Confrontation: A Conversation with Aude Lancelin by Alain Badiou and Alain Finkielkraut Polity Alain Badiou and Alain Finkielkraut are French philosophers with opposing visions. Indeed, their extensive differences are brought together by one thing alone: both are courageous thinkers unafraid to stand up and say what they think despite the prevailing intellectual fashions of the time. In 2009, journalist Aude Lancelin organised a discussion between the pair. Despite the lack of a "happy ending", they were condemned and censured by their most ardent supporters for having agreed to meet at all. Despite this, they did it again: this time, in 2010, again to discuss issues moderated by Lancelin. Those two conversations, revised and edited, make up the meat of this book, translated by Susan Spitzer. "Neither of these men … is known for his love of consensus and the middle ground, let alone for his tendency to compromise," Lancelin writes in the Foreword. "A tense, electric, and occasionally even violent atmosphere came across on the page. This was clearly no ordinary debate but rather a confrontation, almost in the physical sense implied by the word." Yet Confrontation is also an opportunity for both philosophers to reject the stereotypes associated with their names: Badiou, in particular, has been assigned the role of radical, despite his writings that are modulated with more subtle gradations that such terms imply. Confrontation , divided into chapters including "National Identity and Nations", "Judaism, Israel, and Universalism", and "Communism (Past and Future)", provides no fawning or easy tie-ups to the debates. Both men spit and splutter, obstruct and rail against the other. At one point Badiou shouts "Give me a break!" when Finkielkraut says he believes radical Islamism is a real global threat. The result is a conversation that is as entertaining as it is informative - and, crucially, it showcases the minds of two brilliant philosophers who never fall into easy categorisation, instead retaining subtlety and distinction even in the midst of red-hot conflict.