• The Inalienable Alien: Giorgio Agamben and the Political Ontology of Hong Kong

      Leung, King-Ho (Taylor and Francis, 2017-04-03)
      Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben, this article offers a philosophical interpretation of Hong Kong’s recent Umbrella Movement and the city’s political identity since its 1997 handover to China. With the constitutional principle of ‘one country, two systems’ it has held since 1997, Hong Kong has existed as an ‘inalienable alien’ part of China not dissimilar to that of Agamben’s political ontology of the homo sacer’s ‘inclusive exclusion’ in the polis. In addition to highlighting how Agamben’s politico-ontological notions such as ‘exception’ and ‘inclusive exclusion’ can illuminate the events of the Umbrella Movement, this article focuses particularly on the figure of the student, which many have seen as the symbolic face of the protest campaign. Considering how the student may also be regarded as a figure of ‘exception’, this article argues that the ‘exceptional’ role of the student highlights the unique sociopolitical as well as pedagogical aspects of the Umbrella Movement. Finally, comparing Hong Kong’s 2014 protests to Agamben’s philosophical account of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, this article concludes by suggesting that the Umbrella Movement is not simply a one-off event but fundamentally a manifestation of Hong Kong’s continuing political existence since 1997.
    • Living Paradoxes: On Agamben, Taylor and human subjectivity

      Leung, King-Ho (Telos, 2019-06-17)
      Over the last two decades, Giorgio Agamben and Charles Taylor have produced important and influential genealogical works on the philosophical and political conceptions of secularity. Yet in their recent work, both of these thinkers have respectively returned to a prominent theme in their earlier works: Human life. This essay offers a parallel reading of Agamben and Taylor as post-Heideggerian critics of the modern conception of human subjectivity. Through examining these their respective characterizations of modern subjectivity — namely Taylor’s account of the “disengaged self” and Agamben’s conception of the “excluded-included” bare life, this essay seeks to highlight not only the Heideggerian currents underlying the philosophical anthropologies of Agamben and Taylor, but also the ontological paradoxicalities they detect in the conception of human existence and subjectivity in politico-philosophical modernity. After reviewing the different aspects of Agamben’s and Taylor’s critiques of modern subjectivity as well as the traditional metaphysical conception of humans as “language animals”, this essay concludes by sketching a robust and affirmative “paradoxical” conception of human beings as “language animals” which simultaneously takes into account the insights from Taylor’s (post)analytic philosophical renewal of Aristotelianism and Agamben’s critical analysis of contemporary biopolitics in the continental philosophical tradition.
    • Philosophy as an art of living/writing

      Leung, King-Ho (Taylor and Francis, 2015-06-23)
      Review essay of 'Philosophy, literature, and the dissolution of the subject: Nietzsche, Musil, Atay' by Zeynep Talay-Turner.
    • The Picture of Artificial Intelligence and the Secularization of Thought

      Leung, King-Ho; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-04-17)
      This article offers a critical interpretation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a philosophical notion which exemplifies a secular conception of thinking. One way in which AI notably differs from the conventional understanding of “thinking” is that, according to AI, “intelligence” or “thinking” does not necessarily require “life” as a precondition: that it is possible to have “thinking without life.” Building on Charles Taylor’s critical account of secularity as well as Hubert Dreyfus’ influential critique of AI, this article offers a theological analysis of AI’s “lifeless” picture of thinking in relation to the Augustinian conception of God as “Life itself.” Following this critical theological analysis, this article argues that AI’s notion of thinking promotes a societal privilege of certain rationalistic or calculative ways of thought over more existential or spiritual ways of thinking, and thereby fosters a secularization or de-spiritualization of thinking as an ethical human practice.
    • Univocity for Militants: Set-Theoretical Ontology and the Death of the One

      Leung, King-Ho (2017-09-30)
      Alain Badiou notes that he designates that mathematics as ontology—the thought of “being qua being”—because of its ability to express the “univocal” character of being. But in his critical and indeed controversial reading of Gilles Deleuze, Badiou accuses Deleuze’s univocal ontology as being fundamentally a metaphysics of “the One”. This essay offers a reading of Badiou’s univocity of being in relation to his understanding of ontological immanence and also his commitment or indeed “fidelity” to ontologically articulating the atheistic premise that “God is dead”—which for Badiou also means “the One is not”.