Synopses & Reviews
What motivates human beings to do evil? Is evil simply the sheer perverse desire to do harm or wrong? Can evil be explained or made intelligible, or does it resist all efforts at comprehension? What atrocities are human beings capable of, and what might God allow to occur? Alan D. Schrift and the contributors to this engaging and lively volume explore evil from a postmodern perspective. While giving particular attention to modern evils such as the Holocaust, South African apartheid, the Rwandan genocide, and the events of September 11, 2001, the essays collected here cover broad philosophical and religious ground as they illustrate how society deals with evil. Readers will find new ways to think about the concept of evil and discover new tools for sorting out the moral and ethical issues surrounding evil in today's world.
The contributors are Debra B. Bergoffen, Tina Chanter, William E. Connolly, Peter Dews, Martin Beck Matustík, William L. McBride, Robert Meister, Adi Ophir, Robert B. Pippin, Alan D. Schrift, Henry Staten, and Edith Wyschogrod.
In this collection, contributors enter into the contemporary discussion of evil with all the seriousness missing in the popular parlance. The articles are sophisticated and demanding. Some are focused on exegesis and critique of modern writers' concerns with evil and radical evil. Some are focused on issues closely connected to evil--such as terror and crimes against humanity. A few make a religious assumption; others do not. These essays are rewarding reading for advanced readers. Unfortunately, almost all are too sophisticated to advance the public discussion. Although most of the essays can be enjoyed without specific knowledge of the philosophers' works cited, one must be familiar with modern and postmodern philosophy. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty.S. C. Schwarze, Cabrini College
"In this collection, contributors enter into the contemporary discussion of evil with all the seriousness missing in the popular parlance.... Highly recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty." --Choice, February 2006 Indiana University Press Indiana University Press Indiana University Press
About the Author
Alan D. Schrift, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for the Humanities at Grinnell College, is author of Nietzsche's French Legacy: A Genealogy of Poststructuralism.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Alan D. Schrift
2. "Radical Evil" Revived: Hitler, Kant, Luther, Neo-Lacanians Henry Staten
3. Liquidating the "Nearly Just Society": Radical Evil's Triumphant Return William L. McBride
4. Violence and Secularization, Evil and Redemption Martin Beck Matu
5. Disenchantment and the Persistence of Evil: Habermas, Jonas, Badiou Peter Dews
6. How Rape Became a Crime against Humanity: History of an Error Debra B. Bergoffen
7. Ways of Winning: The Costs of Moral Victory in Transitional Regimes Robert Meister
8. Abjection and Film: Displacing the Fetishistic, Racist Rhetoric of Political Projection Tina Chanter
9. Faith, Territory, and Evil William E. Connolly
10. Hannah Arendt on the Bourgeois Origins of Totalitarian Evil Robert B. Pippin
11. Evil, Evils, and the Question of Ethics Adi Ophir
12. Incursions of Evil: The Double Bind of Alterity Edith Wyschogrod