The following questions point you to specific passages, but Arendt’s style of writing is such that you may find helpful support elsewhere in the book for your answer. The primary focus of each question lies in the identified sections. Answer THREE of the following four questions, each in about 500 to 600 words.
Using The Book- The Human Condition By Hannah Arendt the second edition
1. Section 17: Arendt says a consumer society is a society of laborers. Our time is divided between “making a living” and “hobbies” (or, as we usually say, entertainment). Explain what she means by this, and address whether it is as bad as she suggests. Would it be an honest and decent life to make one’s living during the week and enjoy one’s pleasures on the weekend? Is that a good life or a degraded life? Why?
2. Section 24: Explain how the condition of plurality (in which speech and action occur) necessarily involves both equality and distinction. How and to what extent does who we are appear when we act and speak in public before others?
3. Sections 33 and 34: Human action, Arendt argues, is inherently unpredictable and uncertain (see section 26 especially). Human action is also irreversible; what has been done cannot be undone, and it is through action that human beings seek to win lasting fame. Show how, according to Arendt, the power to forgive and the power to make and keep promises redeem action from its weaknesses. She does not give specific examples: give examples that illustrate her view.
4. Section 36: What is so significant about Galileo’s use of the telescope? The event was easy to overlook when it happened, and yet she presents it as decisive for the modern age. What has his work led to in human life? Why is it still significant, given that almost nobody studies Galileo or cares to learn how to prove that the earth moves?
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