Aesthetics and Political Thought in Hannah Arendt’s Interpretation of Kant’s Philosophy (in English)

Course convenor

Mihály Szilágyi-Gál

Course content

„Judging” was meant to be the third chapter of Hannah Arendt’s book The Life of the Mind. However, due to her sudden death, the book remained unfinished. Therefore to understand her fundamental ideas on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in Kant’s third Critique we can only rely on her unfinished book and her lectures on Kant’s political philosophy, which were supposed to be parts of the completed book. Arendt highlights that the main topic of the third Critique is reflective judgment. This idea is crucial for her argument, according to which the third Critique of Kant concerns political philosophy. The course addresses the main ideas of Kant’s philosophy – primarily on aesthetics – that Arendt had identified as elements of an implicit political philosophy, never written by Kant himself.

Indicative reading

Hannah Arendt: Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Ed. by Ronald Beiner. University of Chicago Press, 1982. 7-89

Hannah Arendt: The Life of the Mind, Ed. by Mary McCarthy. New York. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978

Ronald Beiner: “Hannah Arendt on Judging” in: Ronald Beiner (Ed.): Hannah Arendt: Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. The University of Chicago Press, 1982. 89-157

Jerome Kohn: “Evil and Plurality: Hannah Arendt’s Way to ‘The Life of the Mind, I.’ in: Hannah Arendt. Twenty Years Later. Ed. by Larry May and Jerome Kohn. MIT Press 1996, 1997. 147-79

Jerome Kohn: “Introduction” in: Hannah Arendt: The Promise of Politics. Ed. by Jerome Kohn. Scocken Books. New York, 2005. vii-xxxiii

Hannah Arendt: “The Tradition of Political Thought” in: Hannah Arendt: The Promise of Politics. Ed. Jerome Kohn. Scocken Books. New York, 2005. 40-63

Hannah Arendt: “From Hegel to Marx” in: The Promise of Politics. Ed. Jerome Kohn. Scocken Books. New York, 2005. 63-70

Hannah Arendt: Between Past and Future. Eight Exercises in Political Thought. Pinguin Books, 1977

Hannah Arendt: Was ist Politik? Aus dem Nachlaß. Ed. by Ursula Ludz. Piper Verlag. München, 1993

Craig Calhoun and John McGowan eds.: Hannah Arendt and the Meaning of Politics. Minneapolis, London. University of Minnesota Press, 1997

Robert J. Dostal: “Judging Human Action: Arendt’s Appropiation of Kant.” In: Review of Metaphysics 148 (1984). 725-55

Paul Ricouer: „Aesthetic Judgment and Political Judgment According to Hannah Arendt” in: The Just. The University of Chicago Press, 2000. 94-109

Mihály Szilágyi-Gál: 2009: “Hannah Arendt and Imre Kertész. The Moral Nature of Thinking and Judging” in: Louise O. Vasvári and Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, eds.: Imre Kertész and Holocaust Literature. West Lafayette IND: Purdue UP. 133-47

Albrecht Wellmer: „Hannah Arendt on Judgment: The Unwritten Doctrine of Reason” in: Hannah Arendt. Tweny Years Later. Ed. by Larry May and Jerome Kohn. MIT Press. 1996, 1997. 33-53

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