Research Project Law and Evil:
The Problem of Evil in European Tradition
THE EUROPEAN HISTORY WITNESSES the power of evil
in a tragic way. Philosophy, jurisprudence and politics have all been
unable to prevent the constant eruptions of evil. Ultimate evil has often
pushed itself through even in the form of law.
Have European humanism and the rule of law failed in their efforts to
face evil? Is it so that evil is the inevitable fate of human beings?
ACCORDING TO PLATO, the free realisation of desires
and passions leads to violence and disorder. Immanuel Kant says that man
is dispoded to evil and, at the same time, responsible for it, even in
its most radical form. Sigmund Freud revealed the self-destructive features
of Western man, naming them the death wish. Hannah Arendt has shown how
evil is banalised into common juridico-political practices.
WHAT, THEN, IS evil in itself?
The reserach project Law and Evil aims to elucidate evil in the European
tradition. The multi-faceted subject of evil calls for a comprehensive
vision. This is the only way to face the essence of evil. Our project
brings together philosophical, legal, historical, psychoanalytical, political,
ethical, and aesthetical approaches.
LAW AND EVIL starts
from two questions:
- How has evil appeared in the European tradition? Particular attention
is paid to the relationship between law and evil.
- How has the concept of evil been analysed in European philosophical,
legal and political thinking?
This is the basis on which the research project will analyse evil: the
phenomenology of evil.
MOREOVER, OUR AIM is to sketch some philosophical,
juridical and political practices which may help us to recognise, face
and confront evil.
Our hypothesis is that a phenomenology of evil of this kind will make
it possible to answer the question of law and evil in a philosophically
justified and reasoned way.
The research project has received funding from Emil