This paper argues that God may create and exist in any possible world, no matter how much suffering of any sort that world includes. It combines the traditional free will defence with the notion of an ‘occasion’ for good or evil action and limits God's responsibility to the creation of these occasions. Since no possible world contains occasions for more evil than good action, God is morally permitted to create any possible world. With regard to suffering that is not due (...) to free will, namely the suffering of beings who are not moral agents, the paper questions the idea that the relief of such suffering is a moral perfection. (shrink)
The book has two parts. The first looks at the destructive use to which Descartes puts the method of doubt. But this is just half the story since, according to Broughton, Descartes also uses the method of doubt constructively. The second part of the book takes up the constructive use. Both uses fit into an overarching claim that is set out in the introduction. According to this claim, Descartes employs the method of doubt in order to establish fundamental metaphysical claims (...) – or, as he says, claims of first philosophy (recall Descartes’s title: Meditations on First Philosophy). These include: God exists, we ought to assent only to what we clearly and distinctly perceive, the essential attribute of matter is extension, the essential attribute of the human mind is thought, and sense experience allows us to know the primary qualities of material objects. This metaphysical interpretation of the method’s aim is contrasted with others: that the aim is to secure some form of high-grade knowledge, to clear the way for Descartes’s mechanistic physics, to refute the skepticism of the day, and to free the mind from the senses so we can think better about supersensible entities. Broughton cites passages in support of each interpretation. As her survey shows, there is (at least) decent textual support for each interpretation. Perhaps then the method of doubt is multi-purposed. After all, there is no obvious incompatibility between any two or more of the aims – so why take the various interpretations as competing with one another? Unfortunately, Broughton doesn’t say. (shrink)
D. Micah Hester thinks the residency match system helps sustain the divide between the haves and the have-nots in healthcare. He believes that the match system channels talent away from the have-nots in a more or less systematic way, damaging moral values in physicians as it goes. As a way of making inroads against these effects, he has asked whether assigning medical school graduates to residencies at random would distribute talent and educational opportunity more broadly and promote desirable moral values. (...) I pointed out what I think are serious limitations of this proposal, and Hester has extended me the courtesy of a reply. Yet with that reply, I find that he has made it even more difficult to defend a lottery approach to residency assignment. (shrink)
Achilles is vindictive; he wants to get even with Agamemnon. Being so disposed, he sounds rather like many current crime victims who angrily complain that the American system of criminal justice will not allow them the satisfactions they rightfully seek. These victims often feel that their particular injuries are ignored while the system addresses itself to some abstract injury to the state or to the rule of law itself – a focus that appears to result in wrongdoers being treated with (...) much greater solicitation and respect than their victims receive. If the actual victims are noticed at all, they will likely be told that there is another branch of law – tort law – that has the job of dealing with private injuries and grievances and that, if they pursue this route at their own expense, they might ultimately get some financial compensation for the wrongs done to them. However, just as Achilles felt that mere compensation was inadequate to the kind of injury done to him by Agamemnon, many of these victims will often claim that the injuries they have suffered do not admit of financial compensation. How, they might ask, can a dollar value be set on the humiliation and degradation they have experienced? They might also note that those who injure them tend, unlike Agamemnon, to be judgment-proof – so lacking in resources as to be unable to make any meaningful contribution to any compensation package that the victim may win. (shrink)
Internal and External Questions. The most profound questions in ethics, social philosophy, and the philosophy of law are foundational; i.e., they are questions that call the entire framework of our ordinary evaluations into doubt in order to determine to what degree, if at all, that framework can be rationally defended. Such questions, called “external” by Rudolf Carnap, are currently dominating my own philosophical reflections and are forcing me to rethink a variety of positions I have in the past defended.
Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt, edited by Bonnie Honig, a collection of critical feminist essays on Hannah Arendt, illustrates both the disorientation and the insights that can result when feminist philosophers come to terms with a canonical figure who is a woman.
Hannah Arendt's rich and varied political thought is more influential today than ever before, due in part to the collapse of communism and the need for ideas that move beyond the old ideologies of the Cold War. As Dana Villa shows, however, Arendt's thought is often poorly understood, both because of its complexity and because her fame has made it easy for critics to write about what she is reputed to have said rather than what she actually wrote. Villa (...) sets out to change that here, explaining clearly, carefully, and forcefully Arendt's major contributions to our understanding of politics, modernity, and the nature of political evil in our century.Villa begins by focusing on some of the most controversial aspects of Arendt's political thought. He shows that Arendt's famous idea of the banality of evil--inspired by the trial of Adolf Eichmann--does not, as some have maintained, lessen the guilt of war criminals by suggesting that they are mere cogs in a bureaucratic machine. He examines what she meant when she wrote that terror was the essence of totalitarianism, explaining that she believed Nazi and Soviet terror served above all to reinforce the totalitarian idea that humans are expendable units, subordinate to the all-determining laws of Nature or History. Villa clarifies the personal and philosophical relationship between Arendt and Heidegger, showing how her work drew on his thought while providing a firm repudiation of Heidegger's political idiocy under the Nazis. Less controversially, but as importantly, Villa also engages with Arendt's ideas about the relationship between political thought and political action. He explores her views about the roles of theatricality, philosophical reflection, and public-spiritedness in political life. And he explores what relationship, if any, Arendt saw between totalitarianism and the "great tradition" of Western political thought. Throughout, Villa shows how Arendt's ideas illuminate contemporary debates about the nature of modernity and democracy and how they deepen our understanding of philosophers ranging from Socrates and Plato to Habermas and Leo Strauss.Direct, lucid, and powerfully argued, this is a much-needed analysis of the central ideas of one of the most influential political theorists of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Based on the reflections of Hannah Arendt and Zygmunt Bauman, this paper argues that the social system is confined to a consumer economy order, which incorporates the public sphere, giving rise to a political agenda and to an economic cooperation as a support to the enlargement of consumerism. Thus, despite the diversity of phenomena involved in a consumption order - a key issue as identification of our time - we stress that the true causes of the problem are rooted (...) in the profound transformation of public space. Henceforth, the modern society is operated peculiarly in such a way, promoting its open extension, as well as the feature of our times. (shrink)
Amidst the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and the reshaping of political systems in the region, the Iranian people remain mired in difficulties on their path to democratization. Much of this can be blamed on the gradual decline in activity within Iranian civil society and the stagnation of political imagination. If Iran is to have a future built on the solid foundation of a viable and legitimate political authority, Iranian civic actors must reimagine and revisit the notion of constitution-making (...) through sustained dissent and deliberation. Hannah Arendt's ideas are extremely helpful in this regard. The main purpose of this essay will be to explore how some of her most useful concepts may be applicable in the Iranian context. Briefly tracing the history of Iran since the Islamic Revolution, the paper then turns to a deeper examination of Arendt’s ideas to determine how they can foster resistance, civic engagement and eventual legitimate authority. The focus in the end will be on what Iranians can do to begin anew, to build foundations for the future, and to tell themselves a new story about their identity. (shrink)
Nesta comunicação pretende-se desenvolver a relação entre violência e política enquadrada no pensamento de Hannah Arendt e a partir de duas obras fundamentais, On Revolution (1963) e On Violence (1970). Investigando-se sobre o que constitui cada experiência em particular, a da violência (ainda que sob a forma da guerra ou da revolução) e a da política, esta relação permitirá equacionar criticamente as possibilidades e os limites das sociedades democráticas actuais como o resultado da tradição política e das revoluções da (...) modernidade. (shrink)
My concern in this paper is how to reconcile a central tension in Hannah Arendt’s thinking, one that – if left unresolved – may make us reluctant to endorse her political theory. Arendt was profoundly and painfully aware of the horrors of political evil; in fact, she is almost unparalleled in 20 th century thought in her concern for the consequences of mass political violence, the victims of political atrocities, and the most vulnerable in political society – the stateless, (...) the pariahs, the outcasts. At least, this is the case in her discussions of concrete, historical political situations. Yet in her philosophical writings, she continues to argue that the political realm ultimately redeems human existence, and furthermore, that politics should remain distinct and autonomous from moral evaluation. Political action must be evaluated according to “greatness,” not goodness or any other explicitly moral or even ethical standard. She goes so far as to suggest that politics and morality may be deeply hostile to one another, and can only be reconciled in situations of extreme emergency. This can leave many feeling both perplexed and deeply uncomfortable with the theory of human action that Arendt proposes. Drawing on her notions of political conscience, judgment and - in particular - her account of forgiveness, in this paper I argue that Arendt offers an ethics of plurality, in which what is good is developed from what is most politically important: amor mundi, or love of our shared political world. (shrink)
Recognition of Hannah Arendt's contribution to the history of western philosophy is long overdue. Arendt was a 'political thinker', but this book highlights the importance of her ontological preoccupations for an understanding of her work.
The centenary of Hannah Arendt’s birth in 2006 has provided the catalyst for a body of literature grappling with the legacy of her thought, especially the question of its enduring political relevance. Yet this literature largely excludes from consideration a significant aspect of Arendt’s legacy, namely, her account of evil and its devastating political reality. This article contends that the neglect of Arendt’s understanding of the dynamic reality of evil unnecessarily delimits the opportunities her legacy affords to diagnose forms (...) of evil today. In particular, I propose that Arendt’s notion of evil and her unique insight into its dynamic reality remain very much pertinent in light of a globalizing world where the conditions of extreme deprivation and exclusion have become thoroughly bound up with the structurally unequal conditions of the global political economy. The persistent global poverty knowingly reproduced in and through policies and practices of economic globalization effectively renders vast numbers of people superfluous and “rightless,” resulting in a distinctive form of political evil. I conclude that more attention should be paid to the deeper pertinence of Arendt’s concepts of evil, human superfluousness, and rightlessness for contemporary political life. (shrink)
W. H. Auden and Hannah Arendt belonged to a generation that experienced the catastrophic events of the mid-twentieth century, and they both sought to respond to the enormity of the novel phenomena they witnessed.
In Punishment and the Moral Emotions, Jeffrie Murphy rejects his earlier, strong endorsements of retributivism. Questioning both our motivations for embracing retributivism and our views about the basis of desert, he now describes himself as a “reluctant retributivist.” In this essay, I argue that Murphy should reject retributivism altogether. Even if we grant that criminals have negative desert, why should we suppose that it is desert of suffering? I argue that it is possible to defend desert-based theories of (...) punishment that reject this view of the object of desert. I consider, but reject, expressivist versions of such a theory. (shrink)
This article presents an interpretation of the role that religious concepts play in Hannah Arendt’s political thought. While Arendt is typically regarded as a secular thinker, I argue that she turns to resources found in biblical traditions of thought when she finds Greek and Roman traditions to be lacking in vital respects. The concepts that she associates most strongly with the Bible—natality, forgiveness, and plurality―are necessary to her vision of a political community that is genuinely pluralistic and which understands (...) the nature and implications of human action. By examining the role that biblical concepts play in Arendt’s thought, this article explores the possibility of setting her work in dialogue with a range of Jewish and Christian traditions. Placing Arendt in such a dialogue also opens up the question of what it means to be a "biblical thinker.". (shrink)
Efforts to introduce particular-focused and emotionally engaged storytelling into historiography have sparked intense debate. Stone-Mediatore argues that women and other under-represented groups have a particular interest in defending the epistemic value of storytelling, but that we can do so meaningfully -- not by endorsing all storytelling -- but only by articulating a metahistory that challenges the division between history and story as well as makes explicit the interrelated epistemic and ethical goals of historical inquiry. The author draws on Hannah (...) Arendt and Susan Griffin to begin to articulate such a feminist metahistory. She argues that such a metahistory throws light on the potential value of creative and engaged storytelling, not only for understanding historical events but also for building less violent worlds. (shrink)
El ámbito de la cultura popular ha privilegiado una visión técnica de sus objetos en el sentido que Aristóteles dio al término téchne. Este enfoque ha prevalecido hasta hoy en la forma de un determinismo económico y tecnológico que enfatiza la estructura social frente a la acción cultural. Se trata de un presupuesto racionalista que comparten las teorías sociológicas y culturales dominantes en el área: la teoría crítica, los análisis de economía política y, en menor medida, los estudios culturales. Este (...) trabajo profundiza en los presupuestos filosóficos de estas corrientes con el objetivo de advertir la misma explicación racionalista, extrínseca, que definió la crítica de Adorno y Horkheimer a la cultura de masas mediado el siglo XX. Este concepto de cultura de masas suscitó una reflexión diferente en Hannah Arendt, coincidiendo con el periodo en el que los teóricos de Frankfurt asentaron el juicio dominante acerca de la cultura de masas. Esta otra visión de Arendt ofrece, a nuestro juicio, un presupuesto no-racionalista e intrínseco, que permite una teorización adecuada al carácter cultural de los objetos que conforman el campo de la popular culture. The field of popular culture has privileged a technical view of its objects in the sense that Aristotle gave to the term téchne. This approach has prevailed until today in the form of an economic and technological determinism that emphasizes the social structure in front of cultural activity. It is a rationalist presupposition which it is shared by the cultural and sociological theories dominant in the area: critical theory, political economy analysis and, to some extent, cultural studies. This study examines the philosophical assumptions of these current theories in order to understand how they incorporate the same rational and extrinsic explanation which defined the criticism of Adorno and Horkheimer to mass culture at mid-twentieth century. This phenomenon of mass culture gave rise to Hannah Arendt’s alternative reflection, coinciding with the period in which the Frankfurt’s theorists settled the dominant view of contemporary culture. In our view, Arendt offers a non-rationalist and intrinsic perspective that allows an adequate understanding of the cultural and symbolical character of the objects that shape the field of popular culture. (shrink)
Cette étude, dans un premier temps, apporte des preuves à la possibilité d’interpréter la pensée politique de Hannah Arendt comme un projet phénoménologique original dont le but est d’élever l’apparence de la personne au rang de mode unique de l’apparaître. Puis elle présente brièvement la phénoménologie matérielle de Michel Henry dans laquelle le Soi individuel joue un rôle tout aussi central, puisqu’il est la condition de l’apparence de la vie et le fondement de tout apparaître. En conclusion, l’étude esquisse (...) les conséquences d’une telle position privilégiée du sujet individuel pour la conception théorique de la réalité effective de l’apparaître, de même que pour les problèmes pratiques de l’action de l’homme dans le monde. (shrink)
The article examines the writings of one of the most influential political philosophers, Hannah Arendt, and specifically focuses on her views regarding the distinction between the private and the public and the transformation of the public to the social by modernity. Arendt’s theory of human activity and critique of modernity are explored to critically evaluate the social contributions and implications of reproductive technologies especially where the use of such technologies is most dominant within Western societies. Focusing on empirical studies (...) on new reproductive technologies in Israel, it is argued, powerfully demonstrates Arendt’s theory, and broadens the perspectives through which society should evaluate these new technologies towards a more reflective understanding of its current laws and policies and their affect on women more generally. (shrink)
Os usos do passado e da tradição em uma sociedade pós-tradicional, na perspectiva de Zygmunt Bauman, é resultado dos desdobramentos da modernidade em sua produção da ambivalência. O objetivo do presente artigo é rastrear esse pensamento na obra de Bauman a partir da suturação do conceito de tradição com a obra mais ampla do filósofo. Buscaremos, então, pontos de contato com outros autores que também trabalharam esta temática – notadamente, Hannah Arendt – a partir da ótica de que a (...) modernidade é marcada pela dependência de um passado ressignificado. (shrink)
El primer propósito de este artículo es considerar el fenómeno del pensamiento en Hannah Arendt. El segundo propósito es establecer en qué sentido, según esta autora, la actividad del pensamiento puede ser una condición contra la maldad. Como en su determinación del pensar Hannah Arendt se vuelve polémicamente contra todo intento por ver el pensar ya como un ejercicio intelectual, ya como una actividad puramente mental, ya como la fundación o prosecución de tradiciones de pensamiento, ya como el (...) monopolio de unos pocos, ya como la elaboración de doctrinas o sistemas…, el texto muestra subrepticiamente esta confrontación constante de Arendt con la tradición filosófica. Tal confrontación con la tradición filosófica tiene lugar al hilo de una conversación permanente con Sócrates, en cuyos diálogos advirtió Hannah Arendt un ejemplo inequívoco de la actividad del pensamiento. (shrink)
La question du mal politique est devenue un thème central dans la pensée de Hannah Arendt. Lorsqu'elle travailla sur la compréhension du phénomène du totalitarisme, Arendt utilisa l'expression kantienne de «mal radical» afin de rendre compte de l'apparition d'une nouvelle forme extrême de mal politique. À la suite du procès du criminel nazi Adolf Eichmann, auquel elle assista à titre d'envoyée spéciale pour le New Yorker, Arendt se retrouva face à un nouveau concept, celui de «banalité du mal». Cet (...) article propose donc de faire état de ces deux conceptions du mal en demandant si le passage d'un concept à l'autre marque une rupture ou une continuité dans l'oeuvre de Arendt. (shrink)
El propósito de este artículo es analizar la perspectiva de Hannah Arendt sobre el problema de la originalidad e incomprensibilidad del horror de los regímenes totalitarios, utilizando los testimonios de Primo Levi en Si esto es un hombre y Los hundidos y los salvados. Arendt considera que los campos de concentración y exterminio son la institución central de los regímenes totalitarios, en los cuales se intenta destruir la humanidad de las víctimas a través de prácticas de terror que no (...) solo acaban con su cuerpo, sino con su espíritu. Así, los testimonios de los sobrevivientes se convierten en las piezas clave para comprender la esencia y los ideales de estos sistemas políticos. De ahí que la memoria salte a la escena política para develar la verdad de este tipo de acontecimientos políticos y, a su vez, plantee una serie de problemas cuando se intenta definir su estatus investigativo. (shrink)
Öffentlichkeit ist ein, wenn nicht das zentrale Konzept im Denken Hannah Arendts. Doch obwohl der Begriff in allen philosophischen und essayistischen Schriften Arendts eine ausgezeichnete Stellung einnimmt, wurde und wird 'Öffentlichkeit' bei ihr meist nur einseitig im politischen Sinn rezipiert. Hannes Bajohr hingegen zeigt, dass er Dimensionen besitzt, die über diese konventionelle Interpretation hinausgehen: Öffentlichkeit wird bei Arendt zu einer Bedingung von Erkenntnis und hat epistemologische Bedeutung.
This highly original book is the first to explore the political and philosophical consequences of Hannah Arendt's concept of 'the banality of evil,' a term she used to describe Adolph Eichmann, architect of the Nazi 'final solution.' According to Bernard J. Bergen, the questions that preoccupied Arendt were the meaning and significance of the Nazi genocide to our modern times. As Bergen describes Arendt's struggle to understand 'the banality of evil,' he shows how Arendt redefined the meaning of our (...) most treasured political concepts and principles-freedom, society, identity, truth, equality, and reason-in light of the horrific events of the Holocaust. (shrink)
Contents: John BURNHEIM: Introduction. Mihály VAJDA: A Lover of Philosophy - A Lover of Europe. Phillippe DESPOIX: On the Possibility of a Philosophy of Values. A Dialogue within the Budapest School. Martin JAY: Women in Dark Times: Agnes Heller and Hannah Arendt. Johann P. ARNASON: The Human Condition and the Modern Predicament. Richard J. BERNSTEIN: Agnes Heller: Philosophy, Rational Utopia and Praxis. Zygmunt BAUMAN: Narrating Modernity. Peter BEILHARZ: Theories of History - Agnes Heller and R.G. Collingwood. Richard WOLIN: Heller's (...) Theory of Everyday Life. Paul HARRISON: Radical Philosophy and the Theory of Modernity. Arthur J. JACOBSON: The Limits of Formal Justice. Peter MURPHY: Civility and Radicalism. Peter MURPHY: Pluralism and Politics. Victoria CAMPS: The Good Life: A Moral Gesture. Laura BOELLA: Philosophy Beyond and the Baseless and Tragic Character of Action. György MÁRKUS: The Politics of Morals. Agnes HELLER: A Reply to My Critics. The Bibliography of Agnes Heller. (shrink)
. Uwagi na temat teorii rewolucji Hanny Arendt Niniejszy artykuł zawiera krytyczny komentarz do teorii rewolucji Hannah Arendt. W pierwszej części artykułu zostaną omówione główne kategorie, za pomocą których filozofka definiuje istotę każdej rewolucji: polityka, wolność publiczna, demokracja bezpośrednia, działanie jako praxis, system rad, nowość, pluralizm. W drugiej części wskazane zostaną deficyty argumentacyjne, które można sprowadzić do dwóch punktów: ukrytej irracjonalności pojęcia tego, co polityczne oraz zbyt ostrego przeciwstawienia demokracji bezpośredniej i parlamentarnej.
Hannah Arendt was one of the foremost political thinkers of the twentieth century, and her particular interests have made her one of the most frequently cited thinkers of our time. This Companion examines the primary themes of her multi-faceted work, from her theory of totalitarianism and her controversial idea of the 'banality of evil' to her classic studies of political action and her final reflections on judgment and the life of the mind. Each essay examines the political, philosophical, and (...) historical concerns which shaped Arendt's thought, and which prompted her to become one of the most unapologetic champions of the political life in the history of Western thought. (shrink)
This is the story of the clattering of elevated subways and the cacophony of crowded neighborhoods, the heady optimism of industrial progress and the despair of economic recession, and the vibrancy of ethnic cultures and the resilience of ...
Margaret Canovan argues in this book that much of the published work on Arendt has been flawed by serious misunderstandings, arising from a failure to see her work in its proper context. The author shows how such misunderstanding was possible, and offers a fundamental reinterpretation, drawing on Arendt's unpublished as well as her published work, which sheds new light on most areas of her thought.
Now, twenty years later, this collection of fifteenessays brings her work into dialogue with those philosophical views that are at center stage today-- in critical theory, communitarianism, virtue theory, and feminism.