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Perils of Invention
Roger Berkowitz, ed.

Black Rose Books

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Perils of Invention : Lying, Technology, and the Human Condition

Roger Berkowitz, ed.


Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) is the leading thinker of politics and the humanities in the modern era and continues to draw widespread attention. No other scholar so enrages and engages citizens and scholars from all political persuasions, all the while insisting on human dignity, providing a clear voice against totalitarianism, and defending freedom with extraordinary intelligence and courage. An activist and thinker whose work resists simple categorization, Arendt writes with a stunning lucidity that resonates with intellectuals and the reading public alike. Her writing continues to delight and inspire, even as she asks us to confront the most haunting questions of our time.

The Perils of Invention is based on three Hannah Arendt Center Conferences: "Human Being in an Inhuman Age," "Lying and Politics," and "Truthtelling: Democracy in an Age without Facts." Contributions written for these conferences are placed alongside many new essays that reflect on the ideas they raised. The result is a freshly invigorated investigation into these critical and timely themes. The authors have diverse backgrounds—Arendt scholars, public intellectuals, novelists, journalists, and business people—and include Uday Mehta, Marrianne Constable, Nicholson Baker, George Kateb, Marianne Constable, Linda M.G. Zerilli, Peg Birmingham, Davide Panagia, and many others.  

Roger Berkowitz is Professor of Political Studies and Human Rights and the Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities at Bard College. He is the author of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Perils of Invention - Roger Berkowitz


  • When Reality Wobbles - Roger Berkowitz
  • Democracy and Untruth - George Kateb
  • Fact-Checking and Truth-Telling in an Age of Alternative Facts - Linda M.G. Zerilli
  • When Words Cease to Matter - Marrianne Constable
  • Supplement to When Words Cease to Matter - Marianne Constable
  • Show Me the Birth Certificate! How America’s Internet-Enabled Conspiracist
  • Media Culture Is Destroying American Politics - Jonathan Kay
  • Why Are We So Matter of Fact about the Facts? - Peg Birmingham
  • Is Lying a Political Virtue? - Uday Singh Mehta
  • When Telling the Truth Demands Courage - Wolfgang Heuer
  • Arendt’s Eichmann: Murderer, Idealist, Clown - Jerome Kohn

Human Being in an Inhuman Age

  • Singularity and the Human Condition - Roger Berkowitz
  • Martin Heidegger and Günther Anderson Technology: On Ray Kurzweil, Fritz Lang, and Transhumanism - Babette Babich
  • Political Thinking in an UnHuman Age - Davide Panagia
  • Some Notes on How We Should Imagine Human Beings in an Inhuman Age - Rob Rieman
  • Machines - Nicholson Baker
  • Drones and the Question of the Human - Roger Berkowitz
  • The Rhetoric of Sustainability:Human, All Too Human - Marianne Constable


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