“Evil in the Western Philosophical Tradition” by Gavin Rae

"Evil in the Western Philosophical Tradition" by Gavin Rae

"While Western moral, philosophical, and theological thought has historically privileged the good, this has been accompanied by profound, if subterranean, interest in evil. This book charts a history of evil as it has been thought within this tradition. Showing that the problem of evil, as a conceptual problem—that is, as a problem to be dealt with through rational means—came to the fore with the rise of monotheism, this book initially outlines the dynamics that led to it becoming the problem of Christianity, before tracing how subsequent thought, first within an explicitly theological framework, and subsequently from secular foundations, developed from this problematic. With chapters on figures in early and Medieval Christian philosophy, modern philosophy, German Idealism, Nietzsche, Arendt, post-structuralism, and contemporary analytical philosophy, it demonstrates the breadth and depth of thinking on evil within this tradition and includes discussions on thinkers not normally included in analyses of the topic, such as Jacques Lacan and Cornelius Castoriadis. These reveal that, far from being something clear and obvious as common-sense, everyday intuition tends to hold, the meaning and nature of evil has been remarkably complex, differentiated, and contested."