Hannah Arendt and Human Rights: The Predicament of Common Responsibility

Paperback | September 29, 2006

byPeg Birmingham

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Hannah Arendt's most important contribution to political thought may be her well-known and often-cited notion of the "right to have rights." In this incisive and wide-ranging book, Peg Birmingham explores the theoretical and social foundations of Arendt's philosophy on human rights. Devoting special consideration to questions and issues surrounding Arendt's ideas of common humanity, human responsibility, and natality, Birmingham formulates a more complex view of how these basic concepts support Arendt's theory of human rights. Birmingham considers Arendt's key philosophical works along with her literary writings, especially those on Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka, to reveal the extent of Arendt's commitment to humanity even as violence, horror, and pessimism overtook Europe during World War II and its aftermath. This current and lively book makes a significant contribution to philosophy, political science, and European intellectual history.

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Hannah Arendt's most important contribution to political thought may be her well-known and often-cited notion of the "right to have rights." In this incisive and wide-ranging book, Peg Birmingham explores the theoretical and social foundations of Arendt's philosophy on human rights. Devoting special consideration to questions and issue...

Peg Birmingham is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. She is co-editor of Dissensus Communis: Between Ethics and Politics and co-translator of Dominique Janicaud's Powers of the Rational (IUP, 1994).

other books by Peg Birmingham

Format:PaperbackDimensions:184 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.56 inPublished:September 29, 2006Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253218659

ISBN - 13:9780253218650

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: The Problem of Human Rights
1. The Event of Natality: The Ontological Foundation of Human Rights
2. The Principle of Initium: Freedom, Power, and the Right to Have Rights
3. The Principle of Givenness: Appearance, Singularity, and the Right to Have Rights
4. The Predicament of Common Responsibility
Conclusion: The Political Institution of the Right to Have Rights

Notes
Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

"The achievement of Birmingham's book is that it situates Arendt's much cited discussion of the right to have rights within the broader context of her later work. She persuasively shows that the political predicament of stateless people exemplified the problematic of modern politics with which she was implicitly preoccupied in her later work on freedom and praxis..." -ANDREW SCHAAP, University of Exeter, UK, Social & Legal Studies, Vol. 18.2 2009