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2009 | 10 | 95-122

Article title

ARCHITECTURE OF EVIL IN HANNAH ARENDT'S CONCEPTIONS (Architektura zla w koncepcjach Hannah Arendt)

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The article reconstructs a dynamic process, presented by Hannah Arendt, which enables totalitarianism to appear. Using notions applied by the philosopher and connecting them in places where she does not do it, one can obtain quite a coherent political-philosophical conception where the starting point is a theoretical state of a proper republic which gradually falls apart, degenerates, and eventually becomes its exact opposite - a totalitarianism. A model is constructed showing theoretical possibility of transforming republican agora into the 'hole of oblivion', being synonymous with a Nazi death camp which, in turn, is the starting point of Hannah Arendt's deliberations on evil. In the first place, the article reconstructs a conception of radical evil, and then moves to describe a change in the philosopher's standpoint and her approach towards evil in its banal context. In spite of universally assumed interpretations which present the thesis of 'banality of evil' as abandonment of the conception of 'radical evil', a proposal is formulated which states that the two notions and the philosopher's theses connected with the notions are not opposed to each other, but they rather indicate that there exist limitations of understanding. In close relation to Hannah Arendt's conceptions, an issue of 'epiphanity of evil' is taken into consideration. Contrary to Cezary Wodzinski's proposal, the issue is presented on the basis of analytical procedures of Buddhist philosophy of 'middle way', in comparative context of, among others, Greek skepticism and Immanuel Kant's philosophy. They allow to introduce the notion of 'architecture of evil' which, applied towards Arendt's conception, allows to relieve it both of a burden of metaphysical speculation and of metaphorism and methodological insufficiency of the notion of evil in its banal context.






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  • WSAP, ul. Dojlidy Fabryczne 26, 15-555 Bialystok, Poland


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