Based on the concept of radical evil, an evil at the very heart of the ethical problematic, this book focuses on the modern or political notion of evil as it takes shape in Kant, as it is prefigured by Machiavelli and later developed by Schelling.
Radical Evil, the second volume in the S series, marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Kant’s Religion without the Limits of Reason Alone, where Kant first proposed, and quickly withdrew in horror, the concept of radical evil—an evil at the very heart of the ethical problematic. It also marks the recent publication in English of Lacan’s Ethics of Psychoanalysis, arguably one of the most important and influential of Lacan’s seminars, in which he discusses the rise since the nineteenth century of a certain ‘happiness in evil’.
The events of the twentieth century have made the assertions of both Lacan and Kant credible and concrete—the Holocaust and the attempts to cast doubt on its existence, the rise of racism worldwide, the engagement by philosophers with ethics as critical to relevant issues but without the consideration of the problems which lead Kant to his formation of radical evil.
The contributors to this volume were asked to consider radical evil in its philosophical, political and cultural dimensions. What emerges is a clear introduction to the problematic, including discussions of the Holocaust, the placement of homosexuals in concentration camps, the creation of the Machiavellian in politics and literature—a full and fascinating exploration of the radical nature of modern evil.