A nuanced extrapolation of Hannah Arendt’s theory of judgment through her highly provocative reading of Immanuel Kant
More than a half century after it was first published, Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism rose to the top of best-seller lists as readers grappled with the triumph of Trumpism. Arendt, Kant, and the Enigma of Judgment directs our attention to her later thought, the posthumously published and highly provocative Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Martin Blumenthal-Barby puts this work in dialogue with Arendt’s other writings, including her notes on Kant’s Critique of Judgment, to outline her own theory of judgment for the twentieth century. In an era of post-truths and artificial intelligence, the idea that authentic judgment—for example, the ability to distinguish right from wrong—is incommensurable with abstract, automated processes lies at the center of Arendt’s late work and at the fore of our collective reckoning.
Rather than presenting us with a fixed account, Blumenthal-Barby suggests, Arendt’s drawing and redrawing of conceptual distinctions is itself an enactment of judgment, a process that challenges and complicates what she says at every turn. In so doing, Arendt, in thoroughly Kantian fashion, establishes judgment as a performative category that can never be taught but only demonstrated. As sharp as it is timely, this incisive book reminds us why a shared reality matters in a time of intense political polarization and why the democratic project, vulnerable as it may appear today, crucially depends on it.
Renowned in the disciplines of political theory and philosophy, Hannah Arendt’s searing critiques of modernity continue to resonate in other fields of thought decades after she wrote them. In Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt’s Rhetoric of Warning and Hope, author Ronald C. Arnett offers a groundbreaking examination of fifteen of Arendt’s major scholarly works, considering the German writer’s contributions to the areas of rhetoric and communication ethics for the first time.
Arnett focuses on Arendt’s use of the phrase “dark times” to describe the mistakes of modernity, defined by Arendt as the post-Enlightenment social conditions, discourses, and processes ruled by principles of efficiency, progress, and individual autonomy. These principles, Arendt argues, have led humanity down a path of folly, banality, and hubris. Throughout his interpretive evaluation, Arnett illuminates the implications of Arendt’s persistent metaphor of “dark times” and engages the question, How might communication ethics counter the tenets of dark times and their consequences? A compelling study of Hannah Arendt’s most noteworthy works and their connections to the fields of rhetoric and communication ethics, Communication Ethics in Dark Times provides an illuminating introduction for students and scholars of communication ethics and rhetoric, and a tool with which experts may discover new insights, connections, and applications to these fields.
Top Book Award for Philosophy of Communication Ethics by Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association, 2013
In The Crisis of Meaning and the Life-World, Ľubica Učník examines the existential conflict that formed the focus of Edmund Husserl’s final work, which she argues is very much with us today: how to reconcile scientific rationality with the meaning of human existence. To investigate this conundrum, she places Husserl in dialogue with three of his most important successors: Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, and Jan Patočka.
For Husserl, 1930s Europe was characterized by a growing irrationalism that threatened to undermine its legacy of rational inquiry. Technological advancement in the sciences, Husserl argued, had led science to forget its own foundations in the primary “life-world”: the world of lived experience. Renewing Husserl’s concerns in today’s context, Učník first provides an original and compelling reading of his oeuvre through the lens of the formalization of the sciences, then traces the unfolding of this problem through the work of Heidegger, Arendt, and Patočka.
Although many scholars have written on Arendt, none until now has connected her philosophical thought with that of Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka. Učník provides invaluable access to the work of the latter, who remains understudied in the English language. She shows that together, these four thinkers offer new challenges to the way we approach key issues confronting us today, providing us with ways to reconsider truth, freedom, and human responsibility in the face of the postmodern critique of metanarratives and a growing philosophical interest in new forms of materialism.
Rodowick takes after the theories of Hannah Arendt and argues that thinking is an art we practice with and for each other in our communities.
In An Education in Judgment, philosopher D. N. Rodowick makes the definitive case for a philosophical humanistic education aimed at the cultivation of a life guided by both self-reflection and interpersonal exchange. Such a life is an education in judgment, the moral capacity to draw conclusions alone and with others, and letting one’s own judgments be answerable to the potentially contrasting judgments of others. Thinking, for Rodowick, is an art we practice with and learn from each other on a daily basis.
In taking this approach, Rodowick follows the lead of Hannah Arendt, who made judgment the cornerstone of her conception of community. What is important for Rodowick, as for Arendt, is the cultivation of “free relations,” in which we allow our judgments to be affected and transformed by those of others, creating “an ever-widening fabric of intersubjective moral consideration.” That is a fragile fabric, certainly, but one that Rodowick argues is worth pursuing, caring for, and preserving. This original work thinks with and beyond Arendt about the importance of the humanities and what “the humanities” amounts to beyond the walls of the university.
Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno were intellectual giants of the first half of the twentieth century. The drama Foreplay explores their deeply human and psychologically intriguing private lives, focusing on professional and personal jealousies, the mutual dislike of Theodor Adorno and Hannah Arendt, the association between Walter Benjamin and Georges Bataille, and the border between erotica and pornography.
Hannah Arendt is one of the most famous political theorists of the twentieth century, yet in the social sciences her work has rarely been given the attention it deserves. This careful and comprehensive study introduces Arendt to a wider audience.
Finn Bowring shows how Arendt's writings have engaged with and influenced prominent figures in the sociological canon, and how her ideas may shed light on some of the most pressing social and political problems of today. He explores her critique of Marx, her relationship to Weber, the influence of her work on Habermas and the parallels and discrepancies between her and Foucault. This is a clearly written and scholarly text which surveys the leading debates over Arendt’s work, including discussions of totalitarianism, the public sphere and the nature of political responsibility.
This book will bring new perspectives to students and lecturers in sociology and politics.
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