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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

The Potency of Negativity in the Age of the Sovereign Exception

Volume 16, Issue 1, Fall 2011
Giorgio Agamben

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Displaying: 1-10 of 11 documents


1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Alejandro A. Vallega Letter from the Guest Editor
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2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Alejandro A. Vallega Soglia: Negativity as a Philosophical Threshold
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Giorgio Agamben’s thought arises out of thinking through the concrete negativity or ungroundedness figured by “life” as understood under the sovereign exception. His work is sustained by the continuous exposure of philosophical concepts to what remains excluded, silenced, and to an extent unsayable for philosophy: Thus, disfiguring, decentering, and violating the temporality of Western history and philosophy as well as the concepts that order it. This means that Agamben thinks out of the ungrounded occurrences of language and history, and that the transformative potency of his thought arises from sheer negativity and yet, in his engagement of thought’s concrete situation.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Kalliopi Nikolopoulou Between Art and the Polis: Between Agamben and Plato
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In The Man Without Content, Giorgio Agamben makes a few but poignant references to Plato’s understanding of art. Because art’s impact was powerful, Plato deemed art dangerous and subordinated it to politics. In contrast, Agamben argues, modern art enjoys the privilege of formal autonomy at the cost of losing political significance. This essay develops the Platonic dimension in Agamben’s thought: whereas Platonic censorship recognizes art’s power by way of prohibition, the modern culturalist tolerance of art is symptomatic of art’s reduction into commodity and of the public indifference toward it.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Theodore D. George Passive Resistance: Giorgio Agamben and the Bequest of Early German Romanticism and Hegel
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The purpose of this essay is to examine Giorgio Agamben’s important but underappreciated debts to the early German Romantics and to Hegel. While maintaining critical distance from these figures, Agamben develops crucial aspects of his approach to radical passivity with reference to them. The focus of this essay is on Agamben’s consideration of the early German Romantics’ notions of criticism and irony, Hegel’s notion of language, and the implications of this view of language for his notion of community.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey A. Bernstein Child’s Play: Reflections on Agamben’s Conception of Contemporary Historical Exigency and its Winnicottian Dimension
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This article explores the influence of Winnicott’s conceptual constellation of early childhood, play, use, transitional phenomena, and transitional object upon Agamben’s thinking of contemporary historical exigency.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Benjamin S. Pryor On the “Perfect Time of Human Experience”: Agamben and Foucault
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This essay articulates a convergence between Foucault and Agamben: the possibility of an uncomplicated belonging to the profane, or to the perfect time of human experience. Agamben articulates a sense of experience as experience that “tears me from myself,” that points to a transformed conception of the world and a body and that connects his thinking to Foucault’s. This article places Agamben with Foucault outside of the alternative between messianism and pessimism. In the “perfect time of human experience,” in potentiality, possibility, and absolute immanence, Agamben finds a way of experiencing, a path along which philosophy has always wanted to step, one that I argue is taken in Foucault’s bio-politics.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Jason Kemp Winfree No More Beautiful Days
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This paper aims to situate Agamben’s treatment of the issue of community. It shows how Agamben departs from and supplements the French discourse on community through a critique of negativity; how the significance of community is measured against the society of the spectacle; and how the alienation from our linguistic being, which the spectacle effects, conditions a politics opposed to the State apparatus. Agamben’s coming community appropriates the dispossession and impropriety of contemporary human being in order to reconfigure the relation of belonging and singularity.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
María del Rosario Acosta López A “Tiny Displacement” of the World: On Giorgio Agamben’s Coming Community
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This paper explores the way in which Agamben takes part in the dialogue on “impolitical communities” that was inaugurated by J. L. Nancy and was soon followed by authors like M. Blanchot, J. Derrida and R. Esposito, among others. Although Agamben’s ontological exploration of ‘whatever being,’ followed later by the political idea of form-of-life, are still very close particularly to Nancy’s work, the article will show in which ways Agamben’s view of a political coming community explores different paths and moves in unusual registers, that help to understand in new ways the kind of inoperativeness involved in a contemporary rethinking of community. The notion of experience of thought as potentiality and its relationship to that “tiny displacement” of the world which Agamben seems to connect with his idea of a coming community will play a central role in the analysis.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan On Giorgio Agamben’s Naked Life: The State of Exception and the Law of the Sovereign
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This article attempts to explore why it is that the “state of exception” is so pivotal to Agamben’s analysis of sovereignty and the possibility of a coming community beyond the sovereign state and its power machines. The essay distinguishes between two senses of the state of exception and tries to explain their interconnection. The “zone of indistinction” opens up an irreparable gap between sovereign power and its execution and between “bare life” and citizenship. These are the spaces that both drive and dismantle the apparatus of State power and permit Agamben to open the discussion of a coming community.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Omar Rivera Political Ontology (and Representative Politics), Agamben, Dussel . . . Subcomandante Marcos
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This paper articulates a ‘political ontology’ by orienting Agamben’s inquiries toward the autonomy of the constituting power. In relation to Agamben’s thought, it (1) clarifies it by drawing a categorical distinction between zōē and bare life, (2) departs from it by using Agamben’s analysis of potentiality to understand the paralysis of the constituting power and (3) develops it by unfolding the category of ‘exigency.’ The paper also sets into play a brief encounter between political ontology and representative politics (in Dussel).