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AHUM 17A00 - Evil in Politics

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The Ancients thought politics as a way to achieve human perfection, natural ends, Good and happiness, whereas the Moderns thought politics as a means to realize the conditions of individual and collective freedom. Modern political thought is therefore in rupture with nature, the metaphysical idea of the world as a whole, and the idea of natural law. It inaugurates a new consciousness of historical times, a conception of politics as a human creation, and a moral life based on autonomy and characterized by a concept of responsibility. Politics, ethics and social life need therefore to engage with the problem of evil. Does evil define the natural and human condition that must be overcome by politics? Or does modern politics, and its rupture with the ideas of natural Good and justice, lead to evil, whether it is seen as radical or as banal? This course, at the intersection of philosophy, ethics, social sciences and esthetics, aims at introducing to some of the major authors of modern political thought through the problem of evil.


  • CHARAUDEAU, Bastien (Doctorant contractuel)
  • SAADA, Julie (Professeur des Universités à Sciences Po)

Required reading

Aristotle, The Politics, Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009, book 1

Additional required reading

  • Hobbes Thomas, Leviathan, Penguin Classics, 1968, chap. 13.
  • Kant Immanuel, Idea for a universal history from a cosmopolitan perspective, in Toward perpetual peace and other writings on politics, peace, and history, New Haven, London: Yale Uni Press 2006
  • Freud Sigmund, Civilization and its Discontents, New York : Norton, 2005
  • Arendt Hannah, Eichmann in Jerusalem : a report on the banality of evil, New York: Penguin books 1977