Summary Of Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition

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In Hannah Arendt’s book, The Human Condition, she discusses what it means for man to be truly free. She coins the term “vita activa” to mean the active life of man. She divides the “vita activa” into three foundational human activities: labor, work, and action (7). In this essay, I will be focusing specifically on Arendt’s idea of action and freedom and how it relates to Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Freedom. Arendt’s account of freedom as action does not really correspond with Berlin’s idea of negative freedom; however, it does have elements that resemble Berlin’s concept of positive freedom. The seeming parallels between Arendt’s account of freedom as action and Berlin’s concept of positive freedom reside in each of their views on freedom…show more content…
This idea has its roots in the Greek polis. The polis, in this case, “is not the city-state in its physical location; it is the organization of the people as it arises out of acting and speaking together, and its true space lies between people living together for this purpose, no matter where they happen to be” (Arendt, 198). If there is no space of appearance for man to interact, then man cannot get an accurate grip of true reality according to Arendt. The public realm is the place where man can go and make himself and his ideas known which then gives them…show more content…
For negative freedom, it is the sphere of control and for positive freedom it is the question of who is in control (129). The driving question for “positive” political freedom is “what or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that” (Berlin, 122). This sense of political freedom requires a person being his own master and not relying on any outside influence (131). Positive political freedom is about man thinking for ones self and deciding for ones self, thereby establishing who they are to the world, on their own accord. Rationality and reason are also central to this sense of political freedom. It is this distinguishable reason that allows an individual to not only not be his own commander, but to also not succumb to or become enslaved to his innermost desires (132). An individual who is not a slave to his every desire and whim and is a rational actor and decision maker is autonomous. This mastery over your own nature, Berlin claims, is the “dominant” self and that your innermost passions are your “empirical” or “heteronomous” self (132). Berlin then claims that these two selves, “may be represented as something wider than the individual.as a social ‘whole’ of which the individual is an element or aspect…this entity is then identified as being the ‘true’ self which, by imposing its collective, or
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