Event: Day Conference: Hannah Arendt: Amor Mundi, or Love of the World.

Chair: Simon Barrow.

Speakers: Simon Barrow, Dr Elizabeth Drummond Young, Richard Gunn, Dr Andrew W. Hass, Prof Patrick Hayden, Dr Masa Mrovlje, Rosa Murray, Christopher Peys, and Dr Natasha Saunders.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.
Date: Saturday 20 May 2017.
Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Day Conference: 10am-5.15pm.
Event Description: This Day Donference will explore themes associated with Hannah Arendt: Amor Mundi, or love of the world.


Hannah Arendt Entry, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.



Event: Day Conference:

Hannah Arendt: Amor Mundi, or Love of the World.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.

Date: Saturday 20 May 2017.

Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Day Conference: 10am-5.15pm.

Organised by Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP,

Scottish Charity, SC038996, www.eicsp.org


Conference: 9.30am-5.15pm.


9.30am-10am: Arrival and Registration.


10am-10.10am: Introduction and Welcome: Simon Barrow.


10.10am-11am: Keynote address: Prof Patrick Hayden.

Title: Hannah Arendt, Amor Mundi and the Question of Human Plurality.

Hannah Arendt turned to the notion of amor mundi, or love of the world, to characterize a vision of politics committed to providing the ongoing care that the world requires if it is to last. At the same time, however, Arendt never explicitly lists the defining features of amor mundi, nor does she provide a systematic treatment of its core assumptions. This talk aims to explore the central place that human plurality occupies in Arendt’s concept of amor mundi, and thereby to clarify how, from her viewpoint, love of the world and love of plurality are necessarily intertwined.

Biog: Patrick Hayden is Professor of Political Theory and International Relations at the University of St Andrews. His books include Hannah Arendt: Key Concepts (Routledge, 2014) and Political Evil in a Global Age: Hannah Arendt and International Theory (Routledge, 2009). His research focuses on contemporary political theory, international political theory, human rights and global ethics, and the implications of the work of critical theorists and existentialists for issues in global politics.


11.05am-11.35am: Plenary address: Dr Masa Mrovlje.

Title: Hannah Arendt, Amor Mundi and responsibility for the world.

The contested issue of collective responsibility remains a pressing challenge confronting societies emerging from long periods of mass human rights violations. How are ordinary citizens to assume responsibility for grave, state-orchestrated wrongdoing and suffering committed in their name? In response to the totalitarian crimes plaguing her time, Hannah Arendt confronted this difficulty through a notion of responsibility oriented by amor mundi or love of the world. Going beyond the prevalent ways of thinking about responsibility, she appealed to all members of a community to assume responsibility for rebuilding and sustaining a human, political world, where the affronts to human dignity could be countered by a promise of human solidarity. In this talk, I will first outline how for Arendt the totalitarian crimes exposed the inadequacy of the predominant, moral-legal paradigm of responsibility, encouraging us to confront anew the difficulty of attributing individual responsibility against the background of grave, systemic wrongs. I will then distinguish her understanding of responsibility for the world from what she perceived to be the dangers of the discourse of collective guilt. On this basis, I will examine how her responsibility for the world entailed a kind of partisanship for the world that is willing to forego the safety of established truths for the sake of human companionship.

Biog: Maša completed her PhD at the University of St Andrews and is now a postdoctoral research fellow on the "Greyzone" project at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests are oriented by the rubric of international political theory and the history of political thought, with a specific focus on twentieth-century philosophies of existence, poststructuralist and critical theories, and their significance to issues of transitional justice, political judgement, responsibility, evil, violence, critique and resistance in the contemporary world. In addition, she is interested in the relatively recently emergent field of the ethics and politics of narrative.


11.40am-12am: Tea/coffee break.


12am-12.30pm: Plenary address: Dr Elizabeth Drummond Young.

Title: Alienation and the view from nowhere.

I explore two themes from Hannah Arendt’s work which concern alienation. First, Arendt claims that we want to escape from the earth, our natural home; what drives this desire for physical alienation? Second, adopting a view from any point in the universe or the ‘view from nowhere’, has become the dominant way of scientific thinking, representing an alienation from a personal perspective on the world. What are the implications for our humanity of these two forms of alienation?

Biog: I now run a short course on the philosophy of friendship and love at the University of Edinburgh, after some years tutoring in moral philosophy. I’m interested in the work of 20th Century interwar writers such as Simone Weil and Hannah Arendt. I also write and speak on topics in philosophy and theology concerned with radical good and evil.


12.30pm-1pm: Plenary address: Dr. Andrew W. Hass.

Title: Still Life, Still World.

This talk will look at Arendt’s view of the world in light of the work of art, as seen in the particular genre of still life painting, to which The Human Condition accords more than what first meets the eye. I will discuss how life, labour, consumption, work and making all figure in the still life, to bring us to the point of an amor mundi, and perhaps even to carry us beyond this love, if not this world.

Biog: Andrew W. Hass is Reader in Religion at the University of Stirling. His interests and publications operate at the intersection of religion, philosophy, theology, literature, art, and hermeneutics, with recent interest in the idea of nothing (Auden’s O: The Loss of One’s Sovereignty in the Making of Nothing, 2013) and negation (Hegel and the Art of Negation, 2014). He is Secretary of The International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture, and served for over ten years as the Executive General Editor of the journal Literature and Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory and Culture.


1pm-2.15pm: Lunch break.


2.15pm-2.45pm: Plenary address: Dr Natasha Saunders.

Title: Arendt's reflections on refugees.

Hannah Arendt lived as a stateless person for 18 years, and her now famous analysis of the refugee problem was written when she was, herself, a refugee. This address will examine her analysis of the refugee problem, the ways in which it is still relevant 66 years later, and how it necessitates a re-examination of the nature of modern citizenship.

Biog: Dr Saunders completed an ESRC-funded PhD in the School of International Relations in 2015, after gaining an MLitt in International Political Theory and an undergraduate degree in International Relations. She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and the Associate Editor of the Journal of International Political Theory.


2.45pm-3.15pm: Plenary address: Rosa Murray.

Title: Amor Mundi.

This presentation will draw upon the work that I developed with Morwenna Griffiths about what Learning for Sustainability means and the connections to living a good life in the world, and how human beings can live sustainably with each other and with the more than human parts of our world. Our conversations led us to the work of Hannah Arendt and her thought on living a good life and on education.

Biog: Rosa took up appointment with the General Teaching Council for Scotland in August 2004 where she was responsible for promoting and developing Professional Standards and Learning and Development Programmes for teachers in Scotland. Rosa led the development of Learning for Sustainability within the Professional Standards and in schools, this work is in partnership with Learning for Sustainability Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Rosa is currently working in the University of Edinburgh as a Development Officer in Teacher Education, taking forward the agenda of Teaching Scotland’s Future and Learning for Sustainability in partnership with the university and the their partners local authorities.


3.15pm-3.45pm: Plenary address: Richard Gunn.

Title: Hannah Arendt on Labor, Work and Action.

In the context of protest against Trump, an interest in Hannah Arendt is on the increase. My paper comments on the relation between recent radical movements and Arendt's The Human Condition.

Biog: Richard Gunn lectured on politics at the University of Edinburgh from 1975 until his retirement in 2011, and was a member of the editorial collective of Common Sense (Common Sense journal) between 1987 and 1997. His website has a political purpose, namely, the strengthening of a life of the mind which appeals not to market-based instrumental order and what Schiller termed ‘bread scholarship’ but to a sensus communis where mutual recognition prevails.


3.45pm-4pm:Tea/coffee break.


4pm-4.30pm: Plenary address: Simon Barrow.

Title: Amor Mundi versus Contra Mundi: Hannah Arendt’s humanistic challenge to totalizing thought and action.

Biog: Simon Barrow has been with Ekklesia since 2003, becoming co-director in 2005 and director in 2016. He is a commentator, journalist, publisher, NGO consultant, adult educator/trainer and practical theologian. He is a member of the executive committee for the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh. From 2000-2005 Simon was global mission secretary for the official ecumenical body Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), which he also served as assistant general secretary until 2003. He was formerly adviser in adult education and training for Southwark Anglican Diocese (1991-1996) and has worked in current affairs journalism, theological education, international ecumenism, development studies, and as the convenor of a national network of Christian social action groups. Simon has written and co-edited a number of books on modern politics, religion and belief. He is a member of the Iona Community.


4.30pm-5pm: Plenary address: Christopher Peys.

Title: Caring for the World in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt and Amor Mundi.

Hannah Arendt, a political theorist committed to understanding the harsh realities and the ‘dark times’ of the twentieth century, once stated that ‘nobody cares any longer what the world looks like’. This statement does not suggest that people no longer care about the physical appearance of the Earth, although many do indeed act apathetically or uncaringly towards the natural world, but rather that humankind is unconcerned with the common, public spaces in which people can speak and act freely as distinct, equal individuals. Accordingly, Arendt’s statement implies that people no longer care about the public realm where the doing of politics amongst one’s peers occurs: a point indicative of a most pressing need to begin taking care of the world once again. Differentiating between what it means to care about and care for the world, this talk elaborates upon an Arendtian notion of care in order to highlight how Arendt’s appeal to care about the worldly realm of the political stems directly from her deep-seated ‘love of the world’, or Amor mundi, and her action-oriented politics of freedom. For Arendt, it is for a love of the world and for the sake of freedom that one is called to take care of the public, political realm, a worldly space ever under threat from the pernicious forces which emerge in times of darkness.

Biog: Christopher Peys is a PhD candidate and Rotary International Global Grant Scholar in the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews. His current research in the field of International Political Theory focuses upon the notions of care, cosmopolitanism and forgiveness, especially as they are found within the work of Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida. He has contributed to E-International Relations, TheRiskyShift.com and interned at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.


5pm-5.15pm: Summing up: Simon Barrow.

Hannah Arendt

Cost: £30/£25 (Concessions)/£10 (Students and Low Income). Attendance by donation is also fine. For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0131 331 4469.

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