Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ordinary Evil

"In this seminar, Candace Vogler (right) addresses this sense of mute incomprehension in the face of wrongdoing as one root of an old philosophical question about whether it is irrational to be immoral. It is closely linked to another root of that question, the conviction that people who do spectacularly bad things, or routinely engage in bad acts on a lesser scale, are making some kind of a mistake. In philosophy, the problem that emerges from such convictions involves trying to say what sort of mistake they are making. Vogler will not answer that question. What she does instead is discuss viciousness, drawing heavily on work by Thomas Aquinas (and offering a reading of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe), with an eye toward giving an account of some kinds of immorality. Once that account is in place, it becomes possible to understand why it is very hard to give a compelling answer to the deeper question."

The third paragraph begins with: "Aquinas begins his disputation on evil. . . "


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