Chapter

Twenty-First-Century Mythologies

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/9780748622009.003.0009
Twenty-First-Century Mythologies

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The concluding chapter brings us back to the present, placing the ‘War on Terror’ in the context of the discourse of evil. To what extent is our understanding of terrorism shaped by the idea of monstrous evil, such that we can use whatever means necessary – including torture – to protect ourselves from it? The books concludes that the idea of ‘evil’ is a ‘black-hole’ concept, which gives the illusion of explanation, when it in fact represents the failure to understand. The idea of evil is not a philosophical one, but belongs in mythology. When we describe an agent as ‘evil’ we place them within this mythological narrative, in which they have no history, and no motivation other than the wish to harm us. The solution is to abandon the discourse of evil altogether, and move towards new ways of understanding human character and action.

Keywords: Terrorism; Mythology; Torture

Chapter.  13532 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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