Martin Shuster: “Language and Loneliness: Arendt, Cavell, and Modernity”

We are delighted to announce that the International Journal of Philosophical Studies has just published a new essay by Martin Shuster (Philosophy, Hamilton College) entitled “Language and Loneliness:  Arendt, Cavell, and Modernity.”  Professor Shuster writes that the paper “ought to be of interest to those concerned with [Arendt and Cavell] in addition to issues of modernity.”  To access Professor Shuster’s piece, click here.

Here is the abstract:

Many have been struck by Hannah Arendt’s remarks on loneliness in the concluding pages of The Origins of Totalitarianism, but very few have attempted to deal with the remarks in any systematic way. What is especially striking about this state of affairs is that the remarks are crucial to the account contained therein, as they betray a view of agency that undergirds the rest of the account. This article develops Arendt’s thinking on loneliness throughout her corpus, showing how loneliness is connected to thoughtlessness. In so doing, the article also suggests a connection between Arendt’s notion of loneliness and Stanley Cavell’s notion of skepticism. This connection, it is argued, allows us not only fully to answer a question Arendt leaves unaddressed (the cause of loneliness), but also allows us to see how we, as agents and users of language, are perpetually prone to loneliness.

2 thoughts on “Martin Shuster: “Language and Loneliness: Arendt, Cavell, and Modernity”

  1. Not to nitpick, but the first chapter of Loneliness as a Way of Life (Harvard, 2008) systematically and extensively explores Arednt’s ideas concerning loneliness, and the either book is a Cavell inspired phenomenology of loneliness in the modern world, which reaches the conclusion that loneliness is a permanent condition of modernity. Tom Dumm

  2. Thanks for your comment, Tom.

    It is nice to make your acquaintance on this blog as we seem to share some interests.

    Not nitpicky, either — I cite your book at the beginning of my article. It is a great book and I continue to recommend it.

    – Martin

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