The Metaphysics of Good and Evil

1st Edition

David S. Oderberg

December 12, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 226 Pages - 4 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367408640 - CAT# 319854


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The Metaphysics of Good and Evil is the first, full-length contemporary defence, from the perspective of analytic philosophy, of the Scholastic theory of good and evil – the theory of Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and most medieval and Thomistic philosophers. Goodness is analysed as obedience to nature. Evil is analysed as the privation of goodness. Goodness, surprisingly, is found in the non-living world, but in the living world it takes on a special character. The book analyses various kinds of goodness, showing how they fit into the Scholastic theory. The privation theory of evil is given its most comprehensive contemporary defence, including an account of truthmakers for truths of privation and an analysis of how causation by privation should be understood. In the end, all evil is deviance – a departure from the goodness prescribed by a thing’s essential nature.

Key Features:

    • Offers a comprehensive defence of a venerable metaphysical theory, conducted using the concepts and methods of analytic philosophy.
    • Revives a much neglected approach to the question of good and evil in their most general nature.
    • Shows how Aristotelian-Thomistic theory has more than historical relevance to a fundamental philosophical issue, but can be applied in a way that is both defensible and yet accessible to the modern philosopher.
    • Provides what, for the Scholastic philosopher, is arguably the only solid metaphysical foundation for a separate treatment of the origins of morality.

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