Eichmann, Arendt, and "The Banality of Evil"
Richard Wolin’s review of Bettina Stangneth’s newly translated book about Adolf Eichmann caused a stir, mainly about Hannah Arendt and the banality (or not) of evil. Yale Professor Seyla Benhabib responded in a New York Times piece, others blogged, and Wolin responded in an essay on our website. Now Professor Benhabib has rejoined the debate and Professor Wolin has replied a final time. Here's a guide to the exchange from the original review to its last installment.
- The Banality of Evil: The Demise of a Legend by Richard Wolin
Bettina Stangneth’s newly translated book Eichmann Before Jerusalem finally and completely undermines Hannah Arendt’s famous “banality of evil” thesis.
- Who's on Trial, Eichmann or Arendt? by Seyla Benhabib
On September 21, 2014, on The New York Time’s website, Seyla Benhabib argued that a “rejection of the ‘banality of evil’ argument . . . does not hold up” and took issue with Wolin’s review.
- Thoughtlessness Revisited: A Response to Seyla Benhabib by Richard Wolin
Richard Wolin responds to Benhabib’s “ringing reaffirmation of Hannah Arendt’s notion of the banality of evil.”
- Richard Wolin on Arendt’s “Banality of Evil” Thesis by Seyla Benhabib
Seyla Benhabib rejoins the debate, contesting Wolin’s critique of Arendt’s banality thesis on historical and philosophical grounds.
- Arendt, Banality, and Benhabib: A Final Rejoinder by Richard Wolin
In the final installment of the exchange, Wolin defends and amplifies his critique.