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Good and Evil

Good and Evil

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Good and Evil

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  1. Good and Evil Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life Chapter 1

  2. From Cruelty to Goodness, Hallie • What is institutionalized cruelty? • It is not only physical assault. • Assault on the dignity and self-respect of others. • The citizens of Le Chambon as an example of the opposite of cruelty.

  3. The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn, Bennett • The conflict between sympathy and bad morality. • 3 Cases of Conscience: Huck Finn, Heinrich Himmler, and Jonathan Edwards.

  4. The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn • Moral principles, moral sympathies, and moral conduct. • The moral significance of our sympathies.

  5. The Evil That Men Think—And Do, Hallie • Was Edwards really worse than Himmler, as Hallie argues? • The morality of the Walrus vs. the morality of the Carpenter. • Bennett’s theory of evil overemphasizes the sympathies of the agent, and underemphasizes the central role of victims.

  6. The Evil That Men Think—And Do • Hallie’s critique of Hannah Arendt’s phrase, “the banality of evil.” • The wholeness of evil.

  7. Facing the Extreme: The War of All Against All, Todorov • The nature of human existence in the concentration camps. • The social contract. • The tension between vital values and moral values.

  8. Strategies for Survival, Applebaum • The stories of those who survived. • Some led extraordinary lives. • Living “without pity” • Ordinary virtues: caring, friendship, dignity, the intellectual life.

  9. The Perils of Obedience, Stanley Milgram • The roles of obedience and authority in our social life. • Submission to authority • The banality of evil in Milgram’s experiments • Findings about authority • Physical presence of experimenter. • Conflicting authority figures paralyzes action. • Rebellion of others undermines authority.

  10. The Moral Insight, Royce • We need a clear moral insight, not moral sympathy. • The moral insight: • My neighbor is a Self. • My neighbor and my own future self.

  11. Billy Budd, Melville • The killing of Claggart by Billy Budd. • Billy did not intend to kill Claggart. • The position of Captain Vere: we must adhere to and administer the law, even when our hearts would have us do otherwise.

  12. Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche • The herd instinct of obedience. • Life is the will to power. • Master-morality vs. Slave-morality • “Egoism belongs to the essence of a noble soul.” (p. 58) • Christianity is a fatal and seductive lie, because it embodies a “morality of paltry people.”