This paper argues that Moses Mendelssohn's largely ignored political philosophy is a fertile source for pluralist theories of political judgment. To do this, I argue that his theory of rhetorical publicness offers an important corrective to the theory of political judgment described in Hannah Arendt's Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy. Unlike Arendt's version, Mendelssohn's politics is based on an effort to preserve, and perhaps even celebrate, intersubjective differences. In this way, I suggest that the endemic misinterpretation of Mendelssohn's thought (both by Arendt herself, as well as by contemporary scholars) is more than a historical accident; instead, it provides an instructive historical as well as political theoretical case study.

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