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PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICS: Hannah Arendt / Vol. 57, No. 1 (Spring 1990)

April 1, 1990

Arien Mack, Editor

 

Table of Contents

 

Jerome Kohn

Introduction

 

Sheldon S. Wolin

Democracy in the Discourse of Postmodernism

The article presents the views of philosopher Richard Rorty on postmodernism. Rorty is

considered a devotee of liberal democracy. He puts a lot of effort in constructing a genealogy for his liberal democratic version of postmodernism. According to Rorty, philosophy is now a large and prosperous field and adapted effortlessly to the needs of a corporate-bureaucratic state.

 

Richard J. Bernstein

Rorty’s Liberal Utopia

The article presents information on philosopher Richard Rorty and his literary works. Before the publication of his controversial book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, he was known as a philosophy professor who had made important contributions to the discussion of technical professional issues such as incorrigibility and the epistemological status of transcendental arguments. He uses the argumentative techniques of analytic philosophers to question and deflate the pretentions of professional, philosophy with wit, irony and analytic finesse. According to Rorty, liberal culture needs an improved self-description rather than a set of foundations.

 

Hannah Arendt

Philosophy and Politics

The article discusses various issues related to philosophy and politics in Athens, Greece. It is viewed that the tradition of political thought began when Plato despaired of polis life due to the death of Socrates and, at the same time, doubted certain fundamentals of Socrates' teachings. The most anti-Socratic conclusion that Plato drew from Socrates' trial was the opposition of truth and opinion. The elevation of the idea of the good to the highest place in the realm of ideas by Plato occurs in the cave allegory and must be understood in the political context. [Reprinted in 70th Anniversary issue, 71:4.]

 

Jerome Kohn

Thinking/Acting

The article presents information related to philosopher Hannah Arendt and her literary works. In her works she tried to get people to understand their own ethics and what the best choice would be for them in a political situation. She realized two different things about the long tradition of moral and political philosophy to which Plato's thought gave rise. She states in her works that she has neither claim nor ambition to be a philosopher. In her works she discusses various issues related to politics and postmodernism.

 

Margaret Canovan

Socrates or Heidegger? Hannah Arendt's Reflections on Philosophy and Politics

The article presents information related to the views of Hannah Arendt, a philosopher, on the relation between thought and action, philosophy and politics and the controversy over philosophical preoccupations on Arendt's understandings of politics. This preoccupation comes to the surface in the writings of Arendt in the last twenty-five years of his life. She was a brilliant student of philosophy and has very little interest in politics. The shock of Nazism and the rise of Adolf Hitler to power catapulted her into concern with public affair. The account of Arendt on the way in which traditional Western understandings of politics have been distorted by philosophical preoccupations is highly controversial.

 

Seyla Benhabib

Hannah Arendt and the Redemptive Power of Narrative

The article presents information related to Hannah Arendt, who has become one of the most illuminating and certainly one of the most controversial political thinkers of the twentieth century. A tension and a dilemma are at the center of Hannah Arendt's political thought, indicating two formative forces of her spiritual-political identity. Arendt's thinking is decidedly modernist and politically universalist, when she reflects on the political realities of the twentieth century and on the fate of the Jewish people. Hannah Arendt did not engage in methodological reflections and searched for the elements of totalitarianism.

 

Frank H. W. Edler

Philosophy, Language, and Politics: Heidegger's Attempt to Steal the Language of the Revolution in 1933-34

The article presents information related to philosopher Martin Heidegger and his thoughts about politics and philosophy. He is usually associated with rhymed poetry and the folk songs. He claimed a special affinity between the Greek and the German languages, mainly in philosophy. In his works he states that Greek language originally enabled the Greeks to confront the difference as a jointure of presencing and absencing, concealing and unconcealing. He uses the word Aufbruch to designate the German revolution.

 

 

 

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