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Part of the book series: Philosophers in Depth ((PID))

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Abstract

This introductory chapter firstly explains a threefold purpose of this volume: to elucidate Arendt’s flagship idea of political freedom in relation to its closely connected ideas, including liberation and revolution; to consider her theory of freedom and its continuing relevance (or lack thereof) in light of some of the most notable political experiences over the past decade; and to analyze her theory of freedom comparatively by way of examining a variety of relevant writings in political thought, including the mainstream post-Rawlsian branch of political theory. I then give a summary of each of the chapters in the volume, followed by reflections on the intellectual challenges that Arendt scholars should confront today.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Arendt, “Hannah Arendt on Hannah Arendt,” in her Thinking Without a Bannister: Essays in Understanding 19531975, ed. Jerome Kohn (New York: Schocken Books, 2018), 449.

  2. 2.

    UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, “Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017,” 25 June 2018, http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html.

  3. 3.

    Olivia Goldhill, “Hannah Arendt Was the Philosopher to Reference in 2017,” Quartzy, 23 December 2017, https://quartzy.qz.com/1162378/hannah-arendt-the-thinker-on-totalitarianism-is-popular-in-the-trump-era/; and Dominic Green, “Meet Michiko Kakutani, the Conservative,” Spectator USA, 16 July 2018, https://spectator-usa.com/2018/07/meet-michiko-kakutani-the-conservative/.

  4. 4.

    For a compelling challenge to this story, see Catherine H. Zuckert, ed., Political Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: Authors and Arguments (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

  5. 5.

    See, e.g., the Symposium on the John Rawls papers with contributions by Mark Bevir, David A. Reidy, P. MacKenzie Bok, Daniele Botti, and Andrius Gališanka, in the Journal of the History of Ideas 78, no. 2 (2017): 255–308; as well as Mark Bevir and Andrius Gališanka, “John Rawls in Historical Context,” History of Political Thought 33, no. 4 (2012): 701–25; P. MacKenzie Bok, “To the Mountaintop Again: The Early Rawls and Post-protestant Ethics in Postwar America,” Modern Intellectual History 14, no. 1 (2015): 1–33; and David Reidy, “Rawls’s Religion and Justice as Fairness,” History of Political Thought 31, no. 2 (2010): 309–44.

  6. 6.

    The literature is growing fast. See, e.g., Bernard Williams, In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument, ed. Geoffrey Hawthorn (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005); Raymond Geuss, Philosophy and Real Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008); David Leopold and Marc Stears, eds., Political Theory: Methods and Approaches (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Jeremy Waldron, “Political Political Theory: An Inaugural Lecture,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 21, no. 1 (2013): 1–23; Ronald Beiner, Political Philosophy: What It Is and Why It Matters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Enzo Rossi and Matt Sleat, “Realism in Normative Political Theory,” Philosophy Compass 9, no. 10 (2014): 689–701; David Miller, “In What Sense Must Political Philosophy Be Political?” Social Philosophy and Policy 33, no. 1–2 (2016): 155–74; and Jonathan Floyd, Is Political Philosophy Impossible? Thoughts and Behaviour in Normative Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

  7. 7.

    It is indicative that a recent 500-page anthology of philosophical writings on freedom, edited by three leading analytic philosophers, fails to include an excerpt from Arendt’s work, while including a number of less significant pieces by their analytic colleagues. See Ian Carter, Matthew H. Kramer, and Hillel Steiner, eds., Freedom: A Philosophical Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007).

  8. 8.

    Kye Barker, “Book Review: Hannah Arendt and Political Theory: Challenging Tradition by Steve Buckler,” LSE Review of Books, 29 March 2013, http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/52797/1/Book_Review_Hannah_Arendt_and_Political_Theory.pdf.

  9. 9.

    On the latter see, especially, José Luis Martí and Philip Pettit, A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic Republicanism in Zapatero’s Spain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).

  10. 10.

    It is worth noting here that Canovan’s seminal book, which characterized Arendt’s political thought as a “new republicanism,” appeared in 1992. This book is ignored in Pettit’s Republicanism, published in 1997. See Margaret Canovan, Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), esp. 201–52; and Philip Pettit, Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).

  11. 11.

    Hannah Arendt, “Reflections on Little Rock,” Dissent 6, no. 1 (1959): 45–56.

  12. 12.

    Smithand Zhang’s essay may thus be compared to Sabl’s “creative reconstruction” of Rawls’s theory of disobedience in his “Looking Forward to Justice: Rawlsian Civil Disobedience and Its Non-Rawlsian Lessons,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 9, no. 3 (2001): 307–30.

  13. 13.

    Hannah Arendt, “On Violence,” in her Crises of the Republic (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), 177.

  14. 14.

    Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, “The Might of Power Facing up to the Violence of Strength: An Arendtian View of Politics and Revolution,” Open Democracy, 2 February 2011, https://www.opendemocracy.net/samantha-balaton-chrimes/might-of-power-facing-up-to-violence-of-strength-arendtian-view-of-politics.

  15. 15.

    Hannah Arendt and Hans Jürgen Benedict, “Revolution, Violence, and Power: A Correspondence,” Constellations 16, no. 2 (2009): 305.

  16. 16.

    Arendt, “Thoughts on Politics and Revolution,” in her Crises of the Republic, 230.

  17. 17.

    Jeremy Waldron, “Arendt’s Constitutional Politics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt, ed. Dana Villa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 203.

  18. 18.

    This is the phrase Seyla Benhabib used to characterize her interpretive strategy in her “Feminist Theory and Hannah Arendt’s Concept of Public Space,” History of the Human Sciences 6, no. 2 (1993): 100. She uses the same approach in Seyla Benhabib, The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

  19. 19.

    Larry May, “Hannah Arendt: A Remembrance,” Arendt Studies 1 (2017): 22.

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Hiruta, K. (2019). Introduction. In: Hiruta, K. (eds) Arendt on Freedom, Liberation, and Revolution. Philosophers in Depth. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11695-8_1

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