Holes of oblivion: The banality of radical evil

Hypatia 18 (1):80-103 (2003)
Abstract
: This essay offers a reflection on Arendt's notion of radical evil, arguing that her later understanding of the banality of evil is already at work in her earlier reflections on the nature of radical evil as banal, and furthermore, that Arendt's understanding of the "banality of radical evil" has its source in the very event that offers a possible remedy to it, namely, the event of natality. Kristeva's recent work (2001) on Arendt is important to this proposal insofar as her notion of "abjection" illuminates Arendt's claim that understanding the superfluousness of the modern human being is inseparable from grasping the emergence of radical evil. In the final part of the essay, I argue that Arendt's "politics of natality" emerges from out of these two inseparable moments of the event of natality, offering the only possible remedy to the threat of radical evil by modifying our relationship to temporality
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