Ethics of Worldliness and Its Contribution to Political Reconciliation: A Study of Hannah Arendt's Political Though
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KOTEN, Yosef Keladu
B Philosophy (General) 
2020-12-22 05:28:48 
Abstract :
Hannah Arendt’s works deal mostly with past political violences, particularly those performed by Hitler’s regime in Germany in the tragedy of the Holocaust. In Arendt’s view, violence has ruptured modern civilization. It has shattered all political thoughts and moral judgments. However, it is surprising that Arendt still appeals to human thinking to make sense of that kind of violence in order to prevent its recurrence. Here she offers a wordly perspective of thinking that is based on neither traditional political nor moral standards, but rather on the world and the action that takes place in that world. Thinking about the world means being attentive to the world, the sort of attentiveness which reveals our responsibility for the world. And in judging a political action we should be aware of the great things that an action could bring to the world. In other words, in judging we seek for the meaning which past events might have for common life in the world. This is Arendt’s ethics of worldliness, understood as a way of thinking about the man-made condition of human existence. This dissertation takes Arendt’s emphasis on making sense of past wrongs and proposes that her ethics of worldliness can shed light on the contemporary discourse on political reconciliation. From the perspective of Arendt’s ethics, political reconciliation can be formulated as the possibility of coming to terms with the givenness, which is the world, understood as the condition of human existence that includes the horror of its history. Recently, one way of promoting political reconciliation is through the establishment of truth commissions whose central tasks are to discover the truth of the past wrongs and to encourage forgiveness among the conflicting parties. These objectives are expected to be attained through testimonies and public hearings where the victims and perpetrators are given the opportunity to tell own stories about what had happened. The components of Arendt’s ethics, such as responsibility for the world and the search for meaning are concretely manifested in her discussion of storytelling and political forgiveness. The interesting point of Arendt’s notion of storytelling and political forgiveness is that in telling such a story and eventually forgiving, victims and perpetrators commonly assume the responsibility for the common world. Therefore, in this dissertation I argue that Arendt’s constant discussion of storytelling and political forgiveness in the light of responsibility for the world and the search for meaning of action for the common world is the reason why her ideas are meaningful for political reconciliation. 
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