A Natural History of Evil
Keywords:ethical philosophers, the mystery of unde malum, mysterious transmogrification
In the 36,525 days of the twentieth century, between 100 and 160 million civilians lost their lives at hand of mass-murder, slaughter and massacres – that is an average of more than 3.000 innocent deaths per day. The pace has not slackened in the new millennium: statistically speaking, September 11 was an ordinary day.
In his lecture, Zygmunt Bauman outlines and analyses the efforts made to solve the mystery that more perhaps than any other keeps ethical philosophers awake at night: the mystery of unde malum (Whence the Evil?) and, more specifically and yet more urgently, of “How do good people turn evil?” The latter is, succinctly put, the secret of the mysterious transmogrification of caring family people and friendly and benevolent neighbours into monsters.
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