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362Philosophy and Literature people have control. Kekes thinks that much evil arises out of character traits over which we may have litde or no control. To face evil is to see that there are evilpeople and notjust evil acts. Indeed, since most actions arise automatically from entrenched dispositions, it is more important that morality focus on character traits than on individual acts. Finally, he argues, the evil in people is as fundamental as the good. It is an error to view goodness as natural and evil as an aberration. Nor should we let moral egalitarianism lead us to hold that all humans are of equal moral worth. People who are virtuous, Kekes insists, possess greater moral worth than those who are vicious. We need to embrace the "hard" reaction to evil and avoid die "soft" reaction that grows out of "choice morality." One strength of the book is Kekes's synthesis of a virtue ethic with a form of consequentialism, though he does not deal with the difficult problem of "dirty hands." I did wonder whether the initially sharp distinctions between his views and opposing ideas (the "soft" reaction to evil, the "tragic point of view") weren't ultimately blurred, and I would have liked more discussion of the idea of people getting what they deserve. Overall, Kekes discusses a number of important questions of philosophical and human concern. Every reader will find points to disagree with, as well as numerous insights and interesting arguments. In short, Facing Evil has many virtues and is worthy of the attention of philosophical readers. Northeastern UniversityStephen Nathanson Freud and Fiction, by Sarah Kofman; translated by Sarah Wykes; ? & 196 pp. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991, $35.00. Sarah Kofman, who teaches philosophy at the Sorbonne, is one of France's leading interpreters of Freud. Thoroughly familiar not only with the history of Western philosophy but also with contemporary feminist thought and with poststructuralist debates about the status of the literary text, she has published three books on Freud, each ofwhich draws from different parts ofthe Freudian corpus. The last of the three books, EEnigme de L·femme: Lafemme dans les textes de Freud (1980) was the first to be translated into English: The Engima ofWoman: Woman in Freud's Writings (1985). The acclaim accorded that book contributed no doubt to the decision to translate the two earlier volumes: EEnfance de l'art (1970) appeared in 1988 as TL· ChildhoodofArt; and now Quatreromansanalytiques Reviews363 (1974) has been published in a skillful translation by Sarah Wykes under the title of Freud and Fiction (1991). In her illuminating introduction, Kofman finds in Aristode a concept of history and philosophy that has dominated the whole of Western metaphysics. With what Kofman calls "a gesture of mastery" (p. 8), Aristode called the work of previous philosophers—that is to say, the presocratics—a myth or a fiction that contained some views that were good and others that were bad. The "good" views were, of course, those that anticipated Aristotelian "truth." The presocratics , however, expressed even their "good" views obliquely and obscurely, using a metaphorical or mythical language that Aristode equated with the language of infancy. The task Aristotle set for himself was to draw the "good" views of his predecessors out of obscurity, to pull them away from metaphor and, by rearticulating them in the register ofphilosophical conceptual language, to give them the clear and precise form and sense characteristic of mature, i.e., Aristotelian, thought. Kofman asserts that Freud, with a gesture similar to but even more aggressive than Aristode's, infantilizes and mythologizes the literary texts he discusses, texts in which he claims to find both a préfiguration of his own ideas and the proof that his theories are "true." Literary texts haunt the Freudian oeuvre which, in light of the direction psychoanalysis has taken since Freud's death, may now seem closer to literary discourse than to the discourse of science. In four chapters, Kofman analyzes Freud's discussion of four famous literary texts: a fragmentary poem by Empedocles , Hebbel'sJudithandHohfernes,Jensen's Gradiva, and E. T. A. Hoffman's The Sandman. Although Freud maintained that he approached literature scientifically , Kofman demonstrates how he "forgot" or...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 362-363
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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