In case you haven’t seen this yet, Peter Hallward has a piece in this months New Left Review entitled ‘Order and Event’. It’s an extremely well thought out piece that gives us the first glimpse of the critical reactions we can expect to Logics of Worlds after its forthcoming (english) publication. Of particular note is the way in which Hallward critiques Badiou’s lack of a coherent account of the actual material that mediates between pure ontology and existing subjects. This is a continuing problem with the work of Badiou (and more recently Meillassoux), and I for one can’t seem to establish how these thinkers propose that we get from pure number to existing material. The only thing I’ve read that provides a potential bridge between number and matter is Iain Grant’s piece ‘Being and Slime’ from Collapse IV which gave an account of Oken’s naturephilosophie and the role of ‘slime’ as the mediating substance between number and matter.
Here is an excerpt of Hallward’s piece:
“However, Badiou assumes but does not account for the status of the middle and mediating term—the status of beings (étants). Neither Badiou’s ontology nor his logic seem to provide any clear place for ordinary ontic reality. What appears in our various Parisian worlds, clearly, are not instances of pure being or multiplicity, but people. Depending on the transcendental configuration of their world, these people can then appear or exist as tranquil workers, patriotic heroes or rebellious insurgents, but in each case the transcendental appears to take the elementary ontic status of its inhabitants for granted. Between the being of a pure multiplicity and an appearing as docile or insurgent lies an abyss without mediation. The space that in other philosophies might be filled by an account of material actualization or emergent self-realization (or any number of alternatives) is one that Badiou, so far, prefers to consign to contingency. If the transcendental of a world determines the ways in which its objects may appear, Badiou seems to presume a meta-transcendental register which simply gives a world the ontic raw material of its objects (such that objects can be defined as ‘the being-there of the being of a being [l’être-là de l’être d’un étant]’)”