A1 Journal article (refereed)
Modernity in Antiquity : Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy in Heidegger and Arendt (2020)

Backman, J. (2020). Modernity in Antiquity : Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy in Heidegger and Arendt. Symposium, 24(2), 5-29. https://doi.org/10.5840/symposium202024210

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Backman, Jussi

Journal or series: Symposium

ISSN: 1917-9685

eISSN: 2154-5278

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 24

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 5-29

Publisher: Philosophy Documentation Center

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/symposium202024210

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72988


This article looks at the role of Hellenistic thought in the historical narratives of Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt. To a certain extent, both see—with G. W. F. Hegel, J. G. Droysen, and Eduard Zeller—Hellenistic and Roman philosophy as a “modernity in antiquity,” but with important differences. Heidegger is generally dismissive of Hellenistic thought and comes to see it as a decisive historical turning point at which a protomodern element of subjective willing and domination is injected into the classical heritage of Plato and Aristotle. Arendt, likewise, credits Stoic philosophy with the discovery of the will as an active faculty constituting a realm of subjective freedom and autonomy. While she considers Hellenistic philosophy as essentially apolitical and world-alienated—in contrast to the inherently political and practical Roman culture—it nonetheless holds for her an important but unexploited ethical and political potential.

Keywords: philosophy; history of science and learning; ancient philosophy; Hellenism; stoicism; modern

Free keywords: Heidegger, Martin; Arendt, Hannah

Fields of science:

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:36