The Political Vocation of Philosophy
The Political Vocation of Philosophy
Translated by David Broder

It is time for philosophy to return to the city. In today’s crisis-ridden world of globalized capitalism, increasingly closed in on itself, it may seem harder than ever to think of ways out. Philosophy runs the risk of becoming the handmaiden of science and of a hollowed-out democracy. Donatella Di Cesare calls on philosophy instead to return to the political fray and to the city, the global polis, from which it was banished after the death of Socrates.

Suggesting a radical existentialism and a new anarchism, Di Cesare shows that western philosophy has been characterized by a political vocation ever since its origins in Ancient Greece, and argues that the separation of philosophy from its political roots robs it of its most valuable and enlightening potential. But critique and dissent are no longer enough. Mindful of a defeated exile and an inner emigration, philosophers should return to politics and forge an alliance with the poor and the downtrodden.

This passionate defence of the political relevance of philosophy and its radical potential in our globalized world will be of great interest to students and scholars of philosophy and to a wide general readership.

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  • July 2021
  • 158 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509539413
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509539420
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  • 9781509539437
Table of Contents
1. The saturated Immanence of the World
2. Heraclitus, wakefulness and the original communism
3. The narcosis of light: on the night of capital
4. The polis: a calling
5. Wonder – a troubled passion
6. Between heavens and abysses
7. Socrates’s atopia
8. A political death
9. Plato – when philosophy headed into exile within the city
10. Migrants of thought
11. ‘What is philosophy?’
12. Radical questions
13. The out-of-place of metaphysics
14. Dissent and critique
15. The twentieth century: breaks and traumas
16. After Heidegger
17. Against negotiators and normative philosophers
18. Ancilla democratiae: a dejected return
19. The poetry of clarity
20. Potent prophesies of the leap: Marx and Kierkegaard
21. The ecstasy of existence
22. For an exophilia
23. The philosophy of awakening
24. Fallen angels and rag-pickers
25. Anarchist postscript
Notes
Bibliography
Index
About the Author
Donatella Di Cesare is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome.
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Reviews

"Di Cesare’s limpid meditations on the tormented relations between thought and power make a passionate case for philosophy as a liminal practice looking both ways across the limits of the political.  Her figure of the philosopher as the foreigner, refugee and outsider attentive to the calls of the other and speaking in the name of an anarchic justice proposes no less than a renewal of the political vocation of philosophy for the twenty-first century."
Howard Caygill, Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London

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