"A Secular Theory of Evil"
originally broadcast, May 12, 2013
Years ago, Alan Bloom wrote that Hitler was the worst thing that ever happened to ethics classes, because when philosophers asked their students for an example of evil, they would just say “Hitler” and never actually have to think about the question. He may have had a point. We all use the word evil as if we know what it means, and more often than not, we use it in a religious context. On this episode of WHY? we’ll examine the concept of evil and ask, not just what how to define it, but how we think about it as philosophers and outside religion.
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Claudia Card is the Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy in the Philosophy Department at University of Wisconsin, Madison, with teaching affiliations in Women's Studies, Jewish Studies, Environmental Studies, and LGBT Studies.
Her books include Confronting Evils: Terrorism, Torture, Genocide (Cambridge 2010), Genocide's Aftermath: Responsibility and Repair, ed. with Armen Marsoobian (Blackwell 2007); The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir, ed. (2003); The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil (Oxford 2002); On Feminist Ethics and Politics, ed. (Kansas 1999); The Unnatural Lottery: Character and Moral Luck (Temple 1996); Lesbian Choices (Columbia 1995); and Feminist Ethics, ed. (Kansas 1991).
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