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Arendt Studies

Volume 2, 2018

Matthew Wester
Pages 193-214

Reading Kant against Himself
Arendt and the Appropriation of Enlarged Mentality

In this paper, I examine Hannah Arendt’s notion of “enlarged mentality.” I use a close textual exposition of enlarged mentality in Arendt’s writings in order to offer an interpretation of Denktagebuch Notebook XXII, in which Arendt initially sketched her political interpretation of the Critique of Judgment. I maintain that a close examination of enlarged mentality—particularly as it appears in Arendt’s notebooks—answers basic questions about Arendt’s appropriation of Kant’s third Critique that have eluded scholarly commentators. In this paper, I seek to answer one such question: why did Arendt turn to Kant’s Critique of Judgment? I argue that in turning to Kant for a model of political judgment Arendt took herself to be correcting methodological inconsistencies that she believed she located in the Critique of Judgment.