Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty

Front Cover
Macmillan, Mar 19, 1999 - Philosophy - 448 pages

Why is there evil, and what can scientific research tell us about the origins and persistence of evil behavior?

Considering evil from the unusual perspective of the perpetrator, Roy F. Baumeister asks, How do ordinary people find themselves beating their wives? Murdering rival gang members? Torturing political prisoners? Betraying their colleagues to the secret police? Why do cycles of revenge so often escalate?

Baumeister casts new light on these issues as he examines the gap between the victim's viewpoint and that of the perpetrator, and also the roots of evil behavior, from egotism and revenge to idealism and sadism. A fascinating study of one of humankind's oldest problems, Evil has profound implications for the way we conduct our lives and govern our society.

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Selected pages

Contents

The Question of Evil and the Answers
1
Image and Reality
27
Victims and Perpetrators
29
The Myth of Pure Evil
56
The Four Roots of Evil
93
Greed Lust Ambition Evil as a Means to an End
95
Egotism and Revenge
124
True Believers and Idealists
165
Crossing the Line How Evil Starts
247
How Evil Grows and Spreads
278
Dealing with Guilt
301
Ambivalence and Fellow Travelers
339
Conclusion
369
Why Is There Evil?
371
Notes
385
Index
415

Can Evil Be Fun? The Joy of Hurting
199
How They Do It
245

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About the author (1999)

Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., holds the E. B. Smith Professorship in Liberal Arts at Case Western Reserve University. Since receiving his doctorate in social psychology from Princeton University, he has received numerous fellowships and awards. He has published nearly 150 scientific works and is cited in numerous sources in the popular media. Baumeister has authored or co-authored a dozen other books, including Losing Control: How and Why Self-Regulation Fails and Meanings of Life. He lives on the shores of the Great Lakes. Dr. Aaron T. Beck, M.D., the Father of Cognitive Therapy, is University Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and President of The Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy. He is the author and co-author of a dozen books and over 350 articles and chapters.