Whose needs do we have a right to speak for?
Which needs can be satisfied through political actions, and which cannot?
To answer these vital questions, Michael Ignatieff returns to the ancient languages of religion, art, and tragedy—and to important texts by Shakespeare, St. Augustine, and the great writers of the Enlightenment.
Drawing on these sources, he has written an incisive, moving interpretation of community and democracy in a work that not only examines the breakdown of human solidarity but shows how it might be re-created. The Needs of Strangers restores philosophy to its proper place as a guide to the art of being human.
—Michael Walzer, The New Republic
“Ignatieff frames his questions with passion and precision [in a] searching and beautifully written meditation on human needs.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Michael Ignatieff writes an urgent prose … he will convince people, in highly readable fashion, that the ideas he discusses really matter.”
—Salman Rushdie, The Guardian
1. The Natural and the Social: King Lear
2. Body and Spirit: Augustine, Bosch, Erasmus, Pascal
3. Metaphysics and the Market: Hume and Boswell
4. The Market and the Republic: Smith and Rousseau
Conclusion: Homelessness and Belonging