Form(s)-of-Life. Agamben’s Reading of Wittgenstein and the Potential Uses of a Notion


  • Matías Leandro SAIDEL


Agamben, Wittgenstein, Form-of-Life, Potentialities, Language, Community


Giorgio Agamben and Ludwig Wittgenstein seem to have very little in common: the former is concerned with traditional ontological issues while the latter was interested in logics and ordinary language, avoiding metaphysical issues as something we cannot speak about. However, both share a crucial notion for their philosophical projects: form of life. In this paper, I try to show that, despite their different approaches and goals, form of life is for both a crucial notion for thinking ethics and life in-common. Addressing human existence in its constitutive relation to language, this notion deconstructs traditional dichotomies like bios and zoé, the cultural and the biological, enabling both authors to think of a life which cannot be separated from its forms, recognizing the commonality of logos as the specific trait of human existence. Through an analogical reading between both theoretical frameworks, I suggest that the notion of form-of-life, elaborated by Wittgenstein to address humanproduction of meaning, becomes the key notion in Agamben's affirmative thinking since it enables us to consider the common ontologically in its relation to Human potentialities and to foresee a new, common use of the world and ourselves.


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SAIDEL, M. L. (2014). Form(s)-of-Life. Agamben’s Reading of Wittgenstein and the Potential Uses of a Notion. TRANS/FORM/AÇÃO: Revista De Filosofia Da Unesp, 37(1), 163–186. Recuperado de



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