Hannah Arendt

The Promise of Education

  • Jon Nixon

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)

Also part of the SpringerBriefs on Key Thinkers in Education book sub series (BRIEFSKEY)

Table of contents

About this book


This book gathers some of Hannah Arendt’s core themes and focuses them on the question, ‘What is education for?’ 
For Arendt, as for Aristotle, education is the means whereby we achieve personal autonomy through the exercise of independent judgement, attain adulthood through the recognition of others as equal but different, gain a sense of citizenship through the assumption of our civic rights and responsibilities, and realize our full potential as sentient beings with the capacity for human ‘flourishing’ and ‘happiness’ (eudaimonia). In order to appreciate the pivotal role that education plays in Arendt’s analysis of the human condition, we have to understand the emphasis she placed on ‘thoughtfulness’, as the measure of our humanity and on ‘thoughtlessness’, as the measure of our inhumanity. Education sustains and develops the human capacity: to think together (phronesis), to think for oneself (what Arendt called ‘the two-in-one’ of thinking), and to think from the point of view of others (what she termed ‘representative thinking’).
From the developing constellation of ideas embedded in her vast and varied body of work, the author infers a notion of education as a necessary preparation for personal fulfillment, social engagement, and civic participation.


Hannah Arendt Human Action Quality of Education Human Interaction in Education Plurality Promise Natality Social Engagement in Education Aristotle The Human Condition 1958 1951 The Origins of Totalitarianism 1963 Eichmann in Jerusalem 1978 The Life of the Mind Citizenship through Education Education and Plurality Representative Thinking

Authors and affiliations

  • Jon Nixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Visiting Professor Middlesex UniversityLondonUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-37572-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-37573-7
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-1921
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-193X
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