Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 16, Issue 1, Fall 2011

Giorgio Agamben

Alejandro A. Vallega
Pages 1-16

Negativity as a Philosophical Threshold

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.