Buy New
$21.90
Qty:1
  • List Price: $35.00
  • Save: $13.10 (37%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 20 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy Paperback – March 21, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0691117928 ISBN-10: 0691117926 Edition: New Ed

Buy New
Price: $21.90
28 New from $12.98 53 Used from $3.79
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$21.90
$12.98 $3.79
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Frequently Bought Together

Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy + Amidst Mass Atrocity and the Rubble of Theology: Searching for a Viable Theodicy + Silence
Price for all three: $67.34

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (March 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691117926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691117928
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The word "evil" gets thrown around pretty frequently, especially in connection with certain Axes, but Einstein Forum director and former philosophy professor Susan Neiman reminds us that the existence of evil is a theological and intellectual dilemma through modern Western intellectual history in fact, she argues in her erudite and accessible Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, the question of evil is at the heart of modern philosophy. Neiman looks at how philosophers and writers Leibniz and Arendt, Pope and Sade have sought to explain evil, and traces two divergent strains of thought: one that insists we must try to understand moral evil, and another that maintains we must not.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The current director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Neiman (The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant) examines the problem of evil, which she posits as central to philosophy since the 17th century. Philosophy is driven by the need to make sense of a world riddled with natural and moral evil and by our failures to do so. Leibniz (who thought this must be the best of all possible worlds) and Hegel (who thought reality must ultimately prove to be rational) are keys to her story, but Kant's effort to show that our best insights into reality stem from moral sensibilities, and Nietzsche, on the other side, who regarded most attempts to find a meaningful transcendent as moral cowardice, play large roles. Neiman begins with the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, perceived at the time as a manifestation of evil, but science and technology are (slowly) teaching us how to deal with such natural calamities. Moral evil, on the other hand, has not elicited as effective a response. Neiman is sympathetic to Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer and attentive to Emmanuel L‚vinas, who insisted that we must recover the transcendent or lose our rationality. Oddly, she ignores 20th-century attempts (by Samuel Alexander, Alfred North Whitehead, Teilhard de Chardin, etc.) to bring logic to bear on the subject. Still, this is a deeply moving and scholarly book that will interest many general readers. Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

For a serious reader both the style and the substance is a feast for the mind and spirit.
rafael perez
Dr. Neiman has written a very interesting book that explores the problem of evil as considered from early modern thinking to the present.
Bucherwurm
It's the kind of book you want to get an extra copy of so your spouse can read it at the same time and you can talk your way through it.
Adam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Provenzano on February 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Evil in Modern Thought" is a well-written and thought-provoking review of Western philosophy's struggles with the problem of Evil. Susan Neiman views this problem "as the guiding force of modern thought." Recognizing the controversiality of her contention she sub-titles her book, "An Alternative History of Philosophy." Neiman takes us along on her philosophical journey into the writings of important 17-20th century Western thinkers. She groups these thinkers under chapter titles that neatly summarize their attempts at understanding evil. While presenting the salient features of their ideas, she asks them questions you'd want to ask yourself.
Neiman states that what constitutes evil has changed - evil today stands for "absolute wrongdoing that leaves no room for account or expiation." The author asks: "How can human beings behave in ways that so thoroughly violate both reasonable and rational norms"?
Chapter 1, "Fire From Heaven" includes the thinkers who stole God's fire for man: Leibniz; Pope; Rousseau, Kant; Hegel and Marx. We start with the words of an 11-th century Castilian king embodying man's growing urge to independent thinking: "If I had been of God's counsel at the Creation, many things would have been ordered better." At first, faith reigns supreme; we meet Leibniz, who thinks God has ordered all things for the best. His work, the "Theodicy" attempts the conformity of faith with reason. But the poet, Pope, nudges God aside with:

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Rousseau was the first thinker to treat the problem of evil as a philosophical one. He states evil "is a catalog of mistaken acts that can be rectified in the future." Knowledge, not penance is needed.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on August 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The concept of evil has occupied a significant place in philosophy throughout the history of man's thinking. Dr. Neiman has written a very interesting book that explores the problem of evil as considered from early modern thinking to the present.
The question is, of course, how do you reconcile an omnipotent, benevolent Deity with the existence of evil. She starts the discussion with Leibnitz who felt that God considered all possible worlds, and decided that the one we have is the best one possible. Evil was divided into two types: natural evil that encompassed the cruelties of nature (floods, earthquakes, droughts, etc.) and moral evil i.e. those acts that we humans are responsible for. Pierre Bayle and Voltaire eagerly tore this idea to shreds. Rousseau came along and said that man, and not God was responsible for all evil, as man had become corrupted through the progress of civilization.
Neiman goes on to discuss the thoughts of Hume, Schopenhauer, Kant, Nietzsche, Feud, and even the Marquis de Sade. Then she delves into the topic of the Holocaust, and September 11. Of particular interest here is the thoughts of Hannah Arendt on the Holocaust, and her reflections during the war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. Arendt feels that the vast majority of those involved in the Holocaust, Eichmann included, had no malicious intent in what they did. They merely performed assigned tasks, and did not really have the evil impulses that might be found in one of de Sade's novels. Evil truly had become banal, a merely boring activity of a bureaucracy. September 11th did provide evidence of evil intent, however. Those involved were determined to destroy innocent human lives.
At this point one has to wonder whether Evil as a philosophical issue has become obsolete.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Adam on October 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the kind of book you want to buy for all your friends so you can argue about it. It's the kind of book you want to get an extra copy of so your spouse can read it at the same time and you can talk your way through it. It's the kind of book that will be a required text of most philosophy 101 classes in ten years' time, and the one text you reread ten years after graduating. It is witty without being glib, accessible without being remotely condescending. It's both brilliant and brave because it dares to remind us why anyone was interested in philosophy in the first place and why we need it.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eva Illouz on January 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book offers an extraordinary odyssey for the mind: Neiman gives us a grand tour of western philosophy, from the book of Job to Hannah Arendt, from Albert Camus via Rousseau and Sade, but does not explore these authors with the standard queries of philosophy (epistemology or metaphysics). Neiman examines how these various authors have raised what are perhaps the most burning questions of our times: Why do we suffer? What is evil?
This is an exhilarating book which philosophers and non-philosophers alike can only enjoy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By rafael perez on January 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
BRING IT ON!!
I found this book so cogent and lucid that I couldn't put it down. And look forward to a second read. It isn't philosophy lite, but it can't be, given the subject. For a serious
reader both the style and the substance is a feast for the mind and spirit. Evil in Modern Thought manages to convey the rich complexity of modern philosophy and the childlike wonder that is it's cornerstone.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?