chapter  4
18 Pages

On evil and political theology

Reflections on Kant and after
WithWilliam Desmond

In my reflections first I outline some of the major traditional responses to the problem of evil, before then shifting the focus to political theology and the question of theodicy. Second, I examine dimensions of the question of evil and political theology in the philosophies of Kant and Hegel. While both of these are differently rationalistic about evil, there are other thinkers for whom the issues of political theology and evil are not a matter of reason. Third, I offer thoughts on some post-Hegelian thinkers in the 19th century. In particular, I engage the thought of Marx, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Traditional ways of addressing the relation of evil, theodicy and the political are differently formed and reformed in these thinkers and in none of them such that our perplexity about evil is entirely alleviated.