Chapter

<i>Theorising Political Action:</i> The Human Condition

Steve Buckler

in Hannah Arendt and Political Theory

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780748639021
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652853 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639021.003.0005
Theorising Political Action: The Human Condition

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Despite the ambition that is implied in the title The Human Condition, it is hardly surprising that Arendt does not offer a comprehensive and definitive theoretical account of human nature; the formal and substantive characteristics of the work reflect this. Arendt focuses upon key experiences that we can associate with the vita activa — with ‘human life in so far as it is actively engaged in doing something’. Arendt refers to examples principally from the ancient world, not as sources of traditional wisdom nor to provide the basis for a sense of narrative continuity that would allow them an unmediated applicability to the present. Arendt ‘raids’ the past for images that may remind of lost experiences and atrophied capacities that might help people to think with originality about the current condition.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; The Human Condition; human nature; vita activa; ancient world

Chapter.  9619 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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