For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Human Condition

by Arendt, Hannah (2013)


A work of striking originality bursting with unexpected insights, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then—diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are less equipped to control the consequences of our actions—continue to confront us today. This new edition, published to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of its original publication, contains an improved and expanded index and a new introduction by noted Arendt scholar Margaret Canovan which incisively analyzes the book's argument and examines its present relevance. A classic in political and social theory, The Human Condition is a work that has proved both timeless and perpetually timely. Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was one of the leading social theorists in the United States. Her Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy and Love and Saint Augustine are also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Key Passage

The impulse toward repetition  comes  from  the  craftsman's  need  to  earn  his  means  of  subsistence, in which case his working coincides with his laboring; or it comes from a demand for multiplication in the market, in which case the craftsman who wishes to meet this demand has added, as Plato would have said, the art of earning money to his craft. The point here is that in either case the process is repeated for reasons outside  itself  and  is  unlike  the  compulsory  repetition  inherent  in  laboring, where one must eat in order to labor and must labor in order to eat. (p.143)


Arendt, Technology, Modernity, Animal Laborans, Homo Faber


The Human Condition [1958], Arendt Citations

Links to Reference



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