Hannah Arendt on plurality, basic activities, and different forms of the we

CFS Lecture in Phenomenology by Sophie Loidolt, Institut für Philosophie, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany.


Sophie Loidolt is professor of philosophy at TU Darmstadt, Germany, and a member of the “Young Academy” of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She is author of Anspruch und Rechtfertigung. Eine Theorie des rechtlichen Denkens im Anschluss an die Phänomenologie Edmund Husserls (Springer 2009), Einführung in die Rechtsphänomenologie (Mohr Siebeck 2010), and Phenomenology of Plurality. Hannah Arendt on Political Intersubjectivity (Routledge 2017). She was a visiting researcher in Paris, Leuven, New York, and Copenhagen, a guest professor at the Universities of Kassel and Klagenfurt, and worked as an assistant professor at the University of Vienna, where she received most of her education. Her work centers on the fields of phenomenology, political and legal philosophy, and ethics, as well as on transcendental thinking and the philosophy of mind.


"Hannah Arendt on plurality, basic activities, and different forms of the we"

Considering Arendt’s remarks in The Human Condition, different activities form different modes of “we,” as well as states in which a possible plural “we” is either absorbed, obstructed, or destroyed. This is most obvious in her famous analyses of the activity-modes of “labor” and “work” as well as in her critical assessments of the modern age, totalitarianism, and consumerist mass society. Accordingly, Arendt can be read as arguing for a specific development of a “we” that allows for a distinctly human and humane existence. This, of course, is a normatively loaded view, derived from her critical political perspective. On the other hand, it involves a strong thesis concerning the constitution, the reality, and the nature of a “we”: what actually is a “real we” and what is not, as well as a thesis as to how the “we” comes about. For Arendt, an authentic form of “we” does not dissolve the uniqueness of each “I”. Quite the contrary, it is the necessary medium of their distinct articulation and appearance.

The lecture is free and open to all. Welcome!