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The Human Condition Paperback – Jun 1958


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr (T) (June 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226025934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226025933
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #280,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 4 2004
Format: Paperback
In "The human condition", Arendt distinguishes three kinds of activities the human being is capable of: labor, action and work. I will attempt to explain the first two, and I will leave the third to you so as to motivate you to read the book :)
Labor is, according to Arendt, those human activities whose main aim is to allow men to survive, for example eating, drinking and sleeping. These activities belong to the private sphere, and while the human being strives painstakingly to perform them, he is not free.
On the other hand, Action is the moment when the human being develops the capacity that distinguishes him, the ability of being free. This is the public sphere, where men, after having provided for themselves and their families what was needed to "continue in existence", can at last be free.
Arendt shows us the historical evolution of these concepts, and how that evolution is connected to the evolution of the concept of work. At the end of this book, you will have analyzed with her the human condition, from the point of view of the activities that the human being is capable of. What is more, you will be able to have a valid view regarding the past, and an interesting perspective on what is happening now, and on what the future may bring to us. Yes, it is true that this book was released a long time ago, but I believe that it is still as important now as it was then.

Arendt (1906-1975) was a respected professor and thinker, who wrote books that greatly influenced quite a few of her contemporaries. Even though her more significant book was "Origins of Totalitarianism" (1951), "The human condition" is also essential in order to understand her ideas.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Here, "perseverance" is the right word :) April 4 2004
By M. B. Alcat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In "The human condition", Arendt distinguishes three kinds of activities the human being is capable of: labor, action and work. I will attempt to explain the first two, and I will leave the third to you so as to motivate you to read the book :)
Labor is, according to Arendt, those human activities whose main aim is to allow men to survive, for example eating, drinking and sleeping. These activities belong to the private sphere, and while the human being strives painstakingly to perform them, he is not free.
On the other hand, Action is the moment when the human being develops the capacity that distinguishes him, the ability of being free. This is the public sphere, where men, after having provided for themselves and their families what was needed to "continue in existence", can at last be free.
Arendt shows us the historical evolution of these concepts, and how that evolution is connected to the evolution of the concept of work. At the end of this book, you will have analyzed with her the human condition, from the point of view of the activities that the human being is capable of. What is more, you will be able to have a valid view regarding the past, and an interesting perspective on what is happening now, and on what the future may bring to us. Yes, it is true that this book was released a long time ago, but I believe that it is still as important now as it was then.

Arendt (1906-1975) was a respected professor and thinker, who wrote books that greatly influenced quite a few of her contemporaries. Even though her more significant book was "Origins of Totalitarianism" (1951), "The human condition" is also essential in order to understand her ideas. Not only that, it will probably help you to understand our society, or at least to contemplate it through the eyes of a remarkably good political scientist.
I must warn you that "The human condition" isn't overly easy to read, and that you might find yourself re-reading a paragraph a few times before understanding what it means. However, at the end of the book you will realize that the effort is worthwhile, because then all you have read makes sense and leaves you with the sensation of having understood some concepts that you will find useful.
On the whole, recommended. You aren't likely to "have fun" reading this book, but it will be useful to you, and if you manage to finish it, you will realize that you benefited from it. So, PERSEVERANCE ):
Belen Alcat
Arendt Jan. 7 2014
By Anthony R. Brunello - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE HUMAN CONDITION is among the top 10 most important theoretical works of the 20th century, and Arendt arguably among the greatest social theorists. For me, this book qualifies Arendt as the one greatest social theorist of modern times. Hannah Arendt will cure you of making false assumptions about something we like to call "human nature." That is dangerous and always has been. Instead, she explores the "human condition" and after reading this book the first time over thirty years ago I have returned time and again when I have lost my way.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Pascal's Phrase Plumbed Oct. 6 2014
By reading man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Isaiah Berlin famously said that he thought Hannah Arendt was an incoherent thinker. W.H. Auden claimed that THE HUMAN CONDITION was the kind of book he would have preferred to be writer for him alone.

Auden was a close friend of Arendt, so close, in fact, that he proposed to her shortly after he husband died, which is not only surprisingly like Claudius but even stranger because Auden was a homosexualist. Could his reaction to the book be a reflection of his feelings for Hannah?

If so, you wonder if Berlin and Arendt had a personal encounter that influenced his judgment.

In any case, this book is not incoherent, but neither is as revelatory as Auden claims. It's worth reading, however, as are most of Arendt's other books, in spite of the influence of the unspeakable Heidegger on her philosophical views.

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