Quotations From HANNAH ARENDT


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  • The more dubious and uncertain an instrument violence has become in international relations, the more it has gained in reputation and appeal in domestic affairs, specifically in the matter of revolution.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born U.S. political philosopher. "On Violence," Crises of the Republic (1972).
  • ... the will always wills to do something and thus implicitly holds in contempt sheer thinking, whose whole activity depends on "doing nothing."
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), U.S. philosopher and political theorist; born in Germany. The Life of the Mind, vol. 2: Willing, ch. 5 (1978).
  • The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of "living well," which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), U.S. philosopher and political theorist; born in Germany. The Life of the Mind, vol. 2: Willing, ch. 7 (1978).

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  • Men, forever tempted to lift the veil of the future—with the aid of computers or horoscopes or the intestines of sacrificial animals—have a worse record to show in these "sciences" than in almost any scientific endeavor.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), U.S. philosopher and political theorist; born in Germany. The Life of the Mind, vol. 2: Willing, ch. 14 (1978).

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  • The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born U.S. political philosopher. The Human Condition, pt. 5, ch. 24 (1958).
  • We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born-U.S. political philosopher. The Human Condition, pt. 3, ch. 17 (1958).

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  • Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born U.S. political philosopher. The Human Condition, pt. 3, ch. 16 (1958).

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  • The blessing of life as a whole ... can never be found in work.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), U.S. philosopher. The Human Condition, ch. 14 (1958).

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  • Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born U.S. political philosopher. The Origins of Totalitarianism, ch. 10, sect. 1 (1951).

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  • Our tradition of political thought had its definite beginning in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle. I believe it came to a no less definite end in the theories of Karl Marx.
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born U.S. political philosopher. Between Past and Future, ch. 1 (1961).

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