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Hannah Arendt on Love and the Political: Love, Friendship, and Citizenship


This article explores the theme of love and the political in the thought of Hannah Arendt by examining her attitude toward such kinds of love as eros, philia, agape, cupiditas, caritas, compassio, fraternitas. Arendt generally regards love as unpolitical because of its inherent inclination to exclude the outside world. But she has shown a sustained interest in the relationship between love and the political. Arendt's concern for love is dictated by her search for a new, public, and artificial vinculum—or bond. This public bond, what Arendt calls amor mundi, is basically grounded in the notion of political friendship. I argue that amor mundi would be of more relevance, if it included not only political friendship but an element of eros as the craving for the durable world as well as two strands of agape—love of forgiveness and an enlarged neighborly love.

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Patrick Boyle S.J., “Elusive Neighborliness: Hannah Arendt's Interpretation of Saint Augustine,” in Amor Mundi: Explorations in the Faith and Thought of Hannah Arendt, ed. James W. Bemauer S. J. (Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987), pp. 81113

Joanna Vecchiarelli Scott , “‘A Detour Through Pietism': Hannah Arendt on St. Augustine's Philosophy of Freedom,” Polity 20 (1988): 394425

Sandra K. Hinchman , “Common Sense and Barbarism in the Theory of Hannah Arendt,” Polity 17 (1984): 329.

Frederick M. Barnard , “Fraternity and Citizenship: Two Ethics of Mutuality in Christian Thomasius,” Review of Politics 50 (1988): 582602.

Cf., Niels Thomassen , Communicative Ethics in Theory and Practice, trans. John Irons (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), pp.143–59.

Milfred Bakan , “Arendt and Heidegger: The Episodic Intertwining of Life and Work,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 12 (1987): 91.

Cf., Philip Abbott , “The Tyranny of Fraternity in McWilliams' America,” Political Theory 2 (1974): 304–20.

Wilson Carey Mcwilliams , “Fraternity and Nature: A Response to Philip Abbott,” Political Theory 2 (1974): 321–29.

Ferenc Fehér , “Freedom and the ‘Social Question’: Hannah Arendt's Theory of the French Revolution,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 12 (1987): 21.

Joseph Keith Woodard , “Thinking through Friendship,” Review of Politics 52 (1990): 626–31.

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The Review of Politics
  • ISSN: 0034-6705
  • EISSN: 1748-6858
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-politics
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