The World and Us

The World and Us

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In The World and Us, Roberto Mangabeira Unger sets out to reinvent philosophy. His central theme is our transcendence - everything in our existence points beyond itself - and its relation to our finitude: everything that surrounds us, and we ourselves, are flawed and ephemeral. He asks how we can live so that we die only once, instead of dying many small deaths; how we can breathe new life and new meaning into the revolutionary movement that has aroused humanity for the last three centuries, but that is now weakened and disoriented; and how we can make sense of ourselves without claiming for human beings a miraculous exception to the general regime of nature. For Unger, philosophy must be the mind on fire, insisting on our prerogative to speak to what matters most.

From this perspective, he redefines each of the traditional parts of philosophy, from ontology and epistemology to ethics and politics. He turns moral philosophy into an exploration of the contest between the two most powerful contemporary moral visions: an ethic of self-fashioning and non-conformity, and an ethic of human connection and responsibility. And he turns political philosophy into a program of deep freedom, showing how to democratize the market economy, energize democratic politics, and give the individual worker and citizen the means to flourish amid permanent innovation.


  • Unger insists on the need to refocus on what really matters, the human spirit.

    John Paul RathboneFinancial Times
  • A restless visionary.

    William ConnollyNew York Times
  • One of the few living philosophers whose thinking has the range of the great philosophers of the past.

    Times Higher Education