Hannah Arendt and the Challenge of Modernity
A Phenomenology of Human Rights
Routledge – 2008 – 222 pages
Series: Studies in Philosophy
Hannah Arendt and the Challenge of Modernity explores the theme of human rights in the work of Hannah Arendt. Parekh argues that Arendt's contribution to this debate has been largely ignored because she does not speak in the same terms as contemporary theoreticians of human rights. Beginning by examining Arendt’s critique of human rights, and the concept of "a right to have rights" with which she contrasts the traditional understanding of human rights, Parekh goes on to analyze some of the tensions and paradoxes within the modern conception of human rights that Arendt brings to light, arguing that Arendt’s perspective must be understood as phenomenological and grounded in a notion of intersubjectivity that she develops in her readings of Kant and Socrates.
Introduction: The Groundlessness of Modernity
Chapter One: The Paradox of Human Rights
Chapter Two: Human Dignity and the Ethos of Modernity
Chapter Three: The Common World
Chapter Four: Two Realms of Existence
Chapter Five: The Foundations of Human Rights
Chapter Six: Conscience, Morality, Judgment
Serena Parekh is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, jointly appointed with the Human Rights Institute. She received her PhD in philosophy from Boston College. Professor Parekh has recently published articles in Philosophy and Social Criticism, the Journal of Human Rights, and Human Rights Quarterly.