The Politics of the Third Person: Esposito’s Third Person and Rancière’s Disagreement

Critical Horizons 15 (3):211-230 (2014)
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Abstract
Against the enthusiasm for dialogue and deliberation in recent democratic theory, the Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito and French philosopher Jacques Rancière construct their political philosophies around the nondialogical figure of the third person. The strikingly different deployments of the figure of the third person offered by Esposito and Rancière present a crystallization of their respective approaches to political philosophy. In this essay, the divergent analyses of the third person offered by these two thinkers are considered in terms of the critical strategies they employ. Contrasting Esposito’s strategy of “ethical dissensus” with Rancière’s strategy of “aesthetic dissensus,” it is argued that Esposito’s attempts to recruit the figure of the third person to dismantle the dispositif of the person are politically problematic, while Rancière’s alternative account of the third person is more promising for political theory and practice.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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