Political Theory and Political Ethics

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:
Political Theory and Political Ethics

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The approach that Arendt takes in her major engagements in political theory generates a question central to an understanding of her thought: the question of political ethics. The key issue here is whether and in what sense Arendt's political theory can incorporate an ethical component. The model to which Arendt refers, on the face of it, opens up a gulf between the political and the moral that looks hard to bridge. Conscience arises as a phenomenon that is both internalised and absolute. It may become relevant in ‘emergencies’, where, politically, one is in danger of colluding with evil. But the modal distance between politics and the operation of conscience would seem to reinforce the gulf between the political and the moral in Arendt's account.

Keywords: political theory; Hannah Arendt; conscience; political ethics; evil

Chapter.  12474 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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