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The Evil WithinWhy We Need Moral Philosophy$
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Diane Jeske

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190685379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190685379.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 April 2021

Moral Evasion

Moral Evasion

(p.195) 6 Moral Evasion
The Evil Within

Diane Jeske

Oxford University Press

The case studies of Albert Speer, Charles Colcock Jones, and Franz Stangl illustrate ways in which people can engage in moral evasion. Moral evasion comes in many forms, such as self-deception, wishful thinking, and rationalization. Stangl refused to engage with the full horror of what he was doing by refusing to use his imagination in thinking about hypothetical scenarios, using a highly rule-bound conception of duty, and compartmentalizing his thought. All of Stangl’s strategies are mirrored in those we often use in thinking about our treatment of nonhuman animals. Speer engaged in belief avoidance: by focusing on the demands of his job, he was able to avoid knowing what he could easily have come to know. Jones engaged in wishful compromise: he convinced himself that by becoming a missionary to the slaves he was taking the best route that he could within the confines of an evil institution.

Keywords:   self-deception, wishful thinking, compartmentalization, Albert Speer, Charles Colcock Jones, Franz Stangl, belief, rationalization, nonhuman animal

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