Evil in Modern Thought An Alternative History of Philosophy

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  • Engels
  • Hardcover
  • 9780691096087
  • 01 juli 2002
  • 376 pagina's
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Susan Neiman

"Prof. Susan Neiman studeerde filosofie aan Harvard University en aan de Freie Universität in Berlijn en was hoogleraar filosofie aan Yale en aan de universiteit van Tel Aviv. Neiman is directeur van het Einstein Forum in Potsdam. Met haar eerdere werkenHet kwaad denken. Een andere geschiedenis van de filosofie en Morele Helderheid brak ze wereldwijd door. Op 24 november wordt aan haar de prestigieuze Spinozalens uitgereikt in Den Haag. Op bol.com vind je alle boeken van Susan Neiman, waaronder het nieuwste boek van Susan Neiman.

(Foto: Wikipedia. Beschikbaar onder de licentie Creative Commons Naamsvermelding/Gelijk delen.)"


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. Featuring a substantial new afterword by Neiman that raises provocative questions about Hannah Arendt's take on Adolf Eichmann and the rationale behind the Hiroshima bombing, this Princeton Classics edition introduces a new generation of readers to this eloquent and thought-provoking meditation on good and evil, life and death, and suffering and sense.



Oorspronkelijke releasedatum
01 juli 2002
Aantal pagina's
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Susan Neiman
Tweede Auteur
Susan Neiman
Princeton University Press

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Product breedte
140 mm
Product hoogte
32 mm
Product lengte
210 mm
Verpakking breedte
152 mm
Verpakking hoogte
30 mm
Verpakking lengte
229 mm
714 g



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1 review
  • Consolation of Philosophy

    Positieve punten

    • Overzichtelijk
    • Heldere boodschap
    • Rijk geillustreerd

    Negatieve punten

    • Te theoretisch

    Ah! Justice? Fairness, righteousness?

    In between all these current written accounts of Madness (be it "daily news" or "asylum transcripts"), re-reading Susan Neiman's 2002 book Evil in Modern Thought comes as a tranquilizing balm.

    A History of Philosophy as centred around the age-old question of "Evil". What? The question of Evil re-framed as most basic: "Could it have been different?"

    "I can do better than God!" sets the stage. Which blasphemous exclamation, of course, must be punished; in this earth and beyond.

    Evil, horror, disaster and pain. "Why?" Justice and eternal punishment for sin? Or just "bad stuff according to a Good Plan?"
    Justice? Tit-for-tat. "Who's guilty?" or at least, "Who's responsible?" Creator, Nature, Humans? Us? No-one random shit? Non-sensical question at all? Historical arguments for why yes or no.

    Maybe our ejaculation of "Evil!" tells more about our own problems of definition? Our problems to give meaning and purpose to a Natural world in which we find each other human, with or without an all-powerful God-given meaning or purpose?

    Very good to reconsider the reasonable, historical, step-by-step philosophical arguments from one position to another.

    Evil is there. No answer, no clear outcome? Or wot? Go read.

    Vond je dit een nuttige review?
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