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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

Chapter 1 - On Arendt

Summary

The first chapter, following the path of Arendt’s work throughout her life, shows how her questions arose from her own experiences, and how her thinking responded to events that eluded or exceeded traditional forms of thought. It argues that the question of the political was an implicit but central concern in all of her writing. Totalitarianism was essentially an anti-political form of government, in her view, which had to be opposed in part through an affirmation of political life. But such an affirmation was difficult, Arendt thought, because Western philosophy had never had a pure concept of the political. So an overarching aim of her thought was to work out a new approach to political theory, an approach that would let her see politics “with eyes unclouded by philosophy.”