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

Chapter 2 - A Way of Thought


The second chapter lays out Arendt's way of thinking. She appropriated the methods of existential phenomenology she learned from Martin Heidegger, but she used them to work out a distinctly non-Heideggerian concept of the political. In her view, political philosophers had been guided and misguided by the metaphysical assumptions implicit in their most basic questions. Her aim was to “critically dismantle” these metaphysical assumptions in order to grasp and bring to light what had been overlooked or distorted by traditional political philosophy. This chapter lays out the three tasks of thought proper to existential phenomenology – “Destruktion,” “Reduktion,” and “Konstruktion” – and shows how Arendt worked through each task in her critical dismantling of traditional concepts of rule.