In this new contribution to philosophical ethics, Claudia Card revisits the theory of evil developed in her earlier book The Atrocity Paradigm (2002), and expands it to consider collectively perpetrated and collectively suffered atrocities. Redefining evil as a secular concept and focusing on the inexcusability – rather than the culpability – of atrocities, Card examines the tension between responding to evils and preserving humanitarian values. This stimulating and often provocative book contends that understanding the evils in terrorism, torture and genocide enables us to recognise similar evils in everyday life: daily life under oppressive regimes and in racist environments; violence against women, including in the home; violence and executions in prisons; hate crimes; and violence against animals. Card analyses torture, terrorism and genocide in the light of recent atrocities, considering whether there can be moral justifications for terrorism and torture, and providing conceptual tools to distinguish genocide from non-genocidal mass slaughter.
Part I. The Concept of Evil: 1. Inexcusable wrongs; 2. Between good and evil; 3. Complicity in structural evils; 4. To whom (or to what?) can evils be done?; Part II. Terrorism, Torture, Genocide: 5. Counterterrorism; 6. Low-profile terrorism; 7. Conscientious torture?; 8. Ordinary torture; 9. Genocide is social death; 10. Genocide by forced impregnation; Bibliography; Filmography; Websites; Index.
"[This book] will be of interest chiefly to students of philosophy … This clearly written, tightly argued book is recommended for academic libraries … Recommended …"
M. Amstutz, Choice
"… Card argues that both torture and genocide are inexcusable, while terrorism of different kinds may be morally permissible depending on the circumstances. She engages in a good deal of the recent philosophical and other discussion of the ethics of these controversial practices, and she covers both prominent and less well-known cases. Her arguments are carefully and systematically presented, and this book will be an excellent resource for anyone wanting to investigate these topics in depth."
Christian Perring, Philosophy in Review
"The question of how to respond to evils has received insufficient attention in both the literature on evil and in philosophical discussions of terrorism, torture, and genocide … Card’s book is a very valuable addition to philosophical discourse on evil."
Jessica Wolfendale, Social Theory and Practice