Marco Filoni


Associate professor of Political Philosophy and head of Treccani Libri. He has worked in various universities and on the cultural pages of several newspapers. Scientific adviser to “Limes,” he writes for “Tuttolibri” and “Il Venerdì di Repubblica.” Among his latest books, translated into several languages: Anatomy of a Siege (2019); Fear in the City (2019); Stumbles. History of Books, Words and Shelves (2019); The Unquiet Space (2014); Kojève mon ami (2013); The Sunday Philosopher. The Life and Thought of Alexandre Kojève (2008). His latest publication is The Calculus of Fear, published by Einaudi in 2021.


Il calcolo della paura
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We come from months in which fear has understandably dominated the horizon of every human emotion. Marco Filoni, tracing its history from Hobbes to the Dpcms, between motion of the soul and political control, draws an unexpected portrait of the “good use of fear.”
For we need not be ashamed of being afraid: we must, however, have respect for it, for only by knowing what makes us fearful can we understand our anxieties. If we delegate our fear to others in exchange for the illusion of limitless security, we will only be giving up our freedom-among others, the freedom to be afraid-in favor of a new fear, terror.

Anatomia di un assedio
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“Be afraid, we will do the rest.”
The maxim of every self-respecting authoritarian regime seems to resound today, thunderously, in our democratic, free Western societies. We are increasingly afraid: an ancient, deep fear that besieges us in our homes, in the streets of our cities, in every corner of this world of ours. And no matter how much we equip ourselves to defend ourselves, how many walls we build and how much narrower we make our borders: fear, this unwanted friend, is always there. With us, in us.
In a refined interplay of references to literature, history and philosophy, in these pages the city emerges in all its ambiguity: a place of fascination and at the same time of violence onto which we project our mirage: the illusion of achieved safety from terror, a safe haven that is not safe.
For the city is intimately bound to a covenant based on fear. Needless to complain about it, there is nothing we can do about it except for one thing, one thing only, as these pages attest: reckon with it.