Trevor Tchir 1
  • 1 Algoma University, Queen Street East, 1520, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada P6A 2G4

Hannah Arendt’s Ethic of Responsibility to the “Who” and the “World”

2018, vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 70–87 [issue contents]
The rise of populism and the polarization of traditional and new media pose threats to pluralistic democratic action and judgment. Citizens often vilify each other, deny each other the space to test and justify their perspectives publicly, either because they hold radically different political views, or because they ascribe an essentialist identity upon the other, one that they believe must be negated in accordance with the logic of their own ideology. This paper presents three vital resources in Hannah Arendt’s thought for addressing these challenges to democracy. First, Arendt promotes physical — not merely virtual or digital — spaces of public deliberation in which actors disclose “who” they uniquely are and the “world” that contextualizes their action. Arendt proposes a principle of resistance to totalitarianism and a “responsibility for the world” as the appropriate limit to free action within these spaces. Second, Arendt presents a limit, or standard of intelligibility, to political action and speech permissible in public: the sensus communis of Kant’s theory of aesthetic judgment. This standard of common sense, which binds the public sphere, demands that a speech act’s intersubjective validity appeal to an objectivity that can be shared from different perspectives, but which allows for disagreement, and is not as restrictive as an Aristotelian ethos or an internally consistent ideology. Finally, Arendt asserts the imperative of factual truth telling and attention to the details of public phenomena, as necessary conditions for intelligible action and judgment in a pluralistic public sphere.
Citation: Tchir T. (2018) Etika otvetstvennosti po otnosheniyu k sobstvennomu «kto» i k «miru» v rabotakh Khanny Arendt [Hannah Arendt’s Ethic of Responsibility to the “Who” and the “World”]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 4, pp. 70-87
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