A Philosophy of Belonging: Persons, Politics, Cosmos
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
Imprint: University of Notre Dame Press
Sales Date: 2023-08-15
Published: August 2023
338 Pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 18.00 mm
Temporarily Out Of StockAdd to Wishlist
James Greenaway offers a philosophical guide to understanding, affirming, and valuing the significance of belonging across personal, political, and historical dimensions of existence.
A sense of belonging is one of the most meaningful experiences of anyone’s life. Inversely, the discovery that one does not belong can be one of the most upsetting experiences. In A Philosophy of Belonging, Greenaway treats the notion of belonging as an intrinsically philosophical one. After all, belonging raises intense questions of personal self-understanding, identity, mortality, and longing; it confronts interpersonal, sociopolitical, and historical problems; and it probes our relationship with both the knowable world and transcendent mystery. Experiences of alienation, exclusion, and despair become conspicuous only because we are already moved by a primordial desire to belong.
Greenaway presents a hermeneutical framework that brings the intelligibility of belonging into focus and discusses the works of various representative thinkers in light of this hermeneutic. The study is divided into two main parts, “Presence” and “Communion.” In the first, Greenaway considers the abiding presence of the cosmos as the context of personhood and the world, followed by the presence of persons to themselves and others by way of consciousness and embodiment, culminating in a discussion of the unrestricted horizon of meaning that love makes present in persons. In the second part, belonging in community is explored as a crucial type of communion that is both politically and historically structured. Moreover, communion has direction and a quality of sacredness that offers itself for consideration. Greenaway concludes with a discussion of the consequences of refusing presence and communion, and what is involved in the repudiation of belonging.
1. Philosophy and Belonging
2. A Hermeneutic of Belonging
3. Of the Cosmos
4. By Way of Consciousness and the Flesh
5. In Love
7. Political Goods, Political Communitas
Epilogue: Unbelonging: The Refusal of Presence and Communion
“James Greenaway’s A Philosophy of Belonging is a major philosophical achievement.” —Barry Cooper, author of Paleolithic Politics
"James Greenaway's A Philosophy of Belonging not only brings together a wide range of sometimes contrasting thinkers, but provides the reader with an interpretative vision successfully uniting philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, politics and history. Academics and graduate students alike will never see their topics in quite the same way again." —Brendan Purcell, author of Where is God in Suffering?
"At last, the theme of belonging has its philosophical champion. James Greenaway explores the topic of human belonging on a scale appropriate to its existential importance, ranging from the intimate issue of how one belongs to oneself to the comprehensive issue of how we belong to the cosmos. Greenaway’s book brings a rare nobility of reflection to political philosophy." —Glenn Hughes, author of From Dickinson to Dylan: Visions of Transcendence in Modernist Literature
"In an age of social media isolation and “bowling alone,” A Philosophy of Belonging is a welcome antidote to our condition of alienation, angst, and solipsism. A book not only for today but for anytime, it proposes a pathway out of our condition of nihilism, despair, and the absurd." —Lee Trepanier, author of Eric Voegelin’s Asian Political Thought