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Naming Evil, Judging Evil

With a Foreword by Alasdair MacIntyre

Is it more dangerous to call something evil or not to?  This fundamental question deeply divides those who fear that the term oversimplifies grave problems and those who worry that, to effectively address such issues as terrorism and genocide, we must first acknowledge them as evil. Recognizing that the way we approach this dilemma can significantly affect both the harm we suffer and the suffering we inflict, a distinguished group of contributors engages in the debate with this series of timely and original essays.

Drawing on Western conceptions of evil from the Middle Ages to the present,  these pieces demonstrate that, while it may not be possible to definitively settle moral questions, we are still able—and in fact are obligated—to make moral arguments and judgments. Using a wide variety of approaches, the authors raise tough questions: Why is so much evil perpetrated in the name of good?  Could evil ever be eradicated? How can liberal democratic politics help us strike a balance between the need to pass judgment and the need to remain tolerant? Their insightful answers exemplify how the sometimes rarefied worlds of political theory, philosophy, theology, and history can illuminate pressing contemporary concerns.

232 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2006

Philosophy: General Philosophy

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Religion: Religion and Society

Table of Contents


Alasdair MacIntyre



Part 1: Speaking About Evil

Chapter 1 Where Did All the Evils Go?

Michael Allen  Gillespie

Chapter 2 Seeing Darkness, Hearing Silence: Augustine’s Account of Evil

Stanley Hauerwas

Chapter 3 The Rousseauan Revolution and the Problem of Evil

Ruth W. Grant

Chapter 4 Inequality and the Problem of Evil
Nannerl O. Keohane

Part 2: Making Judgments, Passing Judgment, Taking a Stand, Biting Your Tongue

Chapter 5 The Butler Did It

J. Peter Euben

Chapter 6 Evil and the Morality of Conviction

David Wong

Chapter 7 Combining Clarity and Complexity: A Layered Approach to Cross-Cultural Ethics

Elizabeth Kiss

Chapter 8 Liberal Dilemmas and Moral Judgment

Malachi Hacohen

Chapter 9 Between Bigotry and Nihilism: Moral Judgment in Pluralist Democracies

Thomas A. Spragens, Jr.



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