Download PDF If Hannah Arendt leaves no other intellectual legacy, her notion of "the banality of evil" seems certain to ensure her a place in the history of Western thought. The idea, emblazoned in the subtitle of her controversial book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, impressed many people as a fundamental insight into a new and distinctly modern kind of evil. In her critical account of his trial for crimes against the Jewish people and humanity, Arendt argued that Eichmann, far from being a "monster," as the Israeli prosecutor insisted, was nothing more than a thoughtless bureaucrat, passionate only in his desire to please his superiors. Eichmann, the unthinking functionary capable of enormous evil, revealed the dark potential of modern bureaucratic man.
Not only are these contentions wrong; Wolin himself makes a number of important factual errors: Let me address them first. Arendt was in the courtroom between April 11 and May 8,and while Eichmann himself did not take the stand until June 20, she returned and watched him testify between June 20 and 23, although not during the final weeks when Eichmann was being cross-examined by Gideon Hausner.
Arendt believed none of that. These show her preoccupation with these Kantian themes before, during, and after the Eichmann trial. They were blind to differences and perspectives that did not fit into their Weltanschauung. Ideological thinking immunizes itself against the world by fitting all evidence into a coherent scheme that cannot be falsified.
It was this ideological thoughtlessness that permitted Eichmann to sit days on end with an Israeli officer, Captain Less, and tell him the sad story of his own life and the wrongs he believed had been done to him.
Arendt did not believe that modernity or modern technology alone had given rise to totalitarianism. This is why The Origins of Totalitarianism is an unwieldy work, not a mono-causal account, but a rich exploration of many elements and configurations in modern societies—such as the collapse of the rule of law in the nation-state, the rise of anti-Semitism, race thinking in the encounter with Africa, and the practice of administrative massacres in Western colonies, and so on—that come together in some fashion to enable totalitarian politics.
Modernity is not, on her account, a Verfallsgeschichte, a history of doom and decline, as it is in a Heideggerian philosophy of history.
But for Wolin, Arendt is always a foolish woman in love! Arendt never changed her mind about the fact that with the concentration camps and the Holocaust something had emerged in human history that had altered the essence of politics and perhaps even human nature itself.
It was not this evil which was banal, but the quality of mind and character of the perpetrators.
As an intellectual historian and as a Jew, Wolin may take comfort in thinking that anti-Semitism is demonic, perpetrated only by sado-masochistic perverts and blood-thirsty liars.
Like Arendt, I, as a Jew, lie awake at night pondering how and why anti-Semitism continues to have a hold on so many otherwise ordinary individuals.The Banality of Evil From the book Triumph of the Market by Edward S.
Herman The concept of the banality of evil came into prominence following the publication of Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, which was . Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil.
Hannah Arendt coined the term “banality of evil” while covering the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi official charged with the orderly extermination of Europe’s benjaminpohle.com herself was a German-Jewish exile struggling in the most personal of ways to come to grips with the utter destruction of European society.
The banality-of-evil thesis was a flashpoint for controversy. Can one do evil without being evil? This was the puzzling question that the philosopher Hannah Arendt grappled with when she reported.
Evil Is in the Air We Breath - Evil, the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness. (benjaminpohle.com) Evil is a very complex subject that many consider unpleasant, however, evidence shows that evil does exist; and has existed since the beginning of time.
The 50 Most Influential Psychologists in the World 1. John R. Anderson | Cognitive Psychology. Anderson was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in , and his PhD in psychology from Stanford University in Hannah Arendt was born Johanna Cohn Arendt in into a comfortable educated secular family of German Jews in Linden, Prussia (now a part of Hanover), in Wilhelmine benjaminpohle.com family were merchants of Russian extraction from Königsberg, the East Prussian capital.
Arendt's grandparents were part of the Reform Jewish community there. Hannah's paternal grandfather, Max Arendt (–