Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 6, No 10 (2017)

The Role of The Will in Hannah Arendt’s Theory on Political Conflicts

Rodrigo Ponce Santos


Hannah Arendt’s work is notably ambiguous in handling the concept of will. On the one hand, willing appears as an anti-political faculty; on the other, it is named as the spring of political action. This paper asks what does this shift mean to her political theory —hoping that it could also help us to think our current political conflicts. The main argument is that will’s consistency with the plurality of public-political life becomes intelligible only if we have in mind its contentious feature as well as its bonding role among the several faculties that compose a multiple self. However, the anti-political notion of the will as a command that imposes itself as a sovereign decision seems hard to avoid. I conclude by suggesting that Arendt’s reappraisal removes its arbitrary and violent character by means of what she calls the transformation of will into love.