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A philosophy of walking

Frederic Gros
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Frederic Gros

A philosophy of walking

What does walking have to do with philosophy? “Only the ideas we reached while walking count for something,” thought Nietzsche. The author of the book Frédéric Gros, professor of political philosophy at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, responds that libraries and class-rooms remain natural spaces of thinkers, intellectuals, and philosophers. Nevertheless, a great number of thinkers claim to owe their achievements to a regular and lonely activity – walking. It has been during walking that they had created works, received thoughts, rearrange them and opened themselves to new views. This doesn’t mean, however, that they became more intelligent while walking or strolling: the walk made them more open to the process of thought outside the usual frames into which thoughts can be closed by accustomed patterns of scholarship and culture. While reading the book we will meet famous philosophers, thinkers, and poets who have understood walking as something essential: here are Kant and his everyday strolls through his birth town, Nietzsche’s walks in the mountains, Nerval’s fight with depression with the help of strolls, Rousseau’s walks with the aim to deliberate more easily, Rimbaud’s to ease the fury … The work has become a real stroll among strolls and has quickly become a literary bestseller in France (Marcher, une philosophie). In 2014 it has been awarded by the English PEN, which had also financially supported the translation into English. (KKH)

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