Hannah Arendt's phenomenology of the will
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Hannah Arendt's final work, Life of the Mind, is the crucial text for understanding her mature moral theory. It was designed as a three-volume study—Thinking, Willing, and Judging—of the basic mental activities and their moral limits and potentialities. Only the first two volumes were completed at her death in 1975, and much scholarly work has since been done to understand how she would have written her volume on judging. My account tracks the development of Arendt's moral reflections through Life of the Mind and argues for a novel interpretation of Judging. The inadequacy of other readings lies in their inattention to the importance of Willing, where Arendt defends her own version of free will. In Life of the Mind, free will is recognized as a necessary condition for all moral claims about human action and the ground of moral responsibility. Arendt's account of moral judgment is structured to accommodate the implications of the will's freedom. The relationship between the freedom of the will and moral judgment is the central concern of this dissertation. Human freedom and moral judgment operate only within the context of human temporality, which is fraught with complex tensions between past, present, and future. These tensions are essential to understanding the contingency of the will's freedom and the related contingency of all moral judgments. Following Arendt, I will defend the intersubjectivity of moral judgment as well as its independence from any immanent consensus of the socio-political order.