Hannah Arendt and The Human Condition

Feb 3, 2024
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Thomas MeyerLudwig Maximilian University


Open to current graduate students and faculty. Advanced undergraduates and others interested in participating should contact This event is in-person only. All registrants will receive copies of the selected readings, which should be read in advance of the class. An optional wine and cheese reception will follow. 

Hannah Arendt came to Chicago in the 1950’s and produced two remarkable works: The Human Condition (which began as her Walgreens lectures) and Between Past and Future (which she finished while she was at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought). This seminar-style master class will examine excerpts from these works in order to delineate Arendt’s treatment of the human condition, the relation between the history of political thought and the present day, and her work in light of Leo Strauss' Natural Right and History.


Hannah Arendt:

  • From Between Past and Future: "The Concept of History: Ancient and Modern"
  • From The Human Condition: § 31 and 32 ("The Traditional Substitution of Making for Acting" and "The Process Character of Action").

Leo Strauss:

  • From Natural Right and History: "Introduction" and "I. Natural Right and the Historical Approach."

Both the required and recommended readings will be distributed to participants via Dropbox. If you prefer, you can pick up a printout of the readings at Gavin House (1220 E. 58th Street) Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm once they are ready. Please email David Strobach at to let us know you are coming.


11:30-12:00 | Optional pre-event lunch

12:00-1:20 | Session 1

1:20-1:40 | Coffee break

1:40-3:00 | Session 2

3:00-3:30 | Reception

Thomas Meyer received his doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) in 2003 with a thesis on Ernst Cassirer. Six years later he habilitated at LMU with a study on "Jewish Philosophy and Theology from 1933 to 1938.” In 2020, he was appointed professor at LMU in philosophy. His teaching focuses on the political philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Meyer has published numerous books and essays. Since October 2020, he has been editing an edition of Hannah Arendt's writings. Of the planned twelve volumes, eight have already been published by Piper Verlag Munich. At the end of September 2023, Meyer published a biography of Arendt with Piper, which will be published in the USA by Penguin.

In 2012/13, Thomas Meyer spent an academic year at the invitation of the Divinity School (Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr) at the University of Chicago and taught a seminar with Prof. John McCormick on Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. Since then, he has been invited to lecture by Prof. McCormick, Prof. Ryan Coyne, Prof. David Nirenberg, and Prof. Rokem.