Philosophy: Renewing a Shared World - Exploring the ideas of Hannah Arendt

Ref: C3528609

Do you find yourself worried about the world your children and grandchildren will find themselves living in. This course is an opportunity to think about and discuss the future of our common world, drawing on some of the ideas of Hannah Arendt, a political thinker who tried to understand the nature of evil and what ordinary people can do to try to prevent history from repeating itself. Hannah Arendt has been described as ‘a Thinker for Dark Times’, this is because however difficult things may appear her message is essentially one of hope. We will examine, the origins of totalitarianism; the nature of political action; what it means to be human; revolution, violence and thinking itself. Our investigation will make use of our own diverse range of experiences as well as Hannah Arendt’s key ideas. Expect informed presentations with lots of background material, lively discussion and friendly debate.

Course aim

• To investigate the key ideas of Hannah Arendt. • To discuss these in the context of today’s world. • To examine our own experiences and views in the light of the above.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • No previous knowledge is assumed. An interest in politics is not essential. Hannah Arendt's ideas reach out to those who are profoundly distrustful of formal politics, parties and governments generally.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • be familiar with some the key ideas of Hannah Arendt
  • critically examine her ideas and our own thinking on these issues
  • feel confident enough to take part in discussions about these ideas.
  • grasp a sense of the lived experience of thinking and judgement described by Arendt.
  • have enjoyed thinking about and discussing the future of our common world

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • There will be no set work to do at home but lots of opportunities for further learning including suggested reading, web-sources and video materials.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • Also opportunities for discussion with other students and to share ideas and experiences.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • Just bring an open mind.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Before the course starts some background materials will be made available but these are not essential to participation in the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • A good opportunity for those involved in community action of all kinds to think and discuss the political context in which they find themselves.

Download full Course information sheet

Philosophy: Renewing a Shared World - Exploring the ideas of Hannah Arendt


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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