Online Journal of Anthropology


Bernstein Radical Evil A Philosophical InterrogationTitle: Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation
Author: Richard J. Bernstein
Pages: 331
Year: 2004
Publisher: Ediciones Lilmod (Buenos Aires)
Print ISBN: 987-21897-1-4









Although Auschwitz and the human violations perpetrated in Nazi extermination camps during the Second World War are enrooted in the human nature, Europe faced a turning point in the way of considering the ethic fields. The radical evil represents, for the American philosopher Richard Bernstein, an urgency to understand why Auschwitz took room and of course if this may be repeated. Based on the legacy of Kant, Schelling and Arendt, Bernstein argues that there is a dichotomy around our idea of evil.

Human beings can be considered a good creation but destined to be evil or to be good with the passing of time. Certainly, as Kant put it, neither evil nor good, humans adopt certain attitudes according to their decisions (willkur) that determine their future behavior. Beyond the culture or the rules, moral inclinations seem to be created to the personal will.  At some extent, these decisions are explained by means of random since there is no causality that may influence in human liberty. If the evil is defined as a sacrifice of moral order in view of personal incentive, it is difficult to explain why people do the good in some occasions, and evil in others. This keeps beyond the human scrutiny. Besides, the law and moral conditions do not suffice to lead human will to goodness.

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