The educational meaning of tiredness. Agamben and Buytendijk on the experience of (im)potentiality

Vlieghe, Joris (2016) The educational meaning of tiredness. Agamben and Buytendijk on the experience of (im)potentiality. Ethics and Education, 11 (3). pp. 359-371. ISSN 1744-9642

[img] Text
The educational meaning of tiredness.docx - Accepted Version

Download (52kB)


In this article, I go deeper into the educational meaning of tiredness. Over and against the mainstream view that tiredness is an impediment for education, I show that this phenomenon is intrinsically meaningful. My arguments are based, first, on a detailed phenomenological analysis of tiredness, as proposed by Buytendijk. Tiredness can be defined as the point where lack of willpower and lack of ability become utterly indistinguishable. Second, I turn to Agamben’s genealogy of the will, which shows that willpower was invented in order to control a more original, but also more arcane sense of what it means to be able to do something: (im)potentiality. I argue that tiredness, as analysed by Buytendijk, is a state of (im)potentiality. As such it has the power to interrupt the contemporary ordering of society and of the realm of education, which is fully predicated upon individual wilful self-commandment. More positively speaking, tiredness has an important educational value in that it grants the opportunity of beginning anew with the world. This article is also an attempt to show how phenomenological work and genealogical approaches can inform one another.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article submitted for consideration in Ethics & Ecucation [copyright Taylor & Francis]; Ethics & education is available online at ""
Keywords: tiredness; (im)potentiality; Buytendijk; agamben
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: Joris Vlieghe
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2016 14:24
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2018 00:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item