The project of this course is to critically investigate the personal, moral resp
The project of this course is to critically investigate the personal, moral responsibility of business and workplace leaders in 21st century capitalist societies. We are doing so by focusing on the potential for these societies to transform their workers and leaders–compelled by the drive for profits and the ambition for professional success–into thoughtless perpetrators of evil. In short, we, business leaders of tomorrow, must learn of the horrors that await us if we allow ourselves to be uncritically and unreflectively absorbed by the drives for profit and professional success.
We have taken an important first step in this project by witnessing the character of Adolf Eichmann and Arendt’s portrayal of aim as exhibiting the “banality of evil”–the idea that, in a highly-industrialized and bureaucratized world, mere thoughtlessness can transform a person into a perpetrator of the most heinous of evils. The aim of this post-test is to ensure that we have all understood these elemental aspects of the course: the “banality of evil” and the problem of thoughtlessness.
For this post-test, therefore, you must compose a 1000-1500 word essay in which you answer the following questions.
Forgetting Eichmann for a moment, if someone asked you who the most evil villain is, who would you name? It could be a real historical figure, a character from a book, movie, or TV show, etc. Who is this evil villain? What makes them evil? What makes them a villain? What drives or motivates their actions? Describe them as fully as you can. Assume your reader knows nothing about them (even if they are a well known figure) and make sure to stress those features of the figure that show their evil, villainous character. Paint as full and detailed a picture as you can.
Now, recalling Eichmann and Arendt’s portrayal of him, how does Eichmann differ from your evil villain above? What is so different about Eichmann’s “evil” as opposed to your villain’s “evil”? According to Arendt, Eichmann’s great sin was his thoughtlessness. What does she mean by this? What does it mean to be thoughtless? What are the signs or indicators of Eichmann’s thoughtlessness? How can thoughtlessness play a crucial role in the perpetration of evil deeds?