Hannah Arendt’s theory of freedom: a reinterpretation

Neal, Luke (2016). Hannah Arendt’s theory of freedom: a reinterpretation. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Freedom is undoubtedly a central concept employed by Hannah Arendt in her political thought, yet I believe that it remains open to further interpretation. This thesis attempts to outline what Arendt means by the term and the implications of it for her thought more broadly. Advancing a nuanced methodology which seeks to understand the relationship between Arendt’s primary concepts, this thesis examines how a large body of terms come together to form her unique and heavily politicised theory of freedom. These ideas are often related to Arendt’s philosophy of speech, which draws heavily upon ancient Greek political understanding. The thesis proceeds with reference to her critique of totalitarian language and the problems that she associates with it, which is then compared specifically with the Greek account of rhetoric. From here the thesis proceeds toward Arendt’s ideal of political discourse which it is suggested also is heavily grounded in the German hermeneutic tradition. Combining the Greek and German influences, I conclude that Arendt’s account of freedom should be labelled freedom as rhetoric. Building upon this observation it is then claimed that Arendt is best understood as advancing a form of hermeneutic republicanism.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: The University of Birmingham
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6828


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