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Fb2 The Roots of Evil ePub

by John Kekes

Category: Humanities
Subcategory: Other
Author: John Kekes
ISBN: 0801443687
ISBN13: 978-0801443688
Language: English
Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (May 26, 2005)
Pages: 278
Fb2 eBook: 1789 kb
ePub eBook: 1732 kb
Digital formats: txt mbr lit lrf

Evil is the most serious of our moral problems.

Evil is the most serious of our moral problems. All over the world cruelty, greed, prejudice, and fanaticism ruin the lives of countless victims. Outrage provokes outrage. Millions nurture seething hatred of real or imagined enemies, revealing savage and destructive tendencies in human nature.

While some obsess over the 'root causes' of the appalling things people do to one another, Kekes reminds us that evil actions find their origin in the individual.

Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). While some obsess over the 'root causes' of the appalling things people do to one another, Kekes reminds us that evil actions find their origin in the individual. His book closes with some sensible if currently unfashionable recommendations for coping with evil: attending to its internal conditions by exposing people to the humanities and attending to its external conditions by a firm commitment to punishment. Indeed, the book contains much by way of sturdy good sense.

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Kekes is the author of a number of books on ethics, including The Examined Life (Penn State University Press, 1988), The Morality of Pluralism (Princeton University Press, 1996) . The Roots of Evil, Cornell University Press (2007).

Kekes is the author of a number of books on ethics, including The Examined Life (Penn State University Press, 1988), The Morality of Pluralism (Princeton University Press, 1996), Moral Wisdom and Good Lives (Cornell University Press, 1997), The Art of Life (Cornell University Press, 2005), The Roots of Evil (Cornell University Press, 2007), Enjoyment (Oxford University Press, 2009), and The Enlargement of Life: Moral Imagination at Work (Cornell University Press, 2010). Kekes is also a noted conservative thinker. Enjoyment: The Moral Significance of Styles of Life, Oxford University Press (2010).

But within us all are the roots of evil Acts of unspeakable evil also seem to require a bent toward dehumanizing others.

But within us all are the roots of evil. Acts of unspeakable evil also seem to require a bent toward dehumanizing others. John Wayne Gacy called the 33 boys he raped, sodomized, tortured and killed "worthless little queers. Ted Bundy, with the blood of 24 women on his hands, called his victims "cargo" and "damaged goods.

The Roots of Evil: A Social History of Crime and Punishment is a book written by Christopher Hibbert in 1963 which traces the development of the social justice system, mostly from an English perspective.

The Roots of Evil: A Social History of Crime and Punishment is a book written by Christopher Hibbert in 1963 which traces the development of the social justice system, mostly from an English perspective, though information about the continent and the United States is also included. With this conclusion, Hibbert traces the development and decline of cruel punishments, the guillotine in France and the modern prison in England, which still used hanging when the book was first published.

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Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Cornell University Press.

"Evil is the most serious of our moral problems. All over the world cruelty, greed, prejudice, and fanaticism ruin the lives of countless victims. Outrage provokes outrage. Millions nurture seething hatred of real or imagined enemies, revealing savage and destructive tendencies in human nature. Understanding this challenges our optimistic illusions about the effectiveness of reason and morality in bettering human lives. But abandoning these illusions is vitally important because they are obstacles to countering the threat of evil. The aim of this book is to explain why people act in these ways and what can be done about it."―John Kekes

The first part of this book is a detailed discussion of six horrible cases of evil: the Albigensian Crusade of about 1210; Robespierre's Terror of 1793–94; Franz Stangl, who commanded a Nazi death camp in 1943–44; the 1969 murders committed by Charles Manson and his "family"; the "dirty war" conducted by the Argentinean military dictatorship of the late 1970s; and the activities of a psychopath named John Allen, who recorded reminiscences in 1975. John Kekes includes these examples not out of sensationalism, but rather to underline the need to hold vividly in our minds just what evil is. The second part shows why, in Kekes's view, explanations of evil inspired by Christianity and the Enlightenment fail to account for these cases and then provides an original explanation of evil in general and of these instances of it in particular.

Comments to eBook The Roots of Evil
Perius
This book provides a cogent analysis of evil and along the way presents many interesting topics linked to moral values, responsibility and ethics. One important point is the recognition that evil is not mysterious but is part of the ambivalence, contradictions and propensities of human nature. Hence, contrary to the Enlightenment naive optimism, it is implausible (in view of human history) that evil will ever be completely
eradicated from human society. What one can expect is to minimize it and protect society from its terrible effects.

To do that one needs to understand the mechanism (internal and external) and causes that lead to evil actions. First step is to recognize there are different types of evil and the author tries to extract some pattern from unequivocal instances of evil, namely the Albigensian crusaders, Robespierre's reign of terror, Stangl's command of Treblinka, Argentinian "dirty-war" torturers, Charles Manson murders and a psychopath's career.

Overall it provides a rational, secular and objective discussion. The weak point is the proposed solutions to deal with evil. One proposal is to help people develop a "moral imagination", sources of which could be found in reading the classics. This sounds like the usual naive Enlightenment optimism once again. After all classical education didn't prevent the horrible instances of evil in the recent past; moreover, how on earth one is supposed to instill an interest in the classics nowadays, in our age of fast and superficial information, in which new media formats compete, through direct emotional appeals, to an increasingly impatient audience? Maybe the author will try to tackle these issues in his other books.
Macage
In art as in literature, the interpretation of the human is best left to the masters and Kekes is one of the masters in his interpretation of the human in life. Evil, in particular, is a very difficult subject to clarify as by its very nature it is mostly masked and insidious in its consequences. But, evil does exist, and we ought to know why and how it is manifested. Evil is an art form all its own. From evil creeping into our politics, to its manifestations in business, let alone on the streets and into our homes. In addition, beware of the evil inclinations of the seven deadly sins. "The Roots of Evil" is a fine introduction to the subject because it instructs us in what it means to be good, as well. Kekes writes, ""For insofar as ordinary morality deviates from the higher, it deviates from the good, and that must be an error ..." While individual deviations may be willful or ignorant, "Morality at the very least must protect the minimum conditions of human well being". So if you care about morality you must care about ordinary decency and those, who with malice, who tend to defy it.
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