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Arendt Studies

Volume 1, 2017

Jan Maximilian Robitzsch
Pages 151-169
DOI: 10.5840/arendtstudies20178306

The Aporias of Grounding the Right to Have Rights in Hannah Arendt

In this paper, I argue that Hannah Arendt is a kind of foundationalist when it comes to grounding the right to have rights. However, I also show that the solution Arendt herself provides is untenable by her own standards and that some alternative suggestions that scholars have advanced on her behalf, while Arendtian in spirit, do not emphasize the practical political dimension of Arendt’s analysis enough. Rather than looking for answers to the problem of how the right to have rights can be established philosophically, I therefore suggest that Arendt’s texts are better read as attempts to think through difficult problems in regard to the right to have rights and to stress the importance of providing practical political answers.

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