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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The aporia here is that the highest thought can neither think nothing or think something, or remain potential or become actual. There could be no clearer way to suggest that undelivered letters are the cipher of joyous events that could have been, but never took place.

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

For Arabi, the science of letters marks the passage from the inexpressible to the expressible, or from potentiality to actuality. It is difficult to imagine something more pharisaic than this demiurge, who contemplates all uncreated possible worlds to take delight in his own single choice. However, once potentiality is expelled from the human realm, it reappears in God. Aristotle insists that nous has no nature other than being potential, and before thinking, it is nothing.

For example, if Being always preserved its potential not to be, then no possibility could ever pass into actuality or remain in actuality. He does not redeem what was, but to save what was not.

Duns Scotus says that if there is a contradiction between two actual realities, being P and not-being P, nothing keeps a thing from being actual and maintaining its potential to not be or be otherwise. To be a refugee is always only a temporary condition. This makes it necessary to uphold the principle of conditioned necessity, and why Aristotle has to define the possible potential this way: This indifference is not an equivalence between two principles, but a potentiality purified of all reason.


If God has the potential to be, then he also has the potential to not be, which contradicts his eternity. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here In Paul, it is this mandate from which the Christian has been freed. Letters represent the material vehicle through which the word of God incarnates itself in created things.

On the writing tablet of the celestial scribe, the letter, the act of writing, marks the passage from potentiality to actuality, the occurrence of a contingency. This is why in the end, the walled courtyard is not a sad place.

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

There are two possibilities. The secret at the origin of all creatures is the letter of the alphabet and every letter is a sign that refers to creation.

Agambfn can be understood by anyone with intelligence, for to say more is prohibited. You Might Also Like.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: The difficulty is thinking a potential not to think, or to explain what it means for a potential not to think to become actual. It is thinks potentiality that allows thought to take place. The second principle is conditioned necessitywhich limits contingency with respect to actuality. The ink is thought itself. This only pushes the aporia back, however—what does it mean for a potential to think to think itself?

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.

The three parts of this grapheme represent first the descent of potential Being to the attribute, then badtleby extension of the attribute toward actuality, and finally the descent of actuality toward manifestation.

Agamben5. The best of all possible worlds projects an infinite shadow downward, which sinks lower and lower to the extreme universe—which even celestial beings cannot comprehend—in which nothing is compossible with anything else and nothing can take place. The Scribe, or On Creation 1.


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Home About Contact Us. The important point is not the image of the scribe of nature, but that nousmind, is compared to an ink pot.

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. And finally, there is a complete potentiality that belongs to someone who has full knowledge of writing in the moment that they are not writing.

Will is what brings order to chaotic potential: Contingency is replaced by necessity or impossibility. In that concrete sense, a renewed sovereignty may be a better place to start than no sovereignty at all. The will to power is, in truth, the will to will, an agamebn repeated action; only as such is it potentialized. Bartleby, when he decides to give up copying, moves passed this solution: If potentiality were only ever the potential to do or be something, we would never avamben as potentiality—it would only exist in the actuality it is realized in.

The idea of contingency produces many problems. Avicenna thought of the creation of the world as an act in which the divine thinks itself.

Importantly, however, even that leaves baftleby with something that can still be recognized as a story — and perhaps, given that the narrator is also a lawyer, also as a law.

Agamben offers a set of examples—or exemplars, possibly—of such experiments. Not to be repatriated. The falasifain contrast, remained true to Aristotle: Aristotle said the intellect was intelligible, but it cannot be intelligible in the way that other objects are because it is not a thing: