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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant

(p.162) 16 Immanuel Kant
Agamben's Philosophical Lineage

Susan Brophy

Edinburgh University Press

Agamben’s complicated engagement with Immanuel Kant celebrates the brilliance of the German idealist’s thought by disclosing its condemnatory weight in Western philosophy. Kant was writing in the midst of burgeoning industrial capitalism, when each new scientific discovery seemed to push back the fog of religion in favour of science and reason; meanwhile Agamben’s work develops in concert with the crises of advanced capitalism and borrows significantly from those philosophers who endured the most demoralising upheavals of the first half of the twentieth century. Whatever lanugo Kant was eager for us to shed in the name of individual freedom,1 Agamben sees in this crusade for civic maturity a surprising prescience: ‘[I]t is truly astounding how Kant, almost two centuries ago and under the heading of a sublime “moral feeling,” was able to describe the very condition that was to become familiar to the mass societies and great totalitarian states of our time’ (HS 52). To a remarkable extent, Agamben finds that Kant’s transcendental idealist frame of thought lays the philosophical foundation for the state of exception.

Keywords:   Immanuel Kant, Logic, Infancy, Remnant, Destitutent potential

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