Evil Be Thou My Good

Evil Be Thou My Good ON THE ROOTS OF EVIL C. Fred Alford The question raised by Kekes' absorbing book on evil is the one he never answers: Is evil best understood in terms of the extreme acts of a savage few, such as Robespierre and Charles Manson, or do we best approach evil as something we all possess and express to a greater or lesser degree? In other words, is evil out there, or in here? Or perhaps both. If the answer is "both," what connects little evils, such as the hurtful and cutting remark, with big evils, such as cutting someone's head off? Surely, you will say, whatever evil is, evil involves questions of weight and magnitude, so that a cutting remark, no matter how cruel, cannot be truly evil. Perhaps, but even if this is so, the question remains: Does continuity exist between the harm that we inflict in everyday life, and the harm that many would call evil? Does the one who writes about evil construct his or her account so as to allow for this connection, or deny it? There are several possibilities. One could be writing about evil in order to show that it is an illusion, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Evil Be Thou My Good

The Good Society, Volume 15 (2) – May 21, 2006

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1538-9731
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ON THE ROOTS OF EVIL C. Fred Alford The question raised by Kekes' absorbing book on evil is the one he never answers: Is evil best understood in terms of the extreme acts of a savage few, such as Robespierre and Charles Manson, or do we best approach evil as something we all possess and express to a greater or lesser degree? In other words, is evil out there, or in here? Or perhaps both. If the answer is "both," what connects little evils, such as the hurtful and cutting remark, with big evils, such as cutting someone's head off? Surely, you will say, whatever evil is, evil involves questions of weight and magnitude, so that a cutting remark, no matter how cruel, cannot be truly evil. Perhaps, but even if this is so, the question remains: Does continuity exist between the harm that we inflict in everyday life, and the harm that many would call evil? Does the one who writes about evil construct his or her account so as to allow for this connection, or deny it? There are several possibilities. One could be writing about evil in order to show that it is an illusion,

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: May 21, 2006

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