Hannah Arendt (Routledge Critical Thinkers)
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Hannah Arendt's work offers a powerful critical engagement with the cultural and philosophical crises of mid-twentieth-century Europe. Her idea of the banality of evil, made famous after her report on the trial of the Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, remains controversial to this day.
In the face of 9/11 and the 'war on terror', Arendt's work on the politics of freedom and the rights of man in a democratic state are especially relevant. Her impassioned plea for the creation of a public sphere through free, critical thinking and dialogue provides a significant resource for contemporary thought.
Covering her key ideas from The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition as well as some of her less well-known texts, and focussing in detail on Arendt's idea of storytelling, this guide brings Arendt's work into the twenty-first century while helping students to understand its urgent relevance for the contemporary world.
the humbleness of its inconsequential accomplishment. (Heidegger1993:262) Symptomatically, in towering over action and production, thinking fails to consider what might be at stake in the distinction it makes between them. CONCLUSION In its lofty attitude towards action, theory has historically failed to pay attention to the distinctions between the different types of human activity, labour, work and action. The whole of The Human Condition can then be understood as an archaeological
were at the bottom of India's caste system or even outside it – 'outcastes'. Lazare, and after him Arendt, use it to indicate those Jews (the majority of them, in fact) who remained beyond the pale of civil society. A key point about the pariah, for Arendt, is that he cannot be politically active, since he exists outside society. Both Lazare and Arendt seek to politicise the category of the pariah, and to claim that the pariahs were a kind of revolutionary Jewish political power in waiting.
new reconciliation between thinking and acting opened up by Kant's political philosophy, ends with the victim of the concentration camp, a bundle of reactions who, she says, constitutes the 'ideal citizen' of the totalitarian 'state'. * * * CODA: EVIL Many critical accounts of Arendt's work have focused on her various discussions of the concept of evil. Yet in some ways evil is a fairly marginal and problematic term for Arendt. In a postscript to Eichmann in Jerusalem, the book
the rather controversial thesis that there exists a symmetry between Arendt's argument and totalitarian ideology. Parekh, Bikhu (1981) Hannah Arendt and the Search for a New Political Philosophy, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Gives a good overview of Arendt's relation to political philosophy, and a summary of the phenomenological background and its impact on her. Can be a bit repetitive and tends to abstract the particular arguments from their contexts. Nevertheless, essential reading for anyone
Philosophy and Society, Indianapolis and London: Hackett Publishing Co. Melville, Herman (1993) Billy Budd and Other Stories, Robert Lee (ed.), London, Vermont: Everyman. Munzel, G. Felicitas (1999) Kant's Conception of Moral Character: The "Critical" Link of Morality, Anthropology, and Reflective Judgment, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Norris, Christopher (2002) Hilary Putnam: Realism, Reason and the Uses of Uncertainty, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Orwell, George (1983