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The Life of the Mind : The Groundbreaking Investigation on How We Think
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The Life of the Mind : The Groundbreaking Investigation on How We Think

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  584 ratings  ·  20 reviews
The author’s final work, presented in a one-volume edition, is a rich, challenging analysis of man’s mental activity, considered in terms of thinking, willing, and judging.
ebook, 521 pages
Published March 16th 1981 by Harvest Books (first published 1971)
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One of the most impressive philosophy books. She takes simple observations about thinking and the thought process from everyday life(some might call it phenomenology) and draws radical conclusions as well as reaffirming the importance of a philosophic approach to the everyday. I like to reread it once every few years.
A very interesting account of what do we do when we think. Where are we when we think? Why do we think at all? At times a complicated text, full of erudite references to Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche and other philosophers, but never boring. Arendt recognizes 3 basic mental activities – thinking, willing and judging. The first section, Thinking, is the best and the most stimulating read. It is a pity Arendt didn't have time to finish this work, she died, left it unfinished, and it was ed ...more
Originally conceived in three parts, Thinking, Willing and Judging, but not completed at the time of her death, this is perhaps Hannah Arendt's most difficult work. Cetainly the initial section on Thinking took a long time to read and a lot of reflection to follow all of her arguments. Willing the second section seemed easier, since the activities of the will have been much discussed by Nietzsche and Heidegger for example. The last section Judgement is the shortest and is based upon lecture note ...more
"Everything that can see wants to be seen, everything that can hear cries out to be heard, everything that can touch presents itself to be touched."

-from book one, "Thinking"
Oh, with or without Hannah I'm never going to graduate.
This is Arnedt at her most lucid, eloquent, thought-provoking, and interestingly, most erudite state of mind. It took a long time for me to get through the first section (Thinking), but once I did, the following two sections on Willing and Judging seemed ten times easier; partly because you get used to her prose, her jargons, her way of thinking, analyzing and approaching things, and partly because the content of these two sections are not as dense, and unfortunately, due to her untimely death t ...more
Lindsay Moore
This book is very important and worth careful study.
Arendt takes up where Kant's Critique of Pure Reason stops, showing how "reason" goes beyond conceptual knowledge. Knowing that Arendt was one of Heidegger's most important students, you can see places where she is pointing toward Heidegger's non-representational 'thought' as the path beyond knowledge and into the unknowable metaphysical realities.
She is at her best in the first section of this two volume work, where she deals with thinking p
Thick read but very insightful...already another step closer to becoming Rust Cohle ;)
what makes us think ?
Adam Hall
Easy to read? Not so much, but if you enjoy summaries of major philosophies you may find it fulfilling. I wish Arendt had contributed more of her personal thoughts on the matter instead of just giving a history of philosophy.

Begriff- Reason. The German thought-experiments, fearsome in their density. The Raskol- sovereign trickster, white shaman, standing outside the community, representing it in the animal and planetary consuls, delivering their edicts.
This book will change the way you think. Arendt focuses on the space of being, the appearance of self that others see. Its a lengthy book, but you'll want to take a while to read it so you can digest what the author is saying.
Ron Mitchell
Just brilliant, and superbly edited by Mary McCarthy after the author's death.
Fascinating. But so difficult to read at times that I had to read it aloud to myself to keep from getting confused. I am not proud of that.
Thomas Hill
An excellent survey of the history of Western thought as told from one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.
Great book. It really helped to clarify my thinking.
Mark Ambrose
Well written and thought out.
Jul 13, 2008 Mateo is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Each page takes me days
Fairly intense
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Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she was forced to leave Germany in 1933 and lived in Paris for the next eight years, working for a number of Jewish refugee organisations. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States and soon became part of a lively intellectual circle in New York. She held a ...more
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“If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to ‘demand’ its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant.” 1 likes
“For the need to think can never be stilled by allegedly definite insights of “wise men”; it can be satisfied only through thinking, and the thoughts I had yesterday will satisfy this need today only to the extent that I want and am able to think them anew.” 0 likes
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