Volume 26, Issue 1, Fall 2021
Polemos, Logos, Plurality
Hannah Arendt’s Phenomenological Reading of the Greeks
The following examines Hannah Arendt’s interpretations of Greek thought, specifically her phenomenological reading of Homer and Socrates as proto-phenomenological thinkers of objectivity, plurality, and logos. Drawing inspiration from these thinkers, Arendt finds the means of preserving and actualizing plurality as the existential truthfulness that emerges from the conflict in speaking and acting with others. She does this by contrasting how, after the trial and death of Socrates, thinking became professional philosophy and shifted its focus from the reciprocal interdependence of thinking, speaking, and acting well in the polis and towards a reflection on truth, unity, and necessity that takes its start from an ontological order that is either prior to or beyond the world of appearances. Engaging with the literature, this article examines and assesses Arendt’s claims and focuses on the themes of plurality, conflict, and speaking, as set out in her interpretations of Homer and Socrates.