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By Melissa Dearey

In terms of crime, everybody turns out to take evil heavily as an explanatory proposal - other than criminologists. This publication asks why, and why now not, via exploring various interdisciplinary methods to evil from the views of theology, philosophy, literary and cultural experiences, and the social sciences.

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Extra resources for Making Sense of Evil: An Interdisciplinary Approach

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However, I leave readers to weigh the evidence and decide for themselves, including the reference but acknowledging its controversial nature, a not uncommon theme in the study of evil. 2 Enter the Evil Genius: Encountering Metaphysical Evil In the previous chapter, we examined the problem of evil as represented in the theodicy, or how to reconcile the reality of evil in the world with the existence of God who is all powerful(ish) and absolutely good (ish, or possibly wicked). As we saw there, evil in theodicy is regarded as diametrically (if not also diabolically) opposed to the good, or a privation of the good from a rational point of view, whether conceived of in terms of logic, knowledge or power—very much prized and very human attributes in modernity.

It would be the next stage of his argument that would allow Descartes to finally make the conceptual break from pre-modern to modern philosophy, transforming metaphysics from a science founded in ontology (the study of being) to one based on epistemology (the knowledge of individual self-reflection) (Gasche, 1986). Basically, Descartes achieves this by putting forth the notion that it is easier for humans to know what is in their minds—what can be thought according to the principles of their reason—than to know what they can perceive about God, knowledge in consensus with others or more importantly from observation of the natural world around them that they perceive with their senses.

It wasn’t really my fault . . ’ In the classic syllogism of the theodicy in its pre-modern versions, God is (in the first instance) accorded the attribute of existence as part of His list of perfections (apropos Thomas Aquinas’s ontological argument). While human beings it is assumed also exist, the same cannot be said for evil. There is a strong and vibrant tradition of theological and philosophical thought that posits just the opposite: that evil does not exist, and that is 16 Evil in Philosophy, Theology and Religion what it is (or more to the point what ‘is not’).

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