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 Aaltosen säätiö.