Evil and Givenness: The Thanatonic Phenomenon provides a phenomenological study of evil in its conceptual integrity.Describing a phenomenological situation exclusive to evil in its distinct mode of givenness and manners of manifestation, the account of evil in this book centers on the thanatonic as that phenomenality proper to evil. Although situated within a phenomenology of givenness via Jean-Luc Marion, the thanatonic is distinguished from saturated phenomena by giving itself in a parasitic mode. Brian W. Becker identifies four figures as displaying characteristics of this parasitic givenness—trauma, evil eye, foreign-body, and abject—each expressing a dimension of the thanatonic and paralleling the four figures of the saturated phenomenon. Like the four horsemen who serve as heralds for the destruction of the world, these figures beckon the destruction of our lifeworld, diminishing the self who encounters them. Upon losing the will to bear the excess of saturated phenomena, the receding of horizons, and the loss of singularity, this impoverished self misrecognizes itself in a manner that begins to resemble the metaphysical ego and, in doing so, becomes a vector for retransmitting the thanatonic’s suffering unto others.
Brian W. Becker is professor of neuropsychology at Lesley University and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion.
Introduction: The Problem of the Problem of Evil
Part I: Modes of Givenness
Chapter 1: “They Shall Know Them by Their Fruits”: A Phenomenology of Givenness
Chapter 2: Parasitic Givenness
Part II: The Four Horsemen of the Thanatonic
Chapter 3: Lost Time: The Event of Trauma
Chapter 4: The Evil Eye
Chapter 5: “It is No Longer I Who Do it”: The Foreign-body
Chapter 6: “Surely it is Not I”: The Abject
Part III: Amputation of the Possible
Chapter 7: Being Diminished: The Thanatonic Ego
About the Author