Homo Sacer

Sovereign Power and Bare Life

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804732185

Category: Philosophy

Page: 216

View: 1864

The work of Giorgio Agamben, one of Italy's most important and original philosophers, has been based on an uncommon erudition in classical traditions of philosophy and rhetoric, the grammarians of late antiquity, Christian theology, and modern philosophy. Recently, Agamben has begun to direct his thinking to the constitution of the social and to some concrete, ethico-political conclusions concerning the state of society today, and the place of the individual within it. In Homo Sacer, Agamben aims to connect the problem of pure possibility, potentiality, and power with the problem of political and social ethics in a context where the latter has lost its previous religious, metaphysical, and cultural grounding. Taking his cue from Foucault's fragmentary analysis of biopolitics, Agamben probes with great breadth, intensity, and acuteness the covert or implicit presence of an idea of biopolitics in the history of traditional political theory. He argues that from the earliest treatises of political theory, notably in Aristotle's notion of man as a political animal, and throughout the history of Western thinking about sovereignty (whether of the king or the state), a notion of sovereignty as power over "life" is implicit. The reason it remains merely implicit has to do, according to Agamben, with the way the sacred, or the idea of sacrality, becomes indissociable from the idea of sovereignty. Drawing upon Carl Schmitt's idea of the sovereign's status as the exception to the rules he safeguards, and on anthropological research that reveals the close interlinking of the sacred and the taboo, Agamben defines the sacred person as one who can be killed and yet not sacrificed—a paradox he sees as operative in the status of the modern individual living in a system that exerts control over the collective "naked life" of all individuals.

The Omnibus Homo Sacer

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 1503603156

Category: Philosophy

Page: 1336

View: 1467

Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer is one of the seminal works of political philosophy in recent decades. A twenty-year undertaking, this project is a series of interconnected investigations of staggering ambition and scope investigating the deepest foundations of every major Western institution and discourse. This single book brings together for the first time all nine volumes that make up this groundbreaking project. Each volume takes a seemingly obscure and outdated issue as its starting point—an enigmatic figure in Roman law, or medieval debates about God's management of creation, or theories about the origin of the oath—but is always guided by questions with urgent contemporary relevance. The Omnibus Homo Sacer includes: 1.Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life 2.1.State of Exception 2.2.Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm 2.3.The Sacrament of Language: An Archeology of the Oath 2.4.The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Glory 2.5.Opus Dei: An Archeology of Duty 3.Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive 4.1.The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life 4.2.The Use of Bodies

Politics, Metaphysics, and Death

Essays on Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer

Author: Andrew Norris

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822386739

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 4164

The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben is having an increasingly significant impact on Anglo-American political theory. His most prominent intervention to date is the powerful reassessment of sovereignty and the politics of life and death laid out in his multivolume Homo Sacer project. Agamben argues that in both the modern world and the ancient, politics inevitably involves a sovereign decision that bans some individuals from the political and human communities. For Agamben, the Nazi concentration camps—in which some inmates are reduced to a form of living death—are not a political aberration but instead the place where this essential political decision about life most clearly reveals itself. Engaging specifically with Homo Sacer, the essays in this collection draw out and contend with the wide-ranging implications of Agamben’s radical and controversial interpretation of modern political life. The contributors analyze Agamben’s thought from the perspectives of political theory, philosophy, jurisprudence, and the history of law. They consider his work not only in relation to that of his major interlocutors—Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, and Martin Heidegger—but also in relation to the thought of Plato, Pindar, Heraclitus, Descartes, Kafka, Bataille, and Derrida. The essayists’ approaches are varied, as are their ultimate evaluations of the cogency and accuracy of Agamben’s arguments. This volume also includes an original essay by Agamben in which he considers the relation of Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” to Schmitt’s Political Theology. Politics, Metaphysics, and Death is a necessary, multifaceted exposition and evaluation of the thought of one of today’s most important political theorists. Contributors: Giorgio Agamben, Andrew Benjamin, Peter Fitzpatrick, Anselm Haverkamp, Paul Hegarty, Andreas Kalyvas, Rainer Maria Kiesow , Catherine Mills, Andrew Norris, Adam Thurschwell, Erik Vogt, Thomas Carl Wall

State of Exception

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226009262

Category: Philosophy

Page: 104

View: 3006

Two months after the attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration, in the midst of what it perceived to be a state of emergency, authorized the indefinite detention of noncitizens suspected of terrorist activities and their subsequent trials by a military commission. Here, distinguished Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben uses such circumstances to argue that this unusual extension of power, or "state of exception," has historically been an underexamined and powerful strategy that has the potential to transform democracies into totalitarian states. The sequel to Agamben's Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, State of Exception is the first book to theorize the state of exception in historical and philosophical context. In Agamben's view, the majority of legal scholars and policymakers in Europe as well as the United States have wrongly rejected the necessity of such a theory, claiming instead that the state of exception is a pragmatic question. Agamben argues here that the state of exception, which was meant to be a provisional measure, became in the course of the twentieth century a normal paradigm of government. Writing nothing less than the history of the state of exception in its various national contexts throughout Western Europe and the United States, Agamben uses the work of Carl Schmitt as a foil for his reflections as well as that of Derrida, Benjamin, and Arendt. In this highly topical book, Agamben ultimately arrives at original ideas about the future of democracy and casts a new light on the hidden relationship that ties law to violence.

The Use of Bodies

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804798613

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 9443

Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer was one of the seminal works of political philosophy in recent decades. It was also the beginning of a series of interconnected investigations of staggering ambition and scope, investigating the deepest foundations of Western politics and thought. The Use of Bodies represents the ninth and final volume in this twenty-year undertaking, breaking considerable new ground while clarifying the stakes and implications of the project as a whole. It comprises three major sections. The first uses Aristotle's discussion of slavery as a starting point for radically rethinking notions of selfhood; the second calls for a complete reworking of Western ontology; and the third explores the enigmatic concept of "form-of-life," which is in many ways the motivating force behind the entire Homo Sacer project. Interwoven between these major sections are shorter reflections on individual thinkers (Debord, Foucault, and Heidegger), while the epilogue pushes toward a new approach to political life that breaks with the destructive deadlocks of Western thought. The Use of Bodies represents a true masterwork by one of our greatest living philosophers.

What Is Philosophy?

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 1503604055

Category: Philosophy

Page: 136

View: 5767

In attempting to answer the question posed by this book's title, Giorgio Agamben does not address the idea of philosophy itself. Rather, he turns to the apparently most insignificant of its components: the phonemes, letters, syllables, and words that come together to make up the phrases and ideas of philosophical discourse. A summa, of sorts, of Agamben's thought, the book consists of five essays on five emblematic topics: the Voice, the Sayable, the Demand, the Proem, and the Muse. In keeping with the author's trademark methodology, each essay weaves together archaeological and theoretical investigations: to a patient reconstruction of how the concept of language was invented there corresponds an attempt to restore thought to its place within the voice; to an unusual interpretation of the Platonic Idea corresponds a lucid analysis of the relationship between philosophy and science, and of the crisis that both are undergoing today. In the end, there is no universal answer to what is an impossible or inexhaustible question, and philosophical writing—a problem Agamben has never ceased to grapple with—assumes the form of a prelude to a work that must remain unwritten.

Pilate and Jesus

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804794588

Category: Philosophy

Page: 88

View: 9134

Pontius Pilate is one of the most enigmatic figures in Christian theology. The only non-Christian to be named in the Nicene Creed, he is presented as a cruel colonial overseer in secular accounts, as a conflicted judge convinced of Jesus's innocence in the Gospels, and as either a pious Christian or a virtual demon in later Christian writings. This book takes Pilate's role in the trial of Jesus as a starting point for investigating the function of legal judgment in Western society and the ways that such judgment requires us to adjudicate the competing claims of the eternal and the historical. Coming just as Agamben is bringing his decades-long Homo Sacer project to an end, Pilate and Jesus sheds considerable light on what is at stake in that series as a whole. At the same time, it stands on its own, perhaps more than any of the author's recent works. It thus serves as a perfect starting place for readers who are curious about Agamben's approach but do not know where to begin.

The Highest Poverty

Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804786747

Category: Religion

Page: 184

View: 4899

What is a rule, if it appears to become confused with life? And what is a human life, if, in every one of its gestures, of its words, and of its silences, it cannot be distinguished from the rule? It is to these questions that Agamben's new book turns by means of an impassioned reading of the fascinating and massive phenomenon of Western monasticism from Pachomius to St. Francis. The book reconstructs in detail the life of the monks with their obsessive attention to temporal articulation and to the Rule, to ascetic techniques and to liturgy. But Agamben's thesis is that the true novelty of monasticism lies not in the confusion between life and norm, but in the discovery of a new dimension, in which "life" as such, perhaps for the first time, is affirmed in its autonomy, and in which the claim of the "highest poverty" and "use" challenges the law in ways that we must still grapple with today. How can we think a form-of-life, that is, a human life released from the grip of law, and a use of bodies and of the world that never becomes an appropriation? How can we think life as something not subject to ownership but only for common use?

What is an Apparatus?

And Other Essays

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804762309

Category: Philosophy

Page: 56

View: 1716

What is an apparatus? was originally published in Italian in 2006 under the title: Che cos'è un dispositivo?; The friend was originally published in Italian in 2007 under the title: L'amico; and, What is the contemporary? was originally published in Italian in 2008 under the title: Che cos'è il contemporaneo

The Fire and the Tale

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 150360165X

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

View: 8804

What is at stake in literature? Can we identify the fire that our stories have lost, but that they strive, at all costs, to rediscover? And what is the philosopher's stone that writers, with the passion of alchemists, struggle to forge in their word furnaces? For Giorgio Agamben, who suggests that the parable is the secret model of all narrative, every act of creation tenaciously resists creation, thereby giving each work its strength and grace. The ten essays brought together here cover works by figures ranging from Aristotle to Paul Klee and illustrate what urgently drives Agamben's current research. As is often the case with his writings, their especial focus is the mystery of literature, of reading and writing, and of language as a laboratory for conceiving an ethico-political perspective that places us beyond sovereign power.

The Kingdom and the Glory

For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804781664

Category: Philosophy

Page: 328

View: 5457

Why has power in the West assumed the form of an "economy," that is, of a government of men and things? If power is essentially government, why does it need glory, that is, the ceremonial and liturgical apparatus that has always accompanied it? In the early centuries of the Church, in order to reconcile monotheism with God's threefold nature, the doctrine of Trinity was introduced in the guise of an economy of divine life. It was as if the Trinity amounted to nothing more than a problem of managing and governing the heavenly house and the world. Agamben shows that, when combined with the idea of providence, this theological-economic paradigm unexpectedly lies at the origin of many of the most important categories of modern politics, from the democratic theory of the division of powers to the strategic doctrine of collateral damage, from the invisible hand of Smith's liberalism to ideas of order and security. But the greatest novelty to emerge from The Kingdom and the Glory is that modern power is not only government but also glory, and that the ceremonial, liturgical, and acclamatory aspects that we have regarded as vestiges of the past actually constitute the basis of Western power. Through a fascinating analysis of liturgical acclamations and ceremonial symbols of power—the throne, the crown, purple cloth, the Fasces, and more—Agamben develops an original genealogy that illuminates the startling function of consent and of the media in modern democracies. With this book, the work begun with Homo Sacer reaches a decisive point, profoundly challenging and renewing our vision of politics.

Stasis

Civil War as a Political Paradigm

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804797323

Category: Philosophy

Page: 96

View: 8018

We can no longer speak of a state of war in any traditional sense, yet there is currently no viable theory to account for the manifold internal conflicts, or civil wars, that increasingly afflict the world's populations. Meant as a first step toward such a theory, Giorgio Agamben's latest book looks at how civil war was conceived of at two crucial moments in the history of Western thought: in ancient Athens (from which the political concept of stasis emerges) and later, in the work of Thomas Hobbes. It identifies civil war as the fundamental threshold of politicization in the West, an apparatus that over the course of history has alternately allowed for the de-politicization of citizenship and the mobilization of the unpolitical. The arguments herein, first conceived of in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, have become ever more relevant now that we have entered the age of planetary civil war.

Infancy and History

The Destruction of Experience

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 9780860916451

Category: Philosophy

Page: 150

View: 1261

How and why did experience and knowledge become separated? Is it possible to talk of an infancy of experience, a “dumb” experience? For Walter Benjamin, the “poverty of experience” was a characteristic of modernity, originating in the catastrophe of the First World War. For Giorgio Agamben, the Italian editor of Benjamin’s complete works, the destruction of experience no longer needs catastrophes: daily life in any modern city will suffice. Agamben’s profound and radical exploration of language, infancy, and everyday life traces concepts of experience through Kant, Hegel, Husserl and Benveniste. In doing so he elaborates a theory of infancy that throws new light on a number of major themes in contemporary thought: the anthropological opposition between nature and culture; the linguistic opposition between speech and language; the birth of the subject and the appearance of the unconscious. Agamben goes on to consider time and history; the Marxist notion of base and superstructure (via a careful reading of the famous Adorno–Benjamin correspondence on Baudelaire’s Paris); and the difference between rituals and games. Beautifully written, erudite and provocative, these essays will be of great interest to students of philosophy, linguistics, anthropology and politics.

Of God who Comes to Mind

Author: Emmanuel Lévinas

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804730945

Category: Philosophy

Page: 211

View: 8669

The thirteen essays collected in this volume investigate the possibility that the word "God" can be understood now, at the end of the twentieth century, in a meaningful way. Nine of the essays appear in English translation for the first time. Among Levinas's writings, this volume distinguishes itself, both for students of his thought and for a wider audience, by the range of issues it addresses. Levinas not only rehearses the ethical themes that have led him to be regarded as one of the most original thinkers working out of the phenomenological tradition, but he also takes up philosophical questions concerning politics, language, and religion. The volume situates his thought in a broader intellectual context than have his previous works. In these essays, alongside the detailed investigations of Husserl, Heidegger, Rosenzweig, and Buber that characterize all his writings, Levinas also addresses the thought of Kierkegaard, Marx, Bloch, and Derrida. Some essays provide lucid expositions not available elsewhere to key areas of Levinas's thought. "God and Philosophy" is perhaps the single most important text for understanding Levinas and is in many respects the best introduction to his works. "From Consciousness to Wakefulness" illuminates Levinas's relation to Husserl and thus to phenomenology, which is always his starting point, even if he never abides by the limits it imposes. In "The Thinking of Being and the Question of the Other," Levinas not only addresses Derrida's Speech and Phenomenon but also develops an answer to the later Heidegger's account of the history of Being by suggesting another way of reading that history. Among the other topics examined in the essays are the Marxist concept of ideology, death, hermeneutics, the concept of evil, the philosophy of dialogue, the relation of language to the Other, and the acts of communication and mutual understanding.

Giorgio Agamben

A Critical Introduction

Author: Leland de la Durantaye

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804761426

Category: Philosophy

Page: 463

View: 1145

A critical introduction to the work of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben.

Language and Death

The Place of Negativity

Author: Giorgio Agamben,Karen E. Pinkus,Michael Hardt

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780816649235

Category: Philosophy

Page: 112

View: 6428

Explores the symbiosis of philosophy and literature in understanding negativity.

The Sacrament of Language

Author: Giorgio Agamben

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1509508074

Category: Philosophy

Page: 128

View: 5390

Oaths play an essential part in the political and religious history of the West as a 'sacrament of power'. Yet despite numerous studies by linguists, anthropologists and historians of law and of religion, there exists no complete analysis of the oath which seeks to explain the strategic function that this phenomenon has performed at the intersection of law, religion and politics. The oath seems to define man himself as a political animal, but what is an oath and from where does it originate? Taking this question as its point of departure, Giorgio Agamben's book develops a pathbreaking 'archaeology' of the oath. Via a firsthand survey of Greek and Roman sources which shed light on the nexus of the oath with archaic legislation, acts of condemnation and the names of gods and blasphemy, Agamben recasts the birth of the oath as a decisive event of anthropogenesis, the process by which mankind became humanity. If the oath has historically constituted itself as a 'sacrament of power', it has functioned at one and the same time as a 'sacrament of language' - a sacrament in which man, discovering that he can speak, chooses to bind himself to his language and to use it to put life and destiny at stake.

The End of the Poem

Studies in Poetics

Author: Giorgio Agamben,Daniel Heller-Roazen

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804730229

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 148

View: 2164

This book, by one of Italy's most important and original contemporary philosophers, represents a broad, general, and ambitious undertaking--nothing less than an attempt to rethink the nature of poetic language and to rearticulate relationships among theology, poetry, and philosophy in a tradition of literature initiated by Dante. The author presents "literature" as a set of formal or linguistic genres that discuss or develop theological issues at a certain distance from the discourse of theology. This distance begins to appear in Virgil and Ovid, but it becomes decisive in Dante and in his decision to write in the vernacular. His vernacular Italian reaches back through classical allusion to the Latin that was in his day the language of theology, but it does so with a difference. It is no accident that in the Commedia Virgil is Dante's guide. The book opens with a discussion of just how Dante's poem is a "comedy," and it concludes with a discussion of the "ends of poetry" in a variety of senses: enjambment at the ends of lines, the concluding lines of poems, and the end of poetry as a mode of writing this sort of literature. Of course, to have poetry "end" does not mean that people stop writing it, but that literature passes into a period in which it is concerned with its own ending, with its own bounds and limits, historical and otherwise. Though most of the essays make specific reference to various authors of the Italian literary tradition (including Dante, Polifilo, Pascoli, Delfini, and Caproni), they transcend the confines of Italian literature and engage several other literary and philosophical authors (Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Boethius, the Provençal poets, Mallarmé, and Hölderlin, among others).