Few thinkers have addressed the political horrors and ethical complexities of the twentieth century with the insight and passionate intellectual integrity of Hannah Arendt. She was irresistible drawn to the activity of understanding, in an effort to endow historic, political, and cultural events with meaning. Essays in Understanding assembles many of Arendt’s writings from the 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s. Included here are illuminating discussions of St. Augustine, existentialism, Kafka, and Kierkegaard: relatively early examinations of Nazism, responsibility and guilt, and the place of religion in the modern world: and her later investigations into the nature of totalitarianism that Arendt set down after The Origins of Totalitarianism was published in 1951. The body of work gathered in this volume gives us a remarkable portrait of Arendt’s developments as a thinker—and confirms why her ideas and judgments remain as provocative and seminal today as they were when she first set them down.
After observing the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt articulated her controversial concept of the ‘banality of evil’, thereby posing one of the most chilling and divisive moral questions of the twentieth century: How can genocidal acts be carried out by non-psychopathic people? By revealing the full complexity of the trial with reasoning that defied prevailing attitudes, Arendt became the object of severe and often slanderous criticism, losing some of her closest friends as well as being labelled a ‘self-hating Jew’. And while her theories have continued to draw innumerable opponents, Arendt’s work remains an invaluable resource for those seeking greater insight into the more problematic aspects of human nature. Anchoring its discussion in the themes of laughter, translation, forgiveness, and dramatization, Unlearning with Hannah Arendt explores the ways in which the iconic political theorist ‘unlearned’ recognized trends and patterns – both philosophical and cultural – to establish a theoretical praxis all her own. Through an analysis of the social context and intellectual influences – Karl Jaspers, Walter Benjamin, and Martin Heidegger – that helped shape Arendt’s process, Knott has formed a historically engaged and incisive contribution to Arendt’s legacy.
Tracing the gradual evolution of revolutions, Arendt predicts the changing relationship between war and revolution and the crucial role such combustive movements will play in the future of international relations.
She looks at the principles which underlie all revolutions, starting with the first great examples in America and France, and showing how both the theory and practice of revolution have since developed. Finally, she foresees the changing relationship between war and revolution and the crucial changes in international relations, with revolution becoming the key tactic.
How can we achieve and sustain a “decent” liberal society, one that aspires to justice and equal opportunity for all and inspires individuals to sacrifice for the common good? In this book, a continuation of her explorations of emotions and the nature of social justice, Martha Nussbaum makes the case for love. Amid the fears, resentments, and competitive concerns that are endemic even to good societies, public emotions rooted in love—in intense attachments to things outside our control—can foster commitment to shared goals and keep at bay the forces of disgust and envy.
Great democratic leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., have understood the importance of cultivating emotions. But people attached to liberalism sometimes assume that a theory of public sentiments would run afoul of commitments to freedom and autonomy. Calling into question this perspective, Nussbaum investigates historical proposals for a public “civil religion” or “religion of humanity” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, and Rabindranath Tagore. She offers an account of how a decent society can use resources inherent in human psychology, while limiting the damage done by the darker side of our personalities. And finally she explores the cultivation of emotions that support justice in examples drawn from literature, song, political rhetoric, festivals, memorials, and even the design of public parks.
Through the prism of the lives of Leon Blum, Albert Camus, and Raymond Aron, Judt examines pivotal issues in the history of contemporary French society, including anti-Semitism and the dilemma of Jewish identity, political and moral idealism in public life, the Marxist moment in French thought, the traumas of decolonization, the disaffection of the intelligentsia, and the insidious quarrels rending Right and Left. Judt focuses particularly on Blum’s leadership of the Popular Front and his stern defiance of the Vichy governments, on Camus’s part in the Resistance and Algerian War, and on Aron’s cultural commentary and opposition to the facile acceptance by many French intellectuals of communism’s utopian promise. Severely maligned by powerful critics and rivals, each of these exemplary figures stood fast in their principles and eventually won some measure of personal and public redemption.
Judt constructs a compelling portrait of modern French intellectual life and politics. He challenges the conventional account of the role of intellectuals precisely because they mattered in France, because they could shape public opinion and influence policy. In Blum, Camus, and Aron, Judt finds three very different men who did not simply play the role, but evinced a courage and a responsibility in public life that far outshone their contemporaries.
Tony Judt, one of the world’s leading historians and intellectuals, argues that we must look to our recent past and once again value fairness over mere efficiency. This concentrated expression of a lifetime’s concerns gives us the tools with which to imagine a new form of governance and a better way of life.
Dit boek is een bundeling van tot dusver ongepubliceerde essays uit de nalatenschap van Hannah Arendt, een van de belangrijkste filosofen van de twintigste eeuw. In haar werk spelen de verschrikkingen van de Tweede Wereldoorlog en het begrijpen daarvan een belangrijke rol. In Verantwoordelijkheid en oordeel formuleert zij nieuwe gedachten over de aard van het kwaad, het maken van morele keuzes en, het belangrijkst van al, het allesomvattende verband tussen verantwoordelijkheid en oordeel.
A Mind and its Time offers the most detailed account to date of the genesis and development of Isaiah Berlin’s political thought, philosophical views, and historical understanding. Drawing on both little-known published material and archival sources, it locates Berlin’s evolving intellectual interests and political positions in the context of the events and trends of interwar and post-war intellectual and political life. Special emphasis is placed on the roots of Berlin’s later pluralism in philosophical and cultural debates of the interwar period, his concern with the relationship between ethics and political conduct, and his evolving account of liberty. Berlin’s distinctive liberalism is shown to have been shaped by his response to the cultural politics of interwar period, and the political and ethical dilemmas of the early Cold War era; and to what Berlin saw as a dangerous embrace of an elitist, technocratic, scientistic and “managerial” intellectual and political stance by liberals themselves. At the same time, Berlin’s attitude toward what he called “positive liberty” emerges as far more complicated and ambivalent than is often realized. Joshua L. Cherniss reveals the multiplicity of Berlin’s influences and interlocutors, the shifts in his thinking, and the striking consistency of his concerns and commitments. In shedding new light on Berlin’s thought, and offering a better understanding of his place in the development of liberal thought in the twentieth century, he makes fresh contributions both to understanding the intellectual history of the twentieth century, and to discussions of liberty and liberalism in political theory.
Rethinking Money points out that there is a way, in fact a thousand ways, to stop our current juggernaut towards global self-destruction. There is a system of solutions already in place in localities throughout the world where terrible problems have existed. The changes came about, not through the redistribution of wealth, increased conventional taxation, bond measures or enlightened self-interest from corporate entities, but rather, by people simply rethinking the concept of money. With that restructuring, everything changed.