Aristotle, Epicurus, Morgenthau and the Political Ethics of the Lesser Evil

Journal of International Political Theory 5 (1):94-112 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This article explores one of the key themes of Hans J. Morgenthau's moral theory, the concept of the lesser evil. Morgenthau developed this concept by reference to classical political theory, especially the articulation of the lesser evil found in Aristotle and Epicurus. The article begins by differentiating Morgenthau's work from that of E. H. Carr, whom he regards as engaged in a Quixotic quest to provide Machiavellism with greater ethical purpose. The article also contrasts the ethics of the lesser evil with Kantian ethics. Morgenthau places the lesser evil in the context of a modernity that has lost the capacity to think about the relationship between politics and morality and stresses the importance of coming to grips with the existential demands of love and power. Finally, the article argues that despite the ubiquity of evil, the existence of the lesser evil gives rise to the development of specifically political virtues such as prudence and moderation which raise the possibility of moral politics beyond mere expedience

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,181

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Lesser Evil Reasoning and its Pitfalls.Georg Spielthenner - 2010 - Argumentation 24 (2):139-152.
Carl Schmitt on Nomos and Space.Wolfgang Palaver - 1996 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1996 (106):105-127.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-12-25

Downloads
87 (#138,686)

6 months
1 (#413,813)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
Political Theory and International Relations.Charles R. Beitz - 1979 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Politics.David Aristotle & Keyt - 1998 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Nicomachean Ethics.Terence Irwin & Aristotle of Stagira - 1999 - Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - In Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.

View all 23 references / Add more references