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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 23, Issue 1, Fall 2018

Jennifer Gaffney
Pages 145-163
DOI: 10.5840/epoche2018731124

At Home with the Foreign
Arendt on Heidegger and the Politics of Care

This paper examines Hannah Arendt’s contribution to a conception of political life that remains vigilant of the foreignness that confronts us in our efforts to inhabit a shared world. To this end, I interpret Arendt’s less appreciated discourse on caritas, or love of the neighbor in Love and Saint Augustine, as a critical appropriation of Heidegger’s notion of care. In turning to caritas, I maintain that Arendt captures, perhaps more fully than Heidegger, the foreignness that care is destined to confront in its native desire to belong to something outside of itself. This, I argue, leads Arendt to insist that the responsibility to care is not foremost a matter of individual existence, but rather of politics, grasped precisely as an openness to the foreign in communal life.