Potential or potentiality is the central idea of Agamben’s philosophy and informed from the very beginning his work, though implicitly at first. If the term entered Agamben’s vocabulary only in the mid 1980s, it constitutes nevertheless already the logical structure of the experience of in-fancy, which is in fact not the actuality but the potentiality of speech. And it already marked, in Heideggerian fashion, human exceptionality: if only human beings have infancy, it is because only humans have the potentiality not to speak, that is, to remain in in-fancy. This is, for Agam-ben, the very structure of potentiality – not only the potentiality of something, but that not to do or be something –, and it is what gives humans a freedom denied to nonhuman animals. The article analyses the concept of potential in Agamben’s philosophy, highlighting its fundamental anthropocentrism and logocentrism. However, with the ‘biopolitical turn’ of the 1990s and the publication of The Open in 2002, Agamben progressively seeks a way to overcome this still metaphysical structure, and will find it in the concept of ‘outside of being’ which precisely con-cludes The Open.