The Atrocity Paradigm
A Theory of Evil
By (author) Claudia Card
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Atrocity Paradigm by Claudia Card
Book DescriptionWhat distinguishes evils from ordinary wrongs? Is hatred a necessarily evil? Are some evils unforgivable? Are there evils we should tolerate? What can make evils hard to recognize? Are evils inevitable? How can we best respond to and live with evils? Claudia Card offers a secular theory of evil that responds to these questions and more. Evils, according to her theory, have two fundamental components. One component is reasonably foreseeable intolerable harm - harm that makes a life indecent and impossible or that makes a death indecent. The other component is culpable wrongdoing. Atrocities, such as genocides, slavery, war rape, torture, and severe child abuse, are Card's paradigms because in them these key elements are writ large. Atrocities deserve more attention than secular philosophers have so far paid them. They are distinguished from ordinary wrongs not by the psychological states of evildoers but by the seriousness of the harm that is done. Evildoers need not be sadistic:they may simply be negligent or unscrupulous in pursuing their goals. Card's theory represents a compromise between classic utilitarian and stoic alternatives (including Kant's theory of radical evil). Utilitarians tend to reduce evils to their harms; Stoics tend to reduce evils to the wickedness of perpetrators: Card accepts neither reduction. She also responds to Nietzsche's challenges about the worth of the concept of evil, and she uses her theory to argue that evils are more important than merely unjust inequalities. She applies the theory in explorations of war rape and violence against intimates. She also takes up what Primo Levi called "the gray zone", where victims become complicit in perpetrating on others evils that threaten to engulf themselves. While most past accounts of evil have focused on perpetrators, Card begins instead from the position of the victims, but then considers more generally how to respond to - and live with - evils, as victims, as perpetrators, and as those who have become both.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780195145083
(232mm x 152mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Claudia Card
Beyond Just War, Hardback (August 2012)
Unlike most books on the ethics of war, this book rejects the 'just war' tradition, proposing a virtue ethics of war to take its place. Like torture, war cannot be justified. It answers the question: 'If war is a very great evil, would a leader with courage, justice, compassion, and all the other moral virtues ever choose to fight a war?'
Confronting Evils, Paperback (July 2010)
This philosophical study of collectively perpetrated and suffered atrocities examines the tension between responding to evils and preserving humanitarian values.
Genocide, Paperback (February 2007)
This landmark collection addresses the hard moral dilemmas that have arisen in the wake of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 20th century, and re-examines the national policy of slavery and the forcible removal of native Americans from their lands in light of what we now identify as genocide.
Atrocity Paradigm, Paperback (February 2005)» View all books by Claudia Card
In this book, philosopher and feminist Claudia Card presents a workable theory of evil, examining in particular human atrocities - acts of cruelty committed by human beings on others.
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Author Biography - Claudia Card
Claudia Card is Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, with teaching affiliations in Women's Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Institute for Environmental Studies. She has also taught at Dartmouth College, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Known for her work in ethics and feminist philosophy, she is the author of the The Unnatural Lottery: Character and Moral Luck and Lesbian Choices. She has also edited several anthologies, including On Feminist Ethics and Politics, Feminist Ethics, and Adventures in Lesbian Philosophy.
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