Roots of Evil by John Kekes
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Roots of Evil
By John Kekes

The Roots of Evil

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Format: Paperback

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Roots of Evil by John Kekes

Book Description

"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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801473814
ISBN-10: 0801473810
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 5mm)
Pages: 278
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 1-Mar-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author John Kekes

How Should We Live? by John Kekes How Should We Live?, Hardback (September 2014)

Nonetheless philosophers have long sought a single, overriding ideal that should guide everyone, always, everywhere, and after centuries of debate we're no closer to an answer. This book argues that ideal theories are abstractions from the realities of everyday life and its problems.

Nature of Philosophical Problems by John Kekes Nature of Philosophical Problems, Hardback (May 2014)

John Kekes proposes a new way of understanding the nature of philosophical problems, and defends a pluralist approach towards coping with them. He argues that the recurrence of such problems is not a defect, but a consequence of the richness of our modes of understanding that enlarges the range of possibilities by which we might choose to live.

Human Condition by John Kekes Human Condition, Paperback (November 2013)

John Kekes offers a response to the growing disenchantment in the Western world with contemporary life. He defends a realistic view of the human condition that rejects both facile optimism and gloomy pessimism. While acknowledging that the scheme of things is indifferent to our fortunes, he shows that we do have the resources to improve our lives.

» View all books by John Kekes


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