From the act to the decision: Hannah Arendt and the question of decisionism

Political Theory 32 (3):320-346 (2004)
There is much disagreement among many commentators of Hannah Arendt's work about whether her contributions to politics and philosophy contain a clandestine version of decisionism or, by contrast, represent an explicit attempt to break away from the elements of voluntarism, arbitrariness, and irrationality, which are considered to be inherent to any theory of the decision. Despite the many disagreements that set apart these two interpretations of Arendt, however, there is a common presupposition that both share. They are in agreement concerning the decision: it is a threat and a vice, intrinsically dangerous and potentially totalitarian in nature, which ought to be expelled from any theory of politics with a normative content. As a result, the terms of the debate pertain solely to whether Arendt was a (crypto-) decisionist and not to the nature and evaluation of the decision as such. This paper argues, contrary to Arendt's critics, that although elements of a theory of the decision can be found scattered throughout many of her writings, she was nonetheless unswerving in her opposition to decisionism. But unlike her defenders, it also argues that had Arendt built on these elements to elaborate a systematic theory of the decision, she would have avoided many of the flaws and inconsistencies that plague her concept of politics
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    26 ( #56,514 of 1,088,616 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)


    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.