A Philosophy of Belonging

  • Persons, Politics, Cosmos

  • by James Greenaway

  • 338 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Paperback | 9780268206024 | August 2023

  • Hardcover | 9780268206017 | August 2023

  • eBook (EPUB) | 9780268206000 | August 2023

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268206031 | August 2023

  • Beginning and the Beyond of Politics


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.