Hannah Arendt: On Judgment and Responsibility
Peter D. Burdon (2015): Hannah Arendt: on judgment and responsibility, Griffith Law Review, DOI: 10.1080/10383441.2015.1058215
21 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2015 Last revised: 4 Nov 2016
Date Written: July 24, 2015
This article considers the relevance of Hannah Arendt’s writing on responsibility and judgment for legal academics. It begins by providing a summary of Arendt’s report on the Eichmann trial, focusing in particular on the gradual shift in her thinking from theorising evil as radical to something that is banal. Following this, I connect Aendrt’s thinking on judgment with her writing on plurality and what it means to keep company with oneself. I contend that Arendt’s most important contribution to moral thinking was the disenchantment of evil from its religious legacy. Finally, I consider the continued relevance of Arendt’s warning about the risks mass technological society poses for the capacity of human beings to think and make reflective judgments. These uniquely human characteristics need to be protected, if we are to guard against the rise of inverted totalitarianism and the reduction of human beings to homo oeconomicus.
Keywords: Hannah Arendt, Arendt, evil, plurality
JEL Classification: K40, K42, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation