The Promise of Politics

Edited and with an introduction by Jerome Kohn. New York: Schocken Books, 2005.


In The Promise of Politics, Hannah Arendt examines the conflict between philosophy and politics. In particular, she shows how the tradition of Western political thought, which extends from Plato and Aristotle to its culmination in Marx, failed to account for human action. The concluding section of the book, “Introduction intoPolitics,” examines an issue that is as timely today as it was when Arendt first wrote about it fifty years ago–the modern prejudice against politics. When politics is considered as a means to an end that lies outside of itself, argues Arendt, when force is used to create “freedom,” the very existence of political principles is imperiled.

Table of Contents:

The tradition of political thought
Montesquieu’s revision of the tradition
From Hegel to Marx
The end of tradition
Introduction into politics