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The dancing God. One Monotheism, two doctrines. Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, and Davide Tarizzo on the philosophy of biopolitics

Piasentier, Marco (2015) The dancing God. One Monotheism, two doctrines. Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, and Davide Tarizzo on the philosophy of biopolitics. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.48035) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:48035)

Language: English

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In this thesis, I propose a theoretical framework to understand the process of secularization produced by the revolutions of language and life. Thanks to the linguistic turn it has discovered that knowledge is kept within language. As Agamben explains, the Copernican revolution of language has made us “the first human beings who have become completely conscious of language. For the first time, what preceding generations called God, Being, spirit, unconscious appear to us as what they are: names for language. This is why for us, any philosophy, any religion, or any knowledge that has not become conscious of this turn belongs irrevocably to the past”(Agamben, 2005a: 45). Thanks to the vitalist turn, modern thought has found out that human beings are natural beings and, in spite of the peculiarity of their characteristics, their origin is the result of the natural process of evolution.

I will maintain that this process of secularization leads to a new theological way of thinking definable as secularized theology. The peculiarity of secularized theology lies in the fact that it finds its ownmost reason of existence in the demonstration of the “death of God” but, the absence of revelation becomes the true revelation. The absence of the theological God reveals a secularized form of God – the God of those who believe of being without God. The name of this new divinity comes from Nietzsche who wrote that he would believe only in a God able to dance: The Dancing God.

In La vita. Un’invezione recente, the Italian philosopher Davide Tarizzo argues that before modernity human beings did not exist “in the sense that the question of the humanity of man was not being asked, nor was there any ‘analysis of finitude’ in which ‘man’s being is always maintained, in relation to man himself, in a remoteness and a distance that constitute him”(Tarizzo, 2011: 53). Modernity becomes the process of secularization whereby the human being no longer measures himself against God, but becomes the measure of himself. The human being himself is the subject and the object of his own inquiry.

The linguistic and the vitalist turns are, first and foremost, a reaction to theology. If in theology human being measures himself with respect to God, the disappearance of God makes human being size of himself. What distinguishes and opposes them is the definition of the human being, the unit of measure used to establish the humanity of man. On the one hand, the essence of the human being becomes language, on the other, the nature of the human being starts being biological life. Modernity is the epoch of the Dancing God and language and life are the two opposing doctrines fighting for the orthodoxy. The ultimate reason for this conflict is the definition of the essence or nature of the human being.

In order to let emerge the fracture between the linguistic and the vitalist turns, I will address the question of the philosophy of biopolitics. Biopolitics is the discipline aimed at envisioning a politics able to give voice to the nature of the human being. Before proposing a biopolitical account it is therefore necessary to answer the philosophical question concerning the definition of the human being. I will claim that the fracture between the linguistic and the vitalist turn in defining what it means to be human is the source of modern monotheism.

Thinking beyond secularized theology ultimately means to challenge the Copernican revolution of language and the Darwinian revolution of life in order to envision a new ontology grounded on a different understating of the human being. In the present work – which represents the pars dentures of this theoretical project – I will demonstrate that the revolution of language and life has to be understood as a form of revelation, more precisely, as the revelation of the lack of revelation.

I will enquiry the linguistic and vitalist approach to the philosophy of biopolitics through the analysis of the work of three contemporary Italian philosophers: Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, and Davide Tarizzo. The decision to focus on Italian biopolitical theory is determined by the conviction that this philosophical approach offers one of the clearest and best-articulated insights into the fracture between life and language.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.48035
Additional information: The author of this thesis has requested that it be held under closed access. We are sorry but we will not be able to give you access or pass on any requests for access. 24/05/22
Uncontrolled keywords: Italian studies and philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PC Romance philology and languages
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2015 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2022 09:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Piasentier, Marco.

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