Request Inspection Copy

If you are an Academic or Teacher and wish to consider this book as a prescribed textbook for your course, you may be eligible for a complimentary inspection copy. Please complete this form, including information about your position, campus and course, before adding to cart.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on


Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Human Condition 2ed

by Hannah Arendt University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 380 pages
AU$54.99 NZ$59.12
Product Status: In Stock Now
add to your cart
& Academics:
The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the political thinker Hannah Arendt, "the theorist of beginnings," whose work probes the logics underlying unexpected transformations - from totalitarianism to revolution.

A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then - diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are less equipped to control the consequences of our actions - continue to confront us today. This new edition, published to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of its original publication, contains Margaret Canovan's 1998 introduction and a new foreword by Danielle Allen.

A classic in political and social theory, The Human Condition is a work that has proved both timeless and perpetually timely.  

Foreword by Danielle Allen

Introduction by Margaret Canovan



I.          The Human Condition


1.         Vita Activa and the Human Condition

2.         The Term Vita Activa

3.         Eternity versus Immortality


II.        The Public and the Private Realm


4.         Man: A Social or a Political Animal

5.         The Polis and the Household

6.         The Rise of the Social

7.         The Public Realm: The Common

8.         The Private Realm: Property

9.         The Social and the Private

10.       The Location of Human Activities


III.       Labor


11.       “The Labour of Our Body and the Work of Our Hands”

12.       The Thing-Character of the World

13.       Labor and Life

14.       Labor and Fertility

15.       The Privacy of Property and Wealth

16.       The Instruments of Work and the Division of Labor

17.       A Consumers’ Society


IV.       Work


18.       The Durability of the World

19.       Reification

20.       Instrumentality and Animal Laborans

21.       Instrumentality and Homo Faber

22.       The Exchange Market

23.       The Permanence of the World and the Work of Art


V.        Action


24.       The Disclosure of the Agent in Speech and Action

25.       The Web of Relationships and the Enacted Stories

26.       The Frailty of Human Affairs

27.       The Greek Solution

28.       Power and the Space of Appearance

29.       Homo Faber and the Space of Appearance

30.       The Labor Movement

31.       The Traditional Substitution of Making for Acting

32.       The Process Character of Action

33.       Irreversibility and the Power to Forgive

34.       Unpredictability and the Power of Promise


VI.       The Vita Activa and the Modern Age


35.       World Alienation

36.       The Discovery of the Archimedean Point

37.       Universal versus Natural Science

38.       The Rise of the Cartesian Doubt

39.       Introspection and the Loss of Common Sense

40.       Thought and the Modern World View

41.       The Reversal of Contemplation and Action

42.       The Reversal within the Vita Activa and the Victory of Homo Faber

43.       The Defeat of Homo Faber and the Principle of Happiness

44.       Life as the Highest Good

45.       The Victory of the Animal Laborans





Mary McCarthy | New Yorker

“The combination of tremendous intellectual power with great common sense makes Arendt’s insights into history and politics seem both amazing and obvious.”


Richard Wolin | New Republic

“Arendt’s most important philosophical work.”


Philip Toynbee | Guardian

“A great work of the mind and the imagination. . . . Arendt has done even more to prise open our oyster minds than she did in The Origins of Totalitarianism.”
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a German-American political theorist. Her works deal with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. She was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University, and Northwestern University. In the spring of 1959, she became the first woman lecturer at Princeton. Arendt also taught at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Committee on Social Thought; The New School in Manhattan; Yale University, where she was a fellow; and, the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University. Arendt was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1962 and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1964.  

Danielle Allen is the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University. The recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, she is the author or editor of many books.