Vryheid en selfonthulling in Hannah Arendt se performatiewe opvatting van handeling

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    In the first six sections of this article the author discusses various aspects of Arendt’s view of freedom. Particular attention is given to her performative (dramaturgical) view of action and to her idea of the self-revelatory nature of action. According to Arendt, action should not be interpreted in expressivist terms, nor should one judge it in terms of its utility or fixed religious or moral norms. Actions are to be judged solely in terms of their 'greatness' or excellence, which for Arendt is akin to the virtuosity that one finds in the performing arts. Freedom and virtue manifest in the performance of great and virtuosic actions in the presence of (and in concert with) others. Thus, these actions depend on the existence of a vigorous public sphere (which for Arendt implies 'civic friendship'). They are also co-constitutive of the public sphere, helping to sustain it and keeping it alive. The concluding section summarises Arendt’s views on an authentically human (i.e. virtuous) existence, and places a particular emphasis on the notion of 'acting from principle'. Once again, this highlights the impersonal and anti-expressivist character of action.