Hannah Arendt's Theory of Political Action

Daimonic Disclosure of the ‘Who'

  • Trevor Tchir

Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Trevor Tchir
    Pages 1-13
  3. Trevor Tchir
    Pages 65-95
  4. Trevor Tchir
    Pages 97-124
  5. Trevor Tchir
    Pages 235-246
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 247-258

About this book


This book presents an account of Hannah Arendt’s performative and non-sovereign theory of freedom and political action, with special focus on action’s disclosure of the unique ‘who’ of each agent. It aims to illuminate Arendt’s critique of sovereign rule, totalitarianism, and world-alienation, her defense of a distinct political sphere for engaged citizen action and judgment, her conception of the ‘right to have rights,’ and her rejection of teleological philosophies of history. Arendt proposes that in modern, pluralistic, secular public spheres, no one metaphysical or religious idea can authoritatively validate political actions or opinions absolutely. At the same time, she sees action and thinking as revealing an inescapable existential illusion of a divine element in human beings, a notion represented well by the ‘daimon’ metaphor that appears in Arendt’s own work and in key works by Plato, Heidegger, Jaspers, and Kant, with which she engages. While providing a post-metaphysical theory of action and judgment, Arendt performs the fact that many of the legitimating concepts of contemporary secular politics retain a residual vocabulary of transcendence. This book will be of interest not only to Arendt scholars, but also to students of identity politics, the critique of sovereignty, international political theory, political theology, and the philosophy of history.  



Hannah Arendt's theory of freedom and political action critique of sovereign rule critique of totalitarianism the ‘right to have rights' critique of sovereignty political theology philosophy of history international political theory divine elements in human beings contemporary secular politics teleological philosophies of history Hannah Arendt's daimon metaphor Hannah Arendt and Plato Hannah Arendt and Heidegger Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers Hannah Arendt and Kant Hannah Arendt and Marx

Authors and affiliations

  • Trevor Tchir
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Law and PoliticsAlgoma UniversitySault Ste. MarieCanada

Bibliographic information