Research 21 Series
The Faculty of the Professions takes as its guiding principle ‘leading thought into leading practice’. Our Research 21 Lecture Series demonstrate to the wider community how our research is leading the way from leading thought to leading practice in addressing the challenges posed by 21st Century globalised life.
The Relevance of Hannah Arendt: On Judgement and Responsibility
On 11 April 1961 the Israeli Government put the Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem. Following the Wannsee conference in 1942 Eichmann was given the task of organising the transportation of millions of Jews from occupied territories and into extermination camps. The trial was set-up by the Israeli prosecution to be not just a trial of Eichmann but also a ‘bearing witness’ of the holocaust itself. The prosecution called over 100 witnesses to testify, many of whom were survivors of the concentration camps. For fourteen weeks the trial made international headlines. One of the trial’s most famous witnesses was the political theorist Hannah Arendt. Arendt is one of the great outsiders of twentieth-century political philosophy: strikingly original and disturbingly unorthodox. After the trial of Eichmann, Arendt embarked on a series of reflections about how to make judgements and exercise responsibility without recourse to existing law, especially when existing law contrary to moral precepts. Although sometimes she understands judgement as a social act (to be performed in common) at other times she seeks recourse to an idea of sovereign mind. What kind of “act” is judgement? And how do we understand those acts that make us criminals in light of one law, but dissenters from a criminal law in another? These questions are of great importance, not only for legal theorists but for all of us as we prepare for future political problems that face the world today.
Date: 30th October 2014
Time: 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Venue: Napier G03, North Terrace Campus
Registration: Click here to register
Presenter Biography: Peter Burdon
Peter Burdon is a Senior Lecturer at the Adelaide Law School and deputy chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Ethics Specialist Group. Peter teaches a course on Hannah Arendt and the Eichmann trial and has written widely on legal theory, judgement and ethical integrity. Recently, while a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley, Peter took part in an hour long interview on Arendt with KPFA’s Against the Grain Radio.