Political Philosophy: Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil

Ref: C3529490

In 1963 her report on the Trail of Adolf Eichmann for his role in the Holocaust created a storm of controversy which continues to this day. The phase 'Banality of Evil' is not just about mindlessly following orders but it implies an active participation in activities which contribute to the political crisis of the modern world. This day school will examine the case of Adolf Eichmann, Arendt's interpretation and the response that followed. We will discuss our own responses to the concept of the 'banality of evil' in the light of our collective experiences. Our investigation will make use of our own diverse range of experiences as well as Hannah Arendt’s ideas. Expect informed presentations with lots of background material, lively discussion and friendly debate. This course is an opportunity to think about and discuss the future of our common world.

Course aim

To investigate the ideas of Hannah Arendt concerning the nature of evil, discuss these in the context of today’s world and examine our own experiences and views.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • No previous knowledge of Hannah Arendt is assumed. Her ideas reach out to those who are profoundly distrustful of formal politics, parties and governments generally.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Be familiar with Hannah Arendt's idea about the banality of evil.
  • Understand why Arendt's report had such a stormy reception
  • Take part in discussions about these ideas.
  • Critically examine our own thinking on this issue
  • Enjoy thinking about and discussing the future of our common world

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • Also opportunities for discussion with other students and to share ideas and experiences.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Just bring an open mind.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • A copy of the presentation materials will be provided which will include links to other sources of information.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • This is an introduction for a longer course on Hannah Arendt (Ref C3529472) to be offered in October.

Download full Course information sheet

Political Philosophy: Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil

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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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