May 17-18, Doelenzaal, Singel 425, Amsterdam
Organised by Dr Thomas Nys (University of Amsterdam) and Dr Stephen de Wijze (University of Manchester)
Bad things happen all around us. Sometimes we use the term ‘evil’ to describe such horrible events. But philosophical perplexities hide behind the surface of such everyday idiom. For instance, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what separates this ‘evil’ from actions or events that that are just ‘not good’. And even if some things are indeed worse than bad, it is difficult to conceptualize the distinction in either quantitative or qualitative terms. Also, some believe that we shouldn’t use the term ‘evil’ to describe earthquakes or avalanches, for although they cause a lot of death and destruction, evil requires agency, that is, actual and intentional evildoers. Evil, as such, denotes “man’s inhumanity to man,” not some impersonal course of events. Others believe that the word’ evil’ is merely used in a rhetorical fashion. Politicians and world-leaders use the vignette in order to mobilise people’s outrage and to justify violence and political action against those who, as they frame it, are simply beyond the pale of justification. Finally, even outside the realm of bloated ideological rhetoric it is a good question whether a deeply religious notion such as ‘evil’ could still have any bearing in a secular age.
The prevalence of evil as well as our struggle to come to terms with the phenomenon is the starting point of the 2016 Conference on the Philosophy of Evil. This two-day conference – hosted by the University of Manchester and the University of Amsterdam – will bring together eight leading international speakers on the topic of evil. Three themes will be at the centre of attention: (1) evil in the history of thought, (2) conceptual debates regarding evil (i.e., evil as a secular idea, the quantitative/qualitative discussion, evil as a substantive concept), (3) evil in relation to specific normative and political topics (i.e., forgiveness, freedom, justice).
- Philip Cary, Eastern University
- Giovanni Giorgini, University of Bologna
- Luke Russell, University of Sydney
- Shlomit Harrosh, Shalom Hartman Institute
- Leo Zaibert, Union College
- Kathryn Norlock, Trent University
- Todd Calder, University of Saint Mary’s
This conference is open for students of the BA and MA-level, as well as to students in the PhD-program. Research master students can earn credits (2 EC) for their preparation and attendance (NICA).
Attendance is free, but please register with: email@example.com
This conference has been made possible with the financial support from:
- University of Manchester
- University of Amsterdam, Department of Philosophy, Philosophy and Public Affairs Group.