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doi: 10.1111/1467-8675.

12096

Agonism and Deliberation in Arendt


Shmuel Lederman

Arendt’s Conception of Politics ferred to as the “agonist” model. Some of these com-
The literature on Hannah Arendt suggests two major mentators argue against Arendt that she romantically
interpretations of her conception of politics. There is no idealizes the Greek polis, offering in fact an aestheti-
doubt that at the center of her understanding of the po- cization of politics, while emptying it of any moral
litical is the concept of action, in the sense of acting and content.6
speaking in the public sphere. Different commentators, A significantly different interpretation of Arendt is
however, emphasize different aspects of this concept, what is called the “deliberative” or “discursive” model.
and of the way it should be understood in the context Commentators who interpret Arendt’s view of politics
of the other concepts and themes of Arendt’s thought. according to this model perceive her description of the
Some of these commentators emphasize the notion that polis as emphatic but reserved, and emphasize that the
political action constitutes a new beginning; that is, it nature of politics for her is based on co-operation and
initiates a new event or process in the web of human dialogue between political actors.7 These commentators
relationships. By acting or speaking individuals begin highlight the fact that action, by nature, is always carried
something new in the public realm, and in so doing dis- out together with other actors and depends upon their co-
close their unique individuality: “in acting and speaking, operation. In addition, they emphasize Arendt’s concept
men show who they are, reveal actively their unique per- of power, which she understands as the potential that
sonal identities and thus make their appearance in the is generated when people associate together, bound by
human world.”1 In this description, the public sphere a mutual promise, which allows them to define joint
constitutes “a space of appearances” in which we reveal political goals and to strive to achieve them.8
who we really are. It sheds a powerful light on those who In particular, these commentators point to the impor-
participate in it, unlike the darkness typical of the private tance of discussion and debate for Arendt. The opinions
sphere. This is why the actor’s most important quality of every one of us, Arendt argues, reflect our place in
is courage.2 Thus, those who choose to enter the public the world, our standpoint in it.9 When we speak to each
sphere are exceptional and unique individuals, who in other and talk about our opinions in the public sphere,
acting and speaking reveal the virtuosity and excellence we express the way the world is seen to us from where
that are the gift of those few who are qualified to act we stand, and discover how the world is seen from where
in politics. This interpretation tends to highlight the im- others stand.10 This ability to see the world through the
portance of the Greek polis in Arendt’s thought. Indeed, eyes of others is for Arendt “the political insight par
Arendt repeatedly reminds us of the urge to excel, which excellence,”11 through which we acquire a more com-
was dominant in the polis, and of the “agonal” spirit it plete conception of the world and of our political reality.
brought about: “The public realm itself, the polis, was In her often quoted words:
permeated by a fiercely agonal spirit, where everybody If someone wants to see and experience the world as
has constantly to distinguish himself from all others, to it “really” is, he can do so only by understanding it as
show through unique deeds or achievements that he was something that is shared by many people, lies between
the best of all others.”3 them, separates and links them. Showing itself differ-
On this account, an action is judged neither accord- ently to each and comprehensible only to the extent
ing to its motives—which can be common to many that many people can talk about it and exchange their
opinions and perspectives with one another, over and
people—nor according to its results—which are not
against one another.12
determined by the actor—but rather by the manner in
which it is carried out, namely its degree of greatness: According to the deliberative reading, then, this acting
“[A]ction can be judged only by the criterion of great- and speaking together, in which people exchange their
ness [ . . . ] Greatness, therefore, or the specific meaning standpoints on the world, is the essence of what takes
of each deed, can lie only in the performance itself and place in the public sphere, that is, the essence of politics.
neither in its motivation nor its achievement.”4 These two different understandings of Arendt’s con-
Commentators who emphasize these aspects argue ception of politics—one based on competition, the
that Arendt’s view of politics is based on conflict and other on deliberation—gave birth to a heated contro-
competition, and its only criteria is the “virtuosity” of versy, to the point where an authoritative commen-
the political actors.5 In Arendt’s literature, this is re- tator declared that her thought exhibits “a basic and

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328 Constellations Volume 21, Number 3, 2014

inescapable self-contradiction at the heart of her theory the republic, she writes that, while they did not suffer
of action.”13 hunger, the long hours they were forced to work robbed
In this article I aim first to point to the important them of something almost equally important, namely
flaws in this common interpretation of Arendt’s two the ability to actively participate in government: “The
“models” of political action, and to show that no such ‘continual toil’ and want of leisure of the majority of
“basic and inescapable self-contradiction” exists be- the population would automatically exclude them from
tween the agonistic and deliberative elements in her active participation in government—though, of course,
thought, but rather that Arendt’s conception of politics not from being represented and from choosing their
is a unified, if complex one. Secondly, I argue, following representatives.”17 The important point for Arendt is
commentators such as Dana Villa and Sandra and Lewis not only the material lack of ability to participate, but
Hinchman, that Arendt’s conception of politics can be the lack of desire to do so in the first place:
understood only against the background of German ex-
istential philosophy. While I rely to a large extent on [R]epresentation is no more than a matter of ‘self-
preservation’ or self-interest, necessary to protect the
these aforementioned scholars, I will show that while
lives of the laborers and to shield them against the en-
they (particularly Villa) relate the existential influence
croachment of government; these essentially negative
on Arendt to an “agonist” interpretation of her political safeguards by no means open the political realm to the
thought, the deliberative elements in her thought em- many, nor can they arouse in them that ‘passion for
anate from this tradition as well. Third, I will stress how distinction’—the ‘desire not only to equal or resemble,
this interpretation of Arendt distances her from the re- but to excel’—which, according to John Adams, ‘next
publican tradition, to which commentators often relate to self-preservation will forever be the great spring of
her. Finally, because important participants in current human actions’.18
political theory discussions on deliberative and agonist
One can see here that the passion to distinguish oneself
(or radical) democracy rely on Arendt, in the conclusion
and to excel is a major motivation for political action.
I suggest that a more nuanced interpretation of Arendt
Although those who are too busy with daily labor might
such as I offer here might help us overcome some bi-
to a large extent be protected from being mistreated by
nary dichotomies that do not do well for advancing our
their government, they are denied the possibility and,
understanding of politics and political action.
moreover, the will to appear in the public sphere: “Hence
the predicament of the poor after their self-preservation
A Self-Contradiction in Arendt? has been assured is that their lives are without conse-
quence, and that they remain excluded from the light of
The supposed self-contradiction between Arendt’s two
the public realm where excellence can shine; they stand
models of politics and political action is often assumed
in darkness wherever they go.”19
to be expressed in the different orientations of her two
Arendt emphasizes these elements of excellence,
main works on the meaning of politics: The Human Con-
self-disclosure and appearance in the public sphere,
dition and On Revolution. Even “agonist” commentators
which the literature usually ascribes to the “agonist”
like Kateb and Villa, for example, admit that in On Revo-
politics of The Human Condition, when she discusses
lution, where Arendt discusses revolution in general and
the meaning of “public happiness” in On Revolution:
the idea of the council system in particular, one finds
mainly a “deliberative” model of politics.14 Here Arendt The point is that the Americans knew that public free-
is not talking about virtuosity or the will to excel in the dom consisted in having a share in public business
public sphere, but about discussion, personal decency, [ . . . ] [W]hat moved them was ‘the passion for distinc-
co-operation and judgment. Seyla Benhabib argues that tion’ which John Adams held to be ‘more essential and
whereas in The Human Condition, in which she deals remarkable’ than any other human faculty [ . . . ] The
with the polis, Arendt presents an agonistic conception virtue of this passion he called ‘emulation’, the ‘desire
to excel another’, and its vice he called ‘ambition’ be-
of politics, in On Revolution, in which she discusses the
cause it ‘aims at power as a means of distinction’. And,
modern age, she presents an associational view.15 The psychologically speaking, these are in fact the chief
analysis of politics in On Revolution, summarizes Peter virtues and vices of political man.20
Fuss, is “a tribute to a politics of persuasion and mutual
accommodation rather than to a polis dedicated to the This last point regarding the danger of ambition de-
manifestation of individual excellence.”16 serves special attention, and can serve as a fitting transi-
However, many statements in The Human Condition tion point to a more careful examination of The Human
and On Revolution, often neglected by commentators, Condition. A reading of Arendt’s discussion of the ag-
point to the unity of these works in Arendt’s mind. For onal spirit that dominated the Greek polis shows that,
example, when in On Revolution Arendt discusses the despite the way it is often interpreted, Arendt did not
poor people of America at the time of the founding of regard it as an unconditional ideal. The Greek concept


C 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Agonism and Deliberation in Arendt: Shmuel Lederman 329

of action, she writes, “stresses the urge toward self- tion. For Arendt, along with forgiving, promising is the
disclosure at the expense of all other factors and there- only moral principle that arises out of action itself, that
fore remains relatively untouched by the predicament is, out of the inner logic of an activity that takes place
of unpredictability.”21 According to Arendt’s analysis, between human beings, rather than having its origin
the inability to predict the consequences of an action is outside action—in social norms, external authority, or
one of the most frustrating things about it. It results first the relations between a person and himself.28 Promis-
from “the darkness of the human heart,” that is, from the ing arises “directly out of the will to live together with
fact that human beings “never can guarantee today who others in the mode of acting and speaking.”29
they will be tomorrow.”22 Second, it results from the With this meaning of the capacity to promise in
fact that action always takes place in a web of relations mind, we can better understand the severity of the in-
in which other people act too, or in Arendt’s words, ability to make alliances in the polis. Life in the polis be-
“within a community of equals where everybody has came so fraught with competition, jealousy and mutual
the same capacity to act.”23 Every action starts a chain hatred that promising lost its power to provide security
of reactions, whose end-point cannot be predicted. This in action. These, for Arendt, were the consequences of
is the price people pay for their freedom and for the an unbridled agonal spirit. This is also the reason why
human condition of plurality. The Greeks’ disregard for the self-revealing quality of action is realized when peo-
this problem, as Arendt points out, meant in fact a disre- ple are one with each other—neither for each other nor
gard for the dangers inherent in action and in the agonal against each other.30 The disclosure of a unique self
spirit. The price the Greeks paid for this was no less as the meaning of action is lost when people are only
than the downfall of the Polis itself: “One, if not the for or against others, since in these cases “speech be-
chief, reason for the incredible development of gift and comes indeed ‘mere talk’ [ . . . ] here words reveal noth-
genius in Athens, as well as for the hardly less sur- ing, disclosure comes only from the deed itself, and
prising swift decline of the city-state, was precisely that this achievement [ . . . ] cannot disclose the ‘who,’ the
from beginning to end its foremost aim was to make unique and distinct identity of the agent.”31 This might
the extraordinary an ordinary occurrence of everyday also account for why Arendt emphasizes the transition
life.”24 that took place in the model of action in Greece—from
Although Arendt does not develop this point in The heroic adventures in the spirit of the Homeric epics
Human Condition, in the posthumously published arti- to a debate in the agora as the political action par
cle “Philosophy and Politics,”25 written around the same excellence:
time as The Human Condition, one finds the following
clarification: The point of enterprise and of adventure fades more and
more, and whereas what before was, so to speak, only a
Socrates tried to make friends out of Athens’ citizenry, necessary adjunct to such adventures, the constant pres-
and this indeed was a very understandable purpose in ence of others, dealing with others in the public space
a Polis whose life consisted of an intense and unin- of the agora [ . . . ] now becomes the real substance of a
terrupted contest of all against all, of aei aristeuein, free life. At the same time, the most important activity
ceaselessly showing oneself to be the best of all. In this of a free life moves from action to speech, from free
agonal spirit, which eventually was to bring the Greek deeds to free words.32
city-states to ruin because it made alliances between
them well-nigh impossible and poisoned the domestic Contrary to the kinds of wars described in the Homeric
life of the citizens with envy and mutual hatred, the epos, in speech the character of action as something that
commonweal was constantly threatened.26 is performed together with others, depended upon them
for its realization, and is based on relations that are not
There is an important reason why Arendt places so overly agonistic, becomes more obvious. Arendt adds
much emphasis on the inability to make alliances un- that most actions are carried out through speech, and
der such an agonal spirit. The human ability to make that speech is the activity that reveals more than any
different sorts of alliances through promise is, in her other the unique identity of the person.33
view, the only way to face the inability to predict the One can see, then, that in contrast to the agonist
consequences of action. Promising, Arendt writes, cre- interpretation, Arendt did not take the agonal spirit to
ates “limited independence from the incalculability of be an unreserved ideal, but rather was sympathetic to
the future [ . . . ] the capacity to dispose of the future as certain aspects of it while being very much aware of its
though it were the present, that is, the enormous and inherent dangers. In this sense, Kimberley Curtis is right
truly miraculous enlargement of the very dimension in when she argues that “Arendt’s conception, then, of this
which power can be effective.”27 The ability to promise effort at self-presentation [ . . . ] is not a unidirectional,
allows us to make alliances, and thereby helps mitigate megalomaniacal urge to be admired by others. Rather,
the mysteriousness of the future and the dangers of ac- while clearly an urge to be acknowledged and a hope of


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330 Constellations Volume 21, Number 3, 2014

being praised [ . . . ] [it] in its very essence ‘world open and to the passion for self-disclosure and happiness in-
and communicative’.”34 herent in action, point to the extent that these elements
Seen in this light, an important and rarely noticed of politics were tightly related in her thought.
point becomes clearer: while through most of The Hu- To conclude this part, I have tried to demonstrate that
man Condition, when discussing political action, Arendt Arendt’s major works on the meaning of politics and
finds inspiration in the Greek polis, she chooses to end political actions contain both supposedly contradictory
her discussion on the meaning of politics (before she elements of deliberation and agonism, and that the two
moves on to the denigration of its meaning in the philo- are brought together in The Human Condition as well
sophical tradition) with the modern workers’ movement, as in On Revolution. However, the way these elements
and with the institution that grew out of it—the councils: coincide can be understood only by placing Arendt’s
thought in a broader theoretical framework. This is what
What is so easily overlooked by the modern historian I shall do in the next section.
who faces the rise of totalitarian systems [ . . . ] is that
just as the modern masses and their leaders succeeded,
Arendt as a Republican
at least temporarily, in bringing forth in totalitarianism
an authentic, albeit all-destructive, new form of gov- Since the early 1970s, a conspicuous resurrection of a
ernment, thus the people’s revolutions, for more than a tradition of political thought, long overshadowed by the
hundred years now, have come forth, albeit never suc- liberal tradition, took place: that of republicanism or
cessfully, with another new form of government: the “civic humanism” as it is sometimes known. The works
system of people’s councils to take the place of the of scholars like Pocock, Skinner and, later on, Pettit39
Continental party system.35 opened a window to a tradition of political thought that
Although the council system grew out of the workers’ began with Aristotle and Cicero, reemerged in fifteenth
movement, the workers lost the revolutionary spirit and century Europe, and culminated in eighteenth century
the potential for political action when, due to the success North America. To summarize this tradition in very gen-
of achieving their economic demands, they lost their eral terms, which I will clarify later on: rather than
position as a class that was outside society, and instead being satisfied with “negative” liberty, it emphasizes
became part of society.36 With the entrance of this class freedom as non-domination, the achievement of civic
into society, the councils lost their main, mass-scale virtue and acting towards the common good of the
support. With their disappearance, the only democratic political community.
alternative to the representative party system vanished. The literature on Arendt often identifies her with
Arendt explicates more fully this alternative in this tradition. Already in the first book written about
the last chapter of On Revolution. Her discussion of the Arendt’s political thought, Margret Canovan argues that
council system there is indeed the pick of a work—as the “if any label at all were to be pinned on her, it could
commentators I mentioned above acknowledge—that is only be ‘republican’ [ . . . ] in the old eighteen century
“deliberative” in many of its aspects. However, it is sense of a partisan of public freedom, a companion of
again suggestive, in our context, that Arendt concludes men like de Tocqueville, Jefferson and Machiavelli.”40
her discussion of the council system with a reference to Indeed, many of Arendt’s scholars place her within this
the French poet René Char, writing about a treasure he tradition,41 and her work is known to have influenced
had found. Arendt writes: Pocock’s seminal work.42
There is no doubt that Arendt was greatly influenced
The treasure, he thought, was that he had ‘found him- by the republican tradition, and some elements of her
self’, that he no longer suspected himself with of ‘insin- political thought clearly point to her affinity with it.
cerity’, that he needed no mask and no make-believe However, as I will show, attributing republicanism to
to appear, that wherever he went he appeared as he Arendt takes away from the radicalism of her political
was to others and to himself, that he could afford ‘to go thought. In order to realize what it is that distinguishes
naked’. These reflections are significant enough as they
Arendt from the republican tradition, we must ask what
testify to the involuntary self-disclosure, to the joys of
is the end of politics in that tradition?—Although there
appearing in word and deed without equivocation and
without self-reflection that are inherent in action.37 is no doubt Arendt was indeed “a partisan of public
freedom,” as Canovan describes her, such a description
Arendt continues by declaring that in order to better hardly tell us anything about the meaning of this public
understand the meaning of politics and political action, freedom.
one has to go back to the polis, “the space of men’s In the republican tradition we can find at least two
free deeds and living words, which could endow life central meanings that are attached to this term. The first,
with splendor.”38 Ending her discussion about revolu- emphasized by the influential work of Pettit, is to se-
tion, freedom, political participation, and especially the cure the citizens against arbitrary rule—or as he terms
council system, with such a reference to the Greek polis it: ‘freedom as non-domination’—by advocating a form


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Agonism and Deliberation in Arendt: Shmuel Lederman 331

of government that is committed to the principle of cit- to above, in her view, such participation in government
izens’ representation, and to private and public liberties could be realized in the modern age only in a unique
entrenched in law. “Domination,” writes Pettit, “is ex- kind of republic, which will constitute a new form of
emplified by the relationship of master to slave or mas- government—a councils republic. I will return to this
ter to servant. Such a relationship means [ . . . ] that the point later on.
dominating party can interfere on an arbitrary basis with The second end of republican politics, discussed
the choices of the dominated.”43 Pettit distinguishes be- above, is the nurturing of civic virtue as a moral ideal.
tween domination and interference as “different evils,” Can Arendt be identified with such a conception of
the latter is emphasized by the liberal conception of politics? Some commentators argue that politics for
freedom, while the former is emphasized by the repub- Arendt is completely a-moral, namely that it lacks
lican tradition: “I suffer domination to the extent that any moral orientation or limits.50 Others argue that,
I have a master; I enjoy non-interference to the extent for Arendt, politics is indeed limited by certain ba-
that that master fails to interfere [but the possibility of sic moral principles,51 and even has an important ethi-
interference still exists].”44 Freedom as non-domination cal significance.52 However, there seems to be general
means, then, that we are secured against the possibility agreement that such moral implications are not at the
of interference (and not only that nobody happens to center of Arendt’s notion of politics. As she herself
interfere with our choices right now). writes, “action can be judged only by the criterion of
A second meaning attached to public freedom in greatness.”53 According to Arendt, citizens have respon-
the republican tradition, emphasized most eloquently sibility with respect to the political community to which
by Pocock, can be formulated as the achievement of they belong, yet this responsibility, as Annabel Herzog
civic virtue.45 This latter conception regards the per- shows, is not defined in moral terms, but in terms of
sonal independence of citizens, together with their sense political presence, that is, the commitment of citizen to
of public responsibility and their acting towards the be present with his or her fellow citizens in the manner
common good, as the civic virtue towards which one of action and speech.54 In Arendt’s concise formula-
must strive, and which realizes his or her public free- tion, “responsibility is not a burden and it has nothing
dom. Sandel, for example, writes that “cultivating in cit- whatsoever to do with moral imperatives.”55
izens the virtue, independence, and shared understand- What, then, is the end of politics for Arendt, if it is
ing such civic engagement requires is a central aim of neither protection from domination nor a civic virtue in
republican politics.”46 Here citizens’ participation is re- the moral sense? Arendt states many times that politics56
garded as a kind of ideal and even moral imperative, is an end in itself: “For in these instances of action and
emanating from the moral debt one owes to the political speech, the end (telos) is not pursued but lies in the ac-
community in which he or she were born and raised.47 tivity itself.”57 And yet, Arendt does discuss what she
Let us consider each one of these two conceptions or calls “the raison d’être” of politics, which she argues
ends of republicanism in light of Arendt’s thought. First, is freedom.58 But what is freedom? Arendt proposes
freedom as non-domination. Indeed, Arendt dedicated several answers to this question. First, freedom means
much thought to the way tyranny could be prevented, participation in government: “Political freedom, gener-
and especially the most extreme kind of domination: to- ally speaking, means the right ‘to be a participator in
talitarianism. One might even argue that this is how she government,’ or it means nothing.”59 But it seems that
perceived the essence of a republican government: the this statement does not explain what is the meaning of
fact that it is constitutional, which means that it contains freedom, only what is its practical expression. The sec-
certain checks and guarantees against the possibility of ond answer is that freedom is the new beginning every
domination.48 At the same time, however, we should re- person is capable of, simply by virtue of being born.
call that Arendt distinguishes liberty from freedom: the Arendt argues that the fact that we are born as new crea-
prevention of domination was for her part of the goal tures into an existing world makes it possible for us to
of ensuring liberty, which in turn is regarded as a nec- be new beginnings in the world, and to begin new ac-
essary precondition for freedom, yet is not the essence tions that did not exist before.60 In Arendt’s view, this
of freedom. Arendt goes beyond this republican end: spontaneity, which every birth brings into the world,
she does not only seek to ensure the prevention of arbi- constitutes the basic manifestation of freedom; without
trary rule—which in her view could be guaranteed by it, this concept is incomprehensible.
the kind of constitutional systems found in America The third sense of freedom Arendt presents is free-
and Britain—but to prevent rule as such, namely to dom as appearance in the public sphere in which we dis-
prevent the existence of relationships of rule between close who we are, that is, our unique individuality: “If,
citizens. Arendt emphatically recalls the ideal of ison- then, we understand the political in the sense of the polis,
omy in Greek thought as a government of no-rule, in its end or raison d’être would be to establish and keep
the sense that when equal citizens govern themselves, in existence a space where freedom as virtuosity can
the concept of rule itself is eliminated.49 As I alluded appear.”61 This statement requires some explanation.


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332 Constellations Volume 21, Number 3, 2014

For Arendt, the philosophical tradition distorted the Pettit argues, although participation in politics is an im-
meaning of freedom, as it turned it into a matter be- portant theme, it is not a fundamental one.65 In Arendt’s
tween a person and himself. Yet freedom, Arendt ar- notion of freedom, however, participation is absolutely
gues, is not something we have, but rather an activity essential: for if freedom can be experienced only when
we share with other people: “Before freedom can be- citizens act together in the public realm, then partici-
come a mark of honor bestowed on a man or a type of pation in government is inseparable from it. Moreover,
men [ . . . ] it is an attribute of the way human beings the question is also whose and what kind of participa-
organize themselves and nothing else. Its place of ori- tion? For we must consider participation in republican
gin is never inside men [ . . . ] it is rather in the space thought in elitist terms, first in the sense that it is ac-
between human beings.”62 Freedom, in this sense, is tually the participation of the few who were citizens
identical with having the power to act; or rather more among the residents, and sometimes only the virtuous
than that—it is identical with action itself: “Men are and wise among them;66 and secondly in the sense that
free [ . . . ] as long as they act, neither before nor after; for the most part it is passive participation, or what John
for to be free and to act are the same.”63 Najemy called “participation without power,”67 namely
One can easily see that, first, freedom for Arendt participation that is limited to deliberation and the fill-
is inseparable from the public sphere, and can exist ing of certain posts in the government, but plays no part
only in it. Second, that the above three senses of in actual decision-making and in fact to a large extent
freedom are tightly connected: without the power to serves as a tool of the ruling class.68 Arendt, although
act in the public sphere, one cannot participate in sometimes considered an elitist,69 is far more demo-
government, give expression to his gift of beginning cratic in her vision. The challenge she poses is aimed not
something new in the world, or appear to his fellow against monarchical regimes and corrupt government,
citizens as the unique individual he is. Likewise, with- as republican thought is, but against the representative
out spontaneity, the capacity for new beginnings, there party system (that is, what is considered a republic in
is no meaning to action in the public sphere, as it republican thought), which excludes the vast majority
would just be “more of the same,” with no possibil- of the citizens from taking actual part in political deci-
ity of real innovation. Finally, without a person’s ba- sions. This is why Arendt insists on a council system as
sic desire to appear in the public sphere as a unique the only alternative to the representative party system:
individual, an essential motive of politics would be Even if under the latter form of government citizens can
missing. to some extent participate, namely associate and act on
One can also see that none of these senses of free- issues that are close to their hearts—such as in the civil
dom forms an ideal or a moral imperative. People can rights movement of the 1960s, which Arendt greatly
have virtue, and live happily, without acting in the pub- appreciated70 —in the end such cases are the exception
lic sphere. Yet they would not experience freedom, and rather than the rule in modern democracies. For the most
neither would they experience new beginnings in ac- part and for most citizens, politics and participation in
tion and speech, nor appearance in the public sphere as government ultimately belong to their representatives,
unique individuals among their fellow citizens. Politics, not to them:
in other words, is not a burden, imperative or ideal, but a
possible—perhaps the only—form of exercising human [W]hat we today call democracy is a form of gov-
freedom, new beginning, and the disclosure of unique ernment where the few rule, at least supposedly,
in the interest of the many. This government is
individuality.
democratic in that popular welfare and private hap-
Finally, it cannot be overemphasized how different piness are its chief goals; but it can be called
Arendt’s notion of freedom is from both the republi- oligarchic in the sense that public happiness and pub-
can and the liberal conceptions of freedom: as much lic freedom have again become the privilege of the
as the two differ, they both take freedom to be some- few.71
thing the individual acquires (or, for some thinkers, is
born with and preserves) under certain conditions. For Thus, the modern institution that could establish free-
Arendt, as I stressed above, freedom is not something dom for ordinary citizens, and not only for their rep-
one acquires individually, but rather a kind of space that resentatives, was the councils. Indeed, Arendt believes
is created when citizens act together in the public realm. this is exactly what they were for: their ultimate goal was
This (to my mind, original and largely neglected) con- the raison d’être of politics—the founding of freedom.
ception of freedom is crucial especially with regards to To understand better why the participation of ordinary
citizens’ participation in government: while it is often citizens is so important to Arendt, what is the nature of
acknowledged that in liberal thought citizens’ participa- its relation to freedom, and why both the deliberative
tion in government is not only unnecessary, but is often and agonist aspects of politics are essential to it, we
considered a liability,64 even in republican thought, as have to consider Arendt’s conception of political action


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Agonism and Deliberation in Arendt: Shmuel Lederman 333

as part of the tradition she was educated in: German arated from existentia (which is particular). Thought,
existential philosophy. which in its nature deals with the universal, can no
longer penetrate the reality of concrete things. Those
were the unintended consequences of the destruction
The Existential Dimension of Freedom of metaphysics by Kant, with the result that “man was
What have we learned so far about the meaning of pol- cut off from the absolute, rationally accessible realm of
itics for Arendt? First, the analysis offered here draws ideas and universal values, and left in the midst of the
Arendt away from the republican tradition in several im- world where he had nothing left to hold onto.”79
portant ways. Lewis and Sandra Hinchman’s assertion, This consciousness of lack of (transcendental)
that “spontaneity, self-revelation as a unique ‘who’, the foothold and alienation forms the basis for the ex-
ennoblement of sheer contingency—all these themes istentialist tradition, which began with Kierkegaard.
belong to post-Aristotelian philosophy,”72 should be Kierkegaard’s starting point, as Arendt describes it,
understood in this context as distancing Arendt from is the modern individual’s feeling of being lost, of
the republican tradition as a whole. Second, it places not being able to provide meaning or rational expla-
Arendt, theoretically speaking, in the tradition of her nation to his arbitrary existence. Yet this individual
philosophical upbringing: German existentialism, es- can be certain of at least one thing: of his own exis-
pecially Heidegger and Jaspers’ versions of it.73 As tence. From this fact derives his “mission”: “‘to become
Hinchman and Hinchman again point out: “The two subjective,’ a consciously existing being constantly
most notable aspects of Existenz—the disclosure of a aware of the paradoxical implications of his life in
unique self and the power of making new beginnings— the world.”80 This “mission” is the foundation of
became explicitly tied to the public realm in Arendt’s Heidegger and Jaspers’ philosophical projects. Al-
theory.”74 though Arendt is in many ways critical of these two
In this sense, the most comprehensive criticism of thinkers, the sharp awareness of man’s alienation in the
attributing “republicanism” to Arendt has come from modern world, and the attempt “to create, in a world
commentators such as Hinchman and Hinchman, Villa that is no longer a home to us, a human world that
and Taminiaux.75 These commentators examined the in- could become our home,”81 as Arendt describes what
fluence of the existentialist tradition of Heidegger and Jaspers tried to achieve, forms the basis for her theoret-
Jaspers on Arendt, demonstrating that Arendt’s cen- ical project as well.
tral concepts—“the world,” “the disclosure of a unique Arendt invokes this basic concern over and over in
self,” “action,” and so on—can be fully understood only her work. The centrality of human alienation from the
against the background of this tradition. In particular it is world can be traced back to her early writings, perhaps
Heidegger’s Being and Time,76 written when Arendt was even to her dissertation on St. Augustine. There she
his student, that seems to have had a major influence on writes that “only by making himself at home in the world
her.77 I shall not repeat here the analysis of Heidegger’s does man establish the world as such,”82 and that “it is
complex influence on Arendt, as the abovementioned through love of the world that man explicitly makes him-
works seem to me exhaustive in this regard. However, I self at home in the world.”83 As Patrick Boyle remarks,
will discuss those aspects relevant to the context of my what Arendt tries to do in her dissertation is to under-
discussion here, and show their relevance to a theme stand what kind of stand man must take in the world.84
largely neglected in these “existential” commentaries, Similarly, her biography of Rachel Vernhagen too can be
whose importance in Arendt’s thought I emphasized in seen as a story about an individual’s fundamental alien-
the previous section: citizens’ participation in politics. ation from the world—that of a Jewish woman seeking
In this sense, where those commentaries (particularly to find a place in society by denying her identity.85 In her
Villa’s) relate the existential influence on Arendt to the magnum opus, The Human Condition, Arendt explicitly
“agonist” interpretation, I will argue that the delibera- states that the purpose of her historical analysis is “to
tive elements in her conception of politics emanate from trace back modern world alienation, its twofold flight
this tradition as well. from the earth into the universe and from the world into
Already at an early stage in the development of the self.”86 This alienation, Arendt emphasizes, is not
her thought, Arendt recognized that Heidegger and alienation from oneself, as Marx thought, but alienation
Jaspers’ (together with Scheler’s) existential philoso- from the world, which is the trademark of the human
phy achieved “a previously unattained clarity in artic- condition in modernity.87 For Arendt, the modern world
ulating the central concerns of modern philosophy.”78 exacerbates the alienation that is spreading all around
What are those concerns? First and foremost, the loss of it: “The modern growth of worldlessness, the withering
our ability to turn to the universal, to general concepts away of everything between us, can also be described
that could give meaning to the particular existence of as the spread of the desert. That we live in a desert-
every individual. Essentia (which is universal) was sep- world was first recognized by Nietzsche. [ . . . ] The


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334 Constellations Volume 21, Number 3, 2014

danger lies in becoming true inhabitants of the desert without trusting in action and speech as a mode of be-
and feeling at home in it.”88 In fact, all of Arendt’s ing together, neither the reality of one’s self, of one’s
works, from The Origins of Totalitarianism to The Life own identity, nor the reality of the surrounding world
of the Mind, can be seen, at least to some extent, as can be established beyond doubt [ . . . ] this actualization
different ways of facing the phenomenon of alienation resides and comes to pass in those activities that exist
from the world. As Villa argues: “For Arendt, what is only in sheer actuality.”94
strongest in the present, what feeds her ‘unhistorical’ The same actualization of the self and the world, I
thought, is the fact of rootlesness of modern humanity, would like to stress, is achieved by common speech,
our radical alienation from the world.“89 namely the exchange of opinions in light of the neces-
Does Arendt provide us with a way out of this state sity to agree on joint decisions and actions. As was al-
of alienation? Villa argues that Arendt does not propose ready pointed out, opinions reflect the place from which
utopias where alienation would disappear, but she does people see the world, their standpoint.95 When one ex-
offer possibilities of “resistance” to these tendencies of changes one’s opinions with fellow citizens, one makes
the modern world.90 Pace Villa, it is suggestive that explicit the way the world is seen from his or her partic-
Arendt explicitly admits she does offer a kind of utopia, ular standpoint in it,96 while discovering how the world
a new form of government: is seen through the eyes of those others. This ability to
see the world through the eyes of others is for Arendt the
This new form of government is the council system,
political insight par excellence.97 Through the exchange
which, as we know, has perished every time and every-
where. [ . . . ] Whether this system is a pure utopia—in
of opinions we achieve a more complete understanding
any case it would be a people’s utopia, not the utopia of the world, and what Curtis called “our sense of the
of the theoreticians and ideologies—I cannot say. It real”98 becomes stronger and deeper, thereby reducing
seems to me, however, the single alternative that has our alienation from the world.
ever appeared in history. [ . . . ] Hence the council sys- Seen from this perspective, to discuss things with
tem seems to correspond and to spring from the very others and to cooperate with them is essentially not
experience of political action [ . . . ] at all different from appearing and trying to excel
before them. These are aspects of the same activity,
The councils say: We want to participate, we want to
whose meaning is the overcoming of alienation, and the
debate, we want to make our voices heard in public, and
we want to have a possibility to determine the political
restoration—at least partially—of the sense of being “at
course of our country.91 home in the world.” In this sense, Arendt continues the
fundamental realization common to both Heidegger and
It is fairly obvious why Villa does not “recognize” this Jaspers, despite the differences between their philosoph-
utopia. His “agonist” interpretation of Arendt excludes ical projects: “‘man is, in Dasein, possible existence’
attributing special importance to citizens’ participation [ . . . ] [he] achieves reality only to the extent that he
in government. Indeed, to his mind believing that Arendt acts out of his own freedom rooted in spontaneity.”99
offers us a possible recovery of action in fact involves a Politics, Arendt suggests, is a central human sphere in
failure to take seriously Arendt’s analysis of the modern which these human possibilities can be realized. The
world and the almost non-existent (according to Villa) individuals acting and speaking in politics ultimately
prospects for action within it.92 This seems to be also the achieve neither interest, nor virtue nor some common
case for Sandra and Lewis Hinchman, who argue that good, but a new existential meaning.
Arendt’s political ideal finally became the philosopher This does not mean that those individuals intention-
as a public figure, and not the citizen who speaks to his ally aim for this meaning when they act in the public
fellow citizens.93 sphere. Meanings for Arendt are the kinds of things
For Arendt, however, participation in government, that cannot be aimed at: instead we discover them while
with its obvious “deliberative” elements (exchanging performing activities that are aimed at certain concrete
opinions, agreeing and acting with others), is essen- goals. This is why when Entreves, for example, warns us
tial to the experience of freedom itself. As I explained against seeing Arendt’s politics as an existential need,
above, politics in its Arendtian sense grows out of the since such a need is concentrated on the self and not
desire of individuals to appear in the public sphere, to on the world,100 he misses, in my opinion, Arendt’s in-
claim their place in the common world. The space of tention. In all her descriptions of political action, the
appearance into which we enter when we take part in acting individuals seek to achieve specific goals, be-
the public realm provides us with an opportunity for ac- ing concerned with whatever is taking place in their
tualizing ourselves, our unique identity, which receives public sphere. But while acting for the world they dis-
concreteness and intensiveness when it is disclosed to cover that “acting is fun.”101 Arendt explains what she
others. It also provides us with an actualization of the means by that when she relates to the student move-
world itself: “For without a space of appearance and ment of the 1960s: “This generation discovered what the


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Agonism and Deliberation in Arendt: Shmuel Lederman 335

eighteen century called ‘public happiness’, which 2. Ibid., p. 36.


means that when man takes part in public life he opens 3. Ibid., p. 41.
4. Ibid., p. 205–6.
up for himself a dimension of human experience that 5. Richard Wolin, Heidegger’s Children (New Jersey:
otherwise remains closed to him and that in some way Princeton University Press, 2001), p. 69; Bonnie Honig, “The
constitute a part of complete ‘happiness.’”102 This di- Politics of Agonism,” Political Theory 21(1993): 529; George
mension of human experience that opens up in action Kateb, Hannah Arendt: Politics, Conscience, Evil (New Jersey:
and speech is the existential meaning citizens can expe- Rowman & Allanheld Press, 1984), p. 30–42; Dana R. Villa,
“Beyond Good and Evil: Arendt, Nietzsche, and the Aestheti-
rience only in the public realm, that is, only when they cization of Political Action,” Political Theory 20 (1992): 274–
participate in government. 308.
6. Francis X. Winters, “The Banality of Virtue: Reflec-
tions on Hannah Arendt’s Reinterpretation of Political Sci-
Concluding Remarks: In Search of a New ence,” In Amor Mundi: Explorations in the Faith and Thought
of Hannah Arendt, ed. James W. Bernauer (Boston: M. Nijhoff,
Political Philosophy 1987), p. 192; Hannah Pitkin, “Justice: On Relating Private and
All in all, Arendt did not seek to restore an old tradition the Political,” In Hannah Arendt: Critical Essays, eds. Lewis
of political thought, republican or other, but rather to be- P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman (New York: State Uni-
versity of New York Press, 1994), p. 272; George Kateb, “Po-
gin a new one. As she herself testifies, she found the key
litical Action: Its Nature and Advantages,” in The Cambridge
to such a new political thought in Heidegger’s concepts Companion to Hannah Arendt, ed. Dana R. Villa (New York:
of “the world” and “the they,” which imply a public Cambridge University Press), p. 139.
interpretation of human existence, as well as in Jaspers’ 7. Jacques Taminiaux, The Thracian Maid and the Pro-
concept of Truth, understood not as a monistic unity fessional Thinker: Arendt and Heidegger (New York: State
University of New York Press, 2000), p. 165; Jürgen Haber-
but as a plurality, as communication between people.103 mas, “Hannah Arendt’s Communication Concept of Power,”
The decisive point for Arendt was that these concepts in Hannah Arendt: Critical Essays, eds. Lewis P Hinchman
express an understanding of the world as fundamentally and Sandra K. Hinchman (New York: State University of New
plural. Such understanding, to her mind, was a basic York Press), p. 214–218; Bhikhu Parekh, Hannah Arendt and
the Search for a New Political Philosophy (New Jersey: Hu-
condition for any modern political thought worthy of
manities Press, 1981), p. 141.
its name. 8. Hannah Arendt, “On Violence,” in Crises of the Re-
Thirty-eight years after Arendt’s death, it seems to be public (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1972).
a good news/bad news story: one can argue that human 9. Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philoso-
plurality enjoys more recognition then ever in contem- phy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992 (1982)),
p. 43.
porary political theory. The bad news in the context of 10. Hannah Arendt, “Socrates,” in The Promise of Pol-
the discussion here is that deliberation and agonism have itics, ed. Jerome Kohn (New York: Shocken Books, 2005),
become almost two different schools of thought. Taking p. 18.
into consideration the fact that important contributors 11. Ibid.
12. Ibid., p. 128.
to the debates about deliberative and agonist (or radical,
13. Dana R. Villa, Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of
as it is sometimes called) democracy, take their inspira- the Political (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996),
tion explicitly from Arendt,104 it seems to me suggestive p. 56; see also Maurizio P. d’Entreves, The Political Philosophy
that indeed they come from both sides of what is often of Hannah Arendt (New York: Routledge, 1983), p. 84.
discussed as mutually exclusive conceptions of politics. 14. Dana R. Villa, Politics, Philosophy, Terror: Essays
on the Thought of Hannah Arendt (New Jersey: Princeton Uni-
I hope I have succeeded in establishing that first, each versity Press, 1999), p. 128; Kateb, Hannah Arendt, p. 19.
of them can base their argument on both The Human 15. Seyla Benhabib, “Models of Public Space: Hannah
Condition and On Revolution—Arendt’s major works Arendt, the Liberal Tradition and Jurgen Habermas,” In Haber-
on the meaning of politics and political action; and sec- mas and the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge:
MIT Press, 1992), p. 78.
ond, that at least for Arendt those elements of political
16. Peter Fuss, “Hannah Arendt’s Conception of Politi-
action were not mutually exclusive, but rather comple- cal Community,” In Hannah Arendt: The Recovery of the Pub-
mentary aspects that have to be brought together in order lic World, ed. Hill, Melvyn A (New York: St. Martin’s Press,
to recover the meaning of politics and freedom. In this 1979), p. 172.
sense, going back to a more nuanced reading of Arendt 17. Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (New York: The
Viking Press, 1965), p. 63.
might serve us in overcoming some binary dichotomies 18. Ibid., emphasis added.
that do not aid in advancing our understanding of politics 19. Ibid.
and the possibilities for political action in the modern 20. Ibid., p. 115–116.
world. 21. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 194.
22. Ibid., p. 244.
23. Ibid.
NOTES 24. Ibid., p. 197, emphasis added.
25. The article was re-published in Arendt, The Promise
1. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: The of Politics, under the title “Socrates.” References below are to
University of Chicago Press, 1958), p. 179. this later version.


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336 Constellations Volume 21, Number 3, 2014

26. Arendt, “Socrates,” p. 16. it seems inevitable that as a result she wavers between a more
27. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 245. narrow and “pure” conception of politics—speech and action in
28. Ibid., p. 245–6. the public realm on matters that are political in essence (and not
29. Ibid., p. 246. On the importance of promising in social, which is of course a very controversial distinction)—and
Arendt see Alan Keenan, “Promises, Promises: The Abyss of a broader and more familiar one that involves interests, social
Freedom and the Loss of the Political in the Work of Hannah questions, lies and so on. In the first sense politics is an end in
Arendt,” Political Theory 22 (1994): 297–322. itself, and is in fact, as I show here, freedom itself. In the second
30. Ibid., p. 180. and more common sense freedom is one possible aspect, or
31. Ibid., p. 180. possible experience, of politics—among others. Although I
32. Hannah Arendt, “Introduction into Politics,” in The mostly treat politics here in the first sense, sometimes I use both
Promise of Politics, ed. Jerome Kohn (New York: Shocken meanings for a lack of better alternative and to stay consistent
Books, 2005), p. 124. with Arendt.
33. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 178. 57. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 206.
34. Kimberley F. Curtis, Our Sense of the Real: Aes- 58. Arendt, Between Past and Future, p. 145.
thetic Experience and Arendtian Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell 59. Arendt, On Revolution, p. 221.
University Press, 1999), p. 33. 60. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 177.
35. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 216. 61. Arendt, Between Past and Future, p. 153.
36. Ibid., p. 219. 62. Arendt, The Promise of Politics, p. 170.
37. Arendt, On Revolution, p. 285. 63. Arendt, Between Past and Future, p. 151, emphasis
38. Ibid. in the original.
39. J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Floren- 64. See, for example, Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba,
tine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in
(New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1975); Quentin Skin- Five Nations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company 1965),
ner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge: p. 343; John Roles, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, Mass:
Cambridge University Press, 1978); Philip Pettit, Republican- Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 227–
ism: A Theory of Freedom and Government (New York: Oxford 228; Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: an
University Press, 1999). Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002),
40. Margret Canovan, The Political Thought of Hannah p. 300; Adam Prezeworski, Democracy and the Limits of
Arendt (London: Aldine Press, 1974), p. 15. Self-Government (New York: Cambridge University Press,
41. See, for example, Entreves, The Political Philosophy, 2010).
p. 2; Ronald Beiner, Liberalism, Nationalism, Citizenship: Es- 65. Pettit, Republicanism, p. 8; The “populist”, neo-
says on the Problem of Political Community (Vancouver: UBC Athenian interpretation of republicanism, Pettit argues, was
Press, 2003), p. 166. in fact influenced by Arendt. As I mentioned above, this
42. Harvey C. Mansfield, “Bruni and Machiavelli on is certainly true with regard to Pocock’s work, and proba-
Civic Humanism,” in Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reap- bly also with regard to Sandel’s (See Pettit, Republicanism,
praisals and Reflections, ed. James Hankins (Cambridge: p. 285).
Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 226. 66. Mikael Hornqvist, “The Two Myths of Civic Hu-
43. Pettit, Republicanism, p. 22. manism,” in Renaissance Civic Humanism: Repprisals and
44. Ibid., p. 23. Reflections, ed. James Hankins (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
45. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment, in particular versity Press, 2004), p. 111.
p. 157; 184–185; 249; 317. 67. John M. Najemy, “Civic Humanism and Florentine
46. Michael Sandel, Democracy’s Discontent: America Politics,” in Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisals and
in Search of a Public Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Reflections, ed. James Hankins (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), p. 274. versity Press, 2004), p. 87.
47. See also Jack P. Geise, “Republican Ideals and Con- 68. Ibid., p. 92–93.
temporary Realities,” The Review of Politics 46 (1984): 25–26. 69. See, for example, George Kateb, “The Questionable
48. Arendt, Lectures, p. 15. Influence of Arendt (and Strauss),” in Hannah Arendt and Leo
49. Arendt, On Revolution, p. 22–23. Strauss: German Emigrés and American Political Thought af-
50. Winters, “The Banality of Virtue,” p. 192; Wolin, ter World War II, eds. Peter G. Kielmansegg, Horst Mewes, and
Heidegger’s Children, p. 69; Kateb, Hannah Arendt, p. 30–42. Elisabeth Glaser-Schmidt (Washington, D.C.: German Histor-
51. Shiraz Dossa, The Public Realm and the Public Self: ical Institute, 1995), p. 29–31; Hauke Brunkhorst, “Equality
The Political Theory of Hannah Arendt (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid and Elitism in Arendt,” in The Cambridge Companion to Han-
Laurier University Press, 1989), p. 115; Entreves, The Political nah Arendt, ed. Dana Villa (New York: Cambridge University
Philosophy, p. 87. Press, 2000), p. 196.
52. Curtis, Our Sense of the Real, p. 16–19; Sandra K. 70. Jeffrey C. Isaac, “Oases in the Desert: Hannah
Hinchman, “Common Sense and Political Barbarism in the Arendt on Democratic Politics,” American Political Science
Theory of Hannah Arendt,” Polity 17 (1984): 319; Garrath Review 88 (1994): 156–168.
Williams, “Love and Responsibility: A Political Ethics for 71. Arendt, On Revolution, p. 273.
Hannah Arendt,” Political Studies XLVI (1998): 937–950. 72. Lewis P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman, “Ex-
53. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 205–6. istentialism Politicized”, in Hannah Arendt: Critical Es-
54. Annabel Herzog, “Hannah Arendt’s Concept of says, eds. Lewis P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman
Responsibility,” Studies in Social and Political Thought 10 (New York: State University of New York Press, 1994),
(2004): 39. p. 168.
55. Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times (Harmond- 73. Heidegger’s and Jaspers’ philosophies are of course
sworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1973), p. 77. very different in their treatment of the “existential” challenge,
56. Arendt, as is well known, suggests an unconventional and each of them influenced Arendt’s thought in different ways.
conception of politics. Although she is of course aware of this, The commentaries I refer to here seem to me exhaustive with


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Agonism and Deliberation in Arendt: Shmuel Lederman 337

regards to Heidegger (In particular Villa’s), but much less so 86. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 6.
with regards to Jaspers. However, I do not have the space here 87. Ibid, p. 254.
to elaborate on this issue. 88. Arendt, The Promise of Politics, p. 201
74. Hinchman and Hinchman, “Existentialism Politi- 89. Villa, Arendt and Heidegger, p. 10; see also Maur-
cized,” p. 15. izio P. Entreves, The Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt
75. Lewis P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman, “In (London: Routledge Press, 1994), p. 37.
Heidegger Shadow: Hannah Arendt’s Phenomenological Hu- 90. Villa, Arendt and Heidegger, p. 205–206.
manism,” The Review of Politics 46 (1984): 183–211; Lewis 91. Hannah Arendt, “Thoughts on Politics and Rev-
P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman, “Existentialism Politi- olution,” in Crises of the Republic Crises of the Re-
cized”, in Hannah Arendt: Critical Essays (New York: State public (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1972),
University of New York Press, 1994); Villa, Arendt and p. 231–232.
Heidegger; Taminiaux, The Thracian Made. 92. Villa, Arendt and Heidegger, p. 205.
76. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (New York: State 93. Hinchman and Hinchman, “Existentialism Politi-
University of New York Press, 1996). cized,” p. 171.
77. Arendt herself indicated in a letter to Heidegger the 94. Arendt, The Human Condition, p. 208.
deep connection between the ideas of The Human Condition 95. Arendt, Lectures, p. 43.
and his philosophical thought from the time she was his student. 96. Arendt, The Promise of Politics, p. 18.
See Arendt to Heidegger, October 28, in Hannah Arendt and 97. Ibid.
Martin Heidegger: Letters 1925–1975, ed. Ursula Ludz (New 98. Curtis, Our Sense of the Real.
York: Harcourt, Inc, 2004), p. 124. 99. Arendt, Essays, p. 183.
78. Hannah Arendt, Essays in Understanding, ed. 100. Maurizio P. Entreves, “Hannah Arendt and the Idea
Jerome Kohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1994), p. 163. of Citizenship,” In Dimensions of Radical Democracy, ed.
79. Ibid., p. 169. Chantal Mauffe (New York: Verso Press, 1992), p. 153.
80. Ibid., p. 173. 101. Arendt, Crises, p. 203.
81. Ibid., p. 186. 102. Ibid.
82. Hannah Arendt, Love and Saint Augustine (Chicago: 103. Arendt, Essays, p. 32; 445.
The University of Chicago Press, 1994), p. 6. 104. See, for example, Honig, “The Politics of Ago-
83. Ibid. nism,”; Habermas, “Hannah Arendt’s Communication”; Iris
84. Patrick Boyle, ”Elusive Neighborliness: Hannah M. Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (New Jersey:
Arendt’s Interpretation of Saint Augustine,” In Amor Mundi: Princeton University Press, 1990).
Explorations in the Faith and Thought of Hannah Arendt, ed.
James W. Bernauer, (Boston: M. Nijhoff, 1987), p. 83.
Shmuel Lederman holds a Ph.D from the University
85. See, for example, Seyla Benhabib, “The Pariah and
Her Shadow: Hannah Arendt’s Biography of Rachel Varn- of Haifa, Israel, and currently teaches at The Open
hagen,” Political Theory 23 (1995): 7–15. University of Israel.


C 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.