The concept of evil in the early modern philosophy and Kant’s doctrine of radical evil

Demirci, Ahmet Emre
The aim of my thesis is to shed light on the conception of evil in the early modern philosophy and specifically, as known as the last representative of the period, analyze Kant’s account of radical evil within the boundaries of his moral philosophy. In order to actualize this aim, I started with naming the major philosopher of the early modern philosophy who contributed most to the discussions on the problem of evil. I reviewed the views of Descartes, Spinoza, Bayle, Leibniz, and Hume on the problem of evil and tried to analyze the major differences between their perspectives and approach. In the second and final chapter of my thesis, I started with Kant’s grounds of moral philosophy since the concept of radical evil falls within this framework. After summarizing further integral concepts such as duty, moral law, maxim, categorical and hypothetical imperatives, I started analyzing Kant’s grounding of moral evil along with maxim making. I finally concluded my thesis with Kant’s account of radical evil and discussed free agent’s propensity to evil, and summarized if the radical evil is innate and universal according to Kant followed with his taxonomy of evil. I believe that the consideration of radical evil was important since, as Madore said, Kant’s moral philosophy cannot be totally grasped unless his conception of “radical evil” is deeply understood and carefully examined.


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Citation Formats
A. E. Demirci, “The concept of evil in the early modern philosophy and Kant’s doctrine of radical evil,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.