Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of the Political by Dana Villa

By Dana Villa

Theodor Adorno as soon as wrote an essay to "defend Bach opposed to his devotees." during this e-book Dana Villa does an identical for Hannah Arendt, whose sweeping reconceptualization of the character and cost of political motion, he argues, has been coated over and domesticated via admirers (including severe theorists, communitarians, and participatory democrats) who had was hoping to enlist her of their much less radical philosophical or political tasks. opposed to the existing "Aristotelian" interpretation of her paintings, Villa explores Arendt's modernity, and certainly her postmodernity, throughout the Heideggerian and Nietzschean topic of a holiday with culture on the closure of metaphysics.Villa's ebook, in spite of the fact that, is far greater than an insignificant correction of misinterpretations of an immense thinker's paintings. quite, he makes a persuasive case for Arendt because the postmodern or postmetaphysical political theorist, the 1st political theorist to imagine during the nature of political motion after Nietzsche's exposition of the loss of life of God (i.e., the cave in of target correlates to our beliefs, ends, and purposes). After giving an account of Arendt's thought of motion and Heidegger's effect on it, Villa indicates how Arendt did justice to the Heideggerian and Nietzschean feedback of the metaphysical culture whereas keeping off the political conclusions they drew from their opinions. the result's a wide-ranging dialogue not just of Arendt and Heidegger, yet of Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Habermas, and the full query of politics after metaphysics.

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71 Work, then, destroys nature through its creation of artifacts. The products of work, which Arendt calls “reifications,” do not find their way back into the cycle of natural growth and decay, but endure outside it. 72 In Arendt’s view, work is the only genuine embodiment of a human negativity. ” It is on the basis of this stability that a specifically human life, a life removed from the ceaseless motion of nature, becomes possible. Left at this, the difference between Arendt (and Aristotle), on the one hand, and Marx and Hegel, on the other, would appear largely semantic.

Always involves means and ends; in fact, the category of means and ends derives its legitimacy from the sphere of making and fabricating where a clearly recognizable end, the final product, determines and organizes everything that plays a part in the process—the material, the tools, the activity itself and even the person participating in it; they all become means toward the end and are justified as such. 40 This passage and many others like it in her work indicate that Arendt has a profound suspicion of poixsis as such, and not simply of its contemporary incarnation as technical rationality.

Indeed, measured against this standard, the distance between labor and work, between necessity and instrumentality, diminishes. ”75 Only action, Arendt states, following Aristotle, can lay claim to intrinsic meaningfulness, to self-containedness, and hence to freedom. But what specific activities count as action, from Arendt’s point of view? 76 These are absolutely critical questions: they lead to the heart of Arendt’s theory of political action and her paradoxical view of politics. I begin with the obvious.

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