The Metaphysics of Good and Evil  book cover
1st Edition

The Metaphysics of Good and Evil

ISBN 9780367408640
Published December 2, 2019 by Routledge
240 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $51.00
was $170.00
USD $119.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The Metaphysics of Good and Evil is the first, full-length contemporary defence, from the perspective of analytic philosophy, of the Scholastic theory of good and evil – the theory of Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and most medieval and Thomistic philosophers. Goodness is analysed as obedience to nature. Evil is analysed as the privation of goodness. Goodness, surprisingly, is found in the non-living world, but in the living world it takes on a special character. The book analyses various kinds of goodness, showing how they fit into the Scholastic theory. The privation theory of evil is given its most comprehensive contemporary defence, including an account of truthmakers for truths of privation and an analysis of how causation by privation should be understood. In the end, all evil is deviance – a departure from the goodness prescribed by a thing’s essential nature.

Key Features:

    • Offers a comprehensive defence of a venerable metaphysical theory, conducted using the concepts and methods of analytic philosophy.
    • Revives a much neglected approach to the question of good and evil in their most general nature.
    • Shows how Aristotelian-Thomistic theory has more than historical relevance to a fundamental philosophical issue, but can be applied in a way that is both defensible and yet accessible to the modern philosopher.
    • Provides what, for the Scholastic philosopher, is arguably the only solid metaphysical foundation for a separate treatment of the origins of morality.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part I A Theory of Good as Fulfilment 1. The basic theory: appetites and fulfilment  2. Developing the Scholastic conception of goodness  3. A case for inorganic goodness  4. The good in the living  Part II A Theory of Evil as Privation 5. In defence of the privation theory  6. Evil and truthmaking 7. Evil as cause and effect  8. The reality of evil

View More



David S. Oderberg is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading, England. He is the author of many articles in metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, and other subjects. His books include Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (2000), Applied Ethics: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (2000) and Real Essentialism (2007). He is also the editor of several collections on ethics, logic, and metaphysics. Prof. Oderberg edits Ratio, an international journal of analytic philosophy.