Series:

Marisa Strizzi

The biblical Christian call to overcome evil with good seems to be at the foundation of the achievements of the last centuries of Western culture. It appears paradoxical that, at the same time, the problem of evil, in spite of its gruesome persistence, has been neglected in Western formal thought. This article argues that the discourse of ethics provides for a way of coping with evil that not only produces the paradoxical result referred to above but favors some of the expressions of evil that torment our present, such as religious fundamentalisms and social discrimination and exclusion. Reading about the deconstruction of ethics as portrayed in the work of John D. Caputo and reflecting on his contribution to a poetics of obligation is suggested as a new perspective for perceiving the matter. It is evil suffered by others that is focus here of the problem of evil. Obligation, a disquieting inhabitant of ethics, is regarded as a call to responsibility towards victims—which in most cases are victims of the evil we produce. Caputo’s motiefs of the “jewgreek,” the “wholly other,” “disaster,” and “the flesh” are examined in order to illuminate our way.