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Arendt's Judgment
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Arendt's Judgment
Freedom, Responsibility, Citizenship

Jonathan Peter Schwartz

272 pages | 6 x 9 | 1 illus.
Cloth 2016 | ISBN 9780812248142 | $59.95s | Outside the Americas £48.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the Haney Foundation Series
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"Hannah Arendt died before she could complete the final section of her magnum opus, The Life of the Mind, titled "Judging." Jonathan Peter Schwartz contends that Arendt's theory of judgment, implicit throughout much of her mature career, serves as a key to understanding how she reconciled the tasks of thinking and practice. Even in our golden age of Arendt studies, Schwartz offers a compelling full-scale rethinking of this great philosopher's work."—Samuel Moyn, Harvard University

"This is a very well-written and interpretively ambitious book. Jonathan Peter Schwartz is the first to make Arendt's reflections on the theme of judgment the subject of a full-length book, and he does justice to the breadth and depth of her theorizing."—Ronald Beiner, University of Toronto

In Arendt's Judgment, Jonathan Peter Schwartz explores the nature of human judgment, the subject of the planned third volume of Hannah Arendt's The Life of the Mind, which was left unwritten at the time of her death. Arguing that previous interpretations of Arendt failed to fully appreciate the central place of judgment in her thought, Schwartz contends that understanding Arendt's ideas requires not only interpreting her published work but also reconstructing her thinking from a broader range of sources, including her various essays, lecture course notes, unpublished material, and correspondence. When these sources are taken into account, it becomes clear that, for Arendt, political judgment was the answer to the question of how human freedom could be realized in the modern world.

This new approach to understanding Arendt leads to what Schwartz argues are original insights Arendt can teach us about the nature of politics beyond sovereignty and the role of human agency in history. Above all, her novel understanding of the authentic nature and purpose of political philosophy is finally revealed. Schwartz claims that in her theory of political judgment Arendt presented a vision of political philosophy that is improved and deepened by the contributions of ordinary, active citizens. Along with challenging previous interpretations, Arendt's Judgment provides a roadmap to her published and unpublished work for scholars and students.

Jonathan Peter Schwartz teaches political science at the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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