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Hannah Arendt and Human Rights
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"Peg Birmingham's reading of Arendt's work is absolutely unique. She seeks nothing less than an ontological foundation of the political, and in particular, the notion of human rights." -- Bernard Flynn, The New School for Social Research

Hannah Arendt's most important contribution to political thought may be her well-known and often-cited notion of the "right to have rights." In this incisive and wide-ranging book, Peg Birmingham explores the theoretical and social foundations of Arendt's philosophy on human rights. Devoting special consideration to questions and issues surrounding Arendt's ideas of common humanity, human responsibility, and natality, Birmingham formulates a more complex view of how these basic concepts support Arendt's theory of human rights. Birmingham considers Arendt's key philosophical works along with her literary writings, especially those on Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka, to reveal the extent of Arendt's commitment to humanity even as violence, horror, and pessimism overtook Europe during World War II and its aftermath. This current and lively book makes a significant contribution to philosophy, political science, and European intellectual history.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. CONTENTS
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE TEXT FOR BOOKS BY HANNAH ARENDT
  2. p. xiii
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  1. Introduction: The Problem of Human Rights
  2. pp. 1-3
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  1. ONE: The Event of Natality:The Ontological Foundation of Human Rights
  2. pp. 4-34
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  1. TWO: The Principle of Initium: Freedom, Power, and the Right to Have Rights
  2. pp. 35-69
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  1. THREE: The Principle of Givenness: Appearance, Singularity, and the Right to Have Rights
  2. pp. 70-103
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  1. FOUR: The Predicament of Common Responsibility
  2. pp. 104-131
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  1. Conclusion: The Political Institution of the Right to Have Rights
  2. pp. 132-142
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  1. NOTES
  2. pp. 143-154
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  1. WORKS CITED
  2. pp. 155-158
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  1. INDEX
  2. pp. 159-161
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