Hannah Arendt's Political Humanism
This introduction to Hannah Arendt's political thinking, based on a very close reading of the most relevant texts, suggests that her core teaching culminates in a unique kind of political humanism. It consists of the disclosure of unique individual personalities in free public actions inspired by public principles. The full meaning of such principled actions and its actors emerges from an uneasy symbiosis between actors and their casts of judgmental spectators. But it is the free spectators of action who determine its possible meanings. Importantly, only such public meanings save humans from the abyss of meaningless existence. Still, and even though individuals are driven by an urge to public self-presentation, Arendt seems to insist that human freedom ultimately rests on our inability to fully disclose who we are. Perhaps paradoxically, Arendt's emphasis on a very public humanism links freedom to what remains ineffable about being human. After the destruction wrought by 20th century totalitarianism, Arendt saw important residues of public freedom especially in the modern democratic republic of the United States.
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Series Editors Introduction
Arendts Ontology Which Appearance is Reality?
Arendts Political Freedom
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actors American Revolution Arendt’s claim Arendt’s theory Arendt’s view Athenian Athens beauty Benjamin Constant citizens concem concept constitutional culture of political deeds deﬁned deﬁnition democracy democratic desire dignity of politics endt endt’s entirely essay experience fact Federalist Papers ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁrst free action govemment guided Hannah Arendt Hence human activities Human Condition human world Ibid identiﬁed individual inﬂuence initiation inspired interests issues John Adams judge judgment Karl Jaspers liberty litical Madison meaning modem age modem society moral nature necessities notion one’s ontological Past and Future Pericles philosophy Platonic political action political freedom political humanism political thought potential principles private and public problem processes public action public appearance public freedom public realm reality reﬂections representative thinking republic republican revolutionaries Roman self-presentation sense shared signiﬁcance speciﬁc spectators taste theory of political tion Tocqueville tradition understanding unique urge to self-display various virtue Westem worldly