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The Work of Giorgio AgambenLaw, Literature, Life$
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Justin Clemens and Nicholas Heron

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634620

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.001.0001

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The Role of the Shifter and the Problem of Reference in Giorgio Agamben

The Role of the Shifter and the Problem of Reference in Giorgio Agamben

(p.43) Chapter 3 The Role of the Shifter and the Problem of Reference in Giorgio Agamben
The Work of Giorgio Agamben

Clemens Justin

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter shows that it is the implicit role that Giorgio Agamben assigns to the linguistic shifter that proves a necessary way station on this endless pilgrimage. In outlining Agamben's doctrine of the shifter, it brings out the decisive importance of the philosopher's paratactical parables; that is, that the very ways in which Agamben broaches and pursues his theses are essential to his programme. Agamben identifies those philosophical, grammatical, or theological accounts of the place of being where a suture between the fact of utterance and the enigma of situation is essayed. It is deixis, a grammatical category, that Agamben exposes as the place of the Voice of language, the radically negative foundation of Western metaphysics. Agamben's doctrine of language hinges on the shifter. His special brand of materialist Christianity remains Romantic.

Keywords:   shifter, Giorgio Agamben, paratactical parables, deixis, Christianity, Western metaphysics

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