Judgment After Arendt is both the first full-length study of Hannah Arendt's The Life of the Mind and, at the same time, a philosophical work on the core concepts of thinking, willing and judging. Comprised of Thinking and Willing, her final and most sustained philosophical project, Arendt's work is framed by the 'thought-less' Adolf Eichmann whose 'banality' of mind in committing evil she observed at his trial in Jerusalem. Arendt's project, cut short by her death, was to have included Judgment. Without judgment, she argued, a life of thought and of will can still collude with evil. In analysing Arendt's work Deutscher develops this theme of judgment and shows how, by drawing upon literature, history, myth and idiom, Arendt contributes significantly to contemporary philosophy.
Max Deutscher is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
'In this wide ranging and timely book, Max Deutscher thinks with Arendt, retracing some of her paths through the history of western thought in the company of some of his own favourite more recent philosophers. Deeply reflective and engagingly written, Judgment After Arendt re-creates for contemporary readers the lively responsiveness to her social and political world which made Arendt’s philosophical writing so compelling. It re-enacts and revitalises her style of thinking, inviting us into the ongoing conversation. Deutscher takes us into the depths of Arendt’s uncompleted project - the articulation of judging, as a distinctive mental process. He shows us Arendt coupling the Greek idea of contemplative spectatorship with Kant’s idea of judgment as a separate faculty, distinct from knowledge. Judgment, Arendt said, was for Kant a manifestation of the wind of thought. This book allows us to recapture something of the reassurance and exhilaration of that open wind of thought in response to the rigidified thought-lessness of our own times.' Genevieve Lloyd, University of New South Wales and Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia 'This book is a richly inventive exploration of the major themes in Hannah Arendt's thinking about the life of the mind. In writing about thinking and its bearing on social and political life, Deutscher engages with Arendt in a way that draws on metaphor and myth accompanied by lively phenomenological description and conceptual argument. The study is further enriched by close attention to the major thinkers to whom Arendt responded in her (unfinished) work on thinking, willing, and judging: Plato and Aristotle, Augustine, Duns Scotus, Descartes, Kant, Husserl and Heidegger. There is attention, too, to contemporaries with whom her reflection on the mind resonates in illuminating ways - Gilbert Ryle and Sartre, in particular. Standing beyond metaphysical theories of the mind, Deutscher draws on Arendt to presen