Ethics and Literature: The Problem of Evil

Schools of Public Engagement: Humanities

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
The Problem of Evil
Fall 2022
Taught By: Terri Gordon
Section: A

CRN: 8791

Credits: 3

In The City of God, Saint Augustine confronts a central problem: How did evil come into the world if human beings were created good? In this course, we explore the question of evil through a study of texts ranging from biblical to modern. With Dostoevsky and Kafka, we travel on the dark side of life, examining crime, transgression, and nightmarish systems. We explore a number of theoretical perspectives, from Augustine’s notion of the "evil will" to Nietzsche’s standpoint "beyond good and evil" to Arendt’s thesis of the "banality of evil." Through our study of the ethical universe of literary texts, we engage with questions essential to humanity, including the nature of human beings, the basis for moral conventions, individual and collective responsibility, goodness versus happiness, and guilt, forgiveness, and redemption.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Humanities (NHUM)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 22

Add/Drop Deadline: September 12, 2022 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: December 18, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 2:20am EST 2/6/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Tuesday
Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm
Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th
Room: 518
Date Range: 8/30/2022 - 12/6/2022