Is There a Problem of Evil?

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 363–364. Reviews the book, Panorama of Evil: Insights from the Behavioral Sciences by Leonard W. Doob (see record 1979-31182-000). This book begins with general considerations about the universality of evil, and moves on to a psychological analysis of judgments of evil. Major sections on evil doers and on victims are respectively organized in terms of causation, prevention, and combating. The book is cast for the general reader, avoiding technical terms, descriptions or criticisms of studies, or name-dropping. But the bibliographical notes gathered at the end of each brief chapter reflect an astonishing range of reference-to the literatures of theology and moral philosophy as well as behavioral science. The tone and the achievement are of sophisticated common sense, to which the contributions of behavioral science are assimilated. Doob not only avoids panaceas of concept or policy, he decries them. It is a sensible, humane book, although not an intellectually exciting one. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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