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Hannah Arendt on Transcendence in the Public Sphere

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Chapter Summary

According to Hannah Arendt, the public realm provides for an essential metaphysical need in human beings. The ancient Greeks, for example, looked to the polis to achieve a kind of permanence and immortality, and to transcend the futility of human existence. We have lost this in the 21st century, as our built environment attests – especially in the industrialized democracies of the world – and yet, there are indications that people continue to yearn for metaphysical sustenance in the public sphere. What would it mean to recreate, reimagine or repurpose the public sphere to provide said sustenance?



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