David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Pedro Alexis Tabensky (ed.), The Positive Function of Evil. Palgrave Macmillan (2009)
It has often been noted that evil – by which I mean evil in human motivation and action – is difficult to understand. We find it hard to make sense of what ‘drives’ a person to commit evil. This is not because we cannot recognise or identify with some aspect of the psychology of evil; we all experience feelings of envy, spite, cruelty, and hatred. But somehow this shared experience can seem insufficient, and we are left at a loss as to how such natural, universal human motivations could have resulted in this. The aims of this paper are modest, to do no more than point in a particular direction our attempts to understand the psychology of evil. §2 is a synoptic overview of what I shall call the ‘traditional’ picture of the psychology of evil. In §3, I argue that this picture is explanatorily inadequate. §§4-6 develop the traditional picture by suggesting some resources drawn from psychoanalytic theory that can meet the explanatory challenge. My argument here is schematic, seeking only to motivate a research project. It would take a much longer exploration of these resources, providing far more psychological detail, to work out what can rightfully be called an account of the psychology of evil. §7 situates the psychology of evil in relation to ‘normal’ psychology by noting the positive functions of mental processes involved in the psychology of evil.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Configure|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John F. Crosby (2001). Is All Evil Really Only Privation? Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:197-209.
Luke Russell (2010). Dispositional Accounts of Evil Personhood. Philosophical Studies 149 (2):231 - 250.
Christopher Hamilton (1999). The Nature of Evil a Reply to Garrard. Philosophical Explorations 2 (2):122 – 138.
Marcus G. Singer (2004). The Concept of Evil. Philosophy 79 (2):185-214.
David E. Ward (2002). Explaining Evil Behavior: Using Kant and M. Scott Peck to Solve the Puzzle of Understanding the Moral Psychology of Evil People. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (1):1-12.
Michael Gelven (1998). This Side of Evil. Marquette University Press.
Lars Fr H. Svendsen (2010). A Philosophy of Evil. Dalkey Archive Press.
Added to index2010-05-19
Total downloads79 ( #13,717 of 1,089,057 )
Recent downloads (6 months)19 ( #5,727 of 1,089,057 )
How can I increase my downloads?