Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Hannah Arendt was a German political scientist and philosopher who lived from October 14, 1906 to December 4, 1975.

Arendt, who is known to many as a philosopher, herself rejected this title, saying that philosophy deals with problems of the “individual itself”. The reason why he wants to be defined as a political scientist is that his work is focused on “not the human being as a singular, but the humanity that inhabits and covers the world”.


Arendt was born in the then independent city of Linden in Lower Saxony (now part of Hanover), into a secular Jewish family, and was born in Königsberg (the city of her admirer Immanuel Kant, now Kaliningrad) in Berlin. grew up.

Arendt, who studied philosophy at the University of Marburg with Martin Heidegger, had a long, tumultuous and romantic relationship with him. This relationship was sometimes criticized for Heidegger’s Nazi sympathies.

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt moved to Heidelberg during one of her separations from Heidegger, and there she began to write a thesis on the concept of love in the thought of St. Augustine, under the mentorship of the existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers.

Arendt’s thesis was published in 1929, but in 1933 she was prevented from teaching at German universities on the grounds that she was Jewish and did not have the necessary teaching qualifications. Arendt then went to Paris, where she met and befriended the literary critic and Marxist mystic Walter Benjamin. During her stay in France, she tried to help and support Jewish immigrants.

However, France’s He had to leave France as Jews were sent to concentration camps as a result of the declaration of war during World War II and the occupation of parts of France by German military forces. She married the German poet and philosopher Heinrich Blücher in 1940.

Arendt, who went to the United States in 1941 with her husband and mother with the help of American diplomat Hiram Bingham, who granted her and nearly 2,500 Jewish immigrants illegal visas, became an active member of the German-Jewish Community in New York and wrote for the weekly “Aufbau”. Wrote.

II. After the end of World War II, she continued her relationship with Heidegger and testified in his favor at the events of Germany’s denazification. She became a natural citizen of the United States in 1950 and the first full-time female professor at Princeton University in 1959.

When she died in 1975 at the age of 69, she was buried in the cemetery of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where her husband had taught for a long time.

Hannah Arendt

Arendt’s works are about power, subjects of politics, authority and totalitarianism. Much of his work has focused on affirming the concept of freedom, which is synonymous with collective political action among equals.

Arendt, who opposes the libertarian assumption that “where politics ends, freedom begins”, grounds freedom as a concept of public and cohesiveness, presenting examples from ancient Greek city-states, American towns, the Paris Commune, social freedom movements in the 1960s, and other areas. .

One of his most important works is “The Human Condition” (1958), in which he provocatively reveals the differences between labor, work and action and the important consequences of these differences. She elaborates the theory of political action in this work.

In his first major work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, he examined the origins of Communism and Nazism and the links between them and antisemitism. This book has caused quite a bit of controversy because it attempted to compare two, for some, irreconcilable issues.

Describing the Eichmann case, which would later become the book “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” in The New Yorker, he asked whether evil is something fundamental and fundamental, or simply the banality of people – the result of ordinary people obeying the orders of others and obeying the majority view without considering the consequences of their actions or inaction. he asked.

His last book “The Life of the Mind” was left unfinished when he died, but is still being read today.

In 2006 Eugene McCarraher wrote:

“One sunny March morning in 1962, a taxi carrying Hannah Arendt collided with a truck while accelerating towards Central Park. Opening her eyes in the ambulance, Arendt moved her arms and legs, rolled her eyes, and tested her memory by counting dates, lines of poetry, and phone numbers. She later told her close friend Mary McCarthy: “For a little while, I thought it was up to me to decide whether to live or die.” While Arendt thought death wasn’t scary, she also thought life was pretty good and she loved it.”

Related topics:

The banality of evil
The Human Condition

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes