chapter  7
25 Pages

Hannah Arendt on Politicizing the University and Other Clichés

ByPeter Euben

This chapter presents a collection of essays on Hannah Arendt and education. It focuses on a wide array of Arendtian concepts such as natality, action, freedom, public space, authority and judgment which are particularly relevant for education in a democratic society. The chapter explores Thomas Jefferson's challenge that is executed with the help of Hannah Arendt and Socrates. Hannah Arendt believes that "political education" is a dangerous confounding of categories, sensibilities, and activities. There is one place in which Arendt would agree that education involves reciprocity between equals rather than illicit hierarchy. There are other ways in which a university education can be a political one, even as it performs more specifically intellectual tasks. Socrates is an educator whose mode of education respects the equality Arendt insists is necessary in politics. Obeying the laws also implies that, in Arendtian terms, Socrates is taking responsibility for a common world.