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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

7 - Hannah Arendt: from philosophy to politics

Hannah Arendt's vocation as a political thinker was hardly in the cards during her university days. As she later acknowledged, this vocation was in large part a function of events in Germany in 1933 and later. Arendt's clarity about the significance of the Nazi rise to power was in no small part due to discussions she had with the German Zionist leader Kurt Blumenfeld. Of course, Arendt's idea of public freedom has a long and distinguished pedigree in Western political thought, going back to the Greek polis and to the republican city-states of Renaissance Italy. Transcending the context of totalitarian horror that gave birth to it, Arendt's political theory reminds citizens of the contemporary world that the meaning of politics is not power, wealth, or virtue. As she puts it simply in the unfinished Introduction into Politics, the meaning of politics is freedom.
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Political Philosophy in the Twentieth Century
  • Online ISBN: 9781139028530
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