16 (4):87-99 (2011
There is congruence between Nietzsche’s philosophy of life and the biopolitical philosophy of Giorgio Agamben. For both philosophers the human animal possesses a divided relationship to its being alive. For both philosophers this division is of a political nature, such that membership in political community as we know it is conditional on the human animal’s alienation from its biological being. Both philosophers are also concerned with the possibility of transformation and, because of the connection they establish between politics and animality, link this possibility to a change in the relationship between humans and their being alive. Yet both philosophers end up with an entirely different understanding of the nature of this change, and of its potential scope. This paper is an attempt at clarifying this disagreement between Nietzsche and Agamben, and with using it to come to a better understanding of the latter’s political ontology. It presents a reading of Kafka’s “The Burrow” in an attempt to show how Agamben’s concept of the anthropological machine challenges the Nietzschean program of the affirmation of life as will to power.