Garrath Williams
Lancaster University
Hannah Arendt is one of the few philosophers to examine the dynamics of political action at length. Intriguingly, she emphasises the disclosure of who the actor is as a specific distinction of political action. This emphasis is connected with some long-standing worries about Arendt’s account that centre on its apparent unconcern for political responsibility. In this paper, I argue that Arendt’s emphasis on disclosure actually harbours a profound concern with responsibility. I do so by examining three questions. The main part of the paper focuses on how disclosure is bound up with political actors’ attempts to act with one another. It asks: what would it be for an actor to evade disclosure? And: what is involved in an actor acknowledging the fact of disclosure? – Looking at the matter negatively, attempts to evade disclosure and its implications lead to irresponsibility. Positively, for the actor to accept disclosure is to see herself as bound to her fellow actors and audience by relations of joint action and mutual accountability. The conclusion asks a third question: what would it mean for on-lookers to deny the relevance of actors’ disclosure? I argue that Arendt’s historiography – which revolves around stories in which political actors reveal who they are – reflects her conviction that people can and must take responsibility for their world
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DOI 10.1177/1474885114522187
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References found in this work BETA

Responsibility for Justice.Iris Marion Young - 2011 - Oxford University Press USA.
Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy.Hannah Arendt - 1982 - University of Chicago Press.
Realism in Political Theory.William A. Galston - 2010 - European Journal of Political Theory 9 (4):385-411.
The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt.Seyla Benhabib - 2003 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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Citations of this work BETA

Two Forms of Responsibility: Reassessing Young on Structural Injustice.Valentin Beck - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.

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