*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List
The Anthropology of Evil
This course is an inquiry into how to define evil, followed by a study of its symptomatology, etiology, and epidemiology. Evil will be examined from sociological, psychological, biological, and theological perspectives. Both personal evil and evil done by groups, tribes, and nations will be considered. We will entertain the question of when human moral evil arose and what its history has been. We will attempt to account for the evil of both psychopaths and ordinary, law-abiding citizens. Topics will include narcissism, careerism, good and bad values, and our penchant for thinking in abstractions. Finally, we will ask if evil can be prevented. Note:This course does not meet on Thursday, November 22.
Stephen Kennamer is a lifelong educator in the humanities, having taught OLLI courses on a wide variety of topics: the anthropology of evil, the existence of moral truth, Greek drama, philosophy, religion, poetry, and music.
Aside from readings taken from current events, the main requirement is a willingness to discuss the topic.
Instead of critically examining any particular treatise on evil, we will analyze and discuss a wide variety of historical events that will be familiar to all educated people. We may touch upon the fictional treatments of evil found in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Othello, and Melville’s Billy Budd, but only in passing.