Philosophy and Social Criticism 24 (5):1-35 (1998)

Arne Vetlesen
University of Oslo
Confronted with Adolf Eichmann, evildoer par excellence, Hannah Arendt sought in vain for any 'depth' to the evil he had wrought. How is the philosopher to approach evil ? Is the celebrated criterion of impartiality ill-equipped to guide judgment when its object is evil - as exhibited, for instance, in the recent genocide in Bosnia? This essay questions the ability of the neutral 'third party' to respond adequately to evil from a standpoint of avowed impartiality. Discussing the different roles of perpetrator and victim, I argue that in any knowledge about evil the victim is the supremely privileged source; this being so, the non-party to the occurrence of evil must privilege the testimony of the victimized - even at the cost of strict impartiality of moral judgment. Key Words: Arendt • evil • genocide • Goldhagen • impartiality • judgment • Kant • Levinas.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/019145379802400501
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 68,916
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Fundraising Discourse and the Commodification of the Other.Per-Anders Forstorp - 2007 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 16 (3):286–301.
Fundraising Discourse and the Commodification of the Other.Per-Anders Forstorp - 2007 - Business Ethics: A European Review 16 (3):286-301.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
60 ( #187,966 of 2,497,804 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #428,301 of 2,497,804 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes