Giorgio Agamben: on health scare and the religion of science


  • Giorgio Agamben European Graduate School
  • Adam Kotsko
  • Inscriptions Editorial Team


Covid-19, Agamben, biopolitics, governmentality, state of exception


Around the time of the Covid-19 pandemic Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben published a series of incisive, short texts on the conjuncture of biopolitics and the governmentality of the global health scare. While many voiced their opinion on the topic, few ignited such a heated debate as Agamben. Among Agamben's key claims was that it was not as if governments were using the pandemic to stage an artificial state of exception, but that this exceptional state had already been instituted. Against these views Agamben was met with a chorus of dismay. In order to facilitate a more informed view of Agamben's pithy interventions we are now reprinting two of his short texts in translation by Adam Kotsko.

Author Biography

Giorgio Agamben, European Graduate School

Giorgio Agamben has taught philosophy at many of the world’s leading universities. He is presently a professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. With a dissertation on Simone Weil (still unpublished) Agamben went on to attend Martin Heidegger’s famous Herclitus seminars in Freiburg in the late 1960s. Today Agamben is most known for his four volume series on Homo Sacer, a form of life stripped down to naked existence.


Agamben, Giorgio. “L’invenzione di un’epidemia.” Quodlibet, February 26, 2020.

–––. “The Invention of an Epidemic.” European Journal of Psychoanalysis, February 26, 2020.

–––. “Chiarimenti.” Quodlibet, March 17, 2020.

–––. “Clarifications.” An und für sich, March 17, 2020.

–––. “Una domanda.” Quodlibet, April 13, 2020.

–––. “A Question.” An und für sich, April 15, 2020.

Kotsko, Adam. “On doing the thing.” An und für sich, April 15, 2020.

Žižek, Slavoj. “Biggest threat Covid-19 epidemic poses is not our regression to survivalist violence, but barbarism with human face.” Russia Today, March 19, 2020.