Ethics
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Anger and Forgiveness"Are You There Alone?"10 Good Questions about Life and DeathA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Critique of the Moral Defense of VegetarianismA Delicate BalanceA Life for a LifeA Life-Centered Approach to BioethicsA Matter of SecurityA Natural History of Human MoralityA Philosophical DiseaseA Practical Guide to Clinical Ethics ConsultingA Question of TrustA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA Very Bad WizardA World Without ValuesAction and ResponsibilityAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionActs of ConscienceAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction NeuroethicsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAfter HarmAftermathAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HealthAgainst Moral ResponsibilityAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAging, Biotechnology, and the FutureAlbert Schweitzer's Reverence for LifeAlphavilleAltruismAltruismAmerican EugenicsAmerican PsychosisAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Evolutionary EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy And a Time to DieAnimal LessonsAnimal RightsAnimals Like UsApplied Ethics in Mental Health CareAre Women Human?Aristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAssisted Suicide and the Right to DieAutonomyAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismAutonomy, Consent and the LawBabies by DesignBackslidingBad PharmaBad SoulsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBeauty JunkiesBefore ForgivingBeing AmoralBeing YourselfBending Over BackwardsBending ScienceBernard WilliamsBetter Humans?Better Than WellBeyond ChoiceBeyond GeneticsBeyond HatredBeyond Humanity?Beyond LossBeyond LossBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond the DSM StoryBias in Psychiatric DiagnosisBioethicsBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics at the MoviesBioethics Beyond the HeadlinesBioethics Critically ReconsideredBioethics in a Liberal SocietyBioethics in the ClinicBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical Research and BeyondBiosBioscience EthicsBipolar ChildrenBluebirdBodies out of BoundsBodies, Commodities, and BiotechnologiesBody BazaarBoundBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBraintrustBrandedBreaking the SilenceBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyCapital PunishmentCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsChallenging the Stigma of Mental IllnessCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionChild Well-BeingChildrenChildren's RightsChoosing ChildrenChoosing Not to ChooseClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical EthicsCloningClose toYouCoercion as CureCoercive Treatment in PsychiatryCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognitive Disability and Its Challenge to Moral Philosophy Comfortably NumbCommonsense RebellionCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentComprehending CareConducting Insanity EvaluationsConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConflict of Interest in the ProfessionsConsuming KidsContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContentious IssuesContesting PsychiatryCrazy in AmericaCreating CapabilitiesCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCritical Perspectives in Public HealthCritical PsychiatryCrueltyCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCutting to the CoreCyborg CitizenDamaged IdentitiesDeaf Identities in the MakingDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDebating Same-Sex MarriageDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecoding the Ethics CodeDefining DifferenceDefining Right and Wrong in Brain ScienceDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDelusions of GenderDementiaDemocracy in What State?Demons of the Modern WorldDescriptions and PrescriptionsDesert and VirtueDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDeveloping the VirtuesDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital HemlockDigital SoulDignityDisability BioethicsDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisordered Personalities and CrimeDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDoes Feminism Discriminate against Men?Does Torture Work?Double Standards in Medical Research in Developing CountriesDrugs and JusticeDworkin and His CriticsDying in the Twenty-First CenturyEarly WarningEconomics and Youth ViolenceEmbodied RhetoricsEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotional ReasonEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmpathyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEncountering NatureEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEngendering International HealthEnhancing EvolutionEnhancing Human CapacitiesEnoughEros and the GoodErotic InnocenceErotic MoralityEssays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEthical Choices in Contemporary MedicineEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEthical Issues in Behavioral ResearchEthical Issues in Dementia CareEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in the New GeneticsEthical LifeEthical Reasoning for Mental Health ProfessionalsEthical TheoryEthical WillsEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthicsEthicsEthicsEthics and AnimalsEthics and ScienceEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics at the CinemaEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics for EveryoneEthics for PsychologistsEthics for the New MillenniumEthics in CyberspaceEthics in Health CareEthics In Health Services ManagementEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in PracticeEthics in PsychiatryEthics in PsychologyEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEvaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on HumansEvilEvil GenesEvil in Modern ThoughtEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Ethics and Contemporary BiologyEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolved MoralityExperiments in EthicsExploding the Gene MythExploiting ChildhoodFacing Human SufferingFact and ValueFaking ItFalse-Memory Creation in Children and AdultsFat ShameFatal FreedomFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist TheoryFinal ExamFirst Do No HarmFirst, Do No HarmFlashpointFlesh WoundsForced to CareForgivenessForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and ReconciliationForgiveness and RetributionFoucault and the Government of DisabilityFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Forensic Mental Health AssessmentFree WillFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will and Reactive AttitudesFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree?Freedom and ValueFreedom vs. InterventionFriendshipFrom Darwin to HitlerFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Silence to VoiceFrontiers of JusticeGender in the MirrorGenetic PoliticsGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetics of Original SinGenetics of Original SinGenocide's AftermathGetting RealGluttonyGood WorkGoodness & AdviceGreedGroups in ConflictGrowing Up GirlGut FeminismHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHandbook for Health Care Ethics CommitteesHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of PsychopathyHappinessHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHard FeelingsHard LuckHardwired BehaviorHarmful ThoughtsHeal & ForgiveHealing PsychiatryHealth Care Ethics for PsychologistsHeterosyncraciesHistorical and Philosophical Perspectives on Biomedical EthicsHoly WarHookedHookedHow Can I Be Trusted?How Propaganda WorksHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Make Opportunity EqualHow Universities Can Help Create a Wiser WorldHow We HopeHow We Think About DementiaHuman BondingHuman EnhancementHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman TrialsHumanism, What's That?Humanitarian ReasonHumanityHumanizing MadnessI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Was WrongIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf That Ever Happens to MeImproving Nature?In Defense of FloggingIn Defense of SinIn Love With LifeIn Our Own ImageIn the FamilyIn the Land of the DeafIn the Name of IdentityIn the Wake of 9/11In Two MindsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchInnovation in Medical TechnologyInside Assisted LivingInside EthicsIntelligence, Race, and GeneticsIntensive CareIs Human Nature Obsolete?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is There a Duty to Die?Is There an Ethicist in the House?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJudging Children As ChildrenJust a DogJust BabiesJust CareJustice for ChildrenJustice for HedgehogsJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeJustifiable ConductKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Theory of VirtueKids of CharacterKilling McVeighLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLaw and the BrainLearning About School ViolenceLearning from Baby PLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLegal Aspects of Mental CapacityLegal ConceptionsLegal InsanityLegalizing ProstitutionLet Them Eat ProzacLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberal EugenicsLife After FaithLife at the BottomLife, Sex, and IdeasListening to the WhispersLiving ProfessionalismLosing Matt ShepardLostLuckyMad in AmericaMad PrideMadhouseMaking Another World PossibleMaking Babies, Making FamiliesMaking Genes, Making WavesMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMalignantMasculinity Studies and Feminist TheoryMeaning and Moral OrderMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeans, Ends, and PersonsMeans, Ends, and PersonsMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedical Research for HireMedicalized MasculinitiesMedically Assisted DeathMeditations for the HumanistMelancholia and MoralismMental Health Professionals, Minorities and the PoorMental Illness, Medicine and LawMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMetaethical SubjectivismMill's UtilitarianismMind FieldsMind WarsMind WarsModern Theories of JusticeModernity and TechnologyMoney ShotMonsterMoral Acquaintances and Moral DecisionsMoral BrainsMoral ClarityMoral CultivationMoral Development and RealityMoral Dilemmas in Real LifeMoral DimensionsMoral EntanglementsMoral FailureMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral MindsMoral OriginsMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMoral ParticularismMoral PerceptionMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RealismMoral RelativismMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral Status and Human LifeMoral StealthMoral Theory at the MoviesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMoral, Immoral, AmoralMoralismMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMorals, Rights and Practice in the Human ServicesMorals, Rights and Practice in the Human ServicesMore Than HumanMotive and RightnessMovies and the Moral Adventure of LifeMurder in the InnMy Body PoliticMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Sister's KeeperMy Sister's KeeperMy WayNano-Bio-EthicsNarrative MedicineNarrative ProsthesisNatural Ethical FactsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalized BioethicsNeither Bad nor MadNeoconservatismNeonatal BioethicsNeurobiology and the Development of Human MoralityNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNew Takes in Film-PhilosophyNew Waves in EthicsNew Waves in MetaethicsNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNo Child Left DifferentNo Impact ManNormative EthicsNormativityNothing about us, without us!Oath BetrayedOf War and LawOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn EvilOn Human RightsOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOn the TakeOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne ChildOne Nation Under TherapyOne World NowOne World NowOur Bodies, Whose Property?Our Bodies, Whose Property?Our Daily MedsOur Faithfulness to the PastOur Posthuman FutureOut of EdenOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOverdosed AmericaOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPassionate DeliberationPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perfecting VirtuePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonhood and Health CarePersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPerspectives On Health And Human RightsPharmacracyPharmageddonPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhysician-Assisted DyingPicturing DisabilityPilgrim at Tinker CreekPlaying God?Playing God?Political EmotionsPornlandPowerful MedicinesPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical EthicsPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical RulesPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic NeuroethicsPraise and BlamePreferences and Well-BeingPrimates and PhilosophersPro-Life, Pro-ChoiceProcreation and ParenthoodProfits Before People?Progress in BioethicsProperty in the BodyProzac As a Way of LifeProzac on the CouchPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric EthicsPsychiatry and EmpirePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePublic Health LawPublic Health Law and EthicsPublic PhilosophyPunishing the Mentally IllPunishmentPursuits of WisdomPutting Morality Back Into PoliticsPutting on VirtueQuality of Life and Human DifferenceRaceRadical HopeRadical VirtuesRape Is RapeRe-creating MedicineRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReckoning With HomelessnessReconceiving Medical EthicsRecovery from SchizophreniaRedefining RapeRedesigning HumansReducing the Stigma of Mental IllnessReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRefuting Peter Singer's Ethical TheoryRelative JusticeRelativism and Human RightsReligion ExplainedReprogeneticsRescuing JeffreyResponsibilityResponsibility and PsychopathyResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsResponsible GeneticsRethinking CommodificationRethinking Informed Consent in BioethicsRethinking Mental Health and DisorderRethinking RapeReturn to ReasonRevolution in PsychologyRightsRights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity PoliticsRisk and Luck in Medical EthicsRobert NozickRousseau and the Dilemmas of Modernity Rule of Law, Misrule of MenRun, Spot, RunRunning on RitalinSatisficing and MaximizingSchizophrenia, Culture, and SubjectivityScience and EthicsScience in the Private InterestScience, Policy, and the Value-Free IdealScience, Seeds and CyborgsScratching the Surface of BioethicsSecular Philosophy and the Religious TemperamentSeeing the LightSelf-ConstitutionSelf-Made MadnessSelf-Trust and Reproductive AutonomySentimental RulesSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex OffendersSex, Family, and the Culture WarsSexual DevianceSexual EthicsSexual PredatorsSexualized BrainsShaping Our SelvesShock TherapyShould I Medicate My Child?ShunnedSick to Death and Not Going to Take It AnymoreSickoSide EffectsSidewalk StoriesSister CitizenSkeptical FeminismSocial Inclusion of People with Mental IllnessSocial JusticeSociological Perspectives on the New GeneticsSome We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatSovereign VirtueSpeech MattersSpiral of EntrapmentSplit DecisionsSticks and StonesStories MatterSubjectivity and Being SomebodySuffering, Death, and IdentitySuicide ProhibitionSurgery JunkiesSurgically Shaping ChildrenTaking Morality SeriouslyTaming the Troublesome ChildTechnology and the Good Life?TestimonyText and Materials on International Human RightsThe Aims of Higher EducationThe Almost MoonThe Altruistic BrainThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Forensic PsychiatryThe Animal ManifestoThe Animals' AgendaThe Art of LivingThe Autonomy of MoralityThe Beloved SelfThe Best Things in LifeThe Big FixThe Bioethics ReaderThe Biology and Psychology of Moral AgencyThe Blackwell Guide to Medical EthicsThe Body SilentThe BondThe Book of LifeThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Textbook of BioethicsThe Case against Assisted SuicideThe Case Against PerfectionThe Case Against PunishmentThe Case for PerfectionThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Challenge of Human RightsThe Code for Global EthicsThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe Common ThreadThe Connected SelfThe Constitution of AgencyThe Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Criminal BrainThe Decency WarsThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Disability PendulumThe Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to ConfrontationThe Domain of ReasonsThe Double-Edged HelixThe Duty to ProtectThe Emotional Construction of MoralsThe End of Ethics in a Technological SocietyThe End of Stigma?The Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical BrainThe Ethical Dimensions of the Biological and Health SciencesThe Ethics of BioethicsThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of SightseeingThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Ethics of the Family in SenecaThe Ethics of the LieThe Ethics of TransplantsThe Ethics ToolkitThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Evolution of MoralityThe FamilyThe Fat Studies ReaderThe Forgiveness ProjectThe Form of Practical KnowledgeThe Fountain of YouthThe Freedom ParadoxThe Future of Assisted Suicide and EuthanasiaThe Future of Human NatureThe Good BookThe Good LifeThe Great BetrayalThe Handbook of Disability StudiesThe Healing VirtuesThe High Price of MaterialismThe History of Human RightsThe HorizonThe Idea of JusticeThe Ideal of NatureThe Illusion of Freedom and EqualityThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Importance of Being UnderstoodThe Insanity OffenseThe Joy of SecularismThe Language PoliceThe Last Normal ChildThe Last UtopiaThe Limits of MedicineThe LobotomistThe Love CureThe Lucifer EffectThe Manual of EpictetusThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of NiceThe Medicalization of SocietyThe Merck DruggernautThe Mind Has MountainsThe Modern Art of DyingThe Modern SavageThe Moral ArcThe Moral BrainThe Moral Demands of MemoryThe Moral FoolThe Moral MindThe Moral Psychology HandbookThe Moral, Social, and Commercial Imperatives of Genetic Testing and ScreeningThe Most Good You Can DoThe Myth of ChoiceThe Myth of the Moral BrainThe Nature of NormativityThe New Disability HistoryThe New Genetic MedicineThe New Religious IntoleranceThe Offensive InternetThe Origins of FairnessThe Oxford Handbook of Animal EthicsThe Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of LifeThe Perfect BabyThe Philosophy of NeedThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of PsychiatryThe Politics Of LustThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Power of Religion in the Public SphereThe Price of PerfectionThe Price of TruthThe Problem of PunishmentThe Prosthetic ImpulseThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe PsychopathThe Purity MythThe Pursuit of PerfectionThe Relevance of Philosophy to LifeThe Right Road to Radical FreedomThe Right to Be ParentsThe Righteous MindThe Root of All EvilThe Rules of InsanityThe Second SexismThe Second-Person StandpointThe Silent World of Doctor and PatientThe Sleep of ReasonThe Social Psychology of Good and EvilThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Speed of DarkThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Story of Cruel and UnusualThe Story WithinThe Stubborn System of Moral ResponsibilityThe Suicide TouristThe Terrible GiftThe Theory of OptionsThe Therapy of DesireThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Triple HelixThe Trolley Problem MysteriesThe Trouble with DiversityThe Truth About the Drug CompaniesThe Ugly LawsThe Varieties of Religious ExperienceThe Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric EngagementThe Virtues of HappinessThe Virtuous Life in Greek EthicsThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Voice of Breast Cancer in Medicine and BioethicsThe War Against BoysThe War for Children's MindsThe Whole ChildThe Woman RacketThe Worldwide Practice of TortureTherapy with ChildrenThieves of VirtueThree Generations, No ImbecilesTimes of Triumph, Times of DoubtTolerance Among The VirtuesTolerance and the Ethical LifeTolerationToxic PsychiatryTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreatment Kind and FairTrusting on the EdgeTry to RememberUltimate JudgementUnborn in the USA: Inside the War on AbortionUndermining ScienceUnderstanding AbortionUnderstanding CloningUnderstanding EmotionsUnderstanding EvilUnderstanding Moral ObligationUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnderstanding TerrorismUnderstanding the GenomeUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnhingedUnprincipled VirtueUnsanctifying Human Life: Essays on EthicsUnspeakable Acts, Ordinary PeopleUp in FlamesUpheavals of ThoughtUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryValue-Free Science?Values and Psychiatric DiagnosisValues in ConflictVegetarianismViolence and Mental DisorderVirtue EthicsVirtue, Rules, and JusticeVirtue, Vice, and PersonalityVirtues and Their VicesWar Against the WeakWar, Torture and TerrorismWarrior's DishonourWeaknessWelfare and Rational CareWhat Genes Can't DoWhat Have We DoneWhat Is a Human?What Is Good and WhyWhat Is Good and WhyWhat Is the Good Life?What Price Better Health?What Should I Do?What We Owe to Each OtherWhat Would Aristotle Do?What's Good on TVWhat's Normal?What's Wrong with Children's RightsWhat's Wrong with Homosexuality?What's Wrong With Morality?When Is Discrimination Wrong?Who Holds the Moral High Ground?Who Owns YouWho Qualifies for Rights?Whose America?Whose View of Life?Why Animals MatterWhy Animals MatterWhy I Burned My Book and Other Essays on DisabilityWhy Not Kill Them All?Why Punish? How Much?Why Some Things Should Not Be for SaleWisdom, Intuition and EthicsWithout ConscienceWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and MadnessWondergenesWould You Kill the Fat Man?Wrestling with Behavioral GeneticsWriting About PatientsYou Must Be DreamingYour Genetic DestinyYour Inner FishYouth Offending and Youth Justice Yuck!

Related Topics
Evil in Modern ThoughtReview - Evil in Modern Thought
An Alternative History of Philosophy
by Susan Neiman
Princeton University Press, 2015
Review by Brad Frazier
Aug 16th 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 33)

In 2015, Princeton University Press published a new "classics" edition of Susan Neiman's remarkable book, Evil in Modern Thought. This version contains a new afterword from Neiman that addresses terrorism and some criticisms of the 2002 edition.

One of the many virtues of Evil in Modern Thought is that it is a scholarly yet very accessible work. The writing is crisp, even rhythmic and witty in certain passages. The narrative Neiman constructs, moreover, is much more riveting and psychologically plausible than the 'standard' narrative of modern Western philosophy, where refuting scepticism and other epistemological issues drive the discussion.

On Neiman's alternative reading, a much more fundamental human concern animates modern philosophy: the severe challenge that horrific, senseless evil represents to our ability and even to our desire to make sense of the world and the human condition.

Many philosophers initially balk at this claim because they think the problem of evil is a strictly theological issue. Neiman forcefully argues, however, that it is ultimately a problem about the intelligibility of the world as a whole. As she puts it, "Every time we make the judgment this ought not to have happened, we are stepping onto a path that leads straight to the problem of evil." It is, she claims, "the point at which ethics and metaphysics, epistemology and aesthetics meet, collide, and throw up their hands. At issue are questions about what the structure of the world must be like for us to think and act within it" (5). Consequently, Neiman divides up philosophers according to how they formulate and respond to this problem, not along rationalist vs. empiricist lines. As we shall see, this will make for some strange bedfellows.

For Neiman, modern philosophy begins with the shock and horror caused by the Lisbon earthquake in 1755, and ends with Auschwitz and the utter degradation and depravity that it symbolizes.

Here we have two major historical events serving as bookends to the modern that illustrate the distinction between natural and moral evil. One common way to understand the relation between these two kinds of evil is to chalk up all natural evil to moral evil. The Pauline-Augustinian view of a primordial Fall as the cause of a curse on the entire world is a well-known example.

According to Neiman, this way of making sense of natural evil – as punishment for moral evil – as economical as it might seem, "could not survive the Lisbon earthquake" (217). As she explains, "Radically separating what earlier ages called natural from moral evils was thus part of the meaning of modernity" (4). So Lisbon comes to represent in a sense a loss of faith in the world, or its intelligibility. We no longer seek meaning in natural disasters, for instance, but simply to predict them and mitigate their effects (250). (Never mind that millions of human beings still do seek such meaning, not just the Pat Robertsons of the world.)

According to Neiman, Auschwitz, on the other hand, was "conceptually devastating" for a different reason.  It "revealed a horrifying possibility in human nature that we hoped not to see. For the conditions in Germany should have led not to highly developed forms of barbarism but to genuine civilization" (254). To speak of inevitable progress through the use of reason in view of such events is ridiculous and obscene.

In addition, Neiman argues, "The death camps revealed nightmares of contingency" (259). Do your job, what's asked of you, and you might be spared from the gas chambers. Or you might just be shot. To speak of greater goods wrought by this sort of gratuitous evil seems not just illogical, but also immoral. Neiman concludes, "Souls may be strengthened in the confrontation with evil that acknowledges them. Evil that seeks to deny its victims all the conditions of having a soul cannot possibly further them" (267).

So Lisbon and Auschwitz bracket a period of deep and ongoing struggle with the profound challenge that evil – especially completely gratuitous evil – presents to a most basic goal of philosophy and reason: making sense of things.

Neiman's account of modern philosophy begins with an introduction that helpfully sketches out the basic philosophical issues of modernity, the usual story about what motivates them, and her alternative proposals. Then in four subsequent chapters she sorts out the major players in modern philosophy and how they converge and diverge in novel ways, on this reading.

With the exception of chapter three – "Ends of an Illusion" – that covers Nietzsche and Freud's distinctive contributions to the discussion, the chapters tend to be rather long. This feature of the book tends to detract from the cognitive ease of Neiman's prose otherwise. This brings to mind the advice of Daniel Kahneman for all scholars, in Thinking, Fast and Slow: if you want people to absorb your ideas, present them in a manner that is maximally responsive to the needs and limits of human psychology.

The first chapter, "Fire from Heaven" – a whopping 98 pages – begins with Alfonso X's declaration: "If I had been of God's counsel at the Creation, many things would have been ordered better" (15). Neiman organizes her discussion around the contrasting responses to this quip and the sentiment behind it. The major figures discussed include Leibniz, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Marx. A main theme of this chapter is that "the demands of reason led to consequences that explode them" (109).

As Neiman has it, in responding to Bayle and taking up God's defense, Leibniz – famous (or infamous) for his 'best of all possible worlds' thesis – unwittingly inaugurates the long process by which "the wish to defend God with reasons would become the wish to displace God with reason" (28). Rousseau, the "first to treat the problem of evil as a philosophical problem," naturalizes the relations between sin and suffering, virtue and happiness – a further step in the direction of rendering God obsolete.

Neiman's nuanced and sympathetic reading of Kant emphasizes his view that behind metaphysics and theodicy is the desire to be God, to transcend completely the limits of human reason. Also, for Kant, it is decisive that reason and nature are not even on speaking terms, much less best friends, as Rousseau would have it. This world obviously doesn't consistently reward virtue or punish vice. Yet the "need of reason" for such rational harmony is so basic as to motivate every moral judgment that a particular evil should not have happened (65). However, as Neiman reads Kant, it would be "morally disastrous" for us to have knowledge of any necessary connection between happiness and virtue (67). We'd then choose virtue always purely out of self-interest. Neiman's Kant is indeed the Kant of breathtaking moral rigor.

Neiman sums up her reading of Hegel and Marx this way: "We saw Hegel announce God's death and his own willingness to replace Him, and Marx demand that the replacement become real" (110).

In chapter two, "Condemning the Architect," Neiman groups together philosophers "who rejected all attempts to seek transcendence and insisted on staying with the appearances," no matter how depressing and contrary to reason they may be (114). The lineup here includes Bayle, Voltaire, Schopenhauer, Hume, and, surprisingly, the Marquis de Sade.

Neiman highlights Bayle's revelation of the terror implicit in orthodox religion and, more importantly, his revolting (at the time) lack of faith in human reason. Regarding Voltaire, Neiman notes that while Rousseau blamed the victims of Lisbon, "Voltaire heard them cry." Consequently, by the end of Candide, the notion of Providence is in tatters. As Neiman puts it, "What's left of sufficient reason is the barest sort of efficient causality detailed at length when Pangloss explains the genealogy of his syphilis" (138-9).

Hume is well known, of course, for his view that reason is impotent and for his devastating critiques of the traditional arguments for the existence of God, some of which rely on the reality and prominence of gratuitous evil. Still Neiman manages to give these themes in Hume a fresh reading and to show that they are central to Hume's thought. She not only links them tightly to her overarching narrative; she also demonstrates that Hume's ultimate target all along is reason. For Hume, the (absent) Providential God of Christianity simply has to be dealt with fully in order to get to this more fundamental critique of reason.

Neiman's reading of Schopenhauer is perhaps best summed up in her first line about the famous philosophical pessimist: "Consider Schopenhauer as exclamation point" (196). Schopenhauer rejects Providence, but also reverses it, according to Neiman. He offers the world as its own tribunal: if we want to understand how miserable a species we are, just observe what happens in the world to us and through us. There is no redemption here by God, reason, or anything else, just a kind of "consolation so black it begins to be funny" (199).

Neiman claims that both Schopenhauer and Sade's views imply that evil and suffering are so omnipresent as to make life itself in need of justification. But she spends more time exploring this idea in Sade's work, which may be puzzling to many philosophers. Nonetheless, it works. Sade seizes on the utter cruelty and disharmony of this world, sketched in part by Voltaire, and carries it to every limit he can imagine (179). As Neiman puts it, Sade "tortures" reason, while Hume simply sought to humiliate it. She concludes: "Hume coolly said that reason cannot comprehend why the world was constructed with so many evils. Kant argued that reason cannot stand it. In showing a world where crime always pays while virtue always suffers, Sade rakes reason over coals" (195).

Though he seems to haunt Neiman's discussion in chapter three of the philosophers who "condemn the architect," Nietzsche gets his own chapter, along with Freud, as noted above. Given the way Neiman divides up the terrain, this is a good idea. It helps Neiman to show that while Nietzsche has much in common with the philosophers noted just above, he also has to be considered exceptional, not least because of the psychological depth of his critique of reason and the unflinching, radical nature of his alternative perspective.

For Nietzsche, the problem of evil isn't "given." Rather it is a problem created by people who are "unequal to life" (213). Instead of joining the long line of philosophers who repeatedly condemn the real in light of the rational, Nietzsche critiques the demand for sense itself. Furthermore, Nietzsche would have us take responsibility for the concept of evil itself, not just the particular evils that occur.

We create ideals that (eventually) put life itself in the wrong. We do this in large part because we cannot bear meaningless suffering. So far, this is standard Nietzschean fare. Neiman's discussion shows that this is not a late addendum to a peripheral discussion in modern philosophy, however. Rather, it is a profound response to its most basic theme.

Neiman tops off her discussion of Nietzsche with a riveting take on the doctrine of the eternal return, viewed through the lens of Auschwitz. The upshot – an eternal return for the death camps – is grotesque and unimaginable.

Neiman's treatment of Freud is brief and sketchy. But on her reading, Freud has an important place in the history of modern philosophy. He continues the trend of naturalizing evil and makes us ashamed of the childish notion of Providence. But his way with evil ends up trivializing it, according to Neiman.

In the final chapter, "Homeless," Neiman discusses some contemporary philosophical accounts of evil, including those of Levinas, Camus, Arendt, Rawls, and the critical theorists. She also sets up her concluding sections with a searching discussion of the question: why Auschwitz? Then she brings together the various strands of her discussion to clarify the searing challenge to the principle of sufficient reason that unites them, and that remains for us to ponder.

Of course, many contemporary philosophers will question any bare notion of "reason." Whose reason? And what is meant by "reason" anyhow? Assaults on reason come in many forms, and often raise quite legitimate concerns.

Neiman is aware of these problems, even as she tries to offer a modified defense of a kind of principle of sufficient reason. She concedes that we bring the demand for sense – embodied in this principle – to the world; we don't derive it from the world. Contra Freud, Neiman argues we don't just hunger for security and protection at a most basic level. We also crave sense, order, or intelligibility. She refers to this as reason's narcissism: "the wish to see itself reflected wherever it goes" (323).

Neiman also argues that the demand to unite 'is' and 'ought' is behind not only every attempt at political progress, but also "every creative endeavor" (322). If this is true, consider what is lost in giving up the principle of sufficient reason – if this is even possible for us.

Yet this demand for sense should not, in Neiman's view, be conflated with a demand for system. One could say that we have to accept the fact of the fragmentation of reason, according to Neiman, just as Thomas Nagel would have us acknowledge the fragmentation of value.

So in the end Neiman sides with philosophers such as Kant, Rousseau, and Leibniz, with crucial qualifications. Even in the face of Auschwitz and so many other horrors of life, she concludes that we need to retain some allegiance to the principle of sufficient reason in order to fight injustice, to be creative, and to meet deeply human needs, among other reasons.

Whether one concurs with Neiman or not on this point -- and I certainly do not agree with her claim about reason and the origins of creativity -- another great virtue of this book is on display here. It is a book about the history of modern philosophy, but it is also an engaging piece of philosophical thought itself, deeply informed by its history. Indeed, in the end, we are left to wrestle with an intriguing and certainly controversial metaphilosophy.

 

© 2016 Brad Frazier

 

Brad Frazier, Dept of Philosophy, Wells College


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716