“Appearance and the Supersensible World”: Emptiness of the Biopolitical Critique of Power

Rok Svetlič (University of Primorska, Slovenia)


This paper takes up for its subject the specific explanatory mechanism of biopolitical discourse. By drawing on two concepts from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s philosophy, it argues that this type of discourse creates no hermeneutical surplus. The first concept can be found in Phenomenology of Spirit, in the chapter “Force and Understanding: Appearance and the Supersensible World”, and the second in The Science of Logic in the chapter “Formal Ground”. It will be demonstrated that the biopolitical critique of power does not distinguish between explicandum and explicans – at its core, it enacts a tautology. It takes merely one moment out of a complex phenomenon under interpretation (this being a moment of negativity), which is in fact common to all phenomena. Then it takes this moment to be the regulative principle guiding the dynamics of the interpreted phenomenon. The problem of this method of explaining is not that it is wrong, but that it is always true. Tautology is an empty always-truth. From beginning to end of this paper, biopolitical discourse is understood from the perspective of trust in the State organism as a central State-building virtue of the democratic culture. Ultimately, the paper shows that biopolitics is just one way of taking oneself out of the thought of the world, which inevitably inhibits the ability of the State to provide for the basic needs of the population.

Article in: English

Article published: 2016-09-29

Keyword(s): biopolitics; emptiness; Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel; Michel Foucault; tautology.

DOI: 10.3846/cpc.2016.254

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Coactivity: Philosophy, Communication / Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija ISSN 2029-6320, eISSN 2029-6339
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