An Agonistic Model of Democracy – Mouffe v. Arendt

And, now for something completely different… …Well, at least someone who disagrees with some of Arendt’s main points – Chantal Mouffe. Our discussions around Arendt’s political writings, as thought provoking in informative as they are, often left some attendees wondering what options we have for political structures in this brave new modern capitalist world. Perhaps…

What is the Private Realm to a Political Philosopher?

For thinkers faced with the reality of extreme connectivity in the era of the internet, the thin lines we’ve drawn between the public and private are all the more interesting. Though this connectivity is indeed a new way of being in many ways, these concerns with the ramifications of the sorts of boundaries drawn to…

The Human Condition

“The modern world, in which we live today, was born with the first atomic explosions. I do not discuss this modern world, against whose background this book was written. I confine myself, on the one hand, to an analysis of those general human capacities which grow out of the human condition and are permanent, that…

The Humanist Period of Marx – Discussion and Close Readings of Early Marx

“The entire so-called history of the world is nothing but the begetting of man through human labor.” – Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts As a follow-up to our discussion on Lukács, we will be hosting a series of discussions focusing on the development and growth of Marx’s thought. Spanning the fields of politics, sociology, economics, philosophy,…

Totalitarianism: A Discussion on Ideology and Terror

In response to a rise in nationalism, there is also a rise in discussions about what an authoritarian regime looks like. In many of these discussions, Hannah Arendt’s research on Nazi-era Germany and her political theories have informed concerns and hopes for our political future. Critical Theory Chicago has recently had a repeated interest in political…

Lukács on Marx – “The Phenomenon of Reification”

“To be radical is to go to the root of the matter. For man, however, the root is man himself.” – Marx: Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. It is not rare that we find ourselves talking about Marx and Communism even though we maybe haven’t actually read much on it. If you’d like to add…

What is Government? Rousseau’s Social Contract Book 3

CTC recently finished multiple discussions about Hannah Arendt’s views on politics. Many times in our discussions, the role of a government in the political sphere was brought forward. So we now we will ask: What is government? Alex and Ben are new to the group discussions, and have jumped on the opportunity to lead a…

Introduction into Politics – Leading into Genuine Action

This is the end. And the beginning. After this American Presidential election, many of us find ourselves asking what we can do. Perhaps some of us can start by broadening our understanding of politics in the first place as action. “Introduction into Politics” is the final essay in The Promise of Politics. which is a collection of essays on…

Montesquieu, Hegel, Marx, and the End of Tradition

Continuing Through The Promise of Politics Thank you to the participants at Critical Theory Chicago discussions! We’ve had such interesting conversations about and a growing interest in Arendt’s political philosophy that we are moving on through the rest of The Promise of Politics. If you missed the first two, don’t be afraid to jump in. The…

The Tradition of Political Thought

In The Promise of Politics Hannah Arendt examines the abyss that opened between thought and action – a tradition beginning with Plato and culminating with Marx.  A tradition that ultimately fails. At our last meetup we critiqued her essay “Socrates,” where she proposed that Plato, writing under the full impact of a politically decaying society,…