A Philosophical Inquiry
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This book explores the nature, normativity, and aftermath of evil action. It combines philosophical conceptual analysis with empirical studies in psychology and discussions of historical events to provide an innovative analysis of evil action.
The book considers the metaethical, normative, and practical characteristics belonging to evil action. It begins by identifying the features of evil action that distinguish it from mundane wrongdoing, thereby placing it as a proper category of philosophical inquiry. Next, the author demonstrates how evil acts affect moral relationships and challenge Strawsonian accounts of moral responsibility. He then draws conceptual and empirical connections between evil acts and collective agency by discussing collective acts of evil such as genocide, torture, and slavery. Finally, the author scrutinizes both the possibility and propriety of forgiveness and vengeance in the aftermath of evil and discusses how individuals ought to cope with the pervasiveness of evil in human interaction.
Evil Matters will be of interest to advanced students and researchers in philosophy working on the concept of evil, moral responsibility, collective agency, vengeance, and forgiveness.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Questioning Evil
1. Is Kant’s Theory of Evil Still Relevant?
2. What Must a Theory of Evil Include?
3. Beyond Nuanced Harm Accounts: Evil and Vulnerability
4. Is a Génocidaire My Moral Interlocutor? Evil and the Limits of Strawsonianism
5. Evil and the Power of Groups
6. Enduring Resentment: Between Vengeance and Forgiveness
Appendix: Facing Evil: How Should Individuals Cope with Pervasive Evil?
Zachary J. Goldberg is Senior Research Analyst at Trilateral Research and formerly Research Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany. In addition to his authored articles and book chapters focusing mainly on issues concerning the philosophy of evil and moral responsibility, he is the editor of Reflections on Ethics and Responsibility: Essays in Honor of Peter A. French (2017), co-editor of The Routledge International Handbook of Perpetrator Studies (2020), and Chief Editor of Midwest Studies in Philosophy.