Democracy and the Politics of Bare Life. On the historical-philosophical reflections on language in Giorgio Agamben

Synthesis Philosophica 21 (2):349-358 (2006)
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Abstract

Have the forms of life in the western democracies transformed into mere forms of survival – forms of bare life, as formulated by Giorgio Agamben? Has the sphere of bare life already become truly inseparable from the sphere of politics as an arena not structured by the necessities of life? If this is so, what has then happened to language, which – according to Aristotle – we owe life to on the other side of bare existence, yet which Agamben compares with a dungeon? In order to answer the above questions, the author first looks into the features of the sphere of bare life. He then expounds Agamben’s understanding of language so as to be able to penetrate the reasons because of which he ascribes language the power which facilitates the separation of political and bare existence. Finally , the author examines the relation between Agamben’s diagnosis of the reduction of the human forms of life to forms of survival and his historical-philosophical reflections on language

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