Impartiality and evil: A reconsideration provoked by genocide in bosnia

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



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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, the Environment and Responsibility 16 (3):286-301.

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