What We Call Evil

Jeanne Proust at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Nov 2 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

What happens when we qualify an action or someone as being evil? What causes this moral judgment, and what effects may this judgment have?

What happens when we qualify an action or someone as being evil? What causes this moral judgment, and what effects may this judgment have?

When we try to describe, understand and respond to various atrocities such as rapes, genocides, or serial killings, we often use the word "evil". But a wide range of questions arise when we try to think critically about this term.

Nietzsche and Arendt embody a remarkable skepticism about the use of the term evil, and what it traditionally means/meant. Both extremely sensitive to the historical and social context that the word carries, they emphasize the hidden motives behind using it to qualify a certain group of people. Each in a very different way, they warn us against the dangers of leaving unquestioned the nature and concept of evil.

In this Olio we will begin a discussion about the concept of evil, its relativity, and the diversity of feelings that it inspires in us, such as fear, disgust, shame, spite, hate, or compassion. Together, along with Nietzsche and Arendt, we will try to analyze part of the complexity of this concept, and the symbolic representations that it may carry.



Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Jeanne Proust's research focuses on Théodule Ribot’s Diseases of the Will, both in philosophical and psychological perspectives. While teaching at different universities here in New York, Jeanne is advocating for a widening of philosophical education beyond the academic frontiers.


Venue: Strand Bookstore

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.