The Freedom to Stay

S. Fischer
May 2023 / 160pp
  • on the longlist for the NDR non fiction prize 2023


Eva von Redecker’s philosophical essay argues for the need to rethink the concept of freedom in view of the climate crisis. Her work is a fresh and engaging thought experiment at the intersection of philosophy, natural sciences, and environmentalism.

Von Redecker argues that rather than conceiving of freedom as a mainly spatial concept – freedom to roam, to do whatever we want whenever and wherever – we should include a temporal element in its reconception. Freedom thus becomes the freedom to stay, to live in the moment, to spend time in a meaningful way, both with other human beings and in/with nature. This rethinking gives us the capacity to reduce or even reverse the impact modernisation has had on the planet over the last two hundred years.

Von Redecker’s book will appeal to readers of philosophy as well as to readers interested in manifestos and treatises on political economy, such as Simon Sharpe’s Five Times Faster: Rethinking the Science, Economics, and Diplomacy of Climate Change, Eric Holthaus’s The Future Earth, and the numerous books on degrowth that have appeared in the last few years. Rather than providing practical solutions for alleviating the climate crisis, this personal philosophical essay aims to raise questions and prompt the reader to explore new ways of thinking.

The essay is divided into three parts: wealth of time, fulfilled time, and time of abundance. The word play models the systematic shift that von Redecker advocates: from a traditional concept of freedom focusing on the individual’s right to move freely in geographical space and based on the modern, capitalist view of history as linear progression and accumulation of riches, to a concept of freedom that sees us voluntarily staying put more often, living in the moment and being part of a community. The idea of ‘freedom to stay’ prioritises the well-being of the environment and future generations ahead of our own desires to travel and accumulate wealth.

Freedom to Stay combines autobiographical elements (von Redecker’s upbringing on an eco-farm, her father’s year-long battle with cancer, her interactions with loved ones that affect her thinking) with a tour de force account of Western philosophy, economics, and the natural sciences. Von Redecker draws on a wide range of sources, from Plato via Hobbes and Hutton to contemporary feminist thinkers such as Luisa Muraro. This is a truly interdisciplinary essay that pulls together highly disparate strands of thought in an engaging and thought-provoking manner.

Rights sold: Alfabet (NL) / Previous rights (Revolution for Life) sold to: F (Payot-Rivages) | CZ (Karolinum Press) | GR (Editions Gutenberg) | KOR (Minumsa) | ARG (Ubu Ediciones).

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press quotes

Redecker […] is one of the most interesting thinkers of her generation.

Der Spiegel

An inspiring book.


Her book is a passionate plea for living a fulfilled rather than a profligate life and to arrive at clarity about our collective actions.

tip Berlin

In beautifully playful language […] the book invites the reader to consider freedom as something that is above all temporal, as an amusement for times of fulfilment.

Philosophie Magazin

Eva von Redecker’s new book Bleibefreiheit places her at the centre of ongoing struggles for freedom.

Frankfurter Rundschau

After reading Redecker‘s essay, you will sit up and take notice in future whenever political discourse yet again invokes freedom.

Zeit Online

Bleibefreiheit is an inspiring essay with great inner freedom that […] is generous in its distribution of gestures of recognition and solidarity. A summer read that stays with you.

Der Tagesspiegel,

The philosopher makes an important contribution to […] the renegotiation of our understanding of freedom that is necessary in the context of the der environmental crisis.


about the author

Eva von Redecker, born in 1982, is a philosopher and freelance writer. Between 2009 and 2019, she was a Research Associate at the Humboldt University in Berlin and a visiting scholar at Cambridge and the New School for Social Research in New York. In 2020/2021, she held a Marie Skłodowska Curie scholarship at the 1 University of Verona, where she investigated the history of ownership. Eva von Redecker’s work focuses on critical theory, feminism, and critiques of capitalism. She contributes to several newspapers, including Die Zeit and regularly gives interviews on radio and TV. Her most recent publication with S. Fischer is her book Revolution für das Leben. Philosophie der neuen Protestformen [Revolution for Life. The Philsophy of New Forms of Protest] (2020); she also provided the foreword to the German anniversary edition of Dialektik der Aufklärung (Dialectic of Enlightenment). She grew up on an eco-farm, and now lives in rural Brandenburg.

Previous works: Revolution für das Leben, 2020.


rights information

S. Fischer Verlag (Germany)
Hedderichstrasse 114
60596 Frankfurt am Main

Contact: Verena Gräfin von Bassewitz

translation assistance

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut.

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