Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2014


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Lanei Rodemeyer, Jacques Taminiaux

Committee Member

Jennifer Bates


Arendt, Heidegger, imagination, intersubjectivity, judgment, Kant


My dissertation is a phenomenological analysis of the relationship between intersubjectivity and imagination in Hannah Arendt. The objective of my dissertation is to demonstrate that Arendt has a theory of imagination that provides a substratum to explain her key notions such as "action," "freedom" "beginning," "history," "power," "understanding," "appearance," "space of appearance," and "judgment." In other words, my dissertation shows that not only are these notions related, and not only do they characterize Arendt's account of the political life as fundamentally intersubjective, but they are also derived from her peculiar understanding of imagination that arises within the phenomenological legacy.

The thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 provides an analysis to suggest a strong relation between imagination and taste as an intersubjective phenomenon in Arendt's Lectures on Kant Political Philosophy (1992). Chapter 2 traces the "possible" nature of imagination in Arendt's notion of "action and "understanding" back through her various works, beginning with the essay "Understanding and Politics" (Difficulties of Understanding) (1954) and the last chapter of The Origins of Totalitarianism (1952), the proceeding through further analyses in The Human Condition (1958). There is an intermediate section outlining the structure of Chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 3 focuses on what Arendt calls "metaphysical fallacies" that are derived from thinking activity and the thinking ego in The Life of the Mind: Thinking. Moreover, this chapter serves as a preparatory discussion and analysis for the following chapter, in addition to discussing how Arendt tries to reestablish a linkage between thinking and judgment based on intersubjectivity, echoing her encounter of Adolf Eichmann's "thoughtlessness." The last chapter demonstrates that these analyses of the "metaphysical fallacies," which Arendt points out in The Life of the Mind: Thinking, are her implicit criticism of Heidegger's ontological interpretation of Kant's transcendental imagination in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1973). Furthermore and finally, by pointing out several parallelisms between Heidegger's interpretation of Kant and Arendt's criticism, the chapter offers a way to reconstruct Arendt's account of intersubjectivity as her own phenomenological interpretation of Kant's transcendental imagination as reproductive imagination against the productive imagination in Heidegger's interpretation.