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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 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.

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.

Animals and Their People

Connecting East and West in Cultural Animal Studies

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Edited by Anna Barcz and Dorota Łagodzka

Animals and Their People: Connecting East and West in Cultural Animal Studies, edited by Anna Barcz and Dorota Łagodzka, provides a zoocentric insight into philosophical, artistic, and literary problems in Western, Anglo-American, and Central-Eastern European context. The contributors go beyond treating humans as the sole object of research and comprehension, and focus primarily on non-human animals. This book results from intellectual exchange between Polish and foreign researchers and highlights cultural perspective as an exciting language of animal representation. Animals and Their People aims to bridge the gap between Anglo-American and Central European human-animal studies.

This Thing of Darkness

Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness

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Edited by Richard Hamilton and Margaret Sönser Breen

Written across the disciplines of art history, literature, philosophy, sociology, and theology, the ten essays comprising the collection all insist on multidimensional definitions of evil.
Taking its title from a moment in Shakespeare’s Tempest when Prospero acknowledges his responsibility for Caliban, this collection explores the necessarily ambivalent relationship between humanity and evil. To what extent are a given society’s definitions of evil self-serving? Which figures are marginalized in the process of identifying evil? How is humanity itself implicated in the production of evil? Is evil itself something fundamentally human? These questions, indicative of the kinds of issues raised in this collection, seem all the more pressing in light of recent world events.
The ten essays were originally presented at the First Global Conference on Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, held in March 2000 in Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

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Edited by Richard Jackson

(Re)Constructing Cultures of Violence and Peace brings together eleven original essays that were presented at the Third Global Conference on Cultures of Violence held in August 2002 in Prague. Covering an array of violence-related subjects, and a range of methodologies—textual, historical, theoretical, quantitative—the resulting volume is a multifaceted exploration of how cultures of violence are constructed, and how they can be deconstructed and replaced with cultures of peace. In part one, the authors aim to map and describe some of the important cultures of violence in our modern world—interstate war, civil war, criminal punishment, religious conflict, hooliganism—as an initial step towards understanding violence as a cultural construction. Part two explores aspects of the (re)construction of culture of peace. Specifically, the challenges encountered in attempting to conceptualise, study, or transform cultures of violence are examined. A common theme throughout the book is that violence is a fluid social and cultural construct—it is made by individuals, groups, and social forces. The implications of this are more than simply ontological: if violence is made, it can also be unmade; if cultures of violence are socially and politically constructed, they can also be de-constructed.

Minding Evil

Explorations of Human Iniquity

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Edited by Margaret Sönser Breen

Minding Evil: Explorations of Human Iniquity brings together fifteen essays, versions of which were presented at the Fifth International Conference on Evil and Wickedness, held in Prague in 2004. The volume examines evil and wickedness from a variety of disciplines, including criminology, cultural studies, gender studies, law, literature, peace studies, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. In so doing Minding Evil keeps in play the doubled meaning of its title: on the one hand, to tend to evil, that is, to oversee, cultivate, and deploy it; on the other hand, to be bothered by evil and so, in learning to identify or recognise it, to try to understand its workings and thus contain or control it and, perhaps, repair or undo it. While the essays taken together work to show the difficulty and at times the travesty of not being able to distinguish between the two meanings, it is this second meaning that remains key. What are the individual and collective responsibilities entailed in minding - being troubled by - evil? This is the central question of this volume.