chapter  3
25 Pages

Education for Judgment: An Arendtian Oxymoron?

ByStacy Smith

Toward the end of her life, Hannah Arendt's philosophical project centered on an explication of three mental faculties: thinking, willing, and judgment. An interpretation of Arendt's views on judgment and education that suggests that "education for judgment" is neither possible nor appropriate is troubling in light of the importance that she places on political equality. This chapter contends that cultivating judgment is an appropriate and necessary educational task, particularly in light of Arendt's vision of participatory democratic politics. It argues against an interpretation of Arendt's views on judgment that would suggest that the cultivation of this faculty does not fall under the purview of education. First, the chapter challenges her suggestion that judgment cannot be taught, only practiced, by elaborating a conception of "practice as preparation" that entails specific functions for formal education. Second, it extends this notion of practice as preparation to complicate Arendt's strict distinction between the domains of politics and education.