Cite as: Bonnie Honig, ‘“Constant Mutual Release?”: Toward an Arendtian Politics of Forgiveness’, talk presented at the panel iv of the conference The Politics of Beginnings, ICI Berlin, 15–16 February 2023, video recording, mp4, 30:22 <>
15 – 16 Feb 2023

‘Constant Mutual Release?’

Toward an Arendtian Politics of Forgiveness
By Bonnie Honig

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:30:22
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of

Panel IV

Part of the Conference

The Politics of Beginnings: Hannah Arendt Today

At a moment when many suggest that the end of an era has been reached, and when struggles against climate change, exploitation, neocolonialism, patriarchy, and racism proliferate, what role can Arendts account of political beginnings play in the conceptualization of a new time? Arendt has been celebrated as a key theorist of politics, freedom, and judgement. Yet she has also been questioned when it comes to her understanding of the social question, the public-private divide, or the persistence of structures of systemic injustice. Is her work then still timely for understanding how to begin anew?

This conference will test the wide influence and perseverance, the attraction but also the criticism, of Arendts thought by recentering her approach to political beginnings. Arendts attempts to understand political beginnings animate her work. From her doctoral dissertation on Augustine to her posthumous book, The Life of the Mind, beginnings are omnipresent in her oeuvre. Conceiving Arendts attempts as an open legacy, digging up the plurality and worldliness, the tragic and agonistic character of beginnings, the conference aims to investigate how and why political beginnings are set off ‘not by the strength of one architect but by the combined power of the many.


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Fina Birulés
Adriana Cavarero
Anne Eusterschulte
Rodolphe Gasché
Eva Geulen
Bonnie Honig
Rahel Jaeggi
Thomas Khurana
Thomas Meyer
Samuel Moyn
Diego Rossello

Organized by

Facundo Vega
An ICI event in cooperation with the Center for Post-Kantian Philosophy (University of Potsdam)