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The Embodiment of Evil: Adolf Eichmann vs Ellsworth Toohey
March 5, 2022 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm EST
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In this salon, Daniel Golliher dives into the nature of evil. Philosophers have approached the subject differently throughout time, but few as memorably as either Rand or Arendt.
This salon is the second of three in a mini-series comparing the thinkers Ayn Rand and Hannah Arendt.
Hannah Arendt famously called it banal while covering the trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann—and less famously called it radical in her other works. Ayn Rand drew the concept into one of The Fountainhead’s main characters, Ellsworth Toohey, and set it directly against Rand’s embodiment of good, Howard Roark.
Arendt discusses evil in a more technical sense, while Rand casts it in more directly moral terms (perhaps, anyway). Arendt outlines it in her nonfiction, Rand in her fiction.
How does Arendt’s Nazi compare to Rand’s Toohey? Is either more real than the other? Are these visions of evil distinct, or just different sides of the same coin?
- “Eichmann in Jerusalem—I” from The New Yorker, by Hannah Arendt (1963); this is the first part of a series covering the trial of former Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
- “The Concept of Evil,” all of section two, from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018)
- The Ayn Rand Institute’s lecture on Ellsworth Toohey
- The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, is highly recommended reading for this salon
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