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About this product
- DescriptionEvil 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 incents 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 w 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 Ador, 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.
- Author BiographySusan Neiman is Director of the Einstein Forum, Potsdam. Her previous works include Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin and The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant . Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard University and the Freie Universitat-Berlin, and was Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and Tel Aviv University. She is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.
- PrizesWinner of Association of American Publishers' Best New Book in Philosophy and Religion 2003. Commended for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2003.
- Author(s)Susan Neiman
- PublisherPrinceton University Press
- Date of Publication01/03/2004
- Series TitlePrinceton Classics
- Place of PublicationNew Jersey
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPrinceton University Press
- Weight542 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine23 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
- Edition StatementRevised edition
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