12-08-2009, 12:16 AM
Banality of evil
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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. 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.
* 1 Milgram experiments
* 2 Stanford prison experiments
* 3 Recent criticism
* 4 See also
* 5 External links
* 6 References
 Milgram experiments
Intuition of Hannah Arendt was confirmed in famous Milgram experiments , where capacity for evil coming from obedience was demonstrated by the American psychologist, Stanley Milgram. Nowadays, such experiments would never be done , and even at the time, in the 60s, were considered quite controversial. Milgram earned a reputation of a "mad doctor" and this cost him tenure on both Harvard and Yale, despite of his brilliance, and he ended up teaching at the provincial CUNY.
 Stanford prison experiments
Deep insight of Hannah Arendt, confirmed by Stanley Milgram famous experiments was further firmly established in the early 70s, in the equally famous Stanford prison experiment.  This experiment was so controversial, that it had to be discontinued because of the shocking results. These results showed that any person, given the right circumstances, is capable of cruel deeds. The leader of the experiment, Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo, is nowadays considered one of the foremost experts on evil and has given a lecture at TED about banality of evil through his experience as defense witness for one of the persons who was perpetrator in Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse case.
 Recent criticism
The concept of banality of evil is nowadays taken for granted and has been very prominent ever since its discovery and experimental confirmation in psychology. However, recently, some critics have pointed out that the term is overused.
For instance, in the May 23, 2009 edition of the New York Post, various uses of the phrase over the last 10 years were collected, with writer Spencer Rosenstein arguing that the phrase has been overused to the point making it, essentially, a worsened word. Similarly, Ron Rosenbaum, the author of Explaining Hitler, wrote an article that appeared in Slate in October 2009 entitled "The Evil of Banality" where he criticized the term, calling it "the most overused, misused, abused pseudo-intellectual phrase in our language." "
 See also
* Eichmann in Jerusalem
* Stanford prison experiment
* Milgram Experiment
* Right Wing Authoritarianism
 External links
* An overview of the concept from http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com
* The Banality of Evil at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
1. ^ "Hannah Arendt, Political Scientist, Dead". The New York Times. December 6, 1975. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.h...F418785F9. Retrieved 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
3. ^ Ron Rosenbaum (October 30, 2009). "The Evil of Banality". Slate. http://www.slate.com/id/2234010/pagenum/all/. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
Stub icon This philosophy-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
"burnt offering of around 6 million Jews or so" in a war that claimed 60 million or so, aside -
the elite are few and we are many - but the mass is in their caw.
User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)