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Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226025957
ISBN-10: 0226025950
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Hannah Arendt's last philosophical work was an intended three-part project entitled 'The Life of the Mind'. Unfortunately, Arendt lived to complete only the first two parts, 'Thinking' and 'Willing'. Of the third, 'Judging', only the title page, with epigraphs from Cato and Goethe, was found after her death. As the title suggests, Arendt conceived of her work roughly parallel to the three 'Critiques' of Immanuel Kant. In fact, while she began work on 'The Life of the Mind', Arendt lectured an 'Kant's Political Philosophy', using the 'Critique of Judgment' as her main text. The present volume brings Arendt's notes for these lectures together with other of her texts on the topic of judging and provides important clues to the likely direction of Arendt's thinking in this area.

About the Author

Ronald Beiner is professor of political science at the University of Toronto and the author of Political Judgment, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (September 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226025950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226025957
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Ronald Beiner , as a close student of Hannah Arendt, undertakes in this work, the 'hypothetical completion ' of her last major philosophical enterprise, "The Life of the Mind". Arendt died just as she was about to begin the third and final section of the work, the one on the faculty of 'Judgment'. The previous two sections, one on 'Thinking' and the other on 'Willing' had been completed- this though the second left her at a certain 'impasse'. She had hoped through the work on Judgment to come to clarifications of problems raised in the work on 'Willing'. In this she would follow to a large degree the work of Kant, whose Critiques were in a sense the model of her 'Life of the Mind'. But essentially it is the Kantian theory of Judgment which is most important for her in the final work.

Beiner in this volume provides what he regards as the most relevant texts to the 'Judging 'volume. Her Postscriptum to 'Thinking' her 'Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy' and another essay on 'Imagination'.

The second part of the work which Beiner is an 'Interpretive Essay- Hannah Arendt on Judging.'

Arendt had told her good friend, and fellow political philosopher Glenn Gray that she felt her own personal strongest quality was her capacity for judgment. For her judgment is bound up with the world of the past. To establish valid judgments as Beiner explains it there is, following Kant, a necessity for an intersubjective community which essentially has a world in common and relates to that world. This enables a kind of relation through which each one might seek to see through the eyes of the other, to somehow form a judgment which takes into account the judgments of others- though of course there is no expectation that this will lead to unanimity.
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There just wasn't enough material left by Arendt on what was supposed to the third part of her lecture trilogy, Thinking, Willing, and Judging to make a book. This should be appended to "The Life of the Mind (Combined 2 Volumes in 1)" which contains the first two parts. It is unfortunate that this section on Judging is so fragmentary and disjointed, because in a way the first two part of the trilogy set up the problem for which Judging was to be the solution. One can find much of what one would have hoped to find here in Hannah Arendt's "Responsibility and Judgement," a collection of late lectures, addresses, and essays, from when she was teaching at The New School For Social Research. The volume is edited by current New Schooler, Jerome Kohn, whose introduction is also edifying. The third piece of the Judging puzzle is contained the late Reiner Schürmann's essay in "The Public Realm: Essays on Discursive Types in Political Philosophy." (Schürmann was brought to The New School by Arendt and Hans Jonas - the school's last direct carriers of the post WWII European philosophical torch - to carry on in their tradition.)

How was Kant's Critique of Judgement supposed to provide the key to moral dilemmas of post-modernity? The other key element of this philosophical puzzle and referred to by Arendt and Schürmann is Aristotle's concept of "phronesis," or, as Wikipedia puts it, "practical wisdom." And if one looks up phronesis in Wikipedia, it contains a section on its importance in Heidegger's thinking, which brings one full circle to the discussions of Heidegger in the first two parts of Arendt's intended trilogy and Schürmann's book, "Heidegger on Being and Acting: From Principles to Anarchy.
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clearly setting out her arguments, and meanwhile setting this reader straight on Kantian sublime and aesthetic, this was good reading delight and learning session - it seems this book had been unavailable for a time - in any case, it's really good reading and useful.
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