History | PROBLEM OF EVIL IN MODERN EUROPE
B300 | 0395 | Canoy/crouthamel


11:45A-1:00P     D    BH245

Above section open to undergraduates only
Above section meets with WEURW405

What forms did absolute evil take in an age that declared God and the
Devil dead?

This course employs the persistent problem of evil to confront
students with key issues in the social, cultural, and political
history of modern Europe.

During the past three hundred years, "enlightened" European
civilization attempted to move beyond originally religious values and
notions of absolute truth, good, and evil.  However, despite the
spread of secularism, moral relativism, and faith in human
perfectibility, the stubborn puzzle of cosmic evil persisted, and
actually grew in intensity.  Mass alienation, new ideological demons,
death camps, total war, paralyzing cultural despair, technologically
adept serial killers, and a popular culture of fashionable nihilism
are all modern phenomena that have driven an urgent search for meaning
in what was arguably Europe's most "evil" age.  In this course we will
examine an age-old philosophical, moral, and religious problem that
persisted to haunt the comfortable certainties of 19th-century
modernity, and shaped the breakdowns of European civilization in the
20th.