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 globalised 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 <i>pólis</i>, 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 characterised 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 globalised world will be of great interest to students and scholars of philosophy and to a wide general readership.

Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • July 2021
  • 146 pages
  • 145 x 221 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509539413
  • Paperback $15.99
  • 9781509539420
  • Open eBook $13.00
  • 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



About the Author
Donatella Di Cesare is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome.
Show More


'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

Show More