When Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin first came to power in the 1930s, their regimes were considered by many to represent a new and perplexing phenomenon. They were labelled ‘totalitarian’. But is ‘totalitarianism’ genuinely new, or is the word just another name for something old and familiar, namely tyranny?
This is the first question to be addressed by Alan Haworth in this book, which explores the relevance of philosophy to the understanding of totalitarianism. In the course of the discussion, definitions are tested. Is it coherent to think of totalitarianism as the imposition of a ‘total state’, or of ‘total control’? Could it even be that the idea of totalitarianism is a ‘non-concept’?
Examining the work of the totalitarian philosophers Giovanni Gentile and Carl Schmitt, the idea of ‘totalitarianism by other means’ as represented in dystopian fiction, and the philosophy of Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism and Philosophy is essential reading for all students and scholars of political philosophy.
Table of Contents
2 ‘Totalitarianism’ or plain tyranny?
3 The total state
4 Total control
7 Arendt: the elements of totalitarianism
8 Arendt: from public realm to ‘worldlessness’
Alan Haworth is a specialist in political philosophy. He has taught the subject at all levels, from undergraduate to doctoral. He is the author of numerous articles and the books Understanding the Political Philosophers (Second Edition 2012), Free Speech (1998) and Anti-Libertarianism (1994), all published by Routledge.