chapter  21
14 Pages

Daniel McLoughlin (2009), 'In Force without Significance: Kantian Nihilism and Agamben's Critique of Law', Law and Critique, 20, pp. 245-57

Abstract In Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben makes the claim that Kanfs moral philosophy is prophetic of legal nihilism and modem totalitarianism. In doing so, he draws an implicit parallel between Kantian ethics of respect and autonomy, and the authoritarian constitutional theory of earl Schmitt. This paper elucidates and evaluates this claim through an analysis of Agamben's assertion that the legal condition of modemity is a nihilistic law that is 'in force without significance'. I argue that the theoretical continuity between totalitarianism and the Moral Law is the problem of the undecidable, which arises when the empty ground of normative judgment comes to light.