The Signature of All Things: On Method
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The Signature of All Things is Giorgio Agamben's sustained reflection on method. To reflect on method implies for Agamben an archaeological vigilance: a persistent form of thinking in order to expose, examine, and elaborate what is obscure, unanalyzed, even unsaid, in an author's thought. To be archaeologically vigilant, then, is to return to, even invent, a method attuned to a "world supported by a thick weave of resemblances and sympathies, analogies and correspondences." Collecting a wide range of authors and topics in a slim but richly argued volume, Agamben enacts the search to create a science of signatures that exceeds the attempts of semiology and hermeneutics to determine the pure and unmarked signs that signify univocally, neutrally, and eternally. Three conceptual figures organize Agamben's argument and the advent of his new method: the paradigm, the signature, and archaeology. Each chapter is devoted to an investigation of one of these concepts and Agamben carefully constructs its genealogy transhistorically and from an interdisciplinary perspective. And at each moment of the text, Agamben pays tribute to Michel Foucault, whose methods he rethinks and effectively uses to reformulate the logic of the concepts he isolates. The Signature of All Things reveals once again why Agamben is one of the most innovative thinkers writing today.
moment of Titian's painting inscribes it forms a piece of metal into a coin, producing here it trans- refers motifs-above it as money. signatures, And what about the letters of the alphabet which, according of its title, Jakob Bohrne's De signatura rerum to Paracelsus, taking up a number books? Here it is probably not a matter occult virtue of things by establishing expressions of the "signatory as art" that allowed Adam to assign simply as what manifests a relation between
one Understanding.":" is the following that remains signature one passage, where Bohrne compares signs to a lute stands in the Essence, and is as a Lute that lies still, and is indeed a dumb Thing that is neither heard or under- stood; but if it be played upon, then its form is understood Thus likewise the sign [Bezeichnung] dumb Essence .... artificially according nothing .... that can strike his instrument.I'" Despite clearly does not coincide sign intelligible. moment
physical sphere. In the same way, therefore, sacraments that for military this example and aware of the aporias implicit in this notion, he of a "baptism without The who argues that the character, which pertain to divine worship.'?" and is forgiven, to mark him again with a new character. "Is it possible," asks Augustine, by affirming the theory of the (this is the thesis of Alexander of Hales) or a power (potenza). regalibus The second example has to do with a soldier who, as was
categories manifestation before or beyond the governing its repre- there is nothing but the sudden, dazzling disclosure the moment of arising, the revelation of of the present as something that we were not able to live or think. 'I Ii '1'1 ~ THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS PHILOSOPHICAL ARCHAEOLOGY event is preserved and at the same time repressed the etymology that unites tradere and tradire). I I The idea that the present stitutive inaccessibility trauma and repression.
paradigm. to phenomena, this is not a presupposition "non-presupposed principle," to the whole is the origin A PARADIGM? and history of the iconographic of a woman in movement." theme This would be a matter of of its know- arranging, With regard cal order by following the probable genetic relation that, binding (a "hypothesis"): as a it stands neither in the past nor in the present but in their exemplary question "figure IS as far as possible, the individual images in