The Life of the Mind is an intriguing unfinished book written by Hannah Arendt, known as a political philosopher, at the very end of her life in 1975. We devote this Special Issue of Culture & Psychology to this work, because we are convinced that it raises interesting and important questions for social and cultural psychology today. In this Introduction to the Special Issue, we first explain why we believe that this book deserves closer attention. Second, we present the context of its publication, and a short biography of Arendt, to show its position in her life. Published posthumously, the book was her last project, yet it is based on some of her lifelong concerns. Third, we summarise Arendt’s ideas about the psyche, and the main three faculties of mind – thinking, willing and judging – with which the book is concerned. We then address three difficulties the book raises for psychologists reading her work. Finally, we explain the context in which we developed this Special Issue, and summarise the topics that will be addressed in the papers assembled here.
- Hannah Arendt
- The Life of the Mind