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Evil in Contemporary Political Theory$
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Bruce Haddock and Peri Roberts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641963

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641963.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Constructivism and Evil

Constructivism and Evil

Chapter:
(p.42) Chapter 3 Constructivism and Evil
Source:
Evil in Contemporary Political Theory
Author(s):

Peri Roberts

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641963.003.0003

This chapter argues that a notion of evil represents a necessary limiting conception for a defensible politics. Much of contemporary liberal theory is constructivist in a way that is usually taken to rule out categorical moral judgements that draw on notions of objective good and evil. In contrast, this chapter explores the role that a properly developed conception of evil can play in liberal constructivism. Firstly theories of evil are an important basis for a cross-cultural understanding of wrongness that can be framed in a liberal manner. Second, the content of theories of evil appears much less partial than ideas of the good that predominate in liberal discussion. Liberal constructivism, often castigated for offering an inadequate understanding of human goods, is thus well placed to outline a sparser notion of human evil that can anchor discussions of value.

Keywords:   theories of evil, contemporary liberal theory, liberal constructivism, wrongness, moral judgements

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