Is radical evil banal? Is banal evil radical?

Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (6):717-735 (2007)
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Abstract
There has been much recent debate concerning how Hannah Arendt's concepts of radical evil and the banality of evil `fit together', if at all. I argue that the first of these concepts deals with a certain type of evil, in particular the evil that occurred in the Nazi death camps. The second deals with a certain type of perpetrator of evil, in particular the banal `nobody', Eichmann. As such, bar a localized incompatibility in regard to Arendt's early account of the motivation of perpetrators of radical evil, these two concepts are independent but nonetheless highly complementary. Key Words: Hannah Arendt • banality of evil • Adolf Eichmann • evil • forgiveness • Immanuel Kant • punishment • radical evil.
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