A Philosophy of Evil

A Philosophy of Evil

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by Lars Svendsen
     
 

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Despite the overuse of the word in movies, political speeches, and news reports, "evil" is generally seen as either flagrant rhetoric or else an outdated concept: a medieval holdover with no bearing on our complex everyday reality. In A Philosophy of Evil, however, acclaimed philosopher Lars Svendsen argues that evil remains a concrete moral problem:

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Overview

Despite the overuse of the word in movies, political speeches, and news reports, "evil" is generally seen as either flagrant rhetoric or else an outdated concept: a medieval holdover with no bearing on our complex everyday reality. In A Philosophy of Evil, however, acclaimed philosopher Lars Svendsen argues that evil remains a concrete moral problem: that we're all its victims, and all guilty of committing evil acts. "It's normal to be evil," he writes--the problem is, we have lost the vocabulary to talk about it.

Taking up this problem--how do we speak about evil?--A Philosophy of Evil treats evil as an ordinary aspect of contemporary life, with implications that are moral, practical, and above all, political. Because, as Svendsen says, "Evil should neither be justified nor explained away--evil must be fought."

Dalkey Archive Press

Editorial Reviews

New Statesman
He has a light touch and a playful attitude.— Tom Hodgkinson
Politiken
“Another outstanding, well-written book from the young Norwegian philosopher.”
Tom Hodgkinson - New Statesman
“He has a light touch and a playful attitude.”
From the Publisher

"Svendsen has a way with words, and, unlike many writers of philosophy books, is also blessed with a sly wit and a thorough knowledge of popular culture."--Phil Miller, The Glasgow Herald

Dalkey Archive Press

Library Journal
Svendsen (philosophy, Univ. of Bergen, Norway; A Philosophy of Fear) is painfully aware of the world's atrocities, but he doesn't think the main problem is "demonic" evil, by which he means deliberate intent to oppose someone's "living a life both meaningful and worth striving for." His argument about human actions that impinge on meaningful and worthwhile life is much involved with Hannah Arendt's concept of stupid evil, but he ultimately agrees with the long Christian tradition that evil is a privation, a lack of something—mostly rationality and the universality that a common rationality fosters. Svendsen adequately illustrates the role played by irrationality in the evils that make today's news, but he does not carry his thesis through to what looks like its logical conclusion: the world is divided between those who think evil can be stamped out with guns and jails and those who take the privation doctrine seriously and think evil can be dealt with only by finding out what is missing and repairing it. VERDICT An intelligent, well-written book that makes a good start at addressing the problem of crime via a philosophy of evil.—Leslie Armour, Dominican Univ. Coll., Ottawa, Ont.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564785718
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
04/06/2010
Series:
Norwegian Literature Series
Pages:
306
Sales rank:
1,113,208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Lars Svendsen is professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is the author of "A Philosophy of Fear", " Fashion: A Philosophy", and "A Philosophy of Boredom", all published by Reaktion Books.

Kjersti A. Skomsvold was born in 1979 in Oslo. "The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am" is her first novel.

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A Philosophy of Evil 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago