Left Atomism: Marx, Badiou, and Althusser on the Greek Atomists
Atomism, Greek Atomists, Alain Badious, Louis Althusser
Alain Badiou and Louis Althusser both wrote on the viability of grounding leftist politics in the ontology of the ancient Greek atomists, each thus marking his complicated relation to Marx’s doctoral dissertation. There Marx made two crucial claims: that the Epicurean development of atomism was dialectically materialist; and that Epicureanism therefore models a politically productive ontology. In revisiting Marx’s dissertation, Badiou defends the first of Marx’s claims while rejecting the second, but Althusser defends the second while rejecting the first. Due to an inconsistency in Althusser’s position, Badiou’s is the more promising—though not the only—political take on atomism.
Original Publication Citation
“Left Atomism: Marx, Badiou, and Althusser on Greek Atomism.” Theory & Event 17.3 (September 2014).
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Spencer, Joseph M., "Left Atomism: Marx, Badiou, and Althusser on the Greek Atomists" (2014). Faculty Publications. 3284.
Theory & Event
Copyright © 2014 Joseph M. Spencer and The Johns Hopkins University Press