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Profanation in Spinoza and Badiou: religion and truth

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/05/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Theory, Culture and Society
Issue number3
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)27-50
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/06/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article focuses on two different styles of profanation in Spinoza and Badiou. Notwithstanding the significant differences between them, their shared desire for profanation testifies to an interesting convergence. I deal with this convergence in divergence as a case of disjunctive synthesis through a comparison of the different understandings of religion in Spinoza and Badiou’s truth procedures. It is commonly held that Spinoza operates with three understandings of religion (superstition, the universal faith, and the true religion). But I argue that Spinoza’s thought opens up the space for a fourth understanding of ‘religion’ (which can accommodate instrumental reason and which, for the same reason, can be compared to Benjamin’s ‘capitalism as religion’). Then I discuss the formal similarity between Spinoza’s four religions and Badiou’s four truth procedures. I illustrate this discussion through two diagrams. I claim that Badiou’s truth procedures could be perceived as the Spinozist diagram’s re-entry into itself.