Introduction: The Atrocity Paradigm

Claudia Card

in The Atrocity Paradigm

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195145083
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833115 | DOI:
 Introduction: The Atrocity Paradigm

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This book takes atrocities – such as genocide, slavery, torture, rape as a weapon of war, and the saturation bombing of cities – as paradigm evils. As atrocities are both perpetrated and suffered, the atrocity paradigm yields two basic dimensions of evils: culpable wrongdoing (by perpetrators) and foreseeable intolerable harm (to victims). Evils tend to ruin lives, depriving victims of basics necessary to make life possible, tolerable, and decent. Still, evils have degrees; some are worse than others, although comparisons can be difficult, complex, and sometimes impossible, given the multidimensionality of evils. Institutions, laws, and practices are evil when it is reasonably foreseeable that intolerable harm will result from their normal or correct operation and people with power to rectify them culpably fail to do so.

Keywords: atrocities; culpability; degrees of evil; dimensions of evil; evil institutions; evils; intolerable harm; wrongdoing

Chapter.  11669 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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