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Thinking in Dark TimesHannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics$
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Roger Berkowitz, Jeffrey Katz, and Thomas Keenan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230754

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230754.001.0001

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A Discriminating Politics

A Discriminating Politics

(p.43) A Discriminating Politics
Thinking in Dark Times

Uday Mehta

Fordham University Press

Terror and its cognates have come to signify the darkest excesses of contemporary and 20th-century political life. These include aggressive claims to purity; murderous manifestations of programmatic and religious self-certainty; paranoid and devastating responses to threats to national security; and more generally, an intensity of instrumental forms of thinking and acting that give to individuals, groups, and states a broad warrant for deploying violence as a means to their purposefulness. Hannah Arendt reflected deeply on the implications of such high-minded and bellicose purposefulness. This chapter focuses on how Arendt also associated terror with something utterly commonplace, whose reach and provenance extended well beyond the 20th century—namely, in the political attempt to address ubiquitous social questions.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, terror, politics, violence

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