Moral responsibility for banal evil

Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (4):501–520 (2006)
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It has often been argued that Hannah Arendt ‘let off’ Eichmann through her concept of the banality of evil. In this paper I argue, through revisiting and modifying the concept of the banality of evil, that we can reject such criticism. That is, by judging that a perpetrator, like Eichmann, commits evil banally in no way undermines the grounds for holding them to be responsible for their actions, but it does help us to understand why such perpetrators act as they do and to teach us how we might prevent such evil from occurring again.
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