The radical and alarming thesis put forward in this book is that the notion of person is unable to bridge this gap because it is precisely what creates this breach. Its primary effect is to create a separation in both the human race and the individual between a rational, voluntary part endowed with particular value and another, purely biological part that is thrust by the first into the inferior dimension of the animal or the thing. In opposition to the performative power of the person, whose dual origins can be traced back to ancient Rome and Christianity, Esposito pursues his strikingly original and innovative philosophical inquiry by inviting reflection on the category of the impersonal: the third person, in removing itself from the exclusionary mechanism of the person, points toward the orginary unity of the living being.
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'Third Person recasts the nebulous history of biopolitics with insight and ingenuity. Weaving together the biological, anthropological, linguistic and philosophic filaments of its genesis, Esposito finds that both liberal traditions of personalism and the catastrophic biopolitics of the twentieth-century share a common focus in the centrality of personhood.'
"In this slim and powerful volume, Roberto Esposito not only diagnoses how this dispositif undermines attempts to secure human rights, but he also provides humankind a means of moving forward, past the person, into the life-validating realm of the impersonal."
Marx and Philosophy
"Beyond the horizon of Western subjectivity, behind the sacralization of the person, lies Esposito's impersonal life. Deconstructing the 'human' and its juridical-biological constitution, Third Person casts incisive light on the perilous region which silently encircles it - the event, its anonymity and uncanniness."
Andrea Rossi, Lancaster University
i. The double life (The machine of the human sciences)
ii. Person, man, thing
iii. Third person
2. The animal
3. The Other (Autrui)
5. The neuter
6. The outside
7. The event