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Edited by Nancy Billias

Evil is not only an abstract concept to be analyzed intellectually, but a concrete reality that we all experience and wrestle with on an ongoing basis. To truly understand evil we must always approach it from both angles: the intellective and the phenomenological. This same assertion resounds through each of the papers in this volume, in which an interdisciplinary and international group (including nurses, psychologists, philosophers, professors of literature, history, computer studies, and all sorts of social science) presented papers on cannibalism, the Holocaust, terrorism, physical and emotional abuse, virtual and actual violence, and depravity in a variety of media, from film to literature to animé to the Internet. Conference participants discussed villains and victims, dictators and anti-heroes, from 921 AD to the present, and considered the future of evil from a number of theoretical perspectives. Personal encounters with evil were described and analyzed, from interviews with political leaders to the problems of locating and destroying land mines in previous war zones. The theme of responsibility and thinking for the future is very much at the heart of these papers: how to approach evil as a question to be explored, critiqued, interrogated, reflected upon, owned. The authors urge an attitude of openness to new interpretations, new perspectives, new understanding. This may not be a comfortable process; it may in fact be quite disturbing. But ultimately, it may be the only way forward towards a truly ethical response. The papers in this collection provide a wealth of food for thought on this most important question.

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Edited by Jakob Lothe and Jeremy Hawthorn

While Plato recommended expelling poets from the ideal society, W. H. Auden famously declared that poetry makes nothing happen. The 19 contributions to the present book avoid such polarized views and, responding in different ways to the “ethical turn” in narrative theory, explore the varied ways in which narratives encourage readers to ponder matters of right and wrong. All work from the premise that the analysis of narrative ethics needs to be linked to a sensitivity to esthetic (narrative) form. The ethical issues are accordingly located on different levels. Some are clearly presented as thematic concerns within the text(s) considered, while others emerge through (or are generated by) the presentation of character and event by means of particular narrative techniques. The objects of analysis include such well-known or canonical texts as Biblical Old Testament stories, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones, Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk. Others concentrate on less-well-known texts written in languages other than English. There are also contributions that investigate theoretical issues in relation to a range of different examples.

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Edited by Karl Simms

This volume contains nineteen essays — eighteen here presented for the first time — exploring the question of subjectivity as seen from an ethical perspective. Part I concerns the phenomenological development of Cartesianism and the concept of narrative identity, with essays addressing Levinas' idea of the Other, Ricoeur's Christianisation of Levinas, and Dennet's concept of folk psychology. Part II concerns the experience of reading ethically, as mediated through genealogy and psychoanalysis. The essays address the discourses of philosophy, psychoanalysis, film and literature, and are informed by Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault and Lacan among others. The volume will interest philosophers and critical theorists. Karl Simms provides comprehensive introductions to each of the parts, making the book accessible to informed general readers with an interest in cultural studies.

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Edited by Nancy Billias

The essays in this volume provide rich fodder for reflection on topics that are of urgent interest to all thinking people. Each one suggests new ways to contemplate our own role(s) in the production and promotion of evil. The authors encourage the reader to be challenged, outraged, and disturbed by what you read here. The eighth gathering of Global Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, which took place in Salzburg in March 2007, provided a look at evil past, present, and future, from a broad spectrum of disciplinary perspectives. Papers were presented on the Holocaust, genocide, violence, sadism, pædophilia, physical, verbal, and visual weapons of mass destruction, and on the effects of a variety of media on our apperception of and responses to evil. One of the overarching themes that emerged was the ethical role of the observer or witness to evil, the sense that all of our writings are, in an echo of Thomas Merton’s salient phrase, the conjectures of guilty bystanders. The notion of complicity was examined from a number of angles, and imbued the gathering with a sense of urgency: that our common goal was to engender change by raising awareness of the countless and ubiquitous ways in which evil can be actively or passively carried on and promoted. The papers selected for this volume provide a representative sample of the lively, provocative, and often disturbing discussions that took place over the course of that conference. This volume also contains a few papers from a sister conference, Cultures of Violence, which was held in Oxford in 2004. These papers have been included here because of their striking relevance to the themes that emerged in the Evil conference of 2007.

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Edited by Margaret Sönser Breen

Truth, Reconciliation, and Evil analyses evil in a variety of forms—as an unspeakable crime, a discursive or narrative force, a political byproduct, and an inevitable feature of warfare. The collection considers the forms of loss that the workings of evil exact, from the large-scale horror of genocide to the individual grief of a self-destructive homelessness. Finally, taken together, the fourteen essays that comprise this volume affirm that the undoing of evil—the moving beyond it through forgiveness and reconciliation—needs to occur within the context of community broadly defined, wherein individuals and groups can see beyond themselves and recognise in others a shared humanity and common cause.
Truth, Reconciliation, and Evil consists of expanded versions of papers presented at the Fourth International Conference on Evil and Wickedness, held in Prague in March 2003. The essays represent a variety of disciplinary approaches, including those of anthropology, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.

Sex, Love, and Friendship

Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, 1977-1992

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Edited by Alan Soble

This collection joins together sixty essays on the philosophy of love and sex. Each was presented at a meeting of The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love held between 1977 and 1992 and later revised for this edition. Topics addressed include ethical and political issues (AIDS, abortion, homosexual rights, and pornography), conceptual matters (the nature, essence, or definition of love, friendship, sexual desire, and perversion); the study of classical and historical figures (Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, and Kierkegaard); and issues in feminist theory (sexual objectification, the social construction of female sexuality, reproductive and marital arrangements). Authors include Jerome Shaffer, Sandra Harding, Michael Ruse, Richard Mohr, Russell Vannoy, Claudia Card, M.C. Dillon, Gene Fendt, Steven Emmanuel, T.F. Morris, Timo Airaksinen, and Sylvia Walsh. The editor, who is the author of Pornography (1986), The Structure of Love (1990), and Sexual Investigations (1996), has also contributed six pieces and an Introduction.

Shakespeare and Philosophy

Lust, Love, and Law

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Raymond Angelo Belliotti

This book is an interdisciplinary work that weaves literary interpretation, legal theory, and philosophical doctrine about sex and love into a coherent mosaic in the context of two of Shakespeare’s plays: The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure. In the process, the work advances literary interpretations of the plays including character studies of some of the main protagonists. The aim is partly theoretical but mostly practical: to demonstrate what we can learn about living a robustly meaningful and significant human life by taking Shakespeare’s work seriously from contemporary philosophical and legal vantage points. Shakespeare does not reveal a tightly defined moral system that he is trying to urge upon his audience. Instead, Shakespeare challenges his audience to struggle with moral complexity as they confront conflicting elements surrounding legal and moral issues presented in his work and within the souls of his characters. His issues and their conflicts are also ours. Much of Shakespeare’s work consists of raising weighty questions inextricably connected to the human condition and inviting his audience to ponder possible answers. The philosophical lessons about living our lives meaningfully and significantly that we can derive from Shakespeare are simple yet powerful.

Understanding Evil

An Interdisciplinary Approach

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Edited by Margaret Sönser Breen

Written across the disciplines of law, literature, philosophy, and theology, Understanding Evil: An Interdisciplinary Approach represents wide-ranging approaches to and understandings of “evil” and “wickedness.”
Consisting of three sections – “ Grappling with Evil,” “ Justice, Responsibility, and War” and “ Blame, Murder, and Retributivism,” - all the essays are inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary in focus. Common themes emerge around the dominant narrative movements of grieving, loss, powerlessness, and retribution that have shaped so many political and cultural issues around the world since the fall of 2001. At the same time, the interdisciplinary nature of this collection, together with the divergent views of its chapters, reminds one that, in the end, an inquiry into “evil” and “wickedness” is at its best when it promotes intelligence and compassion, creativity and cooperation.
The thirteen essays are originally presented at and then developed in light of dialogues held at the Third Global Conference on Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, held in March 2002 in Prague.

La sociabilité des cœurs

Pour une anthropologie du roman sentimental

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Paul Pelckmans

Les Lumières amorcent brillamment la plupart de nos idéologies modernes. Elles se délectent en même temps d’une production romanesque devenue largement illisible puisque desservie par un pathétique aussi outrancier que stéréotypé. Ce pathétique envahit aussi le théâtre et imprègne d’abondantes correspondances. La verve critique des Philosophes fait ainsi bon ménage avec un esprit de sérieux sentimental, auquel même Voltaire, si doué pour saisir au premier coup d’œil le ridicule de tous engouements, sacrifie au long d’une vingtaine de tragédies. Réputées aujourd’hui injouables, elles auront été au cœur de sa popularité d’époque.
Il y a là une manière de scandale, ou du moins de paradoxe irritant. L’accès de mauvais goût le plus impardonnable de toute la littérature française (ce qui n’est pas peu dire) se trouve être le fait de ceux qui auront fondé aussi– par ailleurs ou du même mouvement, c’est selon – notre monde moderne. Il s’impose donc de chercher à comprendre, à défaut de pouvoir encore les partager, les délices de la sensibilité. Le présent recueil y tâche pour sa part en relisant ce corpus devenu indigeste devant l‘horizon des ‘mentalités’.

Art and Identity

Essays on the Aesthetic Creation of Mind

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Edited by Tone Roald and Johannes Lang

Art has the capacity to shape and alter our identities. It can influence who and what we are. Those who have had aesthetic experiences know this intimately, and yet the study of art’s impact on the mind struggles to be recognized as a centrally important field within the discipline of psychology. The main thesis of Art and Identity is that aesthetic experience represents a prototype for meaningful experience, warranting intense philosophical and psychological investigation. Currently psychology remains too closed-off from the rich reflection of philosophical aesthetics, while philosophy continues to be sceptical of the psychological reduction of art to its potential for subjective experience. At the same time, philosophical aesthetics cannot escape making certain assumptions about the psyche and benefits from entering into a dialogue with psychology. Art and Identity brings together philosophical and psychological perspectives on aesthetics in order to explore how art creates minds.