Et knippe nye bøker om ondskap, deriblant den norske filosofen Lars Svendsens A Philosophy of Evil, er omtalt i en artikkel i Financial Times. De andre bøkene som trekkes frem er skrevet av Terry Eagleton, Tzvetan Todorov og John Hick.
Avisen har mye godt å si om Svendens bok, som i sin norske utgave bærer tittelen Ondskapens filosofi.
One lesson is that we should not be seduced by the illusion that we can eliminate evil. As is so often the case, Svendsen and Todorov are in wise agreement, cautioning that catastrophic results follow when people try to take on this purifying role.
But the lesson common to all four writers is the same one we’ve been hearing for decades now from the psychologists who perhaps know best. «The worst evils are committed not by monsters, but people no different from ourselves,» as Svendsen puts it. That’s why, in his defence, Eagleton’s refusal to call terrorism evil makes sense, because the danger of labelling it as such is that it can make the comprehensible look incomprehensible.
We should all know this by now. We can argue all we like about the best way to define evil and the point at which it becomes mere wickedness, but the facts are all in. Evil is not a mystery. That’s why Svendsen’s central point rings true: «The fact that evil exists is not so much a metaphysical challenge as it is a moral and political one.»