In Defense of Sin

ISBN 13: 9780312239862

In Defense of Sin

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9780312239862: In Defense of Sin
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Engrossing, intriguing, insightful, and sometimes disturbing, a fascinating collection of great writers, who reflect on transgressions, both large and small, including Wilde on deceit, Freud on breaking the golden rule, Seneca on suicide, explores sin in the past and in the present.

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About the Author:

JOHN PORTMANN studied philosophy at Yale and Cambridge University and has written numerous articles on ethics and morality. The author of When Bad Things Happen To Other People, Portmann lives in Charlottesville, VA. His forthcoming book with Palgrave is Sex and Heaven (May 2002). Portmann lectures at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this age of pious hyperbole, a volume extolling the virtues of sinfulness is very welcome. Portmann, the author of a wonderful examination of schadenfreude, When Bad Things Happen to Other People, here offers selections from a range of authors in defense of 16 varieties of evil, four of which are sexual. He makes no claims to inclusiveness the deadly sins of sloth and gluttony and biblical injunctions against profaning the Sabbath and coveting one's neighbor are sadly omitted to make way for vindications of new transgressions gossip, promiscuity, despair. The readings are uneven in tone and focus, thanks to the inclusion of excerpts from popular texts that seem off base. Oscar Wilde's mordant paean to lying, for example, is less about noble forms of deceit such as "white lies" than about the supremacy of art over nature, of the imaginary over the real. In defense of murder, Portmann offers a familiar satire by Jonathan Swift rather than a serious discussion of capital punishment or some other case in applied ethics. In contrast, chapters such as Anthony Ellis's vindication of casual sex and David Novitz's rejection of forgiveness are focused and provocative. The odd selection might have worked had the editor's introductions been less perfunctory. As it stands, the collection reads like a packet of texts assembled for a college course; absent is the authoritative presence required to tie it all together.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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