Item description for The Many Faces of Evil: Historical Perspectives by Amelia O. Rorty...
This is the first anthology to present the full range of the many forms evil. Amelie Rorty has assembled a collection of readings that include not only the most common forms of evil, such as vice, sin, cruelty and crime, but also some which are less well known, such disobedience and willfulness. The readings are drawn from a rich array of historical, philosophical, theological, literary, dramatic, psychological and legal perspectives. Amelie Rorty's introductions to the readings sets each one in context and makes the anthology essential reading for anyone interested in the philosophy of evil.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.76" Width: 6.9" Height: 0.66" Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Release Date Jul 3, 2001
ISBN 041524207X ISBN13 9780415242073
Availability 0 units.
More About Amelia O. Rorty
Rorty is a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University.
Amelia O. Rorty currently resides in the state of New Jersey.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Many Faces of Evil: Historical Perspectives?
Thinking about the dark side Dec 20, 2007
Evil is a category that isn't taken too seriously today, although goodness knows that if one looks at the world there seems to be plenty of evil around. There's a sort of embarrassed reluctance even to use the word "evil."
One of the virtues of Amelie Rorty's historical collection of essays on evil is that she documents, although she doesn't really explain, the gradual diminution of the West's comfort level with the notion of evil. The ancient world thought of evil in terms of the chaos and disorder that results from disobedience to natural law; the medieval world saw evil in terms of sin, and this understanding really continued right up through the Reformation; and the Renaissance, returning to what it thought was a classical humanism, tended to see evil as injustice, and the Enlightenment thought of it in terms of irrationality.
The nineteenth century may well be the richest one in the West so far as sheer interest in evil goes. Rorty suggests this is because romanticism flourished then, and the romantics--De Sade, Blake, and Baudelaire, to name just three--were especially intrigued by those interior and exterior actions that corrupt human beings.
But curiously, the twentieth century sees interest in evil, at least among philosophers and ethicists, dropping. Evil becomes reduced to thoughtlessness--what Hannah Arendt called "banality"--or is thought of in exclusively psycho-medical terms. This shift is intriguing. Traditional theological, metaphysical, and normative understandings of evil give way to clinical and institutional ones that seem less rich, less able to grasp the depth of evil.
It would've been good had Rorty tried to tease out the reasons for this movement. But her anthology is nonetheless a very good introduction to a too neglected subject.
A collection of interesting philosophical viewpoints on evil Sep 7, 2002
The book has very well chosen excerpts that allow you to immerse yourself into a philosopher's viewpoint on evil by reading just a few excerpts. In this way the book is like a collection of intriguing essays that you can read at your leisure. The author's commentaries that accompany the essay however does not merit the same praise. They do not serve the function of introducing the reader to the essay and helping him to form an understanding of it. Because the commentaries assume previous knowledge of history of philosophy, readers with a small or a nonexistent background in the area will find these commentaries more confusing than helpful.