Number and numbers

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Polity, May 12, 2008 - Mathematics - 240 pages
3 Reviews
The political regime of global capitalism reduces the world to an endless network of numbers within numbers, but how many of us really understand what numbers are? Without such an understanding, how can we challenge the regime of number?

In Number and Numbers Alain Badiou offers an philosophically penetrating account with a powerful political subtext of the attempts that have been made over the last century to define the special status of number. Badiou argues that number cannot be defined by the multiform calculative uses to which numbers are put, nor is it exhausted by the various species described by number theory. Drawing on the mathematical theory of surreal numbers, he develops a unified theory of Number as a particular form of being, an infinite expanse to which our access remains limited. This understanding of Number as being harbours important philosophical truths about the structure of the world in which we live.

In Badiou's view, only by rigorously thinking through Number can philosophy offer us some hope of breaking through the dense and apparently impenetrable capitalist fabric of numerical relations. For this will finally allow us to point to that which cannot be numbered: the possibility of an event that would deliver us from our unthinking subordination of number.

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Review: Number and Numbers

User Review  - Adam - Goodreads

I don't have the background to entirely understand this thing, or develop any arguments for or against Badiou's work here, but for the most part I found it pretty fascinating and mind-bending. As ... Read full review

Review: Number and Numbers

User Review  - David - Goodreads

Marvelous and fascinating. But strap on your math shoes. You'll need them. Read full review

Contents

Transitive Multiplicities
61
Von Neumann Ordinals
67
Succession and Limit The Infinite
73
Copyright

8 other sections not shown

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About the author (2008)

Alain Badiou is Professor of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure.

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