Chapter

Terrorism, Torture and the Problems of Evil

Phillip Cole

in The Myth of Evil

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748622009
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671908 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622009.003.0001
Terrorism, Torture and the Problems of Evil

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This chapter introduces the four secular models of evil that frame discussions about the idea: the monstrous, that evil is perpetrated by monster sin human shape; the pure, that ordinary human beings are capable of willing evil for its own sake; the impure that ordinary human beings are capable of willing evil, but for the sake of some other goal; and the psychological, that in order to understand evil we must look, not at the human will, but the human condition. It sets the abstract discussion in the context of current events, specifically the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison between 2002 and 2004. How could seemingly ordinary people carry out such extreme abuse? How are we to understand the human capacity for cruelty?

Keywords: Terrorism; Torture; Evil; Explanation

Chapter.  10124 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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