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Even if they were previously nothing more than aspects, no more than logically distinct, the collapse of the “power that confers legitimacy” and the exercise of this thus legalized power is what is confronted by Anna Akhmatova and the woman asking her the question if she could “speak of this,” while waiting in front of the prison walls of the 1930s Stalinist purges.This collapse contracts, as it were, into a point of “potentiality” in an other.
The guiding premise of Agamben’s investigation into “ is his conviction that in order to understand the relation between “constituting power” and “constitutive power” – or violence – one needs to understand the “autonomy of potentiality.”12 With this he picks up the investigation of the earlier “On Potentiality” in order to align it more clearly with the problem of sovereignty. Maybe it is one which, in the eyes of Agamben himself, is and must be constitutive of getting to see this problem at all, starting from within the scope of the “” of metaphysics, as we invariably must.
Here is the contradiction: on the one hand he wants to “cut the knot that binds sovereignty to constituting power” and claims only this achievement will make it possible to “think a constituting power wholly released from the sovereign ban.”13 On the other hand, he wants to show with and in Aristotle, that it is what appears precisely this “ban” as a “capacity not to,” which is the answer to this question itself.
The “I can” and Agamben’s “potentiality” set out to think this unthinkable.
As Agamben will say in , we can call this force sovereignty even before splitting it up into what to him – following Walter Benjamin – are its elements, i.e.
When one reads this early example of “potentiality” in the light of the later writings of Giorgio Agamben, one can grasp his main opposition to Carl Schmitt.
Hans Blumenberg ridiculed both Schmitt and Hegel for hypostasizing a logical necessity into the existence of a secularized Person-God.10 In the same vein, Agamben no longer focuses on who makes the decision, but rather on the creation of a spectral life – a meaning) to a supposedly determinate mourning (the death of a family member or, most iconically, the sovereign)11.
So Agamben wants to extricate the ghostly reality as real reality, one might say, of sovereignty, which is accessible as and in what he calls experience or a specific kind of experience.
The reference to topology is more than a hint here; he points towards the “experience” of a structural effect, of an appellation of sovereignty and vice versa, of sovereignty as this structural effect.
E.], and yet belonging: this is the topological structure of the state of exception.”9 Here we have one of the more general descriptions of Agamben’s transformative gesture, which picks up Carl Schmitt’s preoccupation with the theological heritage of state-theoretical concepts.
Interesting and worth noting is the fact that he does not identify this “being-outside [the legal order, F.