Interpreting the work of one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt rereads Arendt's political philosophy in light of newly gained insights into the historico-cultural background of her work. Arguing against the standard interpretation of Hannah Arendt as an anti-modernist lover of the Greek polis, author Seyla Benhabib contends that Arendt's thought emerges out of a double legacy: German Existenz philosophy, particularly the thought of Martin Heidegger, and her experiences as a German-Jewess in the age of totalitarianism. This important volume reconsiders Arendt's theory of modernity, her concept of the public sphere, her distinction between the social and the political, her theory of totalitarianism, and her critique of the modern nation state, including her life long involvement with Jewish and Israeli politics.
Seyla Benhabib is Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, and director of the Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Why Hannah Arendt? Chapter 2 The Pariah and Her Shadow: Hannah Arendt's Biography of Rahel Varnhagen Chapter 3 Jewish Politics and German "Existenz Philosophy": The Sources of Hannah Arendt's Thought Chapter 4 The Destruction of the Public Sphere and the Emergence of Totalitarianism Chapter 5 The Dialogue With Martin Heidegger: Arendt's Ontology of The Human Condition Chapter 6 The Art of Making and Subverting Distinctions: With Arendt, Contra Arendt Chapter 7 From the Problem of Judgment to the Public Sphere: Rethinking Hannah Arendt's Political Theory