The Legacy of Hannah Arendt’s Banality of Evil
Keywords:Adolf Eichmann, Banality of Evil, Hannah Arendt, Mass Atrocities, Radical Evil
Contemporary thinkers such as Philip Zimbardo, Alexander Hinton and Elizabeth Minnich recently coined the terms Banality of Heroism, Banality of Everyday Thought, and Banality of Goodness respectively (without these concepts being the linchpins of their theses). These terms can be retraced to one thinker in particular who is constantly referred to by them: Hannah Arendt. Arendt’s Banality of Evil, a key concept in her work, was devised to discuss the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. This paper seeks to critically analyze these “banalities,” and ascertain whether they have contributed meaningfully to the existing literature on the problem of evil.
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