Indifference and Repetition: Or, Modern Freedom and its Discontents

Frank Ruda (Lead / Corresponding author), Heather H. Yeung (Translator), Alain Badiou (Other contribution)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In capitalism human beings act as if they are mere animals. So we hear repeatedly in the history of modern philosophy. Indifference and Repetition examines how modern philosophy, largely coextensive with a particular boost in capitalism’s development, registers the reductive and regressive tendencies produced by capitalism’s effect on individuals and society.

Ruda examines a problem that has invisibly been shaping the history of modern, especially rationalist philosophical thought, a problem of misunderstanding freedom. Thinkers like Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and Marx claim that there are conceptions and interpretations of freedom that lead the subjects of these interpretations to no longer act and think freely. They are often unwillingly led into unfreedom. It is thus possible that even “freedom” enslaves. Modern philosophical rationalism, whose conceptual genealogy the books traces and unfolds, assigns a name to this peculiar form of domination by means of freedom: indifference. Indifference is a name for the assumption that freedom is something that human beings have: a given, a natural possession. When we think freedom is natural or a possession we lose freedom. Modern philosophy, Ruda shows, takes its shape through repeated attacks on freedom as indifference; it is the owl that begins its flight, so that the days of unfreedom will turn to dusk.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)9781531505318
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2023


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