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From Radical to Banal Evil: Hannah Arendt against the Justification of the Unjustifiable


Phillips, JA, From Radical to Banal Evil: Hannah Arendt against the Justification of the Unjustifiable, The International Journal of Philosophical Studies , 12, (2) pp. 129-158. ISSN 0967-2559 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/09672550410001679828


Two central strands in Arendt's thought are the reflection on the evil of Auschwitz and the rethinking in terms of politics of Heidegger's critique of metaphysics. Given Heidegger's taciturnity regarding Auschwitz and Arendt's own taciturnity regarding the philosophical implications of Heidegger's political engagement in 1933, to set out how these strands interrelate is to examine the coherence of Arendt's thought and its potential for a critique of Heidegger. By refusing to countenance a theological conception of the evil of Auschwitz, Arendt consolidates the break with theology that Heidegger attempts through his analysis of the essential finitude of Dasein. In the light of Arendt's account of evil, it is possible to see the theological vestiges in Heidegger's ontology. Heidegger's resumption of the question concerning the categorical interconnections of the ways of Being entails an abandonment of finitude: he accommodates and tacitly justifies that which can have no human justification.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:History and philosophy of specific fields
Research Field:History of philosophy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Phillips, JA (Dr James Phillips)
ID Code:34344
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2005-08-03
Last Modified:2005-08-03

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