Where is education? Arendt's educational philosophy in between private and public

Julien Kloeg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Arendt-inspired philosophy of education has been a lively field of research in recent years. This research is mostly based on Arendt's essay ‘The Crisis in Education’. In the same historical context, Arendt wrote her initial essay on education, the controversial ‘Reflections on Llittle Rock’, and her political-theoretical work The Human Condition. All three texts show Arendt's concern about the public realm and its capture by ‘society’, which she understands as discarding the distinction between private and public. This raises the question of where education should be located in Arendt's thought: in the private realm, in society or in the public realm? In her ‘Reflections’ Arendt places education in the societal realm, but this approach fails to convince. The answer consistent with Arendt's use of the category of the ‘in-between’ in her educational thought is that it is in none of the above. Instead, education takes place in an ambiguous zone in between private and public, where both make their influence felt, but neither dominates the other. This has implications not only for how we should understand Arendt's educational philosophy but also for her notions of private and public spheres as well as for other political-theoretical concepts in her work. This answers the question about the location of education in a second way: education in Arendt's thought is not simply derivativeof her political works but can itself serve as an interesting perspective from which to view her writings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-209
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

I am grateful to the convenors of the third conference on the Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt at Leiden University, and all those in attendance. During this conference I presented an earlier version of this paper, which benefited greatly from the engagement of those present. I am equally grateful, and for much the same reasons, to the editors and reviewers of this journal.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Philosophy of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.


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