Evil and Human Agency: Understanding Collective Evildoing - Cambridge Cultural Social Studies (Paperback)
  • Evil and Human Agency: Understanding Collective Evildoing - Cambridge Cultural Social Studies (Paperback)
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Evil and Human Agency: Understanding Collective Evildoing - Cambridge Cultural Social Studies (Paperback)

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£37.99
Paperback 328 Pages / Published: 01/12/2005
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Evil is a poorly understood phenomenon. In this provocative 2005 book, Professor Vetlesen argues that to do evil is to intentionally inflict pain on another human being, against his or her will, and causing serious and foreseeable harm. Vetlesen investigates why and in what sort of circumstances such a desire arises, and how it is channeled, or exploited, into collective evildoing. He argues that such evildoing, pitting whole groups against each other, springs from a combination of character, situation, and social structure. By combining a philosophical approach inspired by Hannah Arendt, a psychological approach inspired by C. Fred Alford and a sociological approach inspired by Zygmunt Bauman, and bringing these to bear on the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, Vetlesen shows how closely perpetrators, victims, and bystanders interact, and how aspects of human agency are recognized, denied, and projected by different agents.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521673570
Number of pages: 328
Weight: 480 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'This book is an excellent and brave contribution to a complex topic - balanced, well-argued, informative. I recommend it to all philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists who have research interests in understanding large-scale atrocities.' Claudia Card, Philosophy Review
'Vetlesen has developed a solid, well-structured and groundbreaking argument that merits a core position in the literature on collective evildoing and genocide.' Journal of Peace Research
'Vetlesen brings to light the paradox of moral responsibility in Arendt's analysis of Eichmann's actions. ... Evil and Human Agency is both timely and deserving of wide readership, not only by sociologists, philosophers, and psychologists, but also by politicians and political scientists. Vetlesen stresses the moral failure of bystanders who, in wishing to remain neutral and impartial, did nothing to stop atrocities from occurring. ... Vetlesen's thoughtful approach in Evil and Human Agency challenges both the Aristotelian and the Kantian view that egoism is at the root of evildoing ...Vetlesen's approach to evildoing, then, is useful to show how we might avoid such atrocities in the future.' The Journal of Value Inquiry
"This book is an excellent and brave contribution to a complex topic - balanced, well-argued, informative. I recommend it to all philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists who have research interests in understanding large-scale atrocities." Claudia Card, Philosophy Review

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