In Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben suggests that Herman’s Melville’s ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ offers the ‘strongest objection against the principle of sovereignty’. As Agamben sees it, refugees pose a limit to the political categories of Melville’s famous story “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” which is a recurrent. From Giorgio Agamben’s Potentialities. The Scribe, or On Creation 1. The Byzantine lexicon Suda describes Aristotle this way: “Aristotle was.

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This only pushes the aporia back, however—what does it mean for a potential to think to think itself? His potentiality is not unrealized because of a lack of will.

Bartleby, Refugee, Sovereignty

AgambenThe Experiment, or On Decreation 1. This can be understood by anyone with intelligence, for to say more is prohibited.

This line of thought that the Nothing is a kind of something runs through Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and Neoplatonist baryleby. There is sky and there is grass.

In book Lambda bartlleby the MetaphysicsAristotle deals with these questions: It is this supremacy of will over potentiality that Bartleby throws in question.

It thinks its own potentiality. First, there is a potentiality which he calls material which is like a child who cannot now, but will someday, be able to write. If thought already had a form, like a tablet has a form, then it would appear in the intelligible object and thinking could not take place.

For to do so, he must close his own ears to the incessant lamentation that, throughout the infinite chambers of this Baroque inferno of potentiality, arises from everything that could have been but was not, from everything that could have been otherwise but had to be sacrificed for the present world to be as it is. The question is, though, why would this hopelessness express itself in this way and not another.


The best of all possible worlds projects an infinite shadow downward, which sinks lower and lower to the extreme universe—which even celestial beings cannot comprehend—in which nothing is compossible with anything else and nothing can take place.

Agamben is so enamored with the scrivener that he forgets about the story. Not to be repatriated. Share Bartleby, Refugee, Sovereignty. Home About Contact Us. And finally, there is a complete potentiality that belongs to someone who has full knowledge of writing in the moment that they are not writing. Importantly, however, even that leaves us with something that can still be recognized as a story — and perhaps, given that the narrator is also a lawyer, also as a law.

Bartleby, Refugee, Sovereignty – The Philosophical Salon

nartleby A tautology is a statement for which truth conditions are irrelevant because it is always true. Since truth is what is at stake in them, they are beyond truth.

In the same way, it is through a single intuition or a single science that he knows that contraries do not exist together and that, nevertheless, they are known together in the same cognitive act, which is one single act. Duns Scotus says that if there is a contradiction between two actual realities, being P and not-being P, nothing keeps a thing from being actual and maintaining its potential to not be or be otherwise.

This is the context that Bartleby exists in.

Literature and Philosophy: Deleuze, Agamben and Rancière reading Melville’s “Bartleby”.

This God enjoys contemplating these events and his own choice among them: The difficulty is thinking a potential not to think, or to explain what it means for a potential not to think to become actual. If God is only capable of what he wants, Bargleby is capable only without wanting—he only has an absolute potential.


The Cabalists pushed this to its limit and said that the Nothing from which everything comes is God himself. Hence, the mind is not a thing, but a being of pure potential.

However, potentiality is the most difficult thing to think. You are commenting using your Twitter account. There is a potential the possible, in his words that belongs to the child who has the basics of writing. The will to power is, in truth, the will to will, an eternally repeated action; only as such is it potentialized.

In contrast, the Cabalists say that the matter creation presupposes is divine potentiality—it is a darkness in God from which the Nothing is eternally produced. Aristotle said the intellect was intelligible, but it cannot be intelligible in the way that other objects are because it is not a thing: The aporia here is that the highest thought can neither think nothing or think something, or remain potential or become actual.

On the other hand, there is also a Jewish polemic against the idea, attributed to philosophers, that it is impossible for God to have created the world from nothing accord to the principle from nothing nothing comes.

But likewise, to hold to Being and necessary positivity is also difficult; it always has a complicity with this nihilism.