Hannah Arendt: Existential phenomenology and political freedom

Philosophy and Social Criticism 9 (2):170-190 (1982)
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This paper has three purposes: first, to explicate the ex istential basis of Arendt's theory of action. This will be done by first tracing the intellectual derivation of Arendt's existentialism and the modifications she made to fit it in to her public realm. Second, I will demonstrate the con nection between Arendt's existentialism and her formula tion of political freedom. Third, I will illustrate throughout that Arendt's political ideas, if they are to be properly understood, must be subsumed under her existentialism .\nPart I treats Arendt's effort to find a home for the in dividual Human Being by attacking the modern tendency to make freedom an inner domain of the mind and refuge from the outside world. We will see how she uses the ideas of Heidegger and Jaspers to counter the Being of Kant and the philosophy of Mill and Augustine. Part II demonstrates her effort to make freedom a world reality and counter to the forces of totalitarianism: the modern enchantment with totality and an inexorable history. She attacks the Will, consciousness, Being, and the historical process itself.\nFinding no suitable conceptualization of freedom which makes it political by giving it a public space, Arendt turns finally to Jaspers' communicative existentialism and Duns Scotus' emphasis on contingency
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