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Paolo Virno

Paolo Virno is an Italian philosopher, semiologist, and a prominent figure among the Italian Postfordist thinkers. He currently teaches at the University of Rome and is the author of A Grammar of the Multitude and Multitude Between Innovation and Negation, both published in English by Semiotext(e).

Titles by This Author

Language and Human Nature

Originally published in Italian in 2002, When the Word Becomes Flesh provides a compelling contribution to the understanding of language and its relation to human nature and social relationships. Adopting Aristotle’s definition of the human being as a linguistic and political animal, Paolo Virno frames the act of speech as a foundational philosophical issue—an act that in its purely performative essence ultimately determines our ability to pass from the state of possibility to one of actuality: that is, from the power to act to action itself.

The publication of Paolo Virno's first book in English, A Grammar of the Multitude, by Semiotext(e) in 2004 was an event within the field of radical political thought and introduced post-'68 currents in Italy to American readers. Multitude between Innovation and Negativity, written several years later, offers three essays that take the reader on a journey through the political philosophy of language.

For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life

Globalization is forcing us to rethink some of the categories—such as "the people"—that traditionally have been associated with the now eroding state. Italian political thinker Paolo Virno argues that the category of "multitude," elaborated by Spinoza and for the most part left fallow since the seventeenth century, is a far better tool to analyze contemporary issues than the Hobbesian concept of "people," favored by classical political philosophy.