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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 5, Issue 3, Spring 1991

Richard M. Capobianco
Pages 175-185

Heidegger and the Critique of the Understanding of Evil as Privatio Boni

Despite the efforts of such notable thinkers as Sartre, Camus, and Ricoeur to affirm philosophically the being of evil, a systematic critique of the traditional metaphysical understanding of evil as privation of being has not yet been fully worked out. The task of this paper is to sketch out just such a critique and to suggest a more adequate philosophical reflection on the being of evil by turning to the thought of Heidegger. Part 1 examines Heidegger’s commentary on Aristotle’s remarks on steresis. Aristotle is our teacher, Heidegger argues, in learning “to hold on to the wonder” of the steresis-dimension of Being (physis), and, thus, to hold on to the wonder that “lack,” “loss,” “absence” - is. Part II considers Heidegger’s recognition that the k-not at the very heart of our existence is yet much more complex. He turns to the fragments of Parmenides and Heraclitus to bring to light a dissembling-dimension of Being.

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