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Kant Society

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  • CONFERENCE: THE PROBLEM OF EVIL IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY

CONFERENCE: THE PROBLEM OF EVIL IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY

  • 28 Apr 2017
  • 29 Apr 2017
  • Bishop's University

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY

Submission deadline: December 31, 2016

For many, the developments and often dazzling breakthroughs of the modern sciences since the 19th century have sustained the hope that evil will find sociological, psychological and even neurological and genetic explanations. These explanations were looked to with the aspiration that they would eventually bring about measures which, without completely eradicating evil, would nevertheless significantly reduce the pain and suffering it causes. For others, however, such hope, inherited from the ideals of Enlightenment, has revealed itself to be a mere illusion. In their view, both human reality, in its moral, political and historical dimensions, as well as natural reality, seem to show that evil, in all or part, is irreducible to this hope and the “solutions” that it conveys. In this regard, it is well known that a certain number of 20th century philosophers and writers, amongst which Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel are assuredly the most famous, have developed their thoughts on evil with reference to the horrors of Auschwitz and the concentration camps. More recently, the term or notion of evil has attracted a great deal of attention, as George W. Bush, in the aftermath of 9/11, justified the U.S. intervention in Iraq by claiming the need to combat what he described as “the axis of evil”.

In this context, it is not surprising that philosophers, theologians and thinkers have undertaken to pursue and to expand their reflections on evil. For some of them, such reflections had to take the form of a re-examination of the major milestones of the philosophical view since Kant who, as is well-known, once claimed in his famous writing on religion that evil is a propensity (ein Hang) that has its origin within human reason itself.

Entitled The Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary European Philosophy, this conference in intended as an opportunity to revisit and to examine anew the terms around which the different views of evil have been defined from Kant to contemporary European post-Kantian philosophy. The conference is organized by the Department of Philosophy at Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, Quebec) and will take place on April 28th and 29th 2017. Proposals (in either English or French) must be submitted by email to Prof. Martin Thibodeau (mthibode@ubishops.ca) and Prof. Jamie Crooks (jcrooks@ubishops.ca) before December 31, 2016. Proposals must be 300 words long and accompanied by a short CV. Selected writers will be notified by January 13th, 2017, and will be asked to submit a 30 minute-presentation by March 17th, 2017. 


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