by Michaela Wood
Hannah Arendt was born in Linden, Prussia, in 1906 and died in 1975 in New York. Arendt is named after her paternal grandmother by her parents, Marth Cohn and Paul Ardent. After eight years in France, Ardent moved to New York in 1941. She became one of the most well-known political thinkers of the twentieth century. Throughout her works, her main goal was to find the meaning and historical importance of political events. Arendt’s work is often critiqued as being in opposition to liberal principles. However, it is found that critics cannot label her political work; she has been referenced on both ends of the political spectrum; thus, her conception of politics is read as both liberal and conservative. Arendt is well-known for her Conception of Modernity, Theory of Action, Theory of Judgement, and Conception of Citizenship. Her works are The Origins of Totalitarianism, which studies Nazi and Stalinist regimes; The Human Condition, which investigates categories of via activa (labor, work, action); The Life of The Mind, which examines the three faculties of vita contemplativa (thinking, willing, judging) among other influential essays.
To Arendt, The Conception of Modernity discusses the loss of the world, such as the restriction of speech and action. She believes that it is the age where the past no longer carries evaluation and where individuals must search for new grounds of the human community. Arendt’s Theory of Action conceptualizes politics to question meaning by linking action to freedom and plurality. Theory of Judgement is her unfinished theory, in which she explores human judgment.
Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.
Arendt, Hannah. The Life of The Mind. New Tork, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.
Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1951.
d'Entreves, Maurizio Passerin, "Hannah Arendt", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),<https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2019/entries/arendt/>.
Baehr, Peter R. Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences. Stanford University Press, 2010.
Benhabib, Seyla. The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
Birmingham, Peg. Hannah Arendt and Human Rights: the Predicament of Common Responsibility. Indiana University Press, 2006.