He has a light touch and a playful attitude. Tom Hodgkinson
“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
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.