Arendt Studies

Volume 2, 2018

Andrew Benjamin
Pages 215-232

Being and Appearing
Notes on Arendt and Relationality

The article examines Hannah Arendt’s contribution to the development of a philosophical anthropology that takes relationality as its point of departure. The relations in question are to ‘others’ and to ‘place.’ The first part of the article argues that while relationality has to be understood as a descriptive of human being, the possibility of coming into relation—in Arendt’s terms ‘appearing’—needs to be understood as the actualization of a potentiality. While the potentiality has a necessary existence, its actualization is inherently contingent. It is the problem of potentiality as that which demands actualization that, while fundamental to Arendt’s project, she fails to take up. The second part of the article traces the presence of this limit in Arendt’s thought through her engagement with Heidegger in her text What is Existential Philosophy?