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Tempo Social

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FERREIRA, Jonatas. Heidegger, Agamben and the animal. Tempo soc. [online]. 2011, vol.23, n.1, pp.199-221. ISSN 0103-2070.

In this essay I analyse Heidegger's philosophical reflection on the relationship between human beings and animals, particularly as these ideas unfold in works like Letter on humanism, On the way to language and The fundamental concepts of metaphysics. My aim is to show the importance of this contribution to understanding the way in which Agamben reinterprets the Foucauldian concept of biopower. For Agamben, the animalization of politics is not a modern phenomenon, but concerns what remains unthought in metaphysics as a whole. Indeed his broader critique of Western political culture - which does not restrict itself merely to the analysis of modern forms of administrating life - draws heavily on Heidegger's reflection on nihilism, metaphysics and the troublesome figure of the animal. My final proposal in this text is to discuss, with Agamben, but also with Derrida, the extent to which Heidegger is successful in offering a theoretical framework capable of apprehending contemporary forms of biopower on grounds radically distinct from those inherited from metaphysics.

Keywords : Heidegger; Agamben; Animal; Humanism; Nihilism.

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