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Philosophy Today

Volume 62, Issue 2, Spring 2018

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Displaying: 1-10 of 25 documents


special issue: arendt in the present
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Ari-Elmeri Hyvönen, Charles Barbour In the Present Tense: Contemporary Engagements with Hannah Arendt
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2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Peg Birmingham Superfluity and Precarity: Reading Arendt Against Butler
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In this essay I take up Butler’s and Arendt’s respective accounts of the production of precarity and superfluity, asking whether they are proximate accounts, as they seem to be, or whether Butler’s turn to precarity misses the radical nature of Arendt’s genealogy of the production of superfluity, a genealogy that begins at the inauguration of modernity, attempts to find a “perfect superfluousness” in the death camps, and continues unabated in the contemporary global world. Reading Arendt against Butler, I argue that an ontology rooted in bodily precariousness cannot adequately address the production of superfluity which produces precarity as one of its effects. If precarity is an effect of superfluity, as I argue it is, then precarity’s remedy is found not in an appeal to the general ontological condition of bodily precariousness, but in a confrontation with the production of superfluity that threatens to eradicate all conditions of worldly and earthly existence, including the ontological condition of bodily vulnerability.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Roger Berkowitz The Singularity and the Human Condition
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Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition is frequently read as offering a “theory” of what it means to be human. But the bite of Arendt’s book is to think through the transformation of the human condition in the modern age. She argues that the rise of a scientific worldview fundamentally alters the earthly and worldly conditions in which human beings live. Since humans are conditioned beings, the change from our pre-modern subjection to fate to our modern human capacity to create a humanly built world threatens a fundamental shift in human being. The transformation Arendt describes is the loss of our human plurality to a technological singularity. She argues, however, that we can choose to hold on to our humanity if we persist in thinking, and thus preserve our human spontaneity and freedom.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Catherine Kellogg Butler’s Arendt: Dispossession and the Calamity of the Rightless
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This article explores Judith Butler’s reinterpretation of Hannah Arendt’s work in terms of the question of dispossession. By paying attention to the changes in voice and tone in Arendt’s work, Butler has brought forward a reading of Arendt that we have not seen before, and one that we have maybe never needed so much.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Peter Burdon Hannah Arendt and Edward Said: Exile and Binationalism
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In this essay, I focus on the extent to which the condition of exile influenced the way Hannah Arendt and Edward Said engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and concepts of Binationalism. Part one is largely biographical and narrates the conditions under which both parties went into exile and they ways exile influenced their intellectual development and identity. Part two analyses Arendt’s early Jewish writings and the ways she sought to affirm notions of equality and Binationalism as a method for protecting stateless refugees. Following this, I consider Said’s concern for the memory and experience of victims and his argument that the shared histories of dispossession endured by Jews and Palestinians might form the basis for an alliance. While Binationalism has largely been erased from political discourse today, I conclude by suggesting that Said’s intervention offers useful tools through which Arendt’s proposals might be rethought or reimagined today.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Olivia Guaraldo Public Happiness: Revisiting an Arendtian Hypothesis
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The aim of this article is to revisit public happiness as Arendt develops it explicitly in On Revolution—and implicitly elsewhere throughout her oeuvre—in order to philosophically evaluate its ability to beget a political-theoretical framework able to relate politics to an “affective realignment,” alternative to the hegemonic paradigms of “againstness” and “resistance.” I will analyze the Arendtian theoretical framework regarding action, freedom, and happiness in its relation to the thinker’s political ontology, testing its ability to restore for us a political imaginary that is generative and affirmative. Can Arendt can help us understand the political momentum of the present and by so doing help us reassess the political, freeing it from the depoliticized quagmire of these overtly neoliberal times?
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Michael Ure Arendt’s Apology
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In 1967, Hannah Arendt published an essay with the deceptively simple title “Truth and Politics” (1967). Most scholarly discussions of her essay consider her distinction between a traditional political art of limited, deliberate, strategic lying and modern, organised, global lying and self-deception and then evaluate her qualified defence of the virtues of mendacity. This article suggests, however, that her essay has a much broader ambit: viz., to defend the political value of truth-telling. The main purpose of this article is to demonstrate that she formulates her essay as an apology of the truth-teller in politics and of her own truth-telling in her controversial report of the Eichmann trial. It first surveys the personal motives of Arendt’s political defence of frank speech. It shows that in developing this defence she significantly revises her scepticism about the value of truth-telling in politics. She does so by identifying three different types of truth-teller with distinctive political roles: philosophers who exemplify the truth in their own lives, citizens who see the world from other people’s perspectives, and poets and historians whose stories reconcile citizens to the past. Finally, it argues that the tragic political perspective Arendt sought to revive requires acknowledging value of the emotions in making political judgments.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Valeria Pashkova, Mikhail Pashkov Truth and Truthfulness in Politics: Rereading Hannah Arendt’s Essay “Socrates”
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In light of the recent debate over post-truth or post-fact politics, Arendt’s work provides important insights on the relationship between truth and politics. While some scholars argue that Arendt regards truth as antagonistic to politics, others focus on her notion of truth of facts in politics. We assert that, for Arendt, truthfulness is essential for politics, but the truthfulness of political actors involves more than the willingness to acknowledge and recognise facts. We read Arendt’s essay “Socrates” and elicit three expectations regarding the truthfulness of political actors: the willingness to constitute one’s own doxa, the willingness to actively engage in dialogue with others and relate one’s doxa to theirs, and the willingness to develop an ongoing practice of “enlarged thought” by sustaining a mental conversation with a variety of doxai in one’s imagination. We find that this threefold notion of truthfulness is of ultimate political importance since it plays an essential role in the human ability to bring to life relationships of plurality and to constitute a “common world.” Our analysis allows us to articulate the challenges associated with practicing truthfulness in the contemporary political realm and the conditions that could enable political actors to take on this practice.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Anna Yeatman Arendt and Rhetoric
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Rhetoric concerns how in speech human beings open up a place for civil possibility, a place where, as a community of speakers and hearers, they engage with questions of how best to conceive and respond to challenges arising out of the world that they share. In rhetoric the community of speakers and hearers is not only called into being but so too the nature of the topos or place that is shared, a determination that is timely or historical. The recent publication of Heidegger’s 1924 lectures on Aristotle’s Rhetoric explores this idea of rhetoric. These lectures raise questions for how and whether Heidegger sustained this conception in his later work, and also questions for how this conception may have influenced Arendt’s approach to political thought. Arendt’s conception of the role of the spectator who engages in the activity of understanding in order to “try to be at home in the world” is especially pertinent here. Arendt’s writing, so far as it calls into being a rhetorical relationship between her “speech” and her hearers/readers, is best appreciated as rhetoric.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Nicole Dewandre Political Agents as Relational Selves: Rethinking EU Politics and Policy-Making with Hannah Arendt
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In this article, I argue that Hannah Arendt’s well-known but controversial distinction between labour, work, and action provides, perhaps unexpectedly, a conceptual grounding for transforming politics and policy-making at the EU level. Beyond the analysis and critique of modernity, Arendt brings the conceptual resources needed for the EU to move beyond the modern trap it fell into thirty years ago. At that time, the European Commission shifted its purpose away from enhancing interdependence among Member States with a common market towards achieving an internal market in the name of boosting growth and creating jobs. Arendt provides the conceptual tools to transform the conceptualisation of relations and of agents that fuels the growing dissatisfaction among many Europeans with EU policy-making. This argument is made through stretching and re-articulating Arendt’s labour-work-action distinction and taking seriously both the biological and plural dimensions of the human condition, besides its rational one. By applying this shift in an EU context, EU policies could change their priorities and better address the needs and expectations of plural political agents and of European citizens.