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Aristotle, Epicurus, Morgenthau and the Political Ethics of the Lesser Evil

Molloy, Sean P (2009) Aristotle, Epicurus, Morgenthau and the Political Ethics of the Lesser Evil. Journal of International Political Theory, 5 (1). pp. 94-112. ISSN 1755-1722. (doi:10.3366/E1755088209000342) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/E1755088209000342

Abstract

This article explores one of the key themes of Hans J. Morgenthau's moral theory, the concept of the lesser evil. Morgenthau developed this concept by reference to classical political theory, especially the articulation of the lesser evil found in Aristotle and Epicurus. The article begins by differentiating Morgenthau's work from that of E. H. Carr, whom he regards as engaged in a Quixotic quest to provide Machiavellism with greater ethical purpose. The article also contrasts the ethics of the lesser evil with Kantian ethics. Morgenthau places the lesser evil in the context of a modernity that has lost the capacity to think about the relationship between politics and morality and stresses the importance of coming to grips with the existential demands of love and power. Finally, the article argues that despite the ubiquity of evil, the existence of the lesser evil gives rise to the development of specifically political virtues such as prudence and moderation which raise the possibility of moral politics beyond mere expedience.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3366/E1755088209000342
Additional information: number of additional authors: 0;
Uncontrolled keywords: Aristotle, Epicurus, ethics, evil, Morgenthau, political theory
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 03:05 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40282 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Molloy, Sean P: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5074-3433
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