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Agamben's Philosophical Lineage$
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Adam Kotsko and Carlo Salzani

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423632

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423632.001.0001

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(p.15) 1 Aristotle
Agamben's Philosophical Lineage

Jussi Backman

Edinburgh University Press

Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben’s transformative twenty-year project in political ontology, is framed at its very outset in terms of Aristotelian philosophy – read, as we will see, from a strongly medieval, Heideggerian and Arendtian perspective. As a locus classicus of the juxtaposition of the two Greek terms for life, zoe (‘the simple fact of living common to all living beings’) and bios (‘the form or way of living proper to an individual or a group’), Agamben (HS 1–2) cites a passage in Aristotle’s Politics that notes that there is a certain ‘natural delight (euemeria) and sweetness’ in the ‘mere fact of being alive itself’ (to zen auto monon), which makes human beings hold on to it for its own sake, provided that the mode of life (bios) that this being-alive amounts to is not fraught with excessive difficulty.

Keywords:   Homo Sacer, Zoe, Bios, Political ontology

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