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Evil, Responsibility, and Forgiveness
PHIL 219
Fall 2017
Section: 01   02  

The problem of evil has long occupied an important position in the history of philosophy. In light, however, of the horrific events of the 20th-century, philosophers and other writers of the past hundred years have begun to ask whether it is time to rethink our own understanding of evil. Is it possible to understand genocide, colonialism, and systematic racism through existing conceptions of evil, responsibility, and forgiveness, conceptions drawn largely from religion and the law? What happens to our understanding of evil when, as Hannah Arendt famously suggested with her notion of the "banality of evil," mass murder is detached from wicked intentions and is made routine, mundane, even cliché? What happens to our understanding of responsibility when, on the one hand, a whole society, not just an individual, is implicated in a crime--and when, on the other hand, responsibility cannot be confined to geographical or national borders? What happens to our understanding of forgiveness when the very possibility or desirability of such an act becomes eminently questionable? In this course, we will draw from continental philosophy, critical philosophy of race, literature, and film. Readings may include selections from Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Primo Levi, Jacques Derrida, and Susan Neiman.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS PHIL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on NOV-20-2017
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