Daniel, James Rushing. (2016). The event that we are: Ontology, rhetorical agency, and Alain Badiou. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 49(3), 254–276.
Daniel offers Badiou’s concept of the event to rethink the discipline’s considerations of relativism and flat ontologies.
Keywords: agency, materiality, ontology, rhetoric, rhetorical theory
“While these approaches suggest that agency is not a linear means of enacting change but rather a distributed, emergent process, they nevertheless retain the notion of responsibility and with it the value of human choice. Many following object-oriented, materialist, or ecological models are accordingly caught in such a bind, espousing a model of agency that minimizes the role of the human subject and yet attributes to the human subject a unique significance” (p. 256-57).
“Badiou is not concerned with the consequentiality of things but rather with sets, discrete groupings of mathematical objects that concern spheres of human existence Badiou terms ‘situations’ or ‘worlds.’ Unlike the materialist approaches of contemporary rhetoric that seek to understand the role of objects within a flat ontological system, Badiou’s perspective allows for the consideration of the composition of discrete spheres of ontological being and the ways in which such spheres are disrupted and transformed by events” (p. 259).