Banality of evil

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The banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt and incorporated in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.[1] It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.


[edit] Criticism

The concept of the banality of evil is criticized in an article under British Psychology journal "The Psychologist". S. Alexander Haslam and Stephen D. Reicher argued that crimes on the scale of Eichmann's cannot be committed by "ordinary people". Those people who commit such crimes "actively identify with groups whose ideology justifies and condones the oppression and destruction of others"[2]. That is, they know that it is a crime, but simply find a way to justify it.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Hannah Arendt, Political Scientist, Dead". New York Times. December 6, 1975. Retrieved on 2008-11-19. "Hannah Arendt, the political philosopher who escaped Hitler's Germany and later scrutinized its morality in "Eichmann in Jerusalem" and other books, died Thursday night in her apartment at 370 Riverside Drive." 
  2. ^ "Questioning the banality of evil" Volume 21 (January 2008), The Psychologist, Retrieved on 2009-02-15
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