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A Philosophy of Evil

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  125 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Despite the overuse of the word in movies, political speeches, and news reports, “evil” is generally seen as either flagrant rhetoric or else an outdated concept: a medieval holdover with no bearing on our complex everyday reality. In A Philosophy of Evil, however, acclaimed writer/philosopher Lars Svendsen argues that evil remains a concrete moral problem: that we’re all ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published October 19th 2001)
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Bojan Dzodan
Jul 29, 2016 Bojan Dzodan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Jedan ozbiljan filozof ne moze sebi dozvoliti da podlegne propagandi i da navede da je tuzno da na planeti postoje i dalje zajednice u kojima postoji hanibalizam i u kojima vojska jede svoje zarobljenike. U pitanju su kako Svendsen navodi jedno pleme u Africi i Srbi.
Audrey
Jun 28, 2010 Audrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, non-fic
Lars Svendsen has written a very readable, at times fascinating, summary of the philosophical discussions surrounding the concept of evil. Since I spent a large part of my only college philosophy class fighting to stay awake, that's no small compliment. Svendsen, strange for a philosopher, has little patience for philosophies that have no traction in the real world, and perhaps that's why I found him so engaging.

That being said, his heart doesn't seem to be in the first half of the book, coveri
...more
Ivana
Jun 14, 2016 Ivana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bilo mi je u par navrata zaista fizički loše dok sam je čitala, jer je stašno koliko ljudsko biće može da nanese zla i bola drugom ljudskom biću što iz idealističkih, što iz krajnje sadističkih razloga,a da pritom ne oseća ličnu odgovornost, jer je samo "izvršavao naređenja".
Svi genocidi, masovna ubijanja ljudi, nemaju izgovora i opravdanja za nepreuzimanje lične odgovornosti.
Autor kaže da smo svi mi i zli i dobri. Svi ljudi greše. Čista krivica i čista nedužnost jesu idealizacije izmedju koji
...more
Matt Evans
May 31, 2015 Matt Evans rated it it was amazing
This is far and away one of the best books I’ve ever read on the subject of evil -- real evil. And by “real evil” I mean, simply, evil as I’ve experienced it out in the real world. The book is well reasoned, impassioned, and refreshingly free from hysterical descriptions of what Mr. Svendsen calls “demonic evil”; i.e., evil performed for evil’s sake. Simply put, “demonic evil” doesn’t exist. But real evil -- instrumental evil, idealistic evil, and what Arendt called “stupid” or “banal” evil -- r ...more
Ursa
Dec 18, 2015 Ursa rated it really liked it
The author sheds some light on the definition of evil and comes up with suggestions on how to deal with it. According to Svedsen, humanity is the root of evil. Every of us is both good and evil. Though the portion of good and evil are varied for different individuals. Only when we come to accept that we're all capable of committing evil acts, that evil is not an external theology, do we stand a chance against it.

Truly, I found his theories fascinating and thought-provoking. I won't pretend that
...more
Ivan
Aug 30, 2014 Ivan rated it it was amazing
This is the first time I read a book similar theme and I must admit that Svendsen thrilled me. Although the book deals with the philosophical/moral/religious complicated subject, evil, it's very interesting and simply written. The book has great answers on questions: Why people do evil act? From where evil comes and are we all evil? Whether, under certain circumstances, we can do things that SS officers were doing? Particular emphasis is placed on religions which are trying to defend the almight ...more
Alexander
Aug 24, 2010 Alexander rated it really liked it
Shelves: evil
Very accessible read. Svendsen treats the subject action, side stepping arguments of evil as ontological conditions. He does an interesting job of juxtaposing choice/free will against both theological and scientific explanations of evil. Worth reading!
Jacob Wren
I think it's so strange how, in the opening chapter, he contradicts religious arguments by saying they're not rational. Why on earth should we expect religious arguments to be rational.
Outmind
Jan 31, 2016 Outmind rated it it was amazing
4.5/5

Draws on some interesting points and provides a multi faceted portrayal of the problem of evil. I just wish that a bit more emphasis was put on the concept of evil from ignorance.
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Lars Fredrik Händler Svendsen is a Norwegian author and philosopher who is professor at the University of Bergen. He has published several books translated into 24 languages. He is also engaged as project manager in the think tank Civita. In 2008 he was awarded the Meltzer Prize for outstanding research, and in 2010 he was awarded the prisoners' Testament.
More about Lars Fr. H. Svendsen...

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