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Philosophy Today

Volume 63, Issue 4, Fall 2019

New Concepts for Materialism

Hedwig Fraunhofer
Pages 873-885

Bíos/Zōē

While the philosopher Rosi Braidotti sees her own, new materialist work as opposed to the analysis of biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben, the present contribution establishes a dialogue between these two lineages. Starting with Aristotle’s distinction between zōē and bíos politikos (natural and political life), it puts the analyses of biopolitics in immunitarian modernity in conversation with new materialism (NM) conceptualizations of affirmative difference and relationality. Replacing the negative logic of identity/alterity, life/death, dualism or dialectics and desire-as-lack of the Western philosophical and psychoanalytic traditions with human and more-than-human post-individualistic subjectivity as part of a rhizomatic web, NM proposes a groundbreaking shift to post-anthropocentrism. The biopolitical fear of viral contamination cedes to viral contamination as the generative vanishing of borderlines between self and other. In this vital geocentrism marking a new kind of politics, the sym-poetic life force of zōē generates complex allegiances between heterogeneous entities in a shared world.

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