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Umgang mit sich selbst als Dialog: Hannah Arendts Modell des Denkens

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It is well known that for Arendt, plurality – the fact that “ men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world" – is a condition of human existence. It is less well known and less often discussed among Arendt-scholars that plurality is not only a condition with respect to the political dimension of human existence (e.g.power, collective action), but also – in the guise of duality – a condition of the – prima facie – unpolitical activity of thinking. Arendt advocates a dia- logical model of thought – thinking means to talk to oneself as to another person – and thus puts herself in a tradition she calls “Socratic". The general goal of this paper is to make explicit the consequences of this “duality of thinking" concerning one's relation to oneself and to “the world" in both epistemic and ethical respect. The point is that Arendt's conception of one's relation to oneself is modelled on one's relation to others. It is required for the applicability of the principle of contradiction as both an epistemic and an ethical norm: Arendt's conception provides space for a model of the intercourse with oneself and a conception of (bad) conscience.

She grounds the activity of thinking, at least structurally, in the “world" of which a plurality of perspectives is constitutive in her view: This plurality structures thought and is actualized in thinking. Thereby, Arendt distances herself from Cartesian models of thought according to which the privileged access to one's mental acts and states results from the asymmetry between the first-person and third-person perspective, or so I argue.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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  • The journal Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, appearing since 1946, is among the most important academic German language journals. It is open to all topics, approaches, and positions of philosophical thought. Given the increasing differentiation and specialization of the field, it thus constitutes a forum offering its various disciplines the opportunity for mutual recognition and exchange. The articles published in it are subject to an anonymous peer review in which internationally renowned scholars of all areas of contemporary philosophical research participate.

    Die seit 1946 erscheinende Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung gehört zu den wichtigsten deutschsprachigen Fachzeitschriften und steht allen Themen, Richtungen und Positionen der philosophischen Forschung offen. Angesichts der zunehmenden Ausdifferenzierung und Spezialisierung des Faches bietet sie damit auch ein Forum, in dem die verschiedenen Teildisziplinen sich gegenseitig wahrnehmen und in ein gemeinsames Gespräch kommen können. Die in ihr publizierten Abhandlungen durchlaufen ein anonymes Begutachtungsverfahren, an dem international anerkannte Forscher aus allen Spezialgebieten der gegenwärtigen philosophischen Forschung beteiligt sind.
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