Wednesday, January 27, 2016
In the Boston Review, Leland de la Durantaye on Agamben.
For Agamben the great political danger, in the name of which the Homo Sacer series and all of his books are written, is in seeing the world with an end, in seeing humanity as something that involves the accomplishment of a task, individual or collective. It is, moreover, Heidegger’s attachment to a notion of an epoch having a task that marks, for Agamben, the limit of his teacher’s philosophy. Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein, begun in Being and Time (1927), remained unfinished for the final half-century of his life. As Agamben makes clear in L’uso dei corpi, what led those problems to become so intractable as to be abandoned was Heidegger’s sense of Dasein having such a task—one which Heidegger, moreover, found for a time compatible with National Socialism. For Agamben, mankind has no millennial or messianic task to complete, no divinely ordained work it must do, no set function it must exercise.
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