In debates about the role(s) and scale of entrepreneurial philanthropy in democracies, scholars discuss the erosion of distinctive public and private spheres and interests, and the replacement of the public sphere. This has occurred at the expense of public deliberation and participation, in favour of the reification of individuals and the role of experts/expertise. Drawing upon John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems (1927/2016), I argue that there is an eclipse of the publicity of the public. This informs my case for the (re)conceptualization of philanthropy as a public, characterized by: (i) the philanthropist as a social rather than an atomistic being; (ii) the philanthropy-state dynamic and the publics’ claims; and (iii) part of the radical vision of philanthropy. To ensure that private and public have analytical and practical resonance, it is imperative to (re)frame and (re)conceptualize what these concepts mean to entrepreneurial philanthropy and for its role in democracies.