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1 Burnside Philosophy- General

Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy

by

Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Evil threatens human reason, for it challenges our hope that the world makes sense. For eighteenth-century Europeans, the Lisbon earthquake was manifest evil. Today we view evil as a matter of human cruelty, and Auschwitz as its extreme incarnation. Examining our understanding of evil from the Inquisition to contemporary terrorism, Susan Neiman explores who we have become in the three centuries that separate us from the early Enlightenment. In the process, she rewrites the history of modern thought and points philosophy back to the questions that originally animated it.

Whether expressed in theological or secular terms, evil poses a problem about the world's intelligibility. It confronts philosophy with fundamental questions: Can there be meaning in a world where innocents suffer? Can belief in divine power or human progress survive a cataloging of evil? Is evil profound or banal? Neiman argues that these questions impelled modern philosophy. Traditional philosophers from Leibniz to Hegel sought to defend the Creator of a world containing evil. Inevitably, their efforts--combined with those of more literary figures like Pope, Voltaire, and the Marquis de Sade--eroded belief in God's benevolence, power, and relevance, until Nietzsche claimed He had been murdered. They also yielded the distinction between natural and moral evil that we now take for granted. Neiman turns to consider philosophy's response to the Holocaust as a final moral evil, concluding that two basic stances run through modern thought. One, from Rousseau to Arendt, insists that morality demands we make evil intelligible. The other, from Voltaire to Adorno, insists that morality demands that we don't.

Beautifully written and thoroughly engaging, this book tells the history of modern philosophy as an attempt to come to terms with evil. It reintroduces philosophy to anyone interested in questions of life and death, good and evil, suffering and sense.

Synopsis:

Examining our understanding of evil from the Inquisition to contemporary terrorism, Susan Neiman explores who we have become in the three centuries since the enlightenment.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

INTRODUCTION 1

CHAPTER ONE: FIRE FROM HEAVEN 14

God's Advocates: Leibniz and Pope 18

Newton of the Mind: Jean-Jacques Rousse u 36

Divided Wisdom: Immanuel Kant 57

Real and Rational: Hegel and Marx 84

In Conclusion 109

CHAPTER TWO: CONDEMNING THE ARCHITECT 113

Raw Material: Bayle's Dictionary 116

Voltaire's Destinies 128

The Impotence of Reason: David Hume 148

End of the Tunnel: The Marquis de Sade 170

Schopenhauer: The World as Tribun l 196

CHAPTER THREE: ENDS OF AN ILLUSION 203

Eternal Choices: Nietzsche on Redemption 206

On Consolation: Freud vs. Providence 227

CHAPTER FOUR: HOMELESS 238

Earthquakes: Why Lisbon? 240

Mass Murders: Why Auschwitz? 250

Losses: Ending Modern Theodicies 258

Intentions: Meaning and Malice 267

Terror: After September 11 281

Remains: Camus, Arendt, Critical Theory, Rawls 288

Origins: Sufficient Reason 314

Notes 329

Bibliography 337

Index 345

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691096087
Subtitle:
An Alternative History of Philosophy
Author:
Neiman, Susan
Author:
Susa
Author:
n Neiman
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Subject:
Philosophy, modern
Subject:
Good & Evil
Subject:
Good and evil
Subject:
History & Surveys - Modern
Subject:
Modern
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
European History
Subject:
Political philosophy
Series Volume:
107-92
Publication Date:
20020721
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
376
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy Used Hardcover
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Product details 376 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691096087 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Examining our understanding of evil from the Inquisition to contemporary terrorism, Susan Neiman explores who we have become in the three centuries since the enlightenment.
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