By S. Pihlström
Whereas ethical philosophy has frequently been understood as an exam of the nice existence, this ebook argues that moral inquiry may still, quite, commence from an exam of evil and different 'negative' ethical techniques, similar to guilt and pain.
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Extra resources for Taking Evil Seriously
This could be compared to Bernstein’s references to evil as a ‘fungus,’ taken from Arendt’s discussion of the banality of evil. While Peirce himself hardly had any elaborate theory of evil, he did, in, for example, the 1893 essay, ‘Immortality in the Light of Synechism,’27 speak about the ‘metaphysics of wickedness’ – which he contrasted with his own synechism (the doctrine of continuity) and scholastic realism (the doctrine of real generals). Here wickedness is related to our tendency to view ourselves as individuals full and complete as we are.
Original emphasis). For critical discussions of this idea, see Sami Pihlström, Pragmatism and Philosophical Anthropology: Understanding Our Human Life in a Human World (New York: Peter Lang, 1998), chapter 10, as well as Pihlström, Transcendental Guilt, chapter 4. This is, I believe, especially easy to accept if you are a philosopher with pragmatist leanings. Pragmatists like James and Dewey famously insisted that philosophy must be relevant to human beings’ genuine problems, instead of just being theoretically and intellectually relevant.
42 Referring to The Brothers Karamazov, Neiman writes: Dostoevsky underlined the idea that the problem of evil is not just one more mystery. It is so central to our lives that if reason stumbles there, it must give way to faith. If you cannot understand why children are tortured, nothing else you understand really matters. But the very attempt to understand it requires at least accepting it as part of the world that must be investigated. Some hold even this much acceptance to be unacceptable. 43 This provides the tone for the criticism of theodicies (see below) upon which the argument of the present book largely depends.
Taking Evil Seriously by S. Pihlström