I’m posting this in the wake of our discussion of Agamben’s The Coming Community on Friday, where we were bouncing ideas around about whether or not the book was descriptive or normative. I think this post is helpful because in the first part Bryant distinguishes between ontological and ethico-politcal perspectives. For me, Agamben comes across largely on the ontological side — or what I was calling diagnostic in our discussion — but he undoubtedly has an ethico-politcal standpoint when he argues that “the political task of our generation” is to form a community, or, “a perfect exteriority that communicates only with itself.”
As for this perennial “ontology” vs. “politics” issue that you guys discuss here over and over again (it seems), it would be nice if it was that easy – ontology is about things being and does not imply politics of any sort – but somehow it’s not (which is why you have to say it again and again like a mantra for years now). So if Nazis think that races exist and that among those, some are superior and some are inferior, is this not an ontological statement about how things are? If that doesn’t in itself imply a certain political view (I’ll grant you that), then surely such an ontological position is very easily politicized.
For me, the issue is rather different. It’s not that I disagree with the thesis that an ontology…
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