9780745629537

Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780745629537

  • ISBN10:

    0745629539

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-09-01
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
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Summary

At present, there is an enormous gulf between the visibility of evil and the paucity of our intellectual resources for coming to grips with it. We have been flooded with images of death camps, terrorist attacks and horrendous human suffering. Yet when we ask what we mean by radical evil and how we are to account for it, we seem to be at a loss for proper responses. Bernstein seeks to discover what we can learn about the meaning of evil and human responsibility. He turns to philosophers such as Kant, who coined the expression 'radical evil', as well as to Hegel and Schelling. He also examines more recent explorations of evil, namely the thinking of Freud and Nietzsche on the moral psychology of evil. Finally, he looks at the way in which three post-Holocaust thinkers - Emmanuel Levinas, Hans Jonas, and Hannah Arendt - have sought to come to grips with evil "after Auschwitz."Bernstein's primary concern throughout this challenging book is to enrich and deepen our understanding of evil in the contemporary world, and to emphasize the vigilance and personal responsibility required for combating it. Radical Evil will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy, social and political theory, and religious studies.

Author Biography

Richard J. Bernstein is Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction 1(8)
PART I EVIL, WILL, AND FREEDOM 9(92)
Radical Evil: Kant at War with Himself
11(35)
Evil maxims
14(5)
Radical evil
19(17)
Diabolical evil
36(6)
Unconditional moral responsibility
42(4)
Hegel: The Healing of the Spirit?
46(30)
The finite and the infinite
50(8)
Evil and finitude
58(5)
Adam's Fall
63(4)
The necessity and justification of evil?
67(6)
Hegel against Hegel
73(3)
Schelling: The Metaphysics of Evil
76(25)
Real evil
80(3)
Ground and existence
83(5)
Self-will and the principle of darkness
88(5)
The moral psychology of evil
93(8)
Intermezzo
98(3)
PART II THE MORAL PSYCHOLOGY OF EVIL 101(60)
Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil?
103(29)
Good and bad versus Good and evil
105(4)
The dialectical ironist
109(10)
Exit and ressentiment
119(4)
Beyond good and evil
123(4)
What we learn from Nietzsche about evil
127(5)
Freud: Ineradicable Evil and Ambivalence
132(29)
The ambivalence of the band of brothers
135(8)
The theory of instincts
143(11)
Nietzsche and Freud
154(2)
Responsibility for evil
156(5)
PART III AFTER AUSCHWITZ 161(64)
Prologue
163(3)
Levinas: Evil and the Temptation of Theodicy
166(18)
The end of theodicy
168(6)
The phenomenology of evil
174(6)
Infinite responsibility
180(4)
Jonas: A New Ethic of Responsibility
184(21)
The response to nihilism
187(7)
Evil and our apocalyptic situation
194(5)
``Demythologizing'' Jonas's myth
199(2)
Jonas and Levinas
201(4)
Arendt: Radical Evil and the Banality of Evil
205(20)
Superfluousness, spontaneity, and plurality
209(5)
Evil intentions and motivations?
214(6)
Eichmann: human-all-too-human
220(5)
Conclusion 225(11)
Notes 236(37)
Bibliography 273(7)
Subject Index 280(7)
Index of Names 287

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