This is a lecture course presented at the University of Freiburg
during summer semester 1942. The course is split into three parts.
First Heidegger looks for metaphysics in "The Ister",
then he returns to a passage of Sophocles' Antigone he had used,
more briefly, in a 1935 course, Introduction to Metaphysics .
Finally he examines more of "The Ister". Hölderlin's
poems have been translated especially for this book, to help
understand Heidegger's interpretation of the German.
Hamann’s challenging style is believed to be an important part of his hermeneutics. Yoshikatsu Kawanago explains that Hamann redefined the roles of writer, critic and reader. He did so with the imagery of the “universal priesthood of all believers”: The writer serves the reader as the preacher does the laity. The critic is depicted as a kind of “bishop” interpreting the meaning of a text to the reader. He becomes redundant in Hamann’s understanding. The reader, so far passive, can now be active and is asked to reconstruct the meaning of a text himself.***
The most influential dimension of Agamben’s work in recent years has been his contributions to political theory, a contribution that springs directly from his engagements in metaphysics and the philosophy of language. Undoubtedly, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Lif e is Agamben’s best-known work, and probably also the most controversial. It is in this book that Agamben develops his analysis of the condition of biopolitics, first identified by Michel Foucault in the first volume of his History of Sexuality series and associated texts. In this volume, Foucault argued that modern power was characterized by a fundamentally different rationality than that of sovereign power. Whereas sovereign power was characterized by a right over life and death, summarized by Foucault in the dictum of “killing or letting live,” modern power is characterized by a productive relation to life, encapsulated in the dictum of “fostering life or disallowing it.” For Foucault, the “threshold of modernity” was reached with the transition from sovereign power to biopower, in which the “new political subject” of the population became the target of a regime of power that operates through governance of the vicissitudes of biological life itself. Thus, in his critical revision of Aristotle, Foucault writes that “for millennia, man remained... a living animal with the additional capacity for a political existence; modern man is an animal whose politics places his existence as a living being in question" (HS1 143).