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The Origin of the PoliticalHannah Arendt or Simone Weil?$
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Roberto Esposito

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823276264

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823276264.001.0001

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(p.24) 5 Polemos/Polis
The Origin of the Political

Roberto Esposito

, Vincenzo Binetti, Gareth Williams
Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the way in which the “passage through origin” take us back to the complex relations established by Arendt between the origin of Western history as narrated in the Iliad and the very story recounted therein. The most intrinsic point of convergence between them can be found in the double dimension of origin—diachronic and synchronic, epochal and evental. In fact, it is precisely this point that gives reason to Arendt's double, bi-univocal, interpretation of the relation between war and politics. The war of Troy—in its symbolic significance as originary conflict or Ur-teilung dividing the order of things into radical dissimilarity—is both external and internal to the “city” that emerges from it, to the extent that polemos cannot coincide with polis. Rather, the latter can only be born from within the distance that it assumes in respect to the former. And yet, without polemos, politics would not exist.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, origin, Western History, Iliad, war, politics, polemos, polis, philosophy

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