Updated : Oct 12, 2019 in Music


In Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben suggests that Herman’s Melville’s ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ offers the ‘strongest objection against the principle of sovereignty’. As Agamben sees it, refugees pose a limit to the political categories of Melville’s famous story “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” which is a recurrent. From Giorgio Agamben’s Potentialities. The Scribe, or On Creation 1. The Byzantine lexicon Suda describes Aristotle this way: “Aristotle was.

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Literature and Philosophy: Deleuze, Agamben and Rancière reading Melville’s “Bartleby”.

Thought, if it thinks nothing, seems to be pointless. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here That line is a modification of Romans 7: It is the oldness of the letter to which Paul opposes the newness of Spirit: The ink is thought itself. Notify me of new comments via email. It is a standard view that the three monotheistic religions believe in a creation from batleby.

There was only ever the inexplicable movement of the divine hand. The idea of contingency produces many problems. Traditionally, these problems are tempered by two principles. This God enjoys contemplating these events and his own choice among them: The will to power is, in truth, agambn will to will, an eternally repeated action; only as such is it potentialized. The passage is worth quoting: The fire does not burn the cotton itself; God establishes the coincidence of the case and the effect.

On the writing tablet of the celestial scribe, the letter, bbartleby act of writing, marks the passage from potentiality to actuality, the occurrence of a contingency.

But likewise, to hold to Being and necessary positivity is also difficult; it always aagamben a complicity with this nihilism.

Abulafia knew Aristotle through Arabic translations and commentaries, which paid close attention to the problem of the relation between the passive and active intellect. Creation was understood according to the model of thinking; every avamben of thinking is an act of intelligence, and every act of intelligence is a creation that lets something be.


All potential to be or to do something is also the potential to not be or do something, and without this, all potentiality would be indistinguishable from actuality. For to do so, he must close his own ears to the incessant lamentation that, throughout the infinite chambers of this Baroque inferno of potentiality, arises from everything that could have been but was not, from everything that could have been otherwise but had to be sacrificed for the present world to be as it is.

Emancipating itself from Being and non-Being alike, potentiality thus creates its own ontology. Agamben5.

Bartleby, Refugee, Sovereignty – The Philosophical Salon

To be a refugee is always only a temporary condition. The Byzantine lexicon Suda describes Aristotle this way: Does this renewal remain within sovereignty? This line of thought that the Nothing is a kind of something runs bartlegy Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and Neoplatonist accounts. Avicenna uses the image of writing to describe the various levels of the potential intellect.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: The difficulty is thinking a potential not batleby think, or to explain what it means for a potential not to think to become actual. Or in other words, how can a blank writing tablet impress upon itself? The image is ambiguous, and this ambiguity no doubt contributed to its widespread success. In those books, divine creation is an act of writing. The falasifa were concerned with the principles by which the possible, existing in the mind of God, does or does not actualize in the creative act.

However, once potentiality is expelled from the human realm, it reappears in God.


Literature and Philosophy: Deleuze, Agamben and Rancière reading Melville’s “Bartleby”.

The Bartleby twist on the principle of sufficient reason is: The experience of potentiality is only possible if it is also the potential not to do, be, or barlteby the tablet is capable of not being written on.

The indifference of Being and Nothing is not, however, an equivalence between two opposite principles; rather, it is the mode of Being of potentiality that is purified of all reason.

The left wing is tinged with darkness, and is turned towards his capacity agwmben to be. Does it break with sovereignty altogether and propose something else? The falasifain contrast, remained true to Aristotle: Email required Address never made public.

The other possibility is that if God were capable of not getting what he wants, then he would be capable of non-Being, which introduces nihilism into God: If God has the potential wgamben be, then he also has the potential to not be, which contradicts his eternity. Medieval theologians make a distinction between an absolute potentiality by which God could do anything, including evil, and an ordered potential, by which God can only do that which is in accord with his will.

This can be understood by anyone with intelligence, for to bartlebby more is prohibited. In the same act of will, God wills contraries; he does not will that they exist together since this is impossiblebut he nevertheless wills them at the same time.

Not to be repatriated. If it thinks something other than itself, it does not matter if it thinks something important or trivial.