Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin Review: Clash of the Titans – The Wall Street Journal

Posted By on November 8, 2021

In the halcyon age before Covid, I caught a flight to a small town in Germany to see an opera about love between two philosophers. The love was not in the least bit Platonic. Hannah Arendt was 18 years old, fatherless, a virgin. Martin Heidegger was in his mid-30s, married with two sons, a leader in his field. In modern terms, the liaison was a classic #MeToo scenario, an abuse of trust and duty.

In real life, Arendt was in denial, and Heidegger drew a line between life and mind. He would tell his students: Aristotle was born, worked and died, now lets turn to his ideas. Ella Milch- Sheriffs opera, The Banality of Love, projected something of his view that an individual human being is uninteresting. But in this case and many others, the ideas are shaped by the all-too-human flaws of the lives that conceived themthe two sides are inseparable. It is surely time to reassess Arendt, a major philosopher of totalitarianism, in light of her formative philosophical influence, a brilliant chameleon who would transform himself into an intellectual apologist for Nazism.

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Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin Review: Clash of the Titans - The Wall Street Journal

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