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Thoughtlessness and the Optics of Moral Argument: Screening the Spectacle of Eichmann - Part 2

A presentation by Valerie Hartouni, University of California, San Diego

Although Arendt sought to distinguish Eichmann’s inability to think from another’s point of view from conventional understandings of “empathy,” much contemporary commentary persists in reading Eichmann’s failure as a failure of empathetic identification. Indeed, even accounts that aim to adopt Arendt’s reading of Eichmann, it seems, can not easily escape producing “thoughtlessness” as an absence of empathy or rendering what she argued was a political failure (a question of solidarity) as primarily a moral one (a question of sentiment).

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