Hannah Arendt

Philosopher, Academic

1906 – 1975

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Who was Hannah Arendt?

Johanna "Hannah" Arendt was a German-American political theorist. Though often described as a philosopher, she rejected that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular" and instead described herself as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that "men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world." Her works deal with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. The Hannah Arendt Prize is named in her honour.

Famous Quotes:

  • Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
  • The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.
  • Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within.
  • If you ask a member of this generation two simple questions: How do you want the world to be in fifty years? and What do you want your life to be like five years from now? the answers are quite often preceded by Provided there is still a world and Provided I am still alive. To the often-heard question, Who are they, this new generation? one is tempted to answer, Those who hear the ticking. And to the other question, Who are they who utterly deny them? the answer may well be, Those who do not know, or refuse to face, things as they really are.
  • It is in the very nature of things human that every act that has once made its appearance and has been recorded in the history of mankind stays with mankind as a potentiality long after its actuality has become a thing of the past.
  • Freedom from labor itself is not new; it once belonged among the most firmly established privileges of the few. In this instance, it seems as though scientific progress and technical developments had been only taken advantage of to achieve something about which all former ages dreamed but which none had been able to realize.
  • When we were told that by freedom we understood free enterprise, we did very little to dispel this monstrous falsehood. Wealth and economic well-being, we have asserted, are the fruits of freedom, while we should have been the first to know that this kind of happiness has been an unmixed blessing only in this country, and it is a minor blessing compared with the truly political freedoms, such as freedom of speech and thought, of assembly and association, even under the best conditions.
  • Predictions of the future are never anything but projections of present automatic processes and procedures, that is, of occurrences that are likely to come to pass if men do not act and if nothing unexpected happens; every action, for better or worse, and every accident necessarily destroys the whole pattern in whose frame the prediction moves and where it finds its evidence.
  • No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.
  • We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance.

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Born
Oct 14, 1906
Hanover
Also known as
  • Johanna Arendt
  • Johanna "Hannah" Arendt
Parents
Spouses
Religion
  • Judaism
Ethnicity
  • Jewish people
  • Germans
Nationality
  • United States of America
  • German Empire
Profession
Education
  • Philipps University of Marburg
    Philosophy
  • Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
  • Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
Employment
  • University of Chicago
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Wesleyan University
  • Northwestern University
  • Yale University
  • Princeton University
Lived in
  • Hanover
Died
Dec 4, 1975
New York City

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Hannah Arendt." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/hannah_arendt>.

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