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1

Introduction

Walter Benjamin, 1892-1940

by Hannah Arendt

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terms
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notes

Arendt, H. (1969). Introduction. In Benjamin, W. Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Schocken, pp. 1-6

49

[...] Any period to which its own past has become as questionable as it has to us must eventually come up against the phenomenon of language, for in it the past is contained ineradicably, thwarting all attempts to get rid of it once and for all. The Greek polis will continue to exist at the bottom of our political existence…for as long as we use the word “politics.” This is what the semanticists, who with good reason attack language as the one bulwark behind which the past hides—its confusion, as they say—fail to understand. They are absolutely right: in the final analysis all problems are linguistic problems; they simply do not know the implications of what they are saying.

—p.49 by Hannah Arendt 2 years ago

[...] Any period to which its own past has become as questionable as it has to us must eventually come up against the phenomenon of language, for in it the past is contained ineradicably, thwarting all attempts to get rid of it once and for all. The Greek polis will continue to exist at the bottom of our political existence…for as long as we use the word “politics.” This is what the semanticists, who with good reason attack language as the one bulwark behind which the past hides—its confusion, as they say—fail to understand. They are absolutely right: in the final analysis all problems are linguistic problems; they simply do not know the implications of what they are saying.

—p.49 by Hannah Arendt 2 years ago