In Badious philosophy, he has considers that Poltics, Art, Science & Love to be four truth-procedures, and that Philosophy is suspended from the other three; but it can be sutured to them too.

What does it mean for Philosophy to be sutured to Music - an art-form?

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    Don't fool yourself there no such separate things as philosophy or art or science or love. These divisions are made for simplicity of simpltons. Once passed it is important to unite everything. Otherwise there is high risk of Becoming a professor who is still teaching what he knew 50 year ago, while others moved on and developed. They are all just human experience of things which exist. Highest form of all these things (maybe except for love) is thinking. Music is also thinking. Much more literal then calculating natural logarithm of 10.
    – Asphir Dom
    May 4, 2014 at 1:39
  • Yes, I think that he thinks that music is thinking. Thats why I'm asking. May 4, 2014 at 1:52
  • and I mean thinking in some sense, not that it is idenitcal to it. May 4, 2014 at 2:53
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    The Quine Quartet? The Russell Hustle? Wittgenstein's Waltz?
    – user4894
    May 4, 2014 at 4:32
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    @MoziburUllah I mention Rush in jest, although I like their music, I find their lyrical pretentiousness ludicrous and Ayn Rand to be laughable (if it weren't for how seriously she is taken by some of my country men). Now that you've explained it, I would offer a simplistic answer to your question: Imagine a sort of existentialist philosophy which somehow arrives at the conclusion that Music is the only thing that gives life meaning and that those who don't listen or play music are leading inauthentic lives of some sort of related concept (I have to admit I find it appealing...) Dec 27, 2015 at 21:04

4 Answers 4


You may find this essay "Badiou and Music", written by a musician, helpful. The author emphasizes the revolutionary power of artistic creation, and indicates the autonomy of music from philosophical discourse (although philosophy may aid or inspire music):

Let us recall foremost that for music properly speaking, philosophy has no use and can have no use: music is an autonomous thinking [trans: the noun ‘thinking’ will henceforth translate Nicolas’ ‘pensée’], put to work in pieces of music; this musical thought, which is not linguistic, is deployed in a specific world, the world-Music formed logically around a singular dialectic between sound and notes, between sound material and literal terms (made of this specifically musical writing called solfege). No place here, of course, for philosophical discourse![b] By contrast, philosophy can be of use to the musician, this dividual [trans: Nicolas’ ‘dividu’ is henceforth translated as ‘dividual’ – which is opposed to an ‘individual’ or, in French, ‘individu’] in constant split between the world-Music and those other worlds that are of the ordinary life of humans. It is for this reason that the musician can lean on a philosophy to find a cartography clarifying the orientation of thought available to him, a geology illuminating the conditions of possibility of a musicianly discourse, a meteorology delineating [dégageant] the general time of thought and thus what ‘Contemporary’ can mean in a particular time for the musician.

The musician is thus able to deploy his own intellectual nature in the shadow of a given philosophy, just as it can do in the light of such or such other procedure of non-musical thought; I will say in my case: in the light of mathematics[c] and the shadow of the philosophy of Badiou.

This philosophy, in fact, especially since Logics of Worlds (that is to say, since this philosophy has touched upon the shores of logic and phenomenology), can help the musician to deploy a materialist conception of his art which can be a counterweight to phenomenological idealism (the spontaneous philosophy of the musician in the post-war period) and, especially since the ‘70s, to this crass materialism of the human sciences which focuses on systematically liquidating the very idea of a possible artistic autonomy.

I would think of Nietzsche here: the way melody and rhythm condition and mutate all of creation or expression. The musicality of speech would be a primary example here to my mind, but the point would be that even philosophies sing, whether celebratory hymns or pious dirges...

So there is always beneath the explicit content a profound implicit sense -- I'm tempted to say spirit, but you could also say subtext. It's a question of who/what is speaking through you, the text, the world; singing through signs and phenomena. A question of different musics for different ways of feeling, thinking, living.


I really have no idea about Badiou, but I can say what I make of it, perhaps it will inspire someone to do better than me. There are some possible relationships that spring to mind.

  • Music as a "rhetorical device".

    • It can be to set a mood and provide hints as to the intent of a communication. A very direct form of communication.
    • The converse of the above, where it can be used to make otherwise difficult ideas intelligible. I've heard theorists of poetry discuss meter in rhyme in this context: providing a rhythmic structure can make room for expression by letting you "get away" with things you couldn't otherwise.
  • Music as an activity

    • Music as the subject matter for philosophising - essentially, questions about aesthetics
    • Music as an exploration of and technic concerning what can be created (as an art in the old sense) - as a source of subject matter for philosophising.

As for the term "suturing", as opposed to "suspension", it seems to imply some kind of bidirectional, close, almost-knotted, relationship between philosophy and music, rather than one being simply derived - hanging from - from the other. Some kind of feedback, where philosophy takes music as its focus and music then expresses the philosophy it has had a hand in making. Where all the suggestions above are a component.

So, perhaps a good example would be hip-hop with it's conspicuous self-reference and criticism (though it's by no means unique in doing this). But as I said, I have no idea really.


You have the categories slightly wrong. Remove philosophy and add politics and you get Badiou's four truth procedures


Badiou wrote an essay specifically about music, which I'm afraid to say I can't locate at the moment. In it he argues that serial composition constitutes an event for music. As someone with a musical background, I completely disagree with this thesis, but there you go.

  • The wikipedia entry on serialism writes "The vocabulary of serialism eventually became rooted in set theory, and uses a seemingly quasi-mathematical vocabulary to describe how the basic sets are manipulated to produce the final result" - this might explain his orientation towards given his heavy formal machinary. Jul 10, 2014 at 4:14

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