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Hannah Arendt: Joodse perspectieven en controversen


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De Duits-joodse filosofe Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was ongetwijfeld een van de meest invloedrijke politieke denkers van de Twintigste Eeuw. Werken zoals The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, On Revolution en The Life of the Mind worden dan ook terecht als klassiekers van de politieke filosofie beschouwd. In deze monografieën en in talloze essays tracht Arendt het belang en de betekenis van de meest cruciale politieke gebeurtenissen van de vorige eeuw te doorgronden en laat ze zien hoe ze ons politiek en moreel oordeelsvermogen onherroepelijk veranderd hebben.

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Hannah Arendt: Joodse perspectieven en controversen

  1. 1. Hannah Arendt Joodse perspectieven & Controversen Dr. Nathan Van Camp
  2. 2. 2 Overzicht 1. Biografie 2. The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951): “Ideology and Terror” 3. De jood als parvenu en paria: van Rahel Varnhagen (1938) tot The Human Condition (1958) 4. The Human Condition: vergeving en belofte 5. Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963)
  3. 3. 3 1. Biografie 1. Biografie
  4. 4. 4 1. Kindertijd en jeugd De familie Arendt “I came from an old Köningsberg family. But the word ‘Jew’ was never mentioned at home. I First encountered it – though really it is hardly worth recounting it – in the anti-Semitic remarks of children as we played in the streets – then I became, so to speak, enlightened (…) As a child – now a somewhat older child – I knew, for example, that I looked Jewish (…) That is, that I looked a bit different from the rest. But not in a way that made me feel inferior – I was simply aware of it, that is all.” (in: E. Young-Bruehl, 11)
  5. 5. 5 2. Studiejaren • Marburg: relatie met Martin Heidegger • Freiburg: Edmund Husserl • Heidelberg: Karl Jaspers • Vriendschap met Hans Jonas en Günther Stern/Anders • Doctoraal proefschrift: Liebesbegriff bei Augustin
  6. 6. 6 3. De woelige jaren ‘30 • • • • • • Biografie Rahel Varnhagen Kennismaking met het zionisme en het marxisme Antisemitisme in Nazi-Duitsland Vlucht naar Parijs “jeugd Aliyah” Het begin van de oorlog
  7. 7. 7 4. Naar de Verenigde Staten • New York • Belangrijkste publicaties • Terugkeer naar Europa • Arendt in Jeruzalem
  8. 8. 2. “Ideology and Terror” Totalitarisme en de Wet
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. 10 Ideology and Terror • Totalitarisme: een nieuw politiek regime • Nood aan een nieuw verklaringsmodel • “It may even be that the true predicaments of our time will assume their authentic form – though not ncessarily the cruelest– only when totalitarianism has become a thing of the past.” (OT, 593) • Fundamentele vraag: welke is de grondervaring die totalitaire regimes mogelijk maakt?
  11. 11. 11 Ideology and Terror • Totalitarisme breekt met het fundamentele onderscheid tussen wettige en wetteloze regimes • Geen positieve wetten, maar bewegingswetten • Doel: Instellen rijk der rechtvaardigheid op aarde
  12. 12. 12 Ideology and Terror • “Totalitarian lawfulness, defying legality and pretending to establish the direct reign of justice on earth, executes the law of History or of Nature without translating it into standards of right and wrong for individual behavior. It applies the law directly to mankind without bothering with the behavior of men. The law of Nature or the law of History, if properly executed, is expected to produce mankind as its endproduct; and this expectation lies behind the claim to global rule of totalitarian governments. Totalitarian policy claims to transform the human species into an unfailing carrier of a law to which human beings otherwise would only be passively and reluctantly be subjected.” (OT, 595-596)
  13. 13. 13 Ideology and Terror • Wetten van de beweging vs. natuurwet of goddelijke wet • Rassenwet: de nieuwe mens • De wetten van de geschiedenis: autonomie van de productiekrachten • Processen die ten grondslag liggen aan beide totalitaire wetten kennen geen natuurlijk einde
  14. 14. 14 Ideology and Terror • Van positieve wet naar terreur: eliminatie van spontaan handelen • Opschorting van het onderscheid tussen ”schuldigen” en “onschuldigen” • “Practically speaking, this means that terror executes on the spot the death sentences which Nature is supposed to have pronounced on races or individuals who are “unfit to live,” or History on “dying classes,” without waiting for the slower and less efficiënt processess of nature or history themselves.” (OT, 601)
  15. 15. 15 Ideology and Terror • Geen handelingsprincipes, maar ideologieën • Ideologie: de logica van de idee • 2 kenmerken 1. Verklaren niet wat “is,” maar wat “zal zijn” 2. Hebben betrekking op een meer fundamentele realiteit
  16. 16. 16 Ideology and Terror • De voorbereiding van het totalitaire subject: verlies van realiteitsbesef • Afsnijden van medemens en wereld: isolatie • Doorsnijden laatste band met de realiteit: eliminatie van de private sfeer • Totaal realiteitsverlies: eenzaamheid
  17. 17. 17 Ideology and Terror • “(…) there remains the fact that the crisis of our time and its central experience have brought forth an entirely new form of government which as a potentially and ever-present danger is only too likely to stay with us from now on, just as other forms of government which came about at different historical moments and rested on different fundamental experiences have stayed with mankind regardless of temporary defeats.” (OT, 616)
  18. 18. 18 Ideology and Terror “But there remains also the truth that every end in history necessarily contains a new beginning; this beginning is the promise, the only “message” which the end can ever produce. Beginning, before it becomes a historical event, is the supreme capacity of man; politically, it is identical with man’s freedom. (…). This beginning is guaranteed by each new birth; it is indeed every man.” (OT, 616)
  19. 19. Interlude: Het opzet van The Human Condition 19 • De “verloren schat”: politiek, actie, vrijheid • De fundamentele categorieën van het “actieve leven” en hun condities: (1) arbeid<>leven, (2) werk<>wereld, (3) actie<>pluraliteit • De “plaats” van de menselijke activiteiten: de private en de publieke sfeer • Moderne dwaling: “The rise of the social”
  20. 20. 3. De jood als parvenu en paria Van Rahel Varnhagen tot The Human Condition
  21. 21. 21 De jood als parvenu en paria 1. Rahel Varnhagen: een biografie
  22. 22. De jood als parvenu en paria 22 • Synopsis: drang naar assimilatie en erkenning • “The thing which all my life seemed to me the greatest shame, which was the misery and misfortune of my life – having born a Jewess – this I should on no account now wish to have missed.” (Rahel Varnhagen, p. 3)
  23. 23. De jood als parvenu en paria • De jood als paria • De jood als parvenu • Hardnekkig stigma: “Now at last she can become an Excellency and Ambassador’s wife. There is nothing the Jews cannot achieve.” (In: Rahel Varnhagen, p. 201) 23
  24. 24. De jood als parvenu en paria 24 • Parvenu’s betalen een te hoge prijs (1) Zelf-haat: “In a society on the whole hostile to the Jews (…) it is possible to assimilate only by assimilating to antiSemitism also.” (Rahel Varnhagen, p. 224) • (2) Zelf-negatie: een eindeloze opdracht • (3) Realiteitsverlies: totaal confomisme
  25. 25. De jood als parvenu en paria 2. De vluchteling als parvenu en de bewuste paria 25
  26. 26. De jood als parvenu en paria • Nieuwe Wetten • De vluchteling als paria • De vluchteling als parvenu • Arendt’s alternatief: de bewuste paria 26
  27. 27. De jood als parvenu en paria 27 • “[H]e knew where the solution lay: in contrast to his unemancipated brethren who accept their pariah status automatically and unconsciously, the emancipated Jew must awake to an awareness of his position and, conscious of it, become a rebel against it – the champion of an oppressed people.” (The Jew as Pariah, p. 76)
  28. 28. 4. The Human Condition Vergeving en belofte
  29. 29. 29 The Human Condition • Arbeid, werk en hun tekortkomingen • “From the viewpoint of the animal laborans, it is like a miracle that it is also a being which knows of and inhabits a World; from the viewpoint of homo faber, it is like a miracle, like the revelation of a divinity, that meaning should have a place in this world.” (HC, 236)
  30. 30. 30 The Human Condition • Praxis: twee inherente gevaren 1. Onomkeerbaarheid 2. Onvoorspelbaarheid • Het grootste gevaar: wetenschap als praxis • Praxis: twee remedies 1. Vergeving 2. Belofte
  31. 31. 31 1. vergeving • Het belang van de historische figuur van Jezus van Nazareth • “It has been in the nature of our tradition of political thought to be highly selective and to exclude from articulate conceptualization a great variety of authentic political experiences, among which we need not be surprised to find some of an even elementary nature. Certain aspects of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth which are not primarily related to the Christian religious message but sprang from experiences in the small and closely knit community of his followers, bent on challenging the political authorities in Israel, certainly belong among them, even though they have been neglected because of their allegedly exclusively religious nature.” (HC, 238-239)
  32. 32. 32 The Human Condition • Christelijke dogmatiek gaat in tegen de leer van Jezus van Nazareth • Vita contemplativa vs. Vita activa • “Traditionally, therefore, the term vita activa receives its meaning from the vita contemplativa; its very restricted dignity is bestowed upon it because it serves the needs and wants of contemplation in a living body. Christianity, with its belief in a hereafter whose joys announce themselves in the delights of contemplation, conferred a religious sanction upon the abasement of the vita activa to its derivative, secondary position.” (HC, 16)
  33. 33. 33 The Human Condition • Vergeving vs. Wraak: opschorting van het procesmatige karakter van een actie door middel van een nieuwe actie • Vergeving en straf • “All we know is that we can neither punish nor forgive such offenses and that they therefore transcend the realm of human affairs and the potentialities of human power, both of which they radically destroy wherever they make their appearance. Here, where the deed itself dispossesses us of all power, we can indeed only repeat with Jesus: ‘It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea’.” (HC, 241 )
  34. 34. 34 The Human Condition • Scheiden van dader en daad • Vergeving en liefde • Het antipolitieke karakter van de liefde • “Love, in distinction from friendship, is killed, or rather extinguished, the moment it is displayed in public. Because of inherent worldlessness, love can only become false and perverted when it is used for political purposes such as the change or salvation of the World.” (HV, 51-52)
  35. 35. 35 2. Belofte • Abraham als grondlegger van de politieke functie van de belofte (Berith) • Onvoorspelbaarheid kent twee gezichten 1. Onbetrouwbaarheid van de mens 2. Pluraliteit • Prijs van de menselijke vrijheid
  36. 36. 3. Eichmann in Jerusalem
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. 38 Adolf Eichmann (1942)
  39. 39. 39 Adolf Eichmann in Jeruzalem
  40. 40. 40
  41. 41. 41 Adolf Eichmann • Rol binnen het Nazi-regime • Vlucht naar Argentinië • Ontvoering door Mossad
  42. 42. 42 Eichmann in Jerusalem • Arendt’s opzet • Drie controversiële stellingen 1. Opmerkingen over de Israelische rechtbank 2. Kritiek op de rol van de Jüdenraete 3. Eichmann’s “banale kwaad”
  43. 43. 43 1. De rechtbank • De rol van Gideon Hausner • De rol van David Ben-Gurion
  44. 44. 44 2. De Jüdenraete • Wat? • Veralgemenisering? • “Wherever Jews lived there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderness, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four-and-a-half and six million people.” (Eichmann, 125-126)
  45. 45. 45 3. De banaliteit van kwaad • Tempering van haar analyse in The Origins • Gebrek aan oordeelsvermogen en verbeeldingskracht • Vergelijking met andere daderanalyses
  46. 46. 46 Eichmann in Jerusalem • “1) Better, if you have to die, to be selected by your kin.” – I disagree: it would have been infinitely better to let the Nazi’s do their own murderous business. 2) “with a 100 victims we shall save a 1,000.” – This sounds to me like the last version of human sacrifices: pick seven virgins, sacrifice them to placate the wrath of the gods. Well, this is not my religious belief, and it most certainly is not the Faith of Judaism. 3) Finally, the theory of lesser evil. Result: good men do the worst.” (In Young-Bruehl, 374)