Evil, Rationalism, and the Sacred Jean-Pierre Dupuy 1. The Expulsion of Evil in the Rationalist Model and in Critical Sociology Though the terrorists of September 11th, 2001 succeeded in bringing down the towers that symbolized the power of world capitalism, they did not succeed in undermining the way we interpret human acts, including those that appear the most nonsensical. The individualistic and rationalistic model that currently dominates the field of the social sciences--and even the common sense attitude-- urges us to account or give reasons for the actions of the other, but also for our own actions, by looking for their causes and by considering these causes as reasons.2 If John did x, it is because he desired to obtain y, and because he believed he would obtain y by doing x. Every action, even the most seemingly nonsensical, appears to be endowed with a minimal rationality, as long as one conceives it as being motivated by desires and beliefs. All that is required is to find the appropriate desires and beliefs, those that will enable us to reconstruct the puzzle. And we have certainly seen reasonable people attribute the most fantastic beliefs to others (beliefs they themselves
SubStance – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Mar 10, 2008
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