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Totalitarianism or biopolitics (by Roberto Esposito)

Totalitarianism or biopolitics (by Roberto Esposito)

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Published by Emilio Tarazona
In this paper I would like to relate two modalities for understanding contemporary history -- that of the more traditional philosophy of history and that of history as philosophy -- to two hermeneutic paradigms that are often confused and superimposed, but which in my view instead emerge radically as mutually exclusive in their presuppositions and effects on meaning. I am speaking about the paradigms of totalitarianism and biopolitics. Despite attempts to bring them together in a framework that makes one the continuation or the confirmation of the other (in the sense of a biopolitical totalitarianism or a totalitarian biopolitics), we are really dealing with interpretive models that not only logically diverge, but which are certain to exclude each other. Their separation has less to do with their respective contents and more to do with a difference in approach that concerns precisely the relation between philosophy and history and the mode by which history is thought by and within philosophy.
In this paper I would like to relate two modalities for understanding contemporary history -- that of the more traditional philosophy of history and that of history as philosophy -- to two hermeneutic paradigms that are often confused and superimposed, but which in my view instead emerge radically as mutually exclusive in their presuppositions and effects on meaning. I am speaking about the paradigms of totalitarianism and biopolitics. Despite attempts to bring them together in a framework that makes one the continuation or the confirmation of the other (in the sense of a biopolitical totalitarianism or a totalitarian biopolitics), we are really dealing with interpretive models that not only logically diverge, but which are certain to exclude each other. Their separation has less to do with their respective contents and more to do with a difference in approach that concerns precisely the relation between philosophy and history and the mode by which history is thought by and within philosophy.

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Published by: Emilio Tarazona on Dec 24, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/23/2013

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