The Origin of the Political

9780823276264: Hardback
Release Date: 3rd April 2017

9780823276271: Paperback
Release Date: 3rd April 2017

9780823276295: PDF
Release Date: 3rd April 2017

9780823276288: EPUB
Release Date: 3rd April 2017

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 112

Series Commonalities

Fordham University Press

The Origin of the Political

Hannah Arendt or Simone Weil?

Written by
Roberto Esposito
Translated by
Vincenzo Binetti
Gareth Williams
Hardback / £83.00
Paperback / £21.99
PDF / £26.00
EPUB / £26.00

In this book Roberto Esposito explores the conceptual trajectories of two of the twentieth century’s most vital thinkers of the political: Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil. Taking Homer’s Iliad—that “great prism through which every gesture has the possibility of becoming public, precisely by being observed by others”— as the common origin and point of departure for our understanding of Western philosophical and political traditions, Esposito examines the foundational relation between war and the political.

Drawing actively and extensively on Arendt’s and Weil’s voluminous writings, but also sparring with thinkers from Marx to Heidegger, The Origin of the Political traverses the relation between polemos and polis, between Greece, Rome, God, force, technicity, evil, and the extension of the Christian imperial tradition, while at the same time delineating the conceptual and hermeneutic ground for the development of Esposito’s notion and practice of “the impolitical.”

In Esposito’s account Arendt and Weil emerge “in the inverse of the other’s thought, in the shadow of the other’s light,” to “think what the thought of the other excludes not as something that is foreign, but rather as something that appears unthinkable and, for that very reason, remains to be thought.” Moving slowly toward their conceptualizations of love and heroism, Esposito unravels the West’s illusory metaphysical dream of peace, obliging us to reevaluate ceaselessly what it means to be responsible in the wake of past and contemporary forms of war.

Roberto Esposito is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. His many books in English include Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy and Two: The Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought (Fordham).

Vincenzo Binetti is Professor of Italian at the University of Michigan.
Gareth Williams is Professor of Spanish at the University of Michigan.

For Esposito, thought does not just fight—it is the fight itself. Esposito moves on the basis of a fundamental ontology of war, which marks what a previous tradition would have called “the unity of being.” The Origin of the Political elaborates implications of this, not only through its masterful conceptual analysis and through its insights into the two thinkers it studies and critiques, but also because, as it makes explicit the stakes of the impolitical approach, it also ruins so many of the foundations of modern political thought and prepares the way for its fundamental renewal.

—Alberto Moreiras
Texas A&M University