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Italian Incompleteness


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Italy is a country trapped in an incurable state of incompletion, condemned to the eternal pursuit of something that has always eluded it, incapable of achieving development that corresponds to its potential. The challenge is to work on this incompletion, on the energy contained in potentiality that has never been realized, that has remained as it is. What must be attempted is a leap forward, or at least a sidestep, which is impossible for countries that are more fulfilled and therefore unable to take alternative paths. Italian thought – but also Italian art and literature – has always worked, more or less consciously, on this possibility. It lies on the margin that separates might and action, possible and real, premise and result.

Roberto Esposito is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and one of the most influential philosophers working today. Among his books available in English are Immunitas: the protection and negation of life (Polity Press, 2011), Living Thought: the origins and actuality of Italian philosophy (Stanford University Press, 2012), Third Person (Polity Press, 2012), Categories of the Impolitical (Fordham University Press, 2015) and Persons and Things: From the Body’s Point of View (Polity Press 2015). An English translation of Da fuori: una filosofia per l'Europa is forthcoming from Polity Press.