Advertisement

Law and Critique

, 20:211 | Cite as

Philosophical Archaeology

  • Giorgio Agamben
Article

Abstract

In the perspective of the philosophical archaeology proposed, here, the arkhé towards which archaeology regresses must not be understood in any way as an element that can be situated in chronology (not even one with a large grid, of the sort used in prehistory); it is, rather, a force that operates in history—much in the same way in which Indoeuropean words express a system of connections among historically accessible languages, in which the child in psychoanalysis expresses an active force in the psychic life of the adult, in which the big bang, which is supposed to have originated the universe, continues to send towards us its fossil radiation. But the arkhé is not a datum or a substance. It is much rather a field of bipolar historical currents within the tension of anthropogenesis and history, between point of emergence and becoming, between arch-past and present. And as such—that is to say, to the extent to which it is something that it is necessarily supposed to have factually happened, and which yet cannot be hypostatized in any chronologically identifiable event—it is solely capable of guaranteeing the intelligibility of historical phenomena, of ‘saving’ them archaeologically within a future perfect, yet not grasping its (in any case unverifiable) origin, but rather its history, at once finite and untotalizable.

Keywords

Archaeology Human sciences History Foucault Freud Kant Melandri Overbeck 

References

  1. Benjamin, Walter. 1982. Das Passagenwerk. In Gesammelte Schriften, ed. R. Tiedemann and H. Schweppenhäuser, vol. I. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  2. Benveniste, Emile. 1969. Le Vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes, 2 vols. Paris: Minuit.Google Scholar
  3. Bergson, Henri. 1919. Le Souvenir du présent et la fausse reconnaissance, in L’Énergie spirituelle. Paris: PUF.Google Scholar
  4. Caruth, C. 1966. Unclaimed experience. Trauma, narrative and history. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dumézil, Georges. 1968–1973. Mythe et Epopée, 3 vols. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  6. Foucault, Michel. 1970. Larchéologie du savoir. Paris: Gallimard (1969), 250. English edition: The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Foucault, Michel. 1974. Les Mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines. Paris: Gallimard (1966), 13. English edition: The Order of Things. London: Tavistock Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Foucault, Michel. 1994. Dits et écrits, eds. D. Defert and F. Ewald, with the collaboration of J. Lagrange, 4 vols. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  9. Freud, Sigmund. 1938. Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion. Amsterdam: De Lange.Google Scholar
  10. Heidegger, Martin. 1970. Sein und Zeit. Tübingen: Niemeyer (1st edn 1927), 21. English edition. Being and Time. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kant, Immanuel. 1942. Lose Blätter zu den Fortschritten der Metaphysik. In Gesammelte Schriften. Akademie-Ausgabe, vol. III. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  12. Kant, Immanuel. 1973. Philosophische Enzyklopädie. In Gesammelte Schriften. Akademie-Ausgabe, vol. XXIX. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  13. Kant, Immanuel. 1974. Logik. In Werkausgabe, vol. VI, ed. W. Weischedel. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  14. Mauss, Marcel. 1950. Sociologie et anthropologie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  15. Meillet, Antoine. 1975. Linguistique historique et linguistique générale. Paris: Champion. (1st edn 1921).Google Scholar
  16. Melandri, Enzo. 1967. Michel Foucault: l’epistemologia delle scienze umane. In Lingua e stile. Bologna.Google Scholar
  17. Melandri, Enzo. 2004. La linea e il circolo. Studio logico-filosofico sull’analogia. Macerata: Quodlibet. First published in 1968.Google Scholar
  18. Overbeck, Franz. 1966. Kirchenlexicon Materialien. Christentum und Kultur. In idem. Werke und Nachlass, vol. VI/I, ed. B.v. Reibnitz. Stuttgart: Metzler.Google Scholar
  19. Prodi, Paolo. 1992. Il sacramento del potere. Il giuramento politico nella storia costituzionale dell’occidente. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  20. Ricoeur, Paul. 1965. De Linterprétation. Essai sur Freud. Paris: Seuil. English edition: 1970. Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Usener, Hermann. 1896. Götternamen: Versuch einer Lehre von der Religiösen Begriffsbildung. Frankfurt a. M.: Klostermann.Google Scholar
  22. Virno, Paolo. 1991. Un dedalo di parole. Per un’analisi linguistica della metropoli. In La città senza luoghi. Individuo, conflitto, consumo nella metropoli, ed. M. Illardi. Genova: Costa and Nolan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giorgio Agamben
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawLondonUK

Personalised recommendations