Audience: In "The Order of Things", is "episteme" a substitute translation for "paradigm"?
Agamben: No, Foucault often speaks of episteme. They are not interchangeable. The paradigm is one of the ways to build an episteme. He speaks of the epistemological paradigm but then never defines it. The word comes again and again, and no definition.
Audience: I’m still fascinated by the table which is not a table, which is beside itself, and I’m wondering if the relation between the table and its knowability similar to that of the table and our ignorance.
Agamben: It is because we are ignorant and trying to understand the table that we have to employ examples.
Schirmacher: So the dark side is coming. Now we are on the same page again.
Giorgio Agamben, "What is a Paradigm?"
Freedom is freedom-with or it is nothing, because it is neither independence, nor autonomy, nor the free will of a subject - no more than it is the independences of many juxtaposed subjects, even to imagine them without oppositions. It is rather the liberation of the subject: its taking leave of the density of being. One cannot say that the self is free, for such a being is in itself the negation of freedom. Freedom, to the contrary, is the negation of this negation, or negativity for itself. "the pure idea...is an absolute liberation." If it is liberation, and not given freedom, it is because it liberates itself in and through its other: the movement of recognition is also the movement of liberation.
Freedom and negativity thus mutually expose one another. On the one hand, the negation of the given or of being-in-itself, in other words, its entry into becoming, into manifestation and desire, goes toward nothing other than freedom - more precisely, to its freedom, and still more precisely, to its liberation. Negation is first of all this movement of a self-liberation-from-immediate-being: negativity is from the very fist nothing other than the hollowing out of being by its own liberation. And, on the other hand, liberation is nothing other than negativity for itself, for it is the negation of this simple negation that is the being held-back-in-itself of being.
The Hegelian privilege of negativity and the decisive character of the formula "negation of the negation" is thereby justified: the first negation is the position of the given, the fixity of which holds back, freezes, and annuls the movement of sense. To posit that being is in itself nothing is not to open an abyss in which speculative ideality would plunge the entirety of the real; to the contrary, it is to posit the thoroughgoing insufficiency of the self considered in itself - and even, in truth, the impossibility of considering the self for itself, of identifying it as a substance of subsistence, as an assurance or a certitude. the first negation is already freedom, but still only negatively indicated. If I penetrate this first truth, that neither the stone nor the ego has the value of simple being-there or of an identity (for example, my name, but also my self-image), this penetration is already liberation. And it is liberation of the grasping of this: that the self is not there, that it does not assume the form of being-given-there.
Jean-Luc Nancy, Hegel: The Restlessness of the Negative, 69-71