• Guignion,  David

In1998, near the midnight of Jean Baudrillard’s philosophical career, Antoon Van den Braembussche asked him how he—a self-proclaimed radical thinker—could rely on the “binary logic of dialectics?” (2017: 274). To this charge, Baudrillard replied by way of a distinction: a distinction between the “binary logic” he was accused of administering, and the principles of “challenge, of antagonism” (2017: 274). This essay explores this distinction that Baudrillard provides, exhuming the respective roles that binarism and antagonism play in Baudrillard’s philosophical imaginary. I argue that it is not necessary to completely eschew binarism when considering Baudrillard’s work because much of it rests on the antagonism produced by two or more separate and autonomous poles. In fact, the antagonism produced by the collision of separate poles sets the stage for what is properly understood as ‘reality,’ in its benevolent manifestation. This is opposed to reality as a galvanizing force, a harbinger of scientism and objectivism, that strives to purge the world of all negativity, the apotheosis of the simulacrum— “integral reality.” To make this case, I illustrate the possible manifestations of benevolent and malevolent antagonism and what purpose the acts of acceptance and refusal serve in them. These distinctions disentangle some of the antinomies found in Baudrillard’s work while setting the stage for a politics of antagonism that may shed light on our present global situation.