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Terms of the PoliticalCommunity, Immunity, Biopolitics$
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Roberto Esposito

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823242641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823242641.001.0001

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Politics and Human Nature

Politics and Human Nature

(p.88) Politics and Human Nature
Terms of the Political
Roberto Esposito
Fordham University Press

Beginning with a reading of Heidegger's “Letter on Humanism” (1946), Chapter 8 asks how humanism can account for its own opposite, namely, the dual traumas of Hiroshima and Auschwitz, or the mass murder of fifty million people in the middle of the twentieth century. While Heidegger's letter marks a pivot with respect to classical notions of humanitas, it does not constitute an absolute break, nor does it inaugurate a new, post-humanist language. After problematizing the position of Heidegger's “Letter” with regard to the tradition of thinking humanitas, the chapter proceeds with a reading of the relationship between man and animal in Darwin, Nietzsche, and their incorporation within the language of Nazism. Humanitas should be read in the context of a bios that encompasses diversity, alterity, and hybridization–that is, a bios that is understood through an inclusive communitas rather than an exclusive immunitas.

Keywords:   Humanism, Ontology, Humanitas, Animalitas, Man and animal, Bios, Zoe, Dasein, Being, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Technology

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