' , so the home|and l s nrst what one | eaves. not
becauseone separates onese|l lrom lt but onthe contrary. through that
superlor hde| l ty whlch |les l n understandlng that the very bc/n¸ ol the
home|and l s that ol escaplng !n the poem 1he 1ourney' Bo|derlln
l ndlcates that hls home|and. Most happy Swabl a' . proposes ltse|l as slte
because there one hears the source sound' and 1he snowy summlt
drenches the earth I Wlth purest water ' 1hls slgn ol a || uvla| escape l s
precl se| ywhat| l nksonetothehome|and !tls lrom resldlng c|ose tol t s
orlgln' that a natlve |oya|ty' exp|lclt|y proceeds. Il de|lty to the slte l s
therelore. l nessence. nde| l ty to theeventthroughwhl chthesltebelng
bothsource olltse|landescapelromltse|l÷lsmlgratlon. wanderlng. and
the lmmedlate proxlmlty ol the laraway. When÷agaln l n 1he1ourney'
] ustalterhavlngevoked hls natlve|oya|ty' to the Swablan home|and
Bo|der|lncrl esout. 8ut! amboundlorthe Caucasus ' ' . thlsPromethean
lrruptlon. larlromcontradlctlngthende|lty. lsltsellectlveprocedure, ]ust
as the Rhlne. l n bel ng lmpatlent to | eave uls rega| sou| drove hlm on
towardsAsla'÷rea|lzesl nlactltsownapproprlatenesstoCermanyandto
thepaclncandpaterna| loundatlon ollts cltl es.
Underthesecondltlons. saylngthatthepoetby hl s departure andhl s
b| l ndvoyageb|lndbecausethelree domolthedepart ure eventlorthose
demlgodsthatarepoets andrlvers. conslstsl nsucha]au|/. l nthel rsou|
qultenaIve. notknowlngwhcrc theyaregolng' lslalthlu|to thehome-
|and.thathetakesltsmeasure.lsthesameassaylngthatthehome|andhas
remalnedlalthlu|tothewanderer.l nltsmalntenanceoltheverysltelrom
whlch he escaped lrom hlmse|l. l n the poem whlch has thls tlt|e÷1he
Wanderer'ltlswrltten Loya|youwere. and|oya|remalntothelugltlve
even I Klnd|yaseveryouwere. 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| oya| tynxed' . moreover. ltl s
thepoetwhoguardsthe treasure ltse|l' Sl teand l ntervenor. home| and
andpoetexchangel nthe orlglna|] ettlnglorth' oltheeventthelrru| esol
nde|lty. and each ls thereby 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 by the house and the
garden'ssecretlveha| || lghtI Where togetherwlthp|antslond|ymylather
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||ty. 8ut atamorc
prolound |cvc|. thcrc | s a ] oy |n think|ng that onc ollcrs ndc||ty, that
|nstructcd by thc ncarbyv|a thc pract|cc. sharcdw|th|t. ol thc laraway.
towardswhlch|twas sourcc.onc lorcvcrcva|uatcsthcvcr|tab|ccsscnccol
what|sthcrc. ' Oh|lghtolyouth. oh]oy| Youarc thc onc I olanc|cntt|mcs.
butwhatpurcrsp|rityou pourlorth. I Co| dcnlounta|nwc|||ng up lrom
th|sconsccrat|on| Voyaglngw|ththcdcparturc|tsc|l,|ntcrvcnorstruckby
thc god. thc poct br|ngs back to thc sitc thc scnsc ol |ts prox|m|ty
' ucath|cssCods ' . . . / Outolyouor|g|natcd. w|thyouihavca|sovoyagcd,
I You. thc] oyous oncs. you. 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 thoscgrapcsgrownonwarmh|||solthc Rh|nc. '
As a ccntra| catcgoryol Bo|dcr||n's poctry. hdc||ty thus dcs|gnatcs thc
poct|ccapac|ty to | nhab|t thc s|tc atthc po|nt ol rcturn. it| s thc sc|cncc
acqu|rcdv|aprox|m|tytothct|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
cvcryth|ng wh|ch composcs ltstranqu||||ght . itnamcs. atthc mostp|ac| d
po|ntolCcrmany. drawnlromthcvo| dolth| svcryp|ac|d|ty. thclorc|gn.
wandcr|ng. ' Caucasl an' vocat|on wh|ch|s|tsparadox|ca| cvcnt.
What authorlzcs thc poct to lntcrprct Ccrmany |n such a way. in
accordanccnotw|th|tsd|spos|t|onbutw|th|tscvcnt÷that| s. toth|nkthc
Rh|nc. thls s|ow voyagc I Across thc Ccrman |ands' . accord|ng to l ts
|mp|or|ng. angrysourcc÷ls a la|thlu| d|agona| traccdlromano/hcrcvcnt
thc Crcckcvcnt.
Bo|dcr||n was ccrta|n| y not thc on|y Ccrman th|nkcr to bc||cvc that
th|nk|ngCcrmanyonthcbas|solthcunlormcdandthcsourccrcquircsa
ndc||tyto thc Crccklormat|on÷pcrhapsst|||lurthcrtothatcruc|alcvcnt
that was |tsdlsappcarancc. thc t| lght olthc Cods . What mustbc undcr
stood| sthatlorhlmthcCrcckrc|atlonbctwccnthccvcntthcsavagcry
olthcpurcmu|tlp|c. wh|chhcca| | sAsla÷andthcrcgu|atcdc|osurcolthc
sltc l sthc cxact|nvcrsc olthcCcrmanrc|at|on.
in tcxtswhl ch havc sccnmuch commcntary. Bo|dcr| |ncxprcsscs thc
assymmctrybctwccnCrccccandCcrmanyw|thcxtrcmcprcc|s|on.Lvcry·
th|ng| s sa|d whcn hc wr|tcs thc c|arlty olcxposl t|onl s as pr|mord|a||y
natura| to us as hrc lrom thc sky lor thc Crccks. ' 1hc or|g|nary and
apparcnt dlsposlt|on olthcCrcck wor|d|sCaucas|an. unlormcd. vlo|cnt.
and thcc|osedbcautyol thc 1cmp|cls conqucrcd by an cxccsso]]o·m. On
t hcothcrhand, thcvlslb|cdlsposltlonolCermanyl 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|stlcsty|lzatlonls sacrcdpathos
1hcpoctlclntcrvcnorl snot ont hcsamcbordc·ln CrccccaslnCcrmany.
sworntonamcthcl||cga|andloundatlona|cvcntas| umlnousc|osurcwlth
thc Crccks. thc poct |s a|so sworn. w|th thc Ccrmans. to dcp|oy thc
mcasurc ol a lurlous Aslatlc lrruptlon /owcrds thc homc|and s ca|m
wc|comc Conscqucnt|y. lor a Crcck. |ntcrprctat|on l s what | s comp|cx,
whl|stlora Ccrmanthcstumb|lngpo|nt| sndc|lty1hcpoctwl||bca||thc
bcttcrarmcdlorthccxcrclscola Ccrman ndc||ty l lhchasdlsccrncdand
practlscd thc latc ol Crcck lntcrprctatlon howcvcrbrl||lant lt may havc
bccn. lt was not ab|c to kccp thc Cods. | t asslgncd thcm to too strlct an
cnc|osurc. to thc vu|ncrabl|lty olan cxccssollorm
A ndc|ltyto 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|slswhy
Bo|dcr||n cxcrclscs a supcrlor |l dc|lty by trans|atlng Sophoc|cs wlthout
sub] cctlnghlmsc|ltothc|awol|ltcrarycxactltudc 8ynat|ona|conlormlty
andducto ccrtaln lau|ts whlch lt hasa|waysbccn ab|c to accommodatc.
Crcckart |slorclgntous. ! hopc to glvcthc pub|lc an ldca olltwhlch ls
more |lvc|y than thc usua| . by acccntlng thc orlcnta| character that |t
a|ways dlsowncd and by rcctllylng. whcrc ncccssary. lts acsthct|c lau| ts´
Crcccc had thc lorcc to p/c:c thc gods. Ccrmany musthavc thc lorcc to
ma/n/c/n thcm. onccl tl scnsurcd. byt hclntcrvcntlonola poctlcRcturn.
thatthcywl|| dcsccnduponthc Larth aga|n
1hc dlagona| ol ndc||ty 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|ltywhosc kccpcr. guard| anolthcCrcckcvcnton thcbordcrs olthc
Ccrman sltc. lsthcpoct Porgood / lndccdarcthc|cgcnds. lorolwhat ls
thc most hlgh / they arca mcmory. but st||| is nccdcd/ 1hc onc whowl||
dcclphcr thclr sacrcd mcssagc´
Bcrc agalnwcñndthc conncctlonbctwccnlntcrvcntlona|capacl tyand
ndc|lty 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
hdclltyl nwhlchthcpcacc olthcproxlmltyola homcland l swon, |nsolar
ashchasloundthckcytothcdoublcmcanl ngolthcCrcckworld.|nsolar
as hc l s al rcady a lalthlul dccryptor ol sacrcd |cgcnds. 0n occaslon.
Eoldcrllnlsqultcclosctoaprophctlcconccptl onolthlsbond. andthcrcby
cxposcdtothcdangcrol| maglnlngthatCcrmany]u/]/sthcCrcckpromlsc
Ecwl||lnglycvokcs' thcancl cnt/ Slgnhandcddown . whl ch lar. strlklng.
crcatlng. rlngs out ' ' Stlll morc dangcrously. 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 . / Strlctly|thascomctruc. lul nl l cd
as| nmcnbya marvcl 8utthls| s onl ythccxp|oratlonolarlsk. ancxccss
ol thc poct|c proccdurc. bccausc thc poct vcry qulck|y dcclarcs thc
contrary. . Nothlng. dcspltcwhathappcns, nothlnghasthclorcc/ to
act. lor wc arc hcartl css Boldcr| . na|ways malntalns thc mcasurc olhls
propcr lunct| on compan| on. lnstructcd by thc ndcllty (|n thc Crcck
doublc scnsc, olthc Ccrmanlccvcnt. hcattcmptstounlold. | nrcturn. lts
|oundatlona| ru|c. ltssustalnab|c ndc|lty. 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 hymn Mncmosync 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|y
L|kc stccdsgo thc | mpr|soncd
Ll cmcntsand anclcnt| aws
0l thc carth. Andalways
1hcrcl sa ycarnlngthat sccksthc unbound 8ut much
Mustbcrcta| ncd And ndc||ty . snccdcd
259
260
BEI NG AND EVENT
Forward. howcvcr, andbackwc w|||
Not |ook. 8c|u||cdandrockcdas
0na sway|ngsk|ll olthcsca
1hcs| tc|s dcscr|bcd atthc summ|t o|| tsmatur|ty. passcdthroughthc
nrcolPrcscncc 1hcs| gns. ord|nary |nuo|dcr||n. olthcburst|nglorthol
thcmu|t|p|c |nthc ca|mg|oryol|ts numbcr. arc hcrc thc carth andthc
lru|t. Suchaparous|asubm|ts|tsc|ltothcLaw th|smuchmaybc|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|ty( thctastcolthclru|tsolthccart h,
concca|cd| t scsscncc. as|lsomctcmptat|onolt hc|atcntvo|dwasatwork
w|th|n. as dc||vcrcd by thc d|sturb|ng |magc ol thc scrpcnt. and sccond.
bccauscbcyondwhat| scxposcd. thc|aw|s prophct|c' , drcamy. as| lthc
moundsolBcavcn' d| dnot|u| n| |tscxpcctat|on.nor|tspract|cc.A||olth|s
unqucst|onab|y mctaphor|zcs thc s|ngu|ar|ty ol thc Ccrman s|tc. |ts
bordcr|ng upon thcvo|d. thc lactthat|ts tcrrcst|a|p|ac| d|ty|svu| ncrab| c
to a sccond|rrupt|on. thatolthc Caucasus. wh|ch |sdcta| ncd. w|th|n|ts
lam|||ar. bourgco|sprcscntat|on. by thcmatcrna| Swab| a. Morcovcr. w|th
rcspcct to what should bc bound togcthcr |n |tsc|l and ca|m|y gathcrcd
togcthcr. | t|s so|c|y on thcbas|s ol a la|thlu| cllort that|ts ma|ntcnancc
rcsu| ts. 1hcmatur|tyolthc|ru| ts. onccdcc|phcrcdascndangcr|ngthconc
by thc poct bccomcs a burdcn. a |oad ol wood' undcr thc duty ol
ma|nta|n|ng| tscons|stcncy1h|s|sprcc|sc|ywhat| satstakc wh||stCrcccc
accomp||shcs |tsbcing |nthc cxcc||cncc o| lorm bccausc |ts nativc s|tc |s
As|at|candlur|ous. Ccrmanyw|||accompl | sh| tsbc|ng|nasccondndc||ty.
!oundcduponthc storm. bccausc|ts s| tc|s that o!thc go|dcnnc|ds. olthc
rcstra|ncdOcc|dcnt. 1hcdcst|nyo|thcCcrman|aw| stouproo///scµlrom
|ts rc|gn ovcr conc| | |atory mu|t|p||c|t|cs 1hc Ccrman path |cads astray
( Butcv||arcI 1hcpaths ' , . 1hcgrcatca||towh|chthcpcaccolthccvcn|ng
rcsponds |s thc ycarn|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|tsany|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 vcry | aw |tsc|l
wh|chrcgu|atcscons|stcncy !na |cttcr. altcrhav|ngdcc|arcdthat naturc
|n my homc|andmovcsmcpowcr|u| l y' . 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
natlvlty÷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|y. 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 dyslunctlon. lts crookcdncss. but a| so.
protcctcd aga| nst thc prophctlc tcmptat| on. aga| nst thc canon| ca| arro-
gancc. 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~may
appcarto||nkthatthoughttooncolquant|ty.Bcnccthcqucst|on | sbc|ng
|ntr|ns|ca||y 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 kcy
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.symmctr|ca||ytoKants
ax|oms. that cvcry prcscntat|on | s |ntr|ns|ca||y quant|tat|vc' is cvcry
mu|t|p|e numcrab|c'
Aga|n.asKantsays ' thcpurcschcmaols/zc( ¡uan///a//s, . . . |snum/cr. . .
Numbcr | s thus noth|ng othcr than thc un|ty ol thc synthcs|s ol thc
man|lo|d ol an |ntu|t|on wh|ch | s homogcncous | n gcncra|. Qua 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| soasynthcs|solthcman|lo|d. isthcrcthusancsscnt|a|numcros|tyol
be|ng'
Olcoursc. lorus. thcloundat|onola quant|tyolbc|ng cannotbethat
proposcdbyKant lor thc quant|ty olrhc ob] ccts ol|ntu|t|on Kant ñnds
th|sloundat|on|nthctransccndenta|potcntla||tyolt|mcandspacc. wh||st
wc arcattcmpt|ngtomathcmat|ca||yth|nkmu|t|p|cprcscntat|on/rrcspcc
//vc ol t|mc ( wh|ch |s loundcd by |ntcrvcnt|on, and spacc ( wh|ch |s a
s|ngu|arconstruct|on. rc|at|vctoccrtalntypes olprcscntat|on, . Whatth|s
cnta||s. morcovcr. l sthatthcvcryconccpt ols|zc (or olnumbcr , cannot.
lor us. bc that cmp|oycdby 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|yins|sted. | npart|cu| ar| nMcd|tat|ons ?,
°and7. ont helactthatthcCantor|anldeao|t hcmu|t|p|e. crysta|||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||y |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 says. such a concept ol s|zc ¸|nhn|ty.
whether |t bc spat|a| or tempora| ¦ . |lke that o| a glven |nhn|ty. l s
emp|rlca||y|mposslb|c !nhnltyl s. atbest.a||m|t! deaolexper|ence. butlt
cannotbe oncolthestakesolknow|edge.
1he d|lhcu|ty | 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|cdgeolquantlty. oncmustbcab|cto saythatone mu|tlp|c|s | arger
than another 8ut what exact|y does |t mean to say 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|ncdbythcaddlt|onolthename {wo} |tse|ltothe
( hnlte, 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| y, that addlng somethlng hn|te to the lnhnltc does not
changethe|nhn|tequant|ty| loneattemptstodetcrm|ncth|squant|tyas
such. Ca|||co hada|rcadyrcmarkcdthat. strlct|yspeak|ng. thercwercno
more'squarenumbersolthclormn²thanthcrcwcresl mp| cnumbers.
s|ncelorcachwho|enumbcrn.onecancstab|lshacorrcspondencew|th|ts
squaren². Bequ|tew|se|yconc|udedlromthls. morcovcr.thatthenot|ons
ol more and |ess werenotpertlncnttol nhn|ty. orthatlnhn|tctota||t|es
wereno/quantlt| cs.
!ntheend. thcapparent|mpasscolanyonto|og|ca|doctr|neolquantlty
can bc cxprcsscd as lo||ows. thc onto|oglca| schcma ol prcscntatlon
supportedbythedecls|ononnatura||nhnlty( thereex|stsa| |m|tord|na| ,
admlts cx/s/cn/ l nhn|te mu| tlp||c|tlcs. uowcvcr. there seems t obe some
d|lhcu|ty | n undcrstandlng how thc |atter m|ght be comparab|c. or how
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
thcy m|ght bc|ong to a un|ty ol count wh|ch wou| d bc un|lorm|y
app|lcab|c to thcm. 1hcrclorc. bc|ng|snotm gcncra| quant|hab| c
!t wou| d not bc an cxaggcratlon to say that thc d|sso|utlon ol th| s
|mpassc commandsthc dcstlnyolthought.
l . 1BLQUAN1!1A1!VL COMPAR!SONOI!Ni!N!1L SL1S
0ncolCantorsccntra|l dcaswastoproposcaprotoco|lorthccomparlson
o||nhn|tcmu|tlp|cswhcn ltcomcstothchnltc. wchavca|waysknown
howtorcsort tothoscpart|cu|arordlna|sthatarcthcmcmbcrs olwo, thc
hn|tcord|na|s. orthc natura|who|cnumbcrs ( c. Mcd|tatlon 1 4) ; that|s.
wckncwhowtocoiin/. 8utwhatcxact|ycou|dcountlngmcanlor|nhnltc
mu|t|p|cs'
What happcncd was that Cantor had thc br|||lant |dca ol trcat|ng
pos|tlvc|ythcrcmarksolCa|||coandlasca|andthoscolthcPortugucsc
1csu|tschoo| bclorcthcm÷ln whlchthcsc authors hadconc| udcd |n thc
|mposslb||ltyollnhnltcnumbcr.Asoltcnhappcns. thc|nvcntloncons|stcd
|nturn|nga paradoxlntoa conccpt. S|nccthcrclsa corrcspondcncc. tcrm
by tcrm. bctwccnthc who|c numbcrs andthc squarc numbcrs. bctwccn
thcnandthcn². whynotl ntrcp|d|ypos|tthat| nlactthcrcarc]us/asmany
sçuarc numbcrs as numbcrs' 1hc ( |ntu|t|vc, obstac|c to such a thcs|s ls
thatsquarcnumbcrslormapar|olnumbcrs|ngcncra|. andl loncsaysthat
thcrc arc ] ust as many squarcs asthcrc arcnumbcrs. thc o|d Luc|ldcan
max|m thcwho| cl sgrcatcrthanthcpart | sthrcatcncd. 8utthlsl scxact|y
thcpo|nt. bccauscthc sctthcory 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 lswhy ltsdoctr|ncolquantlty canbc
tcrmcd ant| - Kant| an. Wcw||| a|| ow. w|thout b|l nk|ng an cyc. that g|vcn
that|tl samattcrollnhnltcmu| tlp|cs. ltl sposs| b|clorwhat| s /n:/udc4( |ikc
sçuarc numbcrsln wholcnumbcrs, to bc asnumcrous as that lnwh|ch
lt | s |nc|udcd. lnstcad ol bc|ng an l nsurmountab|c obstac|c lor any
comparlson ol lnhnltc quantlt|cs. such commcnsurabl||ty wll| bccomc a
part|cu|arpropcrtyolthcscquantlt| cs 1hcrc |s a subvcrs|onhcrclnolthc
o| d lntu|t|on ol quantl ty. that subsumcd by 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 Cantorlnyctanothcrmanncr. | l thcrc arc
as many squarc numbcrs as numbcrs. thcn thls ls bccausc onc can
267
268
BEI NG AND EVENT
cstab||sha corrcspondcnccbctwccncvcry who|cn and| tssquarcn
,
• 1h|s
conccptoltcrmlortcrm corrcspondcncc bctwccnamu|t|p|c.bc| t|nhn|tc.
andanothcrmu|t|p|c provldcs thc kcyto a proccdurc olcompar| son. two
mu|t|p|csw|||bcsa|dtobc asnumcrous ( or.aCantor|anconvcnt|on. o]/hc
samcpowcr,ascachothcr|lthcrccx/s/ssuchacorrcspondcncc.Notcthatthc
conccpt ol quant|ty |s thus rclcrrcd tothat olcx|stcncc. as|s appropr|atc
g|vcnthconto|og|ca|vocat|onolsctthcory
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]�, * ß. th|s
mcansthatthc c|cmcntß corrcsponds to thc c|cmcnto
Asusp|c|ousrcadcrwou|dob] cctthatwchavc|ntroduccda supp|cmcn-
taryconccpt,thatollunct|on.wh|chcxcccdsthcpurc mu|t|p|c. andru|ns
thconto|og|ca|homogcnc|tyolsctthcory.Wc||no. |nlact' A lunct|oncan
qu|tc cas||y bc rcprcscntcd as a purc mu|tlp|c. as cstab||shcd |n
Appcnd|x2. Whcnisay thcrccx|stsalunct|oniammcrc|ysay|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](o, = ß
and]�, * y, th|s |s bccauscß |s /hc samc mu//|p/c as y.
ln ordcr to cxhaust thc | dca ol tcrm by tcrm corrcspondcncc. as | n
Ca||lcos rcmark. i must. howcvcr. |mprovc my lunct|ona| conccpt ol
corrcspondcncc 1o conc|udc that squarcs arc asnumcrous asnumbcrs.
noton|ymusta squarc corrcspondtocvcrynumbcr. but, convcrsc|y. lor
cvcrysquarcthcrcmusta| sobcacorrcspond|ngnumbcr (andonca|onc,
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-toonccorrcspondcncc, , thcloundatlonlorthcquant|ta-
t|vccompar|son olmu|t|p|cs.
äaya andßarc twoscts. 1hc lunct|on]ola towardsßw|||bcaonc/eonc
corrcspon4cnccbctwccn o andß |l
- lorcvcryc|cmcntola, thcrccorrcsponds. v|a] anc| cmcnt olß,
- to two d|llcrcnt c|cmcnts ola corrcspond two dlllcrcnt c|cmcnts ol
f
;
- and. cvcry c|cmcnt ol ß |s thc corrcspondcnt. by] 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|ementsolßbysubst|tut|nglorane|ementool
a the](oi olß, un| que, andd|llerentlromanyother, thatcorrespondsto|t.
1heth|rdcond|t|on statesthata//thee|ementsolß aretobeused |n th|s
manner!t|squ|teasulnc|entconceptlorthetaskolth|nk|ngthattheone
mu|t|p|eßdoesnotmakeupone more' mu| t|p|ethana, andthata andß
are thus equa| |n number. or |n extens|on, w|th respect to what they
present
!ltwomu|t|p| esaresuchthatthereex|stsa one to onecorrespondence
betweenthem, |tw|||besa|dthattheyhave/hcsamcpowcr, orthattheyare
extens|ve|ythe same
1h|sconcept|s ||tera| | ythatolthequant|tat|ve|dent|tyoltwo mu|t| p|es,
and|ta| soconcernsthosewh|chare |nnn|te
2 NA1URALQUAN1!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|tmeanswhenwesay
thattheyarethesamequant|tat|ve| y1he stab|e ornatura|mu|t|p|esthat
are ord|na| s thus become comparab|e to any 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 any thought olquant| ty. a
sca|e olmeasure.
Wehaveseen ( Med|tat|on l 2 , 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||y ordered by 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' olany set, once|t is guaranteed, bytheax|om
ol cho|ce÷or ax|om ol abstract |ntervent|on (d. Med| tat|on 22, ÷that
every mu|t|p|e can be we|| ordered We are go|ng to emp|oy th|s |nstru
menta|va| ueolord|na| s . |ts sub]acentonto|og|ca|s|gn|hcat| on, moreover,
|s thatevery mu| t|p| e can beconnectedtoa natura|mu| t | p| e. or, |n other
words. /c/n¸/sun/vcrsa//y acp/oyc4asna/urc Notthat every 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|| on, ÷but every
269
270
BEI NG AND EVENT
mu|tlp|ccanberclcrrcdtonatura|prcscntatlon. lnpartlcu|arwlthrcspcct
tolts numbcr orquantlty.
0nc ol onto|ogy's crucla| statcmcnts ls lndccd thc |o||ow| ng. cvcry
mu|tlp|c hasthc samc powcrasat|cast oncordlna|. ! nothcrwords. thc
c|ass' lormcd out olthosc mu|tlp|cs whlch havc thc samc quantltywl||
a|wayscontalnat|castoncordlna| . 1hcrclsno slzc' whlchlssuchthatonc
canootnndancxamp/colltamongstthenatura|mu|tlp|cs. !nothcrwords.
naturccontalnsa| | thlnkab|cordcrsolsl zc.
Eowcvcr. byvlrtueoltheordlna|s propcrtyolmlnlma||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|stype ( ln thcscnscol
thescrlcsolordlna|s, . 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|ybc
such thatltwl||bc lmposslb|c lorthcrcto cxlst a oncto- onc corrcspon
dcnccbetwccnlt andan ordlna|sma||erthanl t. !twmmark. amongstthc
ordlna|s. thc]ront/cr at whlch a ncw ordcr ol lntrl nsl c slzc commcnccs.
1hcsc ordlna|s can bc pcrlcct|y dcnncd. thcy posscss thc propcrty ol
to|cratlng nooncto onc corrcspondcnccwlthanyolthe ordlna| s whlch
preccdc thcm. As lrontlcrs ol powcr. thcy wl|| bc tcrmed :ar4/na/s 1hc
propcrtyolbc|nga cardlna| canbcwr|ttcn aslo||ows.
car4 ,, 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. andthusamu/t/p/c( Appendix2 , . 1hlsdchnitlonln nowaydcparts
lromthe gcncra|lramcworkolonto|ogy.
1hc | dca ls thcn to reprcscnt the c|ass ol mu|tlp|cs ol thc samc
slzc÷thoscbctwccnwhlchaoncto onccorrcspondcnccexlsts÷thatls. to
namcanordcrolslze. bymcansolthccardlna|prcscntl nthatc|ass. 1hcrc
l sa|waysoncolthcm. butthlsl nturn dcpcndsupona crucl a| polntwhlch
wehavc|cltlnsuspcnsc. cvcry mu|tlp|ehasthcsamcpowcrasat|castonc
ordlna|.andconscqucot|ythcsamcpowcrasthcsma||cstolordlna|solthc
samcpowcras l tthc|attcrl sncccssarl|y a cardl na| . Sl ncc ordlna|s. and
thuscardl na| s. arctota||yordcrcd. wcthcrcbyobtalnameasurl ngsca|clor
lntrlnslcslzc. 1hclurthcrthccardina| namcola typcolslzc (orpower, l s

p|accd ln thc scrlcs ol ordl na| s. thc hlghcr thls typc wl|| bc. äuch ls thc
prlnclp|eola mcasurlngsca|clorquantltyl 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/n¸
For thc rcst ol this book. i wl|| lncrcas|ng|y usc what i ca|| accounts o]
dcmonstrat/on. subst|tutcs lor thc actua| dcmonstrat|ons thcmsc|vcs My
mot|vc|scvidcnt. thclurthcrwcp|ungc|ntothconto|og|ca|tcxt,thcmorc
comp||catcd thc stratcgy ol hdc||ty 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(à; . whosccx|stcncc|sguarantccdlorusbythcaxl omolcho|cc
( Mcd|tat|on 22; . 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|cmcntolanyordlna|, 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,} . saythc |attcrc|cmcnt |sà , 1hcn. lor thc
lo||owingordina|, a corrcspondcnccw|||bccstab|lshcdw|th thc c|cmcnt
choscn |n thc part ¸ à - [ à,. àg| . and so on For an ord|na| a, a
corrcspondcncc|scstab||shcdw|ththcc|cmcnts|ng| cdoutby thc lunctlon
olcho|cc|nthcpartobta|ncdbysubtractlnglrom\cvcryth|ngwhlchhas
a/·cadybccnobtalncd ascorrcspondcntlorthc ord|na|swh|chprcccdc a.
1h|scont|nucsuptot hcpolntol thcrcbclngno|ongcranyth|ng|clt|nà,
that |s. uptothc polnt that what hastobcsubtractcd| s\ |tsc||. such that
thc rcma|ndcr |scmpty. andthclunct|ono|cho|cc canno|ongcrchoosc
anyth|ng Say that y l s thc ord|na| atwh|ch wc stop ( thc hrst t o whlch
ncth|ngcorrcsponds. lor| ack olanypcss|b|ccholcc, 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 QLu
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|y 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 rcsttoyou, .
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|ctoryolnature
dcpcnds thc vlctory whlch |l cs | n l ts capac|ty to ]. on an ordercd
sca| c÷thccard| na|s÷thctypcol|ntrlns| cslzcolmu|t|p|cs. 1hlsdl a|cctlcol
thc l||cgal and thc hc| ght ol ordcr | s charactcrlstlc ol the sty| e ol
onto|ogy
3. 1BL PRO8LLMOiINilNl1L CARDINALS
1hcthcoryolcard| na| s÷andcspccl a| | ythatol | nnn| tccard| na| s. whlch| s
tosaythosccqua| orsupcr|ortoo,÷lormsthcvcryhcartolsctthcory. thc
po| nt at wh|ch. hav|ng attal ncd an apparcnt mastcry. v| a thc namc-
numbcrsthatarcnatura| mu| t| p|cs. olthcquantltyolpurc mu| t| p|cs. thc
mathcmat| clan can Jcp|oy 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 thcory
wrotc. pract|ca||y spcak| ng. thc most part ol sct thcory |s the study ol
lntin| tc card| na| s´
1hcparadox | sthatthc | mmcnsc wor|d o|thcsccardl na| s ' pract|ca| | y
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| gcomctry. topo| og| 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
- Lvcryhnlteord| na| ( cvcryc|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 types ol | ntr| ns| c s|ze. as many as therc are natma| who| e
oumbers
- 8y t hc samc tokcn. w| thout d| l|l cu| ty. onc can hna| | y 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| tc, | llts
THE CONCEPT OF QUANTI TY AND THE I MPASSE OF ONTOLOGY
quan|lty ls namcd by a cardlna| cqua| or supcrl or ( or. rcspcctlvc|y.
lnlcrl or, 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 lsccrtalnly lmposs|b|c ( dcmonstratc l t ' ,
- 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 Notonlyl s
quantltyhcrcnumbcrcdbyacard| na|÷pcrtlncnttolnnnltc- bclng. but
l t dlstlngulshcs. wlthln thc lnnnltc. |argcr' and sma| | cr lnnnltc
quantltlcs 1hc ml| |cnary spccu|at|vc opposltlon bctwccn thc hn| tc.
quantltatlvc|yvarl cdanddcnumcrab|c. andthclnnnltc. unquantlnab|c
and unlquc. ls succccdcd÷thanks to thc Cantorlan rcvo| utl onby a
unllormsca|c ol quantltlcswhlchgocs lrom thccmptymu|tlp|c ( whlch
numbcrs nothl ng, t o an un|lmltcd scrlcs ol l nnnltc cardlna|s. wh|ch
numbcr quantltatlvc|y dlstlnct lnhn|tc mu|tlp|cs Ecncc thc
achlcvcmcnt÷lnthcpro|llcratlonollnnnltlcs÷olthccomp|ctcruln ol
anybclngolthc 0nc
1hchcart olthl srcvo|utlonl sthcrccogn|tlon ( authorlzcdbythcidcas
o|thcmu|tlp| c. thcaxl omsolsctthcory, 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 QUAN1!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 many' , '
1hcthcorcmol thcpolntolcxccss ( Mcdltat|on7) a| rcadylnd| catcslorus
thatthcstatccannotbc/hcsamcmu|tlp|casthcsltuatlonwhoscstatcl t l s
Yctthl sa|tcrltydocsnot ru|c outthclntrlnslcquantlty÷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 at/castas 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, pu; , 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/cmcntßof a thus corresponds a partof a, which is an element
of p�; . 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�; catc¸or/zcsa
'
S elements into two groups, those which are
internal to the part ( or element of p�; ; 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 thcsctof its
parts, corresponds via f to an element of a that we shall call o ( for
' diagonal ' ) . As such we have: ](o, * '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//cstordinal possessing such a property. It is thus the smallest
275
276
BEI NG AND EVENT
cardlna|supcrlortowo, thclnhnltc quantltywhl chcomcs] ustaltcrwoo !t
wl l | bc wrlttcn W I and ca||cd thcsucccssorcardlna| ol woo Oncc agal n. by
Cantor'sthcorcm. thcmu|tlplc
Ptd
ls quant|tatlvclysupcrlorto WI ; thus
a succcssorcardlna|olWI cxl sts. wrlttcnW2, andsoon. A||olthcscl nhnl tc
cardlna|s. wo, WI , W2 . . dcslgnatcdlstlnct. andl ncrcaslng. typcsollnhnltc
quantltlcs
1hc succcssor opcratlon÷thc passagc lrom onc cardlna| Wn to thc
cardlna|w" ± . | snotthcon|yopcratlonolthcsca|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 sct
{ wo, WI , W2 - • - w", w" ± I . . j. lt exlsts. bccauscltl sobtalncdbyrcp/a./n¸.
ln Wo ( whlch cx| sts , . cvcry hnltc ordlna| by thc l nhnltc cardlna| that lt
lndcxcs ( thc lunctlon ol rcp|accmcnt ls qultc slmp| y. n ÷ W., ) .
Conscqucnt|y. thcrc a|so cxlsts thc unl on sct ol thls sct. that l s. W(o)
* U { wo, WI , . , w" . j . ! saythatthlssct W(o) ls a cardlna|, thc hrst//m/t
car4/na/ grcatcr than o,. 1h| s rcsu|ts. |ntultlvc|y. lrom thc lact that thc
c|cmcntsolW(o) , thc dlsscm| natlon olc//thcwo, WI , + • • w., . . cannot
bcp|accdl na onctoonccorrcspondcnccwlthanyw. , l npartlcu|ar. thcrc
arc too many' ol thcmlorthat. 1hc mu|tlp|c W(o) ls thus quantltatlvc|y
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| ycontlnuc. 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 any |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
becausetheyare oltennotedbytheEebrew|ettera| eph ( N ) |o| |owedby
lndexeslu|h|sthedoub|eproml seolthenumber| ngolthel nhnl tl es. and
o| the lnhnlty ol thelrtypes thus numbered. !t comp| etesthe Cantorlan
pro] ect ol a tota| dl sseml natlon or dls unl hcat| on o| the concept ol
lnhnlty.
!l the serles ol ordlna|s deslçnates. beyond the hnl te. an l nhn|ty ol
nc/ura/| nhnltles. dlstlngu| shedbythelact thattheyorderwhatbe|ongsto
them. thenthesequenceola| ephs names anl nhnltyolgenera| l nhnltles.
selzed. wlthout any order. l n thel r raw dlmenslon. thel r number ol
e| ements. thatls. asthequant| tatlveextenslonolwhattheypresent. And
slncethesequenceola|ephsls| ndexedbyordlna| s. onecansaythatthere
are as many types ol quantltatlve lnhnlty as there are natura| l nhnl te
mu| tl p| es.
Bowever. thls asmany ls l | | usory. becausel t|lnkstwotota| l tl eswhlch
are not on|y 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|y l nhnlte !nhn| ty. the l nhnl ty ola| | lntrlnsl
ca||ythlnkab|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 byhow
much'Whatls thlsexcess wor/h. andhowcan ltbe measured' sl nce we
dlsposeolacomp|etesca|eolhnltecardlna| s( natura|who|enumbers, and
l nhnltecardlna|s ( a| ephs , . 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|y'
!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. 1hlsnnltecomblnatoryexerclselsopentoanyreaderwltha |ltt|e
dexterlty.
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 cvcçexistent
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: thc natura/ mcasur/n¸ sca/c]er mu///p/cprcscnta//ons /s not
appropr/atc]orrcprcscntat/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/ng 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,x, 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. ; ' 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( \, 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 vcry brlnk, ln thc attcmpt to
cstab| l shthatltwascqua| tothcsucccssorolWo , to.. Lastonsthcorcm
saysthat. tl sdcductlvc| yacccptab| ctopos| tthatl tlsW'47, orW(
o
l + 1 8, or
whatcvcr othcr cardl na| as | mmensc as you | lkc, provldcd that l t ls a
succcssor. Conscqucnt| y. Lastons thcorcm cstab| | shcs thc quasl tota|
crrancy ol thc cxccss ol thc statc ovcr thc sltuatlon. It l s as though,
bctwccnthcstructurcln wh| ch thc lmmcdlacyolbc| 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| y 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
lntocvcryprcscntatlonl nt hccountlngasoncoll tsparts 1hcun- mcasurc
olthcstatccauscsancrrancyl nquantltyonthcpartolthcvcryl nstancc
lrom whlch we cxpcctcd÷prcc| sc|y÷thc guarantcc and nxl ty ol sltua
tlons. 1heopcratorol t hcban| shmcntol t hcvol d. wcnndl t herc |cttlng
thcvoldrcappcarat thcvcry] olnturcbctwccnltsc| l (thccapturcolparts ,
and thc sltuatlon. 1hat lt |s nccessary to to| cratc thc a| most comp|ctc
arb|trarlncss ola cholcc, that quantlty, thc very paradlgm ol ob]cctlvlty,
| cadstopurc sub] cctlvlty. such ls whatI wou| dwll|lnglyca| | thc Cantor
Codc| Cohcn Lastonsymptom. Onto|ogy unvcl|s l nlts lmpassca polntat
wh| ch thought÷unconsclous that l t ls bc| ng ltsc| l whlch convokcs | t
thcrcln÷hasa|ways hadtodlvldeltsc| l.
MEDI TATI ON TWENTY-SEVEN
Ontol ogi cal Desti ny of Or i entat i on i n Thought
älnce | tsveryorlg| ns. |n ant| c| pat| onol lts Cantor|a nground| ng. ph| | oso
phyhas| nterrogatedtheabysswh| ch separatesnumer| ca|d| scret| on lrom
the geometr|ca| cont| nuum 1h|s abyss |s none other than that whlch
separatesWo, l nnn| tedenumerab|edoma| nol nn|tenumbers. lromtheset
olltspartsp(wo) , theso|esetab|etohxthequant| tyolpo| ntsl nspace 1hat
there ls a mystery 01 belng at stake here. | n whlch specu|atlve d| scourse
weaves| tse|llntothemathemat|ca|doctrlneol numberandmeasure. has
beenattestedbyl nnumerab|econceptsandmetaphors !twascerta| n| ynot
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 by the
magnlhcentdeve|opmentsolBege| sIo¸/c, thestr| ct|ylnexhaustlb|etheme
ol the d| a| ectlcolthe d| scont| nuousandthe contl nuousoccurs t| me and
t| me aga| n We can now say that | t l s be| ng | tse| l. t| agrant wlth| n the
| mpasse ol onto|ogy. wh| ch organ|zes the | nexhaustlb| || ty oll ts thought.
g| venthat no measute maybetakenolthe quantltatlvebondbetweena
sltuatl onandlts state. betweenbe|ong| ngandl nc| usl on Lverythlng| 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
errancy cou|d requ| re the | ngenulty olknow| edge | ndehn| te|y Such an
actlvltywou| dnotbe| nva| n. lorthelo|| ow| ng reason. | lthelmposs| b| e
to sayolbe| ng| s prec|se|ythequantltatlvebondbetweena 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 thought)
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//n¸u|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 lnhnlty whlch prcscrlbcs a hlcrarchlca| dlsposltlon ln
whlch nothlng wl|l be ab|c to crr any morc. 1hc cffort thls tlmc, ls to
contal n thc un-mcasurc, not by rclnlorcing ru| es and prohlbltlng thc
l ndlsccrnlb| e, but dlrcct|y lrom abovc. by thc conccptua| practlcc ol
possl b| ymaxlma| prcscntatlons. Onchopcsthatthcsetransccndentmul tl
p|lc|tlcs wll| unvcl | thc vcry |aw ol mu|tlp|c-cxcess, and wl | | propose a
vcrtlglnousclosurc to thought
1hcsc thrcc cndcavours havc thclr corrcspondcnccs l nontology ltsc|f.
Why' Bccausc cach ol thcm lmp|lcs that a ccrtaln /ypc o] /c/n¸ l s
lntcl|lglb| e. Mathcmatlca| onto|ogy does not constltutc. by ltsclf. any
orlcntatlonl nthought. butltmustbccompatlb|cwlthal|olthcm l tmust
dlsccrn and proposc thc mu|tlp|cbclngwhlch thcyhavc nccd ol.
1o thc nrst orlcntatlon corrcsponds thc doctrlne ol cens/ruc////c sets.
crcatcd by Codcl and rcllncd by 1cnsen. 1o the sccond orlcntat|on
corrcspondsthcdoctrincol¡cncr/cscts. crcatcdby Cohcn. 1hc corrcspon
dcncc lor thc thl rd ls thc doctrlnc ol /ar¸c .ard/na/s. to whl ch a| l thc
spccla| lstsolsctthcory have contrlbutcd. Assuch, ontologyproposcsthc
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| bcingrcqulrcdbytheo|ogles.
Obvlous| y. the thrce orlcntatlons al so havc thcl rphl | osophlca| corrc
spondcnces. ! namedLclbn|zlorthcnrst 1hc thcory olthcgcncralwl||l n
Rousscauscarchcsfort hcgencrlcpolntt hat i s t hcanypo| nt whatsocvcr
l n whlch po|ltlca| authorlty wl|l bc loundcd. A| | of classlca| mctaphyslcs
consplrcs lor thc thlrd orlentatlon. cvcn ln thc mode o| communi st
cschato|ogy.
Butalourthway. dlsccrn|b|elromMarxonwards. graspcdlromanothcr
pcrspcctlve l n Frcud, |s transvcrsa| to thc threc others . !t ho| ds that thc
/ru/holtheonto|oglcallmpassccannotbesclzcdorthoughtlnlmmancncc
to ontology ltsc|l. nor to spccu|atlvc mctaonto| ogy. 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
lnsaylngthatonccan on|y ·cndcr]us//cc| ol nj usticclromthcang|colthc
cvent and lntcrventlon. 1herc l s thus no necd to bc horrll|cd by 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
supctnumctarynon bci ngt hat cvctytruthproccdurcotlglnatcs. lnc| uding
that ola ttuth whosc stakcswou| dbc thatvcty un blndlng.
lt statcs. thls lourth way. that on thc undctsi dc ol onto| ogy. agalnst
bclng. solcly disccrnib|cltomthc | attctpo| ntbypoi nt (bccausc. globa| l y.
thcy arclncotporatcd. onc ln thcothet. llkethcsut|accola Mobl ussttip; .
thc unptcscntcdproccdurcol thcttuctakcspl acc. thcso| ctcmai ndctlclt
by mathcmatlca| onto| ogy to whomevcr is sttuck by 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 tcmµtlngt orcducc thc
cxtcnslonof thc statcby so|c|y to|crating as parts of t hc si tuation thosc
multlµlcswhosc nominationls al|owcdby thc sltuatlonitsc| f. Whatdocs
thc sltuatlon ltsc|f mcan'
Oncoµtlonwou| dbctoon| yacccµtasanlnc| udcdonc multiµlcwhatl s
alrcady a onc-mu| tlµlc ln thc µos|tlon ol bclonging. ! t l s agrccd thatt hc
rcµrcscntab|c l sa|ways al rcadyµrescntcd. 1hls orlcntation ls µartlcularly
wcll adaµtcd to stablc or natural sltuatlons, bccausc i n thcsc sltuatlons
cvcry µrcscntcd mult|µllclty l s rcsccurcd ln l ts µlacc by thc statc ( c.
Mcdltati ons 1 1 and | 2 ; . Lnfortunatcly lt ls unµractlcablc, bccausc l t
amounts to rcµea|ing thc foundatlona| dlflcrcncc of thc stat c. lf rcµrc-
scntatlon |s on|ya doub|c olµrcscntatlon, thcstatc ls usc| css. Morcovcr,
thcthcorcmol thc µolntolcxccssshowsthatltlsimµosslb|cto abollshal |
dlstancc bctwccn a sltuatlon andl tsstatc.
Howcvcr, ln cvcry orlcntatlon ol thought of thc constructivist tyµc, a
nosta|gla lor thls so|utlon subsi sts. 1hcrc ls a rccurrcnt thcmc in such
thought . thcvalorlzatlonol cquilibrlum,thcidcathatnaturc is anartlncc
whlchmustbccxµrcss|ylmitatcdlni tsnorma|izlngarchitccturc÷ordinals
bcing, as wc know, transltlvc lntrlcatlons, thc distrust of cxccss and
crrancy, and, at thchcart ofthlsframcwork, thcsystcmaticscarchforthc
doublcfunctlon,forthctcrmwhichcanbc thoughttwiccwithouthaving
to changcp|accor status .
But t hcfundamcntal aµµroachl nwhlch a scvcrc rcstrlctlon ol crrancy
can bc obtai ncd÷without cscaµlng thc mlnimal cxccss lmµoscd by thc
statc÷and a maxi mum| cgibl|ltyolthcconccµtof µart', 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 may bc acccµtably recognizcd as onc
mul ti µ| c amongst rcµrcscntations . 1hc spontancous µh||osoµhy of al |
constructivistthoughti sradical nominal |sm.
What i s undcrstood hcrc by ' languagc' ' What |s at stakc. i n fact, |s a
mcd|at|onol|ntcriority comµlctcwith|nt hcsituat|on. Lct's suµµoscthat
thcµrcscntcdmul t| µ| csarcon| yµrcscntcdi nasmuchasthcyhavcnamcs,
orthat' bcingµrcscntcd and 'bc|ng namcd' arc oncand thc samcthing.
What's morc, wc havc at our disµosal a wholc arscna| of proµcrt|cs, or
|iaison tcrms, which uncqui voca| | y dcs|gnatc that such a namcd th|ng
ma|ntainsw|thanothcrsucha rclationsh|p, orµosscssessuch a qua| i hca-
t i on. cons/ruc//v/s//hou¸h/w///cn/y rc.o¸n/zc as par/ a¸roup/n¸ o]p·cscn/c4
mu///p|cs wh|ch havc a p·opcrq /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 cxamµ|e. you havc a sca|c of sizc at your disµosal, |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|vclynamcd; mul tiµ| c. ln thcsamcmanncr, if onc says ' thcre
cx|sts. . ' thismustbcundctstoodassaying, ' thcrccx|stsa tcrmnamcd
i nthcsituation' . and|foncsays' foral l . . . ' thismust bcundcrstoodas,
' foral| namedtcrms ofthc situation' .
Whyi s|anguagcthcmcdiumof an|ntcriorityhcrc'Bccausccvcrypan.
withoutambigu|ty, isass|gnab|ctoancffcctivcmarkingofthc/crmsofthc
situation. lt| soutofthcqucstiontocvokca part ' i ngcncral ' . You havcto
sµccify.
÷ whatproµcrtyorrc|ationof|anguagcyouarcmakinguscof,andyou
must bc ab| c to j ustify the aµµl|cation of thesc µtoµcrtics and
re|ationstot hetetmsofthesituat|on.
~ whichhxcd( andnamcd,tcrms÷orparametcrs÷ofthcs|tuationatc
imµl i cJ.
lnotherwords, thcconccµtofµart| sun4crcon4///on.1hcstatcsimulta-
ncouslyoµcratcsa count - as- oncofpartsandcod|hcswhatfallsundcrth|s
count. thus, bcs|desbc|ngthcmastctofrcprcscntationi ngcncra| , thcstatc
| s thc mastcr of languagc. Languagc~ot any comµarablc aµµatatus of
recogni ti on~|s the l ega| ñ|ter for grouµings ofµrcscntcd mul tiµ| cs. lt | s
|nterµosedbetweenµrcsentationandreµtescntat|on.
287
288
BEI NG AND EVENT
lti sc|cathowon| yt hoscpattswh|chatccons/ruc/cdatc coun/cdhctc. ll
thcmult|plca is/nc/u4cdi nthcsi tuat| on |ti son| yonthccond| t|onthat| t
|s possiblc to cstab|ish, lot cxamplc, that i t gtoups togcthct a| l thosc
|mmcd|atclyptcscntcdmul 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| |nkcdtothclotmctbymcansol
thc | attct. 1hus, thctc is always 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/q that | anguagc bu|lds bctwccn ptcscntation and tcptcscntat|on,
whichgtoundsthcconv|ctionthatthcstatcdocsnot cxcccdthcs| tuat|on
by /oo mu.h, ot that |t tcma|ns commcnsutab| c. l tctm | anguagc ol thc
s| tuati on' thcmcdi umolthi scommcnsurabili ty.Notcthatthclanguagcol
thcs|tuati on|ssubsctvicnttoptcscntation, |nthat|tcannotc| tcanytcrm,
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, yct withoutbci ngtcduccdtot hcl at t cti ncl usi onst aysasc/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
cttancy olpattsby mcans olthc otdctcd codincat|on ol thcit cxptcss|blc
||nktothcsi tuati onwhoscpatts thcyatc.
Whatthcconsttuct|vistv|si onolbc|ngandprcscntati onhuntsout| sthc
|ndctctm| oatc' , thcunnamcablcpatt, thcconccptl cssl | nk. 1hcamb|guity
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.yct,ont hcothcthand, i t spccihcs| t s pol|ccand
|nctcascs | ts authotity by thc conncct|on that | t cstabl| shcs bctwccn
mastcty olthci ncl udcdonc mu| tip| candmastctyo| 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 , , th|s is what has invat|ab|y madc out ol it thc ctitica|÷ot ant|
ph|losoph|ca|÷philosophy pat cxcc|| cncc. 1o rclut c thc doctt|nc that a
patt ol thc si tuat ion sol cly cxists |l it is consttuctcd on thc bas|s ol
CONSTRUCTI VI ST THOUGHT AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF BEI NG
proµcrtlcsandtcrmswhlchar cdlsccrnlb|cl nt hcl anguagc, wouldl tnotbc
ncccssary t o /nd/cc/c an absolutc| y undlffcrcntlatcd, anonymous, l ndc
tcrmlnatc µart' But how cou|d such a µart bc l ndl catcd, l f not by
æns/ru.//n¸thlsvcrylndlcatlon'1hcnomlnallstl salwaysj ustlncdl nsaylng
that/h|scountcrcxamµlc, bccausc lt hasbccnlsolatcd anddcscrlbcd, lsl n
lactancxamµlc. Fvcry cxamµ|cl sgrlsttohlsmllll fl tcanbclndlcatcdln
thcµroccdurc whlch cxtractslts lnc|uslonon thc basl sofbclonglngs and
languagc 1hc lndlsccrn|blc ls not . 1hls | s thc thcsls wlth whlch nom
lnallsmconstructs|tsfortl ncatlon, andbymcansofwhlchl tcanrcstrlct, at
l ts | cl surc, any 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| µolnt. /hcrc /snoj/acc]o·ancvcn//o |akcp/acc lt woul dbc tcmµtlng
to saythat on thls µolntlt colncldcswlthontology, whlch forccloscs thc
evcnt, thus dcclarlng thc | attcr's bc|onglng to that-whl ch- | s notbclng
quabclng ( Mcdltatlon | 8 ; . Howcvcrth| swoul dbctoo narrow a concl u
slon Constructlvlsm has no nccd to dcc/dc uµon thc nonbclng of thc
evcnt,bccausclt docs nothavetoknowanythlngofthc| attcr' sundccld
abl| lty Nothlngrcqulrcsa dcclslon wlth rcsµcctto a µaradoxlca| multlµlc
hcrc. !t l s actua| l y of thc vcry csscncc of contructlvlsm÷thls ls lts /o/a/
lmmancncctothc sltuatlon÷to concclvcnclthcrofsc| f-bc|onglng, nor of
thc suµcrnumcrary. thusl tmalntalnsthc cntlrc dlalcctlcofthc cvcnt and
lntcrventlonoutsldc thought.
1hc orlcntatlon of constructlvlst thought cannot cncounter a mu| tlµle
whlch µrcscnts ltsclf ln thc vcry µrcscntatlon that lt ls÷and thls l s the
malncharactcrlstlcofthc cvcnta| ultra- one÷forthcsl mµl crcasonthatl f
onc wantcdto construct' thls mu|t|µlc, oncwould havc to havc a/rcady
cxamlncdl t 1hlsclrclc,whlchPolncarcrcmarkcdw| thrcsµcctto lmµrcdl-
catlvc' dchnltlons, brcaks thcµroccdurcofconstructlon and thc dcµcnd
cncyonl anguagcLcgltlmatcnomlnatlonl s|mµosslbl c. !fyoucannamcthc
multlplc, ltlsbccauscyoudlscernltaccordingtoltsclcmcnts Butllltl san
clcmcntof|tsclf, youwouldhavchadtohavcµrcvlouslydlsccrncdlt.
Not only that, but thc casc of thc µurc ultra-onc÷thcmu| tlµlc whlch
hasltsclfal oncas clcmcnt÷|cadsformatlonlntoonclntoanlmµassc, duc
tothcwaythcl attcrfunctlonslnthlstyµcofthought. 1hatls, thcslng|cton
of such a multlµ|c, whlch ls a µart of thc sltuatlon. shoul d lsolatc /hc
multlplcwhlchµosscsscsa µroµcrtycxµllcltlyformulablcl nthcl anguagc.
But thlsl snotµosslbl c, bccauscthcµart thusobtal ncdncccssarl | yhasthc
µroµcrtylnqucstlon//sc/] 1hatls, thcslng|cton. j ust|lkcthcmultlµlc, 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 cdµcsan immanent thought of the situation, w/thoutdcc/d/n¸its
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 thou¸ht 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/]orthc/dca c]chan¸c/s/n rca//q thc /n]n/tyo]/an¸ua¸c. 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 thatthcrcarcd/¡crcnt/an¸ua¸cs 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/stcncc 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 pro¸ramma//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//þ/conncc//on/s ( d. Meditation 2 > ; . At
291
292
BEI NG AND EVENT
th|spoint. thcconstruct|vistor|cntationcommandsus toconhncoursclvcs
÷untilth|s opcratorisstabilizcd÷to the cont|nu|ty olancngcndcr|ngol
parts rcgul atcd by the prcvi ous languagc. A nco c|ass|c|st |s not a reac-
t|onary, he| sapartisanolscnsc. !havcshownthati ntcrvcntiona|| l l cgal|ty
onlygcneratcsscnsc/nthcsituat|onwhcn| t d|sposesola measurc olthc
prox|m|ty bctwccn mult|plcs ol thc s| tuation and thc supernumcrary
namc olthc cvent ( that |t has placed i n c|rculat|on; . 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|onsolthcncwcpochonly
dcl|vcr a shattercd or conluscd scnse. wh|ch |s so|cly percept| blc lor a
transitory 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 cvcry 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,
graspcdbythclanguagc olscicnce, wh|ch isto sayina 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 ransparcncyolthcl 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 systcmatic 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 obviously nonc other than /hc s/a/c o] /hc pe////cc·h/s/e·/c s//ua//en ,c.
Mcditat|on9 ; . A programmeisprec|sc|ya 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 hcy share ( thc
| anguagcolpar|lamcntlorexamplc, 1hccentrcolgrav|tyolthclntcrmi
nab|e and contrad|ctory debates over thc posslbl|lty' ( socl a| . hnancla|.
national . . , ol measures rccommcndcd by so and so l l cs i n the con
structlvc charactcr ol thc mu|t|plcs whose discernment l s announccd.
Moreovcr. cvcryoneproc| almsthatthclropposltlonl snot systcmatlc' . but
constructlvc . What|sat stake|nthlsquarre|ovcrthcposs| b| e'1heStatc.
1hl s| s|npcrlectconlorm|tywi t hthcorlcntatlonolconstructlvlstthought.
whi ch rcnders lts dlscoursc statlst i n ordcr t o bcttcr grasp thc
commensurabll l ty betwcen state and situatlon. 1hc programmc÷a con
ccntratc ol thc pol | t | cal propos| t| on÷ls c|carly a lormul a ol thcl anguage
whlch proposcs a ncw connguratlon dehncd by strlct l|nks to the
sltuatlon sparamctcrs ( budgctary. statistlca|. ctc. , 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 ncccssary to| c. ln thc nc| d ol
polltlcs. olrclormatorymoderat| 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 cxcecdsthcveryrcsources olthat |anguagc.
andthat lt wou| dbe more worthwh| l c to examlnc÷yet lt l san arid and
compl ex dcmand÷what thcy. thcpeop|c. arc capablc ollnthc mattcrol
polltlcs and with respect to the surpl us- capaclty 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/c4¸c 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 capaclty to lnscribc contro| | ab| c nomlnatlons ln
|cgltlmate | | a|sons. | n contrast to tbe rad| callsm o| onto|ogy. wblch
suppresses |lalsons | n lavour ol the pure mu| tlp| e (d. Appcndix 2 , . l t i s
lrom| | al sonsthatcan be rendered cxpllcltln a l anguagethatconstruct|v
| smdrawsthcguarantccolbc|nglorthosconc mu| tlp|eswhosccx| stcnce
| s ratlhcd by the stat e 1hls is why. at thc very polnt at whlch onto| ogy
rcvokes the bond ol know| edgc and lalthlul | y connccts l ts propositlons
togctheronthcbasisoltheparadoxlca|marklngolthevold. constructlvlst
thought advances step by stcp under the contro| ol lormu|ab| e connec-
tlons. thus propos| ng a know/c4¸c o] /c/n¸ 1hls |s the reason why 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 imµasscof ontology÷thc quantitativc un- mcasurcofthc sct ol µarts
of a sct÷tormcntcd Cantor. ltthrcatcncd hi svcry dcsirc forfoundatlon.
Accompani cd by doubt. and with a tclcntlcssncss rccountcd i n lcttcrs÷
lcttcrs sµcak|ng, in thc mornlng llght, of a hard night of thought and
calculation÷hcbclicvcdt hat oncshouldbcabl ctoshowt hat thcquantity
ofa sct ofµarts i sthc cardinalwhichcomcsdircctlyaltcrthat ofthc sct
ltsclf,itssucccssor. Hcbc|icvcdcsµcciallythatp/o ) , thcµartsofdcnumcr
ablcinhnity, thus, al l thcsubsctsconstitutcdfromwholcnumbcrs; , hadto
bc cqual i n quantity to WI , thc hrst cardinal wh|ch mcasurcs an inhnltc
quantitysuµcriortothcdcnumcrablc. 1hiscquation, writtcnI p/o) I * W
I ,
i s knownundcrthcnamcofthccontinuum hypothesis, bccausct hcmultiµlc
p/o) i s thc ontological schcma of thc gcomctr|c or sµatlal continuum
bcmonstratingt hccontinuumhyµothcsis, or ( whcn doubthadhimi nits
griµs; rcfuting lt, was Cantor' s tcrminal obscssion. a casc in which thc
individual i sµrcy,at aµo|ntwhichhcbclicvcstobclocalorcvcntcchnical.
toa challcngcolthoughtwhoscscnsc,stilllcglblctoday, i scxorbi tant . Fot
what wovcandsµun thc dcrc|ictionofCantorthc invcntorwasnothing
|cssthanancrrancy ofbcing.
1hccquat| on p/o) * W
I canbcgivcn a global scnsc. 1hcgcncralizcd
conti nuum hyµothcsi s holds that, for any cardinal Wu onc has
p/u) * WS,) . 1hcschyµothcscsradical|ynormalizcthccxccssofthcstatc
by at tributing a minimal mcasurc to it. Sincc wc know, by Cantor' s
thcorcm, that I p/o) I in any casc has t o bc a cardinal suµcrlor t o Wo,
dcclar|ng i t cqua| to WS\) , thus, to thc cardinal which follows Wa i n thc
scqucncc ofalcµhs, is, strictlysµcaking, the least one can do.
295
296
BEI NG AND EVENT
Faston's thcorcm ( Mcdltatlon 26; showsthatthcsc hyµothcscs' arcl n
rcal|ty µurc dcc|s|ons Nothlng, | n lact, a| l ows thcm to bc vcrl hcd or
rclutcd, sl nccltl scohcrcntwl ththc!dcasolthcmult|µl cthatp(a ) ¸takc
j ust about anyva| ucsuµcrlorto wa.
Cantorthushadno chancc lnh|sdcsµcratcattcmµtsto c|thcrcstabllsh
ortclutcthc contl nuumhyµothcsl s ' 1hcs ubj accntonto| oglca| challcngc
cxcccdcdhlslnncrconvlctlon.
8ut Faston's thcorcmwasµub||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.
alrcady cstab|lshcd that acccµtlng thc contl nuum hyµothcsls d|d not. l n
anymanncr, l mµ| ybrcaklngwl thhdc|ltytothc!dcasolthcmu|tlµ| c thls
dcc|slon | s cohcrcnt wlth thc lundamcnta| ax|oms ol thc sclcncc ol thc
µurc mu|tlµlc
What |s rcmarkablc l s that thc normallzat|on rcµrcscntcd by thc
contlnuumhypothcsls÷thc mlnlmum ol statc cxccss÷has |ts cohcrcncy
guarantccd solc|y wlthln thc lramcwork ol a doctr|nc ol thc multlµ|c
wh|ch cnslavcs thc lattcr's cx|stcncc to thc powcrs ol languagc (on th|s
occas|on, thc lormallzcdlanguagc oll oglc; . !nthlslramcwork, morcovcr.
ltturnsoutthatthcaxlomolcholcclsno|ongcra dcc|slon, bccausc( lrom
bclng an axlom| n2ctmcl o's thcory; lt hasbccomca la|thlu| lydcduc|b|c
thcorcm As such, thc construct|vlst or|cntatlon, rctroact|vc| y aµµllcd to
ontology on thc basls ol thc | attcr's own lmµasscs, has thc cllcct ol
comlortlng thc axl om ol lntcrvcnt|on, at thc µrlcc, onc cou| d say, ol
robb|ngltollts|ntcrvcnt|onalva| uc, slncc|tbccomcsa ncccssltylog|cal l y
drawn lrom othcr ax|oms. !t l s no |ongcr ncccssary to makc an |ntcr
vcnt|onw|thrcsµcct to lntcrvcntlon
!t|s qultc undcrstandablcthatwhcn lt camc tonamlngthcvo| untatl| y
rcstrlctcdvcrslonbcoµcratcdolthcdoctr|ncoltbcmu|tlplc, Codclchosc
thc cxµrcsslon constructlb|c unlvcrsc' , and that thc mu|tlµlcs thcrcby
subm|ttcdto languagc wcrcca||cd constructlblc scts' .
l CONS1RUC1!ON OF1HF CONCFP1 OFCONS1RUC1!BLF SF1
1akc a sct a. 1hc gcncralnotlon ol thc sct olµarts ol a, p(a) , dcslgnatcs
cvcrythlng wblch l s | ncl udcd in a. 1hls l s thc or|g|n ol cxccss Con
struct|vlstontology undcrtakcsthcrcstr|ct|on olsuch cxccss i tcnvlsagcs
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
onl yadmittingaspartsola what canbcscparatcdout ( i nthcscnscolthc
axiomolscparatl on, byptopcrt|cswhicharethcmsclvcsstatcdlncxpl|c| t
lormulaswhoscncl dolappllcat|on,paramctcrs, andquantinctsarcsolc| y
relcrrcd to a | tscll.
Quantlncrs il, lot cxamplc. ! wantto scparatc out ( and constitute asa
partola) al l thc c| cmcntsßolawhichpossessthc property thcrc cxistsa
, such that ß has thc rclation R w|th ,'÷( 3,; ¸ R], ,, } ÷what must bc
undcrstood l s that thc , in question ci tcdby thc cxistcntial quanti ner.
mustbeanclemcntola, and notj ustanycxistcntmultip| c, drawnlromt hc
entirc' universc olmultip| cs. ! nothctwords, thcproposltlon ( 3,, ¸ k],,; |
mustbcrcad, lnt hccasci nqucstlon. as ( 3,, ¸ ,E a& R], ,¦ } .
1hc samcoccurswiththe unlvcrsa|quantincr. !ll wanttoscparatc out
asa part. l ct's say. all thccl cmcntsßolawhich atc un| vcrsally' linkcdto
evcry multiplc by a rclation÷, V,, ¸ R], ,, ] ÷what must bc undcrstood i s
that ( V,, mcans. lorcvcry, wh/ch /c/on¸s| oa ( V,, ¸ ,E a � R],,, } .
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. ß. , , whcreß ls a lrcevarlable andß, thenameola spcclncdmultiplc
1hislormul a means' thatßcntcrtai nsa dchnitcrel ationwiththcmul tiplc
ß, (a relationwhose scnscls nxcd byà, . ! can thus separate, asa part. al|
thc clemcnts ß ol a wh| ch cllectivc|y malntain thc relation in qucstion
w|th thc multiplc named by ß . . Howcver. ln thc constructivist vision
, which postulatcs a radica| immanencc to thc lnitia| multiplc a) , this
wou| donlybclcgitlmatei lthcmultlplcdcslgnatedbyß. bc| ongcditscllto
a. For cvcry nxcd val ue attrlbutcd /n a to thls name ß, ! wlll havc a
part÷in thc consttuctivc scnse÷composcd ol al l thec| cments ol a which
maintain the rclatlon cxprcssed by thc lormul a à t o this collcague' i n
bclonging to a.
F|nally, wc wl | l consldcr a 4c]na//c part ol a to bc a group|ng ol
elcmcnts ol a that can bc separated out by mcans ol a lormula. 1his
lormula wil| bc sald to bc rcstr/ctc4 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 hcrcby scvcrcly
rcstrictcd underthc conccpt ol dcnnablcpart by thc double authority ol
languagc ( thccxistencc olancxplicitscparatinglormu| a, andthc uniquc
rclcrencc to thc initial sct.
Wc wi l l tcrm D(a, ÷ thc set ol dcnnablc parts ol a
'
÷the sct ol parts
whichcanbcconstructcdin thismanncr !ti sobvl ousthat D(a, 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 g
( and not all the parts in the sense of ontology) . Therefore, L s,) = D( ,, .
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 , , ,
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 youwcrc ablc to construct i t. uow
indccdcanonccxplicitlydcñncsucha multiplcwithout , att hcsamctimc,
showingit to bc constructiblc' Ccrtainly. 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.
Fvcrythingcomcsdownto thc lollowing. thcproposition cvcrymulti -
plc |s constructibl c' is /rrc]u/a//cwithin thc lramcwork ol thc ldcasolthc
mul tiplcthatwchavcadvanccduptothi spo|nt÷il. olcoursc, thcscldcas
arcthcmsclvcscohcrcnt. 1ohopc to cxhibitby dcmonstrationa countcr-
cxamplcisthcrclorctohopci nvai n. Onccould, withoutbtcak|ngwiththc
dcductivc ñdclity olontology. dccidctosolclyacccptconstructiblc sctsas
cxistcnt.
1hisdcci si onis known in thclitcraturc as thc ax|om ol consttuctibility.
lti swrittcn Forcvctymu|tiplcy, thcrccxists a |cvcl olthcconstructibl c
hicrarchy to which it bclongs' . that is, ( V,, ( 3a, ¸ , E . } , whcrc a i s an
ordi nal .
1hcdcmonstrationolthcirrclutablccharactcrolthisdccision÷whichi s
i nnowaycons|dcrcdbythcmaj orityolmathcmatic| ansasanaxiom, asa
vcritablc ldca' ol thcmultip| c÷is ol a subtlctywhich is quitc instructivc
yctitstcchnicaldctai | scxcccdthc conccrnsolthisbook. !tisachicvcdby
mcans olanautol im| tationolthc statcmcnt cvcrymultiplci sconstruct
iblc' to thc constructiblc unl vcrsc itsell. 1hc approach i s roughly thc
lollowing.
a. Oncbcgins bycstablishingthatthc scvcn main axi omsolsct thcory
( cx|cns|onal | ty, powcrsct ( parts , , uni on, scparation, rcp| accmcnt void,
and i nñnity, 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 saylng that thc const ructiblc
univcrscisamo4c/olthcscaxiomsi nthatilonc applics thcconstructions
andthcguarantccsolcxistcnccsupportcdbythcldcasolthcmultiplc, 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. oncstayswithi othclramcwork
olthc ldcas olthc multlplc. bccausc the reali zati on ol these Ideas l nthe
rcstrictcdunivcrsc w||l ncvcrgcncratc anythingnon- constructibl c.
ltisthctclorcclcari hat anydcmonstrationdrawnlromthcldcasolthc
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 you 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 supposcdcohctcnccofontology,
which istosaythc val ucolits opcratorofndclity÷dcduction÷woul dnot
survivc
/. lnlact. onccthcconstructiblcunivcrsc| sdcmonstratcdtobca modcl
o|thcfundamcntalaxioms ofthcdoctrincofthc multi plc, Godcl dircctly
complctcsthc irrcfutabilityofthchypothcsis cvcrymu| ti plc is construct
iblc by showing that thisstatcmcnt is truci nthc constructib|c univcrsc,
thati t i sa conscqucncc thcrcinofthc rclativizcd axi oms Commonscnsc
would say that th|s rcsult | s trivial . i f onc i s insidc thc constructiblc
univcrsc, i ti sguarantccdthatcvcrymultiplci sconstructiblcthcrcin' But
common scnsc gocs astray int hcl abyrinth wovcn byt hcsovcrcignty of
languagc and t hc lolding ol bcing withi n. 1hc qucsti on hcrc i s t hat ol
cstablishingwhcthcrt hcstatcmcnt ( Va) [ ( :�) (a ÷ .�, | i s a thcorcmol thc
constructiblcunivctsc. l nothcrwords, |]thc quantincrs
( Va) and( 3ß, arc
rcstrictcd to thi s univcrsc ( for cvcry consttuctib|c a' , and thcrc cxists a
constructiblc ß , , and |] thc writing 'a ÷ .�÷that is, thc conccp/ of
lcvcl÷canbccxplicitlyptcscntcd as a rcstrictcd]ermu/a. in thc construct
iblc scnsc, /h:nthisstatcmcntwillbcdcduciblcwithinontology. 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 .
·
, &
(
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 ndcxcdby constructi b| c
ordina| s. lntruth, cvcq 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 vcrsallynamcabl c( orconstructiblc, . 1his dcmonstration, whi chi snot
cntirclytrivial, was al rcadypatt 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
( |nthcgcncralscnsc, ofa constructib|ca i s/hcsamc/h/ng, 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 hicrarchy 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 (, 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 . !twillbcncccssaryt oscrutinizccxactlywhata rcstrictcdformul ais,
to dccomposc' i tintoclcmcntarysctopcrations/n]n//cnum/cr( thcGodcl
opcrations' , , 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 cvcry multiplc is constructib| c , rclat| vi zcd to thc
constructiblc univcrsc, is t ruc. or, that cvcry constructib| c sct is con
structivclyconstructcd.
1hc hypo/hcs/s that cvcry sc: i s constructiblc is thus a /hcorcm of thc
constructiblcunivcrsc.
1hccffcctof t hi s infcrcocci s| mmcdiatc.i l thcstatcmcnt cvcrymul ti plc
is constructib| c i struc i nthc constructiblc univcrsc. onc cannotproducc
any rcfutationol it in on|ologypcrsc Sucha rcfutationwould, in fact, bc
rclativizablc , bccausca| l thcax| omsarc, , andonc woul dbc ablcto rcfutc,
withi nthcconstructivistunivcrsc. thc rclat| vizationofthat statcmcnt. Yct
thisi snotpossib|cbccausc, onthc contrary, thatrcl ativizationi sdcduciblc
thcrcin.
1hc dccision to solcly 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 onality. 1hc
hypothcsis of an ontology 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. , arcall constructib|c.
303
304
BEI NG AND EVENT
lsthiscnoughto convinccsomconcwhoscdcsirc.s not onlytoadvancc
ontology ( that is, to bc a mathcmatician, , but to think ontological
thought' Must onc havc thc wisdom to lold bci ng to thc rcquisitcs ol
lormallanguagc'1hcmathcmatician,whoonlycvcrencounters 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
hypothcsis ol constructibil|ty as an axiom in thc samc scnsc as thc
othcrs÷howcvcr homogcncous it may bc to thc rcality that thcy
manipulatc.
1hcrcasonlorthisisthatthc normalizingcllcctsolthi slol di ngolbcing,
olthissovcrcigntyol| anguagc, arcsuchthatthcyproposca ||attcncdand
corrcctunivcrscinwhi chcxccssi srcduccdtothcstrictcstolmcasurcs, and
i nwhichsituationspcrscvcrci ndcnnitclyinthci rrcgulatcdbci ng Wcshal l
scc, succcssivcly, thati lonc assumcsthat cvcry multiplc | sconstructiblc,
thccvcnti snot. thci ntcrvcntion| snon i ntcrvcntional (orlcgal , , andthc
un-mcasurc olthcstatci scxactlymcasurablc.
4 1BF ABSOLU1F N0N BFlNG OF1BF FVFN1
lnontologyper se, thcnon bcingolthccvcntisa dcc| si on 1o lorccloscthc
cxistcncc ol scts which bclong to thcmsclvcs÷ultra oncs÷a spcci al
axiomi sncccssary, thcaxiomolloundation( Mcditat| on l 4, 1hcdclimita-
tionolnon-bcing is thc rcsult ol an cxplicit and i naugura| statcmcnt .
With thc hypothcsis ol constructibility, cvcrything changcs. 1his timc
onccanactuallydemonstrate thatno ( constructiblc, multip|ci scvcntal I
othcr words, thc hypothcsis ol constructibi|ity 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 hicrarchyata
ccrtain lcvc|, l cts say 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 possibility ol scllbclonging. Bctwccn cumulativc construction by
lcvclsandthccvcnt, achoicchastobcmadc. ll, thcrclorc, cvcrymultiplc
i sconstructibl c, no multiplc| scvcn tal . Wchavcnonccdhcrcolthcaxiom
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
olfoundation. thchypothcsisofconsttuctibilityprovidcsforthcdcduciblc
c|imination olany abnormal ' multiplicity. ofanyultra- onc.
Withinthcconstructiblcunivcrsc. iti sncccssary ( andnotdccidcd; that
thccvcntdocsnotcxi st. 1hi si sadiffcrcnccofprincipl c. 1hcintcrvcntional
rccognition of thc cvcnt contravcncs a spccial and pr|mord|al thcsis of
gcncralontology. ltrefutes, onthc othcrhand. thc vcry cohcrcncy ofthc
constructiblc uni vcrsc. ln thc ñrst casc. it suspcnds an axiom. ln thc
sccond. it rui nsa ñdclity. Bctwccn thc hypothcsis of constructibility and
thc cvcnt. again. a choicc has to bc madc. And thc discordancc is
mainta|ncd i n thc vcry scnsc ol thc word choicc . thc hypothcsis of
constructibi|ity 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. ñndsitscllcquallyrcduccdtobcingnomorcthanancllcct
ol thc othcr ldcas ol thc multiplc. Not only can onc dcmonstratc that a
( constructibl c; 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 any ( constructiblc; multiplc
whatsocvcr. iti scal lcda¸/o/a/choiccluncti on. 1hcillcgalityolchoicc. thc
anonymity ol rcprcscntativcs. thc ungraspablc naturc of dclcgation ( scc
Mcditation 22, arcrcduccdto thcproccdutal un|formity ofan ordcr.
l havc al rcady rcvcalcd thc duplicity of thc axiom of choicc. A wild
proccdurc olrcprcscntativcswithoutany 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 rcctlydcmonstratc. withoutrccoursctosupplcmcntaryhypothcscs.
nortoanywagcronintcrvcntion. thatcvcrymult|plci swcl l - ordcrcd. Lct s
tracc thc dcvclopmcnt ol this triumph ol ordcr via languagc lt is
worthwhilc glanci ng÷without worrying about completc rigour÷at thc
tcchni qucs olordcr. such as la|d outundcr thc constructivist vision ona
shadowlcss day.
As it happcns. cvcrything. or almost cvcrything. is cxtractcd lrom thc
fnite charactcr ol thc cxplicit writings of thc languagc ( the lormul as ,
Fvcryconstructiblcscti s a dchnablcparto l alcvclL p. 1hclormul aàwhich
305
306
BEI NG AND EVENT
dchncsthc partonlycontainsañnitcnumbcrolsi gns. ltisthuspossiblcto
rank. orordcr. allthclormulasonthcbasi solthcir l cngth' ( thc| rnumbcr
ol signs , . 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 cvcry
construct|blcmultiplchasanamc (aphrascoralormul awhich dcsignatcs
i t , . thcordcrol namcsinduccsatotalordcrolthcscmultipl cs. Such isthc
powcrolanydictionary 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 actually bc combincd | s thc ordcr ol words. or
lormulas. and thc supposcdordcrprcviouslyobtaincd uponthcclcmcnts
olthclcvcl. �. Xcvcrthclcss. thchcartolthcproccdurc licsi nthclactthat
cvcrysctofñn| tcphrascs canbcwcl | - ordcrcd.
1hcrcsultisthatcvcry lcvcl .�|swcll ordcrcd. andthussoi sthccntirc
constructiblc hicrarchy.
1hc axiom olchoicc isnolongcranything morc than a sinccurc. givcn
anyconstructi b| cmultip| c. thc lunctionolcho| cc' willonlyhavctosclcct.
lorcxamplc. its smallcst clcmcnt according to thc wc| l ordcring i nduccd
by its inclus| on within thc lcvcl .�. olwhich it is a dcñnablc part. ltis a
unilorm. dctcrm| ncdproccdurc. and. l darc say. onc withoutchoicc.
Wchavcthusindicatcdthatthccxi stcnccola lunctionolchoicconany
constructiblc multiplc can bc 4cmons/m/c4 morcovcr. wc arc actually
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|ogy,
cohcrcntwiththc othcrldcasol thcmultiplc !or il onc couldrclutcit on
t hcbasisofthcsc ldcas. whichi st osaydcmonstratcthccxistcnccol a sct
w|thoutachoicclunction. arc/a//v/zc4vcrsi onolthisdcmonstrationwould
cxist . Onccoulddcmonstratc somcthinglikc. thcrc cxistsa constructiblc
sctwhichdocsnotal|owa constructibl cchoicclunction. ' Butwchavcj ust
shown thc contrary.
ll ontologyw| thout thc axiom ol choicc is cohcrcnt . |t must alsobcso
wlth thc axiom ol choicc. bccausc in thc rcstrictcd vcrsion ol ontology
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 hypothcs|s ol construct|b|l|ty
solclydclivcr|ngancccssaryandcxplici t vcrsionol choicc' . Asadcductivc
conscqucncc. thi s ax|om' | oscscvcryth|ngwh|ch madc it into thclorm
multiplcolintcrvcnt| on. | | | cga| | ty. anonym|ty. cx| stcnccwithoutcx|stcnt.
lt| snolongcranything 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|ogyist ranslormcdintoapassagcbythchypothcs|sol
construct|bi | ity. Not only | st hcintr|ns|c sizc olt hcsct ol parts pcrlcctly
ñxcd. butit| s a|so. aslhavca| rcadyannounccd.thcsma| | cstpossib|csuch
s|zc. Nor is a dcc|sion|s rcqu|rcdtocndthccxccssivccrrancyol 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|ty. 1hcgcncra| | zcdcontinuum
hypothcsis is truc | n the constructiblc univcrsc. 1hc | attcr. and carclu|
hcrc. mustbercadaslo| | ows. .(,, ) � ¸¸ p(w, ) ¸
=
WS(" , ] L ; awrit| nginwhich
cvcrything |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 | nduccdby
anyconstructivistor|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| , . Buta onc
to-onc corrcspondcnce. | i kc any rc| ation. i s on| ycvcr 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| ogy. 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 ncccssary 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� . . , ¸ 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 hicrarchy bclorc thc lcvc| L wsl. ) ' 1hc fundamcntal
|cmmai swrittcn in thc lol | owing manncr. foranyconstructib|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 bcyond thc mcans I wish to
cmployi n th|s book. It al so rcquircs a vcry 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 * 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|gnty 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 ; . /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. Fvcrybodycan 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|ngisonlyadm|ttcdtobc|ngw|th|n
thctransparcncyolsignswhich b|ndtogcthcr|tsdcrivationonthcbasisol
what wc havc a| tcady bccn ablc to . nscribc. What l wishcd to transm|t.
morc than thc gcncra| sp|rit olan ontology 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|acy ofthcmu| tiplc. andthcconstruction ollcgitimatcgroup
|ngs÷its passagc to statcj ur|sdiction. Nominal|sm rcigns, l statcd, in our
worl d it | s its spontancous phil osophy. 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 thcy arc. 3ut what i s at stakc hcrc i s a lazy
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 ly knowlcdgcwithout knowi ng.
ltsnosctothcgrindstoncolbci ng, scholarlyorconstructiblcontologyis,
i ncontrast, ascct| cand rcl cntlcss . 1hcgiganti cl aboutby mcansolwhi ch
i t rcñncs| anguagcandpasscsthcprcscntati onolprescnt a| i onthroughits
subtlcñltcrs÷a | abourtowhichJcnscn,altcrCodelattachcdhisnamc÷is
propcrlyspcaki 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|onolthcconscqucnccsolthchypothcs| so|constructibilitygivcs
usthcontologica| paradigmolconstructivistthoughtand tcachcs uswhat
thoughtiscapablc ol. 1hcrcsultsarcthcrc. thci rrcprcssi blccxccssolthc
statc ola situat. on nnds itscll. bcncath thc scholarly cyc 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 ncccssaryannulmcntolanythought olthccvcntand
thcrcduction ol tHc |orm- mu|tiplcoli ntcrvcnt| on10 a dcl| nab| cñgurc ol
univcrsalordcr.
1hc rcason bcHi nd this tradc oll. ccrtainly, is t |at thc constructibl c
uni vcrscisnarrow. !lonccanputitthisway, itconta| nsthcl castpossiblc
mul ti plcs . lt couots asoncwithparsi mony. rcal l anguagc, disconti nuous,
i saninñnitcpowcr, butitncvcrsurpasscsthcdcnumcrablc.
l sai d that any dircct cvaluation ol this rcstriction was impossibl c.
Withoutthcpossi bi | ityolcxhibitingatl 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 intuitivcly cnormous and rationa|ly
incalcu| abl c.
uowcvcr, i lthcltamcworkolthcldcasolthcmu| t| pl eiscnlargcdby: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, lromthisobscrvatoryi nwhichbcingisimmcdi atc| ymagniñcdin
itspowcroli nñnitccxccss, thatthclimitationintroduccd|n thcthough:ol
bcingbythc hypothcs| s olconstructibility i squi tc s|mply dtaconi an, and
that thc sacriñcc i s, litcral ly, 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 thcy 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 j udging thc rca| cllccts ol thc
constructivistoricntation. Frommypointolvicw. whichi sncithcrthatol
thc powcr ol|anguagc ( whoscindispcnsab|casccsisl recogn|zc, . nor that
oltransccndencc (whoschcroism!rccogni zc, . thcrci ssomcp|casurctobc
hadi nsccinghowcach olthcscoricntationsprovidcsa diagnosticlorthc
othcr.
lnAppcndix>. l spcako|thc | argccardina| s' whosccxistcncccannotbc
dcduccdwithinthec|assica|sctthcoryaxi oms. Eowcvcr. byconñdcnccin
thc prodiga|ity ol prcscntation. onc may dcc|arc thcir bcing÷savc il. in
invcst|gatinglurthcr. oncñndsthati ndoingsothccohcrcncy 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|y inacccssib|c' . Cardi na| s sai d to bc
strong|yinacccssibl c' havcthcpropcrtyolbcing rcgu|ar' . and. morcovcr.
olbcingsuch thatthcyovcrtakc in intrinsicsizc thc sct olparts ol any sct
whichi ssma| | crthan thcm. ll1 isinacccssiblc. andi la < -. wc alsohave
¸ p(a) ¸ < -. As such. thcsc cardi na| s cannot bc attaincd by mcans ol thc
rcitcrationol statist cxccss ovcrwhatis inlcriorto thcm.
But thcrc is thc possibi|ity ol dcñning cardinals lar morc gigantic than
thc ñrst strong|yinacccssib| c cardina| . For cxamp|c. thc Mah| o cardinals
arc sti|l l argcr than thc ñrst inacccssiblc cardinal -. which itsc|l has the
propcrtyolbcingthc-thinacccssib|ccardina| ( thus. thc|attcrissuchthat
thc sct olinacccssib|c cardina| s sma|lcr than it has- as i ts cardina|ity, .
1hc thcory ol | argc cardina| s' has bccn constant|y cnrichcd by ncw
monstcrs. A||olthcm mustlormthcobj cctolspecial axiomstoguarantcc
thcir existcncc A|| ol thcm attcmpt to constitutc within thc inñnitc an
abysscomparab| ctothconcwhichdistinguishcsthcñrsti nñni ty, wo, lrom
thc ñnitc mu|tip|cs. Nonc olthcm quitc succccd.
1hcrc i s a | argc varicty ol tcchnica| mcans lor dcñni ng vcry | argc
cardi nal s. 1hcy can posscss propcrtics ol inacccssibi|ity ( this or that
opcration app|i cd to smal | cr cardina|s docs not a||ow onc to construct
thcm, . but a|so positivc propcrtics. which do not havc an i mmcdiatcly
visib|c rc| at. on w|th intrinsic sizc yet which ncvcrthc| css rcquirc i t. 1hc
c|assic cxamp|c is that ol mcasurab|c cardina|s whosc spcci ñc propcrty
÷and l wi| l lcavc its mystcry 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 |ity. Onccandcmonstratc. howevcr. tHata mcasurablccardina|
3 1 1
3 12
BEI NG AND EVENT
| saMahlocard|nal . Furthcrmorc,andth|salrcadythrowssomcl|ghtupon
thclimit|ngcffcct ofthcconstructib|l|tyhypothcsis, onc can dcmonstratc
( Scott, 1 96 1 ) that i fonc adm|ts this hypothcs|s, thcrc arcno mcasurablc
card| nal s. 1hc construct|blc un|vcrscdecides, |tscll on thc |mposs|b|l|tyof
bcing of ccrta|n transccndcntal mult|plicitics. lt rcstricts thc inñn|tc
prod|gal|tyofprcscntat|on.
L|vcrscpropcrt|csconccrni ng thc part|tions ofscts alsol cad us tothc
suppos|t|on ofthc cx|stcnccofvcry l argc card| nal s. 0nccan sccthat thc
s|ngular|ty of a card| nal is. i n short, a propcrty ol part|t| on. it can bc
d|vidcd | nto a numbcr, smallcr than itsclf, olpi cccs smal l cr than itsclf
( Appcnd|x > ; .
Cons|dcrthcfollowingpropcrtyofpart|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 typc ¦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. Saythatth|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
probablytr|plctsofclcmcntsof- ¦�, ß,, ß·j , andonthc othcrs|dc, othcr
tr|plcts ¦ß I , ß ,, ߬j , and so |t gocs for cvcry n. lt |s said that a subsct,
,C 7, of-| sn- homogeneous forthcpartit|on| fallthcn-tuplctsofclcmcnts
of , arc i n thc samc ha|f. !n this manncr, , |s 2 - homogcncous for thc
part|t|on i fall thcpa|rs ¦ß, ß,j ÷w|th ß, E Y andß, E ,arcinthc samc
half.
I! will bc sa|dthat , 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,
thcy 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 found, , ctc.
A cardi nal - is a Ramsey cardinal |f, for anypart|tion dcñncd | n th|s
manncr÷that| s, adivisioni ntwoofthcsct . ¸-| ¨÷thcrccx|stsasubsct
y C -, whosc card|nality i s - wh|cb i s g|�
-
b�¡|y homogcncous for thc
partit|on.
1hc | i nk to |ntr|nsic size is not particularly clcar. Bowcver it can bc
shownthatcvcryRamscycardinal|s|nacccss|blc,thati t| sweaklycompact
THE FOLDI NG OF BEI NG AND THE SOVEREI GNTY OF LANGUAGE
( anothcrspcci csofmonstcr; . ctc. lnbricl, a Ramscycardi nal i svcry l argc
indccd.
ltsohappcnsthatin l 97IRowbottompublishcdthclollowingrcmark
ablc rcsul t. il thcrc cxists a Ramscy cardinal , lorcvcrycardi nal smallcr
thanit,thcsctolconstructible partsolthiscardinalhasapowcrcqualtothis
cardinal . lnothcrwords. i lT isa Ramscycardinal, 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 may ñnd this quitc surpris|ng. altcr al|, docsn't Cantor's
thcorcm, whosc constructiblc rclativization ccrtainly cxists. statc that
p�a) ¸ > Wa alwaysandcvcrywhcrc' Ycs. but Rowbottom' sthcorcmi sa
thcorcmof general ontology andnot a thcorcmi mmancntto thcconstruct
|blcunivcrsc. In thc constructiblcunivcrsc, wccvidcnt|yhavcthclol l ow
|ng. 1hcsctolconstructiblcpartsola ( constructibl c; sct hasa powcr ( in
thc constructiblcscnsc; supcrior( in thc constructibl cscnsc; tothat( i nthc
constructiblcscnsc, olthci nitialsct.Withsucha rcstricti onwcdcnni tcly
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
gcncralontology. lt dcc| arcsthat i lthcrccxi sts a Ramscy cardi na|¿ thcn
thcrc|sdcñnitclyaonc- t o onccorrcspondcnccbctwccnw" ( inthcgcncral
scnsc, andthcsctofitsconstructib|cparts Oncrcsulti nparti culari sthat
thcconstructible WI , whichi sconstructibl ycqualto¸p�,, ) I , i snot. i ngcncral
ontologywithRamscycardi nals, a cardina|in anymanncr( i nthcgcncral
scnsc, .
l l thcpointo l vl cwo l truth. cxcccdingthcstrict |awo l | anguagc i s that
olgcncralonto|ogy. aodi lconhdcncci nthcprodiga| l tyolbclngwcighsin
lavoutoladmittingthccxistcnccola Ramscycardi oalthcnRowbottoms
thcorcmgrantsusamcasurcolthcsacriñccthatwcarci nvitcdtomakcby
thc hypothcsis ol constructlbi|ity. 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 codily thc
admission into cxistcncc olmulti p| cswithin thc constructivist vision wc
havcacomplctcandtotallyordcrcduni 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 ncccssary conscqucnccs ol thc si tuation. 0u/s/dc÷that is, lrom a
standpoi nt whcrc no tcstriction upon parts is tolcratcd, whcrc |nclusion
radicallycxcccdsbc| onging, andwhcrconc assumcsthc cxistcncc olthc
i ndctcrminatc and thc unnamcab| c ( and assumi ng thi s only mcans that
thcy arc not prohibitcd, sincc thcy cannot bc shcv, ÷thc constructib|c
univcrscappcarstobconcolanastonishingpovcrty, i nthati trcduccsthc
lunction ol cxccss to nothing, and only managcs tostagc it by mcansol
nctivc cardinal s.
1his povcrty olknowlcdgc÷or t hi sd. gnity ol proccdurcs, bccausc thc
said povcrty can on|y bc sccn lrom outsidc, and undcr risky hypoth
cscs÷rcsults, in thc nnalanalysis, lrom itsparticularlawbcing, bcsidcsthc
disccrniblc, that ol thc dccidablc. Knowlcdgc cxcl udcs ignorancc. 1his
tautologyisprolound. it dcsignatcsthatscholar|yasccsis, andthcunivcrsc
which corrcspondsto| t, i scaptivatcdbythc dcsirc lordcc| sion. Wchavc
sccn how a positivc dcc|sion was takcn conccrning thc axiom ol choicc
andthc continuumhypothcsis with thc hypotncsis ol constructibi |ity. As
A. Lcvysays. 1hcaxiomolconstructibi|itygivcssuchancxactdcscription
olwhat a|| scts arc that onc olthc most proloundopcn probl cms i n sct
thcory i s to || nda natural statcmcnt ol sct thcory which docs not rclcr,
dircct|yori ndi rcctly, tovcrylargcordinals. . . andwhichis ncithcrprovcd
norrclutcdbythcaxiomolconstructibi| ity. Furthcrmorc, conccrningthc
thornyqucstionolknowingwhichrcgu|arordinalshavcordon' thavcthc
trccpropcrty, thcsamcauthornotcs. Noticcthati lwc assumc thcaxiom
ol constructibility thcn wc know cxact| y whi ch ordinals havc thc trcc
propcrty. | t i s typica| ol this axiom to dccidc qucstions onc way or
anothcr. '
Bcyond 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
cvcrythingbcc|car|y dccidab| c.
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY
Lei bni z
Fvcry cvcnt haspriort oit its conditions, prcrcquisitcs, suitablc
dispositi oos, whosc cxistcnccmakcs upits sulncicntrcason'
|/]/h wr///n¸ |n kcsponsc/ec/arkc
!t has oltcn bccn rcmarkcd that Lcibniz s thought was prod| giously
modcrn, dcspitc his stubborncrrorconccrni ngmcchanics, his hostilityto
!cwton, his diplomatic prudcncc with rcgard to cstablishcd powcrs, his
conci | i atory vo|ubility in thc dircction olscholasticism, his tastc lor hnal
causcs' , his rcstoration ol singular lorms or cntclcchics, and his popish
thcology. !lVoltairc' ssarcasmswcrcablc, lor a ccrtainti mc. to sprcadthc
|dcaola bl issluloptimismimmcdiatclyannullcdbyanyt cmporalcngagc
mcnt. who, today, wouldphi |osophicallydcsirc 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 systcm, lulguratcs' at cvcry
momcnt w|th i ntrcpid | ntui tions'
1hc thcs. s ! proposc | s that Lcibniz is ablc to dcmonstratc thc most
| mplacablci nventive lrccdomoncchchas¸uarcn/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. cvcrythingwhosccontrary
cnvclopsacontradi ctionposscsscsthcrighttobci nthcmodcofpossibillty
Bci ngpossiblci sthus subordinatc topurclogic, thcidcal andtransparcnt
languagcwhichIcibn|zworkcd onfromthcagcoftwcntyonwards. 1his
bci ng, which contains÷ductoitsaccordanccwith thcformal princ|plcof
i dcntity÷an cffcctivc possibil ity, |s ncithcr i ncrt, nor abstract . !t tcnds
towards cxi stcncc, as far as its intrinsic pcrfcction÷whi ch i s to say i ts
nomi nal cohcrcncc÷author|zcs itto. ln possiblcthi ngs, ori npossibility
itscll or csscncc, thcrc i s a ccrtai n urgc for cxistcncc, or, so to spcak. a
strivingtobci ng.Icibniz'slogicismis an ontologicalpostulatc. cvcrynon
contradi ctory 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 actuallybccn
prcscntcd. 1hisprincip|c, whichrulcsovctthcapparcntcontingcncyofthc
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 sufncicntrcasonwhyi t isthusandnotothcrwisc´
WhatIcibnizabsolutcly rcj ccts is chancc÷which hc calls bli ndchancc' ,
cxcmp| i ncdforhim, andqui tcrightly, i nFpi curus' c//namcn÷ifit mcans
an cvcnt whosc scnsc would havc to bc wagcrcd. For any rcason
conccrning such an cvcnt would bc, in princ|plc, i nsufncicnt. Such an
intcrruption of logical nominations is inadmissi bl c. Not only nothing
happcnsw|thoutitbcingpossiblcforsomconcwhoknowsenough thi ngs
togivca rcasonsuf|icicnttodctcrmincwhyitl ssoand notothcrwisc' , but
analysis can and mustbc pursucd to thc point at which a rcason i s a|so
givcn for thc rcasons thcmsclvcs. Fvcry timc that wc havc sufncicnt
rcasonsfora singularaction, wcalsohavcrcasonslori tsprcrcquisitcs´A
multlplc,andthcmultiplcinhnityofmultiplcsfrom whichitis composcd,
canbccircumscribcdandthoughti nthcabsolutcconstructcdlcgitimacyof
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 always cxam| nc, in a rcgulatcd
manncr, its logical cohcrcncy. !ts ncccssary truth' i s such that onc must
LEI BNI Z
nnd its rcason by 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 isalways
possib|c. 1hconlyobstaclc isthat th|s rcsolutioncontinucsi nnnitcly. But
this is mcrcly a mattcr lor thc calculation ol scrl cs. prcscntcdbcing,
innnitcly multiplc. hasits ultimatc rcasonina l i mi t- tcrm, God, which, at
thcvcryoriginolthi ngs, practiscsaccrtain LivincMathcmatics , andthus
lorms thc rcason ÷in thc scnsc ol calculation÷ ¸ lor| thc scqucncc or
series ol this mul t. pl i city ol conti ngcnci cs . Prcscntcd mu|tipl cs arc con
structiblc,bothlocally ( thci r conditions, prcrcquisitcs, andsuitablcdisposi
tions arcncccssar| lylound, , andglobally ( Godisthcrcasonlorthcirscrics,
accord|ng to a simplc rationa| principlc, which is that ol produc|ng thc
maxi mum olbcingwiththc mini mumolmcans, orlaws , .
Bci ng- i n- totali ty, o r thc world, | s thctcby lound t o bc i ntrinsically
namcablc, both in itstotalityandinitsdctail, accordingtoa l awolbcing
thatdcrivcscithcrlromthclanguagcollogic( thcunivcrsalcharactcri sti c, ,
orlromlocalcmpirical analysis, or, nnally, lrom t hcglobalcal culationol
maxima. God dcsignatcs nothing morc than the place of these laws of the
nameable: heis thcrcalmolctcrnaltruths . lorhcdctainsthcprinc|plcnot
onlyolcxistcncc, butolthcpossiblc, orrathcr, asLcibnizsa|d, olwhat|s
rcalinpossibility , thus olthcpossib|casrcgimcolbcing, oras str|vingto
cxistcncc God isthcconstructibilityolthc 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. Why 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 abyss
317
318
BEI NG AND EVENT
w//hou/ rccson bctwccn possibi|ity ( thc | ogica| rcgimc ol bcing, and
cxistcncc ( thc rcgimc ol prcscntation, , which i s prcci sc| y what thc
constructivist oricntationcannotto|cratc.Furthcrmorc,itisonthcbasisol
thcrcbcingsomcthingrathcrthannothingthatthcncccssityi sinlcrrcdol
rationa| | yaccounti nglor whythingsshou| dbcsoandnotothcrw| sc' , thus
olcxp| ainingthcsccondrcgimcolbcing, thccontingcncyolprcscntation.
Othcrwiscwcwou| dhavctoconccivcolan abysswithoutrcasonbctwccn
cxistcncc( thcwor| dolprcscntation, andthcpossib|cincxistcnts, orldcas,
andthisi snottcnab| ccithcr.
1hc qucstion why is thcrc somcthing rathcrthan nothing'' lunctions
likc a j unction lor a|| thc constructib| c signihcations ol thc Lcibnizian
univcrsc. 1hcax|omsimposcthc qucstion. and. rcciproca| | y, thccomp|ctc
rcsponsc to thc qucstion÷which supposcs thc axi oms÷va| i dating it
havingbccnposcd, connrmsthcaxiomsthatituscs. 1hcwor|disidcntity,
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|icity 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| y aware ol thc stakcs. 1hc
indisccrnib|c is thc onto|ogical prcdicatc olan obstac|c lor| anguagc. 1hc
vu|garphi|osophcrs' , withrcgardtowhomLcibnizrcpcatsthatthcythink
with i ncomp|ctcnotions'~andthusaccordingtoanopcnandbad| ymadc
| anguagc÷arc mistakcnwhcnthcybc|icvcthatthcrearc dillcrcntthings
on|y bccausc thcy 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 any thinkab| c | anguagc÷with rcspcctto its
rcason lor bcing. lt wouldbe supcrnumcrarywith rcgard to thcaxioms,
cllcctivc contingcncy, supcrl| uous i nthc scnsc ol 3artrc' s Nausca. And
sincc God is. i n rca|ity. thc comp| ctc | anguagc, hc cannot to| cratc this
unnamcab| c cxtra. wh| ch amount s to say| 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 oa¸cndon/h//a¸crcbccauscol
ind|scctnibility .
Why' Bccausc|t is prcci sclyaround 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) . Byconscqucncc.it| sccrta| n
thatt hcposit|on olt hcpurcTorcquircsanopctationwhich i s- not. and
thatso| clythcproductionolasupcrnumcrarynamci niti atcst hcthoughtol
|nd|sccrniblcorgcncrictcrms. But lorLc|bni zthcimpassci sdoublchcrc.
- On thc onc hand. thcrc is no cvcnt. si ncc cvcrything wh|ch happcns
i slocally calculable and g| obally placcd |n a scr|cs whosc rcason i s God.
Locally. prcscntati oniscontinuous. anditdocsnottolcratci ntcrruptionor
thc ultra onc. !hcprcscn//sa/ways prc¸nan/w//h /hc]u/urc and no g|vcn
statc is natura| | y cxp| ai nab| c savc by mcans ol that wh|ch | mmcd|atcly
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| obally, thc curvc ol bcing÷thc complctc systcm ol its
unlathomablc multiplicity÷ar|scs lrom a nom|nat | on which is ccttainly
transccndcntal (oritariscslromthccomplctc languagc thatisGod, . yct|t
is rcprcscntabl c. ll onc cou| d cxprcss. by a lormul a ol a supcrior
charactcristic, ancsscntialpropcrtyolthcUn|vcrsc. onc wou|dbcab| cto
rcadt hcrcinwhatthc succcssivc statcs wou| dbc olal l ol|tsparts at any
ass|gncdtimc.
1hccvcnt| s thuscxc| udcdonthclollowingbasis .thccomplctcl anguagc
is thc /n/c¸ra/ca/cu|usol multiplc- prcscntation. whi| st a | ocalapproxi ma
tiona| tcadyauthotlzcs l ts4/p·cn//a/ca/cu/es
- Iurthcrmorc. sincc onc s upposcs a comp| ctc | anguagc÷and th|s
hypothcsis is rcqui rcd loranyconstructivistori cntati on. thc l anguagc ol
Codcl and 1cnscn i s cqua| l y complctc, it is thc ]orma/ l anguagc ol sct
thcory÷itcannotmakcanyscnsctospcakola supcrnumcrarynamc. 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 oancrrancy l nwhlchl t wou| dbctlcdtoa oamcbyt hccllcctol
awagcr. Lc|bniz s | ucidity onthis mattcr i sbr|ll|ant . llhc huntsout÷lor
319
320
BEI NG AND EVENT
cxamplc÷anything which rcscmblcs a doctrinc of atoms ( supposcdly
indisccrnibl c, , it is inthc cndbccausc atomist nom. nationsarcarbitrary.
1hc tcxt is admi rablc hcrc. !t obv|ously follows from this pcrpctual
substitutionofindi sccrniblcclcmcntsthatinthccorporca| worldthcrccan
bcnowayofdistinguishingbctwccndilfcrcntmomcntary statcs. Forthc
denomination by whi ch onc part of mattcr would bc distingui shcd from
anothcr would bc only extrinsic. '
Lcibniz s logical nominalism is csscntially 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 rationally rcvokc thc indctcrminatc, it i s
bccauscabci ngis internally namcablc. Forthcrcarc ncvcrtwobcingsi n
naturc wlicharcpcrfcct| yal ikc, t wobcings inwhi chit isnotpossiblcto
d|scovcr an intcrnal diffcrcncc, that i s, onc foundcd on an |ntrinsic
nomination´
!fyousupposcacomplctclanguagc, you supposcbythcsamctokcnthat
thc onc-of-bcing is bcing itsclf, and that thc symbo| , 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| ythcoriginofanyoricntationofthought. thc
problcm of thc continuum. Ec assumcs thc inñnitc divisibility of natural
bcingw|thoutconccssion. hcthcncompcnsatcsforandrcstrictsthccxccss
that hc tlus l ibcratcs with|n thc statc of thc world÷within thc natural
situation÷by thc hypothcsis of a control of si ngul aritics, by intrinsic
nominations . 1hiscxactbalanccbctwccnthcmcasurclcssprolifcrationof
parts and thc cxactitudc of languagc offcrs us thc para digm of con
structivistthought at work. On thc onchand. a| thoughimagination only
pcrccivcs lcaps aod d| scontinui tics÷thus, thc dcnumcrablc÷within thc
naturalordcrsaodspccics, it mustbcsupposcd, audac| ous| y, thatthcrcis
a rigorous continui ty thcrcin. this supposcs, in tun, that a prcciscly
innumcrablc crowd÷an inñnity i n rad|cal cxccss of numcration÷of
intcrmcdiary spccics, or cquivocations' , populatcs what Lcibniz tcrms
rcgions o| intIcxi on or hcightcning But on thc othcr hand, this ovcr
ûow|ngofi nñnity, ifrclcrrcdtothccomplctclanguagc, i scommcnsurablc,
and dominatcd by a uniqucprinciplc o| progrcssion whi ch intcgratcs its
nominal unity, sincc all thcdiffcrcntclasscs ofbcings whosc asscmblagc
lEI BNI Z
constitutcs thc univcrsc arc nothing morc, in thc i dcas ol God÷who
knows thcir csscntial gradations dist|nctly÷than so many coordinatcs ol
thc samc curvc. ' 3y thc mcdiation ol languagc, and thc opcrators ol
LivincMathcmatics ' ( scrics, curvc, coordinatcs, ,thcconti nuumiswcldcd
to thconc, andlarlrombcingcrrancyandindctcrmination, i ts quantita
tivc cxpansi on cnsurcs thcglory olthc wcl l - madc languagcaccordingto
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 hccmploysi 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÷andthisistypicalolthc supcriornomi nali smwhich
| s constructivism÷is that di llcrcncc i s onto logically supcri or to indil
lcrcncc, which Icibnizmctaphorizcsbydcclaring mattcri smorc pcrlcct
than thc voi d. ' Fchoing Aristotlc ( c. Mcditation 6, . but undcr a lar
strongcr hypothcs|s ( thatolthc constructivist control oli nñnity, , Lcibniz
inlactannounccsthatif the void exists, language is incomplete, lorad|llcrcncc
i smissing lromi t i nasmuch asi tallowssomc indillcrcncctobc. lmaginc
a wholly cmpty spacc. Cod could havc placcd somc mattcri ni twithout
dcrogating. i n any rcspcct, lrom all othcr things. thcrclorc, hc di d so.
thcrclorc, thcrc i sno spaccwhollycmpty. thcrclorc, al l i slull . '
But i l thcvoid | s notthc rcgrcssivc halting po|ntol naturalbcing, thc
univcrsc i s unloundcd. divisibility to inñnity admits chains olbclonging
w|thout ultimatc tcrms÷cxactlywhatthcaxiom olloundation ( Mcdi ta
tion 1 8) i sdcsi gncdtoprohibit. 1hi si swhatIci bni zapparcntly assumcs
whcn hc dcclarcs that cach porti on ol mattcr i s not only divisiblc to
i nñnity . . but i s also actually subdividcd without cnd. ' Although prc-
scntcdbc|ng| scontrollcd h|ghcr up' bythc intrinsicnominations olthc
intcgral languagc, arc wc not cxposcd hcrc to its disscmination without
reason l owcr down' 'Ilonc rcj ccts that thc namc ol thc void i s in somc
manncrthc absolutc or|gin ollanguagc's tclcrcnti al i ty÷andthatas such
prcscntcd multiplcs can bc hicrarchically ordctcd on thc basis ol thc|r
distancc lrom thc void' ( scc Mcditation 29, ÷docsn' t onc cnd up by
dissolving languagc withinthc rcgrcssivci ndi sccrnibility olwhati n- con
sists, cndlcssly, i nsub- mult|plici ti cs'
Lcl bni zconscqucntl ydocsñxha|t|ngpo|nts. Eeadm|tsthat amu|t|tude
can dcrivc i ts rcality only lrom true unities' , and that thcrclorc
321
322
BEI NG AND EVENT
thcrccxist atomsolsubstancc. . . absolutclydcst i t ut col parts' . 1hcscarc
thc lamous monads, bcttcr namcd by Lcibn|z as mct aphysical poi nts' .
1hcscpointsdo nothaltthcinñnitcrcgrcssionolt hcmatcrialconti nuum.
thcy consti tutcthc cntirc rcal olt hat continuum andaut horizc, bythcir
inñnity, i tbcinginln|tclyd|visibl c. Na/ura/disscmination| sstructurcdby
a nctworkol sp/r//ua/punctual iticsthatCodconti nuously lulguratcs . 1hc
main problcm is obviously that ol knowing how thcsc mctaphysical
points arc disccrniblc. Lctstakcitthatit| snota qucstion olpartsolthc
rcal, but ol absol utcly | ndccomposablc substantial uni ti es. ll, bctwccn
thcm, thcrci snocxtcnsionaldillcrcncc ( vi aclcmcntsbcingprcscnti nonc
andnoti nthcothcr, , isnti tquitcsimplyan/n{n//cco//cc//ono]ncmcso]/hc
vo/a which is at stakc' ! l onc thinks according t o ontology, 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
isintuitivclyrcasonablc, onc cannotwcll ordcrthcsctol atoms. thcyarc
too i dcntical ' t ocachothcr, bcingmcrclyindi llcrcntdi llcrcnccs , . lsi t not
thc casc t hat thcsc mctaphysical 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 byñgurcs' , which monads arc incapablc ol ( sincc
thcyhavcnopart s , , lromdillcrcnccs byintcnalqua| i ti csandactions . it
is thc l attcralonc which allow onc t o posit that cach monad is dillcrcnt
lrom cvcry othcronc. ' 1hc mctaphysical po| nts' arc thus both quantita-
tivcly void and qualitat| vcly lul l . ll monads wcrc wi thout qual ity, thcy
wouldbci ndisccriblc |rom oncanothcr, sincc thcy a|so do notdillcri n
quantity . Andsi nccthcpri nci pl colindisccrn blcs is t hc absolutc l awol
any constructiv| st oricntation, monads must bc qua| i tativcly di sccrniblc
1hisamountst sayingt hat thcyarc uniticsof qua| | ty, whichis to say÷in
mycycs÷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, indccomposablcanddisj oi nt. 1hcphrascolthcwor|d,
i tssyntax namcdby God, i swri ttcni nthcsc uni ti cs.
LEI BNI Z
Ycti ti salsopossiblctos aythatsincethc mctaphysicalpoints'ar csolcly
disccrniblc by thcir i ntcrnal qualities. they must bc thought as purc
intcrioritics÷wi tncss the aphori sm. Monads havc no windows' ÷and
conscqucntly as su|]cc/s Bcing i s a phrascwrittcn i n subj ccts Bowcvcr.
this subj cct, which is not split by any cx centring ol the Law. andwhosc
dcsircisnotcauscdbyanyobj cct, i si ntruthapurclylogicalsubj cct. What
appcarstohappen| oiti sonlythcdcploymentol| tsqual i tativeprcdicatcs
lt i sa practical tau| ology. a rcitcrationol i t s di llcrcnce
What wc shoul d scc |n this is thc instancc ol thc subj cct such that
constructivist thought mccts | ts limit i n bcing unab|c to excccd it a
grammaticalsubj cct. anintcriotitywhichistautologicalwithrcspccttothc
namcol itscllthatit i s, a subj cct rcquircdbythcabscncc olthccvcnt. by
thc impossibility ol intcrvcnti on, and ultimatcly by thc systcm ol qual
itativcatoms lt i s dil|lcult to not rccognize therein the s/ng/c/on, such as
summoncd, lorcxamplc÷lailing the vcritablc subj cct÷in parliamcntary
elcctions. the singl cton. ol which wc know that it is not thc prcscntcd
mul tiplc, bu| itsrcprescntationbythc state Withrcgard towhat i swcak
andconciliatory in Leibniz' spolitical and moral concl usi ons, onc cannot,
all the same. completcly absolvc thc audacity and anticipation ol his
mathcmatical and spcculative intcl| cctua| ity Whatcvcr gcni us may be
manilestcd i n unlol di ng thc constructiblcñgurcol an ordcr, cvcni l this
ordcrbc olbcing| tscll, |hc subj cctwhoscconccpti sproposedi nthc cnd
i snott hcsubj 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
loundthcvcrybcingolany truth
Gcncric' and indisccrniblc' arc conccptswhich arc al mostcquivalcnt.
Why play on a synonymy' Bccausc indisccrniblc conscrvcs a ncgativc
connotation, whichindicatcsuni qucly. vianon disccrnibil ity, thatwhati s
atstakcissubtractcdlromknowlcdgcorlromcxactnomination.1hctcrm
gcncric positivcly dcsignatcs that what docs not a' l ow i tscl l to bc
disccrncdisinrcalitythcgcncraltrutholas|tuation, thctrutholitsbcing,
asconsidcrcdasthc loundationolal l knowlcdgcto comc !ndisccrnibl c'
implicsa ncgation, whichncvcrthclcssrctainsthi scsscntialpoint . a truth
isalwaysthatwhich makcs a holc ina knowlcdgc
What this mcans is that cvctything 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 cncyclopacdi a ol thc si tuati on 1hc kcy to thc
problcm is thc modc in which thc proccdurc olhdclity traverses cx|stcnt
knowlcdgc, startingatthcsupcrnumcrarypointwhichisthcnamcolthc
cvcnt 1hc main stagcs ol this thinking÷which is ncccssarily at its vcry
limit hcrc÷arc thc lol l owing.
- thc study ollocal orñnitclorms ola proccdurc ol ñdcl| ty ( cnquir
ics , .
327
328
BEI NG AND EVENT
- thc d|st|nct|onbctwccn thctruc andthcvcr|d|ca| andthcdcmon
strat|on thatcvcrytruth |s ncccssar|ly |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 j ur| sdict|on ol knowlcdgc
( avo|dancc, .
÷ andthc dcñn|t|onol a gcncr|cproccdurc ol ñdcl|ty.
l . KXOWLFLGFRFY! 3l1FL
1he or|cntat|on ol construct|v|st thought. and l cmphas|zcd th| s | n
Mcd|tat|on28, | st hconcwh|chnaturallyprcva|ls| ncstabl|shcdsi tuations
bccausc|tmcasurcsbc|ngtolanguagcsuchas|t|s. Wcshallsupposc, lrom
th|s po|nt on, thc cx|stcncc, |n cvcry s|tuat|on, ol a languagc ol thc
s|tuat|on Know/cd¸c| sthccapac|tytod|sccrnmul t|plcsw|th|nthcs|tuation
wh|ch posscss th|s or that propcrty. ptopcrtics that can bc l nd|catcd by
cxpl|c|tphrascsolthcl anguagc. orsctsolphrascs. 1hcrulcolknowlcdgc
| s always a ct|tcr|on ol exact nom|nation. l n thc last analys|s, thc
const|tut|vc opcrat|ons ol cvcry doma|n ol knowlcdgc arc d/sccrnmcn/
( such a prcscntcd or th|nkablc mult|p|c posscsscs such and such a
propcrty, and c/ass/]:a//on (! can group togcthcr, and dcs|gnate by thc|r
common propcrty. thosc mult|plcs that ! d|sccrn as hav|ng a namcablc
charactcr|st|ci ncommon, . 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|tytoj udgc( to
spcakolpropcrt|cs , , andclass|ñcat|oni sloundcduponthccapacitytol | nk
j udgcmcnts togcthcr ( to spcak ol parts, . Knowlcdgc | s rcal|zcd as an
cncyclopacd| a. A cncyclopacd|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
cncyclopacd|c dctcrm|nant by 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 cs, lallundcrnumcrousdctcrmlnants. 1hcsc
dctcrm|nants arc oltcn ana| yt|cally contrad|ctory. but th|s |s ol l|ttlc
|mportancc.
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
1hccncylopacdiacontainsa classiñcationofpartsofthcsituationwhich
group togcthcr tcrms having this or that cxplicit propcrty. Onc can
dcsignatc' cach of thcsc parts by thc propcrty i n qucstion and thcrcby
dctcrminc i t within thc languagc. lt |s this dcsignation whi ch i s callcd a
dctcrm|nantof thc cncyclopacdia.
Rcmcmbcr that knowlcdgc docs not know of thc cvcnt bccausc thc
namc of thc cvcnt i s supcrnumcrary, and so i t docs not bclong to thc
languagcofthcsituation. Whcnl saythati tdocsnotbclongtothclattcr,
this is not ncccssarily in a matcrial scnsc whcrcby 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 , quality, andnot ofa signifyingqual i ty. But cvcni fthcnamcof
thccvcnti svcrysi mpl c, andit i sdchni tcl yl i stcdi nthc l anguagcof thc
s|tuation, i ti s supcrnumcrary csnamco]/hc cvcn/. si gnaturcof thc ultra-
onc,andthcrcforc|t is fotccloscdfromknowlcdgc. lt willal sobc sai dthat
thc cvcnt docsnotfall undcranycncyclopacdi cdctcrminant
2 FNQUlRlFS
Bccausc thc cncyclopacda docs not contai n any dctcrminant whosc
rcfcrcntial parti sassignablctosomcthinglikc ancvcnt, thcidcntiñcation
of multiplcs conncctcd or unconncctcd to thc supcrnumcrary namc
( circulatcd by thc |ntcrvcntion, is a task which cannot bc bascd on thc
cncyclopacdi a. A ñdclity ( Mcditation2 ? , i snota mattcrofknowlcdgc. lt
is not thc work of an cxpcrt. it i s thc work of a mi litant. Militant
dcsignatcscquallythcfcvcrishcxplorationofthccffcctsofancwthcorcm,
thc cubist prccipitation of thc Braquc÷Picasso tandcm ( thc cffcct of a
rctroactivc intcrvcntion upon thc Cezannc cvcnt , , thc activity of Sai nt
Pau|and that of the mi l i tantsofan 0r¸an/sat/onIo//t/qac. 1hcopcratorof
faithfu| conncction dcsi gnatcs anothcr modc o] d/sccrnmcn/ onc which,
outsidcknowlcdgcbutwithinthccffcctofanintcrvcnti onal nomination,
cxplorcsconncctionstothc supcrnumcrary namcofthc cvcnt.
Whcnl rccognizcthata multiplcwhichbclongstothcsituation ( which
iscountcdasoncthcrc, i sconncctcd÷ornot÷tothcnamcof thccvcntl
pcrformthc m/n/ma/gcsturcofhdclity. thc obscrvationofaconncction ( or
non conncction, . 1hcactualmcaningoft hi sgcsturc÷whichprovidcsthc
foundation of bcingfor the entire process constituted bya fdelity-natu­
ral l ydcpcndsonthc namcofthc cvcnt ( whi ch is itsclfa multlpl c, , on thc
329
330
BEI NG AND EVENT
opcratorollaithlulconncction. onthcmul tiplcthcrcincncountcrcd. and
ñnallyonthcsituation andthcposition olits cvcntal - sitc. ctc. 1hcrcarc
innn|tc nuanccs in thc phcnomcnology ol thc proccdurc ol ñdcl|ty. But
my goali snot a phcnomcnology. it i s a Grcatcr Logic ( to rcma|n w|thin
ucgcl i an tcrminology, . l will thus pl acc mysc| l in thc lol lowing abstract
s|tuat|on. /wo valucs alonc arc d|sccrncd via thc opcrator ol ñdcl|ty.
conncct|onandnon- connccti on. 1hisabstractioni slcgitimatcs|nccu///ma-
/c/,as phcnomcno|ogy shows ( and such is thc scnsc ol thc words
convcrs|on' . rallying' . gracc' . convicti on' . cnthusi asm' . pcrsuas|on' .
admirat|on' . accordi ngtothctypcolcvcnt , ÷amultiplcc|thcri sori s
notwi thi nthcncl dolcllcctscntai| cdbythcintroductionintoc|rculat|on
ola supcrnumcrary namc.
1hi s m|nimal gcsturc ol a ñdclity. ti cd to thc cncoun/cr bctwccn a
mult|plcol thc situat| on and a vcctorolthc opcratorol |i dcl|ty÷andonc
would|magincthishappcns|nitia| lyinthccnvironsolthccvcnt-sitc÷has
onc oltwo mcani ngs. thcrc | s a conncction ( thc multiplc i s wi thi nthc
cllccts olthcsupcrnumcrary namc, ora nonconncction ( it |s notlound
thcrc|n,.
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 typc x( +) or x( -) | s
prccisclythcmi ni ma| gcsturc olhdclitythatwc wcrc ta| kingabout .
Wcw|llt crmcn¡u/ganyñnitcsct olsuch mi ni mal rcports. Ancnqui ry
is thus a ñni tcstatc' olthcproccss olhdclity 1hcproccss has mil|tatcd'
around an cncountcrcd scri cs olmul tiplcs (XI , X2, . . . x,, ) , anddcploycd
thcirconncctionsornon- conncctions to thc supcrnumcrary namc olthc
cvcnt . 1hc a|gcbra ol thc cnqui ry notcs this as. (XI ( +) , X2 ( +) , X3 ( -) , - . -
x,, ( +) ) , lor cxamp| c. >uch an cnqui ry d| sccrns ( | n my arb|trary cxamplc;
thatXI andX2 arc takcn up positivcly in thc c||ccts o|thesupcrnumcrary
namc. thatX3 i s not takcn up. and so on. ln rcal circumstanccs such an
cnquirywouldalrcadybcancntitcnctwork olmul tiplesolthcsi tuation.
combincd with thc supcrnumcrary namc by thc opcrator. What l am
prcscnt|ng hcrc i s thc ul t| matc scnsc ol thc mattcr. thc ontological
lramcwork. Onccanalsosaythatancnqui ry disccrnstwoñni tcmult|pl cs.
thcñrst. | ct' ssay( XI , X2 - . e , . groupstogcthcrthcprcscntcdmultiplcs. or
tcrms ol thc situation. wb|ch arc conncctcd to thc cvcnt . 1hc sccond.
(X3 . . . , . groupstogctHcrthoscwh|ch arc un conncctcd . As such. j ust| ikc
knowlcdgc. an cnquiry i s thc conj unctlon o| a d| sccrnmcnt÷such a
multiplc of thc s| tuat | on posscsscs thc propcrt y o| bci ng conncctcd to
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
t hccvcnt ( to| t snamc, ÷anda classiñcation÷this. st hcclassolconncctcd
multiplcs. and that i s thc class ol non conncctcd multiplcs. ! t i s thus
lcgitimatc to trcat thc cnquiry. a ñnitc scri cs ol mi ni mal rcports. as thc
veritablebasicuni tolthcproccdurcolñdclity, bccauscitcombi ncsthconc
oldisccrnmcntwiththcscvcral olc| assincation.ltisthccnqui rywhichl i cs
behindthc rcscm//anccolthc proccdurc olhdclity/oa know/c4¸c
? 1RU1B ANLVFRlLlCl1Y
Eerc wc ñndoursclvcsconlrontcdwith thc subtlcdi alccticolknowledgcs
and post cvcntal ñdclity. thc kcrncl ol bcing ol thc knowlcdgc/truth
dialcctic.
First |ct' s notc thc lollowing thc classcs rcsu|ting lrom thc militant
disccrnmcnt ola ñdclity. such as thosc dctai ncdby an enquiry. arc]n//c
partsolthc situati on. Phcnomcnologically. thismcansthata givcnstatcol
thc proccdurc ol ndclity÷that is. a hnitc scqucncc ol disccrnmcnts ol
conncct|onornon-conncction÷isrcalizcdintwocl asscs. onc positiveand
onc ncgativc. which rcspcctivcly group thc minima| gcsturcs olthctypc
x( +, andx( -, . Bowcvcr. cvcty]n//cpar|o]/h:s//ua/|on /s./assµcd/ya| /cas/
onc know/cd¸c. thc tcsults ol an cnquiry co|nc/dc with an cncyclopacdic
dctcrminant . 1hisi s cntailedbyevcryprcscntcdmultiplcbcing nameab|c
inthclanguagcolthc 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. strictlyspcaking, thcrcis
nounnamcablc. Fvcni lnominationisevasivc, orbclongstoaverygcncral
dctcrmi nant. likc it s a mountai n' . or it' s a nava| battlc' . nothing i nthc
situationi sradica| | ysubtractcdlrom namcs. 1his. morcovcr, i sthcrcason
whythcworldi slul|. and. howcvcrstrangc|tmaysccmatñrsti nccrtain
circumstanccs. itcanalways bc rightlully hc|dtobc linguistica|ly]am///ar.
!nprinciplc. a ñni tc sct olprcscntcdmultip| cs can alwaysbccnumcratcd.
!tcanbcthoughtasthcclassol thconewhichhasthisnamc, andthconc
which has that namc. and . . ' . 1hc totality ol thcsc di sccrnmcnts
constitutcsancncyc|opacdi cdctermi nant 1hcrclorc. cvcry]n//c mu|tip|c
olprcscntcdmu| tl p| esi sa partwhlchlalls undcrknowlcdgc. cvcni l this
onlybcbyitscnumeration.
331
332
BEI NG AND EVENT
0nc coul d obj cct that i t i s not according to such a pr|nciplc of
classihcation ( cnumcration, that thc proccdurc of ñdclity groups togc
thcr÷for cxamplc÷a hnitc scrics ofmultiplcs conncctcd to thc namc of
thc cvcnt. Of coursc, but know/cdgc knowsno/h/n¸o]/h/s to thc pointthat
onccanalwaysj ustify sayingofsuchorsucha ñnitcgrouping, thatcvcn
i fi t wasactually produccdbya hdclity, itismcrclythcrc|crcntofa wcll -
known ( or in principlc, knowablc, cncyclopacdic rcfcrcnt. 1his is why I
saidthatthc rcsultso|ancnqui ryncccssarilycoincidcwithan cncyclopac
dicdctcrminant. Whcrc andhowwi l l thc diffcrcncc bctwccn thcprocc-
durcsbcafhrmcdifthcrcsul t mu|tiplc, |oral l intcnsivcpurposcs, isa/rcady
classihcdbya knowlcdgc'
!n ordcr to clarify this situation, wc will tcrm |cr/d/ca/ thc following
statcmcnt, which can bc control|cd bya knowlcdgc. Such a part ofthc
situation i s answcrablc to such an cncyclopacdic dctcrminant. ' Wc will
tcrm /ruc thc statcmcnt contro|lcd by thc proccdurc of hdcli ty, thus
attachcdto thccvcnt andthcintcrvcntion. Such a partofthcsituation
groups togcthcr multiplcs conncctcd (or unconncctcdi to thc supcr-
numcrarynamcofthccvcnt . ' Whati satstakci nthcprcscntargumcntis
cntirclyboundupi nthcchoiccofthcadj cctivc truc .
For thc momcnt, what wc know is that for a givcn cnquiry, thc
cotrcsponding classcs, pos|tivc and ncgativc bcing hnitc, fall undcr an
cncyclopacdic dctcrminant. Conscqucntly, thcy validatc a vcridical
statcmcnt.
A|though knowlcdgcdocsnotwanttoknowanythingofthccvcnt, of
thc i ntcrvcntion, ofthc supcrnumcrary namc, or of thc opcrator which
ru|csthcndclity÷allbc| ngingrcdicntsthatarcsupposcdinthcbcingofan
cnquiry÷itncvcrthclcssrcmai nsthccascthatancnqui rycanno/d/sccm/hc
trec]romthcvc·/d/ca/itstruc rcsulti satthc samctimcal rcady const| tutcd
asbclongingto a vcridicalstatcmcnt.
uowcvcr. it| si nnoway|ccauscthcmultiplcswhichhgurci nancnqui ry
(w| ththcirindcxcs+ or÷, fallundcra dctcrmi nantofthc cncyclopacdi a
thatthcywcrcrc groupcdasconstitutingthctruc rcsul t ofth|s cnquiry,
rathcritwasuni quc|y bccause thcproccdurcof ndclity cncoun/crcdthcm,
withinthccontcxto|itstcmporali nsistcncc,and militatcd' aroundthcm,
tcst|ng, by mcans o| thc opcrator of faithfu| connccti on, thcir dcgrcc of
proxi mity t o the supcrnumcrary name ol the cvcnt Here we have thc
paradoxofa multiplc÷thc hn|tc rcsultofancnqui ry÷which| srandom,
subtractcd lrom all knowlcdgc, and which wcavcs a diagonal to thc
s| tuation, yctwhich | salrcadypartofthccncyc| opacdia'srcpcrtory.!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 by a ñdclity, it trumps thc ñdclity with a
pcrcmptory alrcadycountcd'
1hisi s thc casc, howcvcr, whcn thcsc cllccts arc]n//c. Bcncc a law, ol
considctablcwcight /hc/r×con/yhasachancco]bc/ngd/s//n¸u/shab/c]rom /hc
vcr/d/ca/whcn|//s/n]n//c.Atruth ( i litcxist s, mustbcan inñnitcpartolthc
situation, bccausc for cvcry ñnitc part onc can al ways say that it has
a/rcadybccndisccrncd andclassiñcdby knowlcdgc.
Onccan sccinwhatscnscitisthc bc|n¸oltruthwhichconccrnsus hcrc.
Çualitativcly . or as a rcality-i n- situation, a ñnitc rcsult ol an cnquiry i s
quitc distinct lrom a part namcd by a dctcrminant olt hccncyclopacdia,
bccausc thc proccdurcs which lcad to thc hrst rcmain unknown to thc
sccond. |ti ssolclyaspurc multiplcs. thatis, accordingtothcirbci ng, that
ñnitcpartsarc indistinguishablc. bccausccvcry oncol thcmlallsundcra
detcrminant. What wc arc looking lor is an ontological dillercntiation
bctwccnthctrucandthcvcridical. thatis, bctwccntruthandknowlcdgc.
1hc cxtcrnal qua| itativc charactcr|zation ol proccdurcs ( cvcnt÷
intcrvcntion֖dclity on thc onc hand, cxact nomi nation in thc cstab
l i shcdlanguagcon thc othcr, docsnotsufñcclorthistaskil thcprcscntcd
multiplcswhich rcsul tarc/hcsamc. 1hcrcquircmcntwi l l thusbcthatthc
onc multiplc ol a truth÷thc rcsult ol truc j udgcmcnts÷must bc
indiscerniblc and unclassiñablc lor thc cncyclopacdi a. 1his cond| tion
loundsthcdillercnccbctwecnthctrucandthcvcridical/nbc/n¸. Wchavc
j ust sccnthatonc condition olthiscondition is that a truthbci nñnitc.
lsthiscondition sulñcicnt' Cettai nl ynot. 0bvi ousl ya grcat numbcrol
cncyclopacdic dctcrminants cxi st which dcsignatc i nñni tc parts of thc
situati on. Knowlcdge, sincc thc grcat ontological dccision conccrning
inhnity ( c. Mcditation l > , , movcs casily amongst thc inñnitc classcs ol
multiplcswhichlallundcrancncyclopacdi cdetcrmi nant. Statcmcntssuch
as thcwbolcnumoctslormani nñnitcsct' , or thc| n|initenuanccsolthc
scoti mcntoll ovc' canbchcldw| thoutdilñculty tobcvcridicali nthisor
thatdomai nolknowlcdgc. 1hatatruthi si nñni tcdocsnotrcndcri tbythc
samc tokcn indisccrniblc lrom evcry si ngl c thi ng al rcady countcd by
knowl cdgc.
Lcts cxamine thc problcm in its abstract form. Saying that a truth i s
inñnitci ssayingthatitsproccdurc contai nsaninñnityolcnqui ri cs. Fach
ol thcsc cnqui ri cs conta| ns, in !I nitc numbcr, positivc indications
x( +, ÷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( -, . 1hc total' proccdurc, t hat is, a
ccrtain inñnitcstatc ol thcñdc| i ty, is thus, in its rcsu| t, composcd oltwo
inhnitcc|asscs thatolmu| t| p| cswitha pos| tivcconocction, say(Xl , X2, . . .
Xu ) , andthatolmultip| cswitha ncgativcconncction, (Yl , Y2, . . . Yu ) . But
i t isqui t cpossib| cthat thcsctwoclasscsa| wayscoincidcwi t hpartswhich
lal|undcrcncyclopacdicdctcrminants. Adomainolknow| cdgccoul dcxist
lorwhichXl , X2, . . . Xu arcprcci sclythosc multip|cs thatcanbcdi scctncd
ashaving a commonpropcrty, a propcrty which can bccxpl icitlylormu-
latcdin thc languagcol t hcsituation
VulgarMarxismandvulgarFrcudianismhavcncvcrbccnab| ctoñnda
way out ol th| s ambi gui ty. 1hc ñrst c| a| mcd that truth was h| storical | y
dcpl oycdon thcbasi solrcvolutionarycvcntsbythcworkingc|ass . 3ut i t
thoughtthcworkingcl assasthcclassolworkcrs . Natural| y, thcwotkcrs' ,
intcrmsolpurcmul ti p| cs. |ormcdani n|i nitccl ass. itwasnotthesumtotal
olcmpirica|workcrsthatwasatstakc. Yctth|sdi dnotprcvcntknowlcdgc
( and paradoxically Marx|st knowlcdgc itscll, lrom bcing lor cvcr ablc to
considcr thc workcrs ' as lalling undcr an cncyc|opacdi c dctcrm|nant
( sociologicalcconomical, ctc. , , thccvcntashavingnothingtodowiththis
a| ways-al rcady-countcd, aod the supposcd truth as bcing mcrc|y a vcr
i d. citysubmi ttcd tothclanguagcolthcsit uation. Whatismorc, lromthis
standpo| ntthctruthcou| dbcannu| | cd÷thclamous i t'sbccndoncbclorc'
or it' sold lashi oncd'÷bccauscthccncyclopacdia |s alwaysincohcrcnt. 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| tancously political truth, combativc
andlaithlul, andknow|cdgcolBistory, olSocicty÷thatMarxi smcndcdup
dy|ng,bccauscitlol|owcdthcll uctuat| onsolthccncyclopacdia 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| psychological know| edge.
ass| gning truth to cvcrythi ng which was conncctcd to a stab| c class. thc
adult gcnita| comp|cx' . 1oday this Frcudianism looks likc a statc corpsc.
aod i t was not lor noth. ng that Lacan, i n ordcr to savc ñdclity to
Frcud÷who had namcd unconsci ous' thc paradoxicalcvcntsolhystcria
÷hadtoplace thc distinctionbctwccn knowlcdgcandtruthat thcccntrc
o| hi s thought. and scvctc| y scparatc thc discoursc ol thc analyst lrom
whathecal| cd thc discoursc olthcUoi vcrs|ty
ln|in|ty, howcvcrncccssary, wi | | thusnotbc ab|c t oservc asthc uni quc
ctitcrion lor thc indi sccribi | i ty 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
!lwcconsidcranydctcrminantolthccncyc| opacdia.thcni t scontradictory
dctcrm| nant also cxi sts. 1his is cntai| cd by 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' , !l wc group a| l thc
multip| cs which havc a ccrtain propcrty into a class. thcn t hcrc i s
i mmcdi atc| yanothcrdi sj o| ntcl ass. thatolthcmul ti p| cswhichdonothavc
thc propcrty i n qucstion. ! said prcvi ous| y that a| l thc ñni tc parts ol a
situation arc rcgistcrcd undcr cncyclopacdic classiñcations . ln parti cu| ar.
this inc| udcs thosc ñnitc parts whi ch contain multiplcs ol which somc
bclong to onc class. andothcrsto thccontradi ctoty class ! l xposscsscs a
propcrty. andydocsnot. thcñnitcpart¦x.yj madcup olxandy|st hcobj cct
ola knowlcdgcj ustl i kcanyothcrl¡nitc part. Bowcvcr. . ti si ndi llcrcntto
thc propcrty bccausc onc ol its tcrms posscsscs i t whilst the othcr docs
not Know| cdgcconsidcrsthat/h/sl| nitcpart. takcoasa wholc. i snot apt
lordisccrnmcntviathcpropcrty.
Wc shal| say thata ñnitcpartavo/dsan cncyc| opaedicdctcrminant il i t
contains multiplcs which bclong t o this dctcrminant andot hcrs whi ch
bclong to t hc contradicto|y dctcrmi nant A|l ñni te parts la| | , morcovcr.
undcr an cncyclopacdicdctcrminant . 1hus. a| l ñn| tc parts wh| ch avoid a
dctcrmi nant arc thcmsclvcs dctcrmincd by a domai n ol knowlcdgc
Avoi dancc is a structurc ol ñni tcknowlcdgc.
Ourgoali sthcntoloundupon thisstructurcolknowlcdgc ( rclcrrcdto
thcñnitc charactcrolthccnqui ri cs , a charact crization of t rut hasi nhni tc
partolthc si tuati on
1hcgcncrali dcais tocoosi dcrt hat a /ru/h¸roups /o¸c/hcra//|hc/crmso]
/hcs//ua/|on wh/ch arcpos///vc/y conncc/cd /o /hc cvcn/ Whythi spri v| lcgc ol
positivcconncction. olx( +, `Bccauscwhati sncgativc|yconnectcddocsno
morc than rcpcat thc prc-cvcnta| s| tuati on From thc standpoint ol t bc
proccdurc olñdcli ty. a t crmcncountcrcdandinvcstigatcd negativcly. an
x( -, , hasno rc| ationwhatsocvcrwi ththcnamc olt hccvcnt, and thus is
it in no way conccrncd' by 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 ty. it
t urns out to have noconncctionto thc supcrnumcrary namc As such. i t
i squitccohcrcntt oconsidcrt hat a truth. ast hctotalrcsu| tola proccdurc
of ñdc| ity. 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/. andsolclymarkthcrcpctitionof
thc prc cvcnta| ordcr ol thc situation. But lor an inñnitc ttuth thus
conccivcd ( al l tcrms dcclarcdx( +) i n at lcastonc cnquiry ol thc laithful
proccdurc, togcnuinclybca production, a novclty, iti sncccssarythatthc
partofthcsituationobtaincdbygathcringthcx( +) 'sdocsnotcoincidcwith
ancncyclopacdicdctcrminant. Othcrwisc, i nitsbci ng, i t alsowouldrcpcat
aconñgurationthathada/rcadybccnclassiñcdbyknowlcdgc. !twoul dnot
bcgcnuinclypost cvcntal .
0urproblcmisñnallyt hcfollowing. onwhatconditioncanoncbcsurc
thatthcsct oftcrmsofthcsituationwhicharcpositivclyconncctcdtothc
cvcnt i si n no manncral rcadyclassiñcdwithinthc cncyclopacdia ofthc
situation' Wc cannot dircctly formulatc this potcntial condition via an
cxamination' olthcinñnitc sct of thcsctcrms, bccauscthisscti salways
to comc ( bci ng inñnitc, and morcovcr, it is randomly composcd by t hc
traj cctoryolthccnqui rics. atcrmi scnaun/crcdbythcproccdurc, andthc
ñnitccnqui ryinwhich itñgurcsattcststhati tispositivclyconncctcd,that
it is anx( +, . Ourconditionmust ncccssarilyconccrn /hccn¡u/r/cs which
makcupthcvcryfabricolthcproccdurc olñdcl ity.
1hccruci al rcmarkisthcnthcfollowi ng. 1akcancnquirywhichissuch
that thc tcrms it rcports as positivclyconncctcd to thc cvcnt ( thc hnitc
numbcr ofx( +, s which |l gurc in thc cnquiry, 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 ry hgurcs. thc
inñnitctotaloltcrmsconncctcdpositivclytothccvcntv| athatproccdurc
cannotinanymanncrcoincidcwiththcdctctminantavo| dcdbythcx( +)
'
s
ofthc cnqui ry in qucstion.
1hisiscvidcnt . l fthccnquiry| ssuchthatX"
l
( +) , xn
2
( +) , . . . Xn
q
( +) , that
is. al l thc tcrms cncountcrcdby 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 propcrty, andothcrs which do
not( bccauscthcydonothavcthcpropcrty, 1hcrcsul tisthatthcinñnitc
class ( Xl , X2, . . . Xn - . . , which totalizcs thc cnquirics according to thc
positivc cannot coincidc with thc class subsumcd by thc cncyclopacdic
dctcrminant in qucstion. For in thc formcr class, onc ñnds thc Xn , ( +) ,
X
"2
( +)
'
. . . Xnq ( +) ol thccnquirymcntioncdabovc, sinccal l of thcmwcrc
positivclyinvcstigatcd. 1husthctcarcclcmcntsi nthcclasswhichhavcthc
propcrtyandthcrcarcothcrswhichdonot. lhisclassi sthcrclorcnotthc
THE THOUGHT OF THE GENERI C AND BEI NG I N TRUTH
oncthati sdchncdin thc| anguagc bythc classihcation al l thcmul tiµlcs
disccrncdashavingthisµroµcrty' .
For aninhnitcfaithfulµroccdurctothusgcncratc as its µositivc rcsul t
multiµlc÷asthcµost cvcntaltruth÷atotal of( +, 'sconncctcdtothcnamc
olthccvcntwhich ' diagona|izc' a dctcrminant ofthc cncyclopacdia, iti s
sufhcicnt thatwithin thatµroccdurc thcrc bc atl castonccnqui ry which
avoids this dctcrminant . 1hc µrcscncc of this µarticul at hnitc cnqui ry i s
cnough to cnsurc that thc lnhnltc faithfu| µroccdurc docs not coincidc
wlththc dctcrminanti nqucstion.
!s this a rcasonab|c rcquisltc' Ycs, bccausc thc faithful µroccdurc is
random. and in no way prcdctcrmincd by knowlcdgc. !ts origin is thc
cvcnt, ofwhichknowlcdgcknowsnothing,anditstcxturc thcoµcratorof
faithful conncction, whi ch is i tsc| f a| so a tcmµora| µroduction. 1hc
multiµlcscncountcrcdbythc µroccdutcdonotdcpcnduµonanyknow|
cdgc. 1hcyrcsu| t fromt hcrandomncssoft hc mi| itant' ttaj cctorystarting
outfromthccvcnt si tc. 1hcrci snorcason, inanycasc, fotancnquirynot
tocxistwhichissuchthatthcmu|tip|csµositivc|ycvaluatcdthcrcinbythc
opcratoroffaithfu| connccti onforma hnitcµartwhlchavoidsa dctcrmi
nant,thcrcasonbci ngt hatancnquiry, i nltsc|f,hasnothingtodowi thany
dctcrminant whatsocvcr. !t i s thus cntirc|y rcasonablc that thc faithfu|
µroccdutc, i noncolitshnitcstatcs, cncountcrsucha grouµot mul tiµ|cs.
Bycxtcnsiontothctruc µroccdurcoli t susagcwithinknow|cdgc, wcsha| |
saythatancnquiryoft hi styµc avo/dsthccncyc| oµacdic dctcrminant i n
qucsti on. 1hus. i faninhnitcfaithfu|µroccdutccontai nsat| castoncnnitc
cnquiry which avoids an cncyc|oµacdic dctcrminant, thcn thc lnnnitc
µositivctcsu| tofthatproccdurc, thcc|assofx( +, 's , wi l | notcoincidcwith
thatµartofthc situationwhoscknow|cdgcis dcsignatcdbythis dctcrmi
nant. !n othcr words, t hc µropctty, cxµrcsscd l n t hc | anguagc of thc
situationwhlch founds this dctcrmlnant, cannot bc uscd, ln anycasc, to
d|sccrn thci nnnltcpositlvc tcsult o|thc |aith|u| proccdurc
Wchavcthusc|car|yformu| atcdaconditionforthci nñni tcandpositivc
tcsult of a faithful ptoccdurc ( thc part which tota| lscs thc x( -; 's ,
avoiding÷notco|ncidlngwith÷c dctcrminantof thc cncyc|opacdia . And
thiscondltionconccrns thc cnqu| rics, thc ñn| tcstatcsofthcproccdurc i t
iscnoughthatthcx( +, 's olonccnquiryoft hcptoccdurcforma hni tcsct
which avoids thcdctcrminanti nqucst|on.
Lct ' snowimagincthatthcptoccdurci ssuchthatthccondltionabovci s
satisñcd for ever cncyc|opacdlc dctcrminant. ! n othcr wotds, lor cach
dctcrminant at | cast onc cnqulry ñgurcs in thc proccdurc whosc x, +, 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/////j ol such a proccdurc. ! am simply stating t hat /] a laithlul
proccdurc contai ns, lor cvcry dctcrminant ol thc cncyclopacdi a, an
cnquirywhichavoidsit, /hcn thcpositivcrcsultolthisproccdurcwi l l not
coincidcwithanypartsubsumablcundcra dctcrmi nant. Assuch, thcclass
olmul tiplcswhicharc conncctcd t othc cvcntwillnotbc dctcrmi ncdby
any 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 vcridicity.
Wc shall thcrclorc say. e /ru/h /s /hc /n]n/|c pos/|/vc /o/a/~/hc¸a/hcr/n¸
/o¸c/hcro]x( + ) '5-o]aproccdurco]¡dc//jwh/ch. ]orca.handcvcqdc/crm/nan/
o]|hccngc/opacd/a. con/a/nsa//cas/cnccn¡u/qwh/ch avo/ds //.
3uch a proccdurc will bc said to bc¸cncr/c( lorthc situation, .
0urtaski s toj ustily thisword. gcncric÷ando n thi sbasis, thcj ustinca
ti onolthc word truth is inlcrrcd.
° 1EF GFNFR!C ! 31EF BF!NC MUL1!PLF OIA 1RU1E
! l thcrccxistsancvcnt intcrvcntion opcrator- ol- ñdclitycomplcxwhichis
such thataninnnitcpositivcstatcolthc ñdclityi sgcncric (inthc scnsc ol
thc dcñnition, ÷inothcrwords, |la truthcxists÷thcmultipl c rclcrcntol
th|sndclity ( thconc· |ru/h, | sa par/olthcsituation. thcpartwhi chgroups
togcthcral l olthctcrmspositivclyconncctcdt othcnamcolthccvcnt, al l
thcx( +, s which ||gurcinatlcastonccnquiry olthcproccdurc ( i noncol
its ñnitc statcs , . 1hc lact that thc proccdurc i s gcncric cntails thc non
coincidcncc ol this part with anything classi ncd by an cncycl opacdic
dctcrmi nant. Cooscqucnt| y, this part is unoamcab| c by thc rcsourccs o|
thclanguagcolthcsituationalonc . | t l ssubtractcdlromanyknowlcdgc. it
has notbccn alrcadycountcd by any 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 clcarly a part. it is countcd as onc by thc statc ol thc
situation. What couldthis onc' bcwhich÷subtractcdlromlanguagc and
consti tutcd|romthcpoloto|t hccvcnt al u| tra onc÷| si ndiscernibl e? >incc
thispart hasno particular cxprcssiblc propcrty, i tscntircbcing rcsidcs in
thi s. i t is a part, which i s to say it i s composcd o| mu|tiplcs c||cctivcly
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|opcrty' thanthatol rclcrring to /c|on¸/n¸. 1his
parti sanonymouslythatwhichhasnoothcrmarkapartlromarisinglrom
prcscntation, apart lrombcingcomposcdoltcrmswhi ch havc nothingi n
commonthat coul dbc rcmarked, savc bclongingto /h/s si tuati on, which.
strictlyspcak|ng, i sitsbc| ng, qua bcing. But aslorthis property' ~/c/n¸.
quitc simply÷it is clcarthatit |s sharcd by a// thc tcrms ol thc situation,
and that it i s cocxistcnt with cvcry part which groups togethcr tcrms .
Conscqucntly, thc indisccriblc part, by dcñnition, so|cly posscsscs thc
propcrtics' olanypartwhatsocvcr.lt|srightlul|ydcclarcd¸cncr/c.bccausc.
iloncwishcstoqual i ly it al l onccansayi 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 saying that onc can mai ntai n that such a part i s
attachablc to truth. Forwhatthc laithlul proccdurc thus rcjoins i snonc
othcr than thc truth o] /hc cn//rc s//ua//on insolar as thc scnsc ol thc
indiscctniblci sthatolcxhibiting as onc- multiplc thcvcrybci ngolwhat
bclongsi nsolaras itbclongs. Fvcrynamcablcpart. di sccrncdandcl assi ñcd
by 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. prccisclybccausci 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 solcly
spcciñcsvcracitics
1hcdisccrniblc isvcridi cal . But | hcindisccrniblc al onc is t ruc. 1hcrc i s
notruthapartlromthcgcncric bccausconl ya laithlulgcncricproccdurc
aimsat thconcolsituati onal being. Alaithlulproccdurchasasitsin|initc
horizon bcing i n- truth.
6 LO1RU1ES FX| S1'
Lvidcntly, cverythinghangsonthcpossibilityolthccxi stcnccola gcncric
proccdurc olñdcli ty. 1his qucstion isboth4c]ac/e and 4c]urc
Uc]a:/o. l considcrthatinthesi tuationa| sphcrcolthc |nd|v|dua/÷such
aspsychoana|ysis, lorcxamplc. thinksandprcscntsit÷lovc(ilitcxists, but
vari ouscmpiri ca| signs att est that |tdocs , isa generic proccdurc olñde| i ty:
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/n¸. 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 as¸cncr/: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/n¸ /o /hc 5/a/c, . 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, yct phi | osophy | 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
conncctcdtothcsupcrnumcrarynamcolthccvcnt, docsnotdcpcndupon
philosophy. A philosophy worthy ol thc namc÷thc namc which bcgan
w|th Parmcni dcs÷|s |n any casc ant|nom|ca| to thc scrv|cc ol goods,
|nasmuch as|tcndcavoursto bc at thc scrvicc oltruths. onc can always
cndcavourtobcatthcscrvicc olsomcth|ngthat oncdocsnotconst|tutc.
Ph|losophy|sthusatthcscrviccolart, olsci cnccandolpol|ti cs. 1hat|t| s
capablcolbci ngatthcscrviccoll ovc| smorcdoubtlu|( onthcothcrhand,
art, a mixcd proccdurc, supports truths ol |ovc; . ln any casc, thcrc |s no
commcrcial ph|losophy.
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 ontology, s|ncc |t |s not thc sort ol
qucst|on that can bc trcatcd by a simplc knowlcdgc, and si ncc thc
i ndisccrn|blcoccursatthcp| acc olthcbc|ngolthcs|tuati on, ¡ua/c/n¸. lt
|smathcmat|cswh| chmustj udgcwhcthcritmakcsanyscnsctospcakol
an|nd|sccrniblcparto|anymu|tiplc. 0lcoursc, mathcmat|cscannotthi nk
aproccdurcoltruth, bccauscmathcmat|cscl|minatcsthccvcnt. But| tcan
dcc|dcwhcthcri t| scompatiblcw|thonto| ogythatthcrcbctruths . Lcci dcd
atthclcvclollactbythc cnt|rc h|story olhumank|nd÷bccausc /hcrcarc
truths÷thcqucst|on ol thc bc|ng oltruth has on|ybccn rcsolvcd at a dc
]arclcvclqu|tc rcccntly ( | n | 96>, Cohcn' sdiscovcry, . w|thout, morcovcr,
thc mathcmat|c|ans÷absorbcdasthcyarc bythc|orgctt|ngolthcdcst|ny
olthc|rd|sc|pl incductothctcchnica|ncccss|tyolitsdcploymcnt÷know-
|nghowtonamcwhatwashappcn|ngthcrc( apoi ntwhcrcthcph|losoph
icalhcl plwas spcak|ngof comcs|ntoplay, . lhavcconsccratcdMcd|tation
>> to th|s mathcmat|cal cvcnt. l havcdclibcratc|ywcakcncdthc 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|ogy spcak' . cl o
qucntly, lor . tscll. 1ust as thc s|gn|hcr a|ways bctrays somcthi ng, thc
tcchnical appcarancc ol Cohcn's di scovcr|cs and thc|r |nvcstmcnt | n a
problcmat|cdoma|nwh|ch |s apparcntlyqu| tcnarrow ( thc modclsol sct
thcory' i arc|mmcdi atclycn| i vcncdbythccho|ccmadcbythcloundcrsol
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 ' , .
341
342
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hc concl us| onsolmathcmat| cal ontologyarc bothclcarandmcasurcd.
Vcry roughly.
a. ll thc i n| tial s| tuation i s dcnumctablc ( |nl¡nitc, but j ust as wholc
numbcrs arc, , thcrc cx| sts a gcncr| cproccdurc.
/. Butthisproccdurc, dcspitcbcing/nc/udc4in thcsi t uation ( i ti sa part
ol it , . docs not /c/on¸ to it ( | t is not prcscntcd thcrcin, solcly
rcprcscntcd. it |s an cxcrcsccncc÷c. Mcditation 8, ,
:. Eowcvcr, onccan lorcc' a ncwsituationt ocxist÷a gcncriccxtcn
sion ÷which conta| nsthccntirctyol thc o| dsituat | on, andt which
this timc thc gcncric proccdurc bclongs ( lt is both prcscntcd and
rcprcscntcd it | s normal , 1his point ( lorc| ng, i s thc stcp ol thc
Subj cct ( c. Mcditation > ¯ , ,
4 l nthisncws| tuation, | l thc|anguagcrcma| nsthcsamc÷thus, i l thc
primitivcgivcnsolknowlcdgcrcmainstablc÷thcgcncricproccdurc
stillproduccsindisccrnlbili tyBc| ongingtothcsituationthist| mc, thc
gcncrici san intrinsici nd| sccrniblc thcrci n.
If oncattcmptstoj ointogcthcrthccmpi ricalandscicnt| ñcconcl usions.
thclollowinghypothcsi s canbcmadc. thclactthatagcncricproccdurcol
ñdclityprogrcsscstoinñnitycntailsa 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 supcrnumcrary namc
procccds, woul dthusbcthatthctruthola si tuati on, wi ththiscacsuraas
i tsprinciplc.]o·.cs/hcs//ua//en/oa:commeda/c//tocxtcnditsclltothcpoint
at which this truth÷primitivcly no morc than a part, a rcprcscntation
÷attainsbclonging,thcrcbybccomingaprcscntat| on. 1hctraj cctoryolthc
faithful generic procedure and i ts passage to i nfni ty transform the
ontological statusof atruth.thcydo sobychangingthcs| tuation bylorcc ,
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|lytranslormcd. Notonlyi satruth
indisccrn|blc, buti tsproccdurcrcquircsthatthisi ndisccrnib|lity/c.Atruth
would lorcc thc s| t uation to d| sposc |tscll such that thls truth÷at thc
outset anonymousl y counted as one by the stat e al one, pure i ndi stinct
cxccssovcrthcprcscntcd mu| t| plcs÷bc ñnal|yrccognizcdasa 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, notbywhatthcy
disccrn. butbywhatthcyindisccrnthcrcin. Andthca| l powcrlulncssola
truthismcrclythat ol chang| ngwhatis, such thatthisunnamcabl cbci ng
maybc, which is thc vcrybcing ol what| s.

343
344
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-TWO
Rousseau
i l. from thcse ¸particular| wills, onc takcsawaythc
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, andcvcrywhcrchci sin
chai ns´ lf by resolution onc undcrstands the cxami nation of thc real
proccdurcs ofpassagc from onc statc ( natural frccdom; to anothcr ( civil
obcdicncc, , Rousscauexprcsslyindcatcsthathcdocsnothavcsuchathis
disposal . uow di d this changc comc about' l do not know´ Bcrc as
clscwhcrchismcthodi stosctasi dcal l thcfactsandtothcrcbycstablisha
foundation for thc opcrations of thought. lt is a qucstion of cstablishing
underwhat conditions sucha changc is /c¸///ma/c. 3ut legitimacy herc
dcsignatcscxistencc. i n|act. thecxistcncc o|po| itics. Rousscausgoa| i sto
cxamincthcconccptua| prcrcquisitcsofpolitics. tothink/hc/c/n¸c]po////a.
1hctruthof that bcingrcsidcs in thc actby which a pcoplc is a pcoplc .
1hatl cgiti macybccxistcncc itsc|fi sdemonstratcdbyt hefollowing. thc
cmpiricalrcalityofStatcsandofcivilobcdicncc docsnotprovci nanyway
that thcrc i s po|itics. 1his is a part|cularly strong idca of Rousscau. thc
factual appcarancc ofa sovercign docs not sulñcc for i ttobc possiblcto
spcakofpol itics 1hc mostpartofthemaj orStatcs arc a- politica|bccausc
thcyhavccomctothe tcrmoftheirdissolution. ln thcm, thcsocialpact
i sbrokcn Itcanbcobscrvcd that vcry lcwnationshavclaws´ Politics is
rarc, bccausc thc üdc| ity to what |ounds i t i s prccari ous, and
ROUSSEAU
bccausc thcrc | san |nhcrcntand|ncv|tablcv| ccwh|ch rclcntlcsslytcnds
to dcstroythcbodypol|t|clromthc vcry momcnt ol|tsb|rth .
lt |s qu|tc conccivablc that |l pol|t|cs, | n| t s bc|ng- mult|plc ( thc body
pol|t|c' or pcoplc' ; , | s always 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 ways hastogobackto a ñrst convcnt|on. ' 1hc soc|alpact
|s not a h|stor|callyprovablc lact, and Rousscaus rclcrcnccs to Grcccc or
Romc mcrcly 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| catory bc|ng that | s thc body pol|t|c l n thc pact, wc
atta|nthc cvcn/ncssolthccvcnt| nwhich anypol. t|cal proccdurc nnds |ts
ttuth Morcovcr, that noth|ng ncccss|tatcs such a pact | s prcc|scly what
d|rccts thc polcm|c aga|nst Bobbcs 1o supposc that thc pol|t|cal convcn
t| onrcsultslromthcncccss|tyolhav|ngtocx| tlromawarolal l aga|nstal l
andtothussubord|natc t hccvcnt tothceffects of lorcc, | s to subm|t| ts
cvcntncsstoancxtr|ns|cdctcrm|nat|on. Onthccontrary, whatoncmust
assumc | s thc supcr||uous' charactcr ol thc or|g|nary social pact, |ts
absolutc nonncccss|ty, thc rat|onal chancc ( wh|ch | srctroact|vclyth|nk
abl c; ol|tsoccurrcncc. Pol|t|csis a crca//on, local andlrag|lc, ol collcct|vc
humanity,|t|sncvcrthctrcatmcntola v|tal ncccss|ty. Ncccss|ty| salways
apo| it|calc|thcrbclorchand ( thcstatcolnaturc, , oraltcrwards ( d|ssolvcd
Statc, Pol|t|cs, | n its bc|ng, |s solcly commcnsurablc to thc cvcnt that
inst|tutcs |t.
ll wc cxam|nc thc]ormu/a ol thc soc|al pact, that | s, thc statcmcnt by
which prcv|ously d|spcrscd natural |nd|viduals bccomc const| tutcd as a
pcoplc,wcscethatitdisccrosan abso|utc|ynovc|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
rightly 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
atconlypart|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 may bc rccog
n|zcd hcrc. oacc thc gcncral w|ll i s const|tutcd. it so happcns that | t |s
ptcc|scly //sbc|ngwh|chi s prcsupposcd |n such const|tut|on.
345
346
BEI NG AND EVENT
1hc onl ystandpolnt|romwhich | ightmaybc shcd upon this torsloni s
t hat o| considcring t hcbodypolitic to bca supcrnumcrary mul ti pl c. t hc
ultra onco|t hccvcntt hat isthcpact . | ntruth. thcpact i snothingothcr
than/hcsc/]/c/oa¸/n¸ e]/hc/odypo////c/o/hcm×///p/c /ha////s, aslounding
cvcnt. Gcncral wiH namcs thc durablc truth o|this scl|bclonging 1hc
bodypolit|c . . . si ncci t owcsltsbclngsolclytothcsanctityo|thccontract,
can ncvcr obllgatc ltscl| . . . to do anythi ng that dctracts |rom that
prlmi ti vcact. . . 1o violatctheactbywhlchi 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 ty÷that alonc supports thc dcploymcnt
o|thc trutho|thc pr|mltlvc act . ln sum.
~ thc pact is thc cvcnt whlch, by chancc supplcmcnts thc statc o|
naturc.
- thcbodypolitic, orpcoplc, lsthc cvcntalu| t ra oncwhich |ntcrposcs
itsclfbctwccn thc void ( naturc i s thc void|orpolitlcs , anditscl|.
- thc gcncral wlll l s thc opcrator ol l| dclity whlch dlrccts a gcncrlc
proccdurc.
ltis thclastpoi ntwhlchcontainsall thc difñcultics. What| will arguc
hcrci sthatRousscauclcar|ydcsignatcsthcncccsslty. |oranytrucpoli tlcs,
to artlculatcitscl|arounda gcncrlc ( i ndlsccrnlbl c, subsct o|thccollcctivc
body. 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 thcmaj orlty, .
Wc know that oncc namcd by thc i ntcrvcntion thc cvcnt |ounds timc
upon an originary 1o ( Mcditation 20( . Rousscau |ormalizcs thi s poi nt
µrcciscly whcn hc posits t hat wl | l l s spl l t bythc cvcnt- contract . c///zcn
dcs| gnatcs ln cach pcrson hi s or hcr particlpatl on |n t hc sovcrclgnty 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 body o| politlcs. Obcdi cncc to thc
gcncralwllli sthcmodcl nwhlchclvillibcrtyisrcali zcd. AsRousscausays,
i nancxttcmcl ytcnsc|otmul a. thcwordssu/]cc/andsovcrc/¸narcl 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 purely and simply thc cx. stcncc o|
ROUSSEAU
politics. ! nthccitizcn ( thcmi litant , , whodividcsthcwillofthci ndi vi dual
i ntotwo, po' iticsisrcalizcdi nasmuchasitisma| mai ncdwi thi nthccvcntal
( contractual , foundati on oftimc.
Rousscausacuitycxtcndstohispcrccptiontha| thc normofgcncralwill
is c¡uc//j. 1his i s a fundamcntal point. Gcncral will | s a rcl ationship of
co-bclonging ol thc pcoplc to itsclf. ! t i s thcrcfotc only cffcctivc from all
thc pcoplc to al l thc pcopl c !ts forms of maoi fcstation÷laws÷arc. a
rclation. bctwccn thc cntirc objcct from onc point of vicw and thc
entirc obj cct from anothcrpoint of vicw, with no divisionol thc wholc .
Anydccisionwhoscobj 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 by statcmcnts of knowlcdgc. A
dcctcc is looodcd uponkoowlcdgc, but a law |s not. a l aw .s conccrncd
solcly with |hc truth. 1his cvi dcntly rcsults i o thc gcncral will bcing
intrins|cally egalitarian, sincc t cannot takc pcrsons or goods into con
sidcration. 1hislcads inturn t an intrinsicqual i hcationofthc division ol
will. patticu| arwill, tcnds, by its naturc, to par|i al i ty. and gcncral will to
cquality. Rousscauthinks| hccsscntialmodcrnl| nkbctwccnthccxistcncc
of politics aod thc egalitarian norm. Yct it is not quitc cxact to spcak ofa
notm. Asan intrinsicqual i|Icat| ooofgcncralwill. cquality/spolitics, such
that. a con/rcr/o, any 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 ity by an
articulatcd tccoursc to an cvcntal foundation and a proccdurc of thc
indisccrniblc. !ti sbccauscgcneral willi ndisccrns| tsobj cctandcxcl udcsi t
fromthccncyclopacdiasof knowlcdgcthatiti sordaincdtocqual ity Asfor
this indisccriblc. it rcfcrs back t the cvcntal charactcr ofpol itical crca
t| on.
Iinally. kousscau rigoroos| y provcs thatgcoeral will cannot bc rcprc
sentcd. not cvcnby thc Statc. 1hc sovcrcign. which is solclya collcctivc
bcing, can bc rcprcscntcd only by itsclf. powcr can quitc casily bc
transfcrrcd. but not wi ll . ' 1his di st| nction bctwccnpowcr ( transmi ssiblc,
andwill ( unrcprcscntabl c, isvcryprolound. !t freespoliticslromthc statc.
As a proccdurc fa| thful t thc cvcnt-coniraci poli t | cs cannot tolcratc
delcgat| onorrcprcscntatioo. I t resides cotircly |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 -
bility, anditsinfallibility. Rousscaucannotadmitthclogicofthc division'
or balancc' ofpowcrs, if onc undcrstands by powcr' thccsscncc of thc
political phcnomcnon, wh|ch Rousscau woul d rathcr namc will. As
gcncricproccdurc,po| |ticsisindccomposablc,andi tisonlybydissolvingi t
i ntothc sccondary mul tiplicity ofgovcrnmcntal dccrccs that its art|cul a-
tioni ssupposcdlythought . 1hctraccofthccvcntalultra oncinpoliticsi s
that thcrc is only onc such po| it|cs, whi ch no instancc of powcr could
rcptcscnt or fragmcnt. For polit|cs, ultimatcly, i s thc cx|stcncc ol thc
pcopl c. Similarly, gcncralwill| salwaysupright andal waystcndstowards
publ|cutility' , forwhatcx/crna/normcouldwcusctoj 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 usurpatory will .
Graspcd in its csscncc, gcncral will is infalliblc, duc to bc|ng subtractcd
fromanyparticul arknowlcdgc, andductoitrclatingsolclytothcgcncric
cxistcnccofthcpcoplc.
Rousscau's hostility to partics and factions÷and thus to any form of
parliamcntary rcprcscntativity÷|s dcduccdfrom thcgcncri ccharactcr of
politics.1hcmaj orax| omisthat inordcrtodcñnitc| yhavcthccxprcssion
of thc gcncral wil| ¸thcrc must¦ bc no partial socicty in thc Statc ' A
partialsocicty' is charactcrizcdbybcingdisccrnibl c, or scparablc. as such,
itis notfaithfultothccvcntpact AsRousscaurcmarks, thcoriginalpact
is thc rcsult ofa unanimous conscntmcnt ' . !fthcrc arc opponcnts, thcy
arc purc| y and simp| y cxtcmal to thc body po| itic, thcy arc forcigncrs
amongstthcCitizcns' . Forthccvcntalultra- onc cvidcntlycannottakcthc
formofa maj ority' . Fidclitytothc cvcntrcqu| rcsany gcnuinc|y polit|cal
dccisiontoconlormtothisonccflcct,thatis, tonotbcsubordinatcdtothc
scparablc and disccrniblc will ofa subsct ofthcpcoplc. Any subsct cvcn
thatccmcntcdbythcmostrca| of|ntcrcsts, isapolitica| givcnthati tcan
bc namcd in an cncyc| opacdia. !t i s a mattcr of knowlcdgc, and not of
truth.
ßy thc samc tokcn, it is rulcd out that politics bc rcal|zablc in thc
clcctionofrcprcscntativcssincc willdocsnotadmitofbcingrcprcscntcd. '
1hc dcputics may havc particul ar cxccutivc funct|ons, but thcy cannot
ROUSSEAU
havcanylcg|slat|vc lunct|on. bccausc thcdcputi csofthcpcop| c. . . arc
notandcannotbci tsrcprcscntativcs . and anylawwhi chthcPcoplchas
not ratihcd in pcrson i s nu| | , it i s nota | aw´ 1hcFnglish parliamcntary
systcmdocsnot|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| tanypo|it|cal bcing.
Whathastobc undcrstood | sthatthcgcncra| wi||. l|kc anyopcratorof
la|thlulconncction.scrvcstocvaluatcthcproximi ty. orconlorm|ty. 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|y. whatthcyarc bcing askcd is not cxactly whcthcrthcy
approvcthcproposalorrcj cct|t.butwhcthcr|tdocsordocsnotconlorm
tothcgcncralw|l|whi chi sthc|rs´lti squitcrcmarkablcthatlorRousscau
polit|caldcci si onamountstodcci di ngwhcthcrastatcmcnt|spo|it|ca|and
in noway to knowngwhcthcronci slororagainsti t. 1hcrc i s a radical
disj 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
subtractcdlromany such di sccrnmcnt.
Bowcvcr. thcrcarc two rcma|ning d|lñculti cs.
- 1hcrc | s onl y an cvcnt as namcd by an intcrvcnti on. Who i s thc
intcrvcnor in Rousscau's doctrinc' 1his i s thc qucstion of thc
lcgi slator. andi t | snotancasyonc.
~ llthcpacti sncccssarilyunan|mous. thl s| snotthccascwi ththcvotc
lorsubscqucntlaws. orwiththcdcsignationofmagistratcs . Bowcan
thc gcncr|c charactcrolpol|ticssubsistwhcnunan|mitylai | s'1h|s|s
Rousscaus |mpassc.
!n thc pcrson of thc lcgis|ator thc gcncr|c unanimity of thc cvcnt as
graspcd |n | t s mu|t|plcbc|ng invcrts |tscll |nto absolutc s|ngul ar|ty. 1hc
lcgislator|sthconcwho|ntcrvcncsw|th|nthc sitc olanasscmblcdpcoplc
349
350
BEI NG AND EVENT
and namcs. by consti tuti ona| or loundational laws. thc cvcnt pact . 1hc
supcrnumcrary 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 Rousscauistryingt 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| y crcatcd by thc popu| ar asscmb|y. a wisdom i n | cga|
nomi nat i on that is thcn ratiñcd byt hc sullragc. 1hc | cgi s| at oris t urncd
towardsthccvcnt. andsubtractcdlromitscllccts. Ecwhodraltsthcl aws
has. thcn. orshouldhavcno | cgislativcpowcr ' Not havi nganypowcr. hc
can only lay c| ai mtoaprcviousñdc| ity. thcprcpo| i t ica| ñdc| i ty tot hcgods
ol Naturc. 1hc |cgi s| ator p|accs ¸dcci si ons} i n thc mout h ol immorta| s' .
bccausc such i s thc | aw ol any intcrvcnti on. havi ng t o | ay c| ai m to a
prcvi ousñdc| i tyin 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 , . Ooc can casi | y rccognizcan
i ntcrvcnti onal avant gardc in thc statcmcnt i n which Rousscau qualincs
thcparadoxoltHc| cgi s| ator Anundcrtaki ngbeyondhumanlorcc. andto
cxccut ci t an authority 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| ity 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 µo| | 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 , betwccn thi s or
thatstatcmcnt aod thcnamcolthe cvcntwhich t he| cgi s| ator. supportcd
bythccontractua|unani mi tyolthcpcop| 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 always ncccssary t hat it bc unanimous. but i t is ncccssary t hat a| |
votcsbccountcd, any|ormalcxc| usi ondcstroysgcncrali ty. 1hchistorica|
lortunc ol this typc 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 body politic÷and such is thc cx/s//n¸ lorm olgcncral wil l÷must
gcnuinclybca subsctolthi scnt| rc body. andnotola ltaction. 1hisi sthc
tracc. at a givcn stagc ol political ñdclity. ol thc cvcnt itscll bc| ng
unanimous. ora rcl ation ol thc pcoplc to itscllas a whol c.
Furthcral ongRousscauwritcs. thcvotcolthcmaj orityalwaysobligatcs
a|lthcrcst ' . andthctallyolthcvotcsyicldsthcdcclarationolthcgcncral
wil| . What kind olrclation could possiblycxistbctwccn thc tallyolthc
votcs' and thc gcncral charactct ol thc will' Fvidcntly. thc subj accnt
hypothcsisisthatthcmaj orityolvotcsmatcriallycxprcsscsanindctcrmi
natc or indisccrniblc subsct ol thc collcctivc body. 1hc onlyj usti ncation
kousscau givcs lot such a hypothcsis is thc symmctrical dcstruction ol
particul ar w|lls oloppos| tc pctsuasions. ¸thc wi'l ol allj is nothing but a
sum olparticularwills. but il. lrom thcsc samcvvl l s. onctakcsaway thc
pluscs and thc minuscs which canccl cach othcr out. what is l clt as thc
sumoldillctcnccsisthcgcncralwil| . ' But itisnot clcat whythc said sum
ol dillcrcnccs. whi ch supposcdly dcsignatcs thc indisccrn|blc or non
particular charactcr ol political w| l l shoul d appcat cmpirically as a
maj or|ty. cspccially givcn that it is a lcw dillcting voiccs. as wc scc i n
parliamcntary rcgi mcs. which hnally dccidc thc outcomc. Why would
thcscundccidcdsullragcs. whicharci ncxccssolthc mutual anni hilation
olparticularwills. cxprcssthcgcncriccharactcrolpolit| cs. orñdclitytothc
unanimousloundingcvcnt'
Rousscau sdilñcultyi npass| nglromthcprinciplc ( politicsñndsitstruth
solcly in a gcncric part ol thc pcoplc. cvcty disccmiblc part cxptcsscs a
particul arintcrcst, to thc rcalization ( absolutc maj ority is supposcdto bc
anadcquatcsignol thc gcncric, lcadshi mtodist|nguishbctwccn/mpor/an/
dccisions and ur¸cn/dccisions
Togcncralmax| mscanhc' ptorcgul atcthcscratios onc. thatthcmotc
scr| ous and i mportant thc dclibctations arc. thc ncarcr unani mity thc
vicw wh.ch prcvails shou|d bc. thc othcr. that the morc rap|dly thc
busincss at hand has to bc rcsolvcd thc narrowcr should bc thc
prcscribcddillcrcnccinwcightingopinions. indclibcrationswhichhavc
to bc concludcd straightaway. a maj ority olonc should sulñcc
Onc can scc thatRousscaudocsnot makcstrictlyabsolutcmajority| nto
an absol utc. Ec cnvisagcs dcgrccs. and introduccs what wil l bccomc thc
conccptol quali|lcdmaj ority Wcknowthatcvcntodaymaj 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' Andby
whatmaj ority' lt i sparadoxicalthatthc ( quantitativc, cxprcssion ofthc
gcncralwi l l i ssuddcnly found todcpcnduponthc cmpirical charactctof
thc mattcrs i n qucstion. lndisccrnibility is l i mitcd and corruptcd hcrcby
thcdisccrnibilityofcascsandbya casuistrywhi chsupposcsa classincatory
cncyclopacdia of polit|cal circumstanccs. lfpolitical hdclityi sbound i nits
modcofpracticctocncyclopacdicdctcrmi nantswhicharc allocatcdtothc
particularity 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 by thc cxamination ol a complcxity
which appcars to bc closcly rclatcd, but which Rousscau managcs to
mastcr. lt i s thc qucstion of thc dcsignation of thc govcmmcnt ( of thc
cxccutivc, . Sucha dcsignation,conccrningparticul arpcoplc, cannotbcan
actofthcgcncralwill .1hcparadoxi sthatthcpcoplcmustthusaccomplish
agovcrnmcntalorcxccutivcact ( namingccrtainpcoplc, dcspitcthcrcnot
yctbcinga govctnmcnt. Rousscaurcsolvcs this difñculty bypositing that
thc pcoplc transforms itscll from bcing sovcrcign ( lcgislativc, into a
dcmocra//ccxccut|vcorgan,sinccdcmocracy, forhi m, isgovcrnmcntbyal l .
( 1hi sindicatcs÷j usttoopcna parcnthcs|s÷thatthcfounding contracti s
not dcmoctatic,sinccdcmocracyi saformoft hccxccutivc. 1hccontracti s
aunani mouscollcctivccvcnt, andnotadcmocraticgovcrnmcntaldccrcc. ,
1hcrci s thus, whatcvcrthcformofgovcrnmcntbc, a n obligatorymomcnt
of dcmocracy. that i n whi ch thc pcoplc, by 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| ngtakcnbya maj orityolsuffragcs, bccausci ti sa
mattcrofa dccrccandnot a l aw, and so thc willisparti culat, not gcncral .
1hc obj cctionthatnumbcrrcgulatcsa dccisionwhoscobj cctisdisccrnib|c
( pcoplc, candidatcs, ctc , i snotvalid, bccauscthisdccisioni snotpolitical.
bcinggovctnmcntal . Sinccthcgcncrici snoti nqucstion, thcimpasscofits
maj oritarianexprcssi onis rcmovcd.
Onthcothcrhand, thci mpassc rcmains i ni tscntirctywhcnpolitics| s
atstakc, thatis, whcni t i sa qucstionofdccisionswhichrclatcthcpcoplc
to itsclf, and which cngagc thc gcncric naturc of thc proccdurc, its
subtraction from any cncyclopacdi cdctcrminant. 1hc gcncral will, qual -
i ncdbyindisccrnibility÷whichal oncattachcsittothclound| ngcvcntand
ROUSSEAU
inst|tutcs pol | t| cs as truth÷cannot al l ow | tscl l to bc dctcrm|ncd by
numbcr. Rousscauñnal l ybccomcs soacutcly 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', a suprcmc ch|cf who s|lcnccs al l thc l aws . 1hc
sovcrc|gnauthor|tyofthccollcct|vcbody| sthcnsuspcndcd. notductothc
abscnccofthcgcncralwill, butonthccontrary,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|ty of |aws. wh|ch kccps thcm from bcnd|ng to
cvcnts. can| nsomccascsrcndcrthcmpcrn|c| ous´Onccaga|nwcsccthc
cvcntal ultra-oncstruggl|ngw| ththc ñx|ty of thc opcrators ofhdcl|ty. A
casu|stry|srcqu|rcd, wh|chaloncw|lldctcrm|ncthcmatcr|alformofthc
gcncral wi l l . from unan|m|ty ( rcqu|rcd for thc |n|t|al contract, to thc
d|ctatorsh|pofoncal onc( rcqu|rcdwhcncx/s//n¸pol|t|cs| sthrcatcncd| n|ts
bcing, . 1h|s pl ast|c|ty of cxptcss|on rcfcrs back to thc | nd|sccrn|b|l|ty of
polit|calw|ll . lf| twasdctcrm|ncdbyancxpl|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|ssolclyan/ndcxofcxistcnccand
nota knowlcdgcablcnom|nat|on. !tsproccdurc | ssupportcd un|quclyby
thczcal ofcit|zcn- m| l|tants, whoscñdcl|tygcncratcsan| nñn| tctruththat
no form, const|tut|onal ororgan|zat|onal. can adcquatcl ycxprcss.
Rousscau's gcn|us was to havc abstractly circumscribcd thc naturc of
pol|ticsasgcncr|cproccdurc. Fngagcd, howcvcr, ashcwas| nthcc|assical
approach. wh|ch conccrns thc l cg|t|matc form of sovcrc|gnty, hc con-
s|dcrcd÷a|bc|t w|th paradox|cal prccaut|ons÷that thc maj or|ty of suf-
fragcswasul t| matcl ythccmpir|calformofth|slcg|t|macy. Ecwasnotablc
tofoundthispo|ntuponthccsscnccofpol|ticsitsclf, andhcbcqucathcsus
t hc follow|ng qucst|on. what |s | t that d/s//n¸u/shcs. on thc prcscntablc
surfacc ofthc s|tuat|on, thcpol|t|calproccdurc'
1hc csscncc ol thc mattcr. howcvcr, lics i n j o| ning polit|cs not to
lcg|t|macy buttotruth÷w|ththcobstaclcthatthoscwhowouldma|nta|n
353
354
BEI NG AND EVENT
thcscprinciplcs wi l l havcsadlytold thc truth. andwillhavct|attcrcdthc
pcoplc alonc' . kousscau rcmarks, with a touch ol mclancholy rcalism,
truth docs not l cad to lortunc, and thc pcoplc conlcrs no ambassador
ships, prolcssorships orpcnsions '
Unbound lrom powcr, anonymous. paticnt lorcing ol an i nd| sccrniblc
partolthc situation, politics docsnotcvcn turn you intothc ambassador
ol a pcop|c. 1hcrcin onc i s thc scrvantol a truth whosc rcccption, in a
translormedwotld, is not such thatyoucantakcadvantagc 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÷bythccapacity
ola collcctivcwll .
MEDI TATI ON THI RTY-THREE
The Mathere of the Indi scern i bl e:
| J. Cohen' s strategy
!ti si mpossiblclormathcmatica|ontologyt odisposcola conccptoltruth.
bccauscanytruthi spost- cvcnta| . andthcparadoxica| mu| ti plcthati sthc
evcnt| sproh|b|tcdlrombcingbythatontology.1hcproccssolatruththus
ent|rc|y cscapcs ontology ln this rcspcct. thc Bci dcggcrcan thcs|s ol an
or|ginary cobc|onging ol bcing ( as <
u
u,s) and truth (as d)�e€ta, or non
| atcncy, must bc abandoncd 1hc sayab| c ol bcing i s d|sj unct lrom thc
sayab|coltruth 1h|siswhyphi | osophya| oncthi nkstruth. inwhatiti tsc| l
posscsscs | n thc way ol subtraction lrom thc subtract|on ol bc|ng. thc
cvcnt. thc ultraonc. thc chancc- drivcn proccdurc anditsgcncr|crcsult
Bowcvcr. il thc thought ol bcing docs not opcn to any thought ol
truth÷bccausca truth is not. butcomcs lorth lrom thc standpoint olan
undcc|dablcsuppl emcntat| on÷thcrc| sst i | ' a /c/n¸o]/hc/ru/h. wh|ch| sne/
thc truth. prcciscly. it i s thc | attcr' sbcing 1hc gcncric and| nd|sccrnible
multiplc | s /n situation. it i s prcscntcd. dcspitc bcing subtractcd lrom
know|cdgc. 1hccompa//////jol onto|ogywithtruth |mpl|cs thatthebc|ng
oltruth.asgcncricmu| t| p|i city. isontological | ythinkablc. cvcni latruthis
not 1hcrclorc.i t a|lcomcsdowntothis . canonto|ogyproduccthcconccpt
ol a gcncric mu| t|plc. which | s to say an unnamcablc. un- constructiblc.
indiscerniblc mu| ti plc' 1hc rcvo| uti on introduccd by Cohcn i n l 9õ?
rcsponds i n thc alñrmativc. thcrc cxists an ontolog| cal conccpt ol thc
|ndiscerniblc multipl c. Conscqucnt|y. ontology | s compatiblc with thc
phil osophyoltruth. ltaa/hor/zcsthccxistcncc olthcrcsul t- multipleolthc
gcncr|cproccdurcsuspcndcdlromthccvcnt. dcspitcitbcingind|sccrniblc
withinthc situationi nwhichi tis i nscribcd. Onto| ogy. altcrhaving bcing
ablc to think. with Godcl. Lcibni z's thought ( constructiblc hicrarchy and
355
356
BEI NG AND EVENT
sovcrcigntyoflanguagc, . 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 cvcry multiplc is constructiblc ( Mcditation >0, . i ndisccrnibility is
ncccssarily rclativc to a critcrion of thc disccrnibl c. that i s. to a si tuation
andtoa languagc.
Ourstratcgy( andCohcn sinvcntionlitcrallyconsistsolthismovcmcnt,
wi l l thusbcthcfollowing. wcshal l i nstal | oursclvcsi na mul t iplcwhichi s
nxcd oncc and for a| | a mul tiplc which is vcry r|ch i n propcrtics ( i t
rc|lcctsasigniñcantpartofgcncralontology,yct vcrypoori nquantity( it
is dcnumcrabl c , . 1hc languagcwil| bc that ofsct thcory. butrcstrictcdto
thcchoscnmultipl c. Wcwilltcrmthismultiplca]undcmcn/a/¡uas/·comp/c/c
s//uc//on ( thc Amcricans call it a ¡roundmodc/, . lnsidc this fundamcntal
situation, wc wil|dcnnca proccdurcforthcapproximationofa supposcd
i ndisccrniblc multiplc. Sincc such a multiplc cannot bc namcd by any
phrasc. wcwillbcobligcdtoanticipatcitsnominationbya supplcmcntary
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
numcrarylcttcritsclf. anditisthusquitccohcrcntthatitdcsignatcnothing.
Luctoaprcdilcct|onwhoscoriginlwi!ll cavcthcrcadcrtodctcrminc. lwill
chooscthcsymbol
2
|orthis| nscription 1hissymbolwillbcrcad gcncri c
mul t|plc , gcncr| c bci ng thc adjcctivc rctaincd by mathcmaticians to
dcsi gnatcthci nd| sccrniblc, thcabsolutclyindctcrminatc, whichi s to saya
mult|plcthatinagivcnsituationsolclyposscsscspropcrti cswhi charcmorc
orlcss common toallthcmu| tipl csofthcsituation. !nthclltcraturc.whatl
notchcrcas
2
isnotcdG ( lorgcncric, .
Givcn that a mul tiplc 2 is not namcablc. thc possiblc nl l ing |n of its
abscncc÷thc construction o| its conccpt÷can onl y 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 inontology
THE MATHE ME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
thcrc|snoproccdurc, on| ystructurc. 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|tuation, , 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 thcy 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
|t, , and thc p|acc of |ts /n/c///¡//////y (bccausc thc condit|ons wh|ch thc
|nd|sccrn|b|cmustobcy|nordcrtobc|nd|sccrn|b| cw|l|bcmatcr|a|izcdby
ccrta|n structurcs of thc choscn mu|t|plc , . 1hat a mu|t|plc can both
funct|onass|mp|ctcrmofprcscntat|on ( th|stcrmbclongstothc|ndisccrn
ib| c, and asvcctorof|nformati onaboutwhat|tbc|ongsto |s thc kcytothc
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 ¸ , .
1hc hopc| s that ccrtain group|ngso f cond|t|ons, condit|ons wh|ch arc
thcmsc|vcscondit|oncd/n/hc/an¸ua¡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 | applythc symbo| ¸
Ingcncra| thc ¸ in qucsti on w|||notcvcnbc|ongto thc s|tuation. Just
|ikc thc symbol attachcd to it, i t w||l bc supcrnumcrary 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. byforcc, thi s|nd|sccrn|blc| s addcd orj o|ncd tothcsi tuat|on.
0nc can scc hcrc that. via a rctrogrcss|on typica| of onto| ogy, thc
supp|cmcntat|onolbc|ngthat| sthccvcnt (|nnon ontolog|cals|tuat|ons ,
comcs afcr t hc s ignify|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|ogy w|||
cxp|orchow, froma g|vcn s|tuati on, onccanconstructanothcr s|tuat|on
357
358
BEI NG AND EVENT
by mcans ol thc addition ol an ind| sccrniblc multiplc ol thc initial
situati on. 1his lormal|zation i s clcarly that olpolitics. wh|ch. naming an
unprcscntcd olthc si tc on thc basis olthc cvcnt, rcworks thc situat|on
throughitstcnaci ousndclitytothatnomination. But hcrciti sa cascola
politicswithoutluturc antcrior, a /c/n¸ olpolitics.
1hc rcsult, in ontology, is that thc qucstionisvcrydclicatc÷ adding thc
| ndisccrniblconcci t hasbccnconditioncd( andnotconstructcdornamcd, .
what docs that mcan' Givcn that you cannot d|sccrn < within thc
lundamcntalsituation, whatcxplicitproccdurc couldpossiblyaddittothc
multiplc ol that situation' 1hc solution to this problcm consists in
constructing, within thc situation, mult|plcs which lunction as aamcs lor
cvcry possiblc clcmcnt ol thc situation obtai ncd by thc addition ol thc
indisccrniblc < Naturally. i ngcncra|. wc will notknowwh/chmultiplcol
5( ¸, ( lct' s call thc addition such, | s namcdbycachnamc. Morcovcr. this
rclcrcntchangcsaccordingtowhcthcrthcindisccrniblci sthisorthat. and
wcdonotknowhowtonamcorthinkthi s thisort hat Butwcwillknow
thatthcrcarcnamcslorall. Wcwi| lthcnpositthat5( ¸ , i sthcsctolvalucs
olthc namcs]o· a]cd supposcd /nd/sccrn///c. 1hc manipulation ol namcs
will allowus to think monyproperties olthcsituation S( ¸ , The properties
willdcpcndon ¸ bcing ind|sccrnibl c orgcncric. 1his i swhy5( ¸ , wi l l bc
tcrmcd a gcncric cxtcnsion ol 5 For a ñxcd sct o| conditions. wc will
spcak. i n an cntirclygcncralmanner, ol thc gcncric cxtcnsionol5 thc
indisccrniblc lcavcs a tracc i n thc lorm ol ou¡ incapacity to disccrn an
cxtcnsionobtaincdonthcbasi sola distinct i ndisccrniblc ( thcthoughtol
thi s distinctncss , aswcshal l scc, isscvcrclyl i mi tcdbythci ndisccrnibility
ol thc indisccrn|blcs , .
Whatrcmainstobc sccnishowcxactlythisprogram is compatiblcwith
thc !dcas ol thc multipl c. thus, how cxactly÷and thc bcaring ol this
problcm | s crucial÷an ontological conccpt ol thc purc i nd|sccrniblc
mul tiplccxists.
l . FUNLAMFN1AL QUAS! 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. Surclya simplcmultiplc
THE MATHE ME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
( añnitcmu| tip| c. lorcxamp| c, docsnotproposcthcrcquircdopcrati onal
rcsourccs. northc quant| ty olsctsthatthcscrcsourccsprcsupposc ( si ncc
wc know that an opcration is no morc. in its bci ng. than a particular
mul ti p| c, .
!n truth. thc right situation mustbc as c|osc as possib|c÷w|th no cllort
sparcd÷to thc rcsourccs olontologyitscll. !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||cctcd, 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 vocabulary ol Mcditation 29. that th| s lormu| a i s
a|so/u/clort hcmultip| c inqucstion. Lct'sg|vca typi ca| cxampl c saythat
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. ilwchavcßE a andß´ a = 0, i t bcingundcrstoodthatthi sßmust
cxi stloraninhabitant ol5÷inthcunivcrscol5 tocxi st mcans. tobc| ong
to5 Lct'snowsupposcthat5i satransitivcsct( Mcditation l 2 , . 1hismcans
that µ E 5, - µ C 5, . 1hcrclorc. cvcjc| cmcntola i sa| soan clcmcntol
5 Sinccthcaxiomolloundation| struc/n¸:ncra/en/o/o¸y. thcrci s ( lorthc
ontologi st, at| castoncß such tHatß E a andß ´ a = 0. But. ducto thc
transitivityol5, this ßi sa| soanc| cmcntol5 1hcrclorc. lorani nhabi tant
ol 5. it |s cqua| lyvcridical that thcrccxists a ß wi th ß ´ a = 0. 1hc ñnal
rcsul ti sthatwcknowthatatransitivcmultip| c5a|waysrcl|cctsthcaxi om
olloundati on. From a standpoint i ns| dcsuch a multip| c. thcrcis always
somc 0thcr | n an cxi stcnt mu| ti p| c. whicH i s to say bc| onging to thc
transitivc situation | nqucsti on.
1hi src|lcctivccapacity. bymcansolwhichthc!dcasolthcmultiplcarc
cutdown' toa part|cu| armu| ti p| candloundtobcverid| ca| withinitlrom
anintcrna| po| nt olvicw. | scharactcristicol onto| og|ca| thcory.
1hc maxi ma| hypothcs. swc can makc in rcspcct t o this capacity. lor a
ñxcdmul tiplc 5. is thc lo|l owing
÷ 5vcriñcsa| | thc axiomsolsct thcorywhichcanbccxprcsscdi nonc
lormu| aa| onc. thatis. cxtcnsi onality. uni on. parts. thcvoid. i nnni ty.
choicc. and loundati on.
- 5 vcri ñcsat | casta ñnitcnumbcrolinstanccsolthoscaxi omswhich
can onl y bc cxprcsscd by an i nñni tc scrics ol lormu| ac. that i s.
scparatlonandrcp|accmcnt( si nccthcrci sactua| | ya di stl nctaxi omol
scparation lorcvcry lormu| a àµ, and an axi om olrcp| accmcnt lor
359
360
BEI NG AND EVENT
cvcry formula \�¡, which i ndicatcs that a is rcplaccd by ß. scc
Mcditation 5 ) ;
- 5i s transitivc ( othcrwisci t wouldbc vcry casyt ocxit from it. sincc
onccoul dhavca E 5, butßE a and- çE 5, , . Tansitivityguarantccs
thatwhati sprcscntcdbywhat5prcscnts, isalsoprcscntcdby5. 1hc
count-as- onci shomogcncousdownwards .
ior rcasons whichwill turn out tobc dccis|vclatcron, wc willadd.
÷ 5 i s| nñnitc, butdcnumcrab|c ( its cardinality is wo) .
A multiplc 5 which has thcsc fourpropcrtics willbc sa| dtobc a ¡uas/
comp/c/cs//ua//oa. ln thc litcraturc, it i s dcsignatcd, a littlc abus|vcly as a
mo4c/ of sct thcory
uocsaquasi complctcsituationcxist' 1hisisaprofoundprob| cm. Such
a situation rc|lccts'alargcpart ofontologyi noncolitstcrmsalonc. thcrc
i samultiplcsuchthatthcldcasofthcmultiplcarcvcridicalthcrcinforthc
mostpart . Wcknowthata totalrc|lcctioni simpossiblc, bccausci t would
amountto saying that wc can ñxw//h/a thcthcorya modcl of al l ofi ts
axi oms, and conscqucntly, aftcr Codcl's complctcncss thcorcm, that wc
candcmonstratcwithinthcthcory thcvcrycohcrcncyofthcthcory.1hc
thcorcmofi ncomplctcncssbythcvcrysamcGödclassurcs usthati fthat
wcrc thc casc thcn thc thcory would | nfact bc incohcrcnt. any thcory
which is suchthat thc statcmcnt thcthcory is cohcrcnt' may bc i nfcrrcd
fromitsaxiomsi si ncohcrcnt. 1hccohcrcncyofontology÷thcv| rtucofits
dcductivc ñdcl ity÷isi ncxccssofwhatcanbc dcmonstratcdbyontology.
ln Mcditation 35 l w|llshowthatwhati satstakc hcrc isa tors|on which
i s constitutivc of thc subjcct. thc law of a ñdclity i s not faithfully
di sccrnib| c.
ln anycasc onc can dcmonstratc÷within thc framcwork ofthcorcms
namcdbythcmathcmaticians ( andrightlyso, thc thcorcmsofrcûcction
÷that quasi - complctc dcnumcrablc situations cxist. Mathcmaticians
spcak oftransitivc dcnumcrablc modcls of sct thcory. 1hcsc thcorcms of
rc||cction show thatontology is capablc of rc|lccting i tsclfasmuch as is
dcsircd ( that is. i t rcllccts as many axioms as rcqui rcd in ñni tc numbcr,
within a dcnumcrablc multiplc Civcn that cvcry currcn/ thcorcm i s
dcmonstratcdwithanni t cnumbcrofaxioms. t hccurrcntstatcofontology
allows itsclf tobc rc|l cctcdwithin a dcnumcrablc univcrsc, in thc scnsc
thatal l thcstatcmcntsthatmathcmaticshasdcmonstratcdu ntiltodayarc
vcridical for an i nhabitant of that univcrsc÷and i n thc cycs of this
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
|nhab|tant, thconl ymult|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 waysbcprcscntcdw|th|nthc
formofa dcnumcrab| cquas| complctcs|tuation. Nostatcmcnt|s| mmunc
ftom suchprcscntati onw|thrcgardto|tscurrcnt|ycstabl |shcdvcrid|city.
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|ullyd|st|ngu|shi ngwhat| sabsolutc
for5andwhati snot . To charactcr|st|ccxamplcs.
÷ lfa E 5. .a, thcdi sscm|nationo|a, /n|hcscnsco] ¸cncra/en/o/o¸y. al so
bcl ongsto5. 1hisrcsultsfromthccl cmcntsofthcclcmcntsof a ( i n
t hcscnsc of t hcs|tuat|on 5, bc|ng thc samc ast hcclcmcnts of thc
clcmcnts ofa in thcscnscofgcncralontology, 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
gcncralontology. Un|on |sthcrcforc absol utc for5. |nsolaras|fonc
has a E 5. onc has U a E 5.
÷ lncontrast, pµ, i snotabsolutcfor5. 1hcrcason|sthatforana E 5.
i ff c a ( i nthcscnscofgcncralontology, , i ti si nnowaycvidcntthat
ß E 5. that i s, that thc part ß cxi sts for an |nhab|tant of S. 1hc
vcrid|c|tyofthcax|omofthcpowcrsct|n 5 s|gn|hcs solcly thatwhcn
a E 5. thcsctofpartsofa wh/ch/c/on¸/o 5| scountcdasonc| nS. But
fromt hcouts|dc, t hcontolog|stcanquitccas|lydi sti ngui sha partof
a wh|ch, not cx|st|ng/ n5 ( bccausc|tdocsno| /c/on¸ to5, . makcsup
partofpµ, |nthcscnscofgcncralontologyw|thoutmak|nguppart
ofjµ, i nthcscnscgivcntoi tby an inhabitant of5 By consequence,
pµ, |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( whichldonotrcproducc, |squ|tci ntcrcst|ng,cons|dcring
thcsuspic|ouscharactcr, |nmathcmat|csas|nph|losophy. 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|ythoscord| na| swh| chbc| ongto 5 i nthc
scnsc olgcncra| onto|ogy.
- W
o
, thc ñrst |imit ord. na| , and thus a|| ol its c| cmcnts as wcll ( thc
ñnitc ordina|sorwho|c numbcrs , .
- 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|ity ola) . arca| | no/abso| utc.
!t i s c| carthat abso|utcncss docs not suit purc quantity ( cxccpt i l i t i s
ñnitc, , nordocsi tsui tthcstatc 1hcrci ssomcthingcvasi vc, orrc|ativc, i n
whati si ntui ti vc| yhcld, howcvcr. to bc thc most obj cctivc olgivcns. thc
quantity ol a mu|tip|c. 1h| s providcs a stark contrast w| th thc absolutc
so|idity ol thc ordina|s, thc rigid| ty ol thc onto|ogical schcma ol natural
mu| ti p| cs.
Naturc, cvcni nñnitc, i sabso| utc. innnitc quantityi 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|y bc| ong to thc
i ndi sccrnib| c ¸ ( thclunctionolmatcria| i , and,whatcvcrthccascmaybc,
to transmit somc inlormation' about this indisccrnibl c ( which wi | | bc a
patt ol thc situation 5, 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 say that72 g|vcs a| | thc inlormation givcn by 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, thcyarca| | c|cmcntsolthcsupposcdindisccrnib|c. ,
THE MATHEME OF THE I NDI SCERNI BL E: P. J. COHEN' S STRATEGY
Lct susc ancxampl cthatwi | l provc cxtrcmclyusclul in whatlollows .
Supposc that our conditions atc ñnitc scr|cs ol 0s and | 's ( whcrc a i s
actually thc multiplc Ø and 1 i s thc multiplc ¦ Øj . by absolutcncss÷
Appcndi x¯÷thcscmu| ti p| csccttainlybclongto5, . A conditlonwouldbc.
lorcxamplc. <0, 1 , 0>. 1hcsupposcd i ndisccrniblcwi|| bca mu| ti pl cwhosc
c|cmcntsarcal l olthi stypc. 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 rcty ol thc hrst condition. is
complctcly rcproJuccd w thin thc condition <0, 1 , 0, 0> in thc samc pl accs
( thc ñrst thrcc , . 1hc l attcr condition givcs. in addition. thc inlormation
( whatcvcr i t might bc, transmittcdbythc 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| yingthcnotionol
inlormati on.
Anothcrrcqui si tccharact crist| clorinlormationisthatthcconditionsbc
compatiblcamongstthcmsclvcs. Withouta critcrionolthccompatiblcand
thcincompatiblc. wcwou| ddonomorcthanblindlyaccumu| atcinlorma -
tion, and nothing would guarantcc thc prcscrvation o l thc ontological
consi stcncyolthcmultiplcinqucstion. 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 ctory inlormati on. 1hus. thc cond|
ti ons<0. 1 > and<0, 1 . 0> arccompatiblc. bccauscthcysaythcsamcthi ngas
larasthcñrsttwoplaccsatcconccrncd. Onthcothcrhand. t hcconditions
<0, 1 > and<0, 0> arcincompatiblc. bccausconcgivcsinlotmati oncodcdby
i nthc sccondpl acc thcrc is a J ' , andthc othcrgivcs i n|ormati on codcd.
contradlctori|y. by i n thc sccond p| acc thcrc i s a 0' . 1hcsc conditions
cannotbcval id |o¸c/hcrlorthc samcindiscctnib| c « .
Notcthati l twoconditionsarccompatiblc. i ti sa' waysbccauscthcycan
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| y, by t hat vcry lact.
compati b| c. lnvcrsc|y. no condit|on cancontal nbotb thc cond|tlon <0, 1 >
and<0, 0> bccauscthcydivcrgco nthc mark occupyingthcsccondpl acc.
363
364
BEI NG AND EVENT
Such | s thc pr|nc|plc ol compat|b|l|ty undcrly|ng thc not|on of
|nformat|on.
F|nally, a cond|t|on |s usclcss |l |t alrcady prcscr|bcs, |tsclf. a strongcr
cond|t|on. |n othcrwords, |f| tdocs nottolcratc any al catory progrcss | n
thc condit|on|ng. 1h|s |dca |s vcry |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 saysboth thc samcth|ngandmorc , . 1hc samc
gocs forthc cond|t|on <0. | . | > Bowcvcr, thcsc two cxtcns|ons of <0. | >
arc |ncompat|blc bctwccn thcmsclvcs bccausc thcy g|vc contrad|ctory
|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|bcdbyth|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
undcrly|ngthc not|on of|nformat|on.
W|thout hav|ng to cntcr|nto thc manncr |n wh|ch a mult|plc actually
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|ty and cho|cc must. |n al l cascs, s|ruc/urc cvcry sct of
cond|t| ons.
1h| sal | owsustoformal|zcw| thoutdifñcultywhatasc/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 lattcr, . lf
- C -,, wcw|l|saythatthc cond|t|on -, dom/na/cs thc cond|t|on1,
( i t is an extension of the | attcr, it says morc ¡ .
c. Tocond|t| onsarccompa///|ci f thcyarcdominated bythcsamcth|rd
condition. ' '' | scompat|bl cw|th1
'
thusmcansthat. ( 3-· , ¸ -. c 13 &
-, C -·] lf th|s |s not thc casc, thcy 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|zcsthatcvcrycondit|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 ( ORPAR1, 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 says'
both that thc cond|t|on 11 | s prcscntcd by ' and÷samc th|ng rcad
d|ffcrcntly÷that 2 | ssuch that71 bclongsto|t. orcanbclongto|t. wh|ch
| s informat|on about 2, but a m|n|mal ' or atom|c p| ccc of |nformati on.
What|ntcrcstsus| sknow|nghowccrtaincond|t|onscanbcrcgul atcdsuch
that thcy const|tutc a cohcrcnt subsct of thc sct O of condit|ons. 1h|s
collcct|vc' cond|t|on|ng| sd|rcctlyt|cdtothcpr|nci pl csofordcr, compat|
b|l|ty 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 ¸j ustqui tc
yct. 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|matcly. 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, bccausccvcryth|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 havcj 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 ngistry|ngtoaxiomatica| ' ychatactcrizc a corrcctpart
olconditions. For thcmomcnt, thc lactthat8 isi ndi sccrnib| cis nottakcn
intoaccounti nanymanncr.1hcvariab| cosulñccs, loraninhabitantolS.
toconstructthc conccp/ola corrcct sctolconditions.
A conscqucncc olthc ru| c is that Ø, thc empty sct, bc| ongs to cvcry
corrcctsct. !ndecd, bcinginthcpositionolun|vcrsa|i nc|usion ( Mcditation
7, , Ø isincludcdi ncvcrycondition', orisdominatcdbycvcryconditi on.
Whatcanbcsa| dolØ'Onccansaythati ti sthcm/n/ma/condition, thconc
which tcachcsusnothingaboutwhatthcsubscto i s. 1his zcro dcgrcc ol
conditioningi sa pi cccolcvcrycorrcctpartbccauscno characteristicolo
canprcvcntØ|romhguringinit, insolaras nocharactcristicis alñrmcdor
contradictcdby anyclcmcntolØ ( thcrc arcn' t any suchc| cmcnts, .
!ti s ccrtainthata corrcctpartmustbc cohcrcnt bccauscitaimsatthc
onc ola multiplc. ltcannot containincompatiblcconditions. Oursccond
ru|c wi | | posit that i l two conditions bc| ong to a corrcct part, thcy arc
compatib| c, thatis, thcyarc dominatcdbyathirdcondition. 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 by thc two rulcsRd,
andRd2, i spcrlcctlyc|carloran inhabitantolS 1hc inhabitantsccsthata
cotrcctpartisa ccrtainsubsctol O whichhastoobcytwo rulcscxprcsscd
i nthc | anguagc olthc situation. Olcoursc, wc sti|l do not know cxact|y
whcthcrcorrcctpartscxistinS lorthatthcywou| dhavctobcpartsol©
which arc known in 5. 1hc lact that O is an c| cmcnt ol thc situation 5
guarantccs, by transitivity, that an c/cmcn/ o| © is a| so an c|cmcnt ol S.
howcvcr, it docs not guarantcc that a par/ ol © is automatica| | y such
Ncvcrthc| css. thc÷possib|y cmpty÷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 yct knowni showtodcscribcacorrcctpart whichwouldbc
an/nd/sccrn///cpart of O. and so olS.
4. lNLl SCFRNlBLF OR GFXFRlC SUB3F1
Supposct hat asubsctoolOi scorrcct.whichistosayi tobcyst hcru|csRd,
andRd2 . Whatc| sci sncccssary 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 propcrty of thc languagc ol
thc si tuati on whi ch namcs it complctcly 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 thcpropcrtycxprcsscdbyA(a ) ' co|nci dc
a E oH A(a) . A//thcclcmcntsolo havcthcpropcrtylotmulatcdbyA, and
/hcya/encposscssi t. which mcansthati fa docsne/bclongto0, a docsnot
havc thc propcrty A: - (a E o, H -A\) . Onc can say. 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 tobcysthcru| csRd,
andRd2 • Motcovcr.i ti sd| sccrniblc. anditcoincidcswi t hwhat i sscparatcd.
withinO, bya lormulaà Wc havc. 1 E oH A(1) . Notcthcnthcfollowing
by virtuc olthc princip|c d olconditions ( thc princip|c of choicc, . cvcry
conditionis dominatcdby 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 µarts prohibits
thc two incompatiblc conditionsfrombothbclongingtothcsamccorrcct
part. ltisthctcforcncccssarythatci thcr12 or13 docsnotbc| ongtoë. Lcts
say thati t s 12 . Sincc thcpropcrty A disccrns o. and12 docs not bclongto
0, it lo|lows that 12 docs no/ posscss thc propcrty cxprcsscd by 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 bya propcrtyA,
cvcryc| cmentolo ( cvcry1 E ë, isdominatcdbya 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 propctty so| cly containing thc mark l ' scparatcs in O thc sct ol
conditions <1 >, <1 , 1 >, <1 , 1 , 1 >, ctc. lt c|carly disccrns this subsct. lt so
happcns that this subsct is corrcct. it obcys thc rulc Rd1 ( bccausc cvcry
367
368
BEI NG AND EVENT
conditiondominatcdbya scricsof | s is itsclfa scrics of | s , , andit obcys
thc rulc kd, ( bccausc two scrics of | 's arc dominatcd by a scrics of | 's
which is longcr' than both of thcm, . Wc thus havc an cxamplc of a
disccrnib|c corrcct part .
Now,t hcncgationof t hcdisccrningpropcrty so| clycontainingt hcmark
l ' i scxprcsscdas. containingthcmark0 atlcastoncc' . Considcrthcsctof
conditionswhich sati sfythisncgati on. thcscarcconditionswhich havcat
| castonc0. !tisc| carthatgivcna conditionwhichdocsnothavcany0 s,
itisalwaysdominatcdbya condItionwhichhasa 0. <| , | , l >i sdominatcd
by <| , | , | . 0>. !t i s cnough to add 0 to thc cnd. As such, thc disccrnib|c
corrcctpartdcñncdbyallthcscricswh|chon|ycontai n| s' i ssuchthatin
itscx/cr/orinO, dcñncdbythccontrarypropcrty containingatlcastonc0' ,
thcrc i s always a conditionwhich dominatcs any givcn condition i n its
intcrior.
©
A ~ ' onlyhaving1 s
- A * hav| ng
at l castonc0'

'.
bomi nat | on
• 7) * <| , | . |>
Wc can thcrclorc spccify thc disccrnibi|ityola corrcctpart bysayi ng. i f
, disccrns thc corrcct part i ( hcrc , i s on| yhavi ng I s , , thcn, for cvcry
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|y -, ( hctc, -, | s having at
|cast onc 0' , ÷at| castoncc|cmcnt (hcrc, | otcxampl c <| . | , | , 0> which
dominatcsthc choscnc|cmcnto|o
1hisa| | owsustodcvc|opas/ruc/ura/chatactctizationo|thcdiscctnibi|ity
o|a cottcctpatt, withouttc|ctenccto |anguagc.
Ict'stctm4om/nc//onascto|conditi onssuchthatanycond|tionoutsidc
thc dominationisdominatcdbyat | castonc conditioninsidcthcdomina-
tion. 1hat is, i| thcdomination is notcd U ( scc diagtam, .
- (71 E U, � ( 3p, ¸ ¡E U, 8 (7 1 C -,, ]
1hisaxiomaticdcnnitiono | adominationno | ongctmakcsanymcntion
o||anguagc oto|ptopcttics | i kc A, ctc.
U
72
71
©
Wc havcj ustsccnthati|a ptopcttyA disccrnsa cortcctsubscto. thcnthc
cond|tionswhi chsatis|y -A ( whi charcnoti no, atca domi nation. ln thc
cxamp|cgivcn, thcscticswhichncgatcthcptopctty on| yhav| 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 propcrty ol a corrcct sct � which i s disccrniblc ( by ,) , is thati ts
cxtcriori nO ( itsclldisccrncdby-A) isadominati on. Lvcqcorrcc/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
dominationconstitutcdbythcconditionswhichdone/posscssitsdisccrning
propcrty. !l� i sdi sccrncdbyA, (O- �) , thccxtcriorol�, disccrncdby-A,
i sa dominati on. Ol coursc, thcintcrscction ol� andolwhatrcmainsi nO
whcn � is rcmovcd |s ncccssarilycmpty.
Acon/rar/o.i lacorrcctsct� intcrscctscvcrydominati on÷hasatl castonc
clcmcnt |n common with cvcry domination÷thcn th|s is dcñnitcly
bccauscitisi nd|sccrn|b| c. othcrwiscitwouldno/intcrscct thcdominat|on
whichcorrcsponds to thcncgationolthcdisccrningpropcrty. 1hc axio-
maticdcñnitionoladominationi s intrinsic, i tdocsnotmcntion|anguagc,
andi ti s comprchcnsib|c lot an inhabitant ol5. Hcrc wc arc onthc vcry
brink olposscssinga .onccp/olthcindisccrnib
[
c, onc givcnstrictly i nthc
languagcolonto| ogy.Wcwil|positthat �mus/intcrscct ( havcatl castonc
clcmcnti ncommonwit h, cvcqdomination,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 | yapar/. U, ol
thc sct ol cond|tions O. Morcovcr, p | O, i s ne/ abso| utc. 1hus, thcrcarc
pcrhaps dominations which cxist in thc scnsc ol gcncra| ontol ogy. but
wh|ch donotcxi stloran inhabitant ol5. Si ncc indi sccrnibi|ity|s rc|ativc
toS, dom| nation÷whichsupportsitsconccpt÷isal sorclativc. 1hcidcais
that, /n S. thccorrcctpart ¸. intcrscctingcvctydomination, contains, for
cvcrypropcrtysupposcd todisccrnit, onccondition (at | cast, whichdocs
notposscssthispropcrty.!tisthusthccxcmplaryplaccolthcvaguc, olthc
indctcrminatc, such asthclattcri sthinkab|cwithinS. bccausci tsubtracts
itsc|l. i n at |cast onc ol its points, |rom disccrnmcnt by any propcrty
whatsocvcr.
Bcncc thc cap| ta| dcñnition. a .orrcc/sc/ ¸ w/// /c¸cncr/.]orS /] ]orany
dom/na//on U wh/ch /c|on¸s/e S. wc havcD n 9 " Ø ( thcintcrscction olU
and ¸ is not cmpty, .
1hisdcñnition, dcspitcbcinggivcni nthc| anguagcol gcncralonto|ogy
( bccauscSdocsno/bclongto 5,, ispcr|cctlyintclligiblcloraninhabitantof
S Ecknowswhata domination |s, bccausc what dcñncs| t÷thc lormul a
- (11 E U, � ( 312 ) ¸ ,-E U, & (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 cvcry domination ÷itbc|ng
undcrstood that, lor him, cvcry domination mcans cvcry 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|cityforacorrcctpart.
1hisconccpt| sthcrcforcacccss|b| cto aninhab|tantofs. !ti s||tcra|lythc
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 propcrty havingat | cast onc l '
d|sccrnsa dominat|on, bccauscanyscricswh|chonlyhas0's| s dom|natcd
by a scrics wh|ch has a | (a | i s addcd to thc i ni t|al scrics of 0's , .
Conscqucnt|y, 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. | ncxactlythcsamcmanncr, that havingat| cast
two| 's or hav|ngatl castfourthousand| 's' al sod|sccrndom|nat|ons( onc
adds as many | 's as ncccssary to thc scrics which do not havc cnough,
Again, thcgcncricsctw|l| ncccssari|ycontainscricswhichhavcthcs|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 carry|ngthcmark | orthcmark 0
as many timcs as onc wishcs. Onc could start ovcr with morc comp|cx
propcrtics, such as cnd i na l' ( butnc/. notc, with bcg|nbya | ' , which
docsnotdisccrna dominat|on÷sccforyourscl f, , or cndin tcnbi l ||on| s .
but also, havcatl castscvcntccn 0'sandforty scvcn | 's' , ct c. 1hcgcncr|c
sct. ob| | gcdtoi ntcrscctcvcrydom|nationdcnncdbythcscpropcrt|cs, has
tocontain, forcachpropcrty,at|castoncscricswh| chposscsscsit. Onccan
grasp hcrc quitc casily thc root of thc |ndctcrminatcncss, thc indis-
ccrnibilityof� |tconta|ns al|tt| cb|tofcvcrything' , i nthcscnsci nwh|ch
animmcnscnumbcrofpropcrticsarccach supportcdbyat| castonctcrm
( condition, which bclongs to �. 1hc only l|mit hcrc is cons|stcncy. 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| nally, thc
indi sccrniblc sct on|y posscsscs thc propcrtics ncccssary to its purc cxi s
tcnccasmultlplci nitsmatcrial( hcrc, thcscri csol0'sand| s , . !tdocsnot
posscssanyparticular, d|sccrnlng, scparativcpropcrty. !ti sananonymous
rcprcscntativcofthcpartsofthcsctofconditi ons. Atbasc, |tssolcpropcrty
|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!31FNCF
At thc conc| usion of Mcditation >>, wc disposc of a conccp/ of thc
indisccrnib|c mu| tip| c. But by what onto|ogica| argumcnt' shal | wcpass
from thc conccpt to cxistcncc' 1o cxist mcaning hcrc. / o /c/on¸ / o a
situation
Aninhabitantofthc univcrsc5. who hasa conccptofgcncricity, canask
hcrsc|fthcfol|owingqucsti on. docsthismu|tiplcofconditions, which!can
/h/nk.cxi st'Suchcxistcncc| snotautomatic, lorthcrcasoncvokcdabovc.
p( ©, notbcingabsolutc. it |squitcposs|blcthat/n5÷cvcnsupposingthat
a corrcct gcncric part cxists ]or /hc on/o/o¸/st¯thcrc docs not cxist any
subsct ofS corrcspondingto thccritcriaofsuch a pan.
1hcrcsponsctothcinhabitant'squcstion, anditi scxtrcmc| ydisappoint-
ing, i sncgativc. !f ¸ | sa corrcctpartwhich/c/on¸sto5 ( bc|ongingto5i s
thconto|ogicalconccptofexi stence lorani nhabi tantolthe uni vcrsc5, . i t s
cxtcrior l n ©. © ¯ ¸. a| so bc|ongs to 5. | or rcasons ol abso| utcncss
( Appcndix ¯ , Unlortunatc|y, this cxtcrior/sa dom/na//on. as wc havc in
factalrcadysccn. cvcryconditionwhichbc| ongsto¸ isdominatcdbytwo
incompatiblc conditions. thcrci sthusatlcast oncwhi ch i scxtcriorto ¸
1hcrcforc©¯ < dominatcs¸ But ¸ bcinggcncric. shou| dintcrscctcvcry
dominat| onwh|ch bc|ongsto5. andsointcrscct |tsowncxtcr|or, which is
absurd.
8yconscqucncc, 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|y. 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
distinguishcdbyanyformu| a. andwhich. inthisscnsc. isi ndi sccrnib|clor
an inhabitant of 5. But sincc no gcncric subsct cxists i n this situation.
i ndisccrnibi|ity rcmains an cmpty conccpt. thc indisccrnib|c is w//hou/
/c/n¸. ! n rca|ity. aninhabitant of 5canon| y/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|oy-
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 nanycasc. itsccmsthatGoda| onccanbc
indisccrnib|c.
2. 0N10I0C!CAI c6|IDE THEATRE: 1uF! Nb! SCFRN!BIF FX! 31S
1hisimpasscwi|lbcbrokcnbythc onto|ogist opcrating|romthccxtcrior
ol thc situation. ! ask thc rcadcr to attcnd. with conccntration. to thc
momcntat whichonto|ogyafnrmsitspowcrs. 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. Many ofthcscptopcrtics arcnot obscrvab|c from i nsi de thc
situation. butarccvidcntfrom thc outsidc. A typica| propcrtyofthissort
is thc cardina|ity of thc situat| on. 1o say. lor cxamp| c. that 5 i s
dcnumcrab| c÷which is what wc positcd at thc vcry bcginning÷is to
signily thatthcrci sa onc toonc corrcspondcncc bctwccn 5 and woo But
thls corrcspondcncc ls surc|y not a mu| tlp|c of S. i f on| y bccausc S,
invo|vcdin this vcry corrcspondcncc. is no/anc|cmcntol 5 1hcrcforc. i t
i son| yfrom a poi ntoutsi dc5thatthccardi na| ity ol5 canbcrcvca| cd.
Now.|romthi scxtcriori nwhichthcmastcrofpurcmu|tip| csrcigns( thc
thoughto|bcing qua bci ng. mathcmatics , . itcanbcsccn÷suchi sthccyc
olGod÷that thcdominationso| O wh|chbclongto5forma dcnumctab|c
sct. 0bv|ous| y' 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|ongt os
Wcshal|thcnconstruct a corrcct gcncricpart inthcfollowingmanncr
( via rccurrcncc; .
- 7O is an indctcrminatc conditi on.
÷ !f7" |s dcnncd, oncoftwothi ngsmust comc to pass.
• cithcr7" E Dn t I , thcdomi nati onofthcrankn + l . lfso, !positthat
• or - (7" E D,, +. ) . 1hcn, by 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 2
as thc sct ofconditions dominatcd byat |cast onc7" ofthc
abovcscqucncc. 1hati s. 7 E
2 H [ ( 37, , ) 7 C 7,,]
! thcn notcthat.
a.
2
/sa cor·cc/sc/o]con4///ons
÷ 1his sct obcys thc rul c R4, . For if 71 E 2, thcrc is 7" such that
71 C 7n. But thcn, 72 C 71 � 72 C 7n, thcrcforc 72 E 2 . Fvcry
condition dominatcd by a conditionof
2
bcl ongs to
2
·
- 1his sct obcys thc rulc R4, . For if 71 E
2 and 72 E 2
, wc havc
71 C 7" andm C 7,, ' . Say |orcxamp|c, thatn < n . Byconstruction
o| thc scqucncc, wc havc 7" C 7, , ' , thus ç. U 72 ) C 7,, ' , and
thcrcforc (1 U 72 ) E 2
. Now71 C (71 . m) and72 C (71 U r, .
1hcrcforc,thcrcisclcar|ya dominatingcondition| n
2
commont o
71 and72 .
/.
2
/s¸cncr/c
!or cvcry dominationD" bc| ongingto s. a 7n cxists, byconstruction of
t hescqucncc. a 7" sucht hat 7" E 2 and7n E D". 1hus. l orcvery Dn, wc
havc
2
n Dn " 0.
!orgcncra|ontologythcrci st husnodoubt t hat agcncricpartofscx/s/s.
1hc ontologistis cvidcnt|yin agrccmcntwith an inhabitant of 5in saying
thatthispar/o]si snotanc/cmcn|of5. !orth|sinhabitant. this mcansthat
i tdocs not cxist. Forthcontologist, this mcanssolcly that 2 C sbutthat
-( 2 E s
|

!orthc ontologist. givcna 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 cvcry dcnumcrab|c situation the state counts as onc a part
indiscernib|cwithinthatsi tuation. yet whoscconccptis in ourpossession
thatofa gcncriccorrcct part .
But our|abours arcnot nnishcd yct. Certain|y. 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
vcry p|acc i nwhich i t i sindiscernib| e.
1hccnti rcqucstion rcsidcs i knowing /owh/:h s//ua//on ¸ /c/on¸s !ts
l|oatingcxtcrioritytoS cannotsatisfyus. bccausciti squitcpossiblcthatit
bc| ongs to an as yet unknown cxtcnsion of thc si tuati on. in which. for
examp|c. it wouldbc constructib|c with statcmcnts ofthc si tuation. and
thuscomp|ctc|y disccrnibl c.
1hcmosts| mpl c| dcaforstudyingthi squestion| sthatofadding¸tothc
fundamcnta|situat| onS. l nthismanncrwcwou| dhavcancwsituationto
which ¸ woul dbc| ong. 1hcsituation obtaincd bythcadj unction ofthc
indiscctnib|c wi | | bcca| | ed a ¸:ncr/c :x/cns/en of 5. andi twi l l bc writtcn
5( < ) . 1hccxtrcmcdilñcu|tyofthcquestion| icsi nthis addition' havingto
be madc w//h /hcrcsourccs o]5. othcrwsc it would bc unintc|ligib|cfor an
inhabitant of S. Yet. ¯ , ¸ E 5, . How can any scnsc bc madc of this
cxtension of S vi a a production that brings forth thc bc| onging of thc
indiscctnib|ewhich 5 inc|udcs' And what guarantcc isthcrc÷supposing
that we rcso|ve the |atter prob|cm÷that S wi | l be indisccrnib|e in the
gencriccxtcnsion 5( ¸ , '
1hcso| utionconsistsi nmodi|yingandcnrichingnotthcsituationitsclf.
butits|anguagc. soas tobcab|etoname/n5thchypothctica|c|cmentsof
i tscxtcnsionbytheindisccrnib|c. thusanticipating÷withoutprcsupposi-
tion of cxistencc÷thc propertics of thc cxtension !n this | anguagc. an
inhabitantof5wil|bcab| etosay !fthcrccxistsagcncnccxtension. thcn
this name. which cxists in 5. dcsignatcs such a thing within i t. 1his
hypothetical statcmcnt wi|| not posc any prob|cms for hcr. bccausc she
disposcs of thc conccpt of gcnericity ( which i s void for her; . From thc
outside thconto|ogistwi||rca|izc thchypothcsis. becausc hcknows that
a gcncricsctexists . Forh|m. the rcfercnts ofthc namcs which areso|c|y
attic|cs of faith for aninhabitant of 5 wi| | be rca| tcrms. 1hc /o¸/cof thc
devclopmcntwi| lbe thc samc for whocvcrinhab|ts 5 andforus. but thc
on/o/o¸/:a/ s/a/us of thcse infcrenccs wi| l be cnt|rc|y diffcrcnt faith in
375
376
BEI NG AND EVENT
transccndcnccforonc ( bccausc ¸ i s outsidct hcworl d' , . positionofbcing
forthcothcr.
>. 1uF NOM!NA1!ON OF1uF !NL! SCFRN!BIF
1hcstrikingparadoxofourundcrtakingi sthatwcarcgoingtotrytoncmc
thc vcry thing which i s impossiblc to d/sccrn. Wc arc scarching for a
languagc for thc unnamcablc. !t wil| havc to namc thc |attcr without
namingi t . i twi|linstructits vaguc cxistcnccwithoutspccifyinganything
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( ¸ , ( | t bcing undcrstood that 5( ¸, cxists for thc
cxtcrnal onto|ogist. and incxists for an inhabitant of 5, or is solcl y a
transccndcnta|obj cctoffaith, . 1hc on|ycx/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. , � (a = <U2, 7» , whcrc U2 i sa namc. and 7 a condltl on.
0fcoursc. thcrcadcrcou| dindignant|ypoint outthatthi sdcnnitionis
circu|ar I dcnnca namcbysupposingthat! knowwhata namc | s. 1hisi s
awc| l knownaporiaamongst| i ngui sts. howdocsoncdcnnc, forcxampl c.
thcnamc namc' wi thoutstarting offby saying 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|anguagc. Wcarcsubmcrgcdi n thcmothcrtonguc ( /c/an¸uc,without
bclng ab|c to contort oursc|vcs to t hc point ol arriving at a scparatcd
thought of thi s immcrsl on.
Within thc lramcwork ol ontol ogy. howcvcr, thc circu| arity can bc
undonc. and dcploycd as a hl crarchy 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
Wcstartby dcñningthc c| emcntary namcs. or namcs of thc nomina|
rankO. 1hcsc namcs arccxclusivc|ycomposcdolpai rs ofthetypc<0, 7>
whcrc0 is thc mi ni ma| condit|on( wchavesccnhow Ø is acondition. the
onewhichconditionsnothing, . andT isanindctcrminatcconditi on. 1hat
| s. i fµi sa namc ( simp|i|ying mattcrs a littlc, .
µiso f the nomi nal rank 0' H ¸ (, E µ , - 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 nameiscomposcdofpairsofthetypc</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 µ, � ( = </1 , 1>, ö' /I isofanomina|
rank� smal| crthan a' , |
1hcdeñnitionthcnceasestobc circu|arforthcfo||owingrcason. a name
isa|waysattachcdtoa nomina|ranknamedbyan ord|nal. | et's saya. Itis
thuscomposcdofpa| rs </, 1>, butwhercµisofa nomina|rankinferiorto
a and thus prcvi ous| y dcl¡ncd. Wc rcdcsccnd' in this manncr until we
rcach thc namcs of thc nominal rank 0, which arc thcmsc|vcs cxp|ic|tly
dcñned (asetofpairsofthctype<0, 1» . 1hcnamcsarc dcp|oycdstart|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|yconta| nspairs ofthctypc
< <0, 11 >, 1>, and so on.
0urñrsttask | stoexami ncwhetherthisconcept ofnamcisinte|ligib|e
foran| nhabitantof5. andworkoutwhichnamesare | nthefundamenta|
situat|on. Itisccrtai nthatthcyarcnota| l thcrc ( besi des. i fO |snotcmpty.
thc hicrarchyofnames|s no/a sc/. itinconsists. j ustlike thc hicrarchyL of
thc constructib|c÷Mcd|tat| on29, .
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| y contains dcnumerab|e ordi na| s. 1hat is. a E 5 �
a C 5.andthccardina|ityofa 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. onlyordl nal slnfcrlor
to< cxlst. thcrcforc. rccurrcncconnomlnalranksonlymakcsscnscupto
andnotlnc|udlng <.
!mmancncctothcfundamcntalsltuatlonS thcrcforcdcnnltclylmposcs
a substantlal rcstrlctlon upon thc numbcr of namcs whlch cxlst' ln
comparlson to thc namcs whosc cxlstcncc ls afnrmcd by gcncral
ontology.
But what mattcrs to us ls whcthcr an l nhabltant of s posscsscs thc
conccptofa namc. suchthat shcrccognlzcsasnamcsal|thcnamcs (lnthc
scnscofgcncralonto|ogy, whlchbclongtohcrsltuatlon. and. rcclprocally.
docs not baptlzc multlp| cs of hcr sltuatlon namcs' whcn thcy arc not
namcsforgcncralontology÷thatls.forthchlctarchyofnoml na| tanks. ln
short. wcwanttovcrlfythatthcccnccp/ofnamcl sabsolutc. that bcl nga
namc' /n 5colncldcs wlth bclnga namcwhlchbcl ongs to 5' ln thc scnsc
ofgcncralonto|ogy.
1hcrcsultsofthislnvcstlgatlonatcposltlvc. thcy showthat al|thctcrms
andal l thcopcratlonscngagcdlnthcconccptofnamc( ordlna|s. palrs. scts
of palrs. ctc. , arc absolutc for thc quasl complctc sltuatlon 5. 1hcsc
opcratlons thus spcclfy '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| | y
contalnal | thcnamcsofa glvcnranka. Buta| | thcnamcsthat ltcontalns.
andthosca|onc. arcrccognl zcdasnamcsbythcl nhabltantofS. Fromnow
on. whcnwcspcakofanamc. ltmustbcundcrstoodthatwcatctcfcrrlng
to a namc ln S. !t l s wlth thcsc namcs that wc arc golng 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 ythc 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 , . and a mattcr of thcologlca| falth for thc
lnhabltantofS ( bccausc � docs notbc|ong1 thc unlvcrscs,

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|yuscnamcsknownln5. Wc wl|lwrlte
R¸¸, for thc rcfcrcntla| va|uc of a namc such as l nduccd by the
supposltlon of a gcncrlc part ¸ lt | s at thls polnt that wc start to fu|ly
cmp|oy thc forma| and supcrnumcrary symbo| ¸
Forc|cmcnts, a namchaspalrsllkc</I , 1>, whcrc /1 ls a namcand1 a
condltl on. 1hcrcfercntlalvalueofanamccan onlybc dcnncdonthcbasls
of thesc two types of mu| tlp|cs ( namcs and condltlons, . slncc a purc
mu|tlp|ccan on|yglvcwhatltposscsscs, whlchlsto saywhatbclongstol t .
Wcw| | | uscthcfo|lowlngslmp|cdcnnltlon. thcrcfcrcntla|va| ucofanamc
forasupposedcxlstcntS ls the sctofrcfcrentlalvalucsofthcnamcswhlch
cnterlntoltscomposltlonandwhlcharcpalrcdtoacondltlonwh/ch/c/on¡s
/o ¸ Say, for cxamp| c. thatyouobservcthatthcpalr</I , 1> ls anc|cmcnt
ofthe namc/. lf1 bc|ongs to ¸. /hcnthc rcfcrentla| va|uc of/1 , that ls.
R¸¸, , . ls an c|cmcnt ofthc refcrcntla|va| uc of/. 1osummarlzc.
1hlsdcnnltlonlsj ustasclrcul arasthcdennltlonofthcnamc. youdcnne
thcrefcrcntla|va| ucof/ bysupposlngthatyoucandetcrmlncthatof/1 .
1hc clrc|c ls unfo|dcdlnto a hlcrarchy by 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¸¸, * { 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. Formally. ( :/) [ <0, 1> E / 8 1 E ¸I H R¸¸i = {0} .
• R¸ ¸, * 0, lfthlslsnotthecasc ( l fnocondltlonappcarlngln thc palrs
whlchconstltutc/ bc| ongs tothc gcncrlcpart , .
Obscrvcthatthcasslgnatlonof valucl s cxp|lcl tanddcpcndsunlquc| yon
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 ( vold, of gcncrlcpart. and can
thus lnscribclntclllglb|c lmpllcatlons ofthc gcnrc.
1 E ¡ � R" I) = ¦ ئ
whlch arcofthctypc l f . thcn' . anddonotrcqulrcthata gcncrlcpart
cx/s/s ( forhcr , .
÷ 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. llthcyarcpalrcdwi th
a condltlonwhi ch bc|ongsto thcgcncri cpart. 1hlsi sa cortcctdcnni ti on.
bccausccvcryclcmcntof a namcf1 l s of thctypc <f2, 1>, and| tmakcs
scnsctoaskwhcthcr1 E S ornot. ! fltdocsbclong. wctakcthcvalucof
f2, whlchls dchncd ( for
¡ , . slnccf2 l s oflnfcrlornomlna| rank.
Wc wll| thcn constltutc. ln a slng|c stcp. anothct sltuatlon than thc
fundamcntal situatlon by 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( ¡ ,
!t| s dcnncd thus 5( ¸ , = ( R" I) I f E 5¦
lnothcrwords. thcgcncriccxtcnslonbythci ndi sccrniblc S i sobtalncd
bytaklng thc ¡ tcfcrcnts of a|| thcnamcswhlch cxlst l n5 !nvcrsc|y. 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"I) | sltsc|f lntchig|b|c.
1hcrc arc thrcc cruc|al problcmswhich havc not yct bccn consldcrcd
Flrstofa|llsl trcallya mattcrofancx/cns|onof5hcrc'lnothcrwords. do
thc c|cmcnts of5 a|so bclongtothc cxtcnslon 5(S , ' 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|ngularlty 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 why
Cohcns lnvcntionl sst|cha fasclnatlngphilosophlcal topos . Bclngmal n
talns thcrcln a rclatlon to thcnamcs which ls all thc morc astonlshlng
glvcnthatcachandcvcry 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( ¿, , dcspltc cxlsting for ontology
÷slncc ¸ cxlsts lf thc fundamcntal sltuation ls dcnumcrablc÷thus
appcarstobcanal catoryphantomwthrcspccttowhlch thcsolcccrtltude
llcs lnthc namcs.
lf, lor cxamplc, wc want to show that thc fundamcntal sltuatlon ls
lncludcdl nthcgcncri ccxtcns|on, thatSc S(¸, ÷whichal oncguarantccs
thcmcanlngofthewordcxtcnslon÷wc havctoshowthatcvcryclcmcnt
ofSlsa|soanclcmcntofS( ¿, . Butthcgcncrlccxtcnsloni sproduccdasa
sct ofvalucs÷¿ rcfcrcnts÷o|namcs Whatwchavctoshow, thcrcforc,i s
thatforcvcry clcmcntofSa namccxlstssuchthatthcval ucofthl snamc
l nthccxtcnslonlsthlsc|cmcntltsclf. 1hctorslonl scvldcnt. saythata E :.
wcwanta namcI suchthatR¸ ¸., = a. lfsucha I cxl sts, a, thcva| ucofth|s
namc. l sanclcmcnt olthc gcncrlcextcnslon.
Whatwc wouldllkclstohavcth|storsioncx| stgcncral ly that |s, such
thatwccouldsay 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 rcctly
|lnkcd tothc qucstlon ofknowlng whlchcondltlons arc i mpllcd lnl t.
Wccanbypassthl sobstac|c by showlng thatforcvcry c| cmcnt a olS,
thcrccxlstsa namc st| ch that its rclcrcntla|va| uc is a wha/cvcr /hc¸cncr/c
par/.
1hlssupposcsthcldcntlncatlonofsomcthlnglnvarlab|cinthcgcncrlcl ty
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 cvcrynon voi dcorrcctpart, accordlngtothc rulc Rd, whlch
requlrcsthatl l7 E ¸, anycondi ti ondomlnatcdby7 a| sobc| ongsto ¸. But
thccondltlonØl s domlnatcdbyanyconditlonwhatsocvcr. ! t followsthat
381
382
BEI NG AND EVENT
thc rcfcrcnt|al valuc of a nom|nal pa|r of thc typc <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 <µç, , Ø>, whcrc µç, |s thc canon|ca| namc ofan clcmcnt of a.
Ecrc aga|nwcnndournowclass|cc|rcu| arlty. thccanon|calnamcofa
|s dcnncdonthcbas|softhccanon|calnamcollts clcmcnts Wcbrcakth|s
c|rclcbyad|rcctrccurrcnccon/c/on¸/n¸. rcmcmbcr|ngthatcvcrymult|plc
| s wovcn lrom thc vo|d. 1o bc morc prcc|sc ( systcmat|ca||y wr|t|ng thc
canon|ca|namc of a as µ(a; .
- |f a |s thc cmptysct, wc w|llposlt. µ( Ø, = Ø.
÷ |ngcncral wcwill pos|t . µ(a, = ¦ <µç, , Ø> / ß E aj .
1hccanon|calnamcofa lsthcrclorcthc sct ofordcrcdpa|rsconst|tutcd
bythccanon|calnamcsofthcclcmcntsofaandbythcm|n| ma| condlt|on
Ø. 1h|s dcñn|t|on | s corrcct on thc onc hand bccausc µ�, | s clcarly a
namc, bc|ng composcdofpai rs wh|ch knot togcthcrnamcs and a cond| -
t|on. on thc othcr hand bccausc÷| f ß E a÷thc namc µç, has bccn
prcv|ous|y dcñncd, aftcr thc hypothcs|s of rccurrcncc. Morcovcr, µ�, | s
dcnn| tcl ya namc known ln S duc to thc absol utcncss ofthc opcrat|ons
cmp|oycd.
Now, and th|s | s thc crux of thc affa|r, thc rcfcrcnt|a| valuc of thc
canon|calnamc µ�, |sa |tsc|lwha/cvcr/hcsupposcd¸cncr/cper/. Wcalways
havcR¸ ¸(a; = a. 1hcsccanon|cal namcs|nvariablynamc thcmult|p|cof
S to wh|chwc havc construct|bly assoc|atcd thcm.
What|n fact |sthc rcfcrcnt| a|valucR¸ ¸�; o| thc canon|calnamcofa'
By thc dcnn|t|onofrcfcrcnt|alvaluc, ands|nccthcclcmcntsofµ(ai arc thc
pa|rs <µç, . Ø>, | t | s thc sct of rcfcrcnt|al valucs of thc µ¡, s whcn thc
condltlonØbclongsto� . But0 E S whatcvcrtbcgcncrlcpart .1hcrcforc,
R¸¸u; |s cqual tothcsct of rcfcrcnt|al va| ucsofthcµç, , |orß E a. 1hc
hypothcs|s of rccurrcncc supposcs that for all ß E a wc dcñn|tc|y havc
R¸¸], , * ß. ilna|ly, thcrcfcrentlalva| ucofµ(a, lscqualtoal| thcßswh|ch
bclongtoa. thatis, toa |tscll, wh|ch| snonc othcrthanthccount as- onc
ofall|ts clcmcnts.
1hcrccurrcncc| scomp|ctc. foraE S, thcrccx|stsacanonlcalnamcµø,
such that thc valuc ofµ(, ( | ts rcfercnt, |n any gcncr|c cxtcnslon ls thc
mult|plca|tsclf. ßc|ngthc � -rcfcrcntofa namcforany � - cxtcns|onof5,
cvcry 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 any
cxtcns|onbyan | nd|sccrn|blc, whatcvcr |t m|ghtbc.
b. canen/ca/namco]an /nd/sccrn///cpar/
What has not yct bcen shown | s that thc |nd|sccrn|blc bclongs to thc
cxtcns|on ( wc know that |t docs nc/ bclong to 5, . 1hc rcadcr may bc
aston|shcd by 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 actually bu| lt÷by nom|nal
projcct|on÷on the bas|s of ¸ But that C provcs to bc an csscnt|al
opcrator,]or/hccn/o/o¸/s/. ofthcpassagcfrom5to5(C docsnotmcanthat
C ncccssarllybclongs 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 only cx|sts |n ccl|psc
bctwccn 5 and5( C , w|thoutthcrcbc|ng C E :( ¸ . wh|chaloncwoul d
test|fytothc /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|ccly as
cook|ng thenamcs ' , .
1hccond|t|ons 1 arc clcmcntsof thc fundamental s|tuat|on. 1hcy thus
havca canon|calnamc1(1) . Lctscons|dcrthcsct. p� = ¦ <p(-i , -> / 1 E Oj .
that | s, t hcsct ofal l thcordercd pa|rs const|tutcdbya canon|calnamcof
a cond|t|on. followcd by that cond|t|on. 1h|s sct |s a namc, by the
dcñn|t|on of namcs, and |t |s a namc |n 5, wh|ch can bc shown by
argumcntsofabsolutcncss. What could|ts rcfcrcntbc'lt|sccrta|nlygo|ng
todcpcndonthcgcncr|cpart ¸wh|chdctcrm|ncsthcval ucofthcnamcs .
1akcthcnañxcd C . By thc dcñn|t|onofrcfcrcnt|alva| ucR�, p� |s thcsct
ofvalucs ofthcnamcs,.(1) whcn-E C . Butµ(-i bc|nga canon|ca| namc,
|tsvaluc| salways-. 1hcrcforc,thcval ucof,.� | sthcsctof-wh|chbclong
to C, that |s, C |tsclf. Wc havc. R� i�) * C . Wccan thcrcforc saythat,.�
|s thc canon|calnameoftbcgcner|cpart,desp|tc| tsvalucdepend| ngqu| te
part|cularly on C, |nsofar as |t |s cqual to | t. 1hc {cd namc I� w| ll
|nvar|ably 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| spcrformcdbyan|dcnt|calnamcwhatcverthc|nd|scern|blc
lt | sthc namc of |nd/sccrn/////j. 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(¸ , |s such |hat. on thconc hand, 5 |s
oncof|tsparts, andonthcothcrhand, ¸ |soncof|tsclcmcnts . Wc havc,
throughthcmcd|at|onofthcnamcs,cffcct|vclycddcdcn/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( 2 ) , | t| s dchn|tc|yancxtcns|on.
-
2 E 5( 2
) , | t| sa s/r/c/cxtcns|on, bccausc-( 2
E 5, .
1hcrc |ssomcncwncss |n thc s|tuat|on, notably an| nd|sccrn|blc ofthc
nrst s|tuat| on. But th|s ncwncss docs not prcvcnt 5(
2
) 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|salsovcryclosc. Oncstr|k|ngcxamp| cofth|s
prox|m|ty. sthatthccxtcns|on5( 2) docsnotconta|nanysupplcmcntary
ord|nal w|th rcspcct to5.
1h|s po|nt |nd|catcs thc prox|m|ty' ol 5(
2 ) 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|ncally thc onto|og|ca| schcma of an
cr/[:/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 by onto|ogy, thcn thc gcncr|c mult|plcs
formwhat|s lcast natura|, what| sthcmost d|stanccdfromthcs/c////qof
bc|ng.
Eowcan|tbcshownthat|nadd|ngthc|nd| sccrn|b|c 2 tothcs|tuat|on
5. and |n a| low|ngth|s 2 toopcratc|nthc ncw s|tuat|on ( that|s, wcw|l l
alsohavc| n5(
2
) supplcmcntary' mult|plcssuch asWo n ¸. orwhatthc
formula ascparatcs| n ¸. ctc. , , noord|nal|saddcd. that|s, thatthcnatural
partof5|snotaflcctcdby2 'sbclong|ngto5( ¸ , ' Ofcoursc, onchastousc
thc namcs.
If thcrcwasanord|na|wh| chbclongcdto5|2) w| thoutbclong|ngto5.
thcrcwou|dbc ( pr|nc|p|cofm|n|mal|ty, Mcd|tat|on l2 andAppcnd|x 2, a
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
smallcstord|nalwh|chposscsscdthatpropcrty.Saythata | sth|sm|n|mum.
|tbclongsto5( ¸ , .| t docsnot bclongto5. but cvcryord|nalsmallcrthan
|t÷sayß ÷ a÷bclongs, |tsclf, to5.
Bccausc a bclongs to 5( ¸ , . |thasa namc|n5. But | nfact. wc knowof
suchanamc. iorthccl cmcntsofaarcthcord|nalsßwh/:h/c/on¸/o5.1hcy
thcrcforcallhavcacanon|calnamcµç, whoscrcfcrcntlalvaluc| sß|tsclf.
Lct' scons|dcrthc namc. µ * ¦ µç, . 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 always
bclongsto ¸. thcvalucofµ|sthcsctofvalucsofthcµç, s.wh|ch| stosay
thc sctofß' s. wh|ch |stosay a|tsclf.
What could thc nom|nal rank of th|s namc µ bc' ( Rcmcmbcr thatthc
nom|nal rank |s an ord|nal . , lt dcpcnds on thc nom|nal rank of thc
canon|calnamcsµµ, . ltsohappcnsthat/hcnom/na/ranko]µç, /ssupcr/or
orc¡ua//o ß Lct' s show th|s by rccurrcncc.
- 1hc nom|nal rankofµ( Ø, |s Ø by dcnn|t|on.
÷ Lct's supposc that. for cvcry ord|nal , ÷ o. wchavc thc propcrty | n
qucst|on( thcnom|nalrankof µ¸, bc|ngsupcr|ororcqualto,i .Lct sshow
that o also has thls propcrty. 1hc canon|cal namc µ(o, | s cqual to
{<µ¸, . Ø> / , ÷ oJ. lt |mpl|cs | n |ts construct|on all thc namcs µ¸, . and
conscqucntlyl tsnom|na| rank|s supcr|orto thatof allthcscnamcs ( thc
strat|ncdcharactcrofthcdcnn|t|onofnamcs , . lt| sthcrcforcsupcr|ortoal l
t hc ord|nals , bccausc wc supposcd t hat thc nom|nal rank of µ¸, was
supcr|orto,. An ord|nalsupcr|ortoallthcord|nalsy suchthat, ÷ o| sat
l castcqualto o. 1hcrcforc, thcnom| nal rankofµ( o, | sat lcast cqualto ·
1hcrccurrcncc ls complctc
lfwcrcturntothcnamcµ* [<µç, . Ø>. I ß÷ a], wcsccthat | tsnom|nal
rank|s supcr|ortothat of allthccanon|calnamcsµ(ß, . But wc havcj ust
cstabl|shcdthatthc nom| nalrankofa µç, | s|tsc|fsupcr|ororcqual toß.
1hcrcforc. µ srank| ssupcr|ororcqual toallthcß s. lt|s conscqucntlyat
l castcqualto a. wh| ch|sthc ord|nalthatcomcsaftcrall thcß's .
But we supposed tbat tbe ordi nal a did netbclong 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|scly
bc|ng thc rclcrcntialvaluc ofa namcwh|ch| s| n5 .
1hc gcncr|ccxtcns|ondocsnot conta|nany ord|nalwh|ch|s notalrcady
|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|y /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|y . prcclsc|ybccauscan
l ndlsccrnlb|cdocsnotaddcxp|lcltlnlormatlontothcsltuatlonl nwhlchlt
l slndlsccrnlb| c
7. lN1RlNSlC ORlN Sl1UA1lON lNDlSCLRNlBlLl1Y
l lndlcatcd ( dcmonstratcd, that ¸÷whlch. lnthccycs olthconto|oglst. ls
an|ndl sccrnlb|cpart ol5 loranlnhabltantol5÷docsnotcxlstl n5 (lnthc
scnscl nwhlch~ ( ¸ E 5, , . butdocscxlstl n5( ¸ , ( ln thcscnscl nwhlch ¸
E 5( ¸ , , . uocs thls cxlstcntmu|tlp|c÷lor an |nhabltant ol 5( ¸ ,÷rcmaln
l ndlsccrnlb|clorthlssamclnhabltant'1hlsqucstlonl scrucla|, bccauscwc
arc |ooklng lor a conccpt ol /n/r|ns/c lndlsccrnlbl|lty, that ls, a mu|t|p|c
wh|chl scllcctlvclyprcscntcdl na sltuatlon. butradlca| | ysubtractcdlrom
thc|anguagcolthat sltuatlon.
1hcrcsponsclsposltlvc.1hcmu|tlp|c¸ lslndlsccrnlb|clor anlnhabltant
ol5( ¸, . no cxp|lcltlormu|a olthc|anguagc scparatcs lt.
1hc dcmonstratlon wc sha| | glvc ol thls polnt ls ol purc|y | ndlcatlvc
va|uc.
1o say that ¸. whlch cxlsts ln thc gcncrlc cxtcnslon 5( ¸ , . rcmalns
l ndlsccrnlb|cthcrcln. l stosaythatnolormu|aspcclncsthcmu|tlp|c ' l n
thcunlvcrsc constltutcdbythatcxtcnslon.
Lctssupposcthc contrary thcdlsccrnlbl|ltyol¸ Alormul athuscx|sts.
A(1, aI , . . . an ) , wlththcparamctcrsaI , . . . an bc|onglngto5( ¸ , . such that
loranlnhabltantol5( ¸ , 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|ax(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
to5, andlsa|sodlsccrnlb|cthcrcln. Butwcknowthat ¸. asagcncrlcpart.
cannotbc|ong to 5
8y conscqucncc. thc n-tup|ct <aI , . . . a,,> bclongs to 5( ¸ , wlthout
bc|onglngto 5 lt l spart olthcsupp/cmcn/aq mu|tlp|cs lntroduccdbythc
nomlnatlon. whlchl sltsc|lloundcdonthcpart 2 . lt lscv|dcntthatthcrc
THE EXI STENCE OF THE I NDI SCERNI BLE
l s a clrclc ln thc supposcd dlsccrnlbl||ty ol ¸ t hclormula à(-. a" . . . an)
a/rcadylmp|lcs. lor thc comprchcnslonolthc mu|tlp|csaI , . . . an, thatlt l s
knownwhl chcondl tl onsbc| ongto ¸
1o bc morc cxp|lclt . to say that l n thc paramctcrs aI , . . . an thcrc arc
somcwhlchbc|ongto5( ¸ , wlthoutbc|onglngto5l stosaythatthcnamcs
/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|uc, onthcdcscrlptlonundcrconslderatlon ( slnccR¸¸�; ; *
a lor whatcvcr ¸ , , an lndctcrmlnatc namccntlrc|ydcpcnds upon lt. 1hc
lormula whlch supposcd|y dcnncs ¸ l n5( ¸, canbcwrlttcn.
7 E 2 H à,-. R¸ ,. , . . . . R¸ ¸ , ,
lnsolara s a| | thcc|cmcnisol 5 ( ¸ , arcthcva|ucsolnames. But cxact| y. lor
a noncanonlca| namc /n, thc va| uc R" in) dcpcnds dl rect|y on knowlng
whlchcondltlons. amongstthosc thatappcarln thc namc
/
n, also appcar
ln thc gcncrlc part, such that wc dcnnc 7 E ¸ on thc basls ol thc
know|cdgc ol 7 E ¸ 1hcrc ls no chancc ol a dcnn| tlon ol thls sort
loundlngthc dlsccrnmcnt ol ¸. lorltprcsupposcssuch
1hus. lor an lnhabltant ol 5, ¸ , . thcrc docs not cxl st any lntc||lglblc
lormula l n hcr unlvcrsc whlch can bc uscd to dlsccrn ¸ . Although thls
mu|tlplc cxlsts ln 5( ¸, . lt | s l ndlsccrnlblc thcrcln. Wc havc obtalncd an
/n·s//ua//on orcxlstcntl nd. sccrnlb| c. ln5( ¸ , . thcrcl sat|castoncmultlp|c
whlchhasabelngbutnonamc 1hcrcsu|tlsdcclslvc. onto|ogyrccognlzcs
thccxl stcnccol /ns|/ua//on lndlsccrnlb| cs. 1hat ltcal | sthcm gcncrlc÷an
o|d ad] cctlvc uscd by thc young Marx whcn trylng to charactcrlzc an
cntlrc|ysubtractlvchuman|tywhoscbcarcrwasthcpro|ctarlatlsoncol
thosc unconscl ous concc|ts wlth whlch mathcmatlc|ans dccoratc thclr
tcchnlcal dlscoursc.
1hc lndlsccrnlb|c subtracts ltsc|l lrom any cxp| lclt nomlnatlon ln thc
vcry sltuatlon whosc opcrator lt ncvcrthc|css | s÷having l nduccd i t ln
cxccss ol thc lundamcnta| sltuatlon. | n wh|ch lts |ack | s thought. What
mustbcrccognlzcdthcrcln. whcnltlncxlstslnthchrstsltuatlonundcrthc
supcrnumcrary slgn 2, l snothlng|cssthanthcpurc|ylorma|markolthc
cvcntwhoscbclnglswithoutbclng. andwhenltscxlstcncc l slndlsccrncd
l n thc sccond sltuatlon. nothlng |css than thc b| l nd rccognltlon. by
onto|ogy. ola posslb|cbclngol 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/any|oca| connguratlonola gcncrlcproccdurclromwhlcha
truth|s supportcd.
Wlthrcgard tothcmodcrn mctaphyslcsstl | | attachcdto thcconccptol
thcsub]cct l sha| | makcslxprc||mlnaryrcmarks.
a. A sub] cctl snota substancc. llthcwordsubstancchasanymcanl 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 sltuatlonconstltutcdbythctruc
asscmb|agcola gcncrlcproccdurc docsnotla||undcrthc| awolthc
count ol thc sltuatlon. ln a gcncra| manncr. l t l s subtractcd lrom
cvcry cncyc|opacdl c dctcrmlnant ol thc | anguagc. 1hc lntr|nslc
| ndlsccrnlbl|lty|nwhlchagcncrlcproccdurclsrcso|vcdru|csoutany
substantla|ltyolthc 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|lcltyandnotaspunctua| l ty.
c A sub] cct l s not. ln any manncr. thc organlsatlon ol a scnsc ol
cxpcrlcncc. lt ls not a transccndcnta| lunctlon. llthc word cxpcrl
cncc hasanymcanlng. ltlsthatoldcs|gnatlngprcscntatlonas such.
Bowcvcr a gcncrlc proccdurc. whlch stcmslrom an cvcnta| u|tra-
onc qua| l ncd by a supcrnumcrary namc. docs not colncl dc ln any
waywlthprcscntatlon. 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|lvcranymcanlng.
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 say. thc gcncrlcproccdurc ol a sltuatlon bclng sl ngu| ar. cvcry
subj cctlsrlgorous|yslngu|at. 1hcstatcmcnt thcrcatcsomcsub] ccts
l sa| catorlc, l t l snotttansltlvc tobclng.
c Lvcry sub] cct l squa| l 0cd. llonc adm| tsthc typo| ogy ol Mcdltatlon
1L thcn onc can say 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| ncccsslty ol sltuatlons. !hc/awdocs no/prcscr//c |hcrc
/c/n¸somcsu/]c./s.
{ A sub] cct ls nota rcsu|t÷any 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|lty. 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 cxamµ| c. |n Chrlstlan|ty. the Church ls that
thtough whlch conncctlons and dlsconncctlons to thc ¨hrl st cvcnt arc
cva|uatcJ, thc|attcrbclngorlglna| | ynamcd dcatholCod (d. Mcdltatlon
2 l , . Aslasca|putsltthcChurchl sthctclorc|ltcta|ly thchl stotyolttuth
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 on, | thasglvcn
rlsc to a| | thc sp|lts and hercsl es. 1herc ls a|ways 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 proxlmlty 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
supcrnumcrary 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||yconncctcdtothc namcol
thc cvcnt .
Sub] cctlvlzatlon. thc slngu|arconnguratlonola ru| c. subsumcsthc 1o
that ltls undcra propcrnamcs abscnccolslgnl ncatlon. >al ntlau| lorthc
Church. Lcnln lor thc larty. Cantor lor onto|ogy. Schocnbcrg lor muslc.
but a|soSlmon. 8crnardorC| al rc. llthcydcc| arc thcmsc|vcstobcl n|ovc
cachandcvcry 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| systcm. mcctlng,
andthclnltlatlon ola gcncrlcproccdurc ( Chrlst| an Church. 8o|shcvlsm.
sctthcory. scr| a|lsm. slngu|ar|ovc , Whatthcpropcrnamcdcslgnatcshcrc
l s that thc sub] cct. as |oca| sltuatcd connguratlon. l s nclthcr thc |ntcr
vcntlonnorthcopcratorolhdc| .ty.butthcadvcntolthclr1o. thatls. thc
lncorpotatlon ol thc cvcnt lnto thc sltuatlon ln thc modc ol a gcncrlc
proccdurc. 1hc abso| utcslngu| arlty. subtractcd lrom scnsc. olthls1wo |s
shownbythcl n ºlgnlncanccolthcpropcrnamc. Butltl sobvlousthatthls
l n slgnlhcancc l s a| so a rcmlndcr that what was summoncd by 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|lclty ( subtractcdlrom thc crudltc cncyc| opacdl a,
thata truthl s 1hcpropcrnamcthusbcarsthctraccolboththcu| tra onc
andthcmu|tlp|c. bclngthatbywhlchonchappcnswlthlnthcothcrasthc
gcncrlc tra] cctory ol a truth. Lcnln ls both thc 0ctobcr rcvo| utlon ( thc
cvcnta|aspcct,andLcnlnlsm.truc mu|tlp|lcltyolrcvo|utlonarypo| ltlcslor
393
394
BEI NG AND EVENT
a ha|l ccntury. 1ust as Cantor l s both a madncss wh|ch rcqulrcs thc
thoughtolthcpurcmu| tlp|c. artlcu|atlngthc lnnnltcprodlga|ltyolbclng
qua bclng to lts vold. andthc proccss ol thc comp|ctc rcconstructlon ol
mathcmatlca|dlscurslvltyuptoBourbaklandbcyond. 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 ), or
ncgatlvc ( -( c. 0 y, , , andthccnqulrlcs. nnltcsctsolsuchgcsturcs. dcpcnd
on thctcrmsolthcsltuatloncncountcrcdbythc proccdurc, startlngwlth
thc cvcntal sltc. thc | attcr bclng thc placc ol thc nrst cvaluatlons ol
proxlmlty ( thls sltccou|d bc Palcstlnc lorthc nrst Chrlst|ans. orMahlcr s
symphonlcun|vcrsclor Schocnbcrg, . 1hcopcratorollalthlul conncctlon
dcnnltcly prcscrlbcs whcthcr thls or that tcrm l s | l nkcd or not to thc
supcrnumcrary namcolthc cvcnt Bowcvcr lt docsnotprcscrlbc l nany
waywhcthcrsucha tcrmshouldbc cxaml ncdbclorc. orrathcrthan. any
othcr. 1hcproccdurelsthusru|cd| nltscllccts. butcntlrclyal catoryl nlts
tra] cctory 1hconlycmplrlca|cvidcncclnthcmattcrl sthatthctra] cctory
bcglns 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//c¸/|/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 | y.thcrcarcon| yl|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| ry ata glvcn momcnt olthc
gcncrlcproccdurc/hcma//cro]/hcsu/]c./. thlsmattcr. asmultlplc. docsnot
havc any asslgnablc rc|atlon to thc rulc whlch dlstrlbutcs thc posltlvc
THEORY OF THE SUBJECT
lndexes ( connectlon estab|lshed, and the negatlve l ndexes ( non-
connect|on, . 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,, 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|trary wlth regard to the doub|e qua| l ncatlon whlch l s l ts
own.
1helo||owlngob] ectloncou|dbemade.lsald( Medltatlon1 l ¦ thatevery
nnltepresentatlonla| | sunderanencyc|opaedlcdetermlnant . lnthlssense.
every/oca/ state ola procedure÷thus every sub] ect÷belng rea| l zed as a
nnlteserlesolnnlteenqulrles. ls an ob] ectolknow|edge. | sn tthl sa type
olqua|l6catlon'Dowenotemp|oyltl 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|y| oca| . lt ls nnl te. andeven l llts matterl s a|eatorlc. l t l s
domlnat