• Au-delà du cercle des philosophes, c'est le monde de la culture qui a été ébranlé depuis la publication des Cahiers noirs de Martin Heidegger. La cas de ce philosophe s'est transformé en affaire médiatique. « Pour qualifier l'antisémitisme de Heidegger j'ai choisi l'adjectif "métaphysique" qui ne l'atténue en rien. Il en indique au contraire la profondeur. Il s'agit d'un antisémitisme plus abstrait et, pour cette raison, plus dangereux encore. Mais "métaphysique" renvoie aussi à la tradition de la philosophie occidentale. Dans son "antisémitisme métaphysique", Heidegger n'est pas isolé : il s'inscrit dans le sillage des philosophes allemands, notamment de Kant à Hegel et à Nietzsche. Qui donc aujourd'hui se charge de penser philosophiquement "ce qui est advenu", c'est-à-dire non seulement le Troisième Reich, non seulement Auschwitz, mais la "question juive" dans la philosophie occidentale ? Ces questions sont refoulées car considérées tacitement comme non philosophiques. L'hostilité de nombreux philosophes envers les Juifs est passée le plus souvent sous silence. Il s'agit d'un chapitre obscur et inquiétant de la philosophie. Même si la pensée n'est pas l'action, la légitimation apportée par les philosophes, parfois malgré eux, à la solution finale de la "question juive", est désormais soulevée. Il s'agit de briser le tabou affirmant que la raison philosophique n'a pas pu concevoir de la barbarie. » D. D. C.

  • Philosophers have long struggled to reconcile Martin Heidegger's involvement in Nazism with his status as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. The recent publication of his Black Notebooks has reignited fierce debate on the subject. These thousand-odd pages of jotted observations profoundly challenge our image of the quiet philosopher's exile in the Black Forest, revealing the shocking extent of his anti-Semitism for the first time.
    For much of the philosophical community, the Black Notebooks have been either used to discredit Heidegger or seen as a bibliographical detail irrelevant to his thought. Yet, in this new book, renowned philosopher Donatella Di Cesare argues that Heidegger's "metaphysical anti-Semitism" was a central part of his philosophical project. Within the context of the Nuremberg race laws, Heidegger felt compelled to define Jewishness and its relationship to his concept of Being. Di Cesare shows that Heidegger saw the Jews as the agents of a modernity that had disfigured the spirit of the West. In a deeply disturbing extrapolation, he presented the Holocaust as both a means for the purification of Being and the Jews' own "self-destruction": a process of death on an industrialized scale that was the logical conclusion of the acceleration in technology they themselves had brought about.
    Situating Heidegger's anti-Semitism firmly within the context of his thought, this groundbreaking work will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy and history as well as the many readers interested in Heidegger's life, work, and legacy.

  • We are inclined to see terrorist attacks as an aberration, a violent incursion into our lives that bears no intrinsic relation to the fundamental features of modern societies. But does this view misconstrue the relationship between terror and modernity?   In this book, philosopher Donatella Di Cesare takes a historical approach and argues that terror is not a new phenomenon, but rather one that has always been a key part of modernity. At its most basic level, terrorism is about the struggle for power and sovereignty. The growing concentration of power in the hands of the state, which is a constitutive feature of modern societies, sows the seeds of terrorism, which is deployed as a weapon by those who are exposed to the violence of the state and feel that they have no other recourse.   As Di Cesare illustrates her argument with examples ranging from the Red Brigades and 9/11 to jihadism and ISIS, her sophisticated analysis will appeal to anyone who wishes to understand contemporary terrorism more deeply, as well as to students and scholars of philosophy and political theory.

  • From the shores of Europe to the Mexican-US border, mass migration is one of the most pressing issues we face today. Yet at the same time, calls to defend national sovereignty are becoming ever more vitriolic, with those fleeing war, persecution, and famine vilified as a threat to our security as well as our social and economic order.
    In this book, written amidst the dark resurgence of appeals to defend `blood and soil', Donatella Di Cesare challenges the idea of the exclusionary state, arguing that migration is a fundamental human right.  She develops an original philosophy of migration that places the migrants themselves, rather than states and their borders, at the centre.  Through an analysis of three historic cities, Athens, Rome and Jerusalem, Di Cesare shows how we should conceive of migrants not as an other but rather as resident foreigners. This means recognising that citizenship cannot be based on any supposed connection to the land or an exclusive claim to ownership that would deny the rights of those who arrive as migrants. Instead, citizenship must be disconnected from the possession of territory altogether and founded on the principle of cohabitation - and on the ultimate reality that we are all temporary guests and tenants of the earth.
    Di Cesare's argument for a new ethics of hospitality will be of great interest to all those concerned with the challenges posed by migration and with the increasingly hostile attitudes towards migrants, as well as students and scholars of philosophy and political theory.

  • Torture

    Donatella Di Cesare

    • Polity
    • 22 Octobre 2018

    Torture is not as universally condemned as it once was. From Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib prisons to the death of Giulio Regeni, countless recent cases have shocked public opinion. But if we want to defend the human dignity that torture violates, simple indignation is not enough.
    In this important book, Donatella Di Cesare provides a critical perspective on torture in all its dimensions. She seeks to capture the peculiarity of an extreme and methodical violence where the tormentor calculates and measures out pain so that he can hold off the victim's death, allowing him to continue to exercise his sovereign power. For the victim, being tortured is like experiencing his own death while he is still alive. Torture is a threat wherever the defenceless find themselves in the hands of the strong: in prisons, in migrant camps, in nursing homes, in centres for the disabled and in institutions for minors.
    This impassioned book will appeal to students and scholars of philosophy and political theory as well as to anyone committed to defending human rights as universal and inviolable.

  • Marranos

    Donatella Di Cesare

    • Polity
    • 22 Octobre 2020

    Marranos were Spanish or Portuguese Jews who converted to Christianity at the time of the Spanish Inquisition to avoid being massacred or forced to flee but who continued to practise Judaism in secret. They were persecuted by the first racist blood laws but the water of forced baptism was not enough to make them assimilate.    Donatella Di Cesare sees the marranos as the quintessential figures of the modern condition: the marranos were not just those whom modernity cast out as the `other', but were those `others' who were forced to disavow their beliefs and conceal themselves.  They became `the other of the other', doubly excluded, condemned to a life of existential duplicity with no way out, spurned by both Catholics and Jews and unable to belong fully to either community.  But this double life of the marranos turned out to be a secret source of strength.  Doubly estranged, with no possibility of redemption, the marranos became modernity's first true radicals.  Dissidents out of necessity, they inaugurated modernity with their ambivalence and their split self. And their story is not over.     By treating the history of the marranos as a prism through which to grasp the defining features of modernity, this highly original book will be of interest to a wide readership.