ABSTRACT

I have argued that making evil the sovereign concept in political thought serves to illuminate a distinctive and neglected domain of public morality. Putting evil fi rst prompts us to think of morality more in terms of prevention than of aspiration. But so far the discussion has been rather abstract. It is perhaps hard to tell precisely what a preventive morality might look like: what sort of public ethic results from the acknowledgement of evil’s sovereignty? Is it really possible for the idea of evil to inform and sustain a meaningful conception of civic virtue?